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My Name is Roger, and I'm an alcoholic
Chicago Sun-Times ^ | Roger Ebert

Posted on 08/28/2009 1:31:53 PM PDT by RKV

In August 1979, I took my last drink. It was about four o'clock on a Saturday afternoon, the hot sun streaming through the windows of my little carriage house on Dickens. I put a glass of scotch and soda down on the living room table, went to bed, and pulled the blankets over my head. I couldn't take it any more.

On Monday I went to visit wise old Dr. Jakob Schlichter. I had been seeing him for a year, telling him I thought I might be drinking too much. He agreed, and advised me to go to "A.A.A," which is what he called it. Sounded like a place where they taught you to drink and drive. I said I didn't need to go to any meetings. I would stop drinking on my own. He told me to go ahead and try, and check back with him every month.

The problem with using will power, for me, was that it lasted only until my will persuaded me I could take another drink. ...

A.A. believes there is an enormous difference between bring dry and being sober. It is not enough to simply abstain. You need to heal and repair the damage to yourself and others. We talk about "white-knuckle sobriety," which might mean, "I'm sober as long as I hold onto the arms of this chair." People who are dry but not sober are on a "dry drunk."

...

(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.suntimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: aa; ebert
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I'm of two minds on this story. First it explains a lot about Ebert's knee jerk leftie politics. Second, I find it difficult to criticize someone who has taken the difficult steps to get sober after being alcoholic.

In Ebert's case I'll make an exception, mainly because the man has no class, even after being off booze for years. I reread his article on "Public prayer fanatics borrow page from enemy's script" from the March 2003 Sun-Times where he criticizes Bush and Ashcroft and as much as calls them equivalent to the Taliban. Not. Even. Close. Roger.

I'll tell you what Roger Ebert is, at least as far as remote diagnosis can tell - he's the dry drunk. Oh, he's not on the bottle anymore, he just ain't sober yet. And after all these years.

Key symptoms - grandiosity, judgmentalism, intolerance , impulsivity, and indecisiveness which leads to mood swings, self absorption, detachment and escapism.

After all the cr@p that GWB had to put up with from lefties calling him a dry drunk, I think it is fair to return the favor. Glad you're off the bottle, Roger, now see if you can disagree with your political opponents without name-calling, OK? You can talk about being a dry drunk, but can you recognize the symptoms in your own rhetoric? You may or may not agree what's best on any given issue, Rog old boy, but your fellow Americans of the conservative persuasion, are NOT the Talib. Remember that. If we were, you'd already have been publicly humiliated by being dragged around a mosque, with a flogging thrown in for good measure.

1 posted on 08/28/2009 1:31:53 PM PDT by RKV
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To: RKV
I'm of two minds on this story. First it explains a lot about Ebert's knee jerk leftie politics.

In what way?

2 posted on 08/28/2009 1:35:43 PM PDT by raybbr (It's going to get a lot worse now that the anchor babies are voting!)
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To: raybbr

Actually...if a person follows the AA program, right from the book.. after living the program for a while.. they have a tendency to turn conservative.

Those who use it to just stop drinking, and leave the rest of the program alone... tend to go liberal.


3 posted on 08/28/2009 1:38:57 PM PDT by gwilhelm56 (Orwell's 1984 - To Conservatives, a WARNING - to Liberals, a TEXTBOOK!)
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To: raybbr
"Key symptoms - grandiosity, judgmentalism, intolerance, impulsivity, and indecisiveness which leads to mood swings, self absorption, detachment and escapism."
4 posted on 08/28/2009 1:41:26 PM PDT by RKV (He who has the guns makes the rules)
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To: gwilhelm56
Actually...if a person follows the AA program, right from the book.. after living the program for a while.. they have a tendency to turn conservative. Those who use it to just stop drinking, and leave the rest of the program alone... tend to go liberal.

Where did you ever get that from? I know plenty of people in CT who have been sober for years and are liberals.

5 posted on 08/28/2009 1:41:50 PM PDT by raybbr (It's going to get a lot worse now that the anchor babies are voting!)
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To: RKV
"Key symptoms - grandiosity, judgmentalism, intolerance, impulsivity, and indecisiveness which leads to mood swings, self absorption, detachment and escapism."

Are you a member of AA?

6 posted on 08/28/2009 1:42:43 PM PDT by raybbr (It's going to get a lot worse now that the anchor babies are voting!)
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To: RKV

Is this the Roger from “American Dad”? Now THAT Roger, I could understand and even have some sympathy for. That creature is flawed and knows it, while this guy from the Sun-Times, well, he has yet to declare his humanity.


7 posted on 08/28/2009 1:43:46 PM PDT by alloysteel (Never let an inanimate object know that you are in a hurry.)
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To: gwilhelm56

The AA model wasn’t for me. I went with a self challenge model for me and I did it on my own.

I knew I was never going to escape from contact with alcohol so I forced myself to be around it without drinking. I even carried an unopened beer around with me for several months. Its been nearly a decade since I last drank.


8 posted on 08/28/2009 1:43:46 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Seniors, the new shovel ready project under socialized medicine.)
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To: RobFromGa

AA Ping


9 posted on 08/28/2009 1:43:51 PM PDT by raybbr (It's going to get a lot worse now that the anchor babies are voting!)
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To: raybbr

Nope, but I got that list from their site. They use the term. I am NOT an MD, either, I’m just a conservative/libertarian who know a few alcoholics, and has seen them dry, sober AND dry drunk (if I understand the definition correctly, and I think I do).


10 posted on 08/28/2009 1:46:03 PM PDT by RKV (He who has the guns makes the rules)
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To: gwilhelm56
That has been my experience.

Sober since 8/4/87.

Or as I am often fond of saying, sober since the Reagan Era.

All I can add to Roger's story is that he claims that he still does not believe in God, but rather just the higher power found in other people. Fine. That's a good start. But after 30 years, I would expect that he would have developed a deeper understanding of God. That's what the 11th step is all about. It sounds as though his spirituality ended at step 2.

God bless him for quitting. I'm sure his life is much improved. But as I tell newcomers, when you work it the way it's written, it gets even better than you could have imagined.

11 posted on 08/28/2009 1:46:24 PM PDT by Repealthe17thAmendment (Is this field required?)
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To: raybbr

What..wake up every morning and know that you are never going to feel any better?
I will learn to live without scotch, but never without the vino.


12 posted on 08/28/2009 1:47:21 PM PDT by Oldexpat
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To: RKV
Nope, but I got that list from their site. They use the term. I am NOT an MD, either, I’m just a conservative/libertarian who know a few alcoholics, and has seen them dry, sober AND dry drunk (if I understand the definition correctly, and I think I do).

You'd actually be better off not trying to analyze/define something you know nothing about. Just know drunks, dry or sober or active, does not qualify you to judge.

While I may not agree with Ebert's politics I would not use his politics to judge his sobriety.

Having been sober for over twenty years I have learned that sobriety is not something that's judged - just lived.

13 posted on 08/28/2009 1:49:58 PM PDT by raybbr (It's going to get a lot worse now that the anchor babies are voting!)
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To: raybbr

I’ll judge who I please thank you, whether you approve or not.


14 posted on 08/28/2009 1:51:07 PM PDT by RKV (He who has the guns makes the rules)
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To: RKV
THREAD OF THE DAY!

DING DING DING! What do we have for him, Johnny?

15 posted on 08/28/2009 1:52:42 PM PDT by Old Sarge (Marking Time On The Government's Dime)
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To: RKV
A.A. believes there is an enormous difference between bring dry and being sober. It is not enough to simply abstain. You need to heal and repair the damage to yourself and others. We talk about "white-knuckle sobriety," which might mean, "I'm sober as long as I hold onto the arms of this chair." People who are dry but not sober are on a "dry drunk."

I never liked the term "dry drunk". I seems to imply that the AA way is the only way. If you are able to use another method or even just decide that you've been drinking too much and need to stop that you are no better off than before, and may in some ways be worse off.

16 posted on 08/28/2009 1:52:48 PM PDT by KarlInOhio ("I can run wild for six months ...after that, I have no expectation of success" - Admiral Obama-moto)
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To: raybbr
I am.

God, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
& wisdom to know the difference.

Sobriety date, October 26, 1975

17 posted on 08/28/2009 1:55:47 PM PDT by blackie (Be Well~Be Armed~Be Safe~Molon Labe!)
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To: raybbr

**AA Ping**

????? Really ... sign me up!


18 posted on 08/28/2009 1:56:17 PM PDT by gwilhelm56 (Orwell's 1984 - To Conservatives, a WARNING - to Liberals, a TEXTBOOK!)
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To: RKV
I’ll judge who I please thank you, whether you approve or not.

Well, then you are completely missing the point of AA and the words you quoted. You tried to use AA's words to justify your own judgementalism. Kind of ironic.

19 posted on 08/28/2009 1:56:22 PM PDT by raybbr (It's going to get a lot worse now that the anchor babies are voting!)
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To: KarlInOhio
I never liked the term "dry drunk". I seems to imply that the AA way is the only way.

Exactly. I quit on my own without any program but you wouldn't belive how many times AA members have told me that I'm going to start drinking tomorrow if I don't attend some meetings. Funny thing is that I tried AA and ended up sitting around getting drunk with other members.
20 posted on 08/28/2009 1:56:51 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Seniors, the new shovel ready project under socialized medicine.)
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To: cripplecreek
cripplecreek said: "I even carried an unopened beer around with me for several months. "

I think that you realized that sobriety was only going to be temporary if it depended upon being away from alcohol. More booze is as close as the nearest store.

My last drink was over thirty-two years ago. I left half of a margarita in a restaurant. I had been recognizing that my drinking was affecting my life in negative ways. That is the definition of being an alcoholic. I decided that I would quit right in the middle of that drink.

21 posted on 08/28/2009 1:57:55 PM PDT by William Tell
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To: raybbr

“Key symptoms - grandiosity, judgmentalism, intolerance, impulsivity, and indecisiveness which leads to mood swings, self absorption, detachment and escapism.”

Does sound like a liberal


22 posted on 08/28/2009 1:58:13 PM PDT by gwilhelm56 (Orwell's 1984 - To Conservatives, a WARNING - to Liberals, a TEXTBOOK!)
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To: RKV
My name is Billy, and I am a booty-a-holic.


23 posted on 08/28/2009 1:58:18 PM PDT by devane617 (Republicans first strategy should be taking over the MSM. Without it we are doomed.)
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To: cripplecreek
The AA model wasn’t for me. I went with a self challenge model for me and I did it on my own.

I knew I was never going to escape from contact with alcohol so I forced myself to be around it without drinking. I even carried an unopened beer around with me for several months. Its been nearly a decade since I last drank.

It doesn't really matter what method is used, as long as it works!

24 posted on 08/28/2009 1:59:46 PM PDT by Repealthe17thAmendment (Is this field required?)
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To: cripplecreek

Good for you. My husband is a recovered alcoholic/addict. He started going down hill after two spinal surgeries in two years. Yep. Followed in Brett Favre’s footsteps down ‘The Old Vicadin Mine-Strewn Path.’

Yee-Gawds. I’m glad I stuck it out, but what a nightmarish hell it was for the year it took him to get it together again! (Ten years ago.)

I went to a few Al-Anon meetings (for families) and what a bunch of enabling whiners! I couldn’t take it, so I did some one-on-one therapy with a psychiatric nurse who is also a dear friend of mine, and I did a lot of reading and research on my own. A lot. We went through couples therapy, too.

I thank God he chose me and the boys over alcohol and drugs. Al-Anon/AA is NOT for everyone, but it sure helps many.


25 posted on 08/28/2009 2:00:59 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Repealthe17thAmendment

**But as I tell newcomers, when you work it the way it’s written, it gets even better than you could have imagined.**

Sober since 10/10/1979


26 posted on 08/28/2009 2:03:22 PM PDT by gwilhelm56 (Orwell's 1984 - To Conservatives, a WARNING - to Liberals, a TEXTBOOK!)
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To: RKV

“Key symptoms - grandiosity, judgmentalism, intolerance , impulsivity, and indecisiveness which leads to mood swings, self absorption, detachment and escapism. “ Pot calling kettle black

As far as I can tell once an alkie always an alkie ( even though we have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body)

What I don’t like about Ebert is that at a level of the press he has violated the traditions and not remained anonymous. There is a reason for that tradition.


27 posted on 08/28/2009 2:03:45 PM PDT by the long march
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To: RKV

Very well said. I’m so sick and tired of these hypocrites who take the rest of us for granted.

And what poor business judgment these loudmouths have. I barely turn my TV on any more. I’m sure their sponsors really appreciate it.

Good for you Roger that you’ve beaten an addiction. Now work on your immaturity.


28 posted on 08/28/2009 2:03:47 PM PDT by A_Former_Democrat
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To: cripplecreek

“I went to a few Al-Anon meetings (for families) and what a bunch of enabling whiners!”

And that’s not to say that I hadn’t obviuosly been one, too. But enough was enough. I was waaaaaay past mad and ready to split with the kids and they were still in the ‘poor me’ phase. Me! Me! Me! Blech!


29 posted on 08/28/2009 2:04:23 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: William Tell

A lot of my life long friends are heavy drinkers. I wanted to give up the alcohol but not the friends.


30 posted on 08/28/2009 2:04:31 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Seniors, the new shovel ready project under socialized medicine.)
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To: cripplecreek
I never liked the term "dry drunk". I seems to imply that the AA way is the only way

AA doesn't like the idea that some can stop w/o AA and some can. I'm not a dry-drunk, I'm a nondrinker. Seven years since my last sip is all the proof I need.

31 posted on 08/28/2009 2:04:38 PM PDT by chesty_puller (70-73 USMC VietNam 75-79 US Army Wash DC....VietNam was safer.)
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To: RKV
My, aren't we being a bit jusdgmental?

I've known a bunch of alcoholics in my years in AA, none of them are close to perfection. Many of them are extremely liberal, many conservative and pretty uniformly spread across the spectrum...I don't understand it...I don't understand how you can be part of a program that dictates taking responsibility for your part and which demands rigorous honesty and still think that government should solve all of your problems...but I accept it just the same.

I know that it is not my place to say that Ebert is on a dry drunk, or if he is "working a good program," that is his business.

I can judge his politics, but I cannot judge his sobriety. If he is working a good program is something that lies between him, his AA sponsor, and God, as he recognizes him. I am not involved there.

I only know that I am far from perfect in working this program and that I have never, ever, met anyone who works it any better than I (or worse, if they remain sober and are receiving the 12 promises).

Ebert is a jerk when it comes to politics...and films...but I have nothing but the utmost respect for this piece and what he has attempted to do. Would that more of the press promoted the spirituality and recovery offered by AA rather than sneering at it.
32 posted on 08/28/2009 2:05:38 PM PDT by Sudetenland (Without God there is no freedom, for what rights man can give, he can take away.)
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To: gwilhelm56
Does sound like a liberal

Or, some self-righteous "conservatives"...? (not you)

33 posted on 08/28/2009 2:06:08 PM PDT by raybbr (It's going to get a lot worse now that the anchor babies are voting!)
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To: cripplecreek

What makes you think that people in AA don’t have ‘contact with alcohol’?

You really never gave AA a chance. I don’t care one or the other. Good for you that you aren’t drinking. We have no corner on the market.

Just wanted to set the record straight. For example a friend of mine is in a band that will be playing at a local watering hole this weekend. me and some of my friends will be there dancing and drinking (iced tea -— not LI—and sodas) and having a grand old time. Nothing prevents me from doing this. There will be drinking and drunks and other folks there. that is part of life.


34 posted on 08/28/2009 2:07:11 PM PDT by the long march
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To: RKV

No you truly don’t. But that’s okay continue to spout


35 posted on 08/28/2009 2:07:46 PM PDT by the long march
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To: cripplecreek

Sorry to hear that. It is in direct contradiction to what is taught in the Big Book. Congratulations. I hope your life is happy jouyous and free


36 posted on 08/28/2009 2:10:21 PM PDT by the long march
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To: RKV
I always thought that “dry drunk” since I had never heard that before, was yet another way to insult George Bush.
37 posted on 08/28/2009 2:11:19 PM PDT by Ditter
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To: raybbr

Taking responsibility for your own wrongs is an important part of the AA program.

That aspect is “conservative” but I admit I see liberals and conservatives both having experience with the program.


38 posted on 08/28/2009 2:11:21 PM PDT by Nextrush (Sarah Palin is the new Ronald Reagan)
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To: RKV
I loathe the man's politics. But if you never knew anything about Roger Ebert and just take this story at face value, it is meaningful and helpful to those who may be seeking help. Spoken as the teetotalling family member of several alcoholics.

By the way, the programs specifically for non-using family members are also very helpful -- Al Anon for wives or husbands, ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) for those whose parents or grandparents had issues with alcohol. There are also the NarAnon (drug abuse) and Overeaters Anonymous programs.

I just ran through the checklist linked at the bottom of the article, and it appears I have a computer addiction; and my "drug of choice" is FR.

39 posted on 08/28/2009 2:11:53 PM PDT by Albion Wilde ("A cultural problem cannot be solved with a political solution." -- Selwyn Duke)
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To: William Tell

Actually the definition ( at least in AA since that is what started this) is as follows “We are men and women who have lost the ability to control our drinking.”

Certainly The Doctor’s Opinion does a better job of giving detail and a Vision for You tells our stories well.

Glad that you are not drinking today


40 posted on 08/28/2009 2:12:30 PM PDT by the long march
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To: chesty_puller
AA doesn't like the idea that some can stop w/o AA and some can. I'm not a dry-drunk, I'm a nondrinker. Seven years since my last sip is all the proof I need.

Just so you know, it's not the "official" opinion that people cannot stop without AA. If anyone says that, it really is their personal opinion.

My philosophy is that you should do whatever works. And for me, I am very comfortable with the 12 steps and the 3 legacies.

41 posted on 08/28/2009 2:12:59 PM PDT by Repealthe17thAmendment (Is this field required?)
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To: gwilhelm56

WHOA! to you. That has been my experience aswell. Just a baby ——9/18/1996


42 posted on 08/28/2009 2:13:28 PM PDT by the long march
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To: chesty_puller

You are absolutely 100% wrong. Some folks in AA may have that attitude but the program found in the book says otherwise. Since that has been the successful model, I follow that ——and it says we do not have a corner on the market


43 posted on 08/28/2009 2:15:15 PM PDT by the long march
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To: Repealthe17thAmendment
"That's a good start. But after 30 years, I would expect that he would have developed a deeper understanding of God. That's what the 11th step is all about. It sounds as though his spirituality ended at step 2."
I know people with as much sobriety as Ebert who still have a problem with the whole God concept. They have as good a sobriety as anyone I have ever met in the program.

YOu cannot judge another person's program. I personally don't see how you do it without a firm belief in God, but my experience is that some do it quite well. Growth in a spiritual life does not automatically translate to a stronger belief in God...again in my experience with others I know. That being said:
But as I tell newcomers, when you work it the way it's written, it gets even better than you could have imagined."
Amen to that!!!!!! It has been my personal experience and I wouldn't trade my sobriety for anyone else's. God works in a myriad of ways in peoples' lives. I'll take my own experience "warts and all."
44 posted on 08/28/2009 2:15:21 PM PDT by Sudetenland (Without God there is no freedom, for what rights man can give, he can take away.)
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To: Ditter
I always thought that “dry drunk” since I had never heard that before, was yet another way to insult George Bush.

A "dry drunk" is someone who is an admitted alcoholic, does not go to meeting after having been exposed to AA, then goes on to live life without a drink and does NOT work the AA program.

In other words, they have quit drinking but have done nothing to change the person they were while drinking. It can be something obvious (anger, depression, etc) or something less obvious.

A "dry drunk" is not easy to quantify unless you have had a lot of experience with the person and know the person personally.

45 posted on 08/28/2009 2:16:14 PM PDT by raybbr (It's going to get a lot worse now that the anchor babies are voting!)
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To: Repealthe17thAmendment

And I hope the 12 traditions as well


46 posted on 08/28/2009 2:17:15 PM PDT by the long march
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To: the long march

You’re an old-timer:

01/19/03


47 posted on 08/28/2009 2:18:01 PM PDT by Fido969 ("The hardest thing in the world to understand is income tax." - Albert Einstein)
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To: raybbr

Actually the book refers to it in another manner. It talks about the nature of the alcholic mind. The story of the man on a business trip who decides it is a good idea to have a whiskey with milk in it, the director who insists that everyone do things his way and only his way.

I have seen dry drunks who go to meetings and are still so grandiose that they must bring their’posse’ with them wherever they go. They always having a ‘burning desire’ to talk and when asked to limit their comments to X number of minutes they most always go 2.5X.


48 posted on 08/28/2009 2:21:32 PM PDT by the long march
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To: raybbr

Did George Bush admit to being an “alcoholic”? Or did he just say he drank too much at one period of his life?

I think AA just wants to keep their membership up so they invented this term.


49 posted on 08/28/2009 2:21:54 PM PDT by Ditter
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To: Fido969

You too. Staying sober today is the only key. Was told early on that all I had to do to become an old timer was 1) don’t drink and 2)don’t die

Congrats to you. It is a big friggin deal


50 posted on 08/28/2009 2:22:52 PM PDT by the long march
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