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Yelling the Loudest

TimesLedger Newspapers

At a protest outside the office of U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman, demonstrators said they were angry about the congressman’s support for the federal mandate that all insurance plans cover the cost of birth control.

Engaging in the hyperbole that has clouded this debate since Day 1, Ray Mooney, of Flushing, said, “A line has been drawn in the sand. What we have seen is the U.S. government say to the Catholic Church, ‘We don’t care.’”

The protesters have done their best to portray the administration as an enemy of the First Amendment.

Not to be outdone, the other side has portrayed the opposition as assaulting the rights of women.

Neither is true, nor is it true that the ban on contraception is a “deeply held Catholic belief.” In fact, most Catholic women don’t care what the priests and bishops say about contraception.

It is just as untrue to say that the handful of people standing outside Ackerman’s office don’t care about the health of women.

Hometown Hero

For weeks the eyes of Flushing were fixed on a young Korean-American man who made it to the top nine on “American Idol.”

Heejun Han was not only the talk of New York City’s Korean community, but also became a sensation in South Korea.

His sincerity and quirky sense of humor won the hearts of millions of viewers and at least one judge: Jennifer Lopez.

Early on in the competition Han said he wouldn’t mind if he was eliminated if he go to hug Lopez. That, he said, is the “dream of every Asian boy.”

After getting cut from the show, Han said, “[Lopez] came up to me, with the teary eyes, and said, ‘I was convincing them to save you, but I lost.’”

Han, who teaches disabled children in Flushing, said he loves music and would like to make a career out of singing.

But he added that he “started off this competition to help my kids out.”

Like his parents and people, we’re certain the children he works with are proud of him.

Han will perform this summer with the other top 10 finalists.

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