To me, the month of December brightens the end of the year like a cheerful hearth fire brightens the dead of winter. I love the rituals, foods, smells, and sense of connection that surround the holidays. And, like most kids, I love the gifts.

In the words of John F. Kennedy: "A nation cannot be free until all of its citizens are free."

Let the homophobic, bigoted, religious right keep their preaching to themselves. Keep your terminology "marriage" (50 percent of which end in divorce); just give us our rights that are guaranteed to free people.

Do you believe that that in some way the USA deserved 9/11? I most certainly do not. I believe in our president and I do not think that there is any great cover-up conspiracy. Perhaps there are information, names, events, and other things that should not be made public or released to a very suspicious and politically driven Senate committee at this time.

While reading the less-than-enthusiastic "pedestrian survey" of the recent Pigstock/Jaegermeister festival [see "They Did It Better in Clinton," River Cities' Reader Issue 449, October 29-November 4, 2003], I couldn't help but wonder if the writer knew what sort of event she was at, or if she'd ever been to a rock concert before.

In mid-October the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act (S. 139) comes before the Senate. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin is expected to be a key vote in this historic bill that aims to reduce the greenhouse-gas emissions that cause global warming.

There was a letter in the Quad-City Times last week, and it appears that the author was laboring under some mistaken assumptions.

For example, he clearly did not know that the City of Davenport's tax rate is today only 1 percent more than it was in 1992.

I was polled by phone on September 23 about my views, primarily regarding Howard Dean, phrased negatively, with blatant misrepresentations. Governor Dean was singled out for his position on NAFTA, which is to renew it with modifications to correct human-rights and environmental abuses, a position shared by the majority of the Democratic presidential candidates, but that was omitted.

Ebenezer Scrooge must be alive and well ... and running the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). For only a bitter, cold-hearted, money-grubbing old man like Scrooge could think that financially hurting a working single mother with a 12-year-old daughter is a good idea.

Having the Ten Commandments removed from an Alabama courthouse is not a tragedy for Christianity, but it is a tragedy for our nation.

The fact that our founders were mainly Christians is important because they used their faith to make a constitution that relies on the principles of self-governance.

I have to respectfully disagree with editor Kathleen McCarthy's recent assessment that the Democratic candidates provide "little analysis of why things are wrong, or much discussion about how he or she would make corrections.

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