John W. Whitehead The recent Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency was a wash. Both candidates, who claim to be Christians, spent much of their time pandering to the nearly 3 million television viewers who tuned in. But in terms of what presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama had to say, their responses were largely lacking in content.

Democratic Donkey If there's one thing the United States stands for, it's unfettered free speech. It is vital to a functioning democracy. Unfortunately, the increasing use by government and law-enforcement officials of "free speech zones" and other stifling tactics to purge dissent has largely undermined the First Amendment's safeguards for political free speech.

"There was once an ancient city. The ancient city fell." - Virgil, The Aeneid.


Increasingly, parallels are being drawn between the Roman Empire and the current American Empire. Yet while some may look to Rome as an inspiration, others believe it casts a dark shadow over us and our supposedly imperial aspirations.

We have a president who does just about whatever he wants, the Constitution be damned. He has, among other things, asserted unchecked unilateral power, conducted surveillance on American citizens in violation of federal law, and ignored universal prohibitions on torture. And although years from now historians may refer to the "Bush Doctrine" in much the same way that they talk about the Monroe or Truman doctrines, they will most likely not hold it in the same esteem.

   Incredibly, President George W. Bush would have us believe that the rights of citizenship are only as good as the ground a citizen literally stands on. In oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court last week in a case involving Mohammad Munaf and Shawqi Omar, a Bush administration lawyer argued that "American citizens, when they go abroad, they have to take what they get."


"Our country is insolvent, and bankruptcy will come."

- U.S. Representative Ron Paul


I've never seen our country in worse shape - culturally, constitutionally, or financially. Marriages and families are falling apart, our liberties are being eroded, and the U.S. economy is in serious trouble. We are, as author Robert B. Reich noted in a recent New York Times editorial, "totally spent." All we're managing to do now is keep our creditors at bay.

At first glance, the Violent Radicalization & Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 may not seem dangerous. Yet things are rarely what they seem, and this bill is no exception.

Most Americans, when asked for a photo ID, will pull out a driver's license and not think twice about it. We have to show proof of our identity when we drink, when we drive, and when we fly. Identification can also be required to rent a movie, borrow a book, or write a check. So why shouldn't we be required to show a photo ID to vote? That's the question presently before the U.S. Supreme Court.


Mitt Romney"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."


- Article VI, U.S. Constitution


Growing up in the 1960s, I saw firsthand the religious bigotry that John F. Kennedy encountered over his Catholic faith.

John W. WhiteheadIn an information age when we're required to hand over confidential information to make a purchase, drive a car, or visit a doctor's office, our privacy is being relegated to the junk heap of antiquated, obsolete ideas. Nowhere is this more evident than in the telecommunications industry, where technological breakthroughs that add convenience to our lives are simultaneously giving corporations and government agencies almost unlimited access to our most private moments.