The very first paragraph of Mike Padovano's column, "An Obama progress report," reminded me of a simple but amusingly true statement: "Everyone is entitled to their opinion but yours is stupid." Now, it is true our Constitution provides for freedom of speech -- which the government protects -- however, this should not necessitate a political discourse based on awfully-put-together talking points, half-truths and no-truths, fallacious (attempts at) arguments, uncivil behavior, name-calling, fear-mongering and a disrespect for our political processes and leaders. Vis-a-vis the crazy town-hall heckling, gun-wielding, socialism-crying, anti-government alternate-reality birthers and astro-turf activists, there is an even larger crowd of Americans who have different opinions on the role of government and different methods for voicing them. We mortal beings -- we, the reality-based, who witnessed the biggest financial collapse since the Great Depression and sensed the effects of a sluggish economy in the high unemployment numbers, the terrible job market and the lack of capital and credit -- we look at the world and see what takes little effort so long as one has the ability to distinguish fact from fiction, and reality from ideological interpretations of it: We are aware that 14,000 Americans lose their healthcare coverage everyday, that healthcare spending in 2007 was more than $2.2 trillion dollars, yet more than 45 million of us are without healthcare. We mourn the loss of 4,326 men and women in uniform to an unnecessary war in Iraq. We have seen rising costs put higher education out of reach of the great majority of Americans and are troubled by the fact that less than 25 percent of college-age youth are full-time students.