Reader Mail

Looking for the Drawing

The missing Mohammed drawings. Stephen Labaton, lobbyist? Peggy Noonan and Catholic coverups.  Financial reform, diagnosing racism, and more.


Re: The Washington Prowler's What Lies Beneath:

Your item in Washington Prowler about my departure from The New York Times last December contains numerous inaccuracies that might have been addressed if your reporter had called me prior to publication.

Since leaving The Times last December I have not been hired by any companies to put them in contact with reporters from The Times or to lobby before any regulator, legislative or other government agencies. I would appreciate a prompt correction.

Thank you.
--Stephen Labaton

The Prowler replies:
I stand by the item, which nowhere says Mr. Labaton had been hired to put companies "in contact with reporters from The Times" or to serve as a lobbyist.

Re: Robert VerBruggen's Diagnosing Racism:

Here is another question: Do the data show anything about the Tea Parties? We have a right to a good answer, because this research must be supported by public dollars both directly and indirectly. And even if the demographers were hobbyists who collected the data in their spare time, since they claim that their work is science, they should be expected to back up that serious claim. For their information, science is not data. Science is knowledge, or its functional equivalent. What knowledge does the Institute's research produce?

Polling about attitudes is almost certain to be misleading, especially in the case of Tea Party participants. The one obvious thing about a Tea Party is that the people are there to express themselves: almost everyone is carrying a sign or wearing some garment or accessory with a message. A descriptive account of a Tea Party should say, "People came with such-and-such signs". The polling work of this Institute obscures the most salient sociological fact: the Tea Parties are assemblies of citizens. Instead it elicits factoids about ethnicity and attitudes. Even assuming that these attitudes could be accurately determined, they are of no demonstrable consequence -- in contrast to the public statements that the Tea Partiers themselves choose to make.

Ultimately this University of Washington Institute, like other institutes conducting demographic research, justifies its work as useful to society. In this case, it was only useful to journalists seeking pseudo-scientific support for fake news. These researchers who are paid for being scientists have a responsibility to their employers, funders, and "Society" to prove that they actually know more about society than an alert participant does. I don't think they can. Thanks to them, we know less. That's a bad job evaluation.
-- Bruce Heiden
Professor of Greek and Latin
The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio

Re: Jeffrey Lord's Jon Stewart Flunks His Spartacus Test:

What a bizarre piece. Did your author watch the actual Daily Show segment that skewered the Muslims? I note, by the way, that the piece does not include a picture of Mohammed, with or without bear suit. Unlike the Daily Show. I guess you guys ain't Spartacus, either.

Shame on you for the most disingenuous piece I've read on this issue so far.
-- Silke-Maria

How come no picture/drawing etc..of Mohammed along with the article?
-- Climb

As the writer notes in the beginning, everyone has his "Spartacus moment" -- maybe for reasons unknown to us, this wasn't meant to be Stewart's moment. Maybe we should all stop criticizing each other. When you feel like pounding someone into the ground, stop and ask if it's really necessary -- how would that be for a "Spartacus moment"?
-- Kristin Pastore
Somerset, New Jersey

Bravo, bravo, bravo!!

I am Spartacus.
-- Patricia

Mr. Lord nails on the head the raging hypocrisy that is liberalism's hallmark; at least he mostly nails it, anyway. My quibble is with his generously unqualified assignation of Trey Parker and Matt Stone to the Spartacus crowd.

While it is true that the artists in question exhibited convention bashing consistency in going after Mohammed, the politically conservative Christian cynic in me cannot help but wonder whether or not plain old personal physical safety was as much the motivation behind the Prophet being portrayed in bear drag as was comic irony. The possibilities that were available to the cartoonists were endless, after all (except maybe for the bomb turban motif that had been thought of before them.) I mean, let's face it, we know based on their treatment of Jesus how, ahem, creative they can be!

My nagging doubt isn't exactly assuaged, either, when I read that their rejoinder to the web threat against them doesn't even mention Mohammed. Well, as Jon Stewart in challenging Fox for something might ask, "Why the f#*@ not?!!"

Moreover, their popularity has got to give them at least as much leverage over Comedy Central as Comedy Central has over them, and yet I've seen not word one about them taking their ball and going home for a week or so in protest over Comedy Central's censorship decision.

Yes, while Jon Stewart unsurprisingly flunked his Spartacus test, Messrs. Parker and Stone for their part cannot possibly have earned better than a C minus.
-- Francis M. Hannon, Jr.

Re: John M. Haas's Peggy Noonan's Church History:

It would seem that Mr. Haas is as guilty of not having all the facts as he accused Peggy Noonan of being. He may want to check into the Bishops' Review Board to see who is still a part of the original group and who left because of the heavy-handedness of the bishops. Also, in addition to pointing out that there is sexual abuse in all of society (now that's news!) he failed to mention that it's not the actual abuse here that is the horrendous news, but, rather the widespread cover-up carried out by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. In spite of what Mr. Haas calls major reform, the Catholic church still has not come clean about the bishops, cardinals and yes, even popes, who lied for and transferred sexually predatory priests. THAT is what sets sexual abuse by the clergy apart from sexual abuse in society at large.

Furthermore, sexual abuse by a religious authority is different from sexual abuse by any other person. Because that priest, sister, bishop, etc. represent God, this harms the relationship between the victim and God. That goes right to the core of a person. I know, because I was sexually abused by a religious sister who was my superior when I was a young sister. My faith in God, my relationship with God, has been shattered. I have no relationship with the Catholic church because I have met too many wonderful people whose lives have also been irreparably damaged because they were sexually molested by someone inside the Catholic Church, and because most of them have been deceived by that same church.

So, Mr. Haas, no matter how much you feel you have to defend the Catholic hierarchy, you may want to speak with a few survivors of sexual abuse by a priest, sister, or even bishop. At least Peggy Noonan is not cozying up to the people who administer her paycheck.
-- Gabrielle Azzaro

Re: Daniel Oliver's Freedom Worth Its Salt:

Lowering salt intake is mainstream medicine for high blood pressure and some other ailments. Before the widespread use of diuretics like hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ), which helps expel sodium found in salt (which is sodium chloride), reducing sodium in food was about the only way to control conditions like high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a killer and is one of the most prevalent poor health conditions in the United States. High blood pressure disproportionately effects the poor and minority groups such as African-Americans and Native Americans.

Reducing the amount of salt in prepared foods, which is what the current administration's salt initiative is all about, would automatically lower sodium levels among all people. In hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, it would likely reduce the risks of high blood pressure's worst outcomes: heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Of course, all someone would have to do if they wanted more saltiness in their food would be to grab a salt shaker and sprinkle it on. Salt is an extremely inexpensive commodity and is available free at restaurants, so having adjusting the flavor of food would not really be a problem.

Major public health education programs have reduced salt in foods and sodium consumption by many individuals, but there is likely a limit to the amount of this reduction. Passing laws that limit sodium content would make it easier for many people to who want to follow good health practices. Laws would also be less expensive than additional health education spending.

Granted, a few people may object to the extra work of sprinkling salt on their food. However, hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions would live longer, better lives if there was less sodium in prepared foods. At least, that is what mainstream science tells us.

I really do not see any loss of freedom here. Morally, which way should a government go.
-- Steve

Say the U.S. government bans salt -- you can't buy it or find it on the market shelves. So then what?

Somebody, somewhere, will watch or remember the movie Gandhi, take note of his famous Salt Protest...and the next march of the latter-day Tea Party will be to the sea where Americans will make their own salt.
-- Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida

Re: Peter Ferrara's The President's Permanent TARP Bailout Socialism Bill:

You suggest that "Washington is operating today as if we have been conquered by a foreign power that has suspended our democracy and doesn't care what the American people think."

We haven't been conquered, though we have been sold out by traitors among us and the Quislings that the once-mainstream media chose and choose to be.

We are the partisans now, those who will reclaim our country from the current gangster regime, including its puppets in Congress, Wall St. and elsewhere.

But, yes, Obama and Congress have effectively suspended our democracy, it seems, and don't care what the still-sane public thinks. In fact, it seems as if they dare the American people who love our country and liberty to rise up against them.

If that's their desire, then its complete fulfillment may not be so far away.
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.

Re: J.T. Young's Health Care Role Reversal:

The only point I submit to you, and it is unfortunate you did not mention this, is the Democrats failed miserably in winning the battle of public opinion as far as their health care bills were concerned. Their emotional arguments fell flat in persuading the people to support their bill. Only the mainstream media, who are always more than willing to advance the agenda of the Democrats, picked up the Democrat arguments and trumpeted them as valid reasons to overhaul the entire health care system. When the Democrats passed the health care bill, 60 percent of the American people opposed it. The Democrats positioned themselves squarely against the popular will of the American people and used brute political force to pass their bill. The whole process was an abomination to a democratic republic. Traditionally, when the winds of popular opinion are blowing so forcefully against the efforts of the government, the government, respecting their constitutional role of representing that popular will, stands down and tries, if desired, another time. Remember President Clinton and Hillarycare; President Bush and his goal of privatizing 10 percent of Social Security (if only he had persisted). But not the case with Obama, Reid, and Pelosi.

The Republicans won the debate on whether or not to socialize the nation's health care system; the people were solidly against Obamacare. What America witnessed when the Democrats signed Obamacare into law was nothing short of tyranny.
-- Kelly

Re: Philip Klein's Medifraud for Everyone:

Equal opportunity has always been a big deal in the U.S, and when used cleverly, it can be a shield as well as an opportunity.

Medicare is no exception; what the government giveth need not be taken away.

Privacy laws built into Medicare Laws serve a dual purpose to protect privacy of the innocent and to protect privacy of the not so innocent.

This is true particularly with the elderly whose main exit strategy is through the open door of death, and the miserly attorneys and trustees who operate as fund guardians.

There is no better method to cover-up fraud than to rely upon that open door for those who would use such privacy to close the door to suspicion, and beneficiaries are as helpless as the government when it comes to examining the past situations of their elderly with respect to financial regulations which guard the practice.

Asset management has never needed legitimacy in order to function but conferring legitimacy and using its correlating auxiliary support of privacy laws to prevent disclosure is harmful to everyone, offering indisputable proof that the government prefers fraudulent and predatory enterprise over safeguards to family, and responsible health care policies, the principle being, "who ever made money from honest capitalistic enterprise?"

That principle is illustrated in so many governmental schemes that resist the objections of more conservative minded people who believe that government should be there to help, not to harm individuals.
Ending the privacy over records associated with the extreme elderly who need protection, and the dead would do much to equalize the opportunity to prevent fraud and mismanagement, and perhaps even prevent wrongful deaths which may precede Medifraud -- also disguised by records concealment.
-- Pat

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