Schmit Family
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6 February 2004 12:55 pm

His Word

my best friend:
   i felt as close to as possible.
a new friend:
   i thought different.
another person:
   i barely knew at all.

but one night,
through many hours,
through many tears,
with shaking limbs,

He showed me that which
no speaker can preach
and no book can tell.

He showed me:

a closeness, never felt before;
a brotherhood, indefinable;
a friendship, unbreakable;
and a community built upon His Word.

Cleveland, Ohio

Spiritually, as well as in general, I'm a very private person. However, since I've decided to post my poetry more or less indiscriminately, I'm including this one. This poem was inspired by an incredible all-night discussion with three friends at Case, the kind one only seems to have in college. For those of you who have had a similar experience, this poem will be more meaningful than for others.

Posted by geoff at 12:55 in /poetry

6 February 2004 12:53 pm

ACLU 2004 Workplan and Democratic Candidates

I recently received my copy of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) 2004 Workplan. A couple of the issues resonated with me. Rather than railing against the Bush administration, I thought it more productive to research how the democratic candidates for president opinions on these issues. Al Sharpton, Dennis Kucinich, Howard Dean, John Edwards, John Kerry, and Wes Clark are still in the race; so, I checked each of their positions on these issues.

The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act

As an aside, the brilliant name of this act deserves an entire chapter in a marketing textbook. Even the marketer who came up with Altria is probably jealous. The USA PATRIOT Act is that infamous piece of legislation that allows search and seizures without probably cause. In fact, its definition of "domestic terrorism" would probably include this post. The intention of the Fourth Amendment is that the government doesn't listen to my phone calls or read my e-mail without probably cause. Yes, I know; Carnivore and Echelon aren't new, but the USA PATRIOT Act legalizes these abuses. Clark, Dean, Edwards, Kerry, Kucinich, and Sharpton have all expressed concerns and proposed revisions to the USA PATRIOT Act. Disconcertingly, however, both Kerry and Edwards voted for the USA PATRIOT Act. To his credit, Kucinich did vote against it.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Rights

The recent ruling in support of gay marriage in Massachusetts is promising. However, only Kucinich and Sharpton support gay marriage. The rest of the candidates support the "separate but equal" position dismissed by the Massachusetts Supreme Court. Clark, Dean, and Kerry all have somewhat detailed positions regarding LGBT rights on their web sites. Edwards' site barely touches on this issue. To their credit, Kerry has a perfect scorecard rating from the Human Rights Campaign and Dean has done more than just post position papers on his site; he signed the civil unions bill in Vermont.

Voting Rights

Clark has posted the most detailed proposal for addressing this issue. Dean and Kucinich focus on the problems with electronic voting, of which there are many. Edwards and Kerry briefly mention addressing the voting-rights abuses evident during the 2000 presidential election.


Most of the candidates have relatively similar positions on these issues, which is not surprising after watching their debates. Regardless, browsing the candidates web sites was very interesting. I found that the selection of issues that were not presented as insightful as the candidates' comments on those issues that were. Of course, in the heat of the primaries, the candidates are going to be promoting their most liberal positions on these issues. Once one of them secures the nomination, he will begin to move back to the center. And then, if he wins the election, we'll have to see what is actually done. Regardless, as cynical as I am about the past and present, I have to remain optimistic about the future.

Posted by geoff at 12:53 in /politics