Alibi V.13 No.50 • Dec 9-15, 2004 


Richardson 2008?

Dear Alibi,

[RE: "Is Big Bad Bill Sweet Willie Now?," Tim McGivern, Nov. 25-Dec. 1] I agree—it will be interesting to see whether or not Gov. Bill Richardson will be able to get most of this legislative agenda passed in 2005. But of greater interest to many Democrats around the country who are looking for a fresh face in 2008 is Richardson's potential as a presidential candidate.

Several days after the 2004 election, conservative commentator Tucker Carlson was interviewing long-time Clinton supporter and adviser Paul Begala and asked him what sort of candidate would be competitive for the Democrats in 2008. Begala said he thought it would be a governor, someone from the west and someone who is Hispanic. When Carlson said that could only be Richardson, Begala just laughed and said, "I love the guy!"

In every national poll that I have seen since Kerry's defeat, Richardson has come in third, behind Sen. Hillary Clinton and former Democratic vice-presidential nominee John Edwards. Given that Sen. Clinton, despite a generally moderate voting record in the Senate, tends to alienate as many people as she attracts; and that Edwards may have seen his fortunes decline with a less than convincing effort on behalf of the 2004 ticket, that may mean that Richardson is in many ways the actual front-runner.

When one contrasts Richardson's style of campaigning, which leaves no hand unshook and no baby waiting for a kiss, with the distant and cold Brahman style of Kerry, the Democrats could do a lot worse.

Rick Haramis

Holy Roman Empire!

Dear Alibi,

Cardinal Giacomo Biffi of Bologna may be second in line to Pope John Paul the II as leader of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. What we are witnessing worldwide is an ultra conservative movement in the church toward narrowly defined catholic doctrine, with a potential pope in the form of Cardinal Biffi comes a greater reinforcement of right-wing ideals. He has publicly denounced ecumenism, homosexuality, feminism, vegetarianism, environmentalism, philanthropy and pacifism as grave mortal sins. God forbid I should become an ecumenical lesbian feminist vegetarian environmentalist philanthropic peace activist! Cardinal Biffi might have to burn me at the stake to rid the world of the Antichrist.

Ann Ahlander

Payne's Allegience

Dear Alibi,

In Greg Payne's Dec. 2-8 column he makes some disturbing allegations about the Declaration of Independence being banned from classrooms. Like much of the rhetoric from the right there is a slight kernel of truth but it's wrapped in a whole bunch of ideological trash. Payne starts by trashing the right wings favorite target, the ACLU: he then moves right into a story about the Declaration of Independence being banned in a California classroom. In guilt by association, liberals now are not only against god but also against America.

Well 15 minutes of Web searching turned up the whole story. It seems a born again Christian teacher was bringing religious material into his classroom. The teacher had been repeatedly warned by his principal to stop it. The teacher was told that he must clear any handouts with the principal before distributing them to students. The teacher continued trying to push his beliefs on students and was bringing in narrow excerpts from our founding fathers (and mothers) where they mentioned God, including the Declaration of Independence. In context the controversy was not about keeping the Declaration out of the classroom but rather protecting students from narrow religious preaching.

The right loves to portray our public educational system as run by nothing short of godless communists. But I think most teachers and progressives would love to see a serious class on religion offered in our public high schools. A class that covered all religions, including, Christian, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Native American, tribal religions and others. To study their history, their beliefs, their origins, their roles in culture and history. A class that talked about religion's good and bad points—i.e. the Spanish Inquisition, the persecution of Galileo for suggesting that the Earth revolved around the sun. The problem is, the extreme conservatives would not support this. They want nothing less than to teach their beliefs, only their beliefs, that only their beliefs are right and if you do not accept their beliefs you will go to hell.

It is ironic that this issue should come up with our founding fathers. They were very sensitive to religious persecution. Many different Christian groups came to America fleeing persecution by other Christians. The Puritans came to Massachusetts, Quakers to Pennsylvania and Catholics to Maryland. We are seeing the same thing today, one group of Christians forcing their narrow views not only on other religions but on other Christians.

John Liebendorfer

Blog Rant o' the Week

Dear Alibi,

[RE: "Much Ado About Nothing," Blog, Tim McGivern, Nov. 11] I can't believe you missed this one. The fear of reprisals over showing an uncut version of "Saving Private Ryan" had nothing to do with language.

Come on, stretch a bit. ... We were in a huge and bloody battle in Falluja. It's an immensely unpopular war, after a terribly disappointing election, and, on Veterans Day, ABC planned to run one of the most heart-wrenching war/anti-war movies of all time.

You think the federal government is putting pressure on the "liberal" media because of the word "Fuck"? Janet's nipple had nothing to do with this Orwellian ploy.

Sure, they ran Return to Mayberry. They also hoped we would watch Turner Classics where they featured John Wayne WWII movies all weekend. You know, movies about war where Americans were the good guys, always saved the day and mother's didn't cry.

Scott Goold

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