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Rise to the challenge
Barry Jacobs' article ("Time for Duke and Wake to punt," Dec. 8) is troubling. Mr. Jacobs urges a change in ACC bylaws to provide that Duke and Wake Forest play out-of-conference "like-minded" schools like Army and Tulane, claiming that such evenly matched pairings would make football season more fun for those teams.

His rationale is that since Duke and Wake Forest now compete with bigger, stronger programs, there is no sense in even trying anymore. Essentially Mr. Jacobs' article stands for the heartbreaking proposition that, when faced with difficult odds, the best thing to do is give up. I can't imagine the confluence of circumstances that would lead someone to come to such a ridiculous conclusion. One of the best things about sports is that the bigger, stronger opponent doesn't always win. In fact, that's one of the best things about life.

During Mr. Jacobs' campaign for Orange County Commissioner this past summer, he said, "I'm the financial David in this race, while my millionaire opponent has been pouring money into influencing voters." In light of his stance on pushing the little guys out of the ACC, I would love to hear Mr. Jacobs explain why he didn't just give in to his own Goliath.
John Edward McKnight
Raleigh

Ban gay marriage
I was eager to read Bob Geary's interviews with local gay leaders ("Scapegoats of 2004," Dec. 1) to see whether they mentioned any credible moral reason for supporting gay marriage. They did not. As a Marxist and atheist, I am astonished as much by the mindless, kneejerk support given gay marriage by progressive activists as I am by the absurdity of the proposition itself. But the most appalling aspect of this movement is the one addressed in the article's title: The backlash against gay marriage certainly contributed substantially (though probably not as much as vote fraud) to Republican victories in the November election.

Sunday morning, Sen. Harry Reid mentioned on Meet the Press that he expects all states, including Massachusetts, to ban gay marriage. I certainly hope that they will. But strategically, this means that as long as the gay marriage issue remains unsettled, right wing voter turnout will be boosted by referenda to ban gay marriage in the 39 states where they have not already been passed. This issue alone is likely to lead to even more Republican congressional gains in the 2006 elections. All intelligent progressives--gay, straight, transvestite or whatever--should oppose strenuously the advocates of gay marriage, who already have charged like lemmings off one cliff and may be mobilizing for another charge that will bring disaster to all of us two years hence.

I hope that the Independent will give ample space to this debate in coming weeks, but another place to debate the issue is my listserve, which one can join by sending a message to gaymarriagedebate-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.
Andrew G. Silver
Hillsborough

Aw, shucks
I wanted to point out what a wonderful piece of journalism by Jennifer Strom was published in your Dec. 12 issue ("Smooth Operator"). Jennifer scripted a thorough, informative, intriguing and impressive account of this man's legacy of deception.

I enjoy reading your magazine because I am a moderate Republican who likes to see and try to understand how those who don't tend to agree with me feel about the same issues. But, despite the fact that I frequently disagree with some of your columnists and writers, I was very impressed with Jennifer's work. I now dislike this man based on what she wrote. He is a crook and a swindler, and he does it all using his minority status and in the name of God and the underprivileged. He is a user and a liar. Thank you, Jennifer, for reminding me that good journalism is not partisan. Keep up the good work. I will look forward to reading more of your future work.

Thank you, Indy, for providing me with nuggets of insight into how the other half lives and rich articles like this. Great work, Jennifer.
Joel Tew
Clayton

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