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Another letter from Ben

We greatly appreciate the Weekly's coverage of our recent efforts against corporate welfare, i.e. spending $270 million in public money solely for the benefit of billionaire Rich DeVos, owner of the Orlando Magic [Happytown, June 23].

We would like to point out that Orlando Direct Action is a group with more than one member, in keeping with the anarchist principle of the efficacy of collective action to achieve goals and address problems through the combining of talents and aptitudes. Indeed, our recent Billonaire Benefit Bake Sales to help Mr. DeVos raise money to pay for a new arena for his team were the brainchild of ODA member Andrew Mason.

ODA's arena campaign will continue in the coming months. Please check our website for updates, and if you haven't yet, please add your name to those demanding that mayors (the developers') Buddy Dyer and Rich Crotty not squander public tax dollars to help Richie DeVos become even richer.

Also, if you don't have plans on July Fourth join ODA, CodePink Orlando and other groups for "A Revolutionary Rally Against War and Empire: Bring the Troops Home Now, End the U.S. Occupation of Iraq," 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the corner of Bumby Avenue and Colonial Drive in Orlando.

— Ben Markeson and Aaron Zorik,
Orlando Direct Action

Be nice to cows

The recent confirmation of a second case of mad cow disease in our country shows that the United States has never had an adequate system in place to protect Americans from the disease. For years after the practice was banned in England, the United States continued to allow the feeding of cattle and sheep to other cattle and sheep, even though this is known to spread the disease. It is still legal to feed the blood of cows to other cows, and to feed cow neural tissue to pigs and chickens and then feed these animals' neural tissue back to cows.

The problem is that the ranching industry, with the government's help, has consistently put cost-cutting measures ahead of the welfare of the animals. Cows were never meant to stand knee-deep in manure-soaked stockyards chewing the diseased brains of other animals. Now it has come back to haunt us. If we learn nothing else from the second case of mad cow disease in the United States, we should understand that mistreating animals does not benefit people. Please see

— Kathy Guillermo, via the Internet

Keepin' it real

As the founder of the Church of Reality – a religion based on believing in everything that is real – I consider both the decisions made by the Supreme Court to be a victory for religious freedom. The Texas case correctly allows the Ten Commandments to be displayed among other historical images and is distinguished from the Kentucky case, where the Ten Commandments was clearly an endorsement of a specific class of religion. This was an important victory for religious freedom because we only have religious freedom as long as the government remains religiously neutral.

There must always be room in America for a reality-based religion, because if the government takes reality away from the people, what do you have left?

— Marc Perkel, via the Internet

They should thank us

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is debating whether the United States should formally apologize to Indians for a "long history of official depredations and ill-conceived policies." This proposal should be rejected.

Before Europeans arrived, the scattered tribes occupying North America lived in abject poverty, ignorance and superstition – not due to any racial inferiority, but because that is how all mankind starts out (Europeans included). The transfer of Western civilization to this continent was one of the great cultural gifts in recorded history.

As a result, today's Indians enjoy a capacity for generating health, wealth and happiness that their Stone Age ancestors could never have conceived.

— Thomas A. Bowden, via the Internet

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