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Your Letters

I enjoyed reading James Kellogg’s Right Angles column on Tuesday, Dec. 20. How appropriate that he should inform us of the history of Christmas on the day before the Winter Solstice.

As many of my friends know, my wife and I celebrate the Winter Solstice and have for years. As someone with a mild case of SAD (Seasonal Affected Disorder), I count the days to the solstice and am very happy to see the lengthening of the daylight hours. Many refer to it as the shortest day of the year, but it still has 24 hours. But I digress.

Having addressed the Christmas topic before, I knew most of the information Mr. Kellogg wrote about. The Saturnalia Festival is well chronicled, as are the stories of Sinter Klaas and St. Nicholas.

What I find most interesting about the column is how Mr. Kellogg can ask a question, do all this research, and then come up with his ending conclusion. Allow me to quickly elaborate.

He queries as to how Christmas in America became so far removed from the birth of Christ. He then proceeds to give us the history of the various celebrations, many preceding the “Big Event.” He informs us that the Gospels don’t really mention a birthday for Jesus and that Pope Julius I, in the 4th century, decreed Dec. 25 as the birth of Jesus, merging it with the centuries-old Saturnalia Festival. He then discusses the other European influences of gift giving and stockings, and trees and lights.

I do love how the right (the “Right Angles” name of the column certainly puts Mr. Kellogg in that category) can spin a story. The Fox News spin machine has been crusading against the secular assault on Christmas. You know, the “War on Christmas!”

I wish to thank James Kellogg for (inadvertently) blowing the lid off this story. He documents the fact that the war on Christmas began with the hijacking of established traditions and continued with Christians later condemning and banning Christmas because of its pagan roots. Secularists can’t win. Happy Solstice. Merry Christmas.

Craig S. Chisesi


Dysfunctional, hyper-partisan, ineffective, bickering bunch of do-nothings – these are terms we almost automatically associate with Congress these days.

Why? Maybe because our cost of living keeps increasing, while 90 percent of us have seen a decrease in our annual income, because nearly half of all Americans are officially living in poverty, 13.3 million are unemployed, and 1.6 million U.S. children are homeless. Maybe because economic, debt, health, education, infrastructure and energy challenges need more than “kick the can down the road” games.

Maybe our representatives would get more done if they spent more time on the job. They plan a total of 109 “working” days in 2012. That’s down from the 137 they scheduled for 2011. For this they are each paid at least $175,000 per year, plus perks. Not that they need the money, since 249 of the 535 members (47 percent) are millionaires.

Meanwhile, they appear to believe that their primary task is to posture, blame the president or the other party, meet with lobbyists and raise money for re-election.

Polls show that only 9 percent of the American people approve of congressional performance. That means 91 percent of us either don’t approve or don’t have an opinion. By any measure, that is deplorable. One might think that we would be outraged.

In fact, a number of Post Independent posts in 2011 have reflected a rising level of anger. Also, many of these have suggested “fixes.” The trouble is that “taking the money out of politics,” “imposing term limits,” “insisting on greater transparency,” “limiting lobbyist influence,” and virtually any other actions that might make a significant difference, offer unlikely prospects for implementation because they must be enacted by Congress. Does anyone really believe that these people will legislate such constraints on themselves?

Many who are convinced that the status quo is not a viable option are increasingly pessimistic and are moving toward a conviction that the situation will not change without significant disruption. We are seeing some of that emerging in current protest movements. We will see much more if the status quo continues.

John Palmer

Glenwood Springs

Hi. My name is Justin. I’m in the sixth grade at Basalt Middle School. In science class we are learning about natural resources. I am encouraging people to use solar more than coal or natural gas.

We should use solar more because it is perpetual. Even though it can’t be found all day around, it is better than natural gas and coal.

We use a lot of natural gas and coal in our houses to heat or create electricity. Sooner or later it will be gone. We will have no heat or electricity.

If we get solar, it will always give us electricity as long as the sun shines.

I think people need to use more solar. I’m concerned people won’t use enough solar. I hope you switch to solar.

Justin Hubbell


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