Closet Commitments -- I was reading "Drawing a Line" (7/10/03) on my lunch hour today and it struck me how tragic it is that gay marriage is even an issue, with all our enlightenment, civility and what we call freedom. Our inherent right to pursue happiness and make a home and family that is protected by the laws of the land is, sadly, not for everyone. It seems the very structure of our society invites discrimination, and then we wonder why there is scandal and unrest.
A love that is strong enough to inspire a life-commitment should be celebrated and honored. Tonight, tuck your children into bed, kiss your spouse goodnight and think what it would be like if your entire life was supposed to be kept in a closet.
Protest Verse -- That there was no Plan B is not revelation There were skeptical citizens, "unpatriotic" to nation Who implored Wolfowitz and friends To reconsider their ends But found that Defense would brook no hesitation.
Our Congress conjoined to the drumbeat While press embedded sang praise without retreat. That Saddam was Hitler's kin And incestuous with Bin Laden Overlooked that Iraq was a British deceit.
Now poised to extend U.S. hegemony With contracts to Halliburton & amp; Co. Liberation imminent in Korea and Iran Emboldened by the overthrow of the Taliban To our legacy Liberia cries testimony.
John B. Hagney
Big Spenders are Republican -- Maybe Mr. Quinn didn't try to be amusing in his letter, "Tax-Cut Misconception" (7/3/03), but his memory of our nation's history is amusingly deficient. Evidently he is unaware that Reagan, campaigning on a "balanced budget" program, not only didn't balance the budget but did leave us with the world's largest debt in history while quietly running the number of millionaires from 1,400 when he took office to more than 15,000.
As to Social Security, Quinn claims that in 1978 the Democrats began to use Social Security funds to help make the deficit look smaller. Research reveals that such use of those funds began in 1952 under President Eisenhower and that the most flagrant such usage of Social Security funds was under the first President Bush. It is rather strange that the GOP always claims that Social Security is a giveaway program. If they hate it so much, how come none of them ever turn it down themselves?
Isn't it strange also that the tax rebates -- over 90 percent of them -- go to the top seven percent of the nation's highest incomes?
Mr. Quinn is one of those who claim the Democrats are the top spenders, yet for the last four or five times we ended up with a surplus, it was never under a Republican. For example, President Clinton left a surplus in the operating budget while having one of the highest employment levels and one of the lowest unemployment levels ever. In just two years, the "great economist," George "Dubya" completely reversed Clinton's achievement.
Uh-Oh, Ozone -- President George W. Bush has demanded that methyl bromide, the most potent gas creating the ozone hole, not be phased out by 2005, as currently planned by the international community. Yet the ozone hole allows harmful ultraviolet rays to reach the earth where it causes skin and prostate cancers and blindness from cataracts. If not sufficiently blocked, UV rays would wipe out terrestrial life!
The Bush approach would increase the usage of methyl bromide an estimated threefold for use in growing strawberries, killing golf course vegetation and treating wood packaging materials. Hello, Ozone Hole.
In the '80s, the world was shocked to discover that pollution from man-made chemicals had opened a hole the size of the U.S. in the atmosphere above Antarctica and, further, had thinned it worldwide. (The ozone layer screens out ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Methyl bromide destroys that layer.)
A 1987 extension of the Montreal Treaty recognized the serious global problem of the destruction of the ozone layer. With unprecedented speed, a majority of the nations of the world agreed in this treaty to rapid and significant reductions in the use of ozone-destroying chemicals. Called one of the greatest environmental success stories of the past few decades, the ozone layer is now healing. Scientists reckon that eventually, in just the United States and Europe, 2 million cases of cancer a year will be prevented. But President Bush's new demands would throw the process into reverse. Experts fear that if the treaty begins to fall apart, developing countries would significantly increase their usage of methyl bromide.
This news comes at a particularly embarrassing time for British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who pressed Bush in their talks in Washington last week to stop his attempts at sabotaging the Kyoto Protocol. By working to gut the ozone treaty now, Bush has burdened Blair with a second major issue.
The 1987 Montreal Treaty has proved such a success that it has been accepted as inviolable by all the developed nations of the world.
The Cambridge scientist who discovered the Antarctic ozone hole has stated: "This is madness. We do not need this chemical. We do need the ozone layer. How stupid can people be?"