4.27.06 @ 12:01AM
VAPORS OF RESOLVE
Re: Andrew Cline’s Pumped Out:
The Republicans could point out that the environmental movement has managed to keep any new oil and gas refineries from being built in this country for three decades, as well as any new atomic reactors. The GOP could also point out that the enlightened ones have prevented any new drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, as well as a small stretch of desolate land in Alaska.
Of course, they won’t. After all the New York Times
might accuse them of “McCarthyism” and Katie Couric might pout on
television. And so, the Stupid Party clings to power for the usual
reason: Oh, please let us enjoy the fruits of office. We won’t
cause any trouble. Please, please.
— John Lockwood
The only way to tell a Republican from a Democrat is the R or D after their name.
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J
Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska
— Elaine Kyle
The President and Republicans in Congress should suspend all federal gas taxes until at least Labor Day, but preferably for six months. To “pay” for this tax cut they should transfer funds from the bloated budget of the Department of Energy that does absolutely nothing to produce gas or energy. Couple this with releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, demanding Congress allow drilling in ANWR, relax regulations for the building of more refineries and building nuclear breeder reactors Republicans have a winning “bread and butter” issue in this November’s elections.
My wife and I have been writing and faxing letters to Karl Rove, Josh Bolten, and Republicans in Congress calling for such a moratorium since last week. Instead of just complaining we’re being proactive something all conservatives need to do to stymie the Democrat Copperheads in November.
If you are one of the so-called conservatives whimsically
hearkening back to the “good old days” of Jimmy Carter and Bill
Clinton or believe things will get better with a Democrat Congress
you need a dose of reality. Here are the facts about Democrats and
gas prices — Jimmy Carter, benefactor of Islamic terrorism,
manufactured an energy crisis that led to increased gas prices and
shortages, in 1993 Bill Clinton was the last President to raise
Federal gas taxes, John Kerry called for a 50-cent increase in the
gas tax, Democrat media hack Thomas Friedman wants oil to sell for
$100 a barrel and CNN’s lefty Miles O’Brien is encouraging an
increase in the federal gas tax while bashing the President and
Republicans for rising gas prices. Always remember Democrat = a tax
— Michael Tomlinson
For me, arguing about the role of the gas tax in high gas prices is the wrong approach. OK, 15 percent of gas tax goes into mass transit. What is so wrong about getting people off the road so that people who want to drive have the highways more to themselves? And fully 85 percent of the gas tax is going into roads. Highway pork? That is the whole point of the gas tax and the highway trust fund — to build more roads to relieve congestion, develop new areas, and so on.
The real issues are how a refinery can’t ever get built anymore
and the crazy-quilt system of special gasolines and now the new
ethanol boondoggle. I never understood this oxygenated fuels
business when the savings in pollution are tiny compared to what is
achieved by the pollution controls of new vehicles. A modern car
makes less smog than a lawnmower — do you suppose motorists have
to put up with oxy fuels because of all of those lawnmowers out
there? And do you suppose the blockage of drilling in Alaska might
affect futures prices for oil?
— Paul Milenkovic
Where to begin? If one segues Mr. Cline’s sure victory advice to the President and the Republicans with Robert Novak’s piece and the letters in response thereto from my fellow readers, there just might be a chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in November.
Cline is absolutely right. The energy issue is a no-brainer that
any small town political hack like me could ram home to victory.
Bush could knock the Dems on their butts if he flew up to the Artic
Wilderness frozen tundra, (in a spring time snow storm just to rile
Al Gore) and announced a federal energy emergency complete with
unfettered drilling in ANWR. He could let American’s see what the
environmentalists, the Dems and the MSM don’t want us to see; that
ANWR is indeed a frozen, uninhabitable wasteland shrouded in almost
perpetual darkness. This reality, in stark contrast to the bucolic
fields of summer wildflowers and gamboling reindeer that the MSM
loves to misrepresent as ANWAR. Couple this with an immediate
suspension of the federal gas tax, until Congress passes a no
nonsense comprehensive energy bill, and watch those poll numbers
skyrocket as the Dems howl in protest. Of course, this would
require the spineless Congressional Republicans to stand firm for
once. They might even have to control spending until the gas tax is
reimposed. Now wouldn’t that be an additional bonus! And for those
Republicans who remain unconvinced, send them all copies of Novak’s
article complete with TAS reader’s responses. For the
truly hard headed, we might even want to throw in a bonus; a map of
downtown D.C. to show them how to get to their next jobs on K
Street. Maybe, just maybe, the clueless will become sages.
— A. DiPentima
Mr. Cline has obviously lost his mind. Suspend a tax on gasoline for six months? Give the beat-up, taxed out, screwed over taxpayer a break? No way, ain’t never gonna happen. Not this century, not ever.
Any other suggestions?
— Mike Webster
Editor’s note: Let’s remember Mr. Cline’s closing words regarding any GOP-led cut of the federal gas taxes: “Of course, Republicans would have to get serious about cutting spending and earmarks before they could do this, so it’s never going to happen.”
AN AGENT IN EVERY HOME
Re: Lisa Fabrizio’s Encroachment of the Nanny State:
Perhaps the cure for this nonsense is not fighting it, but accelerating it to the point of meltdown. By all means, let’s have more and more laws against everything and everybody. Food and drink, clothing and housing, work and entertainment, home and school, politics and religion- there’s something wrong with everything, and there’s sure to be a politician on the make pushing prohibition as the answer, backed by bogus statistics from some other hustler in a “nonprofit” pressure group or grant-hungry “research” facility.
It doesn’t matter how we reach this acme of anti-society. Everything may be formally illegal, as in the late Soviet Union, condemned piecemeal by God’s representatives on earth, as in Islamic societies, or “discovered” to be “harmful” by white-coated activists. What’s important is that once we get there the citizen will be truly free. He can say “alright, it IS illegal… now let’s see ya catch me!” Not even Stalin had that many cops.
Then, too, total illegality will give ordinary folks effective weapons to retaliate against the elites. Is the uber-vegan creep next door on the verge of reporting you for red meat? Then beat him to the punch and turn him in for organic free trade coffee beans (“Good intentions, Che, but it is wicked caffeine, after all. You have the right to remain silent….”)
We will eventually achieve a domestic balance of terror — mind your own business, I’ll mind mine, and nobody calls the health/safety/thought police. ‘Cause I’ve got as much on you as you do on me.
Paradoxically, such a state of affairs will return zest and savor to the doings of ordinary life. (C’mon, remember your first Playboy? Your first beer? Wasn’t the fact it was forbidden half the enjoyment?)
Finally we will achieve limited government and the withering
away of the State because the megastate will exhaust itself. There
will be so many laws, regulations, rules, guidelines, suggestions,
pyramids, and classifications that no one will be able to file them
all, let alone enforce them. Free people will win by default.
— Martin Owens Jr.
Any discussion of the suburban sprawl of nanny statehood should return from time to time to its urban roots on Madison Avenue, and whatever other streets of shame billboard content providers frequent.
The admen need the expansion of the nanny domain simply to keep themselves occupied. The antismoking campaign was but the last un-opposed skirmish in the culture wars. Just as lawyers are not supposed to sue each other, the admen don’t go in for opposing each other’s erstwhile pro bono efforts, especially the ones that lead to huge billings when they blossom into settlements like the ones that pay to browbeat smokers on Big Apple streets and subways. If you doubt the collusion between big brother and BBD&O, in “public service” here’s a reminder from Ad Central:
“About The Advertising Council: The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization with a rich history of marshalling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of PSA campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has effected, and continues to affect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives.”
Translation: If you’ve got the money, we’ll volunteer the junior
— Russell Seitz
How correct Ms. Fabrizio is!
My father thought that if I was introduced to small amounts of whatever was being served as a child and later as a teen, it would take the mystery out of the whole thing. He thought that it was the forbidding, working against human nature, that led American teens into rampant drunkenness (he was from Greece, where children are regularly given wine at the dinner table).
And (oh, dear) we followed the same policy with our children, who are now 26 (and in the army), 21, and 16 years old. They are neither alcoholics nor teetotalers. They shrug about the whole matter, and can’t understand the attraction of getting totally mindless. They already have seen how stupid the abuse of alcohol is, but they’ve also seen it in its proper context.
Silly Connecticut. Silly any state that tries to interfere even more.
And I’d rather remain nameless only because I don’t need trouble
— Anastasia Mather
Staten Island, New York
Another Fabrizio winner.
I remember Christmas when I was a child as being a time of family reunion. But the reunion didn’t start until my uncle from Amarillo arrived to make eggnog from scratch with the final added touch of bourbon. Everybody then had a cup, not a glass, before Christmas Eve dinner no matter the age (and there were lots of us wee people).
For your files: In the Kingdom of Santa Fe the city council is well on its way to extending the city’s no smoking ordinance to include everywhere in the city that is public, no exceptions. Just another reason to avoid the Kingdom where neo-liberals, eco-nuts and the jet plane contrail conspiracy’s home office rule the land.
Oh, I almost forgot: if you are an illegal immigrant you are
most welcome in the Kingdom where no immigration laws are enforced
as a result of council ordinance. I’m pretty sure illegal aliens
can smoke anywhere they want otherwise their sensitivities might be
offended. So, come one alien, come all, enjoy free schooling, free
medical care, light up a ciggy, and have a grand time.
— Nelson Ward
Ribera, New Mexico
I can understand and sympathize with Ms. Fabrizio in her thesis against the nanny state culture in our country. That said, however, I was under the impression that it was an unlawful act to serve alcoholic beverages to minors in almost every state in our union.
I know that, here in New Hampshire, if you buy a keg and dispense its contents to your child’s high school friends at his/her birthday party, you are subjecting yourself to the whims of law enforcement. There are stories in the MSM every spring about cops charging some parents with serving alcohol to minors at a graduation party, or some such.
Heck, even a hundred years ago when I was young, law enforcement intervened in such revelry in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., where I grew up. Some of my acquaintances had parents that would allow their offspring to imbibe on a limited basis, and they had to be careful lest the authorities decide to enforce the law against such action.
I don’t know of anywhere that law enforcement steps in to stop Mom and Dad from letting teen age Johnny have a little wine or a beer at a family dinner or get together. They simply do not have the resources to try to enforce each and every such incident. Unfortunately, without such laws, irresponsible parents are all too eager to let their offspring and their friends get totally drunk at parties in their homes. The attitude is that, as long as the kids don’t drive, no harm is done. Unfortunately, there are numerous parents that have a total hissy fit about there kids being around smoking, but see no real harm in the kid “doing a little weed.”
Ms. Fabrizio’s instincts against “nanny state” laws are a fine
thing. Her railing against this particular one seems at least two
and maybe three generations late to me.
— Ken Shreve
I suppose that the Jewish Seder will fall under Connecticut’s laws,
and be banned by the state as a stupid religious observance that no
one but fanatics would ever force on their poor, unwilling
children? Hurrah for the state. All bow before the state, our
Lisa Fabrizio’s question, “Is the nanny state capable of love for
anything but its own aggrandizement?” has the same answer
regardless of whose “state” it is. The “state” as commonly defined
has but one purpose and that is the acquisition of power if left
unchecked. All forms of tyranny seek to control the production of
goods and services, the flow of information, the care and feeding
of children and any means that will make the largest portion of the
population dependent on it. I would not call Connecticut a nanny.
Go back and re-read 1984 Lisa and see if you still think
Connecticut and much of the Northeast Corridor still looks like
your Nanny? It looks like something else to me.
— Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia
Lisa must have grown up in a soft Italian house. We spiked our wine
with soda! We pressed our own wine.
— Diamon Sforza
SOUNDS OF SILENCE
Re: Mark Coppenger’s The Curious Rationale for a “Day of Silence”:
The absolute silliness of the entire scheduled affair is so
surreal that I had to read it twice to be sure of what I was
seeing. I would love to find a way to not have to listen to the
constant bleating of “gays and lesbians,” but I just cannot seem to
avoid the noise that they constantly make. I know that they have a
constitutional right to speak, but do I have a constitutional duty
to have to hear them? And another thing: How about equal time and
sound for those bestiality folks? Don’t sheep and goats have a
constitutional right to be heard? Here is my suggestion for all of
you depressed silent homosexuals: Rent a hall, get a bunch of
bullhorns, and have a party. Shout to your heart’s content. Shout
until your vocal chords are raw. I promise not to come near the
hall, and I promise not to tell anyone about your gathering.
— Joseph Baum
Mr. Coppenger’s article fails to fully appreciate the bright side
of the “Day of Silence.” As Pat Buchanan has pointed out, “the love
that dare not speak its name” has become the love that won’t shut
up. Now, if we could extend this program all year ‘round, it would
be a most welcome respite to these tiresome and tireless
narcissists. The more ominous aspect is the classic, leftist
strategy of indoctrinating our youth in the same fashion of the
Hitler Youth, Young Pioneers, and similar ilk who wish to drive a
wedge between kids and parents to break the “bourgeoisie” influence
of the latter on the former. And, need it be said, this behavior is
biologically a dead-end, and eternal recruitment is the price for
— William J. Dye, Esq.
While I have to admit that Mark Coppenger has chosen a perfect
forum to vent his homophobic religious extremist rage, and
political correctness is certainly annoying to people of all
persuasions, I don’t think Mark has much of a handle on
homosexuality. It is about as close to fact as anything that the
majority of homosexuals have no biological choice in their
inclinations. Does Mark think that Phyllis Schlafly and Dick Cheney
were bad parents? Science has come a long way since burning sulfur
supposedly rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah, and frankly I find it
more enlightening than religious dogma. Gays and lesbians deserve
just as much respect as any minority. Perhaps Mark thinks we should
get rid of handicapped parking! This country is about tolerance,
— Paul Dorell
Highland Park, Illinois
I suppose we ought to enlist the ACLU to apply for an injunction
against Chapin’s day of silence. As the courts have “proved”
before, silence can be used for prayer. If a minute of silence in a
school is an endorsement of religion, then a day of silence
comprises of 1,440 endorsements of religion. The silence tramples
atheist rights! Homosexual rights are trampled if you don’t respect
the day of silence! But if you’re a gay atheist, do you trample
HORATIO ALGER, TAKE NOTE
Re: Quin Hillyer’s American Dreaming:
Spot on. Bravo!
— John Nelson
Quin, you hit a home run with your dissection of the Parade piece. Thank you!
I read the headline in Parade, scanned the article, laughed and threw the sucker in the trash. As a retired CPA, among other careers, I remember a long time ago someone told me the following: Ask an accountant, or statistician, to add up a column of numbers and their response will be to ask back, “what do you want the answer to be?”
And thanks for your regular entries in the TAS blog.
The blog has become my daily source of useful current
— Nelson Ward
Ribera, New Mexico
Amen, amen, amen! This is how conservatives should be writing and
talking to remind the disgruntled/disenchanted in the Republican
base just how good things are under President Bush.
— Michael Tomlinson
What do you expect from Parade magazine? It is a lightweight throw-away rag, stuffed in the back of a Sunday paper because it cannot sell as a stand alone. As a publication, its content is vapid puff pieces simply ingratiating itself to celebrity adornment. They offer nothing of news value. They stay “fluffy” in order to get decent celebrity pics for their lame articles.
That article probably appeared because they failed to sell
enough advertising that month.
— P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan
SEE NO EVIL PRESIDENCY
Re: The Prowler’s McCarthy in Denial:
The Prowler notes a “former Bush administration staffer” who says that damaging leaks have been coming out of the gubmint ever since the 2004 election, against Bush and Republicans. I see this as a demonstration of the total cluelessness of the whole Bush entourage. These bureaucratic leaks against the Bush administration have been going on since before they actually moved into the White House. Hey, if you ignore it and pretend that it isn’t happening, then maybe it was all a dream and you do not need to defend yourself or your policy. That gives you more time to “dis” your base voters.
REMEMBER THE ALAMO — BUSH WON’T
— Ken Shreve
Re: Adam White’s Schlesinger Fails History:
I too was appalled by Schlesinger’s misunderstanding (or deliberate distortion) of history to suit his thesis. Here’s what I wrote to the Post:
I don’t usually bother responding to articles as grotesquely one-sided and patently absurd as this, and I’m not going to waste much time on this one either. But because Schlesinger is still regarded (in some circles) as a serious mind, I figure at least a few words are warranted to show that he is not.
Schlesinger says that “…Presidents Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower, veterans of the First World War, explicitly ruled out preventive war against Joseph Stalin’s attempt to dominate Europe.” Really. I must have read the wrong history books, for I was unaware of Stalin’s incursions into France, Italy, Spain, et al. If Mr. Schlesinger is referring to Eastern Europe he should have made that clear, as well as noting that in the post-war period, whether through formal concession or unspoken understanding, the West agreed to a Soviet sphere of influence in Eastern Europe as its portion of the spoils of war. There never was any serious consideration of preventive war, at least insofar as Eastern Europe was concerned, because by the agreements reached at the Potsdam Conference most of it had already been given away to the Soviets. It was a fait accompli, so there was nothing to go to war over.
Schlesinger goes on to state that the rationale for the Iraq war was based on “fantasy, deception, and self-deception.” That’s it, no support for the charge needed; Schlesinger says it so it must be true. Well, hardly. No serious observer doubts that in the period between the two Iraq wars Hussein did have WMD, and had in fact used them against the Kurds. No serious observer denies that Iraq was being used as a training ground for terrorists. Nor does any serious observer now deny that there were in fact contacts between Hussein’s regime and al-Qaeda. These are self-evident or provable facts, as opposed to the “fantasy, deception, and self-deception” which Schlesinger uses to level his ridiculously broad charge against the President.
Finally, to go from the ridiculous to the totally divorced from reality, Schlesinger says that a war with Iran would likewise be based on “fantasy, deception, and self-deception.” What planet is this man living on? Are the increasingly virulent words of Ahmadinejad a fantasy? Is Iran’s hell-bent-for-leather nuclear development program really to provide cheap energy for its citizens, and its concurrent development and/or acquisition of delivery systems therefore just a deception? Are Iran’s increasing attempts to undo what we have worked so hard to accomplish in Iraq mere self-deception on our part?
It’s rather pathetic that Schlesinger, still trading on (and
still pushing) the so-called Kennedy legacy, apparently believes he
can get away with such slop. It’s even more pathetic that the
Washington Post apparently is more than happy to try and
help him out. In any event, it just won’t wash.
— Charles R. Vail
Reading “Schlesinger Fails History” by Adam White prompts me to ask
this. Given that the best way to get really good at something is
lots of practice and experience, would we want the U.S. to reach a
point where invading other countries, crushing their armed forces
and reconstructing their government and society to meet our
security needs becomes “just all in a day’s work”?
Any mention of George W. Bush and Abraham Lincoln in the same
breath is heresy and sacrilege. Any mention of the righteous cause
of the Civil War and the Iraqi war in the same breath is worse than
sacrilege. Any comparison of the greatest president with the
weakest and most dangerous president is folly and insult, and any
effort to glorify and make into a person of worth a man who has
committed the evils of George W. Bush shows a lack of political
acumen and understanding of truth and common sense.
Since the President is “prevented” from independent action, maybe
Congress could come up with a way of “preventing” certain old
professors from wearing frumpy bow ties, or do we have to go to the
— Mike Showalter
Re: Paul Chesser’s Moussaoui’s Hot Destination:
“Moussaoui’s Hot Destination” … great article. Some men’s destruction is reserved for them. They’ve hardened their hearts… and hardened their hearts… and then God hardens their hearts…
While postmodernism continues to enslave the masses, repudiating all objective, universal or fundamental truth, and the church sits idle, there is a remnant of unashamed and bold believers in the only true and living God, Jesus Christ, who speak up and speak out. Thank you for your righteous judgment. Islam is an attack against Jesus Christ. It is anti-Christian. It is anti-Israel. And I’m quit comfortable stating terrorism is as fundamental to Islam as the Ten Commandments are to Christianity. Call me a radical, but history and objective reasoning stand by my side.
And while I understand “we wrestle not against flesh and blood,”
and “God shall bring them down into the pit of destruction,” my
indignation rages and frustration deepens. Articles as yours are
light unto this world. Keep the fight brother, and continue to
press in the spirit of Philippians 1:20, “According to my earnest
expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but
that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be
magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death.”
THE RUMSFELD FORCE
Re: Jed Babbin’s Fighting for a Ticket on the Titanic:
From what I know, one of the goals of Secretary Rumsfeld in modernizing the United States military was the ability to strike quickly anywhere in the world.
I believe that the plan used in Afghanistan was appropriate and that a large “Soviet-style” force was unnecessary. The Taliban were removed from power, and the nation is fairly stable after the ouster.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The invasion force in Iraq was quickly deployed and highly mobile. The actual ground fighting between the Iraqi Armed Forces and the U.S. Armed Forces seemed to have ended rather quickly, much like the First Iraq War. Yet, this similar effect was achieved with far fewer soldiers. Perhaps bigger isn’t necessarily better.
But, what about the resulting occupation? There were over half a million troops participating in the U.N. coalition during the First Iraq War. Now, there is less than half that number, and these soldiers are occupying instead of fighting.
Do you think that a large force is required for successful occupation?
Thanks for your time, and I look forward to hearing from
— Alex Yang
Jed Babbin replies:
You have hit on one of the central issues, and it’s not susceptible of a short answer. For now, let this suffice. Occupation — the American form, not the imperial form — is what you do to a pacified nation while it forms a new government. In this case, Iraq was never pacified thanks to the remnant Baathists, the Sunnis and their terrorist allies who prepared for the invasion by planning and organizing a terrorist campaign. If we intended to overwhelm and terminate the insurgents, the force we had was inadequate, and the way we used it was as well. Ending the insurgency means following it to its base of support. Which is Syria and Iran. We are, in one important way, making the same mistake we made in Vietnam, which was to allow sanctuaries and external support. If you don’t intend to remedy that mistake, it makes no difference if your force is small or large. It won’t accomplish that mission.
Re: Jay D. Homnick’s Hu Are We Fooling?:
Do you really think that it would take the Secret Service a full two minutes to subdue a screeching “protester”? Remember now that when GWB went to China he was embarrassed twice — once with the locked door and another when they had six angry Chinese “students” asking Bush hostile questions. And don’t forget about that hijacked U.S. surveillance plane also. I don’t think they set out with any kind of agenda — they just wanted to embarrass Hu and make the left go bonkers that their fearless leader was treated so poorly.
I think the only reason for Hu’s trip was to return the favor. Hu didn’t get the full-boat evening formal dinner that is typical for most significant world leaders. So there’s one embarrassment on Hu. Next was the screeching so-called protester. Now that’s two embarrassments on Hu — you know, he’s the Chinese leader — Hu is the leader. Right. The guy Hu runs China. Yes he certainly does. Hu does. I’m telling you it’s Hu. Well if I knew I wouldn’t be asking you.
Sorry just could not resist.
I must respectfully disagree with Mr. Warshawsky’s argument with “To Tell the Truth.” While there is no Truth that is shared by all people, at all times in history, what people believe about the Truth does not change whether or not it is true. While different cultures and civilizations, both in the past and at present, have had very different understandings of good and evil, virtue and vice, the meaning of life, and so on, their (and our) opinion of what is real does not change what truly is. It is merely an opinion.
I would recommend him to Professor C.S. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man, in which he points out that the debate over whether a deed is just or courageous, whether an act is temperate or prudent does not depend on what people say about it, if it were so then there would be no moral virtue in choosing one way over another. While today’s radical Islamists, to take the most pointed example, have very different answers to the question of “What is Truth?” than Americans and Westerners like ourselves they do not doubt that there is Truth, only the nature of that truth.
Hence, Mr. Warshawsky does not quite get it right when he asserts that “…it is a shared understanding (italics his) of truth and virtue that bind men together and sustain civilizations.” These understandings can be quite different — in ways that have enormous implications for the quality of human life on this planet, but no matter what people believe the Truth is still out there and a culture that believes in a search for absolute Truth is what keeps us together. I for one have no hesitation in saying that our way of life is better than the Islamist way of life, and that we must fight to ensure that our way of life prevails in the ongoing clash of civilizations.
Thus, the problem with university dogma about “diversity” is its philosophical foundations. As a matter of historical fact, people and cultures are indeed different in their opinions, values, habits, customs, and beliefs, and no culture has ever had a set that exclusively held to the Truth. The “relativists” are correct on this point. Where they are wrong, however, is in failing to recognize that a way of life that focuses on Truth will always survive and is superior to one that rejects Truth. I firmly believe that our way of life is closer to the Truth than any other, requiring defending against the barbarian onslaught that is radical Islam (as well as against other dangerous and corrosive ideologies).
The universities’ failure, therefore, is that they do not teach
that there is absolute Truth. Evil can be done in the name of even
the best ideas, values — and patriotism, but if universities
taught a philosophy that included critical analysis of ideas rather
than a knee-jerk rejection of one’s political or philosophical
opponents, then what originally bound Americans and Westerners
together would sustain our glorious civilization.
— Troy Harmon
Albuquerque, New Mexico
By Bruce Karlson’s logic the Blue States of the U.S. should be
able to secede from what has become a pale shadow of what was a
great nation in the 1950s and '60s and to some extent the 1980s.
Having seen simpletons from the south like Carter, Clinton, and the
two Bushes, can the U.S. afford more ideological, bible-bashing,
red-neck Commanders-In-Chief? How I long for the days of Ike and
FDR and those irrepressible men, Truman, and Reagan. Those were
days when leaders were men before politicians, smart before
ideological and didn’t buy into the darker angels of prejudice and
belligerence but tried to ensure one’s own house was in order
before renovating others!
— Nathan Maskiell
LENNY THE GOALIE
Re: Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder’s Insult Law:
Regarding the following statement in the most recent column posted online: “That is why there are also no Jewish hockey players…”
Although artistic license and humor have their place, they don’t
deserve reinforcement at the expense of facts. There are, indeed,
several professional hockey players who are Jewish. Mattieu
Schneider, Ronnie Stern, Steve Dubinsky, and Jeff Halpern are
— Judith M. Backover
BACK TO CIVICS
Re: Ben Stein’s Deep Throat and Genocide:
Mr. Stein is sooooo right on the money. Nixon was a
great President of the U.S. The Dems continue to demonstrate their
disdain for peace and freedom among peoples in the world by
demeaning the U.S. and Bush to such an obvious point that any U.S.
citizen that fails to recognize their treasonous policies should be
sentenced to repeating their third grade civics classes.
KATRINA NUMBER CRUNCHING
Re: Jed Babbin’s Reconstruction Redux:
In reference to the article “Reconstruction Redux” by Jed Babbin (9/19/2005).
Babbin wrote: “One FEMA report said the LOHSEP couldn’t account for more than 90% of $15 million in FEMA funds it had awarded to Louisiana contractors.”
The phrase “more than 90%” seems ambiguous.
Is “more than 90%” meant to express a more exact figure slightly over 90%… something like 90.8% for example? Meaning that over 90% over the money could NOT be accounted for?
Or does it mean that LOHSEP could not account for the last 10% of the funds, and that it COULD account for the first 90%?
I’m citing the article for a term paper and want to make sure I
paraphrase correctly… by the way, love the Spectator. I
read online every morning over breakfast. Good stuff. Keep it
— Cara Davies
Notre Dame ‘09
Jed Babbin replies:
My recollection of the research I did — and I can’t redo it right now — was the 90% figure referred to the amount unaccountable by LOHSEP. The 10% was what they could account for. Many thanks for the kind words.
A TIME FOR BEN
Re: Ben Stein’s Greetings From Rancho Mirage:
I am a Gunnery Sergeant in the Marine Corps. I was just forwarded an article titled “Greeting From Rancho Mirage” authored by Ben Stein.
On behalf of my fellow Marines and sister service members I would like to thank Mr. Stein for his support.
“All gave some, some gave all”
— GySgt Walker, S.M.
Thank you so much for writing an article that emphasizes the
importance of the tremendous sacrifice that I’m seeing in the
Middle East as we speak. The media has done nothing to shed proper
praise on these young people that have taken a global conflict and
condensed it into a region that may provide the entire world with
some safety and freedom. I consider myself fortunate to be an
American, and I don’t let a day go by where I fail to be thankful
for it, and I do feel undeserving of it. I once went off to war
voluntarily, and served in the rivers of Vietnam. When I returned,
I received less than a polite welcome by strangers and some
friends. I could not bear to see that happen again to these young
people whom I thank God for. Thank you for writing a positive
article for them, and their families.
— Thomas E. Christopher
I just had to take a moment to send you a message and let you know
how much I appreciated your letter to our service members (and
indirectly to all the family members who support them). My husband
received your letter from a fellow airwing commanding officer
currently deployed with him…. All of the messages from Generals,
Admirals, Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, etc., held the same tone,
“Thank you.” It truly means so much, to all our loved ones who
serve and sacrifice, to know that individuals such as yourself are
in support of what they do.
— Alison Thompson
Thank you for your wonderful piece, “Greetings From Rancho Mirage.”
It truly made this old fighter pilot’s day.
— Phil Handley, Colonel, USAF (Ret)
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