VERY SPECIAL INTERESTS
Re: George Neumayr's The Dirty Secret of Identity Politics:
Boffo! Another one goes over the fence and out of the park for Mr. Neumayr. For at least fifteen years (and probably more) I have been telling everyone who will listen that the "Party of special interests" is not the Republican Party, but rather, the Democratic Party. These tap-dancers in the Donkey Kong set have been balancing their pandering among Blacks, Gays, Hispanics, Attorneys, enviro-wackos, et cetera, for at least that long, if not much longer. Now we have Mr. Obama awakening to the trumpeting of Reverend Wright, proud new owner of a 1.6 million dollar mansion.
Betraying my low comedic background, I am reminded of the old Three Stooges gag in which Moe tells Larry and Curley to "Get the tools," to which they respond, "What tools?" Moe then tells them, "The same tool we've been using for the past twenty years," and Curley says, "Oh, those tools!" For a Harvard educated lawyer, U.S. Senator, and college professor, this guy is not too swift when it comes to processing information that he hears. I guess he has that in common with Curley Howard.
-- Joseph Baum
The Democrats who buy into identity politics are phonies. The major difference between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is that Clinton is a genuine phony and Obama is a fake phony. She believes everything she says, even when she lies. He's nothing more than a cynical calculator who gambled on an oblivious media keeping all of his skeletons closet-bound.
Obama has ostensibly dissolved a twenty-year friendship because he "suddenly" realized the Rev. Wright is an unhinged bigot? Two weeks after saying he could no more disown him than the "black community itself?" No one but the Kool-aid drinkers are buying that one, Senator. Democrats richly deserve having to choose between these two.
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida
OUT OF OPTIONS
Re: Lisa Fabrizio's Backed Into a Corner:
The Obama/Wright saga reminds me a lot of the plot in the movie There Will Be Blood. The two main characters in the movie, Daniel Plainview (Obama) and Eli Sunday (Wright) play off each other early on for mutual gain. The whole movie is about who's on first. Of course as time goes on there "can only be one" and in the end "there will be blood." This is so typical of morally corrupt people who use religion for monetary gains and wrap the words of Christ in either Karl Marx's ideology or those of Mohammad. I'm really hard pressed to see a real world difference between the hatred that radical Islam teaches and that of Wright and his followers. Given that Wright is nothing more than a gateway to the Nation of Islam and its hatred, the real tragedy of this is that the Obama campaign has already done more harm to race relations in this Nation than David Duke could ever do and if elected to the highest office of the land, this is just the first cut that will bleed this Nation for many years to come. The sad truth of all this is that the Black African community simply can't handle the truth about its own failures as a culture and unwillingness to grasp the opportunities that exits in abundance outside the "black community." Nothing and no one is going to change the past and trying to hold those that had no part in the past responsible is a path to no where this Nation can afford on several levels. How many wealthy race baiters like Jessie, Al, Louis and front men like Wright does it take before individuals in the black community figure out the obvious about who benefits identity politics and who doesn't. A wise man once said, the only true freedom any of us have is the freedom to choose. Some people in this country just don't get this.
-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia
Jeremiah Wright's conflation of criticism of his sermons as an attack on the black church is only valid if you accept the premise that millions of African-Americans attend thousands of churches in which the pastors routinely ask that God damn America, accuse white Americans of spreading AIDS in black communities and equate our war efforts with the terrorism of our enemies, and that they share these opinions. This is a vicious slander, and in attempting to shield himself and Sen. Obama from the justified criticism and scrutiny that his remarks (and Obama's silence for over twenty years) have raised, he has presented black churches as bastions of hateful, paranoid and seditious discourse. The institution that once fought for the right to sit at the front of the bus has been thrown under it.
-- Mike Harris
MAJ, U.S. Army
The Reverend Jeremiah, in his never ending effort to explain the differences in black and white, tells us that white students think and learn logically and analytically while black children learn orally and creatively (they are especially good with hip/hop lyrics says Mr. White). Just imagine if Bill Bennett said something like that.
Not too many years ago here on the Bereft Coast down near L.A. Ebonics was being seriously considered as a way of making the whole education mountain easier to climb for black students. Just let them speak whatever gibberish they were comfortable with. And their grades would improve. That is, if the tests were in Ebonics, too. In spite of its irritation, hip/hop possesses a limited field for job opportunities and if there is a merciful Lord watching over us, it too, shall pass -- as break dancing did.
Meanwhile, think on it. This lunatic pastor has damned the children of his own race with the "low expectations" that President Bush hoped we would overcome. With a name like Jeremiah, one wonders how he came to his audacity of hope? (Read Lamentations) Flim-flammed himself right into "eatin' fancy chow and drinkin' fancy wine." Get the right flock and you are on Easy Street.
Oh, and here is a theory about Obama's renunciation today. Obama went to the Rev.Wright last week and said "Rev'run, my er, ah, distancing myself from you in my remarks in Philadelphia didn't seem to immunize me against my past association with you. See, here's the problem, I can't just go out now and say I would like to revise and extend my remarks as I do in the Senate. You gotta throw some red meat out there to get those gun-totin' unemployed bible-thumpin' flag-wavers riled. Then I can denounce, renounce, trounce and pounce on you. I thought the "old uncle" line would do it, but these honkies want you sliced and diced and if you want to see me in the White House, you gotta give me an openin' here."
And Jeremiah starts dancin' and flappin' his arms and slidin' around like he's two steps ahead of a straightjacket and says, "You mean like this, son? You got it!" The Lord works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform
-- Diane Smith
WHAT A CHARACTER
Re: John Samples' Character Issues:
John Samples asserts that "character matters" in a presidential election. That might be true if any of the three remaining candidates had an ounce of it. What the American electorate will be weighing is carefully constructed, campaign- and media-generated "characterizations of character." Genuine character left the building years ago.
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida
ENEMY OF EDUCATION
Re: RiShawn Biddle's Schooling the Reformers:
Regarding the pox known as unionized public schools, Americans should ask themselves this: besides teaching, in what other job in the universe can a person get a lifetime appointment (tenure) completely irrespective of the performance of those for whom he is directly responsible (students)?
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida
In his article RiShawn Biddle discusses the role of teachers' unions in the education of our young. In this context one should remember the role of other unions in the destruction of American industries.
What kind of car do you drive, Mr. and Mrs. American? Toyota, Honda, Nissan, BMW, Mercedes, KIA, Jaguar, Mitsubishi, etc. The other day I walked the floor of a casino parking structure and found that out of 280 cars parked there only 60 were produced by American car manufacturers.
What kind of television set, radio, computer, copier, or telephone do you use? Sony, Dell, Sharp, Toshiba, Phillips, Hitachi, Magnavox, Panasonic, Samsung, Sanyo, etc. Take a look over your living rooms and bedrooms.
What are you wearing on your person? Shirts, socks, pants, shoes, ties, underwear, suits, etc.? Are they not imported from Bangladesh, China, Mexico, India, Turkey, Spain, Italy, Honduras, etc.?
These are some of our industries destroyed by "strong" unions -- automobile, electronics, textile, and so on. No wonder that over the past 40 years our education is utterly destroyed by the "strong" teachers' unions. With one big difference -- we cannot outsource the education abroad. There will be no improvement in our educational industry as long as the teachers' unions are dictating the programs and their execution. Some 50-55% of the teacher corps is busy with "administration," and of the remaining 45-50% who are "teaching" a goodly number have no background in the material they are supposed to "teach."
The teachers are employees of the parents and other tax-paying citizens. Just like the various industrial unions organized to fight the private employers until these are destroyed, the teachers are organized in the fight against the parents and other taxpayers until more and more money is extorted and the education of our youngsters is destroyed. The unions are the only monopolies defended by laws and government guns; all other monopolies are illegal.
Perhaps the only remedy would be to outlaw all unions of government employees -- well, they are engaged by definition in destroying the government -- that is us.
-- Marc Jeric
There appears to be only one way for school reform to take place, and that is for the national Republican Party to admit the fact that teachers and their unions are the enemy of effective education and behave accordingly.
The rationale for Federal action is that the schools clearly affect interstate commerce. Producing a generation of uneducated adults, wasting the human potential of 75% of the children of Detroit, is a crisis. These kids are going to grow up to be less productive, economically, and less able as citizens to participate intelligently in American politics, and the rest of the society is going to carry the attendant costs for the rest of their lives. The Republican party should seize the high ground on this issue by making clear the willingness of the Democratic Party to condemn a generation of children to reduced lives simply to support one special interest group. The teachers unions are already at war with the Republicans, and it's high time Republicans returned the favor.
Then, Republicans should simply break the monopoly of the public schools. I suggest something like the following: (1) make available to each child a voucher for 90% of the per capita spending amount in the school district of their residence, (2) define a core focus on the tools of functioning, reading, writing and arithmetic, allowing that focus to be evidenced by curriculum or by testing results such as that 12th graders should, on average, read at the twelfth grade level (although that is oversimplified) or that each grade should show progress towards the norm taking into account levels at the start of a year, (3) jump through any constitutionally required hoops about establishment of churches, require acceptance of all applicants not already attending the school on a first-come-first-served basis to enhance opportunity leveling, but allow schools to expel and flunk out nonperformers to provide tools to maintain discipline and focus, and (5) get out of the way. As to the question of what to do with the left-behind kids, note that the system automatically increases per-pupil spending in the public schools, and thus makes more resources available to them than to private school pupils, and the more who leave the higher that amount goes.
You would almost certainly see an immediate springing up of schools that emphasize quality, minimize bureaucracy and its attendant costs, and focus on useful subject areas (say, trade schools that teach the three Rs, or computer technology, arts, sciences, sports or whatever high schools that do the same). Even schools that want to teach absurdities like Jesus was black or Islamic schools would be better than what we have now, as long as they were compelled to provide the tools their students need to disagree with their teachers. Let Bill Ayers create a Communist school and Greenpeace create a string of Chicken Little schools, as long as it keeps him away from my kids and grandkids. Maybe somebody will even create an inner-city school that teaches basic business, accounting and entrepreneurial skills so that poor kids who now sell drugs can channel their energies into other businesses, are more readily hired by others or can move up an organization more quickly.
Now let's suppose the country did this and kids started learning things that improve their lives economically and otherwise. Wouldn't that help Republicans in either areas? If the Party can fix inner city schools and have already shown a better capacity to reduce crime rates, won't a lot of voters conclude they may be better able to govern those inner cities. Maybe this would even put the Black vote in play.
This is an emergency, and one particularly suited to solutions governed by conservative principles. And by doing so, or trying to do so, conservatives can show the electorate that Democrats care more about power and collectivist theory than they do about children and the poor.
-- Tom Geer, LL.M
If anyone cares to compare public school enrollment with census figures, they will find out that more and more students are not enrolled in public schools. Some have dropped out, some are home schooled, and some are in private schools. In Denver less than half graduate from traditional high schools. Sooner or later people will notice.
-- Yaakov "Jim" Watkins
END OF AN ERA
Re: William Tucker's Goodbye to the New Deal:
In your otherwise excellent piece on the DNC's collection of odd sub-groups falling apart, you have what I believe to be an error:
"The New Deal was hatched in academia and among left-wingers who had made pilgrimages to the Soviet Union. But they had the people on their side. The Republicans had messed things up hideously and there wasn't any reason not to try something new. Herbert Hoover caved to the Republican Midwest-and-manufacturing coalition to pass Smoot-Hawley and what could have been just a bad downturn became the Great Depression."
When the Depression is examined through the 20/20 vision that is hindsight, we see there were three different waves of things that went wrong that led to what we now call "The Great Depression."
First, there was the stock market crash of 1929. This was inevitable, given that there was nothing impeding the rampant speculation in stocks on margin at that time. The only thing that could have limited the extent of the crash was for the government to force some manner of margin lending limit down upon brokers and banks. Without the body of law that created the SEC, there was no way for the government to do anything like this. The SEC, after all, came out of the Crash of '29.
Second, there was a wave of bank failures from '30 to '32. These failures removed a huge amount of liquidity from the US economy, made banks very wary of loaning out money and (worse yet) made people wary of depositing money into banks. The U.S. economy became starved for capital and liquidity with which to create new economic activity. This wave of bank failures was both accelerated and affirmed by Federal Reserve policy at the time.
Lastly, there was Smoot-Hawley and other Congressional antics on tax rates and policy.
Of all of these issues, I believe (and I think Chairman Ben Bernanke believes) that the banking failures and subsequent withdrawal of huge amounts of capital from the U.S. financial system were the most damaging thing to happen to the U.S. economy. The trade issues came along after Smoot-Hawley can be attributed to both the trade restrictions and the decline in economic activity due to capital/liquidity disappearing into thin air during bank failures of the time.
It is instructive to remember the effect and role of the bank failures from '30 to '32 as we see the banking system under great strain today.
-- Dave Stein
TO SPITE THEIR OWN FACE
Re: James David Dickson's Dangling Chad:
I understand that the writer may have been attempting sarcasm when he described Terrell Owens as having come back from a "sprained ankle" to play in the Super Bowl, the injury was actually much more serious. After being hauled down from behind with a horse collar tackle by the Cowboys safety Roy Williams, Owens left the game with a broken ankle. It kept him out of the reminder of the regular season and the divisional round and conference championship games, and according to team doctors should have kept him out of the Super Bowl. In fact, Owens had to sign a waiver absolving the team and the doctors of any liability in the case that he further inured the ankle by playing in the game. And under those circumstances, coming off of an ankle injury that should have kept him out until after the Super Bowl, his 9 catches for 122 yards was quite remarkable...even if you don't happen to like Owens. And how close to the Super Bowl have the Eagles been since getting rid of Owens?
Also, in defense of Chad Johnson, he has a right to be angry with the Bengals. After his Hall of Fame jacket stunt, he was asked by Marvin Lewis to stop, and he did as asked. The problems came when Lewis started calling Johnson selfish, while not actually saying his name, and from the fact that nearly every loss from that point on was laid at the door of #85. Somehow Carson Palmer's penchant for throwing the ball to the other team and the inability to stop anyone on defense were all Chad's fault for celebrating after a touchdown. And the problems escalated as Johnson saw every other team in the division doing things to get better while the Bengals were content to stand pat. While the Browns were trading for Shaun Rogers, and signing Donte Stallworth the Bengals did nothing to improve, even though before the draft they were at least $15 million under the cap after losing defensive end Justin Smith. If you were playing there and watching the team try to build on the cheap, while saying they were aiming for the Super Bowl would you be happy?
The writer was right on one thing, that being that it is totally counterproductive for the Bengals to try to force a malcontent to play for them. To reject the Washington Redskins offer was a classic case of cutting off the nose to spite the face.
-- Eric Edwards
Walnut Cove, North Carolina
WHY CAN'T WE BE FRIENDS?
Re: Mike Roush's letter (under "The Litany") in Reader Mail's Wright Frenzy:
Hey Mike, thanks for insulting everyone that has ever served in the National Guard or Reserves. I served in the Naval Reserve during Vietnam. My "Daddy" didn't go down to the recruiting office to help get me in. Signing a few papers, taking a few tests and taking an oath was all that was required. I threw my guts up on a 30 years old WWII destroyer that wasn't safe outside the harbor so that people like you can impugn the character of anyone you disagree with because he didn't go to Vietnam, get three scratches, game the system and run home to mommy. You qualified to fly an Air Force Fighter jet? If not, shut up about that which you know nothing about.
-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia
I would like to thank Mr. Roush for his kind compliment that "Mike Dooley writes a thoughtful letter." I dearly wish my eight grade English teacher had thought the same when she filled out my report card. I am also pleased to say that he and I are closer together on many issues than one would guess.
That aside, Mr. Roush expresses concern that there are people on the right "who see salvation in laissez-faire capitalism and the end to government regulation." While I have no doubt this concern is real for many, it suffers from imprecision.
It is an unfortunate bit of nomenclature that Conservativism and Libertarianism are both thrown under the general heading of "the right." Libertarians do advocate laissez-faire capitalism and a severe cut back if not a total elimination of regulation by the State. Libertarians believe in what they call "the superior virtue of liberty" both privately and communally. Conservatives, on the other hand, believe in an "ordered liberty."
"Ordered liberty" is pretty much a contradiction in terms to most libertarians. But to the dismay of Libertarians, Conservatives do not believe freedom is an unmixed good nor do they believe in "absolute" rights.
Any right comes with duties and responsibilities. Liberties among imperfect human beings have to be mediated by experience and prudence. This mediation is made active by inculcated habits, customs and lastly (preferably) by law and regulation. Gentlemen and Ladies of good will shall differ on exactly where the lines between liberty and necessary societal order will be drawn; but the tension between rights and preservation of life sustaining order (both good things) is resolved by the community as it "processes" its differences over time.
I hope the above allays many of Mr. Roush's concerns. Believe me, I am grateful for many things our government does -- even however imperfectly. I don't want tainted food. I don't want my airplane falling out of the sky. And God bless the FDA that when I was treated for cancer the medicines were in fact what they said they were.
Mr. Roush's does just a little poke in the ribs that I said nothing about threats to privacy among my list of liberties threatened by the Liberal elites. My "list" was not meant to be exhaustive. But I also said nothing about it because as a matter of custom and law "privacy" has different meanings across the civilized world -- even among the English speaking nations. Seen in a particular way, the "right to privacy" as such doesn't exist because it suffers from a particular vagueness. Instead, we talk about what the State cannot do to us. Such as, restrict speech, quarter soldiers, compel testimony against oneself, conduct unreasonable searches and seizures, and much more. We tend to focus on more or less concrete specifics rather than an ill-defined general notion. New challenges to our confidentiality will have to be dealt with in the same way.
My overall point remains the same. We are still a free and self governing people. I don't want that taken away from us because of someone's elite special brand of "justice" and a more "perfect" America.
-- Mike Dooley
P.S. I have worked in the medical field for almost thirty years and I have to giggle when someone refers to American healthcare as a system. It is many things, but a system it is not.
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