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Contribute to the fight against Chronic Hostile Lunacy Syndrome

Hi there. I'm the official non-attorney spokesperson for a nonprofit organization formed to protect those suffering from Chronic Hostile Lunacy Syndrome.

What is CHLS, you ask? Well, let me tell you. Also known by its more informal title, “Get Off My Lawn Disease,” CHLS strikes one out of three older adults, and it's perhaps most easily identified as the malady plaguing former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Though not a new phenomenon (famous CHLS sufferers have included The Grinch, Lex Luthor, Mr. Potter and most villains encountered by James Bond and Batman), it has risen to national prominence since Cheney weaseled his way into power in Washington, D.C.

Perhaps the most telling clue that Mr. Cheney does indeed possess the symptoms of Chronic Hostile Lunacy Syndrome was when he recently insisted that a report outlining numerous examples of torture by our own government in Iraq and Afghanistan were perfectly OK and that, if given the opportunity, he would advocate using those heinous practices all over again.

This, as you probably know, is the very definition of insanity — repeating the same unproductive activity over and over again under the belief that the result will somehow change.

In other words, only a chronic, hostile lunatic would cling to the practices that the classic CHLS sufferer exhibits.

Of course, torturing our enemies is not the only example one can use to measure Cheney's hostile lunacy.

He is just as crazy when the discussion is about other things, such as immigration reform, freedom of speech, military intervention in other countries' business and what to do about the blatant disregard of our financial institutions for everyone and everything, including the future of our own nation.

But this may be the best illustration of how badly Cheney's health has deteriorated. Compare his views, side by side, with another politically conservative Republican, Sen. John McCain.

McCain, as you probably already know, actually DID serve in the U.S. military — unlike Cheney, who employed five separate draft deferments to avoid serving during the Vietnam war.

And, during that service, McCain actually WAS taken prisoner and WAS tortured, so he knows a lot more about the tactics than Cheney, whose only firsthand brush with the subject was during conversations with officials, some of whom no doubt knew what they were talking about and others maybe not so much.

That also may have had some bearing on the fact that Cheney has never hesitated to suggest that we send people to other countries to fight wars that may or may not be in our nation's best interest.

It is true that there's much more about Dick Cheney not to like — including his nasty sneer, which one can only presume he imagines makes him look like Elvis, even though most Americans think he looks like that creepy uncle many of us had who sat in the corner and growled at the kids at Christmas time for making noise and having fun.

But let's be clear here. Dick Cheney is not a bad person. He is sick. He suffers from a serious, inoperable malady. There is no cure for Chronic Hostile Lunacy Syndrome. The best we can hope, for those under the grip of this terrible disease, is to keep them away from normal people and to administer enough strong drugs to keep them from scaring kids and old ladies.

Needless to say, they should not be driving — and whoever it is who invites folks with this illness on the Sunday talk shows to talk about important national issues should also have their heads examined.

Yes, Get Off My Lawn Disease (or Chronic Hostile Lunacy Syndrome) is no laughing matter. Most who engage in this brand of hostility don't even have lawns for you to get off of.

Won't you dig down deep and contribute what you can to this important national cause? For the daily price of a grande skinny nonfat caramel macchiato with extra whipped cream and sprinkles, you can assure some family that, come holiday time next year, their children won't be yelled at by old grumpy-pants.

Former managing editor of several community newspapers, including the Woodburn Independent, Lake Oswego Review and the Times papers, Kelly is chief of the central design desk for Community Newspapers and the Portland Tribune, and he contributes a regular column.

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