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Wednesday, December 03, 2003  

The news desk

  • Polygamist declares right to privacy

  • The Supreme Court of the United States' ruling on privacy in sexual matters is getting an interesting challenge from an unlikely source.

    SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) - A lawyer for a Utah man with five wives argued Monday that his bigamy convictions should be thrown out following a Supreme Court decision decriminalizing gay sex.

    The nation's high court in June struck down a Texas sodomy law, ruling that what gay men and women do in the privacy of their homes is no business of government.

    It's no different for polygamists, argued Tom Green's attorney, John Bucher, to the Utah Supreme Court.

    "It doesn't bother anyone, [and with] no compelling state interest in what you do in your own home with consenting adults, you should be allowed to do so," Bucher said.

    . . .Green, who is not affiliated with any church, was convicted of four counts of bigamy and one count of criminal nonsupport of his 30 children in August 2001.

    Polygamists and gays are not similarly situated. The consenting adults involved in sodomy are the only persons effected. But, multiple marriage has wide-ranging negative impacts. Both the women and the children involved are harmed by the practice. Since only one of the wives can be legally married to the man, the others have none of the legal rights of matrimony. Children born into polygamous unions are usually supported by the government's Aid to Families With Dependent Children program since the parents care rarely afford the cost of the father's numerous offspring. That guarantees they will live in poverty, in addition to lacking the parental attention available to most children.

    Since the state has an interest in protecting the women and children victimized by polygamy, as well as its purse, I expect the Supreme Court of Utah to easily distinguish between homosexual acts and polygamy.

  • Iraqi leader not captured

  • Another American 'victory' in Iraq has turned out to be a hoax.

    BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - U.S. forces in Iraq have indeed captured a man named "al-Duri" as earlier news reports announced, but he is not the second-most-wanted former Iraqi official the troops have been hunting, the U.S. military said Tuesday.

    The reports about the capture of a top member of deposed President Saddam Hussein's regime were false, Maj. Robert Cargie of the 4th Infantry Division said.

    Cargie spoke with Maj. Doug Vincent of the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Kirkuk, who said forces conducting overnight operations had not caught Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, the former vice chairman of Iraq's Revolutionary Command Council and a former member of Saddam's inner circle.

    Sources said an Iraqi police official identified the captured man as Saad Mohammed al-Duri.

    This pattern of inflated reports of American success in battles and untrue tales of captures of Iraqi leaders, followed by retrenchment, is becoming tiresome. Reporters, embedded and otherwise, could save themselves considerable embarassment by waiting for such claims to be confirmed by reliable sources.

  • Pit bulls kill neighbor

  • Just when you thought it was safe to go outside. . . .

    DENVER (AP) - A woman was killed in a gruesome attack by a pack of pit bull dogs that residents say had been a roaming menace for months. Another man was injured but escaped after his son shot at the dogs.

    Authorities began weighing charges Monday against the owners of the dogs.

    Jennifer Brooke, 40, was killed early Sunday when she went to a barn to care for her horses, officials said. A friend worried about her, Bjorn Osmunsen, 24, was attacked when he went to look for her.

    ``It's a gruesome thing; it's kind of hard to deal with,'' Elbert County Undersheriff James Underwood said of Brooke's injuries. ``Even the fire department and the rescue personnel were having a hard time dealing with some of it.''

    One dog had allegedly mauled a neighbor earlier this year, and officials said the dogs were well known in the rolling ranch land near Kiowa, southeast of Denver.

    ``The people in the area had their own sort of emergency phone network to warn each other if the dogs were loose before they would go out,'' Rattlesnake Fire District Chief Dale Goetz said.

    Seriously, something is broken in society when people wait until someone is killed by vicious dogs to take effective action against them. Perhaps it is the belief we are not our brothers' keeper. I wonder how many people just shrugged off the previous attacks by the dogs. Maybe the extremists of the animal rights movement have made reporting of out of control canines less likely to occur. But, curbing attacks by animals is not evidence of contempt for them. Let's not let our concern about animal rights stop us from preventing animal wrongs.

    2:43 PM