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Have you heard the controversy about whether the war in Iraq is a civil war or not? Help me out... I don't understand why many are obsessed with this label and why the time spent over the debate. It seems to me the debate over the description is just a huge distraction. The bottom line is that we have a giant problem in Iraq and it is getting bigger — worse — by the day. Perhaps we can avoid the debate over the label and, instead, focus on what we should do. Let me know if I am off the mark on this... I just don't get it.

I received many e-mails about Danny DeVito — including comments about the remarks I made yesterday on the blog about his bad behavior on "The View." Many viewers did not agree with me, I have posted many of the e-mails. You might want to read in particular E-mail No. 9 today and my response. I could be persuaded I am wrong about this.

As for the court appearance in Aruba yesterday, I would love to have seen the "power presentation" put on by the prosecutor to persuade the judge to keep the Kalpoe brothers as suspects. The judge will rule in the next few weeks... I can't imagine what the prosecutor presented and I so wish that they did not do these things in secret.

The plan tonight is for us to do our show out of the D.C. studio. The only reason I mention it is because it feels like light years that we have been home for an entire week. I feel very rested.

Now for some e-mails:

E-mail No. 1

Just a reminder… Polk County Florida and Sheriff Grady Judd are not only the focus of an alligator attack on a drug addict who went into a pond at four in the morning, but the county where deputy Matt Williams and his dog were shot to death in a routine traffic stop by Angelo Freeland (who lost a shootout with police the next day), but also the county where Trenton Duckett disappeared and his mother Melinda Duckett committed suicide using a shotgun.
Quite a plateful!
Jim Parker
Brandon, FL

E-mail No. 2

Hi Greta,
Again I'm just mystified why someone would rant at you because you've given Beth Twitty air time re: Natalee's disappearance. Yes, there are so many missing people it's a shame they can't all be profiled in the same manner but it's just not possible. So, they'd rather you not profile anyone if you can't profile everyone? Where is the anger toward Beth coming from? Because she allowed Natalee to go on a senior trip and therefore could not watch her every move she doesn't deserve any attention? I think it's a gross case of "blaming the victim." People do this because it makes them feel powerful and in complete control of their own lives. If they blame the victim, finding fault in their decisions and actions, they can convince themselves nothing like this would ever happen to them because they're so much smarter and better prepared than the victim they're blaming was. Hindsight is always
20/20 and I would challenge ANY person slamming you or Beth to prove they never made a bad decision, did something stupid or were guilty of making a mistake. Then I'd ask them if they believe they deserved to die for it. Seems that compassion is in short supply sometimes.
Debbie
WY

E-mail No. 3

Greta,
Come on are you kidding me? You are defending Danny DeVito, why because he has been married along time. That gives him the right to act like a complete idiot and to trash "our" president because he disagrees with his politics. Do any of these so called entertainers realize that he has a family and how hurtful these stupid comments are to them. I can't understand why they continue to express their simple minded opinions to the public, like we care what they think. Just because they have a stage doesn't mean that they can use it to dishonor "our" president. I agree with Laura Ingram "Shut up and sing" or act or whatever it is they are suppose to do. I would put President Bush up against all of these big mouth entertainers, they are not half as educated at the president. If it were up to them we would have been attacked again because they are all weak and foolish.
I am so fed up with the disrespect toward the president. It is disgraceful!

ANSWER: I don't think I communicated my view very well to you. Of course his behavior was bad (do you think I am that nuts that I think his conduct good? It was terrible.) But I am looking at other aspects of his life and thinking that he has done much good, been a good example to others in other parts of his life. In my blog, I picked an example of something that I have admired about him. I pointed out his marriage as just one example in a celebrity culture that seems to have drifted far away from some institutions that I think valuable. You may disagree. Note that over the years I have not read — as far as I can recall — other stories about him acting poorly in public, so I am giving him the benefit of the doubt on this one. Decent people can disagree on this... except I think we ALL agree his behavior was bad.

E-mail No. 4

Greta,
Wednesday was a day of TV highs and lows for me. I saw Danny DeVito on "FOX & Friends" and thought "Who would have expected that the guy from Taxi would turn out to be such a movie genius?" Then I saw the clip of him on "The View" and resolved that I would not see another product of his again. I realize he is a "Hollywood Celebrity" who has a good marriage and all. However, I am a hard-working nurse with a marriage that has lasted longer than his and limited time to spend on entertainment. My time is better spent with another entertainer.
Carolyn Watts, RN
Pflugerville

E-mail No. 5

I also saw Mr. DeVito on "The View" and immediately suspected that he must still be drunk (he did in fact admit to having several drinks with his pal, Mr. Clooney.) I appreciate your comments about him and do agree with you. My only problem with what he did (and many other celebrities are guilty of this as well), is the lack of respect for the office of the presidency. I am a registered Democrat and my choice for who holds that office is not always what I would like it to be, but (and this is a huge but) once that person is voted in we need to deal with that. Maybe it is my age (50), but I have always admired anyone willing to put themselves under a microscope basically every second of the day. I think it is extremely irresponsible and sets a horrible example of disrespect for our children. I wish people of such influence could think of a better way of communicating their dissatisfaction and hatred of our current administration. In the long run I feel it only hurts this country. I love to be entertained and appreciate the job these people do but more and more I find myself changing the channel when the conversation turns political. Is it me or is this happening more now than ever before.
Thanks for letting me vent. I love your show and never change the channel as I feel the news forum is where these conversations belong.
Sincerely,
Karen M. Phoenix
AZ

E-mail No. 6

Wow, I guess today was "Bash Beth Day" on the Blog. It's amazing to me how many people blame Natalee Holloway for getting drunk, getting high, begging to go to the beach, putting herself in harm's way, etc. when most of that is Joran's story. Were Natalee here to tell her own story, it might prove to be quite different.
Stan Delk

E-mail No. 7

Hi Greta,
I was surprised to see your (normally) educated viewers quickly turn on Danny DeVito. Ok, so the guy showed up (allegedly) a little drunk and said some inappropriate things. I cringe to think of the times I could have been videotaped when I have had one too many. (Not that often but it has happened) Yikes!! Those people criticizing should think back of some of the ridiculous things they have said and done and give the guy a break. After all, no-one is perfect. Now if he starts partying with Paris, Britney and Lindsay and stops wearing underwear in public, I'll have to re-think my opinion. Until then, I'm still a fan.
Also a fan of yours.
Debi
Rochester, IN

E-mail No. 8

I noticed Barbara Walters was NOT laughing at the clown-from-hell DeVito on her show. I think she was horrified, being the class act she is, and the behavior of the others tells you the class they are in.
Betts Marriott
Buford, GA

E-mail No. 9

Greta,
Michael Richards and Mel Gibson are castigated (and rightly so) for their racist remarks, but we must cut Danny DeVito some "slack" for using obscenities and denigrating our president because he was drunk — and on a morning show yet?
Come on!
Eleanor
NC

ANSWER: Eleanor, you raise a good point… one that I had just moments earlier discussed with my senior producer as I was trying to figure out what I think of the behavior. In life we make judgments about things like this and it is hard (impossible?) to draw a bright line…sometimes opinions we reach are full of hypocrisy, intended or not... sometimes opinion are reached by attempting to balance many factors and to assign different weight to different factors.

Here is how I look at this (but I am open to further discussion and perhaps I can be persuaded of another view): Richards was not drunk and hence he can't say "I was drunk…that is not how I am." The alcohol did not make him do it. We don't know exactly why he did it but it is alarming…and he needs to make amends for the behavior. Once he does, I think we should accept his amends and forget about it…but first he needs to fix what he did. The plan on how to fix it has to be his.

Mel Gibson WAS drunk and could say "I was drunk and that I am not anti-Semitic… that the alcohol made me do it." But he has an additional hurdle to overcome with many people because of his special situation. He is not just any guy drinking and saying hurtful things. He has a history of great movies but some of his work has raised the question — whether fair or grossly unfair — in the minds of some whether he is anti-Semitic or not.

In light of this, I would think Gibson would want to make sure that the world understood him when he asserts he is not anti-Semetic — his behavior did not help him with many. In fact his behavior added salt to the wounds of many who have suffered so grievously by intolerance over the years and that was what was so bad about his behavior.

As for DeVito — yes, he insulted the president and did not distinguish himself in doing so in that slobbering way. Of course some may applaud him for his insults but the insults do nothing to add to the national debate over important issues. Criticism of our public office holders is important to democracy when done in a analytical and factual manner — not when it is drunken dribble. If anything, he demeans his own views by his delivery on "The View."

Celebrities have lots of advantages in life. They should not squander them…they should use the privileges and advantages constructively especially since their platforms are large. And, when they do stray, we should at least let them figure out a way to make amends for what they have done. And if — yes, if — amends are done, let them move on and we should not put it on their tombstone for eternity. We might want to take chapter from the Amish — they know forgiveness.

E-mail No. 10

Please disregard and delete my previous e-mail. I had Greta's program's e-mail address in my address book and accidentally it the wrong box in trying to send a message and photo's to a family member.
Thank you,
David Sherwood

ANSWER: I so, so, so love David Sherwood for this. Do you have any idea how often I send e-mails to the WRONG person? And worse, at least three times a day I inadvertently hit the button on my phone that re-calls someone.

E-mail No. 11

Greta,
Let's figure something out here. Danny DeVito is welcome to come back to "The View" his "Bush" bashing is edited.
The Dixie Chicks are still trying to come back from the "Bush bashing" and they weren't even on national TV.
We have Britney back on her own not asking for 100s of pictures to be taken yet being bashed for being a bad mother. Let's not forget Mel Gibson or others who have slipped verbally under the influence.(Mind you words that could have stayed under wrap but weren't).
How does Danny DeVito rate?
Lori
San Jose, CA

E-mail No. 12

Greta,
Just a comment on your comment about my brethren in Law Enforcement. You're quite right about putting another's safety above our own. That statement goes for my other brothers in the Fire Service also.
You see, I'm a Deputy Sheriff AND a volunteer fireman.
True enough that I now sit behind a desk and am a bit to old and wore out to go running up into a burning house, but I see my friends daily disappear into the smoke, or strap on that gun, and put their lives on the line, not for themselves, but for YOU. And it my sound ridiculous to the general public, but we HAVE to confront every situation as if both your life, and ours, depends on our actions.
Yesterday, a fleeing purse-snatch suspect rammed one of my fellow deputy's car. No, he wasn't harmed, but inches this way or that, or a little deference in speed... you just don't know. He just got a tore up car out of it. A few years ago a policeman I knew wrestled for his life with a drunk trying to take his gun. If backup hadn't arrived when it did...? And city policeman here lost his life just a few years before that, in a foot chase with a kid for some kind of petty crime. It's a dangerous, dangerous, thing we do.
And we do it every day. Somebody has to.
A good friend and fellow deputy told me not to long ago that there was no way he'd go into a burning building. Yet, he's one of the main guy's on our tactical team, one of the first to go in during felony searches and arrests. I've got other friends that have no qualms getting down on there hands and knees and crawling into the zero visibility of a smoke filled house if there's the possibility that a person may be trapped inside. I've even had a good laugh with a guy that fell through a burned out floor as he fought a fire. And he went right back the next day. And he'll go to the next call that comes, too.
But a lot of firefighters won't. Almost every week brings another line of duty death report. And chances are, this being Friday and the start of another "wild weekend", somewhere a lawman won't be going home tonight. Or ever again. But just like our soldiers do, we accept the odds and go on. Somebody has to.
Everybody's innocent and every arrest is false. Our radars don't work, and we're behind with our quota.
And each time we handcuff a subject it's a case of police brutality, cause the cuffs are "too tight".
Everyone ever caught red handed was set up by us, or somehow entrapped into it. We go out looking for people to beat up and abuse and just love to wrestle around on the ground and get our uniforms dirty and torn. Cuts and bruises are just rewards for a job well done. And it's such a thrill to go into a dark building by ourselves if we think there may be a criminal or few in there. And nothing will top a day off like going to a good domestic abuse case, especially if there are weapons and children involved.
Nothing, except maybe a good car wreck with unbelted kids thrown threw windshields and a parent or two paralyzed by some drunk driver. Oh yeah, and patting down dope fiends that might have hepatitis or AIDS, looking for that used needle that they like to keep hidden in a pocket. The joys of the job are endless.
Yes, there are bad apple among us. And we do a pretty fair job of weeding them out, ourselves. We may not be 100% successful, but the public branding that some of us get, by a public with usually just a little bitty bit of the story, is grossly unfair. True enough abuses occur. Fear and excitement can sometimes override judgment and training. And we have human emotions and flaws just like everyone else. And yes we can, for some reason that has no explanation, do obscenely stupid and horrible things. We are, and should always be, accountable for those acts. But the vast majority of us try so very hard to do our job in the way it's meant to be done. With empathy and respect, but with a professional and skilled demeanor, as public servants. And we must be 100% right in our actions EVERY time. But that brush is broad, and this job can be a very ugly job. Some of the things we have to do are hard to explain, and easily Monday morning quarterbacked. Pictures may speak a thousand words, but videos seldom tell the whole story.
We have to tote around a lot of equipment on our belts. Sadly, because sometimes its needed. We carry a baton, it's for striking. We carry pepper spray, it's to hopefully incapacitate. We carry a taser, to hopefully keep from having to use deadly force on someone. And we carry a gun. It's to protect your life, and ours. It's for shooting people. Warning shots are not allowed.
Al

E-mail No. 13

Hi Greta,
The apt complex where I live always leaves something for each tenant around the holidays. This year it was a sample box of a regional chocolate that is often used for gift giving — it's good stuff. And, I might add, it made a very good breakfast. The maple, vanilla, and chocolate creams were not all that different than chocolate chip pancakes with maple syrup (ok, so I'm justifying things- but now and then, a good splurge can get a day started better). I recently had a complicated knee replacement surgery, and it was a wonderful surprise to have the best breakfast I've had in ages! Go chocolate!
J. Johnson
Midwest

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