Thank you, Howard Kron, for your letter of "Positive facts from Iraq" (Public Forum, Dec. 19). The information he illustrated in his letter to the editor should have been placed on the front page of not only this paper, but every paper in the United States. I find it very upsetting that the kind of information that shows the positive things that are going on in Iraq are not the main topics displayed as front page news. It's a testament to all of those who have and are honorably serving in our military.
WASHINGTON -- Imagine a pastor who begins his Christmas sermon with a Garrison Keillor story about a priest serving a church called Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility. The line goes over well in a congregation that is acutely familiar with Catholic guilt. And it follows an excellent rule for homilies: Get 'em to laugh and you'll get 'em to listen. Since Proverbs teaches us that "a merry heart doeth good like a medicine," it's even biblical. Monsignor Tom Duffy, who told that Keillor story in a Christmas sermon many years ago, is a man with a very merry heart.
You may not know it, but we are living in the Responsibility Era. So said George Bush back in 2000 when he accepted the Republican presidential nomination. He vowed that he would be the Responsibility President and, it seems, repeat the word over and over until it lost all meaning. That one speech, forgettable but retrievable, contained the following line: "And to lead this nation to a responsibility era, a president himself must be responsible." Churchill, rest easy.
The Bush administration has been in its typical mode of operation -- attacking critics -- since published reports surfaced of the domestic spying operation. President Bush confirmed Saturday that he had authorized the National Security Agency to wiretap calls to and from people inside the United States with known al-Qaida ties, when the other party is outside the country. Bush defended his actions during his speech Sunday night and during his news conference Monday. He claimed he was within his rights to do so.
I had a nice conversation with a West Central Tribune sports writer about the establishment of the girls and boys basketball teams at E.C.H.O. Charter School. I just want to restate a quote. The quote in the paper read, " 'The kids didn't get much playing time in Granite Falls, so I thought this would be a great opportunity,' said Gladis." That is just a little out of context. I had stated that it is pretty tough to break into a starting role in a squad or to get playing time unless you are an exceptional athlete.
First I have to say that the older I get the more I feel like Wally Cleaver in a Bart Simpson world. Even so, it discourages me when Santa Claus is on TV wishing everyone a "Happy holidays." Surely this icon of Christmas, albeit secular, can risk taking a stand for "his" holiday. I fully anticipate the Easter bunny greeting us in April with a hearty "Spring has sprung." I'm also discouraged by the foreign car company that rewords "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" in order to advertise their cars. What other religion or holiday do they do this to?
Last month, Justice Antonin Scalia was politely quizzed by Norman Pearlstine, the outgoing Time Inc. editor in chief. The event, held in Time Warner's New York headquarters, was supposedly off the record, but so much of it has already been reported that it will not hurt to add Scalia's views on flag burning. He explained why it was constitutionally protected speech. It's a pity Hillary Clinton was not there to hear him.
AUSTIN, Texas -- Pre-procrastination Christmas booklist! Look at this, fellow procrastinators -- only a few days before the actual day, and here I am to solve all your shopping problems with the annual one-stop, hit-the-bookstore with less than 24-hours-to-go, all-purpose Procrastinator's List. Now, the only challenge is to hang onto the list long enough to get to a bookstore, lest we ONCE AGAIN wind up as the last customer at the Jiffy Mart at 11:45 p.m.
SAN DIEGO -- The people invading your privacy are from the government, and they're here to help you. They just don't want you to know they're helping you. No one could ever accuse the Bush administration of not knowing how to keep a secret. Whether it is trying to keep under wraps the proceedings of deportation hearings, or hiding the existence of CIA-run secret prisons on foreign soil, keeping a lid on things is what this bunch does best. And don't fall for the line about how this is necessary with the country at war. Loose lips sink ships, and all that.
WASHINGTON -- The entitlement mentality produces petulant insistence on an ever-higher ratio of rights to responsibilities. Unsurprisingly, this mentality flourishes on campuses, where tenured faculty and privileged students live entitled lives supported by the taxes and generosity of others. The mentality was on vivid display in the Supreme Court last Tuesday when an association of 36 law schools and faculties asserted an audacious entitlement.