America: Land of the free, the brave, way too many kooks,
and people who stand up for whats right.
Did you hear the one about the Colorado judge who ordered
two teen-age girls to pay $900 to a woman who claims she was
distressed the girls gave her home-made cookies adorned with
Or how about all the fuss about the remarks about war made
by Marine Corps Lt. Gen. James Mattis?
Finally, what were the Mexican American Legal Defense and
Educational Fund, The Mexican American Political Association,
and the National Latino Law Students Association thinking
when they vehemently opposed the nomination of Alberto Gonzales
to be the next U.S. Attorney General?
Lets start with the Colorado cookie caper
involving 17-year-old Taylor Ostergaard and 18-year-old Lindsey
Jo Zellitte. The girls baked cookies as a surprise for several
of their rural Colorado neighbors one day last summer and
dropped off small batches on their porches, accompanied by
red or pink paper hearts and the message: "Have a great
The girls had decided to stay home and bake the cookies rather
than go to a dance where there might be cursing and drinking.
Wow, what great girls!
But Wanita Renea Young, 49, filed a lawsuit complaining that
the unsolicited cookies, left at her house after the girls
knocked on her door, had triggered an anxiety attack that
sent her to the hospital the next day because feared that
she had suffered a heart attack. What a crank and what a crock!!
Six neighbors of Young and the girls wrote letters entered
as evidence in the case thanking the girls for the cookies,
but La Plata County Court Judge Doug Walker awarded Young
her medical costs, although he did not award punitive damages.
Old Judge Grinch justified his cockamamie ruling by saying
he did not think the girls had acted maliciously but that
10:30 was fairly late at night for them to be out.
Gosh, odes that mean he gives the death penalty to kids who
steal cars and ride them around late at night. PLEASE!!
But there is GOOD news as a result of the judges ruling
and Flaky Wanitas hypochondria.
Hundreds of people with their heads screwed on right have
rallied to support the girls and have sent them thousands
of dollars to cover the $900 fine. The girls have become examples
of good American kids and are making the rounds of national
television shows and thats a real positive. Theyre
not afraid to do good deeds and tell the world about it.
Yet, this story wouldnt be complete without some business
trying to jump in on the action. The Otis Spunkmeyer cookie-making
folks want to hold an event in Durango to, in their words,
set things right. In other words, Otis wants to
take advantage of the asinine antics of Judge Grinch and Whining
Next, we have the Marine Colonel who talked candidly about
the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and his view of life on the
To refresh the record, this is what Lt. Gen. James Mattis
said: Actually it's quite fun to fight them (Muslim
terrorists), you know. It's a hell of a hoot. It's fun to
shoot some people. I'll be right up (front) with you; I like
brawling. You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women
around for five years because they didn't wear a veil. You
know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So
it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."
First of all, when youre a gung-ho kinda guy speaking
to a gung-ho kinda crowd, you run the risk of letting your
words get out ahead of your brain. And thats probably
what happened here.
But in carefully examining the light birds remarks
(a light bird is a term for a Lt. Col., whereas
a full colonel is sometimes referred to as a full bird),
you see he spoke the truth and is to be admired for that.
He is right that Afghanistan has been full of guys
who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear
a veil. They are called the Taliban and many of our
military have taken them out, with bullets and bombs, to free
the country. They recently held national elections.
And Mattis is also correct that guys who slap their women
around are guys like that ain't got no manhood left
anyway. Hey, Id bet you dollars to donuts that
some of the leadership of the National Organization for Women
would have loved to put on a uniform and whack some of these
Mattis was not disciplined for his remarks because his only
real sin was to speak the truth within earshot of a television
camera. War is hell, but there is a perverse, gallows humor
type of hell of a lot of fun in taking out the
enemy. Its not pretty, but it is understandable.
Finally, we have seen history made by President George Bush
in appointing two incredibly qualified people to his cabinet.
Interestingly enough, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
was ridiculed by some racist members of the press as Bushs
slave, or an Aunt Jemima.
And newly confirmed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was
skewered by many Democrats as just a token appointment
because of his Latino heritage. What an insult. Some of his
harshest critics were traditional Democratic hack groups who
couldnt fight their way out of their own illogical bag
It is true that most Democrats were charging that Gonzales,
as White House counsel, gave legal interpretations that led
to the prisoner abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq
and mistreatment of detainees at the U.S. military base in
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They also claimed that Gonzales' loyalty
to Bush led to his defense of legal language that dismissed
prisoner protections mandated by the Geneva Conventions.
There are, however, a number of organizations who saw Gonzales
background as a big plus. Gonzales, 49, whose parents were
migrant farm workers from Mexico, and who grew up in a home
with no running water, was praised by Republicans for overcoming
a background of few opportunities to achieve the "American
During his confirmation hearing, Gonzales who grew
up in Humble, north of Houston spoke of his Texas upbringing,
and his first job selling soft drinks at Rice University stadium
during athletic events. The institution inspired him to attend
the school, where he received an undergraduate degree.
He later earned his law degree from Harvard University, and
became a partner in a HoustonTexas secretary of state, state
Supreme Court justice and counsel to the governor. law firm,
before being appointed by then-Gov. George W. Bush to serve
Fortunately, although the Mexican American Legal Defense
and Educational Fund, the Mexican American Political Association,
and the National Latino Law Students Association opposed Gonzales
the confirmation of Gonzales was hailed by Latino rights groups
who called it a milestone for the minority community.
The League of United Latin American Citizens said it was
time to set aside politics and focus on Gonzales' tremendous
qualifications for AG. The National Council of La Raza, the
nation's largest Hispanic rights organization, endorsed Gonzales,
saying his reservations about deputizing local police to carry
out federal immigration law, and positions on civil rights,
were important to the Latino community. The Hispanic National
Bar Association and the National Association of Latino Elected
and Appointed Officials also endorsed Gonzales nomination.
Sen. Mel Martinez, a Florida Republican and Cuban American,
spoke in Spanish from the Senate floor to praise Gonzales
as a symbol of achievement for Hispanics.
Most people I know, including Latinos, are celebrating the
ascension of Gonzales to be attorney general as a landmark
event: the first Latino to hold one of the most powerful Cabinet
positions in America.
Yet, even beyond the color of his skin, Gonzales earned his
position and deserved recognition because of his legal record,
his community involvement and his compelling life story.
Once again, what was most important was to look at his entire
Despite the whackos in America today, in the end, we usually
do the right thing.