Reader Mail

Bumps on a Blog

Fisking Obama's power fists. Sloping toward drilling. Tilting Democrats. To Heller and back. Plus much more.

7.21.08

Send to Kindle

WE'RE ALL TERRORISTS NOW
Re: Lawrence Henry's The Making of an Icon:

Mr. Henry wins the award for being the first columnist to explain what us common folks already knew. And now that everyone else knows that the Obamas are on the down-low, I have this simple request of them: STOP IT! Good grief. Have some dignity. Grow up. It's one thing to do it on the playground but for crying out loud! You want to be the most powerful man in the world, but it's the equivalent of catching your parents making out on the couch: you're embarrassed, but mainly for them. And they aren't even doing it right.
-- Andrew J. Macfadyen, M.D.
Omaha, Nebraska

There are several symbols that would fit the Obama campaign better than the fist bump.

It was David Broder who characterized the later stages of the Obama fight for the nomination as especially being retreat. Obama's numerous shifts in position since then have made Broder's choice of word prescient.

Thus, the main symbol for the Obama campaign should be the white flag. Reverend Wright and Father Pfleger won't like the color, but that is further reason to recommend it. And both Reverend Jackson and Ralph Nader have suggested that Obama seems to think that that is his good color.

And the main signifying for the Obama campaign should be executed in the following way: Two people face one another; both raise both hands above their heads; both slap both hands together. It's the High Ten.
-- Richard L.A. Schaefer
Dubuque, Iowa

First, let me be honest. Other than the Spectator and the articles off RCP, I have more or less tuned out this week. I've got to do that from time to time to retain my sanity in an increasing insane world. So I have missed the whole discussion of the "terrorist fist bump." But Mr. Henry does make a good point about the echo bubble of the modern journalism elite. I blame the 24/7 news cycle myself. You've got all this time to fill, and you need all these people to fill that time, and this means you'll have several effects. First, you're bound to go over the same subject matter again and again. Second, you're bound to end up with a few people of lesser talent. And thus you get gravitases and terrorist fist bumps. And this is only the smallest fraction. What's interesting is the total lack of news on Iraq (outside online publications, where I keep up almost daily). Alas, success is not news.

See what I mean about an increasingly insane world? Well, I'll continue to tune out this weekend. The Dark Knight is calling, and I shall honor Ledger's memory by seeing his last performance, hopefully on opening night. I've got books to read and games to play and people with which to converse.

Oh, and I'll continue to give the terrorist fist bump to my friends and co-workers.
-- Charles Campbell
Austin, Texas

DANGEROUSLY CHEESY
Re: Larry Thornberry's Cheetos for Change:

"And each meal should have red, green, yellow foods on the theory that colorful foods are healthier."

I think the Democrats have it right with this one. And now I know what regimen I'll be following in my quest for health:

The M&M Diet! And, of course, in the interests of keeping my weight down, I will not deep-fry them.

Bon Appetit.
-- Steve Biddle
Bellefonte, Pennsylvania

OIL HABITAT
Re: Mark Hyman's Republicans Rediscover ANWR:

I made many trips to the North Slope in '94-'98 when assigned to Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage. Our squadron managed the North Warning system (or the "Dew Line" for you old-heads) -- a series of radar sites with the mission of tracking all air traffic entering the area via the arctic route.

During those trips, it ceased to amaze me how barren the landscape actually was -- the closest relief was the Brooks Range -- the tops of the mountains were within sight about 50-60 miles to the south, depending on where you were on the arctic coast. The coastal plain, where the actual oil reserves are located, has no trees and, other than the odd arctic tern, virtually no wildlife. In essence, the place was a peat bog; the closer to the water you traveled, the deeper the muck became during summer. During the other seasons, the landscape was a solid block of ice.

The bottom line is the coastal plain within ANWR has no redeeming environmental qualities. One has to go 40 miles inland before there is much of a change in elevation. And a change in elevation is what you need to see any "pretty stuff" that the environmentalists deem as worthy of protection, that is, any tundra that is more than six inches in height off the ground.

During a trip between two radar sites, we did see quite a few caribou -- they were mostly scratching their backs against the fence posts that surrounded some sort of storage yard that was owned by Alyeska -- the company that ran the pipeline at the time. Other than during the short migration period, it seemed that when wildlife did congregate on the plain, it was done only where there was man-made development. You could see four-legged critters hanging out by the vent shafts of the pipeline, but they were nowhere to be seen in the spacious open areas on the plain.

If it was up to me, I would expand the restricted 2,000 acres or so that was put aside for oil development in ANWR to allow development anywhere along the coastal plain no closer than 10 miles from where the Brooks foothills started. Why? To increase the presence of wildlife -- it seems they only hang-out where development has been established.
-- Owen H. Carneal, Jr.
Yorktown, Virginia

Can you send this story out to every SMALL TOWN newspaper in the country? The major news outlets seem to routinely censor the conservative point of view.

We need help.
-- Margaret Ripley

SALAD DAYS
Re: Andrew Cline's The Futile Crusades of Dem Quixote:

Thirty years ago when I left the Democratic Party (or, as is more accurately phrased, when the Democratic Party left me) I realized a truth that I have used to guide my life since then: The only good thing about beating your head against a cement block wall is that it feels so good when you stop.

The liberals to whom I talk these days are masters of ignoring reality in favor of the illogical, ridiculous, and sometimes demented visions that they incessantly run on the video screens of their minds. I commend Mr. Cline for his accurate and precise dissection of Democratic foolishness, however, in the face of the forty year catastrophe called the "war on poverty," I am not expecting any change in the near future. After all, if you are capable of labeling the eighties "the decade of greed" when virtually EVERYONE in the U.S. experienced improvement in personal circumstances (even those who refused to work for a living), then you are capable of considering the only failure of the "war on poverty" failure to spend ENOUGH MONEY on the program.

Mr. Obama's refusal to recognize successes and insistence on clinging to failed demonstrably false ideas is normal behavior for his party. He is forced to cling to the idiocies to which he clings in order to keep his "base" energized. To be a loyal Democrat, one must be committed to the party line, ignore any and all conflicting evidence no matter how obvious and strong it is, and celebrate how one feels rather than what one has accomplished.

Just as the Carter presidency helped to lurch the party leftward and away from the ideas that it once represented, the Obama presidency will complete the triumph of style over substance, of feeling over reason. To play on an old political slogan, i.e. "a car in every garage and a chicken in every pot," look forward to a bicycle in every garage and a salad in every bowl.
-- Joseph Baum
Garrettsville, Ohio

I read this editorial with some interest and a feeling of deja vu. Back when motorcycles and motorcyclists were social pariahs, we were spoken of in the same tones as big oil is today. Later, it was gun owners who were the scourge of the planet.

Many was the argument that logic should prevail and we should let those other guys know how wrong they were. Facts! Reason!

We prevailed, but neither of those two were the answer. The Dems make emotional pleas to the public and that is what works. This isn't Rock, Paper, Scissors, and reason doesn't beat emotion. Only emotion counters emotion, and it needs the correct audience, the same one that the Dems are crying to. As long as the audience is on the side of the Dems, the Dems will do as they wish. That is where the conflict must be won.
-- J.D. Dantone

All of Congress, but most especially Democrats, should be glad Constitutional amendments are cumbersome to obtain. The bet here is, if you asked the American public if they'd approve an amendment which required every Congressman to work for a year in 40 hour-per-week, a low-pay, dead end job before being allowed to run for elected office, it would pass by a landslide.

The breadth of their collective ignorance regarding the day-to-day travails of ordinary Americans is staggering.
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

What is the one event most guys will tell a friend who is dating a divorced woman with kids not to confront? Yep, make no complaints on her kid's behavior, don't come between her and that kid over anything!

Why? Because she will fight to the death to protect her kids, even Margaret Meade warned us about the female mind years ago in such matters.

Now think about the Democratic world of today, is it not loaded with issues and positions that seem to be where Mom wants to protect her kids from all she considers evil?

Facts have nothing to do with her perspective, unless they are the facts she throws about. The body politic of this party embraces many causes, like children, and no one better come against them!

Just a thought, a perspective within shadows of reason.
-- Bob Philips
New Mexico

WE'VE ONLY JUST BEGUN
Re: Robert VerBruggen's Old Heller:

Mr. VerBruggen, you overcomplicate this matter. The recent Heller decision by the Supreme Court changed nothing at all in practical terms for citizens anywhere in this nation. As a Court ruling it was an empty suit, so to speak. The only winners in this case were and will continue to be lawyers at least in the short term. It took 32 years to get to this point and the Court makes a broad and in depth declaration about the individual right to keep and bears arms and then takes a pass on actually stating anything of actionable substance on the matter. Subjective words like "reasonable," "dangerous" with regard to weaponry are ready made vehicles for abuse and currently used as such. In my judgment, the Court has done more harm and good.

As to the expense of D.C. continuing to ignore the 2nd Amendment protections, that's mostly a nonevent. Like most governments, particularly of this size they have a full time legal staff and passing laws cost nothing in essence. This is mostly a fixed cost affair to them. The converse is true to those that challenge this. I'll be dead and buried before I'll be able to legally defend myself in Washington, D.C. and I have no plans to go there until I can. The principle is what is important here and the Court put out a lot of flowery words on this topic but failed to execute in any way that has practical meaning on the mean streets of D.C. As you pointed out, Heller can't register what D.C. calls a "machine gun" because the Court left it up to the very same people that deny the right in the first place to determine what the meaning of relevant words are. This is just one of the problems with having lawyers write laws for other lawyers to interpret so that other lawyers can profit from what those words mean according to the last set of lawyers to review the text of the words in question. I'm not raging on lawyers here but the point is still valid. The meaning of the words and founding documents in question have never been in question with common folk for the last couple hundred plus years. Its lawyers that turn "shall not be infringed" into "but, however," "maybe" etc. It took explicit language changes to get concealed carry laws on the books and those words were "shall issue." A licensed 2nd Amendment is less of a privilege than getting a drivers license.

If the Supreme Court had a "pair" those five Justices would come to a common understanding that the purpose of the Constitution and Bill of Rights is to protect "the people" from government and the Court's purpose is to protect the Constitutional. They made a declaration without teeth. This is like issuing a restraining order against someone that promises to kill someone else and then wondering why they still went ahead and killed. That's all the Supreme Court has done here, issue empty words. If Justice Kennedy can't grasp that, no one can help him.
-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia

Robert VerBruggen's article demonstrates one of the truism's of the liberal mindset: nothing, not even a Supreme Court decision, is the final word on anything if liberals disagree with it.

Is a better reason to own a handgun than knowing some people don't believe the rule of law applies to everyone?
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

NO END IN SIGHT
Re: Charles Campbell's letter (under "A Life of Its Own") in Reader Mail's Remedial History:

I agree with Charles Campbell that "Nothing like a discussion of abortion to get people really going." Abortion is one of those issues which are so fundamental they expose the fault lines among opinions and put differences into sharp relief. As careful as Mr. Campbell writes in response, he only ends up demonstrating my criticism of Libertarians and their approach toward abortion.

While Mr. Campbell states he also believes abortion to wrong along with me, he clearly does not agree with me regarding the gravity of abortion's immorality. When Mr. Campbell reasons "Yes, abortion is immoral... [b]ut so is adultery, lying, and several other practices and actions that are still legal," he treats abortion, adultery and lying at the same concentration of importance -- thus he fails to engage the issue where Pro-Life presents its case. Libertarians simply speak of abortion as one sin among a host of other sins the state has no legitimate interest in without providing justification. Thus they speak around and circumvent the concrete disagreement between the Pro-Life and Pro-Choice camps.

Just as sure as night follows day in the Libertarian universe, the moral case against abortion gets reduced to "my" idea. The Libertarian then proudly stands up saying that it is immoral to force "your" ideas on another and coerce them to live according to what you happen to think best. Mr. Campbell himself states that abortion and such coercion are equally immortal and rhetorically asks how do we decide between the two? Well, Mr. Campbell doesn't tell us. These two "things" are equally wrong but Mr. Campbell comes out with a clear choice without explaining exactly how he reasons himself to picking one over the other. One can only suppose one evil isn't really equal to the other.

Abortion is not a matter of getting you or someone else to do what I want you to do. Neither is it merely "my idea" (or "mine" for that matter). As I wrote before, Abortion is a transcendent and profound moral issue. It goes to the root issue of human beings and what justice is owed to them. There is no more public question than who we call as one our own and to whom we will extend our protections. The Pro-Life argument is that the unborn are one of us and aborting them is a radical injustice. It is as evil as evil can be. Moreover, it is only in malice that we strike any kind of pact where you get to keep your children while I can go on killing mine. Libertarians invoke tolerance for abortion in the name of Liberty. It is tempting to reply that in allowing abortion Liberty asks too much. But that miscasts the truth. In reality, abortion is an insult to Liberty.

That, Mr. Campbell, is what is "wrong with [your] position"

On the curious matter of whether one should be properly called "Pro-Life" or "anti-abortion" Mr. Campbell reasonably asks: "What's wrong with being anti-abortion, exactly?" There are two short answers that come to mind. The usage of "Pro-Choice" and "Pro-Life" reflect the different principles each respective side invokes thus not merely denoting a fight over a medical procedure. Applying an absolute pure stance on "life" or "choice" does not reflect how human beings apply English or any other language for that matter. Using an absolute meaning standard would also demand that we in the States cannot be called "Americans." After all, there are many nations in North and South America. Yet, are we to refuse to call ourselves "Americans" because we are not also Guatemalans? The more direct answer is that "pro-life" takes in several other issues along the life "stream" such as euthanasia, suicide and other end of life issues. And not just about abortion alone.

As for our secondary arguments over the nature of Libertarianism, I'll let my statements stand. Our disagreements reflect the standard fare between Libertarians and Conservatives going back to way before any of us were born. Mr. Campbell believes that the founding was built out of Libertarian ideals whereas I would say that the founding was a product of classical western philosophy, the natural law tradition, the Scottish Enlightenment, and English Common Law. What else is new?

I should clarify that I did not intend to imply Libertarians were Frenchmen under the skin. Libertarians do have some affinity with the French Revolution in the sense that they wish to remake America according to the guidance of sweet reason. In the great question of how we will order our lives together, Libertarians tend to be dismissive of the complexities and irrationalities that hold society together. But for the greater part, Libertarians are loyal admirers and champions of the American Revolution.
-- Mike Dooley

COX SWAYED
Re: The Ken Shreve-Quin Hillyer exchange (under "Gentlemanly Discourse") in Reader Mail's Remedial History:

I agree with Quin Hillyer that Ken Shreve makes some good observations about possible VP picks for McCain.

But even though Shreve makes some valid points about Christopher Cox, current head of the Securities & Exchange Commission, he certainly minimizes Cox's years of service and accomplishments. I assume that it is not due to a bias against Cox, and must assume that Shreve is simply unaware of who Cox is.

I don't know how Shreve can say, as though it doesn't matter and as though he is not quite sure, that "Cox is a seemingly good conservative." Seemingly? Cox has a 98% lifetime rating from the ACU (American Conservative Union). McCain has an 82.5% and Fred Thompson has an 88.5%. It is very difficult to break the 90% mark when one has to cast thousands of votes over many years in Congress. I will suggest to Shreve and the readers that Cox's 98% makes him a truly tested and proven conservative.

Further, Cox will be able to energize the evangelicals and conservative Christians. I suspect that Cox is a much more familiar name to the "real" base of the party than Shreve and Hillyer realize. And for those in the base who have forgotten about him, once they see him again and are reminded of the fights he undertook on their behalf, Cox won't have a problem energizing any wing of the Republican party. The guy has been out in front on the life issues for more than 20 years, in addition to many other issues that are important to conservatives.

Shreve also informs the readers that Cox was "a former legislator." That again minimizes the committees he headed, the investigations he oversaw, and his accomplishments as a legislator. Moreover, Cox was elected, and then re-elected seven more times as a Representative from southern California. I suggest that 16 or more years in Congress, and in leadership positions, requires a little more attention than he is "a former legislator."

Cox is an attractive 56 year old who may not excite the crowds with his oratorical skills in the mold of an Obama, Huckabee, or Bill Clinton. But I thought Republicans, and the more informed Independents, were not enamored by such qualities and men. I thought we looked for real principles and substance to define our leaders. Christopher Cox is such a man.

There is only one reservation I have about him. Many years ago he was in a terrible accident, and from what I understand, lives in constant pain. I don't know if he uses pain medication or not, but it does not seem to have affected his performance while in Congress or in the Administration, or in his personal life. Anyway, don't believe me. Google his biographies. Do your homework. You will see that he is much more than "a seemingly good conservative" and "a former legislator."
-- David Tomaselli

SERVED IN NEW LONDON
Re: Ryan L. Cole's Remedial History:Vietnam Syndrome:

This is how myths get started. The Ryan L. Cole article "Vietnam Syndrome" says that Jimmy Carter "served in Korea." He did not. While Carter served aboard the submarine USS Promfret (SS-391) as an ensign, he was transferred back to the U.S. Navy's submarine base at New London, Connecticut, on February 1, 1951. The ship did not sail for Korean waters until later that month. Presidents Carter and George W. Bush are "era" vets.
-- Kathryn Moore
Author, The American President

TWO STEPS
Re: W. James Antle III's McCain's Immigration Two-Step and What About Bob?:

I appreciate the fact that your paper is, in spite of being in the bag for McCain, pointing out McCain's ambivalence toward the enforcement of Federal, Sate, and Local Immigration Laws. As the Chief of the Executive Branch, under which comes Law Enforcement (as well as "national security" of which the non-Border enforcing, non-terrorist squeezing, GitMo-closing McCain claims to be THE "expert" of the two "presumptives"), it would seem appropriate to go the next step and point out the implications of electing a Chief Law Enforcement Officer, taking an oath to secure domestic tranquility, that he fully intends to subvert the LAW and its INTENT.

It would also seem to be important, as an organ that might be used to constructively pressure either "candidate" or "President" McCain, that the vast number of deleterious effects of blanket amnesty, and large numbers of un-assimilated, non-English speaking minorities flooding into a country in increasing economic difficulty, to point out such possible effects in detail. Not to do so (while promoting the "lesser of two evils" as a candidate) might be perceived as being less than "objective" a journalistic approach...
-- J. David

James, I read your article about Bob Conley and his quest for the U.S. Senate against Lindsey. As a conservative/libertarian I will surely support and vote for Bob. As for your statement about Conley's inability to embrace either of the major party's candidates as quirkiness? Well, I guess I'm quirky also. I will not vote for McCain or Obama. You should have asked Conley if he'd support Bob Barr. I don't agree with everything Barr says but he is better than the other two clowns any day of the week. Thank you.
-- Nancy Wolf

RAIN MAN
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s The Prophet Obama:

I call him Brag Obama, the Rainmaker. He shoots platitudes into the clouds, while his believers fall on their knees, and he promises to end their long drought and change their world into a paradise.
-- Stuart Williamson
Seattle, Washington

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article