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Many thanks to LEO
Thank you to LEO for the cover of the Dec. 14 issue (which I will frame for my children). I felt it was a much needed and bold statement in a day where many of us don’t know what to wish a Merry Whatever to whoever. I hope the masses will not bust your balls too badly.
Thank you, Stephen George. I found your article (“A Festival of Punishment”) “outstanding” and will encourage as many as I can to read it.
I myself was raised Catholic — eight years in a Catholic school (never touched) — and aside from mild brainwashing through a lifeless Mass twice a week, at 35 I seem to have bounced back and regained my common sense. Don’t get me wrong, I am not Godless, I just think that there is only one way to really know “WHO” is right, and I, personally, am in no hurry to find out. So in the meantime I try to live a good life, teach my kids to respect others, and hopefully, “whoever” willing, I’ll be OK when the time comes to meet “Him, Her or Whoever.”
To all the fist-pounding Christians out there screaming that “America is not about torture,” I challenge you to look deeper into Native American history, African American history, witch trials governed by the church, etc.
Shameful this country was, in part founded and built on the backs of genocide, slavery and torture. Quit bitchin’ about what you “THINK” our forefathers and newfathers were or are “ABOUT,” and do something to change it.
VOTE, and quit “Rockin’ the Vote” for that one guy at the top of the food chain. Pay attention to the vote that can really affect change: Congress. They are the ones who write and pass the laws; some of them have been in office since the 1950s, so quit focusing on the guy who has eight years max.
Sorry, I’ll get off my soapbox now.
To all at LEO, keep up the great work.
Jayson Hornback

Pets matter, too
Last week, Red Cross President Marsha Evans stepped down as the charity came under fire over its response to the Katrina disaster. Hopefully, her replacement will make some important changes, including making shelter arrangements for evacuees with companion animals.
Currently, Red Cross shelters do not universally allow people to bring their animals. During the Katrina disaster, there were only a handful of shelters in the Gulf region open to the thousands of people who had animals, and these were thanks to the initiative of local Humane Societies who set up separate shelters for animals outside Red Cross shelters. Elsewhere, people with animals were turned away from emergency shelters, and others put themselves at risk by not even attempting to evacuate, knowing that no shelters would accept their animals. There is no telling how many people perished due to the failure of the Red Cross and government agencies to include animals in emergency preparations.
Sixty-three percent of American households — nearly 70 million homes — have four-legged family members. This means that the majority of Americans are not being adequately served by emergency plans that don’t include animals. Let’s hope this changes before the next disaster strikes, or more people and animals will surely die tragic, preventable deaths.
Laura Brown, manager, Domestic Animals and Wildlife Rescue and Information, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Stupid cuts
Jim Wallis (of Sojourners magazine) is a hero; Anne Northup and her Republican House colleagues are villains. Wallis was arrested for speaking his mind, which has somehow become an unpardonable act to this administration. Congress continues to cut essential services, including the president’s own No Child Left Behind Act, which was seriously underfunded to begin with. Of course, in the Orwellian doublespeak of this administration, it should have been truthfully called the No Rich Child Left Behind Act. Congress justifies these cuts as being budget driven while simultaneously promoting even larger tax cuts for the wealthy. Like the Bushes, they think we are all stupid. Unfortunately, they seem, so far, to be correct.
Anthony State