Are we all going insane?

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Do you watch the news or read it in this or other newspapers? Of course you do.

But do you go beyond simply viewing it to the point of really considering what you are hearing or reading?

Take for example the recent story about California atheist Michael Newdow. Don’t know who he is?


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Well, Newdow is the man who has fought to have the words “Under God” removed from the Pledge of Allegiance. And in some arenas n particularly in California n he has had some success.

Today, Newdow is suing to have the words “In God We Trust” removed from our currency.

He, according to the talking head on the TV news show I watched, says that when he is in church and they take up a monetary collection, he and his cohorts don’t want those words on their spending money.

Whoa! When is he in church? This guy is an atheist.

I looked up the word church in the dictionary and found this n A building for public and especially Christian worship; a body or organization of religious believers.

Now I know the word “public” appears in the definition I found, and one might argue that holding a public gathering of atheists constitutes a church, but come on.

But being the reasonable person that I am I will give the benefit of the doubt to Newdow and his cronies and accept that whatever venue they gather in could be considered their “church.”

But what really gets me about this is the man is being allowed to file this frivolous lawsuit and tie up the court system for months, if not years n and for what?

Look, if

he doesn’t like the words on the money, let him use his checkbook or his Debit card to make all of his purchases and donations to his “church.” That way he never has to see Ben, or Abe or any of those dead presidents again.

Why is this one man, a mere speck in our giant universe, allowed to do this? Is this what freedom is all about – you can do anything you want, disrupt the norm, just because our Constitution allows for free speech?

I don’t believe that’s what the founding fathers had in mind. In fact, I think I just heard a couple of them rollover in their graves.

But again, being a reasonable man, and one who is willing to give anybody their say, I offer this.

Anytime a suit is filed that doesn’t involve injury, death or significant property damage n for example a prisoner suing because his pudding didn’t have enough raisins in it, or a bank robber (again out in California, duh) who sued the bank, the city, the cops and the hospital after a dye pack in the bag of stolen money he had exploded n I think the person filing should have to put up a retainer. And I think that amount should be at least $100,000 in state court and $1 million in federal court. And if they lose their suit, they lose their money. Consequently, if they win, the money is returned to them.

This might keep those stupid suits off the books and out of our courtrooms.

Where was Jesse when I needed him

Well, just when you thought he had gone away for a while and we might get some peace and quiet, Jesse Jackson is back.

This time Jackson has come out in defense of Terrell Owens, the Philadelphia Eagles superstar who was suspended from the team recently for his off-the-field actions.

Jackson, according to TV reports, says Owens got a bum deal, that the penalties for his actions were too harsh.

Let’s review.

Owens allegedly started a fist fight with a teammate in the team’s rehabilitation room.

In the press, he has bad mouthed both the team and the starting quarterback.

He was told to apologize, and given specific guidelines by which to accomplish that, and he failed to do it to management’s satisfaction.

Those are just some nuts and bolts on the situation n not the entire story.

But I use them to make my point.

If I started a fight with a co-worker, got on TV and in the other media and began denigrating the company that pays my salary, I would not be surprised when n not if, but when n they released me from their employment.

And I don’t know of any employer who would act in any other way.

It actually happened to me many, many years ago when I lived in Charlotte, N.C. I had just moved to town and secured the first job I could find n shoe salesman. While I know there are many fine shoe salesmen out there, my younger brother among them, I hated it.

I groused about it all the time and drug my feet (no pun intended) when it came to doing all the things they wanted me to do, like making sure that a minimum of 10 percent of my sales involved non-shoe items such as shoe trees and shoe creams. I felt like I was pushing that stuff on the customers and simply refused to do it.

As a result, they cut me from the team. Looking back on that today, I have but one question. Where was Jesse Jackson when I needed him?

If Jesse Jackson truly wants to help those who are getting an unfair shake in America, that’s fine. I say more power to him. But Terrell Owens is not one of those people.

When am I drunk?

This one really floored me.

It seems there is a judge in Virginia who wants to strike down the Commonwealth’s law that says a person behind the wheel of a vehicle, who has a minimum 0.08 Blood Alcohol Content, is driving under the influence.

If I understand what I read, this judge says that is unconstitutional because not everybody would be drunk at that 0.08 level.

If he wins, and the law is taken off the books, what will that mean?

Are we all going to have to have our personal BAC determined and then have it placed on our driver’s license, much like we have other restrictions, such as having to wear glasses, or daytime driving only, etc.?

That would mean we’d all have to get drunk at some point and have our blood tested. Who would pay for that? Who’d buy the booze? Where do I sign up?

I think certain things in this world are better left alone. And this is one of those things.

Bottoms up!

Douglas Grant is the managing editor of the Suffolk News-Herald. Contact him at