Reader Mail

If Slogans Were Jobs

Obama's planning. Athletes these days. Florida zealots. Plus more.

8.15.08

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RAINBOW ECONOMY
Re: Peter Ferrara's Flower Power:

Compliments to Mr. Ferrara for his discussion of Mr. Obama's economic plans for us. He would have been even more correct if he had included the Democrat Party as an equal driving force for changing our economic system to a complete command-and-control system.

The Democrat party, and Mr. Obama, are all about solidifying and strengthening political power and not helping people. Mr. Obama, if elected, will nominate, and the Democrats will confirm, the most liberal people possible for judges and then attacks on the Constitution will increase. The ACLU and the environmental non-profit lawyers will lay down a perfect barrage of lawsuits to remove whatever economic freedoms remain in our current days of already extensive regulation.

Dare I say we are looking at a looming socialist/communist/marxist future?
-- Nelson Ward
Cowles, New Mexico

Peter Ferrara wonders how much "the American people will suffer" before they realize that Democrat-style socialism is a sham. The answer is simple: as much as they deserve to, if they willingly vote these redistributionist hacks into, or back into, office.
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

Wow! I have been touting this same eventual outcome since reading and hearing what the messiah and the dumbocrats have been spoon feeding his mindless supporters. There can be no doubt now that Obama is indeed at best a socialist, although given his and his followers inclination to rule certain topics of conversation as off limits lest apostates offend his eminence or question his greatness, it appears to me the road to a liberal/socialist fascism would be on a slippery slope to hell. I agree with Mr. Ferrara that it wouldn't take long for Americans to rise up and kick the messiah and his socialism to the curb, unfortunately the current state of the world has a short learning curve given the Islamic threat, the new Russian bear, etc. In short, I worry we don't have a big enough window to be able to afford playing utopian games with a man who either clearly has no idea what he's doing...or worse.
-- Stuart Reed
Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan

A kudos (it's singular) to Peter Ferrara for coming as close as I've seen in print to Obama's projected attack on the living standards of "ordinary" Americans. There's really only one method of extracting our own oil and gas that the Left oppose, and that's any kind that works -- hence their eternal red herrings of wind and solar pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by.

Ferrara might have gone further, and drawn the obvious conclusion: that those lower living standards are not an unfortunate by-product of the Left's covert aganda, but its very raison d'etre; you see, we don't deserve to live as high on the hog as we've been doing! The Left doesn't want us to have that oil and gas -- the environment is only being used as a pretext.

Never take a Leftist at his own valuation!
-- John Lowry
Terre Haute, Indiana

What a nightmare! Wind, solar, photovoltaic cells, hydrogen, biofuels -- all of them already old, explored, expensive, destructive of environment. I am a retired engineer, 75 years old; my first solar project in 1964 at UCLA was a fake -- it produced limited heating under California sun for a single-story department store at the cost of about 5 times that of electric power. Solar power plants -- we designed and built them, small though they were (about 100 megawatts with the sun in zenith); they covered a lot of land while killing all life under those convex (or was it concave?) mirrors and cost some 1$/kilowatt-hour. Their cost was absorbed by law into the overall production by electric utilities, raising the average cost of kilowatt-hour from 7 cents to 8 cents. We also built wind farms on hilltops (those turbines are veritable cuisinarts for birds -- large ones, too, such as eagles and albatrosses); their cost of some $2 per kilowatt-hour was also by law sunk into the overall costs by utility companies.

Geothermal power -- that technology is older than either wind or solar by several decades; such plants have operated since the 1950's in California, the Philippines, Mexico. The residues of the hot stuff released from the earth contains highly radioactive Strontium and Cesium in addition to Arsenic, all to be buried in land fills. Their cost of about 20 cents per kilowatt-hour is also mixed in the normal electric power cost, thus hiding it from the public scrutiny. Well, how about hydrogen cells? Hydrogen is produced by electrolysis of water, using huge amounts of electric power from coal, oil, gas, or nuclear power plants; then it has to be placed into heavy steel containers under pressure of several thousand pounds. Just like ethanol, hydrogen production is energy-negative; in addition, imagine a head-on collision of two such cars in a city intersection -- some four blocks of apartment buildings rendered into dust. Finally we come to photovoltaic cells - also an old technology. When used on space vehicles to run computers, their cost of some $200 per kilowatt-hour is justified for such a purpose -- but to run our factories, cars, and trucks? Plug-in hybrids? We already have those -- remember golf carts? And the electricity in those plugs -- where will it be produced and how? To call these technologies new is a height of ignorance -- but what else would you expect from our aging and criminally ignorant flower children?
--Marc Jeric
Las Vegas, Nevada

Comprehensive and powerful! I wish Liberals had the courage to read this and study its clarity! Thank you,
-- Tim Dougherty
Granite Bay, California

NOTHING LIKE THEY USED TO BE
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. and Alan B. Somers' In Michael Phelps' Skin:

As this argument must inevitably be compared to golf's advances in technology and the effects it has had on that game (which are drastic and undeniable), golf's progress and current state also argue for the advances of technology. Actually, that is the same with most American sports.

Most true American sports fans see change in a game and have a problem with it -- regardless of the effects. Metal drivers in golf make comparing modern scores to a persimmons player skewed. The dead-ball and the lower pitcher's mound in baseball slip people's mind when they say steroids is the only thing that makes comparing modern stats to the Golden Era's impossible. I would also bet the Air Jordans were a whole lot more comfortable than Cousey's PF Flyers. And take a look at football players in full uniform today compared to 50 years ago.

Granted, most of those changes didn't make the game inaccessible to the layman. During the beginning of the metal driver era, most duffers could still keep their old woods in their bag and hang with the metal players, and kids in the sandlot probably didn't worry about lowering their mound in '68. But just the same, are swimmers today going to give up the sport if they can't afford a $500 suit? Not if they enjoy the sport as much as the kids on the basketball court who can't afford Air Jordans but play nonetheless. And the kid who can't afford the Ping G10 driver probably won't quit the game because he can't get it.

It's inevitable that when a sport becomes popular, changes are going to happen. In fact, the more popular it gets, especially if it's in a short amount of time, it will change drastically. Take NASCAR's cars from 15 years ago and compare them to today's. And take a look at their TV ratings over that period. You'll notice the trend.

The new suits don't change swimming drastically. They may be expensive, but they don't make swimming inaccessible -- anyone can swim whether they have a $500 suit or a $5 one. They may be hard to get, but it's not as if they make the competition unfair as long as everyone's wearing something comparable. They improve the times, but do advances in training technology also cheat the sport, then? All but the most recalcitrant opponent of anything resembling technology in sports would have to say no.

What the suits do show us, however, is that people are starting to care about the sport of swimming and that other people now want a piece of the pie. Like it or not, it's the price of success in American sports. And if the other sports are any indicator, it's not going to hurt swimming one bit.
-- Richard Vana

Give me a break, the guy is fast! Don Scholander was great, Mark Spitz even a tad greater, hair, moustache, et al. And I'd wager (if such things were allowed, no thanks to an overactive/protective bunch of Republican congresswimps) that Phelps would've been as successful without that newfangled suit. You see, you left out the biggest factor, desire.

Did a 22.4 split anchoring a 200-freestyle relay in the Princeton pool back in '52 or '53, nearly a second better than my previous best. Was just a little behind, and wanted to win. And did.

I applaud Phelps, and probably respect his predecessor, Mark Spitz, above any other athlete I've seen -- excepting Edwin Moses, the magnificent hurdler, the very best, ever.
-- frost

It pains me to disagree with Mr. Tyrrell, and especially so with Mr. Somers. These men are experts when it comes to competitive swimming. To prove that I am no expert, I challenge both to a swimming competition of any length, and any stroke. The only stipulation is that I get to wear the $500 suit (and that Messrs. Somers and Tyrrell promise not to laugh). The smart money will be on the aforementioned experts.

I can't imagine a sport where the equipment has a lesser bearing on the outcome.
-- Dan Martin
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
P.S. This article leads me to believe that RET's Olympic boycott has ended. My personal boycott ended while channel-surfing and catching NBC, only to see a special report on Panda bears. My boycott has resumed.

Perhaps there is a solution to the whole swimsuit-technology problem. That would be to eschew the suit. (And the goggles.)

Thank you for your take on the Current Crisis! Such dry humor.

Cheers,
-- Ran Hay
Ohio

HORTON HEARS A WHO
Re: Larry Thornberry's We've Got Zeal Too:

Mr. Thornberry references the strong Republican voter base of Central Florida and the fact that the big, liberal, Kathy Castor holds the U.S. Congressional seat, turned over by Jim Davis' run for Governor. The interesting question to ask the Hillsborough County Executive Committee Chairman is: Why is there no pro-active support for Eddie Adams Jr., who is the Republican challenger to Ms. Castor?

Eddie Adams Jr. is a first-time politician, and a traditional Conservative Republican. He has a good set of answers to legislative issues and is a community role model, as a black man who pulled himself out of poverty to become a professional architect. Neither the National RNC, the RPOF [Rep. Party of Florida] or the local county chair are offering any support of substance. All three groups make noise about "outreach" to the black and Hispanic communities, but don't seize the opportunities offered to them. Jim Greer, chairman of the RPOF doesn't have the "extra" monetary resources to help in a year that the party is worried about keeping what they have, but the local county party encouragement is embarrassingly shallow.

Rebuilding the Republican strength in the US House and Senate is possible, if the conservative principles are explained better to each new generation of voters. The schools don't really teach civics any more, and national politics is all 60 second TV spots and GMA/TodayShow sound bites. No wonder that a guy like Obama can pop up as the leadership of ANY Political party.
-- Tim Horton

NEVER MIND SORORITIES
Re: Robert VerBruggen's Wii's Company:

At the college I attended in the '70s, no students were permitted to have cars in their freshman year. The thinking was that cars were too much of a distraction for students' adjustment to college life.

They were right then, but that was a time when people accepted reasonable limitations. This whiny bunch and their over-bearing, sue-at-the-drop-of-a-hat parents? Good luck, God bless.
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

FIRST RATE FILIPINOS
Re: Dave Chapman's letter (under "No Critic Left Behind") in Reader Mail's Campaign Hero:

Dave Chapman's remarks on the inadequacies of Filipino education are simply incorrect. While it is true that there are only 10 years of primary (6 years) and secondary (4 years), the better students, who are the talent pool for college and eventually H1-B visas, are intellectually challenged. Moreover, there is some "catch up" during the college years, in that Filipino college students typically take more courses in a semester than is usual in the four to five course loads typical in the American system.

Filipinos are talented linguists due in part to the fact that there are so many languages in the Philippines. The typical Filipino speaks an area language plus the national language, Tagalog. Moreover, English is taught throughout the school years, and most college graduates would be fluent in English. Many of the college courses are taught in English. If you travel to the Philippines, you will find that most of the educated people you encounter speak understandable English.

My Filipina wife was valedictorian of her high school class. She was too poor to go to college, even with an academic scholarship (no student loans available for college over there). When we met on a vacation I took in Cebu, she was fluent in English, even with just a high school diploma. Over here, she took and passed her GED after only 3 months of class study. She has attended college on a part-time basis over the years, and recently graduated as a BA in economics, magna cum laude.

Teaching is just the most recent professional service subject to international recruitment. We have been recruiting nurses from abroad (especially from English language speaking cultures such as the Philippines) for many years due to shortages that will only grow with the aging of the baby boomers. Filipinos appreciate the opportunity to live and work in the U.S. Typically, they work diligently and they exhibit a positive disposition. I can just imagine what an improvement they must be when compared to the unionized timeservers who have helped destroy our urban schools.

It's a shame we must rely on H1-B visas to fill our professional jobs. It doesn't seem to matter if we are considering highly paid engineers and doctors, or if we are considering more modestly paid professionals such as nurses and teachers. In either case, we are experiencing a shortage of people with the brains to do the job competently, and of people who even want to undertake the preparation for such intellectually demanding work.

Our schools and our culture no longer seem to support such ambition. And, just maybe, Atlas is finally beginning to shrug. You can do away with the H1-B visa program (or limit it), and what you will get is not Americans filling the gap at higher wages, but rather incompetent and/or undone work. It takes effort and preparation to do this work well, and we are building a culture where even high wages will not coax this commitment. We are a declining culture where we have to look abroad for people to cut our lawns and perform our surgeries--and educate our children.
-- Stephen Zierak
Kansas City, Missouri

DOPPELGANGER
Re: Lawrence Henry's Do They All Do It?:

Who have you allowed to write under the benign Lawrence Henry's by-line? Or does Larry have an evil twin who uses such descriptive prose as "s(omething) on suede"; "knocking off floozies" to "get your rocks off".

It appears that Mr. Henry has been beguiled by Pretty Boy Edwards, much as he was that guitarist who recently told him to take his pious opinions and stuff 'em. Too bad the guitarist did not wait a few weeks. He would have renewed faith in his old pal from wilder days.

No, Larry, they don't all do it. Just the congenitally low esteem mama's boys, searching for love in all the wrong places. Waking up each morning, combing , rumpling, tossing and patting their hair, maybe a hint of lip gloss (who can really tell?) and then going in search of validation, admiration, and adulation -- with the frim-fram sauce and shifa-fa on the side.

But I will say this, it takes a fairly over-blown opinion of oneself to think you have what it takes to be president of the United States, absent the character and political skill to do it. A trial lawyer appealing to the baser instincts of a 12 man jury for a large settlement is not what you are looking for in a president. Still, that is what some Democrats (and possibly you) thought was an OK resume.

Edwards had so much in common with Hunter. The both had a deep attraction for - - Edwards, himself. The surprise is that anyone is surprised. It was written in the stars.

As further proof of this man's ego, he has settled up with God and he tell us (or ABC) God has forgiven him. I didn't know we knew that until Judgment Day. He is in lock-step with Bill Clinton, who believes in death-bed redemption -- and until then, party on!

Hint for the future, Larry: Don't try to analyze another man's character. You are not cut out for it. Most men aren't.
-- Diane Smith

ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE
Re: Dmitri "Dima" Varsanofiev's letter (under "Cringe and Bear It") in Reader Mail's Campaign Hero:

It is enlightening to get the Russian perspective in regards to the Russia-Georgia conflict, and while Mr. Varsanofiev provides readers with relatively accurate information in some areas, his information in others is a bit faulty.

While I feel that he is accurate in his statement that potential NATO membership for Georgia was of concern to Russia, in recent months Russia had been very successful in derailing Georgian membership through economic pressure upon the EU members. The invasion of Georgia was not about NATO membership.

Neither was it about "protecting" the South Ossetians. Since 1991, Russia has done everything in its power to attempt to force the return of Georgia to Russian hegemony. It has supported rebellion in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and even forced Georgia to accept Russian "peacekeeping" forces in those two provinces, while still recognizing Georgia's internationally recognized borders. Russia even went so far as to grant citizenship to Georgian citizens residing within the Georgian provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It has, in effect, annexed both sections of the sovereign nation of Georgia into the Russian Federation.

In July of 2008, Russia augmented its standing forces in the Caucasus region from approximately 6400 troops, normally enough to control Chechnyan rebels and keep the "peace" in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, to 10,000 troops (a full mechanized division), ostensibly for a joint services exercise named, appropriately, Caucasus 2008. This occurred, coincidentally with a joint training exercise in Georgia which consisted of approximately 1600 troops from Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, the Ukraine and the US. At the same time, terrorist attacks against Georgian interests both in South Ossetia and Georgia increased. Following the return of the foreign troops (with the exception of the 100 US military training personnel stationed in Georgia) to their homelands, South Ossetia began shelling Georgian towns outside of South Ossetia, in earnest. Now, it must be remembered that South Ossetia exists at the pleasure of Russia. Without Russian backing, Georgia is capable of driving the Ossetian population across the border into Ossetia and securing the territory in a matter of weeks. For this reason, not much, if anything, occurs in South Ossetia without Russian approval. When the Georgian forces, predictably, began military reprisals (mostly limited to artillery attacks against the South Ossetian capital); Russia moved its now augmented forces into Georgia.

Now the chess game is in full swing. Russia is gauging the determination of the United States in this region. Should the U.S. fail to provide a significant military threat, Russia will continue to occupy Georgia. Should a U.S. military threat materialize, Russia will do as much damage to Georgian infrastructure as possible as its troops return to South Ossetia and Abkhazia, where they will likely remain to reinforce existing Russian "peacekeepers". They will then negotiate favorable terms from Georgia, possibly including release of the disputed provinces. Either way it is a winning situation for Russia.

Now, is Russia afraid of NATO? Not really. Through its economic clout in the EU due to its supply of oil and gas to the region, it is able to checkmate NATO membership for Georgia and the Ukraine. It is however afraid of direct US support in the region.

The Russians were ready to take advantage of anything that could remotely be spun as provocation by Georgia. They either allowed or encouraged the South Ossetians to ramp up attacks against Georgia and had the troops in place to take advantage of a predictable Georgian response.

Mr. Varsanofiev suggests that Georgia is the aggressor here and that the Georgian government should be encouraged to surrender to the Russia and allow itself to become part of the new Russian empire, the Russian Federation. Perfectly reasonable, from the Russian point of view.
-- Michael Tobias

NEW RECORD
Re: Kathy Shaidle's Shut Up, They Complained:

Managed one whole paragraph without name calling. Bravo!
-- John Daly

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