But first this note on the gay marriage thing that’s so upset the President:

It’s voluntary.

And yet so alarmed is the President at the prospect of couples committing to love, honor and support each other that he is taking time off from terrorism and health care and jobs and education to lead the effort to amend the United States Constitution. The Republican Senate sees the need for this as so urgent it has been debating it all day and may vote yea or nay tomorrow.

Why?

Your allowing Charles and me to enjoy the same legal benefits that you and your spouse do will not hurt you or your kids any more than mixed-race marriages, so long illegal in many states, have hurt you.

(Should the U.S. Constitution forbid Justice Clarence Thomas from being married to his Caucasian wife – as Virginia law, until 1967, would have done? Should Asian-Americans be allowed to marry Caucasian Americans? Should someone of mixed race be allowed to marry at all?)

In the words of former President Gerald Ford on the topic of same-sex couples and marriage: ‘I think they ought to be treated equally. Period.’ (Where, oh, where, have all the moderate Republicans gone?!) One of the relatively few moderate Republicans remaining in the Senate, Lincoln Chaffee, calls the amendment ‘Nuts.’ ‘To be seen as the party that’s coming between two people that love each other,’ he says, ‘. . . to me that’s going to be seen as a liability, politically.’

Even Bob Barr, who wrote the some-would-say-hateful Defense of Marriage Act (well, I would say it), opposes tampering with the Constitution for this purpose.

So the amendment will be defeated tomorrow, and I want to offer my personal thanks.

CALLING RIO WITH YOUR NEW USED TREO

Last Friday was initially so casual this column almost disappeared altogether. But a few hours into the day guilt overcame sloth and I suited up for battle. One of the items became a Treo 300 giveaway. (‘As a special thank you for subscribing to this column, it goes free to whoever needs it most, as expressed in verse.’)

Well, now I’m feeling bad, because your output was exceptional. The talent! The tragic circumstances!

How to choose?

Only one submission was easy to eliminate. Proper haikus must refer to a season, which this one didn’t, and, in any event, he didn’t want the phone:

Jim Kozma’s haiku:
Treo three hundred?
What gift does Andy offer?
Oh! A phone. No Thanks.

But how do you say no to this sad tale?

Len:
I signed with Cingular three years ago,
with good times in my dreams.
I’ve seen my Nokia come and go,
the shipping papers stacked in reams.

It works, it’s broken, the screen is blank
“We’re sorry, your warranty’s expired”
But I’m on my SIXTH, you can take that to the bank!
“Goodbye. Your excuse is tired.” (If you’d like to make a call,
please hang up and dial again)

Mr. Tobias, please help me,
I have a reason you should help me for
I just bought a shrinkwrapped copy,
of Managing Your Money from 1994

Or to these?

Tom Wilder:
I need a phone of my own…
My Kyocera is broke, one day it just started to smoke.
So I’ve been borrowing from my wife-
which causes our household lots of strife.
A Treo 300 would be really neat,
and as a gift, extra sweet.
I hear it’s also a PDA-
and that would blow my son away.
So thanks for the chance to enter to win,
a phone that will make the whole family grin.

Jim Strickland:
Since Bush let our jobs go overseas
Joblessness has almost put me to me knees
So who could use a Treo more than me?
Certainly not that nexus of evil, Don Cheney.

(And as long as you like verse, my favorite poem of all time was on TV way back in the 60s in a program call Laugh-In. John Wayne came out on stage, holding a flower, bowed to the camera and said…

“The sky is blue, the grass is green . . .
get off your ass and join the Marines.”

Then he bowed and got off camera. One of the funniest things I ever saw.)

At the end of the day, even though it’s a little harsh, I decided to go with this one:

Will H of Birmingham, AL:
Pick me, please, pick me,
So my republican wife will see,
We should all be more free.
She is under the spell,
Of far right wing hell.
With your help, Andy,
I shall strive to convince,
That republican policy,
Often doesn’t make sense.
I will send her your show,
On her brand new treo.
Every day to be read,
Until she is dead.

Reason #1 – It ain’t easy being a progressive in Alabama. Will needs all the support we can give.

Reason #2 – He was the only poet to include his physical address.

The Treo’s in the mail, my friend.

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