The Bible Bus

Many people, even residents of Culpeper County, Va., are shocked to learn that public school students in the county are routinely taken out of class to be proselytized with Christianity. ?That?s illegal!? everyone exclaims. If more people knew about this practice outside of Culpeper and other counties where it goes on, I imagine it would receive as much attention as proposals to have a ?moment of silence? or post ten ancient orders on a wall. On the other hand, read more

Beauty and Community in Italy

(published in the Culpeper News, 1 June 2000)

I’ve lived most of my life in the United States, and the rest of it – for various periods at various stages in my life – in Italy. The U.S. is my home, but sometimes I tend to think it is almost exclusively the daily use of the English language that I refuse to part with. I find so much about life in Italy preferable that if I could have my mother tongue there there’d be no question about where I’d want to live.

Of read more

Defending Slavery

We published several weeks ago in the Culpeper News a letter rightly condemning our Governor’s misguided declaration of “Confederate History Month.” The flood of letters defending Robert E. Lee and so forth was predictable up until May 25, when we printed a letter from Lorie Brown of Tombstone, Arizona, which – in so far as sense can be derived from it – appears to defend slavery (before making the usual assertion that slavery had nothing to do with the war).

The read more

Wet Lands

A World Bank/ United Nations study to be released in September, 2000, reports that half the planet’s wetlands and forests were lost during the 20th century, and 20 percent of freshwater fish are extinct, threatened or endangered. According to the EPA, one of the worst areas for wetlands loss in the U.S. is a part of Virginia that includes Culpeper.

Is everyone aware of this? Surely our local governments are aware and doing everything they can to prevent further destruction.

Actually, no. read more

Low Taxes or Big Egos?

(published in the Culpeper News, 29 June 2000)

What motivates every single county supervisor and town council member in Culpeper to advocate “growth” or “development”? Many people in Culpeper with whom I’ve spoken don’t favor this. They don’t vote or organize or write letters to the editor, but when you ask them they say they don’t favor this.

To our north are populations brimming over with regret and desperation and candidates running on anti-growth read more

The Eye of a Needle

According to the World Health Organization, very basic health care could be provided to everyone in the world lacking in it for a cost of $10 billion per year over what is currently spent. Experience suggests that the resulting drop in infant mortality would slow the population explosion because people would not hedge their bets by producing so many infants.

Ten billion dollars is 4 percent of what the world spends each year on cigarettes. It?s what the world spends every four days on read more

People Over Profits

According to a poll done in late April, 2000, Green party candidate Ralph Nader had 6 percent of the presidential vote, Pat Buchanan 3 percent, and a vast majority of Americans wanted Nader to be included in debates with George W. Bush and Al Gore. According to a study of the integrity of the presidential candidates, only Nader was given a rating of 100 percent.

I am convinced that Nader?s percentage of the vote will be much higher come November if more people become aware of his campaign. read more

Monkey business

At a gas station on South Main St. shortly after I began working at the Culpeper News in August, 1999, a man approached me and asked “Are you a college student?” “No,” I said, “why?”

It turned out he had seen a ?Darwin? bumper sticker on my car and wanted to know if I really believed in such stuff. I told him that Darwinism wasn?t something one ?believed in? like a religion, that it was just biology, and we ended up having a read more

From Reston to Culpeper

(published – in a horribly censored version – in the Culpeper News, 22 June 00; also published – in what form I don’t know – in the Fairfax Journal in July 2000.)

I grew up in Reston during the years in which it most resembled its founder?s original conception. Reston was a planned community with loads of recreational facilities, walking paths, tunnels and bridges, lakes and local shops, a mix of income levels, and untouched woods and fields. Robert E. Simon, read more

PIRG

Publications Essay Question 2000
Please write a one- to two-page essay on how you would address the following problem:

The essence of PIRG is political. To put it crudely, bad things are happening in our society because people in power gain by allowing them to happen. In order to reform society, we need to not only expose and document the problems and figure out how to solve them, we also need to fight like hell against the powers that be to make reform possible. To put it another way, we need read more