Monday, September 27, 2010

The Edge-ucator

Several months ago, we mentioned that famed science writer (the late) Walter Sullivan, who generally took a firmly skeptical stance about UFOs, opened up a bit years ago and actually wrote something positive about the subject in his New York Times column, when incredible, yet reliable, UFO reports suddenly emerged in great quantity (type his name in the search engine above to access that blog entry). One wonders what stuffy NYT editors thought about this, since the Times has a history of negativity about UFOs, but Sullivan's rare UFO gem sparkled.

The history of UFO research is permeated with professionals at all levels, ardent skeptics who actually take the time to examine the evidence and subsequently experience an intellectual rebirth regarding the issue. Sometimes, the change takes years.

During the late 1970s and early eighties, retired educator Dr. Max Rafferty (deceased in 1982 at age 65, when his car plunged over a dam) wrote a nationally syndicated newspaper column dealing primarily with social and political issues, and of course he focused upon educational triumphs and shortcomings. In the sixties, Rafferty was superintendent of schools for all of California, and the experience obviously left him wiser and ready to take on the country's problems -- or, at least, to write about them. Generally conservative in his views, Rafferty often decried the state of public education and government policy. His papers and recorded media were donated to the University of Iowa before his death.

Okay, so I admit it, I didn't read his column regularly, but frequently viewed its headlines in the morning newspaper. But one day in 1979, during the last week of March, I double-took at the words before me in the newspaper's editorial section: RUSSIANS FINALLY SEE OWN UFOS, announced Rafferty's headline. The UFO reference alone wouldn't have bothered me, because this was a time when UFO sightings were getting publicity around the globe, and just weeks previously a news crew from New Zealand filmed a fuzzy light from an airplane, causing international "UFO mania."

However, for Rafferty to tackle this subject, well. . .he had been paying attention.

"Ever since the 'flying saucer' sightings began in the late '40s," he began, "I've been wondering bemusedly why the alleged visitors from outer space never seem to breach the Iron Curtain." Rafferty, like most Americans, hadn't realized or considered the UFO phenomenon's international reach. UFO organizations, especially the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) and its founders Jim and Coral Lorenzen, knew almost instinctively since APRO's inception in 1952 that all nations reported UFOs, and the reports were often disturbingly similar.

After relating familiar and historic boundaries of censorship and secrecy in the (former) Soviet Union, Rafferty noted the Soviets had finally been disclosing information about some 300 UFO reports, including an incident where numerous automobiles stalled just 28 miles west of Moscow.
Rafferty's intrigue centers particularly upon the 1908 explosion of something over Siberia which flattened trees for some 1250 square miles, and comments by Moscow Aviation Institute scientist Felix Zigel to the effect that the precipitant may have been an "extraterrestrial probe" heightened his interest.

Of course, current thinking about the 1908 event brings a comet, meteorites and other theories into the mix, but for Rafferty in 1979 a slight crack in Soviet secrecy leading to commentary about their own UFOs was quite the thing. In this column, Dr. Rafferty closes with a fair question, cloaked in a bantering tone: "Wouldn't you think the Russkies would have admitted the problem long ago -- the way the rest of us did -- and have joined hands and brains with us to come up with an answer? Not the way those birds operate. Sssh! Hush! Huggermugger! Jackassery. . ."

I found the attention focused by Dr. Rafferty, in a gradual manner, upon things out of the ordinary rather interesting, and even wrote him a letter expressing my appreciation that he was at least interested in mentioning the UFO issue. I was a bit surprised to receive a postcard back from him upon which he had written a line or two of gratitude.

Four months later, in July, Rafferty produced another curious column, entitled "Absolute Heresy." This time, he took great care to list things he did not believe. For instance, he did not believe that President Roosevelt "had any more to do with ending the Great Depression than the Tooth Fairy," nor "that the world is running out of oil (Cheap oil, yes, oil as oil, no)." Taking a jab at education, apparently a favorite venture for Dr. Rafferty, he denied that "today's English teachers have mastered English grammar (Oh, some have. But most of them under the age of 40 don't know the difference between a split infinitive and a dangling participle.)."

However, among 16 topics of personal non-belief, number 14 turned to UFOs: "(I don't believe) that flying saucers come from other planets (not in our solar system, that's for sure. And any others are several lifetimes away, at any conceivable speed.)." Yet, I wondered, do "believe" or don't "believe," Dr. Rafferty, but what's the ongoing fascination with the UFO topic by a man perhaps conflicted by a too-educated-to-know-better attitude?

And it got better. Nearly a year and a half later, during the month of November, 1980, Dr. Max Rafferty dared raise questions about psychics in a column entitled, "What Education Fails to Solve." Time and again, the educator had taken the American education system to task, but now he was about to partake of a mystery soup whose contents would shock and horrify teachers everywhere who preferred a nice-and-easy-and-safe educational format.

This time, he revisited a column written several years prior, regarding New Jersey psychic Dorothy Allison. Portraying Allison as a typical housewife and a normal as anybody in person, Rafferty marveled over her accomplishments in assisting NJ law enforcement officers in locating murdered children and adults through her special mental abilities. As Rafferty wrote that column, he claimed Allison had a success rate to date of helping police solve 13 murders and locating more than 50 missing children, all for no monetary gain.

"She doesn't know any other psychics and doesn't particularly want to," Rafferty explained. "She's a perfectly normal housewife. She tells no fortunes. She gazes into no crystal balls. She goes into no trances.

"And yet," puzzles the Ph.D. whose harsh wit consistently held little love for the decline of education in the U.S., "there is the 'power'? How to explain it? As an educator, I'm used to breaking down problems of the mind into component parts. . .Almost always, a pattern begins to form. . .the problem is solved and a remedy emerges. But not in the Strange Case of Dorothy Allison."

Harkening back through peculiarities of human history , Max Rafferty confesses: "Having said all of this, I'm back to square one. The accepted tools of psychology and psychiatry are useless when faced with a Something which ignores all the laws of time and space.

"Can it be, I wonder, that those 'laws' aren't laws at all? Can it be, finally, that we have been arrogantly cocksure about a lot of things of which instead we should have been humbly uncertain? Could darned well be." If only he had lived long enough to see science admit that just maybeeeeee dogs have sorta psychic-like abilities to detect when their owners have left the office and are on the way home.

Eagerly, I anticipated those rare occasions when Rafferty would open up about such things. What a self-contradiction his writing betrayed. The Soviet UFO reports fascinated him, yet he eventually found it necessary to tell his readers he didn't believe UFOs could have an extraterrestrial origin. But now -- psychics? And more self-interrogation regarding "things" about which we may have become "arrogantly cocksure?"

Not a month had passed when Dr. Max ripped another cog off the wheel. A few days before Christmas, 1980 a column entitled, "Science Moving Toward Religion," was born, and the retired educator went on at length about multiple "phenomena." He related the "Big Bang" theory to the Book of Genesis, applauded scientists for assuming an active role in investigations of the Shroud or Turin, took a thoughtful interest in research into "clinically dead persons" who report visions of light and an afterlife, and found it important that evolution was being questioned by a number of scientists who, likewise, were taking another look at creationism.

Obviously, having evolved himself to a perspective not shared by a majority of his fellows, Rafferty suggests that a growing relationship between science and religion might mean that "most if not all of our educational subject matter and basic premises will have to be drastically revised.

"The whole thing is mind-boggling. I repeat: I never thought I'd live to see the day."

Six months later, as the first week of June, 1981 crept in, Rafferty took extreme delight in writing a newspaper piece entitled, "Psychiatrists Are Apt to be Nuttier than the Patients" -- this, from a columnist who previously questioned a substantial portion of psychiatry. Discussing his obligation as education superintendent in California to help rid the system of "nutty" teachers whose diagnoses were confirmed by psychiatrists, Rafferty then goes on to emphasize a new five-year study of U.S. physician deaths conducted by a professor of psychiatry at the University of Southern California.

A focus upon psychiatrists indicated that "psychiatrists are three times more likely to go crazy than you and I are. . .they're twice as apt to commit suicide. . .one out of three shrinks suffers from depression or from other emotional disorders," states Rafferty. Dr. Ferris N. Pitts, a psychiatrist who conducted the project, states, "There's something about the field of psychiatry that attracts many mentally ill doctors."

Apparently, University of California at San Diego professor Charles Rich seconds that (e)motion, taking it a step further: "Psychiatrists who give the argument that it's the job that causes their high suicide and depression rates are making an excuse." That is to say, if we may articulate even more, they were bonkers long before entering the profession.

"I'm intrigued," confesses Rafferty, evidently taking great joy in every word he writes on that day almost 30 years ago. "I was wondering about these birds almost 20 years ago, but I didn't have any research findings to bulwark my hunch back then. . .If those who sit in judgment upon our mental balance are themselves unbalanced, where does that leave us?"

Rafferty continues on to suggest that the causes of mental illness may be far different than suspected, and that it's possible that "Psychiatrists will occupy the same slot in history as phrenologists and witch doctors." Ouch. "I wonder," he concludes, "could we possibly have been so howlingly wrong for so long? Could be."

As September ended, three months later, Max Rafferty was concerning himself with presumed anomalies in photos of Saturn taken by Voyagers I and II, but his main point was that "experts" sometimes tend to avoid that which they can't explain.

A few months later, Max Rafferty would be dead -- as we noted earlier, according to online sources, a drowning victim whose car went over a dam. A highly educated man, who somehow managed to overcome what his cherished degrees and profound experiences told him he should be, instead discovered that we don't know as much as we think. Took him a few years to leap higher and higher , but, by George, he did it, he reached out, way out. Yet, I wonder. What was he thinking about that day, that day destined to be his last?

Monday, September 20, 2010

National Press Club: UFOs and Military Nuclear Encounters

The arrival of two vitally important national UFO publicity events within weeks of one another in the current era is almost unheard of. Yet, quickly following in the footsteps of Leslie Kean's well-received book, UFOs, Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record comes another event certain to give the national media still another opportunity to get out the big guns and tackle what evidence indicates may be the greatest news story ever.

Next Monday, September 27, the National Press Club hosts a meeting in Washington, D.C. conducted by Robert Hastings and Robert Salas regarding UFO appearances at and apparent influence upon nuclear missiles and supposedly secure military bases, activity going back decades and seemingly occurring still.

This is hot stuff, because Hastings and Salas will feature former military officers and enlisted personnel who witnessed things and incidents of which they will speak. This is NOT some slick media flavor-of-the-day gathering -- the news headlines I pulled up to display here date back to 1977 and 1979.

I personally encourage my readers to phone your local newspapers, TV and radio stations to kindly request that they either cover the press conference themselves or prominently feature network or syndicated stories about it.

For further information and a list of speakers, please check sites such as Frank Warren's UFO Chronicles (see link) or Errol Bruce-Knapp's UFO Updates (see Virtually Strange link), which have put various press releases on their Web sites. I was supposed to receive information from the source, but nobody ever sent me anything about the conference (Maybe they tired of too many Roberts?), so I instead happily and confidently refer you to the sites above for an eye-opening description of and names involved in next Monday's highly anticipated proceedings. Best wishes to all participants, and may the disturbing truth finally win out. It all has to do with, you know, that annoying thing called the people's right to know in a free society.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mosquerade Party

About that particular site of a proposed mosque in New York City:

Though established primarily as a Christian nation and rooted in Judeo-Christian tradition, the USA has long been officially tolerant of other faiths. Me, I have problems with people of various Christian denominations (and, yes, Christians have killed their share of people over the centuries) because, instead of bringing immigrants here with brains and skills, "relief organizations" all too often -- with government blessings -- gather up non-assimilating, routinely inbred human detritus, many of whom can't even comprehend how to use a toilet, and inflict them upon our troubled nation, expecting taxpayers to pick up the tab and schools to educate the ineducable as our language suffers and our porous borders become harder to manage. Our culture slips away, ever so slowly.

I understand that Islam is a very old and extensively practiced religion, and this country has always embraced freedom of religion. But parts of Islam are held together with too many explosive bolts, angry little devices consistently intent upon converting or destroying infidels, nonbelievers. There are, literally, no two ways about it. Though many American Muslims have been moderate in their beliefs, those who attend services at various mosques themselves warn that the radical element is becoming more popular, as Islamic youth in the U.S. slip away to train for terror in Pakistan and other "youth-friendly" places. And remember, in Islam, there is no separation of church and state.

An increasing trickle of women who escaped from Islamic countries tell their stories via books and talk shows, and they warn the world about sharia law and cruelty beyond imagination. In 2010, accounts of women treated like animals by cowards and mobs and societies ruled by torture seem so out of place, yet we know. We know. We also know that our incredible young men and women in the armed services lose their lives every month, trying to make a crucial difference in places which, for my money, should just be bombed into infinity with the finest weapons we possess, but WON'T use.

And just who are the "unclean" infidels? I'm not the unclean, Jack, and I'm never going to become a civilization throwback. To me, the unclean is anybody who won't accept a dog or cat into their home solely because their religion arrogantly convinces them of superiority to Creation's other creatures.

If murders at Fort Hood by an extremist Muslim U.S. military officer and the story behind this physician didn't drive specific points home to the common senseless in society, I suppose nothing will. But the truth is, we're nowhere near ready to welcome Islam with open arms because we constantly live in fear that those arms will be blown off with either political or actual IEDs, right here in the USA, and certainly in other countries.

It's a real hoot to see members of the Administration make light of the Islamic threat as they try to play nice with everybody, but I will say without hesitation that if my father and his brothers -- all World War II veterans -- were alive today, they would agree that some politically motivated faces intent upon non-confrontation and appeasement should be slapped. They knew what mattered and when not to walk away from an obvious fight that needed to be fought in an all-out manner.

Keep in mind, extremist Muslims themselves have killed more of their own people throughout history than anybody else, a fact worth mentioning particularly because certain Islamic leaders insist that Americans hold the record. Not true.

Remember -- the U.S. government has warned us time and again that the perpetration of another terrorist action here is only a matter of time. When that happens, it won't matter how practitioners of Islam portray themselves, mosques both built and intended will probably be in extreme jeopardy throughout the country. These continue to be very dangerous times for everybody.

Even France, the last place one might expect, just passed a law almost unanimously (save for one objection) forbidding Muslim women from wearing burkas. The reason should be obvious. The world is waking up and Europe is at least making feeble attempts to curtail certain future disaster as Muslim immigrants produce far more offspring than native cultures. Will we wake up? Yet another cartoonist, this time in the USA, is said to have drawn or prepared to draw an image of the prophet Mohammad, and death threats chased that person into hiding. This should never happen in my country, and if threats, extreme anger and murder are the "benefits" that extremist factions of Islamic immigration have brought to the nation, then we need to weed out these internal factions quickly, whatever it takes, and dispose of them in ways appropriate to their actions.

We welcome religious diversity. But at the same time, there really is no fanatic like a religious fanatic throwback from centuries ago, and oft-proven Trojan horses attired as objects of peace from the Middle East must not be allowed to roam freely within our borders -- and, I'm sorry to say this, but any rational mind can only see the NY mosque as a "victory" mosque. There are too many questions unanswered, and a global history of mosques built upon the lands and religious ruins of the violently conquered, with history and antiquities obliterated in the process.

One may only hope that Islam experiences a dramatic reformation -- which does happen -- and the majority of its followers in remote places reject bloodshed and other conflict.

How does one sort out the radicals from peace-loving practitioners of Islam? That's the dilemma for a country that chose freedom as its foundation, and from everything I've heard from members of strict Islamic nations who escaped and now tell their stories, Islam's accompanying sharia law is absolutely incompatible with our Constitution and freedom of the individual. Currently in the USA, masks of deception assume many forms, sometimes in the most unlikely of places.

Will this, a mosque among many others already in NY, be constructed at the intended location? Probably. Where else would one put a "victory mosque" in NY, if not on or as near "Ground Zero" as possible?

We still have a choice: Close the gates for now, protect the borders, find out who's in the country and deal with them -- or be prepared to happily skip, jump, text and e-mail our way to cultural suicide, oblivious to the danger closing in, one terrifying human birth and one shady immigrant at a time.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I? The Jury?

The jury summons arrived weeks ago, and I was dreading the inevitable day. Last week, I finally appeared in person, responding to the detailed invitation that dared to casually use the word, "Welcome!" in the first paragraph. Eight years drifted by since my last jury notification, and I lucked out then because my number never came up.

But this was far, far more concerning because I had been chosen for a grand jury -- five weeks as the member of a captive audience, forced to listen to seemingly endless whines and snorts from junior members of the district attorney's office. Hey, don't bother me, just take whomever you want to indict out back, give 'em the needle and indict them later. Surely, there's something in their past worthy of a prompt execution?

Obligation. Duty to serve. Your civic responsibility. You have been chosen to. . .

Whoa, hold on. Didn't I hear the same words when the Vietnam Era draft stopped by and invited me to a mandatory party I couldn't refuse? Haven't I been here before, same government but different circumstances? What more do you people want out of me?

"The vending machines are over there," offered a department of jurors secretary who unlocked the office door and beckoned me in. I was the first to arrive at this early hour. The only vending machine I desired was one from which I could buy an instant felony, so I could get out of this nightmare.

Other "Welcome to. . ." invitees began to arrive, and eventually we were all escorted into a large room with plenty o' seats, and checked in individually. "Look at this list," one court representative remarked to another afterward, "we've never had so many no-shows."

We had to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. It's been a while for me. Did I almost start out with, "Oh, say can you see. . ." before I caught myself and got into step?

A film. Oh, GOD, not a film. But yes, 25-something minutes of CBS-TV's Ed Bradley (wait a minute, Bradley was a good journalist, but how long has he been dead?) and veteran actor Sam Waterston (who only appears dead on TV) explaining New York State's grand jury system. Okay, I get it, okay? I GET IT! Arghhhhhhhhh!

So, I learn that our job basically is to indict, to not indict or to push a case off to some other office. What the hell?! Seems to me, if your case is taking up my time and I have to endure walking and ultimately limping along for several blocks to reach the courthouse from the parking garage, you're on the hook, sorry.

Besides, how could I NOT indict anybody who comes under scrutiny? Better yet, let me decide who in this society deserves my personal indictment. First, I'd indict the so-called high school English teacher who promised my writing would never amount to anything. Okay, maybe she was right, but I'd still opt for indictment.

Then I'd indict Gray Barker, albeit posthumously, for the load of nonsensical UFO books I bought from his publishing company in my teen years. Books full of lies and fantasies written by charlatans don't age well as years go by, trust me. Saucerian Publications, you are served!

How about airline companies? Let's indict them for withholding the truth or flat-out lying about close and sometimes dangerously close encounters with UFOs, and for discouraging or flat-out muzzling their pilots from reporting such strange incidents.

Obviously, I would indict Congress for ignoring significant UFO evidence, available for decades in ample amounts from the meticulous files of competent private UFO investigative organizations and individual researchers -- and from the government itself.

But in stronger terms, I think I could easily go for an indictment of scientists and science-based "debunkers" who shamelessly continue to ignore UFO evidence. Chuckling and walking away, ladies and gentlemen, ain't science.

Regrettably, it's unlikely that I could indict members of the media who have darkened their profession's image for years by ignoring, potentially, the story of a lifetime because freedom of the press consistently allows them to exercise ignorance or to pick and choose stories depending upon. . .upon so many factors.

So I bask in the jury pool, awaiting my fate. The commissioner of jurors calls upon some to come up front, one at a time, and draw seven numbers each from a little rotating cage, numbers which will translate into grand jury members. I'm deliriously pleased-to-serve possible juror number 141. Crime must be rampant, for two grand juries at a time, 23 members per, are being formed, and we're already warned to expect attending jury sessions for about 15 out of 25 days.

The woman who draws first grabs her own number, personally assuring her future, as nervous laughter arises from the crowd, finding humor and a peculiar solace in anything that even sounds like irony. The fun continues. Ultimately, potential jurors are down to maybe 18 or 20, including me.

However, juror number 141 is not called. He is free to go, cast out into the streets for the next eight years, realizing all too well that fantasies of those he wishes to see indicted will never come true. Instead, stupidity, bad judgment, domestic violence and brutal divorces engulfing more than one out of two marriages in the USA will keep the courts occupied for years, even without the assistance of juror number 141.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Beam Scream

The first month of 1985 started off with something of a semi-bang when the Associated Press reported on an interesting UFO story making the rounds in Moscow. As we've often said, don't discount the older cases and, obviously, always remember that the UFO phenomenon is an international enigma.

Though reported by the AP near the end of January, 1985, there's not a firm date of incident available, but it almost certainly occurred within days or weeks of the AP article.

Apparently, pilots and passengers aboard a Soviet (a.k.a. Russian) airliner encountered a distant "star-like" UFO which illuminated the earth below with a bright beam of light. The newspaper, Trud quoted a Soviet scientist who confirmed the case as "undoubtedly abnormal." A domestic Aeroflot flight approaching Minsk encountered "what appeared to be a large, unblinking star (which) suddenly shed a thin ray of light which fell . . .down on the ground" from an astounding altitude estimated to be 25-30 miles.

Again quoting from Trud, the AP added, "Ground control at the time registered splashes on its screens in the same part of air space." Co-pilot Gennady Lazurin, informed initially that radar showed nothing, stated, "Oh, well, they'll be saying we're not normal." (Note: That quote sums up a primary reason why pilots generally abhor reporting encounters officially, as careers and reputations may be jeopardized -- even to this very day, unfortunately, despite some slowly changing attitudes.)

Four crew members advised that they "could see distinctly everything down in the sector of the ground illuminated by the cone-shaped shaft of light -- the houses and the roads."

Things, however, took a very strange turn when the mystery beam suddenly focused on the plane itself. "The pilots," Trud continued, "saw a dazzling white spot surrounded by concentric colored rings," and the UFO then sped toward the airliner "at flashing speed," leaving a greenish cloud in its wake. The object, now at an altitude of 33,000 feet, paced the plane side-by-side and stayed with it for the remainder of the flight ("like an honorary escort," said one of the pilots).

Emphasizing the global nature of UFOs, Soviet National Academy of Sciences member Nikolai Zheltukhin -- also deputy chairman of a state commission on unexplained phenomena -- told Trud that the incident "is indeed of interest, although the commission already knows of similar cases. That the object reversed course instantaneously and reached the ground with a ray of light of unusual intensity from a very high altitude is undoubtedly abnormal. . .The airliner's crew encountered what we call an unidentified flying object."

Of further interest, the AP took a few lines to mention that the (former) Soviet Union established a special air force commission to investigate UFO reports, "but few details of its work have ever been released."

Currently, several nations continue to pop UFO files out of their inner sanctums like jacks-in-the-box. Needless to say, the U.S. isn't yet among them.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Off My Rocker

It can't always be about UFOs. It should be, but it's not. By now we're asking, hmm, didn't Leslie Kean write an outstanding book about something or another recently? One, two, three, impact. Just why is the road to hell paved with good intentions? Oh well, bon voyage, book of excellence, and rest in peace. Next?

You may have noticed, I've become nearly a raging lunatic about the direction of the country. The globalization thing isn't going quite the way we expected, and I don't trust the way my government currently wields power (who does?). I don't know about the Tea Party, but the Republicans and Democrats both smell as fragrant as that "corpse flower," whose rare and pungent odor of death periodically and mysteriously captivates people who fight and claw to experience and savor a smell akin to rotting flesh. Perfect.

So I'm listening to the radio, and some talk show host mentions scientists' findings that firefly populations appear to be diminishing, and that it seems to be related to gradual loss of habitat thanks to human encroachment. And then the moron says, what a shame the fireflies are going away because children should be able to witness their beauty. Of course, the extreme Right radio voice neglects to preface this by explaining that if we stopped producing so many kids in need of homes expanding into firefly territory, we wouldn't have to destroy firefly habitat. Who is going away forever first, fireflies or little brown bat colonies?

Then there's the guy holding Discovery Channel employees hostage last week. Or should I say Dead Guy? Anyway, the media makes much condemnation of his statement that human babies are "parasites." Well, sorry, but every teacher or professor I ever took a health or science course from told us that babies are indeed parasites whilst inside their mothers. Okay, so the rest of his beliefs were a tad, um, unusual, at least give him credit for a basic understanding of human behavior.

Meanwhile, serious theorists around the world ponder our great medical advances in keeping humans alive, and they fear a world where few die off as humans continue producing offspring faster than natural processes (that is, the Grim Reaper) can cope. But not to worry, if the Republicans regain power they'll probably do their best to kill off liberal stem cell research, as they recently did with the help of a sympathetic judge, that we planetary inhabitants might safely return to the benefits of fatal disease and genetic disorders. Goodbye morning-after pill and women's right to choose. Stock in chastity belts can only go up.

A while back, a reader or two took exception to my support of gays in the military, a longtime fact of life in many other countries. Though, even as a military veteran, I can't dissuade those who object based upon things they think they know which they don't know at all (God bless the ignorant, for they keep politics interesting), I do recall reading something years ago where somebody said, isn't it a miracle how God makes lots of little gay babies every day, all around the world? I guess everybody has a purpose among The Faithful, unless one happens to be a homosexual wishing to serve in the U.S. military.

Unfortunately, if/when the Right comes back big time, they'll also be accompanied by hardcore religious figures desirous of putting their own God into everybody's life (remember earlier this year, when some conservatives advised restraint of overzealous religious elements in the party?). Fortunately, though, Stephen Hawking, who just days ago warned us to leave the planet, asserts that God wasn't necessary at all for us to exist, so maybe we can quote his science and set these pompous vocal gas-bags hopelessly adrift. God would approve, I think.

I'm not sure which political party to call a friend when it comes down to the Internet. The Democrats seem rabidly intent upon gaining control of its charms, all in the name of The Public Good, yet the Republicans were all too happy to support former FCC chairman Michael Powell when he ruled more than some wished.

Now that 17 state attorneys-general have shouted down (what is a fascist?) Craig's List (only in Craig's List USA has this happened), which temporarily or forever closed down its personals section, we're even closer to serving the State. The truth is, if the U.S. weren't so populated with the common senseless, the plain stupid and a plethora of politicians looking to run on any agenda they can conjure, the nanny country wouldn't be trying to protect the clueless by blaming the messenger.

No (and I know you're curious), I haven't enlisted the aid of Craig's List, but I've read its entries and one has to border on idiocy not to know what's up. Frankly, for me, long before the Craig's List fiasco, the posting of "sex offender" lists tipped me off not only to hijacking of the Internet by political thugs, but the true arrival of the very future Orwell warned us about.

On a related note, new research confirms that extensive computer and Internet usage seem to affect mental abilities such as concentration and memory recall, so those of us who once marveled over and applauded five-year-olds who effortlessly performed computer functions which made no sense to most adults may have simply encouraged poisoning of minds and brains throughout the land. Result: A nation of eternal children, great at computer games, but sucking at daily life, expecting instant rewards, and patience be damned.

We're all steamed these days, whatever our focus. Maybe we can agree on the need to reduce government size. My vote? The Drug Enforcement Agency has to go, and in turn let's get the borders protected to the max. Programs such as D.A.R.E. plainly aren't working as youth remain curious and influenced by peers. We must question why so many low-level drug users end up in prisons and the answer is usually political. There must be other ways. And while we're ridding the country of overblown forces, say goodbye to the Department of Education and let the states communicate with one another about learning and the options available. Big Bro government in this case needs to go. In the meantime, there's nothing like remaining, um, hopelessly optimistic, just as we do in expectation of UFO facts via government disclosure.