Our readers talk back.

St Michael's: Unfair Portrayal


I was a faculty member at St. Michael's Academy from 1997-2000, chairing the Theology department, directing the community service program, and sitting on the board committee on Catholic identity. I have been in Catholic schools (including Boston College) for 27 years. I don't claim expertise on Catholic education, or Catholic identity, but I must comment on your article ["St. Michael's Passion," Dec. 14], which does not capture what we all wish to prevail -- the truth.

1) Your portrayal of Fr. Payne was unfair. Any administrator has fans and critics. You settled for cheap shots in equating his relationship with his colleagues as simply a factor of his priesthood. I worked with John closely, supervising him in my role as chair, and John supervised me in the service program. I called him John at his request, as most faculty members did. If John is authoritarian and bombastic (and I am not agreeing with your assertion), it is because he is authoritarian and bombastic, not because he is a priest. I worked closely with both lay and religious members of the school community (sisters, brothers, priests, and Bishop McCarthy). If you dig beyond the stereotypes your article asserts as convincing truths, you will find a long list of lay and religious heads of school, campus ministers, faculty, parents, board members, who have tried to set a course for SMA over the years, to help it to live up to its mission. You perpetuate an anti-clerical myth that is at best simplistic. Especially inappropriate is your anecdotal coverage of a student who referred to John as "Payne" and was given a "baleful glance." Students at SMA are expected to refer to their teachers respectfully. It is entirely appropriate for a student to address John as "Father Payne," just as it would be appropriate to address other of my former colleagues as Ms. Goka, or Brother Gary.

2) Your article sets up a dichotomy between Dr. Wallace (under John Payne's control) and the administration of Mr. Jack Kennedy that is false. Your article states a concern at the turnover among faculty members, when 11 members of the faculty left at the close of the 1999-2000 school year (myself included). What you fail to mention is that this was the lowest rate of turnover in Mr. Kennedy's tenure. In the year following his appointment (1997-98), roughly half of the full-time faculty and staff left SMA. Any new administration will chart a new course, with which some will find themselves incompatible.

3) Your assertion that Mr. Kennedy was moving SMA in a "visionary" direction that has been reversed by John Payne (through his puppet Dr. Wallace) is supported by comments from faculty with very short tenure at SMA, who were hired by Mr. Kennedy. Your failure to offer commentary from other faculty and staff (some who have worked there since its founding) leaves your article dangerously close to slander. Is it hard to find them because, in fact, SMA has had a serious turnover problem for years? Was it simply sloppy journalism that allowed offering one point of view as speaking for the whole? Other sections make public what are clearly personal grievances between former faculty and the current administration. You unfairly printed those dissatisfactions as fact.

The close of your article comes closest to the truth. Indeed, SMA needs to ask itself hard questions about their identity. Just as they have for the last 17 years, and have struggled to come up with answers throughout the history of the school. In your treatment of the situation at SMA, truth does not prevail. Half-truths get presented as truth.


Chad Evans

Another View of St. Michael's


I was personally interested in your cover story on St. Michael's Academy (December 14, 2001), although I wish Mike Clark-Madison had interviewed more former teachers to present a more balanced point of view. My husband, Richard Queen, and I together taught a total of 22 years at St. Michael's Academy.

The November 2000 meeting in which the parents "hung Kennedy [then head of school] out to dry" was not the "character assassination" your article describes. The meeting was not organized by a teacher, but by parents who were legitimately concerned with the teacher turnover rate during Kennedy's tenure. Although Kennedy was beginning his third year at St. Michael's, 33 staff and faculty members had quit. More specifically, many parents were in attendance to support my husband, Richard Queen, who had recently resigned because Kennedy had placed a "gag order" on him at faculty meetings. Mr. Kennedy told Mr. Queen he could only speak if he said something positive, and my husband could not work under such conditions, which preclude healthy dialogue. Father Payne attempted to serve as mediator in order to work out some kind of compromise, but Mr. Kennedy was unwilling. In short, he did not value faculty input.

It is ironic that your article complains of the gag order the school board placed on Kennedy when he was subsequently fired because it was Kennedy's own inability to tolerate divergent opinions that contributed to his ouster.

Although the recent events at St. Michael's have been painful for us and for many, we wish the school well and hope the current community can heal its wounds and again live out the school's great potential.


Sara Stevenson

A St. Michael's Student Speaks


If one view of the situation at St. Michael's Academy is expressed ["St. Michael's Passion," Dec. 14], another view should also be shared. As a member of the Class of 2002 at St. Michael's, I do not claim to represent anyone but myself, however my view is certainly not uncommon.

The primary reason I attend St. Michael's is its college preparatory curriculum. Despite changes in faculty, my needs have not been disregarded. Admittedly, there has been dispute over the hiring of faculty and the future admission of students on a Catholic basis, but St. Michael's has not and will not be hiring unqualified faculty simply because of their religion. Because of my St. Michael's education, I have been very well prepared for college thus far, and am still being prepared throughout the course of my senior year. This is, however, also a result of St. Michael's Catholic identity, which is the second reason I attend.

I fully support clarification of our Catholic mission as this enhances my education. It is imperative, today especially, to learn about faith and know that it is important. Life is not about textbooks, facts, and figures. To learn only this creates narrow-mindedness. St. Michael's Catholic identity has prepared me not only for college, but real life as well.

Our current situation has not been easy to deal with. Many of our faculty have left (mostly of their own choosing), so there have been transitions to handle. However, the article represents only the bad, completely ignoring the good. This clearly indicates bias and ignorance on the part of the writer. The reputation of the faculty, especially Father Payne, and the community of St. Michael's as a whole has been disserviced. I hope that the community of Austin is not as judgmental as The Austin Chronicle.

Marie Seale

Taken Out of Context


Michael May interviewed me for an article he did on the magnet/host schools ["Ten Down ... 90% to Go," Dec. 7]. May wrote:

"Cheryl Bradley, an Eastside LBJ magnet parent who served on the CWG, says that in her experience magnet classrooms have more resources than their host school classes. 'I never felt like my children needed to sit next to a white child in order to learn,' she says. 'In fact, my daughter would be more comfortable at Johnston, where more of the kids look like her. But I couldn't send her there. I mean, some neighborhood classes don't even have textbooks. Can you imagine that happening in a magnet class? I shouldn't have to ask for textbooks -- that is just not acceptable.'"

I did say the first sentence, however, the way it is printed here has me sounding like a racist. There were several sentences leading up to my statement that are not printed in your paper. Such as, there have been African-Americans in Austin that have graduated from schools where everyone looks like them, and these folks have gone on to be very successful. My children should not have to sit next to a white child in order to be assured a quality education. Another issue has been the talk of diversity in the magnet programs. My children who attended Kealing and LBJ where at times the only African-American students or at least with one or two more students of color in their magnet classes. The question should be, "Why weren't there more African-American and Hispanic students enrolled in these classes if integration was an issue?"

The statement of neighborhood students not having textbooks would leave folks to believe that I am speaking of Johnston. I don't know what Johnston has. My children attend LBJ. I can only speak to what happened or is happening at LBJ. I told Michael that LBJ has host school classrooms that do not issue textbooks. I also gave him an example. A non-magnet geometry class at LBJ does not issue textbooks to take home. There are textbooks in the classroom. How does a student do homework, study for tests, or just study? However, the students can check out a book at the parents' request.

My daughter's geometry (magnet) class issued textbooks, and you better believe she is given homework and I didn't have to request it. If we really want to talk about inequitable resources, let's ask the question, "Why is there an algebra class at Kealing that seems to be only intended for magnet students?" That's an example of inequitable resources.

The statement of my daughter being comfortable attending Johnston is not true. I said my daughter would be comfortable attending non-magnet class at LBJ. Michael assumed I meant Johnston. LBJ High School has host school students also. I pointed out that everyone is treating the host school students at LBJ like they will not be affected by the combining of both programs, that this in their best interest or as if they don't exist. Michael confirmed my belief. Michael May spoke with me for 30 minutes. If you are going to interview me, at least print what I say. I want a retraction.

Thank you,

Cheryl Bradley

Michael May responds: Ms. Bradley makes some excellent points in her letter as she did in her statements, accurately quoted, in the article. She may believe I didn't quote enough of her interview, but indeed the entire article described the inequality between magnet and host programs and the untapped potential of Eastside students. I originally spoke with Ms. Bradley because she was a member of the Community Working Group that looks at all the magnet programs, not specifically because she was an LBJ magnet parent. The host students at LBJ High will also be affected by the Johnston move but that is a subject for another article.

Zanzibar Deserves Ink


I noticed and read your article on anniversaries in the [Dec. 7] issue and noticed you missed one of my favorite (and coolest) gift stores. Zanzibar had their 10-year anniversary in August. I just love that store and think more people should know about it. It's in the Whit Hanks Shopping Center on Fifth and Lamar. Go check it out. They have some very cool stuff.


Ellen Poth

The Fabric Shop Turns 35


The Fabric Shop is celebrating 35 years in business. We are locally owned and would love a mention in your Holiday Gift Guide [Dec. 7] ... we have lots of great gifts for the sewer.

Thank you for highlighting all these wonderfully unique Austin businesses.


Gloria E. Rocha

A Correction in Latin

Ei cuius interest:

Mihi ignosce -- credo verbum in libellus tuus Latine (XIV Dec.) in falso casu esse. "Adeste FidelEs" bonum est, "Adeste Fidelis" non bonum est. Me paenitet, sed quae nocent, docent.

Salve et vale,

Kevinius Carolus Filio

(Kevin Hendryx)

I'm Dreaming of --


Just writing a positive note regarding Marrit Ingman's eloquent review of the 1974 classic horror film Black Christmas ["101: Video Review," Dec. 14]. I wanted to say thanks to Marrit for raising the profile of this underappreciated shocker, and I hope that more people get a chance to see it and savor the atmosphere and mood created here. (And don't watch this one alone, seriously!!!)

Joel Groce

Sports Fight!

Dear Coach Cotton,

I really like your column most of the time for its humor and insights. However, you stated in your Dec. 14 article that you had a game ticket and the front page of the Chicago Tribune showing where your beloved Chicago Bears beat the New York Giants to win the NFC championship hanging in your writing lair. In the 1984 NFC title game, the Bears defeated the Rams to earn a trip to the Super Bowl. Their win over the Giants was a week earlier. I hope you find the correct Chicago Tribune article and game ticket and then proudly hang them in your writing lair.


Alan Jones

Still Loyd, Still in Austin


While I was pleased to be mentioned in Michael Connor's article on hackers ["Brave New Web," Dec. 14] (and am more than flattered that there are people who have memorized something that I wrote), I should point out that a) my name is spelled "Loyd" and b) unless you know something I don't, I'm still an Austinite. I do agree that our civil rights are being alarmingly eroded in the name of "security" -- the work being done by cypherpunks all over the world will help us cling to the last vestiges of privacy remaining to us. Well done.

Loyd Blankenship

'A Tireless Fighter' Gets Tired


That Glen Maxey should be retiring ["Naked City: Maxey Hangs Up His Spurs," Dec. 14] after so many years of service to Texans and Austinites in particular is a major blow to all of us concerned about protecting human rights. Whether we be gay, Hispanic, African-American, women, senior citizens, or whatever, Glen waged a battle for us all as a tireless fighter against conservative-led infringements on our personal liberties. Importantly, by his good example as a human rights advocate (who just happened to be gay) against conservatives and Texas Republican leaders (whatever good intentions they might have had), he might have at least slowed the trend of government sneaking into our bedrooms and telling us what is permissible and what is not. He was, in short, a good check against conservatives going too far in their much-ballyhooed but sadly misnamed "compassion" and concern for everyone which magically appears at election time.

For no matter how many Republicans kiss Hispanic or black babies, or hug women during campaign-time photo shoots, it appears that with accelerating speed they are becoming the party of the white upper class, males, religious extremists, and suburbanites.

Thus, while some Democrat leaders remain at the state level, Glen's departure also must be considered as a blow to Texas Democrats and liberals in general. They may well be an endangered species in Texas. We can only watch with increasing alarm as the Republicans continue to grab power in Austin and across the state through cockamamied redistricting maps and/or the party's steadily increasing favor among those forsaking the cities for the "safer" and more racially unbalanced (read homogeneous white middle class) suburbs.

Why have there not been more protests against the redistricting and the Republicans' continued power grab in Texas? Is anyone out there? Hiding? Unfortunately, too often, both nationwide and in Texas, Democrats have considered themselves above fighting and have behaved like "gentlemen" and "gentlewomen" while the Republicans happily handed them their heads on silver-plated platters. We saw it in the Democrats not fighting like hell during the Florida election debacle, and we see it now nationally when Democrats accede to virtually all Republican wishes in the name of national security, unity, and patriotism. The conservative/Republican agenda that was planned before the attacks of terrorists thus gets passed with nary a debate or a whimper.

We will miss you, Glen. And thank you for your hard work!

Claude M. Gruener

20 Years of Litterbox Liners!


Dear Editor and/or Flunky,

OK, here's the poop. There is already a weekly magazine of the arts, literature, and politics that the Chronicle would like to be -- it's called The Village Voice. The Voice, however, has a lot better pool of talent to draw from than you, and that includes the alleged artists and musicians that serve as subjects for the writers.

Following this train of thought, Stephen MacMillan Moser, if that is indeed his name, is simply a bad high school drama fag version of the Voice's Michael Musto. The difference being that Michael Musto is actually funny and talented.

I know you've probably heard this one before, but I still think the Chronicle is the best free litterbox liner out there on the market. Now that I've matured beyond my years, however, I actually read it before I put it in my kitty's box. This, dear sir and/or madam, is a testament to the Chronicle's potential.

Damaged bad at best,

Jon Pearson

Tasteless and Insensitive Cover


So last week's [Dec. 7] cover portraying Japanese Zero fighter planes dropping presents is supposed to "mean whatever you want it to mean"? Not only was the cover tasteless and insensitive, but your lame-ass hippie-speak explanation just added insult to injury. To run this cover the day before the 60th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor is a slap in the face to anyone who served in World War II, or those who lost a loved one in combat, as did my family. The day after I saw your cover, I went to Fredericksburg with a group of friends to help honor those who had served our country in World War II, including those precious few surviving Pearl Harbor veterans who managed to survive that brutal attack so many years ago. The people of Fredericksburg put forth a great deal of effort to honor those veterans, and showed nothing but the highest respect for the men and women who served our country. For the first time in my life, due to that awful cover art you decided to publish, I was embarrassed to tell people I was from Austin, and that is something I never dreamed would happen.

Jim D. Hansen

I Like Anime, 'Chronicle'


When I opened up today's Chronicle (Dec. 14) and saw the deluge of letters about the cover of last week's edition, I had to find my copy to see what all the fuss was about. What the hell is wrong with these people? I found nothing offensive about it whatsoever. I didn't even think about it being a reference to Pearl Harbor, I just thought of Japan and how a lot of cool toys and anime come from there, and since it was the gift guide, a cover representing toys coming from Japan made perfect sense.

I think people get offended too easily these days. They should be thanking their lucky stars that we live in a country where we can even have an alternative newspaper, not to mention things that many people in the world can't have -- toilet paper, clean water, television, hamburgers, shoes, etc., instead of wasting their time whining about something as trivial as cover art on the Chronicle.

Bonnie Gillespie

Bible Class at 3AM


Michael Ventura has a problem. He writes from the heart, his heart. Unfortunately it exists in a vacuum. He is so ignorant of what is actually happening in the world, he doesn't even know that he doesn't know.

His piece headed by a cartoon of Marines hoisting Jesus on a Cross ["Letters at 3AM," Nov. 16] was not only silly, it is an insult to the Iwo Jima Marines, four of whom gave their lives to protect this smarty-pants' right to indulge himself in nutty logic. Also, without any knowledge of the New Testament story to which he so blithely misreads. Quoting Jesus as the purveyor of sweetness and light alone is to have failed to read what the Gospel says. One of the world's most renowned reporters, John, wrote: "Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and found in the Temple those that sold oxen, and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting. And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the Temple; and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the money changers' money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise."

Vehement attacks should, to have any weight at all, have some measure of factual information, readily available to those who are willing to learn instead of spout.


Tro Harper

Santa Rosa, Calif.

Thanks, Eddie Rodriguez!


Eddie Rodriguez has recently stepped down as executive director of the local Travis County Democratic Party. I am writing to thank him for all his hard work, and everything he has done for Democrats in Travis County. With Eddie Rodriguez as the executive director, local Democrats have enjoyed tremendous success in races all across the board -- state representatives, constables, commissioners, judges, etc. In his tenure, Eddie has rebuilt the local Travis Democratic Party. The party is in strong financial health and is overflowing with volunteers and energy. On behalf of myself and Democrats in Travis County, thank you Eddie Rodriguez for all that you have done.

Cecilia Crossley

Not So Fast, Mr. Gray


I read recently in "Dancing About Architecture" [Dec. 7] that Chris Gray is moving to New York City. It will be a shame for Austin to lose such a great writer, but I must ask you to not let him go until he reimburses me the $8.99 I feel he owes me. I went out and bought the October CD by U2 (because of the wonderful review he gave it in the Chronicle's U2 issue earlier this year), and it is not nearly as good as Mr. Gray led me to believe. Actually, it sucks. This restitution will be a symbolic gesture of him refunding each of the citizens of Austin the money his prodigious writing made them spend on crappy albums he recommended. It's $9.71 with tax. Thank you, and Merry Christmas.

Fuck, but that was a complicated joke.

Miss you, mean it,

Rob Gaines

Next Year: The Afghan Gift Guide


Now would be a good time to have The International Love Gathering in Afghanistan. We rent the biggest bulletproof warehouses. Put airport security on the doors ... and inside is a festivity going on with lots of free food, tents, heaters, and music floating through the air. I would like to see if I can convince Afghans to help me build and market my designs for Gravity Machines, Rotary Engines, Rotary Pumps, etc. ... they could easily change their weapons manufacturing outlets into productive outlets ... Also, I own three four cavity molds for mass production of The Brain Stimulator ... A folding hairbrush that could read, "Made in Afghanistan" for the next Christmas' stocking stuffers ... Connect with me at if you are interested in going or sending.

John Elton Bills

P.S. I thought your Japanese bombers dropping presents was great! But they were over the wrong city.

Do It for the Kids


One of a teenagers favorite pass times is going to concerts, but a lot of people my age do not have the money to actually go and see one. The ticket prices are so high that not everyone, even the biggest fans may not ever go to see their favorite band play a live show. Of course, if the prices were raised it would also benefit for many people.

With lower ticket prices, any and everyone can join in and see a live show, making kids happy and motivated to make their own music opening up their minds and expressing themselves. With more people at a show, more energy will be present making the experience greater. Just recently I went to the Incubus concert held at the Austin Music Hall. It was so fantastic but I did not see very many people my age there. The day after the concert I talked to everyone I knew and everyone wanted to go but they couldn't. The response I got the most from everyone was "I wanted to go so bad, but I couldn't afford a ticket." Of course you could always say the band will be back, but that's where you're wrong, Austin is known as the "live music capital of the world" but what I don't understand is that if we are, then how come we don't have a huge stadium such as the Alamodome where all the huge concerts are held? Sure we have the Frank Erwin Center but there are never any concerts there. Which means all the big bands (including Incubus) will never go back to Austin.

On the other hand if concert ticket prices raised up, then a lot of people would actually get a chance to see a concert, because tickets won't sell as fast giving others a chance to buy a ticket. I knew a couple of people that tried buying tickets to a concert that was only $18, but by the first week all the tickets were sold and the band wasn't even that popular. If the prices were raised, all the money made could benefit for improving the concert building or even better, for charity.

So in conclusion you could lower concert ticket prices giving a chance for anyone to go see a show. You could also increase the tickets giving people a greater chance of getting a ticket. Tickets are cheap enough as they are for concerts in Austin, but by raising them a few dollars, you could contribute that money to a charity to help out the needy. Also, for large concerts where tickets that cost over $100 a piece, ticket prices could be lowered. We all know teenagers can barely pay for lunch let alone pay $100 for a single ticket. Thank you for your time, and I hope you take this into consideration.


Adam Hovey

Babich vs. the World


As Mike Melinger points out in a letter ["Postmarks: Math for Gluttons," Dec. 14] animals do not go on doubling in size indefinitely. Animals are equipped with hormones that regulate their growth. Eventually, they stop increasing in size altogether.

Populations don't usually grow the same way animals do. Bacteria in a colony keep doubling in a fixed time -- say once a day. So if there are 1,000 bacteria on day one there are 2,000 on day 2, 4,000 on day 3, 1,024,000 on day 11, and so on, until whatever the bacteria are living on has been consumed.

World human population doubled from 750 million in 1750 to 1.5 billion in 1900, to 3 billion in 1960, to 6 billion in 2000. The doubling time keeps getting shorter, and there may well be 12 billion people on earth by 2030.

Of course, this can't go on forever. Something's got to give. Either people will stop reproducing faster than they can die off, or there will be enormous catastrophes that kill billions of people. So far, world population growth isn't slowing down. It's speeding up.

Austin's population was about 22,260 in 1900. It doubled from 1900 to 1925, from 1925 to 1940, from 1940 to 1959, from 1959 to 1981. It is expected to double from its 1981 size by 2010. Note that the economic depression of the 1930s didn't slow population growth.

Business and government leaders in Austin are planning for the population to go on doubling. It means more and more money all the time. The call for more roads in Austin is based on a population that keeps growing. So-called "managed growth" does not include limiting population size.

The city of Austin has no hormones to regulate its population growth. If we don't address this problem, Austin's population will grow until stopped by a major catastrophe.

Yours truly,

Amy Babich

Glore Thanks Her Supporters


When we contacted you about our story you wisely sent one of the most passionate, resourceful women I've ever met ["Raped Twice?," Oct. 12]. Jordan Smith's articles have brought about so much good for so many. These times have been very difficult for Charlotte and I, and we wish to thank those who have helped us along the way ...

The counselors at SafePlace who believed in me and gave me strength, assistance, and a place to cry.

Brandy Wicker, director of Students United for the Prevention of Rape at UT-Austin, and Charlotte Johnson and their associates, who made sure that those unaware of our case that could make a change would hear about it. I do believe in angels.

Carolyn Richards of Texans for Equal Justice, and dear Mr. Gillis of People Against Violent Crime for their support and encouragement.

Our co-workers and employers, who have stood by us and been understanding of our frequent absences.

Senator Gonzalo Barrientos, who has made my fondest wish come true, that legislation might be passed to prevent victims of rape from persecution or being denied the medical care and counseling we so desperately needed that night as we are all entitled to equal protection by our Constitution. For proposing to educate those in authority about these subjects.

Our families, who have been dealing with the stresses and emotional impact the events of that weekend have brought about and have been understanding of the hardships we have all endured because of them.

Charlotte and Brandon for making several trips from Winnie, Texas, often at the spur of the moment at their expense, to attend hearings, and their employers, who have given them the time off to do so. Charlotte is expecting her fourth child and although these trips and the physical and emotional impact of each must be hard to take, they know we are doing the right thing and want as much as I to see justice prevail.

The APD officers who have been acquainted with me before our story broke that I see daily at my job. These gentlemen have treated me with courtesy and without skepticism. Some have encouraged me in my endeavors, good men who understand that the way we were treated was wrong and sincerely want to see changes that will improve their ability to protect and serve.

Keith, David, Andy. What can I possibly say to make you realize how grateful I am for all you are doing. I'm honored to have three such stalwart "Knights in Shining Armor." Every damsel in distress should have you on her side. I know you will be rewarded for your determination to fight for what is right.

We would like to see that date-rape drugs and the penalties for being involved in a drug-facilitated rape taught in schools, along with rape prevention. We feel that TABC should required to teach the subject in their classes, as bartenders are often implicated as accessories to these crimes. Further, that every college and university give information about these subjects in every orientation packet.

Thank you, Jordan Smith. You have saved lives. By taking the time to listen, with your determination to find the truth and your fearless interrogations of those others would be afraid to question, you have brought public attention to a subject others might shy from and spurned others to action with your eloquence. You have made a difference that will touch the lives of so many.

To the public who have come to my place of employment, called me at home, written letters of encouragement and demanding justice. Your support has been precious, you have given us the strength to stand up for what is right and just, your actions have told me and my children loud and clear that we will be okay no matter the outcome of the charges against me. My young 'uns are proud of their mom, and that's priceless! God bless you all this holiday season! We've certainly been blessed.

Virginia Glore

Less Action, More Talk


In the wake of the tragedies of 9/11/01 we, as a nation, need to consider whether we are too quick to reject diplomacy and statesmanship; and too eager to strike out in blind rage to address complex world problems. Recent history suggests that the answer is yes.

In the Sixties, with the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, Congress gave the president power to wage war in Vietnam and beyond. Only two of 535 members of Congress, Senators Greuning and Morse, voted no. Morse, a constitutional scholar, declared that the resolution and the war trash the Constitution, which limits war power only to congress. In 1972 the Supreme Court had an opportunity to settle the issue; but decided not to decide whether the war was constitutional or unconstitutional; in effect confirming the president as a dictator. At long last, Congress sheepishly reversed itself, cutting off funds for the Vietnam war and forcing President Nixon to end it.

During the war Ho Chi Minh invited President Johnson, his wife, daughters, cook, and doctor to meet at his home. Johnson refused instead, went to Saigon and told the troops to bring home a "coon skin" to hang on his wall. The war continued, killing 58,000 U.S. troops; and more than that number committed suicide when they came home. It killed about 3 million Vietnamese.

During the Persian Gulf incursion, Saddam Hussein agreed to negotiations and suggested, as part of the settlement, an international conference to resolve the Palestine/Israel dispute; but George H. W. Bush refused. The war killed 175 U.S. and thousands of Iraqi troops. An estimated 1.2 million Iraqi men, women, children, and babies were killed by bombings and sanctions that continue to this day.

Afghanistan offered to turn Osama bin Laden over to a neutral country for trial, but President George W. Bush refused. He asked Congress not to declare war but to give him power, like the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, to wage war on any country harboring terrorists. Only one member of Congress, Barbara Lee of California, voted no. The war is in progress but if it winds down, the Northern Alliance fighters will probably turn against the U.S. as they did against the Russians when the Russians were our enemy fighting our ally at that time, the Taliban. And, as eons before, the war there and elsewhere will go on, and on and on ...

Jewel R. Johnson

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