Call it a monumental miscalculation. Fred Phelps Jr., a self-proclaimed pastor from Kansas, brought his anti-gay family circus to Coeur d’Alene on Tuesday to grab a few headlines by denigrating the memory of the late Matthew Shepard, the young gay man who was badly beaten and left to die on a Wyoming fence.
Other than a reporter or two, a few counter-demonstrators and honks from passing motorists, Phelps, his family and their anti-gay signs were largely ignored. The Family Phelps visited Lake City to cause trouble for local gays and even for evangelical Christians. In Boise, Ada County commissioners opted to remove a Ten Commandments monument rather than comply with Phelps’ demand that they display another monument he would donate, denouncing Shepard. To their credit, Kootenai County commissioners didn’t take that bait from the agitators.
On Judgment Day, Phelps said, people will be surprised to discover that “God does not love everybody.” Wonder if he was looking in a mirror at the time.
Worried about a stolen base. For the fourth time since 1990, when Congress authorized the process for shutting down military bases – it’s called BRAC for Base Realignment and Closure – Spokane has cause for anxiety over the future of Fairchild Air Force Base.
Congress may yet suspend the process for a couple of years, but if not, the Secretary of Defense will recommend a list of closures about a year from now with a final decision due by the end of 2005.
The Senate Armed Forces Committee, which opposes the delay, contends another round of closures is needed so the U.S. military can reconfigure itself to match the defense requirements of today’s world.
If so, why has the closure process been spread out over 14 years, so far, rather than determined all at once — after first having defined what the military structure is supposed to look like when the revisions are complete? That would be more defensible.
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