- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Epic Cash
"When I was 8 or so, I asked my stepfather what the difference was between Johnny Paycheck and Johnny Cash. As far as I could tell, they could be the same guy or related, anyway. 'Big,' my stepfather said, choosing, as usual, not to elaborate.
"I'm sure he was talking about the gap in talent between the two country singers, but maybe he was also hinting at the bigness of Johnny Cash not just his physical size but his accomplishments. When we remember Paycheck, we think of 'Take This Job and Shove It.' Then there's J.C., the man in black: He's epic.
"When he sang in prisons (and when he wrote or recorded songs like 'Folsom Prison Blues,' 'I Got Stripes,' 'San Quentin,' and 'Wanted Man'), it was to give inmates 'a little relief.' In fact, Cash went to Washington in the early 1970s to testify before the Senate subcommittee on prison reform.
"Why did senators care what Cash had to say about prison conditions? It's not as if he'd done any serious time. In the 1960s he spent a few nights behind bars for smuggling amphetamines from Mexico, disturbing the peace, and whatnot. But he certainly never 'shot a man in Reno/Just to watch him die.'
"Albert Nussbaum, a former inmate at the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan. described the musician's fundamental appeal. 'Cash is real. He has a bad cough and smokes too much. So did most of us who had come to see him. He has a look of suffering caused by a hard life and years of one-night stands in forgettable places. We all had pasts we didn't like to think about either.'"
Lisa Burrell, writing on "Big John," in the May 20 issue of the American Prospect

ACLU tizzy
"The American Civil Liberties Union is in a tizzy again. They are going to court in an effort to halt federally funded school programs that teach sexual abstinence. The organization filed suit against the state for the so-called 'abuse' of tax dollars to 'promote religious beliefs' because some abstinence programs utilize biblical texts.
"In 1995, the federal Centers for Disease Control found that nearly half of high school students had never had a sexual experience. In addition a large percentage of students who have had sexual relations indicated they wish they had remained virgins, and would like to acquire information about abstinence. Why shouldn't the government get involved in helping these kids? And why shouldn't time-honored biblical values be utilized in this pursuit?"
The Rev. Jerry Falwell, writing on "ACLU goes to war against abstinence teaching," Saturday in World Net Daily at www.world-netdaily.com

'Years to plant'
"Our 20s are the years to plant, to nurture yourself in preparation for the future, so when you reach life's inevitable you have the grounding to handle the tasks in front of you. Think of this time as a ladder of discovery into the truth of your own special being.
"These are very important years in your lives. You will change more in the next 10 years than you have ever changed before. You will form your habits, hone your perspective, creating the blueprint of who you are.
"Find out who you are, what you think; learn to listen to the sounds of your own heart. Please don't pound your head against those imaginary walls in hopes to become something right away.
"The people you will meet along the way may thrill you with their precious time and assistance. And perhaps keep a fire under your love of humankind. Who knows; they may lead you to new horizons that will fill you with wonder."
Goldie Hawn, from her commencement address Sunday at American University


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