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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Thursday, June 8, 2006


Due to a late evening project that needed to be completed on time, there was no Wednesday Madman. My apologies. -Noah Greenberg



Al-Zarqawi Killed

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed by a pair of 500 pound bombs. That's the good news. They used 500 pound bombs because they wanted the body of al-Qaeda's number one guy in Iraq to be recognizable. They used the second bomb for good measure. Al-Zarqawi's followers are calling him a martyr who is now spending eternity with his 72 virgins. I hope they all look like Roseanne Barr.

The number one guy in al-Qaeda, as we all know, is Osama bin-Laden. He remains on the loose. Bin-Laden's number two is Ayman al Zawahiri. Al-Zarqawi, by default, was probably number three. This is probably the fifth or sixth number three we got. Being number three is the kiss of death.

I awoke at ten o'clock this morning, the morning al-Zarqawi was killed. After a shave, shower and a bite to eat, I turned on the news and saw White House press secretary Tony Snow brimming with pride at his boss' ability to "get him". A general was standing next to a picture of the head of a dead al-Zarqawi, live from Iraq (yes, I'm aware of the play on words), using a pointer to get his point across, almost like a high school biology teacher pointing out the the different areas of the head: "This is the eye socket and this is the orbit of the eye."

Having worked until two o'clock in the morning, and not returning home until three, I had no way of knowing that the news reports were coming through many hours before I heard of the news. The first thing I did, thinking that this was news to everybody, was call up my George Bush-loving brother (that's another story).

MY BROTHER (on answering the phone, realizing it was me): Did you hear? They got al-Zarqawi!
ME: You bet! I was calling to tell you
MY BROTHER: That'll make the presidents numbers climb 10 points... probably 15. What do you think of that?

At least the "G"reed "O"ver P"eople party faithful have their priorities straight.

Snow came out to break the good news and immediately jumped down a reporter's throat who had the temerity to ask if this meant that we could have a timetable for removing our troops.

"This is good news,"
-Snow, trying to stay in the moment.

The war in Iraq isn't over and the time to bask in a single battle's victory has to be short lived. We are in a situation now in Iraq where we could come out and say "Iraq has a new Interior Minister and Defense Minister. We believe that they are the ones who can begin to turn this nation around and we are going to plan on the commencement of removing our troops from Iraq." In other words, we can claim victory and get out.

As the news continued, CNN showed a tape of President Bush from a few moments earlier from a meeting with governors at the White House. With is self-apparent, new-found "political capital", GW is going to push for a line-item veto. After all, according to my brother, his approval ratings are going to soar. Not bad for a guy who never looks at polls, huh?

"Zarqawi is dead, but the difficult and necessary mission in Iraq continues. We can expect the terrorists and insurgents to carry on without him. We can expect the sectarian violence to continue."
-Bush's statement about the killing of al-Zarqawi


I almost expected him to add, "But just one more bow, if you don't mind."

I'm reminded of the Right Wing death cry of "Isn't the world better off without Saddam Hussein?" It wasn't, and that is the early cry of the Right Wing Spin Machine today. Only time will tell.

"We could prevent the suffering of other families if we impeach George Bush today,"
-Michael Berg, the father of Nick Berg, the communications contractor who was killed in Iraq and beheaded by al-Zarqawi, personally, in response to a question by a reporter who asked if he thinks the slaying of al-Zarqawi will prevent other American families from suffering

There is always a hope that when a leader of an enemy is killed or captured that it will help to bring an end to that conflict. We felt that when Saddam's statue was felled as we took over Baghdad. It wasn't the case. We felt it when they took Saddam out of the spider hole and gave him a shave, shower and dental exam. We felt it when Uday and Qusay Hussein, Saddam's sons, were confirmed killed by a US bomb. But we know better than that.

Osama bin-Laden got away at Tora-Bora. (Afghanistan). To quote a soldier on the ground as he looked up at a plane taking off from bin-Laden's mountain stronghold, "There he goes."

 

With the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, today is a good day. The death or capture of bin-Laden would be a great day.

"I don't know where he is. I just don't spend that much time on it."
-Bush on the whereabouts of Osama bin-Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda and the man behind the terror attacks of 9/11

"I doubt any single person on this planet has had more deaths and more blood on his hands than al-Zarqwai,"
-Secretary of Defense Donald "We Don't Know What We Don't Know" Rumsfeld

I guess he doesn't remember 9/11 or Osama bin-Laden either.

-Noah Greenberg



Senator Sam Brownback - A Gay Bashing Cheer Leader With a Message

Is it possible that I would pray that the new voice of the Republican party whether they are the minority or majority party, will be Senator Sam Brownback, Republican from Kansas? Would I have the unmitigated gall to hope that this is the new mouthpiece for the red-state dead-heads that presently rule the nation?

You bet.

Senator Brownback, in his bid to take charge of the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party hopes to never get anything done which will truly benefit the majority of Americans. In his zeal to put bad government first, he sees the 49-48 defeat of the Gay marriage amendment to the US Constitution as a good thing.

"People are going to be responsible for this vote,"
-Brownback


"People?" And just what "people" are they, Senator Hypocrite? Are the Democrats going to suffer or are you going to run religious fanatics against your Republican mates who just didn't see it your way?

Don't you just wish that the Democratic party would set up a challenger to Senator "I'm Holier than Thou" whose only issue was to make sure every citizen of Kansas and America had health care? I'd love to watch that debate, even though "Sammy-Boy" isn't up for four more years (all Brownback answers have been taken directly from his website or are his direct quotes):

MELISSA BRUNNER: Senator Brownback, this next question is for you. What will you do to make sure more Americans have access to quality health care?
BROWNBACK: Well, as you know, Melissa (Melissa Brunner, a Topeka Channel 13 new personality), most Senators have not been to medical school. They are not physicians and can neither treat the ill, nor cure the sick, nor heal the wounded.
BRUNNER: Yes I realize that, senator. but what will you do to advance the health care for everyone movement that is growing rapidly around Kansas and th rest of the nation?
BROWNBACK: Public policy makers ought to hold ourselves to the same high ethical standard to which physicians hold themselves.
BRUNNER: But Senator, what precisely will you do?
BROWNBACK: Health care policy has become one of the most contentious issues on the national agenda in recent years. There are sure to be more disagreements in the future. What is important as we debate these issues, however, is for each of us to recognize that what is most important in this debate is the benefit of the patients.

The "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party elected officials and candidates think this is a win. They feel that using their favorite tool, the politics of division, will insight their religious "base" (not to be confused with their REAL "Base" of "Haves and Have-Mores") to Get Out The Vote. They, believe that going to the wells of anti-choice, anti-labor and anti-gays will convince those Americans, who only vote when and how Jerry Falwell and Rat Robertson tell them to vote, to flood the gates of the precincts in favor of those Republican candidates who will do their bidding, regardless of whether it is in their own self-interests of not.

Lambs... Walk this way.

Let's not forget that the Bill Clinton Defense of Marriage Act was already protecting state's rights to not recognize those marriages which would not be legal in their states. Today, this is not a state's rights issue. This is a GOP Abuse of Power issue.

Senator Brownback is the definition of everything that's wrong inside the Beltway today. The Democrats, when in power, have consistently been accused of "trying to do too much" by their GOP counterparts. Conversely, the GOP have done nothing to help anyone other than "G"lobal "W"arming Bush's "base" of "haves and have-mores". They take funds away from needed programs (like the Veterans' Administration) and throw them at oil companies and war profiteers in the guise of no-bid contracts.

We need to strike a dagger through the heart of Special Interests. We need to make those pay with their seats in congress and the senate for misusing the people's money and time for matters that don't benefit the good of most of the people. A Gay marriage amendment might make those who don't know any better feel as if they've accomplished something but, the truth is, the only thing they've accomplished is delaying what needs to be done for them, their families and 99 percent of the American People.

-Noah Greenberg



A "Druggie Limbaugh" Quote

"This Haditha story, this Haditha incident, whatever, this is it folks, this is the final big push on behalf of the Democratic Party, the American left, and the Drive-By Media to destroy our effort to win the war in Iraq. That's what Haditha represents -- and they are going about it gleefully. They are ecstatic about it ... Folks, let me just put it in graphic terms. It is going to be a gang rape. There is going to be a gang rape by the Democratic Party, the American left and the Drive-By Media, to finally take us out in the war against Iraq. Make no bones about it,"
-Rush "Drugie" Limbaugh


Make no bones about it, Drug Limbaugh has flipped his wig. What in heck is the "Drive-by Media"? Is that where the Drug heads such as Rush get their morning fixes?

-Robert Scardapane



Help Take back Congress

The primaries are over and the race is on to recapture Congress from the Republicans. You can help - join the NJ Media Corps and write letters on behalf of Democratic candidates for Congress and the Senate.

NJ Media Corps members are currently working on action pages for Congressional races in New Jersey's 4th, 6th, and 7th districts. We're looking for new members who can help the effort in the other districts (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th) as well as the Senate race. Visit our web site to learn more:

http://www.usmediacorps.org/nj/

To join our effort, you can either respond to this email or click the below link to join our new listserv:

http://nationalmediacorps.org/mailman/listinfo/njmediacorps_nationalmediacorps.org

Politics is not a spectator sport! Join the NJ Media Corps and help make a difference in your country's future.


-Eddie Konczal



Responses

In response to, "Home Schooling", Sean (Mr. Blue-Sky) writes:

I'm sorry, but I have to disagree on this one.

Children who are home schooled will learn how to read before other children and they will not proceed to the next grade if they don't know what's needed to pass on. Here in Texas kids are only taught what is needed to pass the state minimum in academics or TAAS (Texas academic achievement standard) tests. Texas schools are some of the most backward in the nation. A child who makes A`s and B`s in Texas is only going to be an average student in Boston.

My own kids were in Texas schools and easily made the honor role all year. They moved to Raleigh, NC to live with mom when my eldest son was thirteen and my younger son was eight years old. Even in a small, one school town they were challenged. Being the bright kids they are they still made the honor role, after they caught up with the curriculum.

Kids who are home schooled are not kept in a cage. They get to go out and attend parties, go outside to play, shop in local malls and socialize just like any other child. A child that is in public school can only interact with other children their own age. They don't get any adult conversation other than student to teacher. Home schooled kids will have conversations with adults and will have a shorter bridge between the generation gap.

My business partner's kids were home schooled and have a greater love and respect for their mother and have made good lasting friendships.

If you think there is no religion in school you are wrong. Sure they may not have a prayer before the big game or in open assembly but many kids who go to school together also attend the same church. They sit at the same lunch table and hold hands for a silent prayer.

I doubt that home schooled kids sit with the bible on one side of their desk and a textbook on the other.



In response to "I'm sure the Bushites would love to see all Americans home school their children. How much could that send to their 'base' of 'haves and have-mores' in future tax give-give-aways?" Pat Thompson writes:

In our family, we home school our children prior to age 5, so that they go to school already knowing how to read, write, do math, know geography, read maps, write poems, read books, etc. Then, when they get to school, they aren't distracted learning these important things by all the kids around, by kids with slower learning rates. Knowing how to read and write, do math and what the planet you live on is all about is too important to wait until a child goes to school. The social interaction is important to learn. Unfortunately, children also learn a lot of negatives in school. Innocent nonviolent children go off to school and are exposed to little Republicans, as well as children who are treated violently and repeat those actions, children who have been exposed to all kinds of meanness and nastiness and heap abuse on weaker, unaggressive children. That is why there have been dozens of school shootings in the past few years -- children who have been bullied for so long they break -- and react with extreme violence. Maybe it's the "real world" we expose our children to when we send them to school, but it is very sad. I have a 5 yr. old grandson who will be leaving the nest in September. He has been reading for two years. His favorite books are his collection of world atlases. He does 5th grade math workbooks. He can fill in a blank map of the US with all 50 states, knows their capitals. We discuss the war in Iraq, and Bush. He doesn't watch Batman, Spiderman or any silly cartoons. He knows about 9/11, stolen elections, the bombing of Iraq. He can write sentences and corresponds with all of the family via email. What will he learn in September? That some kids are mean. That not everyone thinks bombing other countries is wrong. That most kids watch silly shows on TV, and if he wants to fit in he will have to also. We are not right wing Christians, probably closer to secular humanists, but home schooling is an attractive alternative. And pre-schooling at home is essential.



And Rhian writes:

Actually the Bush's are totally opposed to home school. Kids cannot be brainwashed to acceptance of mediocrity in their own lives, and obedience to a facist one world government, if they are not in public schools.

Here's why I took my two daughters out and started homeschool, from grades four and five:
-No science curriculum.
-No exposure to classic literature.
-No music program.
-Very weak math curriculum.
-No instruction that would expose class to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, Magna Carta,
-History of the US, (except during black history month when every year they learned that George Washington Carver 'discovered' peanut butter, and the Martin Luthor King speech was read aloud)
-Weak art programs.
-No introduction to basic physics.
-No subjects at all that had academic value.
-All subjects approached from values clarification aspect, IE: If little Jose or Latisha from the ghetto, tries to copy your paper, what would you do? Is that cheating? How do you feel about it?

A typical week, included three Dare encounter group therapy sessions with policemen in full uniform, at least four crossword puzzles, at least three films about smoking, drinking, drugs, sex, and positive acceptance of people different from you. Also included every week was a lice exam by the school nurse. Book reports were not expected, just a list of books read at home, provided to the teacher and class for evaluation and class discussion. (criticism)

Recess. (Usually involving an injury to one of my daughters by a boy, of Mexican or Hispanic descent. Usually a shove from the back, in the back, while playing basketball.
Lunch. Continual exposure of my daughters, assigned seating, to masturbation by one of the boys at the table, (black, probably abused)
Coloring.

Currently, my older daughter, now 15, is studying advanced Trig, about to start Calc. First semester college, Biology with lab. Whole life project, lab. Journalism, the language of Wales, advanced art/DaVinci interpolation, Physics 101, English lit 101/composition reading A Tale of Two Cities.

The 14 year old is ingesting math through music writing courses, finance, and meteorology. Animal husbandry, biology, whole life lab, and algebra through electrical engineering basics.

Their social life includes a few friends, but does not include drugs, drinking, sex, pregnancy, orgies, or situations where they can be kidnapped, abused, or confused about their identities.
Their values are their own, and they are none of anyone else's business. And that is as it should be.

Both are happy, don't fight with each other, and have a good relationship with their single mom. (Their father is dysfunctional due to alcohol, drugs, and felony DUI charges) Both daughters like themselves, know what they want, and are learning how to get what they want out of life.

They are trusted. They are reasonable. Neither need prescription drugs for depression. They have bikes, pets, and hobbies, in addition to class material.

Don't knock it Noah, till you've tried it. Not everything is about Christian fundamentalism, Islamic fundamentalism, or any other type of ism. Some things are about sanity and achievement, peace and happiness. It is possible, even in the world of today.

(Oh yeah, don't even think about using the R word, (racist) because both my daughters are almost half Navajo and have inherited 1//8 of the blood of Israel from each of their parents)



I started the Home School debate for two reasons. First, to share my thoughts on it's problems and misuse. Second, was to get a response, and I did. What everyone seems to be saying in their response is that "We don't trust the education system," or "The education system doesn't do its job. It's broken." So instead of fixing our education system by funding it properly and making sure all children get more personalized attention in the form of tutors and students helping students, many take their children out of schools to educate them properly. That shouldn't be the case. schools should teach to the child not to the test. Schools should test to evaluate, not to punish. I believe that those who wrote are really saying "Fix our schools." -Noah Greenberg



In response to "Dad Had it Better; We Had it Better", David W. writes:

One of the things I like to ask people is, "Who had the better life: Fred Flintstone or George Jetson?"

Seriously. I've been bouncing this question off people since the beginning of the Reagan regime.

Most people jump to say that George jetson had the better life... He had a robot maid, a talking dog and a flying car--how cool is that?

But of course you KNOW I'm thinking it was Fred Flintstone because when you compare the two shows here's what you get:

-Fred's job was relatively secure... Sure every so often he would do something stupid like phone in sick and then go golfing anf run into Mr Slate at the golf course and get fired but c'mon... he deserved that one.
-By comparison, nearly every episode of the Jetson's has Mr Spacely saying to George, "Jetson, you're fired!" Now, granted by the end of the show, George would usually get hired back-often as a vice president--but guess what happens at the beginning of the next show?

-Fred had next door neighbors he liked, the Rubbles. (of course this was before Barney started to constantly steal his Fruity Pebbles but that's a story for another day) But the Flintstones and the Rubbles were like an extended family, OK to some degree it might offend our modern sensibilities to realize that for all intent, Pebbles and Bam-Bam were essentially married as children but... what do you want? There are still cultures today that practice child marriages..
-On the other hand Judy Jetson always has problem finding a boyfriend.

-Another thing, Fred belongs to a Bowling club as well as the Water Buffalo Lodge (very 1950's).
-By comparison, the Jetson's have no real extra-familial connections to a larger community (except for Elroy's boy scout troop).

So where does that leave us? Fred Flintstone, the caveman has a fairly secure life of community and more relationships with people while George Jetson has a precarious existence of isolation and solitude....



-In response to Robert Scardapane, Victoria Brownworth writes:

 

There is a middle ground here that Scardapane is ignoring, along with quite a few facts.

The majority of immigrants that are being complained about are indeed Mexican and Central American. Anti-immigrationists are not complaining about Indian and Israeli computer wizards, Pakistani gas station owners, the Russian corner on nail salons, Korean greengrocers, Australian and Israeli neurosurgeons. They are complaining about Mexican immigrants working in sweat shops, car washes, agriculture, gardening, hotel cleaning and restaurants. And like it or not these are NOT jobs Americans want to be doing, which is why non-Americans are taking them. Americans want high-paying, union-based jobs with benefits because that is what we are told we deserve: a living wage, which is not what undocumented workers are being paid.


American employers outsource jobs because it's cheap. They employ undocumented workers because it's cheap. When Scardapane says there is no job Americans won't do, he's wrong: if Americans DID these jobs, undocumented workers wouldn't be able to because the jobs wouldn't be available. But Americans aren't taking these jobs because they are cruelly underpaid and the workers are overworked. Last week I watched as three Latinos were used by a landscape firm to work 12 hour days in 90+ heat renovating my neighbor's garden. An American worker would have to be paid overtime after eight hours, get bathroom and lunch breaks, etc.

I'm not one of the "open border types" but I am against abuse of workers. ALL workers. And we have no business employing ANYONE at substandard wages and conditions. It isn't the immigrants who are abusing the system, but the obverse. Ignoring that reality puts the blame where it doesn't belong--on immigrant labor instead of on greedy employers.



In response to, "The immigrants are on the bottom of the food chain so they are being scapegoated," Robert Scardapane writes:

This is another immigration myth spun by the open border types. Basically it's a play on the "jobs that Americans won't do" theme. Try telling a factory worker in Ohio that just got outsourced that there is a decent paying construction/landscaping job and they will take it. There are no jobs that are beneath an American worker's dignity to do. In fact, when the open border types repeat this myth they insult American workers by painting the picture of the lazy American worker. The only people being scapegoat are American workers - both by outsourcing and now by excessive immigration. We can go on indefinitely on this topic but the facts are there that excessive immigration results in wage depression. It's simple economics - create too much supply and the price will go down.

Again, the open borders types show that they couldn't care less about American workers. They would rather prioritize the needs of foreigners than look after their own. Where's is the compassion in that?

And in response to, "We don't fence our borders from the Canadians. That's the reason I think some people feel that there is some kind of racism involved when people complain about Mexico," Robert adds:

It's not a matter of fencing anything. Border enforcement applies to all of the borders including people entering the country by airplane or ship. Border enforcement includes making sure that people don't over-stay visas such as the 9/11 terrorists who were here on expired student visas. This charge of racism is racist. It's merely a way to put people who don't believe in open borders on the defensive and shut down discussion.

Open borders is just not a responsible position. The open border advocates can not explain how they will manage the economic impact nor can they explain how they will keep the nation secure. They merely want to throw caution to the wind. I will not support that position nor should the Democratic party.



In response to, "The greedy capitalists are to blame for this--not the workers. But the capitalists would have everybody believe that the victims are at fault. If these immigrants weren't here, the capitalists would be blaming American workers. Whomever is the most exploited is always blamed to direct attention away from the disgusting anti-labor practices of the capitalists", Robert Scardapane writes:

On this point, I couldn't agree more. Cheap labor is a game that capitalists/corporatists play very well. Cheap labor is why salaries are stagnant/decreasing. Exporting jobs to cheap labor when possible and importing cheap labor otherwise are a major factor in depressing wages.


 

In response to, "The mean income of the average American family was $19,074 as Ronald Reagan took office," Pat Thompson writes:

In 1981, my husband took a new job paying $27,000. We owned a new home we had paid $25,000 for. We had three children. At that point I had to go to work to put oil in our tank to heat our home. And with college coming up within the decade for our three kids....Luckily, in 1983 we bought a new home for $100,000 -- and since real estate values kept going up, it was our personal bank -- we kept hitting up the equity on the house to pay for college. But now with retirement looming, and no medical insurance after retirement except Medicare, we wish we had paid our house off instead of using the equity for expenses. The house we paid $100,000 for 23 years ago is selling for $500,000 --- what young couple could afford that?



In response to "(George W.) Bush by a long shot, twice as bad as Nixon," Pat Thompson writes:

I am not a brilliant person, so how did I know this in 1999 when his name was being mentioned, and in 2000 when it became apparent that he was being promoted by the press as well as the Republicans. He has fulfilled all of my worst apprehensions. Maybe reading his parents' autobiographies and other books written about the elder Bush's made it very clear that even his dear parents thought he was their idiot child, and his activities while he was a drunk didn't prepare him for the highest position on earth. Why would people want such an obvious loser, incompetent person, for their President? Well, as the people in Utah still say "He is a God fearing man". Whatever that means.



In response to "The First Amendment", Pat Thompson writes:

This Administration has already encroached on my right to practice my religion. Since God created this beautiful planet Earth we inhabit, part of my religious practice is to be grateful and appreciative of the beauty and wonder we enjoy here. With pollution of the skies from no enforcement of the clean air act, increased coal burning -- which tears down mountains and turns the sky brown, the beautiful blue skies of planet earth are becoming more and more of a rarity. How many days do we see of a clear bright blue sky? Not very many.



In response to, The GOP "REAL 'BASE' of 'Haves and Have-Mores' because they don't care. They're in it for the dollars," Pat Thompson writes:

So true! The dollar worshippers are thrilled with how big their pile has grown in the past five years. But there are so few of them -- their votes barely count. It is the poor ignorant fools who have been duped into voting for this party, when we know it is against their best interests. As if gay marriage will affect their lives in any way! But the hidden issue is an ancient one -- "God will punish the entire nation for the 'sins' of the few". They mistakenly think gay marriage is bringing on the hurricanes and tornadoes, and the attack on 9/11. Rather than realizing that global warming will cause more and stronger hurricanes and tornadoes, and this administration's policies have worsened global climate change.



In response to, "The American People now have a job. Its is to start paying attention," Pat Thompson writes:

More people voted in the American Idol silliness than voted for President. This is a sinking ship. Until people are directly affected, they can't be bothered.



In response to, "My theory is that when population pressures get too high the gay gene expresses itself more. That's what happens when rats are crowded in cages, so maybe it works that way with humans too. People who aren't reproducing are doing the rest of the world a favor by keeping the population down. I am thankful for that. And I would be much happier to give gay people all full rights so that they would not have to sort through all kinds of painful confusion or unhappiness just because their sexual orientation is different than the majority. There will always be more than enough heterosexuals around to keep the human race going," Pat Thompson writes:

It is a scientific theory that stress while in the womb produces a homosexual child. Our stressfilled, overpopulated cities have higher concentrations of gay people. They are a definite type of human, if not a species, and are created by nature, or God -- and it is not a lifestyle "choice". They actually help with population by adopting unwanted children. This is a better world for having gay people in it. And, the important thing to realize is that the younger generation has much more acceptance of gay people, and younger and younger gays are now "coming out", without difficulty. My granddaughter, who is a sophomore in high school, tells me that there is no prejudice against gays in her school, and she knows many self-identified gays and lesbians who have already sorted this out for themselves, know who they are, and have the acceptance of their peers. I don't know if this is true in Missouri or other red states.



In response to, "The 'Conservative' View of Gay Marriage," Jenny Hanniver writes:

Very good analysis! Thank you, Billie. Like you, I'm straight because that's the way my DNA was arranged, and why should a particular pattern of chromosomes make someone feel superior? I've had gay, bisexual and transgendered acquaintances since college, including teachers and (in confidence) a few Navy and Marine colleagues. I liked most--though not all--of them, and have been good friends with a few. From friends I've heard too damned many tales of unhappiness. I just don't want to hear any more stories of oppression and depression, especially from people I care about.

I'd like to add my own analysis of why the Bush administration is trying to use this as an issue, gleaned after living many years living in the South and enduring two awful years as a high school age "born again".

I believe that many fundamentalists resist gay people living in stable, permanent attachments for two reasons: First, because it gives the lie to their claim that "sexual deviants" are invariably predatory and search out children, whereas the truth is that most sexual predators are heteros and most serial rapists go after adult women. If the percentage of attacks on male children seems greater in the Catholic church's ongoing scandal, it's basically because any celibate religious organization is going to attract a larger number of persons who realize their own innate homosexuality and choose celibacy as an attempt to suppress it.

The second reason, I think, is kept an underground secret but is vastly more important. Fanatics don't want gay persons living in stable, permanent relationships because they eagerly hope that they'll die. They want persons of different sexual orientations to be forced into a promiscuous life style where they are overwhelmingly more likely to get AIDS or a fatal form of hepatitis--and die. Why else did the AIDS crisis go unrecognized and un-addressed by Reagan for so many years, as the late Randy Shilts kept pointing out in his magnificent book, AND THE BAND PLAYED ON? Real Christians would call Reagan's dodging a serious sin of omission.

It might also be considered a mortal sin. That's because extreme religious fanatics down through history have permitted, even welcomed, torturers and mass murderers among their ranks--sociopaths born with a really diseased kind of DNA.

Who would any sane American prefer to have as next-door neighbors? A homosexual couple, or a fanatical heterosexual pair?



In response to, "If we want an official language, then the President as well as the kid next door needs to be taught to speak it properly. The challenge to America is not waves of non-English-speaking immigrants. The challenge to America is that so many of our own children and adults are illiterate in what is now and has always been the national language, English. There can be no more important issue regarding English in America than that we ensure that every citizen in the U.S. be able to speak, read and write in English. That is a role for our schools, not our legislators," Rhian writes:

Perhaps if English were made the official language of the nation, all the costs for printing everything in five languages, could be used instead for the continuing education of the American illiterate?


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-Noah Greenberg