Tuesday, December 16, 2003

In Defense of Howard Dean

Here's the text of a letter I sent a few minutes ago to the Plain Dealer:

To the Editor:

Franklin Roosevelt once called upon American voters to “judge me by the enemies I’ve made.” By that yardstick, Howard Dean has some of the most deserving enemies in contemporary American politics. Check bouncing ex-Congressman Ed Feighan, a supporter of Dick Gephardt—the ultimate Washington insider—has been buying airtime in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina under the ironic name Americans for Jobs, Heathcare, and Progressive Values.

The group’s commercials have taken Dean to task for his supposed lack of military and foreign policy experience. Feighan and his lackeys should be reminded that neither Woodrow Wilson nor FDR served a day in the military (although FDR was a military administrator in World War I). As for foreign policy experience, neither Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, or George W. Bush had any such experience on the day they took their oaths.

If Feighan’s primary concern is for jobs, healthcare and progressive values, he should support Dr. Dean. As Governor of Vermont, Howard Dean, a licensed physician, fought to deliver healthcare to all of Vermont’s citizens, and his programs resulted in nearly universal coverage. Jobs? Dean’s policies created jobs—Bush’s policies have cost them. Progressive values? Howard Dean signed the historic Civil Unions bill, for Vermont’s gays and lesbians, a principled move that was unpopular at the time.

Being President, as Americans have learned the hard way, is entirely about character. Howard Dean, by his record and willingness to take unpopular stands, has proven his strength of character and his intellect. That’s a lot more than Feighan and his secret group have done.

Monday, December 8, 2003

A Dose of Common Sense

Nancy Reagan has come out as opposed to replacing FDR's image with her husband's on the dime. In a letter she referred to Franklin Roosevelt as a "great President" and said her husband would also be opposed to removing FDR from the dime.

The measure seems to be losing momentum in the House of Reprehensibles.

Friday, December 5, 2003

Keep FDR on the Dime

It seems the Republicans in Washington are up to their usual tricks. Now, some nutcase from Indiana, Mark Souder, wants to replace the Roosevelt dime with one bearing the visage of Ronald Reagan. Never mind the fact that Reagan's not even dead yet, and it's customary to wait until death to consider putting someone on the coinage or stamps.

Anyway, below is the text of the letter I wrote to this idiot. Please write your Congressman and Senators and stop this insanity.

Dear Congressman Souder,

I am writing in opposition to your bill to place Ronald Reagan on the U. S. Dime. I have the highest respect for Mr. Reagan as President and human being, but this is not the proper way to honor him.

Frankin Roosevelt was placed on the dime for several reasons, chief of which is he was the President who led America out of the Great Depression and to the brink of victory in World War II. Let us not forget that he was held in such esteem by the American people that they elected him President four times. The dime was also specifically chosen to carry FDR's image because of his close association with the March of Dimes. His memory has been defamed enough by the 22nd Amendment, an ill-advised addition launched by a partisan Republican Congress (and an amendment which Ronald Reagan opposed, by the way). Franklin Roosevelt's image deserves to remain on the dime.

Ronald Reagan is still alive. It is not customary to honor heroes on coinage or stamps until after they have died. Before we decide how best to honor President Reagan, we should allow him final rest.

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

U. S. supports human rights abuses in Uzbekistan

Ruslan Sharipov, a journalist in Uzbekistan, is being imprisoned and tortured because he's gay. His government captors have threatened to rape him with a bottle and inject him with AIDS. But there is talk that the government may soon amnesty a few political prisoners. Let's make sure he is one of them by emailing the 3 key US officials below, demanding they tell the Uzbek government to free Ruslan Sharipov.

Here are the direct email addresses for these rather high-ranking US officials. Let's take advantage of our luck. And if you're not American, no matter - it's still good for them to hear that people around the world are watching America's actions on this important case:

- grossmanM2@state.gov
Marc Grossman, Undersecretary for Political Affairs, US Dept. of State

- AppletonDE@state.gov
David Appleton, Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy, Uzbekistan

- cranerlx@state.gov
Lorne Craner, Asst. Secretary, Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, US
Dept. of State

You can read more about Ruslan's case at the Human Rights Watch Web site:

The following is the text of a letter I sent to three State Department officials this morning:

It has come to my attention that Ruslan Sharipov, a journalist in Uzbekistan, is being imprisoned and tortured in that country because he’s an open homosexual and advocate for gay rights in his homeland. His government captors have threatened to rape him with a glass bottle and inject him with HIV. In addition to this torture, they have forced him to write his own suicide note.

This month, the Uzbek government, under intense scrutiny from groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, is reportedly considering the release of 7,000 to 10,000 political prisoners. The Unites States government must ensure that Sharipov is among those freed.

I have been informed that U. S. government officials are under the impression that the average American is not concerned with human rights abuses in countries, even those which receive foreign aid from American tax dollars. If the U. S. government believes that American citizens don’t care about the imprisonment and torture of Mr. Sharipov and people like him, they are sorely mistaken. Americans will not treasure the irony that, after launching a battle against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, which has cost hundreds of American lives, their government supports a brutal dictator in Iraq’s backyard to the tune of $500,000,000 per year.

Please take this matter up with your superiors and the Uzbek government and encourage the release of Ruslan Sharipov.