Back to the Boomer With Attitude mailbag. One of these questions is made up, so see if you can figure out which one it is.
Dear BWA: Why don't you do something constructive and write an article about ways ordinary people can help stop global warming by changing their energy-wasting habits? -- Green Man
Dear Green Man: It's a great idea for people to find ways to save energy -- carpooling, curly lightbulbs and all the rest -- but what's more urgently needed is a change in the industries that create most of the greenhouse gases. That, however, takes concerted political action, which takes a lot of public activism and political involvement. Personal change doesn't equal political change, so if we want to really stop global warming, it's going to take a lot more than just changing lightbulbs.
Dear BWA: With McCrory's time in office ending, what are socialists like you going to find to write about? -- Madeline Conway
Dear Madeline: Huh? BWA columns about Mayor McCrory have actually been few and far between, so I'm not sure what you're referring to. But hey, speaking of McCrory ... the mayor recently surprised a lot of people, no doubt including conservative supporters, by saying that he would prefer to see "Eisenhower- and Roosevelt-type projects" used as an economic stimulus rather than divvying up federal money among the various local governments. At the time, he was griping about the fact that Charlotte received fewer stimulus dollars per capita than any other city in the state. If he really wants "Roosevelt-type projects," then for once, I agree with the mayor; however, his newfound allegiance to what his supporters would term "socialism" seemed disingenuous. Maybe he thought that if he blew enough smoke, people would forget that during his many terms in office, he never did an even remotely decent job of representing the city's interests in Raleigh, nor in wrangling money out of the state legislature. The next time this type of situation arises, maybe Mr. Mayor could do the political legwork necessary to actually make those "Roosevelt-type" projects happen for Charlotte. Oh yeah, I forgot, he won't be around anymore.
Dear BWA: I don't see why Democrats in Congress are making such a big deal about Cheney's "secret" plan to kill al-Qaeda members. Isn't that something you would expect the American government to do? -- Jerome Albin
Dear Jerome: The reasons for the outrage are still as mysterious as the "secret" plan itself. Bill Clinton's administration began a program to kill al-Qaeda leaders, it was continued under Bush and is still going on. In fact, the day this is being written, news reports tell of an American drone aircraft bombing an al-Qaeda site and killing one of Osama bin Laden's sons. You're right -- although it's illegal, most people would expect their government to try to bump off a group that has pledged to destroy the United States, although al-Qaeda's ability to ever meet their goal is highly doubtful. One guess among people who know about this nasty stuff is that Congressional Democrats want to divert attention from the fact that they knew these programs were in place whether Cheney told them or not. Another idea, put forth by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, who, like him or not, is rarely wrong about this kind of thing, is that Cheney was trying to launch a program to assassinate domestic "enemies of the state." If that's the case, then I'd say the outrage is justified and a full public investigation and disclosure of its findings is a good idea.
Dear BWA: Do you plan to ever write anything about the fact that you liberals' beloved Obama isn't even an American citizen? -- Fed Up
Dear Fed Up: Check out CL's news blog (www.theclogblog.com), and you'll find some mention of the bogus "missing birth certificate" controversy that has become a fixation for some of the right's more unhinged members. The "fact," as you put it, is that President Obama has presented a digitally scanned image of his birth certificate, which includes a raised seal and the signature stamp of Hawaii's state registrar. In addition, CNN dug up the birth announcements for Obama in old Honolulu newspapers. Surely that's enough to convince any reasonable person of the president's American citizenship, although it's not exactly reasonable people who've been hammering this particular weird notion for months.
Dear BWA: Any other words of wisdom you'd like to share? -- Mary Contrary
Dear Mary: Why, thanks for asking. As I wrote in a CL news blog item last week, I have an idea for keeping killers locked up -- such as Steve Case, the convicted murderer who recently kidnapped a Gastonia family while on parole, or Patrick Burris who broke parole repeatedly and wound up killing five people in South Carolina. One answer to our ongoing parole problems is to stop filling up our prisons with drug offenders. Law enforcement and prison officials everywhere have repeatedly noted that much of their time is taken up with people whose crime was buying or selling drugs, particularly the relatively harmless drug marijuana. Let the potheads go, and stop enforcing pot laws, and officials wouldn't be forced to release dangerous criminals because of overcrowding. It's worth a shot and, in any case, it's better than letting murderers run loose.