HE'S THE BEST
Re: James Bowman's "Iron Man":
Jim Bowman's film reviews have been some of my favorite columns in TAS. He has saved me untold hours and dollars that might have been wasted on clever but valueless movies. The best part is that he tells me why these flicks stink on ice.
He has taught me the folly of expecting a film to have any relation to its trailer or promos by exposing the wearisome "educating" the filmmaker really had in mind. Even truly talented directors and writers have descended to trying to show me what a Neanderthal moron I am. The examples they give in their films of my values are invariably meant to graphically demonstrate just how wrong I am to have them. I go to a film to be entertained and uplifted, not insulted or disturbed.
That said, I may or may not see Iron Man, but Mr. Bowman will be a part of my decision as usual. His insight truly does cut through the Kultursmog to shine a little light on the pitiful state of the film industry. If I wanted to feel rotten, I could always just watch network TV.
-- Skip Engle
THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL
Re: Philip Klein's Will the Real Libertarian Please Stand Up?:
I knew the libertarian party was a disorganized front group of leftist all, hats and no boots. For the libertarians to sit still and listen to obviously Stalinist-inspired Gravel tell them that a majority rules in this "constitutional republic" no if and or but, and to "go to another country" reminds me of an old story about the Marxist at a rally telling every one in the crowd that "Come the revolution we'll all eat strawberries and cream," and someone in the crowd says, "But I don't like strawberry's and cream," and the Marxist red faced and all screams down at him, "Hell or High water you're gonna eat Strawberries and CREAM!
Sounds like all three parties have been altered via subterfuge.
-- Greg Sierveld
The three candidates showcased in Mr. Klein's column are fatally flawed -- do they really expect us to believe they are Libertarians?
Mr. Root wants to seal the border, never mind that every fence I've come across has at least one gate. Mr. Gravel, through penumbras and emanations, has read into the Constitution that we have the collective right to a sound economy, to health care, and to education. And Mr. Barr thought that military action in Afghanistan was not justified.
These so-called candidates have no basic understanding of Constitutional limits, nor what the document actually guarantees. Poor Mr. Gravel is the worst of the lot -- he said that we have to rule by majority -- isn't that codeword for democracy or mob rule? According to him, the minority shall toe the line.
What happened to the representative, or republican, form of government as set out by the Constitution? I fully expected the major-party candidates to throw the document out the window for political expediency, but Libertarian candidates are supposed to represent the firewall between the politics of "good intentions" and the strictly limited government called for by the law of the land.
What about the other 11 candidates running for the Libertarian nomination? Surely one of them can represent the interests of those who closely follow the concepts espoused by a pre-presidential Thomas Jefferson, or even of the current-day Cato Institute.
-- Owen H. Carneal, Jr.
As a retired broadcaster I've known a bunch of politicians, and have the dubious distinction to interview or speak with a few presidential candidates (including the despicable Lyndon LaRouche). One was the most transparent quick-buck opportunist I ever met, Mike Gravel. All he wants is some cushy small college presidency and/or to serve on a couple high-priced boards -- some sucker hire him and he'll retire into the shadows.
Wayne Root has that trademark (plastic) smile, and I'm not sure I trust him, but he's sure'n'hell better than Bob Barr! Ol' Bob, with his anti-gay, anti-abortion and other ultra-conservative positions is about as much of a Libertarian as Teddy Kennedy or David Duke -- Libertarians love CHOICE, and what is there about the word "choice" that Libertarian candidates don't comprehend?
Some simply don't belong there. Really.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. No way I'll vote for either of the demented Democrats; I've paid my UNfair share of taxes, and everything else about 'em sucks. Truly.
McCain? No way. Too old to be a Democrat-in-Training? Nah.
Alan Keyes? God forbid, he's as sorry a sanctimonious pontificator as I've had the misfortune to witness.
So, let's see who the Libertarian nominee might be.
Come to think of it, with all those congressional probabilities making for a more socialist country, we'll probably start selling our stuff and moving to Costa Rica or the Urca neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. At least you can smoke on the beach...
-- Jack Frost
NICE NONWORK IF YOU CAN GET IT
Re: Windsor Mann's Money for Nothing:
Public school teachers do more whining about their jobs than any other profession I can think of. That seems strange to me considering they normally enjoy lifetime employment and receive a very decent salary considering they are, by industry standards, only part-time employees. (And please, spare me the stories about the 4th grade teacher who goes home and spends hours each night grading papers and preparing for the next day. Nobody believes that anymore.)
I do have a question, though. College professors claim tenure is absolutely necessary to protect "academic freedom." Can someone please explain to me why a 2nd grade teacher needs tenure?
Maybe someday, in a distant future, Americans will figure out that a union's primary purpose is to promote and protect the jobs of its members. Ergo, even under the best of circumstances, the concerns of student and their parents come second to those of teachers -- period.
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida
THE LOWER 40
Re: Peter Ferrara's The Strategy of the Smart Surrender:
It is highly unethical that the bottom 40% wage earners pay no tax at all. What is their contribution to America? Asking for a handout? It is morally imperative that they pay the very least 5% in taxes so that they feel part of the American tax paying experience. People have to learn they are expected to pay their way, too. That means turning takers into givers. If, after all that, they need help then help should be given. But first pay in before you take out!
-- Wolf Terner
Fair Lawn, New Jersey
Peter Ferrara underestimates the power of "sound-byte politics." The siren song of "entitlements" coupled with the reality that 60% of Americans pay little or nothing for the "upkeep" of the country gives the "free lunch" espousers a huge advantage over the advocates of "economic growth."
Growth is in the future. Something for nothing is right now. Gimme, gimme wins in a rout.
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida
Re: Lisa Fabrizio's Right-Wing Perverts:
It's tiring listening to these scatter-brained liberals who behave worse than juveniles. Any criticizing of them or even a perception of such by them invokes screeching and howling that has me rolling my eyes in disgust. These are types of people who when they are unable to make reasoned, and persuasive arguments resort to mass protests, shouting down their opponents, making personal attacks, character assassinations, death threats, and then claiming to be victimized. These people have no dignity and display childish selfishness. Too bad we can't legislate people to grow up!
-- John Nelson
I know that history has shown Neville Chamberlain to have been a callow believer of Hitler, and thus, an appeaser of the first order, however, he did not have the information sources available to him that are abundantly available to Barack Obama. Chamberlain can be understood, not forgiven, for his lack of a realistic perception in an age when information was much harder to get and disseminate. But what to do with Obama? His ephemeral campaign, heavy on the vague, light on the specific, is just what the Democrats love. They have NO idea how to deal with real problems, having spent so much time dealing with the pseudo variety. If we examine how Democrats have, in the past, dealt with crises in education (talked about it, spent about it, lowered standards), crime (talked about it, spent about it, lowered standards), the economy (talked about it, spent about it, lowered standards), well, you get the picture. Obama, having never really lived in normal reality, has no idea how it works. Mrs. Obama, having never really lived in normal reality, has no idea how it works. Consequently, we get suggestions from these two that sound like they came from a Bugs Bunny Cartoon.
It's too bad that these two children of privilege never got to experience the rough and tumble life growing up in the reality of normal America. Perhaps then they would understand that when the local bully destroys your possessions, beats up your friends, and challenges you to a fight, being nice to him is not going to keep you from taking your lumps. If Obama wants to make the USA into the "butt boy" of the Muslim world (please excuse the term - it is one of my students' favorites) he should just keep on keeping on. Atta boy, Barack! Just keep pretending that communism may have failed, but if it did, it's only because you weren't running the show.
-- Joseph Baum
Re: Joe Carter's Brown the Bioethicist:
"Facts do not cease because they are ignored?" Mr. Carter needs to spend a little time with the "global warming is settled science" bunch. After that he may realize how easy it is to manipulate virtually any "scientific" theories to get the desired outcome.
Half animal half human hybrids? Just wait 'til PETA steps in -- on behalf of the animals.
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida
WORST WORD IN POLITICS
Re: Mike Roush's letter (under "H-O-R-S-E") in Reader Mail's Pumping Iron Man:
Mr. Roush is surely right in his assessment that the word "appeasement" could be the most ill-used word in politics. Indeed, "appeasement" may be a vital and appropriate part in negotiations with foreign powers. On the other hand, "appeasement" can also resemble giving up your lunch money to the school bully so he won't beat your lunch out of you. The difference between good and bad appeasement depends principally on a single criteria of the opponent's ambitions. Edmund Burke recognized that the goals of colonies in the American Revolution were LIMITED in that young America was seeking self-government and the rights of Englishmen. Whatever could be said of the American founders, it cannot be said that they ultimately intended deposing the king and taking the English Empire apart. The important quality in young America's objectives is that they could be satisfied.
This stands in direct contrast to Europe's negotiations with Hitler's Germany. In Hitler's own speeches and writings, the goals of Nazi Germany were open-ended and unlimited. It would have been one thing if the ultimate aim was for Germany to consolidate all German speaking lands into itself. Leaving aside the question whether such a consolidation was in anyone's self-interest (and if in fact other Germanic peoples wanted to be part of such a nation), the fact remains a united Germany was achievable and such a quest would end fulfilled. But Hitler had made it clear that "all Germans -- one nation" was not his aim. Nazi ambitions were not merely German patriotism. Those ambitions were for a German empire dominating non-Germans under a totalitarian ideology, Instead of confronting a militant Germany when its armies moved into the Ruhr, England and the other European powers tried to "buy off" Hitler by essentially throwing Czechoslovakia under the bus knowing full well that he wanted more.
Eisenhower met with Khrushchev to pursue what he believed was in their both self-interests. Nixon strategically thought friendlier relations with China would bring about the separation of China from the orbit of Soviet expansionism. Ronald the Great met with Gorbachev to get the Soviet Union to back down from placing nuclear missiles in Eastern Europe using the promise/threat of a space based-missile defense system.
Clinton's foreign policy in the Balkans troubled Conservatives for a number of reasons. One faction opposed American involvement believing America has no interests threatened there -- in addition of which view the conflict a European problem that should be addressed by the other European nations. Other Conservatives thought that America had a moral duty to stop the ethnic genocide in that forlorn corner in the world. The rest were a mixed bag of those thought Clintons actions were half-hearted without a clear goal, those who thought American forces should not be used for policing those territories as doing so detracts from their true purpose which was to serve as warriors, and others who thought that America was picking the wrong side and was standing in the way of their self-defense by forbidding the importation of arms.
This administration's dealings with North Korea and Iran (just to name two) drives Conservatives up the wall. If North Korea and Iran could be dissuaded from developing nuclear arms by providing incentives, that would be something Conservatives could support. Of course, the devil's in the details for such an agreement. The root problem for Conservatives is that both nations have a propensity to not abide by their promises and string things along. Conservatives believe the only way to counter hostile nations from a position of strength. What that "position of strength" would be is a subject for another day; but whatever this administrations effects could be called negotiating from a position of strength ain't it.
P.S. One of the great things about America is the imaginary characters we make up for storytelling: Pecos Bill, Iron John, Paul Bunyan, Babe The Blue Ox, and the rich fat cats' love for the Republican Party. The average donation in dollars is lower for the Republican Party than that for the Democratic Party. The rich fat cat club for Liberal causes is larger than it is for Conservatives. One of the dirty little secrets of American politics is that we fuss about taxation of the incomes of the "rich" BUT WE DON'T TAX WEALTH. The rich have all sorts of non-taxable assets (zero-tax municipal bonds anyone?) Guess who's thankful that the party for the workin' man never brings the subject up.
-- Mike Dooley
Re: Ron Schoenberg's letter (under "H-O-R-S-E") in Reader Mail's Pumping Iron Man:
Ron, Ron, Ron, you've got to stop drinking that Seattle water! Buy some Evian or something! Reagan an appeaser? Right! and Attila was a peacenik. My lord, what is going on in the Pacific Northwest?
-- Joseph Baum
BLIND IS LOVE
Re: Robert Stacy McCain's Hoarse Race:
Forty-one point win in West Virginia. Thirty-five point win in Kentucky. Ahead in the popular votes. Hillary is a winner!
-- Michelle Gregory
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