HIS GOOSE IS COOKED
Re: Bill Croke's Thrill Killing:
Thanks for Bill Croke’s article. I would make an exception for the Canada geese though. There are way too many Canada geese and they are pests. They ruin public parks and sporting fields with their rapid fire defecating. Whoever shot the geese Bill mentions in his article get my thanks and I would gladly compensate them for their spent ammo.
-- Dave Taylor
I am writing you to request that you remove the recent article "Thrill Killing," published on 12.11.08 under your "The Nation's Pulse" column. This article contains several generalizations and non-factual statements, a large number of logical fallacies, and in general exhibits a discriminatory, nonsensical and insulting attitude towards two significant sectors of the population: Those who play video games, and those who are between the ages of 15 and 22. There is a bare minimum of citation in this article, and very little of it is related to your contributor's "logical" argument, which is that video games and young people are at fault for these senseless killings in general.
Your contributor then goes on to make a dubious and completely unsupported claim, which is that somehow this senseless slaughter will migrate to murder. Frankly, this qualifies as defamation of character, seemingly implying that somehow playing video games leads directly to murder.
The final claim in the article, that "Video games are mindless, as are the parents who let their kids play them"... As you may note, this claim like all the others in this article is provided with a distinct lack of evidence, and may easily be disproved. It furthers the idea that this is an un-researched, opinionated and bigoted article, and I would hope that such an article falls well below your standards of publication.
I sincerely hope you wouldn't publish an article that attacks blacks, or Hispanics, or any of the other obvious ethnic groups in the world. Gamers may be a minority, but they do represent a significant portion of the population, and contrary to your author's beliefs we are simply a representative group of the whole of society. I will be the first to admit that there have been evils perpetrated in the world by people who play games, but such a statement does not logically imply that all evils in the world are perpetrated by gamers. Seeking to blame any given ill of society on a particular group, be they distinguished by the color of their skin or by the activities they choose to partake in, leads to bigotry, segregation and intolerance.
I would like to believe that you are not the sort of publication that desires to support those ideals, and so I am asking you to do the right thing: Remove this article from publication, and consider carefully before publishing a similarly bigoted, biased and intolerant article in the future.
-- Christopher Weigel
Mr. Bill Croke's column underestimates the potential danger of such persons (who are NOT "hunters") to human beings. Abuse of animals (as opposed to the clean killing sought by real hunters) is one of the behaviors commonly found in persons who go on to abuse and kill human beings, especially the most defenseless among us.
-- James Pawlak
Bill Croke wrote that the cause of random animal deaths MUST be the result of people who play violent video games. He further implied that the people who play violent video games are eventually going to start targeting human beings in murderous rampages. Forget the fact that video game connections to violent rampages are actually quite rare, to imply that everyone who plays a violent video game is going to eventually commit murder is irresponsible at best. At worst it’s simply ignorant.
I don’t condone the practice of children playing violent games, and I feel that the rating system already in place is simply not strong enough. The one point on which I agree with Mr. Croke is that parents who allow their children to play violent games truly are mindless. As to the argument that video games themselves are mindless, that is a common stereotype perpetuated by those who don’t play video games and wouldn’t try them under any circumstance. A classic case of fear-mongering with the new media “bad guy." It has never changed and will never change, since the days when Elvis’ thrusting hips were seen as scandalous, when comic books and movies each had their turn being demonized... with the turn of the 21st century it stands to reason that the newest forms of mass entertainment will have their turn as well. People who don’t want to (and specifically refuse to) understand the media in question just make wild accusations and spurious claims.
It’s not like Mr. Croke genuinely believes that every person who plays a violent video game is evil and one small step away from committing actual murder... one of the most violent games this year -- Gears of War 2 -- has currently sold over 3 million copies world wide. He certainly doesn’t believe that 3 million people across Europe and North America are just days away from engaging in violent rampages... so it led me to send this e-mail and ask, what sort of journalistic integrity exists at your publication? How is Mr. Croke allowed to make such bizarre and merit-less claims?
Then I noticed something specific which addressed my concerns entirely. As I prepared to write the e-mail I saw the ad on your site for T-Shirts with President Elect Obama’s face and “OBEY” underneath...and the graphic of Obama and Karl Marx standing side-by-side like old friends.
It was then that I realized exactly what kind of journalistic integrity is present at The American Spectator: none whatsoever. Just another far-right, reactionary, fear-mongering website promoting “conservative” values (at least within the bounds of the recently perverted definition of the term “conservative” in America).
Despite the knowledge that this e-mail, and the effort in writing it was -- essentially -- completely pointless, I thought I’d go through with it anyway, maybe as a cathartic exercise or...perhaps...it would actually reach a rational person, one of the few who may work for The American Spectator.
Maybe I’m simply too optimistic about such things...an idea that would surprise Mr. Croke considering I, myself, have purchased and played violent video games.
-- Kevin Benoit
Look, I try to be nice, but this time it's really gone too far. I think your writer Bill Croke owes people an apology. While freedom of speech is all fine and good, he ought to be a man and apologize for this outlandish attack on gamers. I know a large number of them, both young and old. They are all fine, wonderful, and non-violent people. This new trend of blaming everything in the universe on games is getting to the point of discrimination, and as an editor you shouldn't be allowing this kind of mindless filth on your site. I'm almost 30 years old, I play video games, my parents play video games and my grandmother plays video games. None of us have ever or will ever go "Thrill Killing." My nephews -- 11 and 7 -- play video games and there isn't a violent bone in their bodies. It's the highest level of insult that this idiot of an author would associate killing animals with video games because it's always been a long standing opinion that anyone that even hunts for anything other then their food is a worthless waste of air. And calling parents mindless? That's even worse. He owes people an apology and if he doesn't provide it, you'll be damaging your own site, because people will associate it with this troll and abandon it.
-- A Very Tired, Angry, and Non-Violent Gamer
A quote from your recent article entitled "Thrill Killing" reads: "Video games are mindless, as are the parents who let their kids play them."
If your intentions were to publish something insulting to a large group of people on a mass scale, then congratulations, you've succeeded. I personally have been insulted by the sweeping generalizations and misleading information provided in your article. The American Spectator has demonstrated ignorant bigotry and should issue a formal apology to all readers.
I do not appreciate being called a "mindless murderer" and thus presented to society at large as such merely for my chosen pastime of playing video games.
-- James G.
AS PURE AS THE DRIVEN SLUSH
Re: Jeffrey Lord's The Tainting of the President-Elect:
I can't imagine Barack Obama not kibitzing on the choice of his successor in the Senate. That's just the way it's done in the USA. I'd say he's being seriously disingenuous over this -- just a fancy way to say he's lying about it.
Of course, this scandal may force Obama, and perhaps Hillary Clinton and other new appointees-to-office to keep their distance from the process.
And at the very least, Governor Blagojevich & Co. have handed the Republicans an issue they can beat the Democrats, and Obama & Associates in particular, over the head with for some time past Inauguration Day...
-- Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida
BITING THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU
Re: Quin Hillyer's Embracing the Oogedy-Boogedy:
Hats off to Quin Hillyer! I only have a few points to add to his fine and timely article.
The "Let's pretend we're Democrats" Republicans don't understand (what should be) the most fundamental rule of campaigning: don't diss your base. Witness (a) the numerous pleas to McCain not to pick Joe Lieberman as his running mate, and (b) the large crowds attracted by Sarah Palin at campaign rallies. Yes, she had some regrettable moments --exhibit A was her disastrous interview with Katie Couric. But she more than made up for this with a strong debate performance against Joe Biden. And don't forget, those who most loudly criticized her selection weren't going to vote for the Republican ticket anyway.
If anything, this last election proves that the Republican Party needs more conservatism, not less. After all, which GOP candidate in the primaries was backed by many of these self-same squishy moderates? Hint: his first name is John, and for a time, he was Chris Mathews' favorite Republican Senator.
During the debates, he basically echoed Barack Obama on the financial crisis, blaming "corporate greed," and never touching on lousy policies that led to the $700 billion bailouts (i.e., granting mortgages to people who couldn't afford it). Neither did McCain clearly articulate or defend his own health-care reform plan. Furthermore, he nevery really touched on the need for good judges, or defending the sanctity of human life and marriage.
And yet, in the aftermath of election 08, the problem is that he was too conservative? Please.
Notwithstanding Obama's rhetorical flourish and McCain being bogged down by Bush's many failures--all of which came as a result of rejecting, not embracing, conservatism, it is little wonder that McCain lost. In fact, his not being conservative enough cost him two states: third party conservative candidate Bob Barr pealed enough votes away from McCain in Indiana and North Carolina to put them in the Democratic column for the first time in decades.
Had the Republicans picked a more-or-less conservative candidate, they might have lost anyway. That is because right now, the party brand is badly tarnished, thanks in large part to a very poorly executed war, profligate spending from a party that once had a reputation for fiscal conservatism, the mishandling (both real and imagined) of Hurricane Katrina, etc. But at least they would have had a fighting chance.
-- Greg Hoadley
Quin, as a G.K. Chesterton fan, this piece reminds me of one of his most quotable quotes. "Christianity hasn't been tried and found wanting. Christianity has been tried and found difficult!" The same is true of conservatism. Our problem is not that we have an antiquated political view, but that too few of us stay the course when we are in office or running for office. The elites among us have forgotten, if they ever really knew, that the American Revolution was substantively a revolution against a form of government, the European form of government, at the head of which was a King, who proved totally inadequate to addressing our grievances, especially over the matter of taxation. Now, we're being asked to abandon the principles of that revolution and embrace Europe again. Well, not this Texas boy, and not anyone with even a passing understanding of what it means to live free.
-- Mike Showalter
Re: Garry Greenwood’s letter (under "Shades of Gray") in Reader Mail's What Did He Know?
I'm not sure what Mr. Greenwood expects from the main-stream media, but while liberals are very well-acquainted with the threats to our civil liberties by the Patriot Act, the "so-called liberal” MSM implacably ignores them. If conservatives depend on the MSM for their political information, it’s no wonder they are so blithely unaware of what is going on. They all seem to know all about the smudges on Obama’s birth certificate, but are clueless about the fact that they have lost essential rights such as Habeaus Corpus granted them by the U.S. Constitution.
As for a U.S. Citizen incarcerated indefinitely without recourse to the courts, there is Jose Padilla. His acts certainly called for imprisonment, but by the Constitution of the United States and by his citizenship, he deserved his day in court. He was held in a South Carolina prison for three and a half years without recourse to a court and on an indefinite basis.
The ACLU and others applied pressure to this case and just when it appeared that it might end up being considered by the Supreme Court, Padilla was indicted in a Florida Court, found guilty and sent to prison in Colorado. If the case had gone to the Supreme Court, the ability of the President to indefinitely imprison U.S. Citizens might have been reversed, but as it is, he still has that right, at least in theory.
-- Ron Schoenberg
FROM AN UNEXPECTED QUARTER
Re: Ralph R. Reiland's Out of Gas:
Leading the charge against the American carmakers is University of Michigan economics professor Mark Perry through his blog Carpe Diem. The AAUP in 2008 estimated the average total compensation for professors at his level was $137,104, the average salary 109,569. The University of Michigan pays a higher average salary of $137,034 to its professors. Adding the average benefits compensation to this base salary would raise Perry's total compensation to $164,569. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics economics professors work 1558 hours a year(of a normal 2080 hour work year). The employer(the taxpayer) cost for compensation for Perry would be 105.60 dollars per hour.
This calculation for Perry doesn't include the cost of health care and pensions for University of Michigan retirees, as the calculation of labor costs for the hourly wages for autoworkers Perry repeatedly posts. Perry intentionally confuses the employer cost per hour for active employee compensation with a labor cost per hour per employee that includes retirees health and pension in order to mislead about the actual benefits of active UAW employees.
On November 9, 2008 Perry helped spawn the stream of propaganda concerning the compensation of autoworkers with the use of cross-contaminated data. His graph states that total compensation per hour for American automaker workers was $73.20/hr, 48/hr Toyota, $47.57/hr management and professional, 31.59 goods producing and all workers $28.48/hr This is comparing apples and oranges data. The first two are management sourced labor costs that includes retiree costs, the others are Bureau of Labor Statistics, ECEC data that don't include this retiree compensation. The actual employer cost for employee compensation for UAW workers is an estimated $40/hr. The ECEC hourly calculation for "all workers" includes part time workers who are less likely to receive benefits and are lower salaried. Part time workers compose about 18% of the work force and roughly 9% of the hours. If part time workers are factored out of the total workers calculation the comparison of full time workers employer cost per hour with the full time autoworkers the employer cost for employee hour worked between these would be significantly closer. The portrayal of autoworkers as the beneficiaries of extravagant largesse is false.
The compensation for state and local government employees is 39.18/hr. 35.9% of government employees are in unions, almost half of all union members.
1.4 Trillion dollars was spent in the past year for government compensation for government employees(BEA). Maybe Perry, snug and secure with governmental tenure, should clean up his own backyard.
According to the exit polls 37% of union members voted for McCain/Palin.
The anti-populist venom -social and economic- that assaulted Sarah Palin(whose husband was union member) from within the Republican Party from the likes of David Frum and David Brooks is the grail of out of touch dilettantes.
-- Martin Vaala
HATIN' ON THE ILLINI
Re: RiShawn Biddle's The End:
To misquote the Blues Brothers, "I hate Illinois Politicians." What I really finding disgusting, though, are the majority of Illinois voters who keep putting the Daley Capone gang back in office decade after decade.
-- Kenneth E. Miller
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