Democrats' debate: more than a song and dance

In response to Dante Chinni's May 5 Opinion column "The Democrats debated, and Bush won": It's easy to take pot shots at the "chorus line" of Democratic candidates. What is not easy is listening to what each person had to say, how they said it, in what context, and to report the same.

The debate was the first opportunity many of us had to see and hear all of the potential Democratic nominees for president. I was delighted to be able to put faces with names, and to see how they interacted with one another.

I was able to see who couldn't let a perceived slight go; who really could answer a question and not present a "platform"; and who had obviously thought about what the job of president entails. Yes, Al Sharpton got laughs - but he also was the only candidate to say he'd vote for gun- control legislation. He also found a humorous way to remind fellow nominees to save the sniping for the Republicans.

The debate provided watchers with a good view of the older more-established candidates and the young ones coming along.
Ellen McCambley
Jamaica Plain, Mass.

The Mojave Cross

Regarding your May 6 article "A large-scale battle over a small cross": At times the ACLU is really savvy - on track when it comes to civil rights and the deeper meanings of the Constitution. At other times, they're out to lunch. This is one of them.
John McDonnell
Albuquerque, N.M.

Unjust government practices trickle up

Regarding your May 9 article "Eminent domain and private gain": Tyranny seldom originates in Washington. It usually develops in city hall and works its way up. If the town council can get away with something, the county will try it next, then the state, etc. Voting for town council and mayor may be as critical as voting for the US Congress.
Allen Brooks
Sheridan, Wyo.

School pledge

The Etc... brief "It's no bother, really" of May 7 indicated that the school district appealing the "under God" pledge case revealed the fact that Michael Newdow's daughter participates in the Pledge of Allegiance. Apparently, the thinking is that if she's participating, it mitigates Mr. Newdow's case. I suggest that it actually bolsters his case - that saying "under God" in a group exercise compels his daughter to follow along to keep the peace, thus effectively forcing religion upon her.
Pastor Dan Lozer
Elk Point, S.D.

A dad's perspective

Regarding the May 7 article "Stay-at-home dads want more than laughs": I am a dad who is the primary childcare provider for our three sons. I bring my work home so that I can be there for my kids. Soon I will be working only out of the home, so that I may be there full time for my kids. My wife works full time and will make a very successful executive someday. We have both worked hard for our kids and this is how it has worked out. I am happy - most of the time - with being home and taking care of my children.

I don't find these movies or shows that poke fun at dads like me offensive at all. I am confident in what I do and take it like a man. After all, it is just for laughs and to make light of the situation. In fact, I usually try to see the humor in all my misadventures and enjoy seeing others having problems like mine.

I just wanted to let you know that there are men out there who are confident, sincere, can clean and cook, and whose wives find them sexy. So lighten up, have a little fun, and don't worry about being looked down on. Most women tell my wife how lucky she is, and she tells me that she feels lucky.
Clay Norman
Broken Arrow, Okla.

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