Politics: October 2003 Archives

Please see Mr. Ashcroft for permission to exercise your First Amendment rights.

Anticipating this, groups are meeting every day to plan the great demonstration against Bush and the war at the Republican convention next summer.


Back here in the city, he works on plans for what he and everybody thinks will be the biggest of political demonstrations.

"People hate this war," he says. "I don't know how Bloomberg got in there with them, but now he is going to get driven out, too."

Dobbs was involved in the peace demonstration last February when the police and a federal court judge, Barbara Jones, who committed a thoroughly suspicious act, collaborated on treating nearly a million New Yorkers as potential criminals. That day, Bloomberg tried to act as if he didn't even know a march was on.

This time it is totally different. Dobbs reports that the police told him that applications should be made to the Secret Service. That puts Ashcroft in charge of thwarting the demonstration. The same Ashcroft who will be inside Madison Square Garden being welcomed by the Mayor of the City of New York, Mike Bloomberg. That is more than enough to blow Bloomberg and all his color pamphlets out of the job.

The religious right, including the president and his brother in Florida, believe that gay adoptions are a threat to the sanctity of good Christian American families. I think these nice church-going people are doing enough damage without any help from us homos. These people were getting money from their church, which they drove 30 miles each way to attend to help pay their rent.

Come Alive New Testament Church
The Jackson family. Bruce, middle row, second from right; Keith, bottom left; Michael, bottom center; Tyronne, behind Keith.

Bruce Jackson was found rooting through his neighbors' garbage, so weak from starvation that he could not open the Tastykake that the shocked couple had given him out of pity.

Two weeks later, investigators and neighbors are still trying to make sense of two sharply contrasting realities: four adopted youngsters starving in plain sight and a family that was widely seen as loving and deeply religious.


The Jacksons are in jail in Camden County, charged with starving and neglecting the 4-foot, 19-year-old Bruce and three other boys adopted from the New Jersey foster care system Michael, 9, Tyronne, 10, and Keith, 14 so seriously that none of them weighed more than 50 pounds when they were found by the police.


Bruce, who was adopted eight years ago, when he was 11, was taken from his biological family because they were also starving him, according to case files at the Division of Youth and Family Services. At the time, he suffered from medical ailments caused by the lack of food.


Still, though the children were homeschooled, they were not hidden away. The parents drove the 30 miles from their home here to the Come Alive New Testament Church in Medford every Sunday.


To Pastor Thomas and the congregation, the abuse allegations are impossible to fit with the image of the struggling family that always had a small donation for the collection plate when it came around but needed help from the church to pay for its electricity and rent.


"I have told many people that I have never seen that many kids together be so good. I never saw them fighting, and I never saw them arguing, and I said, 'Wow, every family should be like that.' "


Ed Cotton, the director of the Division of Youth and Family Services, met with Bruce Jackson on Sunday at the hospital where he is being treated and was given a very different picture of his life than the pastor did.

Mr. Cotton said that it did not appear that Bruce Jackson had any friends. "I asked him whether he went to church or not. He said that he was not allowed to go because he was bad because he liked TV earlier in life, one of his big punishments was that he was made to sit in front of the TV for hours with it off. Stuff that doesn't make sense."

Mr. Cotton said the children may not have understood that they were being mistreated.

"I think these kids were convinced by the foster parents that they had eating disorders," he said.

Mr. Cotton continued, "These are bright kids, they read well, they're smart, they're polite, and I think they're realizing what happened was not anywhere near the norm."


Chief Thomas J. Garrity Jr. of the Collingswood Police Department said Monday that Bruce emptied a box of cereal after he arrived at the station.

He was photographed holding the empty box, and clutching a stuffed tiger that is kept on hand to comfort young abused children.

Bruce, the one mentioned at the end of the article, is 19.


UPDATED: Here is a good article on the GOP's plans to use gay marriage as a major issue in the 2004 elections.

Outrage Radio, described as "Liberal Talk Radio with Attitude", will debut next month. I'm not a talk radio person (I don't even like Leonard Lopate or Brian Lehrer on WNYC), but maybe this will foment a bit of unrest.

That seems to be the reaction of the Catholics to the Nobel Peace Prize going to Iranian activist Shirin Ebadi rather than the Pope. Via James we read the Vatican had this to say:

Many researchers say that the pope's opposition to birth control, pre-marital sex, homosexuality and female priests seemed intolerant to many Norwegians, especially women, despite a 25-year-reign devoted to peace and religious reconciliation [on his own terms].

Three of the five Nobel committee members are women. One Vatican official sniffed: "I thought this was a peace prize and not a prize in sexual ethics."

There is some talk that the Pope might win the Nobel Peace Prize. Given the Church's continuous attacks on people trying to prevent AIDS or unwanted pregnancies, or its enslavement of young Irish women, I would think the Pope belongs in The Hague for crimes against humanity. The latest outrage is the Church telling people in the developing world that condoms cannot prevent AIDS, so they should not use them.

The Catholic Church has been accused of telling people in countries with high rates of HIV that condoms do not protect against the deadly virus.

The claims are made in a Panorama programme called Sex and the Holy City to be screened on BBC One on Sunday.

It says cardinals, bishops, priests and nuns in four continents are saying HIV can pass through tiny holes in condoms.

The World Health Organization has condemned the comments and warned the Vatican it is putting lives at risk.

The claims come just a day after a report revealed that a young person is now infected with HIV every 14 seconds.

According to the United Nations Population Fund, around 6,000 people between the ages of 15 and 24 catch the virus every day.

Half of all new infections are now in people under the age of 25 and most of these are young women living in the developing world.


But according to Panorama, the Church is now telling people that condoms do not work.

In an interview, one of the Vatican's most senior cardinals Alfonso Lopez Trujillo suggested HIV could even pass through condoms.

"The Aids virus is roughly 450 times smaller than the spermatozoon. The spermatozoon can easily pass through the 'net' that is formed by the condom," he says.

The cardinal, who is president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family, suggests that governments should urge people not to use condoms.

"These margins of uncertainty...should represent an obligation on the part of the health ministries and all these campaigns to act in the same way as they do with regard to cigarettes, which they state to be a danger."

The programme includes a Catholic nun advising her HIV-infected choir master not to use condoms with his wife because "the virus can pass through".

The Archbishop of Nairobi Raphael Ndingi Nzeki told Panaroma that condoms were helping to spread the virus.

"Aids...has grown so fast because of the availability of condoms," he said.

In Kenya, one in five people are HIV positive.

No, my new G4 PowerBook hasn't arrived yet, but this is almost as good.

Today's Daily News has this story:


Talk-radio titan Rush Limbaugh is being investigated for allegedly buying thousands of addictive painkillers from a black-market drug ring.

This page is an archive of entries in the Politics category from October 2003.

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