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Boos for good sportsmanship. Phoning it in. Who can stop Bill Richardson? Plus more.

1.8.08

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RATTLING THE CAGE
Re: Reid Collins's Root, Root, Root for the Home Team!:

Enjoyed reading this article by Mr. Collins, and agreed with many of his points. There was one point I take exception to, concerning NBA fans and the clappers they use to distract visiting players when they shoot free-throws.

Mr. Collins wrote, "There was a time when a fan would not want to be seen demonstrating in such a way."

Mr. Collins may not be aware that basketball players used to be nicknamed "cagers." This came from journalists in the first half of last century and it described many university gyms where basketball games were played. These gyms had a lower level, where the court was, and an upper balcony, where fans could watch the games. The basketball goals were suspended from the ceiling and fans in the balcony could easily grab a support and shake the goal when a player on the opposing team shot, which they did quite often. This led to the universities fencing off the balcony to prevent this interference. The lower gym now looked like it was in a cage, hence the term "cagers."

Things may have worsened, but boorish behavior from the home-team fans is nothing new.
-- Kent Thomas

Why was this article allowed to be on the website? If Reid Collins is so upset at the thought of fans cheering for their teams, then maybe Reid shouldn't bother to watch sports at all. This was an idiotic, pointless article that demonstrated nothing so much as Reid is a know-nothing killjoy who doesn't understand anything about sports.

The rant against instant replay was incredibly dumb. Apparently, in Reid's world, the "authorities" are always right and just, and if anyone questions them, it's because of "disrespect." Or it could be that the officials screw up occasionally and there's a system in place to prevent abuses. But hey, for Reid, the authorities should never be questioned. That, my friends, is a totalitarian view.

On the subject of free throws, Reid has a fit that fans are allowed to make noise during the act. Please. I don't even know where to begin.

This article diminishes the Spectator. Again I ask, why was this allowed to be on the website?
-- Joel Natzke
Kansas City, Missouri
P.S. Remind me to never take Reid to a game at hallowed Lambeau. The experience just might upset him.

With all the really important and critical things going on in our culture today, you choose to fixate on home team crowd noise. May I respectfully request that you get a life? I suppose you want Congress to hold hearings and have the EPA set decibel levels so as to avoid such "boorish" behavior. Or perhaps, have the Justice Department promulgate a set of regulations for "fairness." Have you ever been to Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium during a playoff game? Can we now get back to something important here? Oh, and do you think you might just let folks have some fun, or do you wish to control that as well?
-- A. DiPentima

Reid Collins's article was poorly written, poorly argued, and seemed to miss the entire point of being a sports fan.

Someone tell Mr. Collins that the little girls' room is just down the hall.
-- Jim Hunter
Ann Arbor, Michigan

HATING ON CELL PHONES
Re: Eric Peters's Driving While Talking:

Contrary to Eric Peters's January 8 column, "Driving while Talking, the study mentioned in the column is NOT a Transportation Research Board study, nor was it funded by the National Academy of Sciences.

The study was conducted and funded by the University of Utah. The study was prepared for presentation at the upcoming annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board, along with many other studies by researchers and engineers nationwide.

Before mocking the study, Mr. Peters's credibility would be well-served not to have two major errors in the first two paragraphs of his column. He also should recognize that "what ought to be obvious" isn't always correct, and that scientific research is necessary to provide solid information upon which to base legislation or other action.
-- Lee Siegel, science news specialist
University of Utah Public Relations

Mr. Peters does tend to exaggerate. What does he want to ban next: eating, drink (sodas), putting on makeup and reading. I mean, these are no better than talking on the cell phone. By the way, to play devil's advocate, being impaired is not the same as distracted.
-- Joseph D'Ambrosia

Eric, you said it!

I note you make no distinction between talking on a hand-held phone and using a hands-free device. I would bet that if someone studied this, they would find very little difference in the level of distraction in these two approaches to gabbing while driving.
-- Jeff Webb
Madison, New Jersey

I don't understand why some states say it is okay to talk "hands free." It is NOT the holding of the cell phone that is unsafe, but the talking itself. If your brain is tied up thinking about what you are going to say next it is hard to be thinking about the red light ahead, or the school zone sign. Now to make matters worse there are GPS gadgets to look at.

Some company better come out quick with cars that drive themselves, so the idiot drivers can kick back and think they are at home in the recliner.
-- Elaine Kyle

In this article the author says that the legal system will throw everything it has against a drunk driver. Not true! In September of 1998, my parents were hit and killed by an eighty-six year old man who chose to drink and drive. This man had a blood alcohol level of .08 two hours after the accident. At the time, BAC of .10 was the legal limit in Texas. Due to sloppy police work and a lazy D.A., this case never went to trial.

Also the author says that drinking and driving have become politically incorrect; again not true! Every night in restaurants and bars across the country people have too much to drink and happily drive themselves home.

I have believed, since I lost my parents, that drinking and driving should be raised from Intoxicated Manslaughter to Murder One. One does not purposely choose a victim, but one knowingly goes to a bar and drinks knowing that all physical and mental capabilities are diminished with each drink. At some point this person chooses to drive. The situation is now analogous to taking a loaded weapon to a crowded mall and randomly shooting. Someone might get shot, they might not, someone might get killed, and they might not. If that kid in Omaha this past Christmas hadn't shot himself, he would have been charged with several counts of murder and attempted murder. Drunk drivers should be charged the same way.
-- Randall Allison
Abilene, Texas

Can't the nannies in lab coats ever mind their own business? Even for five minutes? Just because they can't talk and drive at the same time doesn't mean nobody can.

How is talking on a phone more distracting than, oh, changing a CD, or programming a GPS destination, or quashing a fight between two toddlers thrashing around in their nanny-mandated safety seats? Answer: it's not. All this amounts to is crotchety old whippersnapper-haters finding yet another use of cell phones to complain about.

The cell phone is here. It is everywhere. It will be around until it is replaced by the implanted phone. Get used to it.
-- Doug Welty
Arlington, Virginia

I wear a hands free device and talk on my cell phone while driving.

I find it less distracting than when my three small children were squabbling while I drove. I find it less distracting than talk radio. I find it less distracting than talking to a front seat passenger who is an interesting conversationalist. I find it less distracting than drinking a soda while I drive.
-- Yaakov "Jim" Watkins

PARTYING WITH REAGAN
Re: Jeffrey Lord's Why I Am a Reaganite:

Ahhh, Mr. Lord, thank you. As I see Huckabee and McCain lead in Iowa and New Hampshire, I keep wondering what happened to conservatives. I heard David Frum on Laura Ingraham's show yesterday talking about how conservatives had to change to meet the country where it is rather than moving the country toward conservatism, and I got depressed. Your article is a reminder of first principles.

The over-the-top spending of the Republican Congress under Bush has threatened the conservative movement -- that old "compassionate conservatism" is anything but and will lead to the ant heap of totalitarianism Reagan so eloquently and bravely described.

I think that's why the Republican Party is so out of sorts -- who is enunciating conservative first principles? Romney and Thompson seem to be the only ones. Thompson probably can't get elected, and the other Republicans are trying to take Romney down.

Listen to Reagan, Rush and Mr. Lord -- there our country lies.
-- Deborah Durkee
Marietta, Georgia

Kudos to Jeffrey Lord for his inspiring article on how Ronald Reagan made conservatism the most dynamic element of the American political landscape. What is most striking in the 10 points is how the ideal of freedom as a "divine right" underpins them all. That one concept differentiates true Reagan conservatives and Republicans from their liberal, Democrat, RINO and paleo-conservative (Pat Buchanan) counterparts. It also explains why those NOT committed to the spreading of freedom never understood Ronald Reagan and don't get George W. Bush.

While Bill Clinton is still searching for a respectable legacy President Reagan's is alive and well in the free people of Eastern Europe and much of Latin America. Prayerfully Iraq, Afghanistan and the entire Middle East will soon find themselves solid citizens of the free world thanks to the extension of that dream.

The principle of extending freedom to the people of the world is the lasting legacy of Ronald Reagan to the United States and the world. If Republicans ever turn their back on that standard then it will be true that not only is the Reagan coalition dead, but the Republican Party is no longer the Party of Ronald Reagan.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

HE'S HUGE
Re: Philip Klein's The Richardson Juggernaut:

One thing conservatives need to keep in mind as they consider voting this year the Democrat Congress, that gained power thanks to the conservative melt down in 2006, has increased government spending since October 1, 2007 by 9%. For all those that lambasted the last Republican Congress for spending this should be a wake up call that despite their flaws the Republicans are still more effective in controlling government spending, keeping your taxes low and defending the country. Punishing Republicans and throwing away elections are not only bad politics for the GOP, but the nation and hard working Americans.

Whether it is Bill's spouse, Oprah's poodle, the ambulance chasers heart throb or the longest of shots a Democrat in the White House augurs badly for the country on spending, taxes, illegal aliens and keeping the country safe from fanatical Muslim terrorists.
-- Michael Tomlinson

OBAMA REPORTING FOR DUTY
Re: Philip Klein's Barack to Square One:

The Democrats have always had better luck with likeable unknowns (Jack Kennedy, Jimmy Carter in 1976, Bill Clinton, etc.) than they have with known quantities Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Jimmy Carter in 1980, etc.), and Barack Obama fits the bill nicely.

He's a charming, eloquent and charismatic figure who comes off as comfortable in his own skin. In modern campaigning, where sound bites are the rule and depth is hard to demonstrate to those who lack it, these are difficult traits to beat, but that doesn't mean that it can't be done.

Obama's Achilles' heel is his lack of experience and training. He's not simply a rookie, he's a rookie who has only held national office for a couple of years. When confronted with questions that he cannot answer on the fly, he is as likely as not to make some very obvious public gaffes, as he did when he proposed invading Pakistan.

The way to beat a likable, pleasant fellow who hasn't got a clue about policy is to highlight his ignorance and force him to take positions on the fly which can then be brought up during debates. Force voters to confront his inadequacies in experience and judgment without being vicious about it.

This will be difficult, as the media tends to ignore evidence of incompetence or outright stupidity in Democrats and equate anyone else pointing it out with "negativity," but the case can be made that while he is a bright young guy, he has a bit of growing up to do before he's ready to go toe-to-toe with Ahmadinejad, Putin, Chavez, Castro or any of the other world leaders who have it in for us. It doesn't hurt that Obama looks like a kid who just got his first boot camp haircut. It just makes it easier to see that he's wet behind the ears.
-- Mike Harris
MAJ, USA

JESUS DOESN'T LOVE YOU
Re: James D. Bailey's letter (under "Jesus Loves Me") in Reader Mail's Ronald Reagan's War:

I've been very reluctant to do this, but I can suppress it no longer, so, I'm going to stick my neck way out, here. As a religious history student both in college and seminary, I'd like to try and put this all in perspective in a few paragraphs. God help me!

At the risk of making you sad, Mr. Bailey, here's where I think the "detractors" have a problem with Mormonism. Do you believe you need the Book of Mormon to "live by His words"? If so, then what about the rest of us, who don't? Are we lost? And, what about all the Christians who lived before Joseph Smith? Were they lost? Why should any of us trust in Mormonism, or the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (nicknamed the Mormons)", for our salvation?

You see, it isn't that we think you're not Christians, necessarily, a lot of people say they are Christians, but that you misunderstand what it means to be a Christian! Now, before I give Ken Shreve a heart attack, let me be plain. I do not doubt your sincerity, or that you have faith in Christ, but I would challenge you to rethink who's doing the "misinforming" and "misleading" here.

If we can't be saved without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet, endorsing the Book of Mormon, and joining the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (nicknamed the Mormons)," what are you saying? Basically, you're saying that for 1,800 years, until 1827, Christianity was a failure.

I'm going to leave it at that, because I can anticipate at least some of the response, and I don't want to provoke an even more prolonged debate than we've already had. But, while I'm more than willing, bending over backwards, actually, until my vertebrae are killing me, to acknowledge that Mormons profess a belief in Christ as savior, I'm unwilling to compromise the truth that Jesus said sets us free! Whether you're Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, etc., etc., etc., we must believe we can understand that truth, or every thing else is in vain.

Oh, and by the way, if Mitt's nominated I will support him for POTUS. Until then, I will continue to support Fred Thompson. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I think Mitt is out of his depth and too naive for the office. I don't care if he's a Mormon or an Appalachian snake charmer, I don't believe he is the best candidate, no matter what National Review says.

OK, I've had my little rant.
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

YOU'RE WELCOME?
Re: Jeremy Lott's The Planned Parenthood Primary:

Thanks for ruining my day.
-- Merlin Perkins
Bridgeport, Washington

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