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Wagle: Fight over class was about decency, fairness
Topeka Capital-Journal ^ | June 19, 2003 | Sen. Susan Wagle

Posted on 06/20/2003 7:50:43 AM PDT by axel f

Wagle: Fight over class was about decency, fairness

By Sen. Susan Wagle Special to The Capital-Journal

My attempts to de-fund or regulate a human sexuality class at a Kansas university received a significant amount of press attention during session, and continues to draw the ire of many editorial writers across the state. My work has been criticized in most newspapers as an attack on free speech and academic freedom. Reports fail to mention, however, that these activities are financed by taxpayer dollars, and taxpayers have the right to demand accountability from all institutions and agencies they fund.

In addition, few newspapers documented the specifics of the charges behind my attempt. They were the use of vulgar language, pornographic films (including slides of the genitals of children), sexual harassment, and condoning the act of incest, all in an attempt to teach "Human Sexuality in Everyday Life".

My allegations were well documented. While debating on the Senate floor, I passed out documents from students who had complained to the associate dean of the School of Social Welfare, the assistant chancellor of the university, the school ombudsman and to the professor himself, all of which went disregarded.

I also passed out a few of the documents I have received from students who did not file a complaint to the university, but who verified the actions of the professor. I deleted all names to protect identities and to protect families from the type of harassment my public informant, my family and I have received in recent weeks since this issue has been brought forward to the Legislature.

Many news reports continue to state that only one student complained; however, the deletion of names did not invalidate the charges or the validity of the documents. Many of these individuals are willing to testify in a court of law if the actions of this professor are challenged in the legal system.

Additional news reports have surfaced that verify my concerns since session ended. On Memorial Day, National Public Radio did a news show about an additional student who complained to the dean of the School of Social Welfare, again to no avail. Several weeks ago a popular radio talk show host from Topeka called to apologize on air after he had eaten dinner in Lawrence and discovered his waiter had attended the class this past semester. The waiter not only verified all allegations, but expounded further on the sexual harassment going on in the classroom, stating men are the object of harassment, in addition to the women in the class.

The university, after a supposed one month long investigation, cleared the professor of all charges and continued to defend the professor, again in the name of academic freedom. The investigators refused to listen to the audio tapes of the class the informant offered them, and they failed to contact any of the individuals who have written me verifying the charges. From reading the report, it appears that only defenders of the class were contacted, of which such defenders were easy to find, since the professor used the class to rally support after charges were made.

My concern is that academic freedom has a responsibility to the public, and the expenditure of taxpayer dollars to fund higher academics in Kansas is accountable to the public and to the Legislature. My first amendment, which was vetoed by the governor, represented the taxpayers well by placing into statute a requirement that a department of a higher education institution that purchases or shows films that are considered "obscene" by Kansas law would not be funded with tax dollars. Many Kansans support this concept and do not consider this is an infringement on free speech. Guidelines for the expenditure of tax dollars, of which there are many, exist in state law.

In addition, most Kansans agree that academic freedom of instructors ends at the point where the rights of students in the classroom are being infringed upon. Students have a right to attend class without having to make a personal journal of sexual experiences to share with their professor. They have the right to attend class without being given assignments that are personally sexual in nature, or without being insulted or categorized for their values or beliefs, their looks, or their sexual preferences. Students have the right to attend the class without being told the professor is personally aroused by their presence.

More important, Kansans who foot the bill for our higher academic institutions, our judicial system, our criminal justice system and our social service system have the right to ask this class not to teach the concept that sexual acts with children are not harmful to them. Taxpayers spend millions every year defending the rights of children and locking up or terminating privileges of those who do not respect those rights. A professor who under the umbrella of academic freedom professes otherwise is an insult to our civilized society that advocates for the welfare of all the defenseless.

I talked with many students before I carried my amendment on the floor of the Senate. I documented and researched the happenings in the class. I found students who considered the class offensive and I also found students who verified the happenings in the classroom, but rigorously defended the professor. While I recognize the atmosphere on a college campus differs from the atmosphere in the work place, I hope this professor's defenders realize that such conduct is not acceptable in other aspects of our society.

I am hopeful that my new amendment, which was signed by the governor, will help to correct this abomination to the taxpayers of Kansas. Each higher educational institution will write a public policy dealing with sexual harassment and the use of sexually explicit materials in the context of a class dealing with sexuality. In addition, guidelines for the teaching of pedophilia will be required.

Again, while there has been much press and much angst among editorial writers over my actions, the state of Kansas, the taxpayers of Kansas and the children of Kansas are better protected and better represented as a result of my legislative actions. I continue to stand, along with many concerned citizens, by both amendments that were passed by the Legislature.

Susan Wagle is a Republican state senator from Wichita.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: Kansas
KEYWORDS: highereducation; ku; sexeducation; susanwagle

1 posted on 06/20/2003 7:50:43 AM PDT by axel f
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To: AdA$tra; jonefab; RAT Patrol; rwfromkansas; Free State Four; TroutStalker; Steel Eye; alfa6; ...
Another KS ping
2 posted on 06/20/2003 7:55:10 AM PDT by axel f
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To: Admin Moderator
I messed up the link. How do I re-do it? Sorry.
3 posted on 06/20/2003 7:57:48 AM PDT by axel f
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To: axel f
Here's the correct link...

http://www.cjonline.com/stories/061903/opi_wagle.shtml
4 posted on 06/20/2003 7:59:21 AM PDT by axel f
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: axel f
I fixed your link.
6 posted on 06/20/2003 8:15:39 AM PDT by Admin Moderator
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To: Admin Moderator
Thank you very much.
7 posted on 06/20/2003 8:16:11 AM PDT by axel f
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To: axel f
Many thanks to Susan Wagle for not backing down. It's nice to know someone represents my views!!!!
8 posted on 06/20/2003 8:44:35 AM PDT by RAT Patrol (Congress can give one American a dollar only by first taking it away from another American. -W.W.)
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To: rglencheek
I'm glad she detailed her difficulty with the state media. They're horrible. I'm surprised they didn't edit out that part. I read a different but similar letter in the Wichita Eagle yesterday. I wonder if it was the same letter edited or if she submitted a different letter to them.
9 posted on 06/20/2003 8:46:16 AM PDT by RAT Patrol (Congress can give one American a dollar only by first taking it away from another American. -W.W.)
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To: RAT Patrol
Amen to that. The article was well written and I support her completely. She speaks my language.
10 posted on 06/20/2003 11:21:58 AM PDT by Sunshine Sister
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To: axel f
Creationism in, sex out.
We are back in Kansas, Toto.

I couldn't tell from the article, but was
this course an elective or required? If it
is an elective, don't take it. If it is
required, they have a beef.
11 posted on 06/20/2003 11:54:12 AM PDT by gcruse
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To: gcruse
You and Toto don't find Kansas progressive enough? Where would you draw the line?

"Deviant Sexual Practices and Fetishes... Beyond the Theories?"

"Techniques and Application of Sadomasochism"

"Introduction to Necrophilia?"

"Creative Abortion 101?"
12 posted on 06/20/2003 12:46:02 PM PDT by Steel Eye
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To: Steel Eye
It isn't up to me to 'draw the line' on what is
taught in universities. If a course is offensive
to you, don't take it. If it is offensive to
everyone, no one will take it, and it won't be
given. Freedom of speech is a course social
conservatives could benefit from taking.
13 posted on 06/20/2003 12:55:27 PM PDT by gcruse
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To: gcruse
>>> It isn't up to me to 'draw the line' on what is taught in universities.

Yes it is. If you pay taxes you have both the right and the responsibility to see that tax money is spent wisely.

Personally, since I am a backward hick, a "social conservative", I naturally don't want my tax money being spent to turn Kansas into another California.

To whom am I denying free speech?
14 posted on 06/20/2003 1:11:40 PM PDT by Steel Eye
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To: Steel Eye
You would deny some subjects being taught at university. What else is that?
15 posted on 06/20/2003 1:13:02 PM PDT by gcruse
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To: gcruse
>>>What else is that?

I would call it common sense.

But that's just me.
16 posted on 06/20/2003 1:33:51 PM PDT by Steel Eye
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To: gcruse
They can't teach the stuff? Says who? They are free to teach it. Wagle never once suggested that they be banned from teaching anything they want. That doesn't mean I have to pay for it. They can fund it themselves.
17 posted on 06/20/2003 3:48:31 PM PDT by RAT Patrol (Congress can give one American a dollar only by first taking it away from another American. -W.W.)
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To: gcruse
Creationism in, sex out. We are back in Kansas, Toto.

Are you against creationism being taught at the University? Are you against free speech. Hey, according to your standard, not only should it be taught, but you should have to fund it (at a university near you).

18 posted on 06/20/2003 3:49:51 PM PDT by RAT Patrol (Congress can give one American a dollar only by first taking it away from another American. -W.W.)
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To: gcruse
If it is required, they have a beef.

For the past 20 years, it has been required that I, Steel Eye, axel f, Sunshine Sister...PAY for it. That's our beef.

19 posted on 06/20/2003 3:51:51 PM PDT by RAT Patrol (Congress can give one American a dollar only by first taking it away from another American. -W.W.)
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To: Steel Eye
I would call it common sense. ..and growing less common all the time, unfortunately.
20 posted on 06/20/2003 3:53:05 PM PDT by RAT Patrol (Congress can give one American a dollar only by first taking it away from another American. -W.W.)
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To: RAT Patrol
You have a point. A course in creationism would be educational, just don't put it in the science department.
21 posted on 06/20/2003 3:56:26 PM PDT by gcruse
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To: gcruse
Or, at least not with your money. Right? So, while we value different things (here and there), we can agree that we shouldn't be forced to pay for everything.
22 posted on 06/20/2003 3:59:28 PM PDT by RAT Patrol (Congress can give one American a dollar only by first taking it away from another American. -W.W.)
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To: RAT Patrol
I didn't say, "Not with my money," at all.
23 posted on 06/20/2003 4:04:26 PM PDT by gcruse
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To: gcruse
So you're fine with funding a creationism class?
24 posted on 06/20/2003 4:05:23 PM PDT by RAT Patrol (Congress can give one American a dollar only by first taking it away from another American. -W.W.)
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To: gcruse
And...what gives you the right to say it can or cannot be placed in a science department?
25 posted on 06/20/2003 4:06:06 PM PDT by RAT Patrol (Congress can give one American a dollar only by first taking it away from another American. -W.W.)
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To: RAT Patrol
Well, because it isn't science. Philosophy? No problemo.
26 posted on 06/20/2003 4:07:37 PM PDT by gcruse
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To: gcruse
But we think kiddie porn and sexual harrassment isn't sex education either. I still don't see the difference. Taxpayers have a right to stipulate what they will and will not fund. That doesn't restrict anyone's freedom. They do not have a constitutional right to use my money any way they want. If fact, Kansas has obscenity laws that this class very possibly violates.
27 posted on 06/20/2003 4:09:57 PM PDT by RAT Patrol (Congress can give one American a dollar only by first taking it away from another American. -W.W.)
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To: RAT Patrol
Taxpayers have a right to stipulate what they will and will not fund.

Heheh.  Stop before you commit democracy.  If that were
true,  liberals wouldn't allow their taxes to fund the
military, and Bill Clinton would not be drawing a
'pension.' 
28 posted on 06/20/2003 4:14:28 PM PDT by gcruse
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To: gcruse
That's why we have political debate. On this sex-ed class thing, it's a split. My side wins a little; your side wins a little. I'm not saying I should NEVER fund something I don't like (ideally, but..). I'm just saying it certainly isn't a free speech issue. They're still free to speak with or without my money.
29 posted on 06/20/2003 4:17:12 PM PDT by RAT Patrol (Congress can give one American a dollar only by first taking it away from another American. -W.W.)
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To: gcruse
What sickened me about this class is that the professor in question won't even condemn pedophilia. He has claimed it's normal to want to have sex with a child. In my opinion tax dollars should not go to fund this class.

I think it's sad that I even have to argue this.
30 posted on 06/20/2003 4:22:53 PM PDT by axel f
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To: RAT Patrol
I do wish the article had said whether it was an elective or not. To me, that is the crux. The state legislature funds the school while prescribing broadly what is taught there. The school administrators are not really at the beck and call of the taxpayer, directly, or else we wouldn't have near so much marxism taught as we do. And if the sex class is purely elective, I chalk it up to academic freedom and move on.
31 posted on 06/20/2003 4:23:40 PM PDT by gcruse
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To: axel f
I object to Marxist economics, too. Tenure sux.
32 posted on 06/20/2003 4:24:35 PM PDT by gcruse
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To: RAT Patrol
I thought Martin Hawver had a great column concerning this...

May 8, 2003
(Distributed to Kansas newspapers May 5, 2003)

Teaching about sex

Looks like the Legislature has finally ended its fascination with the issue that has become, in Statehouse slang, the "dirty professor" law.

Maybe the shorthand that has been assigned to what some legislators believe is—and what may be—a real problem, indicates that there are just some subjects the House and Senate can’t deal with on a rational basis in debate.

The professor is Kansas University teacher Dennis Dailey, who teaches a wildly popular course in human sexuality, one that students apply to take as a freshman, and which some don’t get into until their senior year, so jam-packed is the waiting list.

Most of us who aren’t college-age anymore probably did without the benefit of a technical, social, intellectual course in sex and how it motivates people, and are more than a little titillated about just what such a course may include. It’s probably one of those things where everyone has a suspicion about what the young and limber might learn, and wonder whether it would have been helpful.

But it is a racy class. No mistake or distortion here.

That a few students believe they were made fun of or embarrassed is, of course, not good. Nobody really knows the delicate sensibilities of individuals, at what level a face-reddening experience becomes a scarring, emotional, painful event. That’s something that an experienced teacher ought to know.

But the initial solution by Sen. Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, which might have resulted in the entire School of Social Welfare at KU being de-funded, probably wasn’t the right solution.

A follow-up plan, so far nestled in an appropriations bill, probably isn’t far off the mark. It requires state universities to establish policies on use of sexually explicit materials (generally movies), the teaching about pedophilia (sex with children) and sexual harassment in human sexuality classes.

It will make for some smug conversations among faculty committees about the public stepping in to restrict teaching.

Teachers—especially tenured professors—tend to believe that they are the ones who have a corner on knowledge about what students should be taught.

They are, after all, the experts.

But the professors work for the universities and the universities are under the control of the Kansas Board of Regents and ultimately the Kansas Board of Regents is under the control of the Kansas Legislature which appropriates the money for their operation and salaries.

As distasteful as it might be for professors, at some point the people paying the bills–and that’s both student tuition and general tax revenues–get to have their say. Teachers who are greatly offended by having some guidelines on what they teach are no different than a vegetarian supermarket checker who refuses to ring up meat purchases. They need to find other work.

The most sensitive part of the proviso in the appropriations bill dealing with teaching of human sexuality is probably the part dealing with pedophilia.

Adults having sex with children happens, has happened for centuries and probably will continue to happen for centuries. And teaching about it, the motivations, the reasons, all sounds enlightening.

But it needs to stop there. Because, not just in Kansas but in the civilized world, pedophilia is not accepted, not acceptable, and can’t be merely treated as an aberration. Much as the from-a-distance detachment we expect from professors of chemistry, English literature and geography, there is absolutely no reason to accept that anyone would merely write off as a harmless character trait, sex with children.

Absolutely none.

The implication that Dailey is unwilling or unable to make a judgment call on that topic is serious. There is evidence both ways. And that, too, is troubling.

All the lofty discussion about absolute academic freedom stops right there.

So, is anyone teaching about pedophilia to college students? Yes, and that’s something that students ought to know exists, why it exists and the motivations involved. But the point of the Wagle amendment is that someone ought to be teaching that it is wrong. And that’s something that the university councils, when they put together their policies on just what happens in human sexuality classes, need to make sure is there.

It might be embarrassing for them on a national level. It might be one of those items that "goes without saying."

But it better be said and printed.

Because it’s not just the intellectuals who finance state universities.

33 posted on 06/20/2003 4:25:00 PM PDT by axel f
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To: gcruse
It is elective. Even with your argument, no class should be so free to break state law.
34 posted on 06/20/2003 4:25:44 PM PDT by RAT Patrol (Congress can give one American a dollar only by first taking it away from another American. -W.W.)
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To: gcruse
Well, you and I agree there. On both points.
35 posted on 06/20/2003 4:25:51 PM PDT by axel f
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To: axel f
You're right. That's an excellent analysis. Thanks for posting it.
36 posted on 06/20/2003 4:32:32 PM PDT by RAT Patrol (Congress can give one American a dollar only by first taking it away from another American. -W.W.)
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To: axel f; RAT Patrol
Once again, The Hutchinson News has to have the last word. The best way to view the Hutchinson News is as a comic book without pictures. They are the good guys and conservatives are the bad guys. I think they actually wear capes and masks around the newsroom.

http://www.hutchnews.com/past/06-24-2003/opinion/opinion1.html

Wagle's defense

Sen. explains campaign against ed freedom

In a guest column published Sunday, Sen. Susan Wagle offered quite a rousing defense of her meddling in Kansas higher education.

The Wichita Republican almost had us convinced, too - until she failed to provide documentation to support her claims.

That might surprise readers on two counts.

First, Wagle wrote at length about the thorough documentation she had to support her allegations. Why didn't she supply copies of that documentation as requested? Only Wagle can answer for her non-responsiveness.

But that unwillingness could address one of her complaints - that the Statehouse press corps last session largely ignored the details of her allegations.

A legislator speaking on the floor of the Kansas Senate can rely on legislative privilege to shield her from libel or slander lawsuits. Reporters picking up on a legislator's allegations have a privilege only to the extent that they report the information precisely as stated. The slightest mistake could expose a publisher or broadcaster to a legal battle. Thus, if reporters encountered the same frustration in obtaining copies of the documentation that we experienced, they likely backed away from reporting the specifics.

Second, The News in the recent past has deleted unsubstantiated factual claims from other opinion submissions. But the newspaper published Wagle's claims. Why relax the standards?

The senator has carried her campaign against academic freedom at the University of Kansas from the floor of the Kansas Senate to the opinion columns of newspapers across the state. She made specific allegations and proclaims to hold documentation to back up each one.

Based on our research, however, some of those charges involve overstatement and outright misrepresentation. Perhaps printing the senator's allegations and allowing more people to read them will help establish their validity or expose their specious character.
37 posted on 06/25/2003 7:55:52 AM PDT by Steel Eye
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To: Steel Eye
This editorial isn't quite as entertaining as the one where they called Connie Morris a "storm cloud on the Colorado border" (or something like that), but it's fun in its own way. I especially like their subhead "Senator explains campaign against ed freedom."

I have yet to hear one person refute anything Wagle has alleged. I heard someone claim that the amount of touching between Dailey and his assistant was exaggerated, but other than that, nothing. And you know the media would print anything that would contradict Wagle.

Capes and masks, huh? LOL I wonder what they would use to protect themselves since these people probably hate guns. A peace sign?

38 posted on 06/25/2003 10:48:47 AM PDT by axel f
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To: Steel Eye
Shrill. They are really bad!

Why didn't she supply copies of that documentation as requested?

If they read her letter, she explained the reason. I believe it was to protect the identity of the people so they wouldn't get the nasty phone calls she and the known student complainer received.

Is the Hutch News saying that, if true, Wagle would have a point? It sounds to me like they are covering all bases. They are whining about freedom, which implies Prof. Perv can do whatever he wishes, at the same time they're whining about truth. Which is it?

Steel Eye, it's a good thing you've got an outstanding sense of humor. Those people are jerks! Thanks for the update.

39 posted on 06/25/2003 5:51:13 PM PDT by RAT Patrol (Congress can give one American a dollar only by first taking it away from another American. -W.W.)
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To: Steel Eye
Oh, I went back and reread some of her letter. This is what irked their commie egos:

In addition, few newspapers documented the specifics of the charges behind my attempt. They were the use of vulgar language, pornographic films (including slides of the genitals of children), sexual harassment, and condoning the act of incest, all in an attempt to teach "Human Sexuality in Everyday Life".

My allegations were well documented. While debating on the Senate floor, I passed out documents from students who had complained to the associate dean of the School of Social Welfare, the assistant chancellor of the university, the school ombudsman and to the professor himself, all of which went disregarded.

I also passed out a few of the documents I have received from students who did not file a complaint to the university, but who verified the actions of the professor. I deleted all names to protect identities and to protect families from the type of harassment my public informant, my family and I have received in recent weeks since this issue has been brought forward to the Legislature.

The bold part is the part they ignored, hoping readers didn't remember what she wrote no doubt.

40 posted on 06/25/2003 6:05:32 PM PDT by RAT Patrol (Congress can give one American a dollar only by first taking it away from another American. -W.W.)
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To: axel f
>>> since these people probably hate guns.

They do hate guns, although they have been strangely silent about them lately. They also haven't had much to say about abortion. They must be reading the polls.
41 posted on 06/25/2003 8:02:22 PM PDT by Steel Eye
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To: RAT Patrol
Real champions of truth and honesty, aren't they?

I'll bet she did get a ton of hate mail. She's got a lot of guts.
42 posted on 06/25/2003 8:10:45 PM PDT by Steel Eye
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