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Fight over woman's feeding tube leaves husband's life in limbo (Terri Schiavo)
Salt Lake Tribune ^ | Nov. 1, 2003 | Abby Goodnough , NYT

Posted on 11/02/2003 9:47:19 AM PST by FairOpinion

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Michael Schiavo is 6 feet 6 inches, with a scrub-brush mustache and a gold chain bearing the crosses his parents wore. He is a nurse who works the graveyard shift, often pulling into his driveway as his neighbors walk their dogs in the moist Florida dawn. He has a meticulously kept yard, a screened-in pool where his friends sometimes gather, a golden retriever, a girlfriend and a year-old daughter.

"My brother is a normal guy who this tragedy happened to," said Brian Schiavo, one of the four brothers with whom Schiavo shared an unremarkable childhood in Levittown, Pa., near Philadelphia.

But because of the tragedy of Schiavo's wife, Terri, 39, who suffered brain damage when she collapsed one night 13 years ago, Michael Schiavo is also at the center of one of the most debated court cases in the nation. He wants to remove her feeding tube, paving the way for her death against the wishes of her parents and supporters who have rallied to their cause.

For this, Schiavo, 40, has been depicted as a heartless fiend.

As the case has gained prominence in recent months, Schiavo has all but refused to tell his side of the story publicly or answer the charges that his in-laws, and people who have never met him, keep leveling. Through his brother Brian and his lawyer, George Felos, he declined to be interviewed for this article.

But as the latest round in the legal battle over Terri Schiavo's fate begins, her husband's friends and relatives are speaking out. They describe a man driven from his home by death threats, who avoids going out in public but for work and court dates. He will not divorce his wife, marry his new love and get on with life, they say, because of his determination to carry out his wife's wish not to live in a vegetative state.

"He's got ethics and values that most people don't have, much less the strength to adhere to them," said Russ Hyden, a friend who said Michael Schiavo supported him through his wife's death from cancer.

Schiavo was two years out of high school when he met Theresa Marie Schindler in 1982, at Bucks County Community College in Pennsylvania. She had been overweight and frumpy until her senior year of high school, when she started dieting, and Schiavo was her first boyfriend, her family said.

The couple married in 1984, and two years later, decided to move to St. Petersburg, Fla., into a condominium that Terri Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, owned.

When they were not working -- he as a restaurant manager, she as a clerk at Prudential -- they hung out by the pool at their apartment complex or in St. Pete Beach, thick with bars and dance clubs.

While Michael Schiavo's family describes those early years of the marriage as carefree, the Schindlers -- who moved to Florida around the time their daughter did -- say they became dark. Michael Schiavo was a penny pincher who kept track of the mileage on his wife's car and yelled at her for spending money on haircuts, they said.

The Schindlers say that on Feb. 25, 1990, Terri Schiavo told her brother that she and Schiavo had had a violent argument -- a claim Michael Schiavo denies. Michael Schiavo says his wife was asleep when he arrived home from work. In a rare interview on "Larry King Live," he said he awoke at 4:30 a.m. and heard a thud. It was his wife, whom he found on the floor, he said.

By the time paramedics arrived, Schiavo's heart had not pumped for perhaps 10 minutes, doctors found. The prevailing theory is that she had an undiagnosed potassium deficiency, possibly from extreme weight loss or even, her husband has said, bulimia. She had gone from more than 200 pounds in high school to 110 pounds.

The brain damage Schiavo suffered left her able to breathe on her own but not to ingest food or drink. Doctors have said she is in a persistent vegetative state, meaning her eyes are open, but her brain is incapable of emotion, memory or thought.

Brian Schiavo said his brother was determined to rehabilitate his wife.

Michael Schiavo flew his wife to California for treatment, sleeping on a cot beside her bed for a month. He began studying nursing, to take better care of her. He and his wife lived with the Schindlers for a while, and he filed a malpractice suit against Terri Schiavo's doctors for failing to diagnose her health problems. In November 1992, the Schiavos won $1 million in damages: $700,000 for her care, the rest for him.

When the check arrived, the war began. Both sides say that on Valentine's Day, 1993, Michael Schiavo and his father-in-law had an ugly fight in the nursing home where Terri Schiavo was then living. The Schindlers say the fight was about what kind of treatment the money would go toward, with them advocating rigorous therapy and Schiavo wanting only basic care. But Schiavo said it was because Schindler wanted a cut of the settlement.

Schiavo's belief that his wife would recover had evaporated by 1997, his supporters say, when he lost his mother to cancer. But the other side points out that as early as 1993, soon after he won the malpractice money, Michael Schiavo did not want to treat an infection his wife had developed and that he had stopped her rehabilitation even earlier.

Only after his mother's death did Schiavo tell his in-laws that on several occasions, his wife had said she would not want to be kept alive artificially. The timing of the revelation -- after he won the malpractice money and after he began seeing Jodi Centonze, with whom he would eventually have a child -- made the Schindlers deeply suspicious.

For a long time, the Schindlers accused Schiavo of wanting his wife dead so he could spend her settlement money. But Michael Schiavo's lawyer said all but $60,000 has been spent on medical care and legal fees, and that his client would not see a penny of what remains.

Brian Schiavo said his brother felt betrayed by everyone from the Schindlers to the news media to Gov. Jeb Bush, who used a law rushed through the Legislature recently to order Schiavo's feeding tube reinserted. Schiavo has sued to have the law ruled unconstitutional.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: crymeariver; itsallaboutmememe; schiavo; selfabsorbed; terri; terrischiavo
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It's obvious it was always only about money for Terri's husband.
1 posted on 11/02/2003 9:47:20 AM PST by FairOpinion
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To: FairOpinion
Why can't the author of this piece find out how much rehabilitation Terri has had? I'm sure she would be surprised to find it is none. How about the truth? Terri's parents have relinquished any claim to money. They only want Michael not to seek Terri's death.
2 posted on 11/02/2003 9:53:36 AM PST by A-teamMom
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To: FairOpinion
Sounds like they are trying to make "poor" Michael the victim instead of Terri.
3 posted on 11/02/2003 9:54:00 AM PST by Left_Coast_Conservative
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To: FairOpinion
Schiavo's belief that his wife would recover had evaporated by 1997, his supporters say, when he lost his mother to cancer. But the other side points out that as early as 1993, soon after he won the malpractice money, Michael Schiavo did not want to treat an infection his wife had developed and that he had stopped her rehabilitation even earlier.

Curious.

4 posted on 11/02/2003 9:58:30 AM PST by diotima (DO NOT AGITATE THE AGITATOR)
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To: FairOpinion
Shame on Abby Goodnough. Here's yet another example of liberal media championing the possible second attempt at murder of his wife by Michael Shiavo. Abby obviously can't be bothered with the documented facts of this case, but would rather paint Michael as the victim.

Excuse me, while I go puke.
5 posted on 11/02/2003 10:00:57 AM PST by demkicker
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To: FairOpinion
Geez, would everyone please leave this poor man alone. All he wants to do is get on with his life. What's a little strangulation and starvation for your mate? When they took those vows, "til death do us part" Terri never said she did not love him enough to die for his convenience!!! You know, she may even ENJOY the dehydration death! /sarcasm off/

God help us all.
6 posted on 11/02/2003 10:01:12 AM PST by netmilsmom ( We are SITCOMs-single income, two kids, oppressive mortgage.)
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To: FairOpinion
I saw this guy on Larry King. I could see why he does not speak much publically. He comes across as a smarmy, egotistical little snot. I think he had something to do with what happened to this woman.
7 posted on 11/02/2003 10:05:00 AM PST by isthisnickcool (Guns!)
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To: FairOpinion
Ahh, this tragedy happened to widdle Mikey. Tissue, please.
8 posted on 11/02/2003 10:06:21 AM PST by mtbopfuyn
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To: FairOpinion
He is a nurse who works the graveyard shift

Yes, I know what this means, but in context it gave me a chill, because it calls to mind that the Culture of Death is inextricably combined with the practice (or the distortion and malpractice) of medicine.

Just as in Hitler's Germany, the murder of the handicapped and the innocent starts among the doctors.

9 posted on 11/02/2003 10:11:52 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: FairOpinion
"My brother is a normal guy who this tragedy happened to," said Brian Schiavo,

Pity poor Michael. This terrible tragedy happened to HIM. What a creep!!!

10 posted on 11/02/2003 10:12:57 AM PST by pgkdan
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To: FairOpinion
It's obvious it was always only about money for Terri's husband.

What happened with the lawsuit money? It's not like she's hooked up to any expensive machines. He should be given a divorce freed of any financial obligations except what he should pay back to her from the lawsuit money ----- I don't think he spent all that money on her care.

11 posted on 11/02/2003 10:15:20 AM PST by FITZ
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To: FairOpinion
If he doesn't like limbo, all he has to do is divorce her.
12 posted on 11/02/2003 10:17:34 AM PST by Let's Roll (And those that cried Appease! Appease! are hanged by those they tried to please!")
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To: pgkdan; Hillary's Lovely Legs
Why can't any of you at least SEE another side. YES, the tragedy happened to him too. You would be more credible if you offered up arguments that weren't 100% emotion driven.
13 posted on 11/02/2003 10:20:04 AM PST by Hildy
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To: Hildy
Michael Schiavo was a penny pincher who kept track of the mileage on his wife's car and yelled at her for spending money on haircuts, they said.

It sounds like whatever life Terri did have with him was quite miserable. She couldn't even have haircuts?

14 posted on 11/02/2003 10:24:13 AM PST by FITZ
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To: FairOpinion
FOR BETTER or for WORST, For RICHER or for POORER, IN SICKNESS and in HEALTH !!!!!!!
15 posted on 11/02/2003 10:24:38 AM PST by Uncle George
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To: Left_Coast_Conservative
Sounds like they are trying to make "poor" Michael the victim instead of Terri. - yea my heart bleeds for the lowlife scumsucking SOB.
16 posted on 11/02/2003 10:25:20 AM PST by Free_at_last_-2001 (is clinton in jail yet?)
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To: Hildy
We might be tempted to see another side if there was not money involved, and Michael had not sworn, on the stand, during the trial, he would spend his life taking care of his wife. Plus, isn't it a little creepy he is with another woman, has a child, while his wife is in a persistent vegetative state?
17 posted on 11/02/2003 10:26:39 AM PST by stylin_geek (Koffi: 0, G.W. Bush: (I lost count))
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To: Free_at_last_-2001; Nakatu X
Ping for Terri
18 posted on 11/02/2003 10:28:05 AM PST by Ogmios (Since when is 66 senate votes for judicial confirmations constitutional?)
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To: FITZ
Things like this that are said years later are truly not reliable. You can look at it another way: They were just married, living in HER parents condo. Maybe he was anxious to save money so they could be independent, a trait most freepers would admire. Plus, sometimes women's haircuts do cost alot more money than husbands could ever imagine. When I first told my husband how much my salon bill was he FLIPPED! Anyway, being cheap and being a murderer are two different things.
19 posted on 11/02/2003 10:28:08 AM PST by Hildy
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To: Hildy
NIce try, Hildy, but no cigar soup for you!... You would be more credible if you offered up arguments that weren't 100% emotion driven.Hildy Of the $750,000 placed in trust for Terri's rehabilitation therapy and maintenance, how much has her 'loving husband' spent on rehabilitation therapy for Terri? And how much has his freindly judge, Greer, authorized to be paid to the death watch atty, Felos? And how many children has Michael Schiavo sired with other women while still married to Terri? And ... oh, never mind. Your heart is so dead, nothing will penetrate the darkness.
20 posted on 11/02/2003 10:30:19 AM PST by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote life support for others.)
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To: stylin_geek
Plus --- if Terri had ever expressed her wish to die to anyone else but him. Actually I think it's pretty emotional to just KNOW that he remembers exactly what she said she wanted 15 years late and not to question one man's memory or supposed memory of what someone might have said --- or might not have said since there is no evidence in writing of it.
21 posted on 11/02/2003 10:30:30 AM PST by FITZ
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To: Hildy
Things like this that are said years later are truly not reliable.Hildy Things? You mean like things such as 'while watching Love Story years ago, my wife said she would never want to be kept alive on machines?' That what things you mean are not reliable? You ghouls of 'mercy killing' are so arbitrary with your pleas.
22 posted on 11/02/2003 10:32:39 AM PST by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote life support for others.)
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To: stylin_geek
Actually they have two children now - new baby just born.
23 posted on 11/02/2003 10:32:53 AM PST by firerosemom
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To: MHGinTN
Who has paid her bills over the past 10 years (I'm taking out the past three years in the hospice)
24 posted on 11/02/2003 10:33:32 AM PST by Hildy
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To: Hildy
NIce try, again, dissembler. If you subtract the three years prior to the lawsuit settlement, that leaves seven (at best). And it will shock you to learn that much of the three years of expenses was born by the Schindlers and health insurance from prudential where Terri worked, and they continued to pay during the years following the settlement. But those facts aren't convenient to your agenda to dehumanize Terri Schindler Schiavo, eh?
25 posted on 11/02/2003 10:37:04 AM PST by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote life support for others.)
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To: MHGinTN
I know I've made comments like I'd hate to spend my life in a wheelchair --- and I'm sure someone might even remember me saying that--- that doesn't mean I want to be killed if I actually did end up in a wheelchair. Just now I can't imagine living that way --- but that would likely change if it became reality.
26 posted on 11/02/2003 10:37:08 AM PST by FITZ
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To: Hildy
Just out of curiosity, isn't Michael stating something that Teri said on the couch watching t.v. called "hearsay".
I didn't think a conversation not witnessed by anyone was admissable as evidence.
With good reason.

27 posted on 11/02/2003 10:37:09 AM PST by Bogey
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To: Let's Roll
If he doesn't like limbo, all he has to do is divorce her.

Exactly. He just has to admit the he is a weak charactered slug and wants to break his vows instead of working to kill her.

28 posted on 11/02/2003 10:37:42 AM PST by eskimo
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To: FairOpinion
Last week when Larry King asked Schiavo why he thought Terri's parents were blocking his efforts to end Terri's life, he smirked and replied, "To make my life hell."

Would that were true.

29 posted on 11/02/2003 10:37:50 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg (There are very few shades of gray.)
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To: Hildy
Did Michael ever spend a dime of his own money (not even counting the $300,000 he got for himself out of her lawsuit? Was the $700,000 for her care actually spent only on her ---- considering she never got rehab and isn't hooked up to expensive machines, she only needed some very basic nursing care --- maybe 2 or 3 hours a day.
30 posted on 11/02/2003 10:39:09 AM PST by FITZ
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To: eskimo
and wants to break his vows

He already broke his vows. Adultery is justification for divorce in almost every religion ---- the breaking of his marriage vows should free Terri from any claim to ownership over her life he might have had.

31 posted on 11/02/2003 10:41:10 AM PST by FITZ
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To: Cicero
He is a nurse who works the graveyard shift

.Hmm..Less supervision on that shift. I wonder if the times of deaths at his hospital follow any recognizable pattern. (Not implying anything, it's just a thought.)

32 posted on 11/02/2003 10:43:33 AM PST by TaxRelief (Welcome to the only website dedicated to the preservation of a Freerepublic.)
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To: FITZ
Yes, FITZ, it does change, I can assure you of that! I once played tennis on teams and was a scratch golfer hoping to try out for the senior tour when I turned fifty. But before I made fifty, I became disabled, to the extent that I cannot play tennis and can no longer even travel the golf course in a cart and play nine holes. I use the electric chiars in Wal-Mart and Lowe's, and I must walk with a cane even in my own house, to catch myself from falling. Fifteen years ago, I might have said (and may have, though I don't recall it) that if I end up in a wheelchair, just pass me my trusty .45 and a single round, I'll take care of the rest. Now, with a beautiful gift from God born into our home from my lovely step daughter, and the writing I undertake, the love of family and the return of same, I'd forego the earlier foolish comments and continue to struggle onward.
33 posted on 11/02/2003 10:44:41 AM PST by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote life support for others.)
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To: Let's Roll
If he doesn't like limbo, all he has to do is divorce her.

Somehow me thinks there may be favorable finances involved that prevents him from divorcing.

Just speculation.

34 posted on 11/02/2003 10:44:51 AM PST by EGPWS
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To: FITZ
He already broke his vows. Adultery is justification for divorce in almost every religion ----

You are correct but Terri can't speak for herself.

35 posted on 11/02/2003 10:45:54 AM PST by eskimo
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To: Hildy
How about we apply your analysis to Terri's supposed comment to HINO, after seeing a 'tearjerker' movie about someone on lifesupport, "I wouldn't want to live that way"... (see boldface for modifications)

'Things like this that are said years later are truly not reliable. You can look at it another way: They were just married, living in HER parents condo. Maybe he was anxious to save money so they could be independent, a trait most freepers would admire. Plus, sometimes women's (haircuts) rehab does cost alot more money than husbands could ever imagine. When I first told my husband how much my (salon bill)feeding tube and range-of-motion therapy was he FLIPPED! Anyway, being cheap and being a murderer are two different things.'

36 posted on 11/02/2003 10:46:02 AM PST by firerosemom
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To: FairOpinion
For this, Schiavo, 40, has been depicted as a heartless fiend.

Well, if the ped's are size 9, and the shoe is size 9...

37 posted on 11/02/2003 10:46:59 AM PST by EGPWS
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To: MHGinTN
I don't see how you can compare your situation with Ms. Schiavo's. That's just bizarre.
38 posted on 11/02/2003 10:47:20 AM PST by Hildy
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To: Hildy
Who has paid her bills over the past 10 years?

She has paid them herself. She won that law suit.

39 posted on 11/02/2003 10:49:18 AM PST by TaxRelief (Welcome to the only website dedicated to the preservation of a Freerepublic.)
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To: TaxRelief
What's that got to do with anything? It's all coming out of the same pot.
40 posted on 11/02/2003 10:50:59 AM PST by Hildy
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To: stylin_geek; Hildy
We might be tempted to see another side if there was not money involved

There was also an amount of money that the husband said he would need to perform the tasks that he outlined. The lawsuit was for $20 million. The jury gave him 1/20th of what he asked for and only gave him 1/10th of what they themselves said it would take to care for Terri for 50 years and gave him less than 1/4th of the amount they themselves said he would need to treat Terri for 17 years. She has now been alive in this vegetative state for 13 years. Work the numbers, Terri got the most out of every dollar she received.

41 posted on 11/02/2003 10:51:46 AM PST by RGSpincich
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To: RGSpincich
One of the things nobody has ever discussed is why there was a malpractice suit in the first place.
42 posted on 11/02/2003 10:53:18 AM PST by Hildy
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To: FairOpinion
Note the point: "a girlfriend "

He's trying to hold onto the million. He has a girlfriend - despite his marriage vows.

/**Sarcasm mode ON

Gee, I wonder why he want's Terri dead????

/**Sarcasm mode OFF

43 posted on 11/02/2003 10:57:53 AM PST by neutrino (Oderint dum metuant: Let them hate us, so long as they fear us.)
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To: FairOpinion
He is a nurse who works the graveyard shift, often pulling into his driveway as his neighbors walk their dogs in the moist Florida dawn. He has a meticulously kept yard, a screened-in pool where his friends sometimes gather, a golden retriever, a girlfriend and a year-old daughter

Got to keep up appearances for the courts ya know!

If he wants his "life", he should give Terris parents custody - AND the MONEY to care for her...THEN go on about "HIS" business.

He would not have the money if Terri was not disabled..

So the SOB can give it up if he wants a "new" life...
44 posted on 11/02/2003 10:59:10 AM PST by Roughneck (9 out of 10 Terrorists prefer Democrats, the rest prefer Saddam Hussein)
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To: Hildy
The malpractice jury held Terri 70% responsible for her own collapse and subsequent vegetative state.
45 posted on 11/02/2003 11:00:05 AM PST by RGSpincich
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To: FairOpinion
For this, Schiavo, 40, has been depicted as a heartless fiend

It is what he IS!!!!!!!

Give up the money if you are "for real"

Hope his "supporters" read this/....
46 posted on 11/02/2003 11:00:29 AM PST by Roughneck (9 out of 10 Terrorists prefer Democrats, the rest prefer Saddam Hussein)
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To: Hildy
The malpractice suit is for the missed diagnosis of the chemical imbalance that caused her collapse.
47 posted on 11/02/2003 11:00:46 AM PST by Conservative Me
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To: Hildy
Oh gee Hildy--you're a little socialist-democrat aren't you?

The man is a PIG!!!!

And so are his supporters!
48 posted on 11/02/2003 11:03:52 AM PST by Roughneck (9 out of 10 Terrorists prefer Democrats, the rest prefer Saddam Hussein)
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To: MHGinTN
That's why I think living wills are pretty risky --- what if you change your mind but your heirs won't let you?
49 posted on 11/02/2003 11:07:59 AM PST by FITZ
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To: FITZ
This situation is worse. There is no living will. I never knew courts would allow this (removal of a feeding tube) to happen without one.

My feeling is, though, that if you put it in your Will you must have been pretty sure of your wishes, and if your heirs are worthy, they would put your wishes before their inheritance anyway.
50 posted on 11/02/2003 11:10:52 AM PST by Conservative Me
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