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Vail Daily letters to the editor

Vail DailyVail, CO, Colorado

Quick path to richesPoliticians who arrive in Washington as men and women of modest means leave as millionaires. Why?How do they miraculously accumulate wealth at a rate faster then the rest of us? The money making opportunities are huge. Accepting gifts of IPO stock from companies seeking to influence legislation, practicing insider trading with nonpublic government information, earmarking projects that benefit personal real estate holdings, extorting campaign contributions through the threat of legislation unfavorable to an industry. The list goes on and on, and it is sickening.Astonishingly, none of this is illegal, at least not for Congress. Members of Congress exempt themselves from the laws that apply to the rest of us. Social Security, Obamacare, Freedom of Information Act, etc. — not their problem. They just exempt themselves from the laws they pass. This corruption is not confined to one political party. It is endemic to both sides of the aisle. It is an entire system of public servants feathering their own nests.What are the solutions? We need equality under the law. From now on, laws that apply to the private sector, you and me, must apply to Congress. Included must be whistleblower, conflict-of-interest and insider trading laws. Trading on nonpublic government information should be illegal both for those who pass on the information and those who trade on it. This should close th loophole of the congressional favorite blind trusts that are not really blind because they are managed by family members or friends.We can no longer be indifferent to this system of graft when our country is going bankrupt. Now you may begin to understand why they are willing to spend millions to get elected. Another plus: They decide on their salary increases. Bernie Schwartz EdwardsLiked comment sectionWhat was wrong with the older commenting system? Now, the Vail Daily online news stories lack the interactivity they once had. Was it too difficult to police and remain objective with all the anonymous comments?Judd WattsEagle-VailLot of land protectionHere in Eagle County, we value our land, and we are conserving it at the community level. The new National Land Trust Census found that Colorado protected 1.225 million acres through voluntary land conservation over the past five years, a 53 percent increase. Locally, the Eagle Valley Land Trust conserved nearly 1,300 acres within Eagle County, and another 800 acres through partnerships in Garfield and Pitkin counties. That’s part of a national trend of 10 million new protected acres.An enhanced tax deduction for conservation easement donations has helped America’s land trusts work with local landowners to sustain a remarkable pace of more than 1 million acres protected by conservation easements each year! But if Congress allows this incentive to expire at the end of 2011, fewer land owners will receive tax benefits from the generous donation of development rights on their land.The Eagle Valley Land Trust thanks U.S. Rep. Jared Polis and Sen. Michael Bennett for being among the 262 House and 11 Senate co-sponsors of H.R.1964/S.339, bills to make this important conservation tax incentive permanent. That’s more co-sponsors than any other tax deduction bill in Congress! We encourage the rest of Colorado’s congressional delegation to join them as co-sponsors of this important legislation. Land trusts — like the Eagle Valley Land Trust right here in our community — show that we can invest in our future to ensure clean water, local food and places to play for our residents and guests, and for generations to come.Jason Denhart Director of Communications & Development, Eagle Valley Land TrustGod is bigger than thatI read Bob Branden’s column, “A Seat at the Table of Truth.” In fact, I read it several times. I am perplexed and troubled by his theme.It is my interpretation of the column that he was saying anyone who accepts evolution of life or earth geology or global warming is delusional. That only those who believe in the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible are capable of finding total truth. That to think life might change and evolve or that earth might have taken eons to attain its present state or that God would allow man to disrupt earth’s climate is to miss biblical truths. I find that an arrogant and self-righteous argument. I consider myself a Christian and have no trouble with the observations and conclusions of science. I find that science provides me with a deeper appreciation and understanding of God and the glories of his Creation. It also instills in me a sense of responsibility for the stewardship of earth that I find lacking in your argument. I believe God gave us all the ability to study and understand his works so that we can better appreciate Him. I believe science is one of God’s greatest gifts, and one that we ignore only at our own peril. Branden portrays those who respect science as people with hardened hearts and darken brains incapable of religious tolerance and understanding … unable of accepting the light of His truth. I suggest he look inward and ask if he is inflicted with a self-imposed blindness that limits his faith and places his God in a small box. My God is a big God, and his works are not limited by human biases in the interpretations of Scripture. My God is a forgiving God who accepts all as his children and does not ridicule them or assign them to other tables. He invites them to join him in a conversation at His table. He rejoices in their studies of His creation. He cries when we reject those who do not follow our sometimes faulty and limiting interpretation of His truth. I reject the premise that faith and science are at odds and incompatible. I reject Branden’s premise that those who accept the observations and conclusions of science are delusional. I close with a simple acknowledgement of my faith and career. I am an active member of the United Methodist Church. I am a retired engineer with a long career in the engineering sciences, including planetary exploration, strategic missile weapon systems and chemical-biological warfare. I have an especially strong background in earth sciences, including the climate sciences. Edward R Coleman Austin, Texas


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