Re: Shawn Macomber's Striking Poses on Washington Square:
Striking entertainment-industry writers have caused financial devastation to those affiliated in any way with the entertainment industry, from make-up artists and technical crews to the thousands of Los Angeles business people who rely on the film industry for employment, yet one hears no accusations against the writers about "trickle down" economics or "hurting the poor," the favorite disparaging remarks the Left aims against the Right's economic activities.
No one accuses the writers of greed or damaging innocent people in order to get more money -- it appears only the Right can be accused of such things. If Macomber is outraged about teachers' unions joining the New York strikers' performance, he should come to Los Angeles, where the nurses' unions have joined in solidarity with the strikers. Perhaps they miss the business the entertainment industry provides -- drug overdoses, car crash victims, domestic violence, alcohol problems, etc. At any rate, how ironic that Macomber refers to Danny Glover as being One With the People. This is the same actor who is set to have two movies produced by dictator Hugo Chavez. In time the strike will end, the writers will go home, and the martyred actors will return to the cameras, saved from having to find real jobs in society. Until then, the entertainment value of the strike surpasses anything the writers could create.
-- Caroline Miranda
North Hollywood, California
I have to say that I'm stunned that this strike continues.
At no point in the history of entertainment would it be as easy for the members of the WGA to strike out on their own, rather than just go on strike.
They actually have an opportunity to remake the industry here, but it's not by going on strike it is by starting their own production companies.
The technology is there and I'm sure the money can be found (sympathetic rich actors). So why not just leave and start their own firms?
Maybe they are secretly concerned that the value of what they produce isn't as high as they think it is. Nah, everything on TV is Pure Gold.
Astoria, New York
"Without Writers Guild members, we would have bad jokes, crap movies, and an endless output of reality television," Tim Robbins.
I didn't realize the writer's strike has been going on for the past 30 years or so. My bad.
-- Karl F. Auerbach
Re: George H. Wittman's Spoiling Beijing:
Mr. Wittman wrote: "China is showing all the signs of a spoiled brat -- a spoiled brat with thousands of years of cultural history, a booming economy, an arsenal of nuclear-tipped missiles, and a crucial vote on the United Nations Security Council."
To Mr. Wittman's list, you can add "and a significant part of the U.S. debt." This is brought about by the fact that neither party is willing to stop spending (too many voters would be offended by being cut from the government dole) and the Republicans insist that we shouldn't have to tax ourselves to pay for what we demand. The promise to cut taxes, thereby adding to the national debt, is really a free lunch philosophy.
Only it's not free. We are leaving the tab to our kids and our grandkids. I doubt they will write any books about how great is our generation.
-- Mike Roush
It is ironic that China views its current ascendancy as entirely China driven; it is not, of course. The huge trade gaps it runs with almost every geographic region on Earth is the result of other nations, particularly Western nations, liberal, enlightened trade policies, which are in turn based on liberal and enlightened governments. China has a lot to learn from the West, perhaps more than it will ever admit, and a long way to go.
We hope that its military build up is not for the purpose of some day challenging the US or invading Taiwan. But something tells me that a country that can not build a high performance military jet engine even now and must rely still on Russian technology has a big R&R problem. And while China has for the first time in its history built its own modern jet fighter that is not of Russian design, the new fighter is, however, based on an Israeli design that was basically a copy of the US F-16. Indeed, there is no need to fear China. The country's bark is far worse than its bite.
-- David Newland
Finally someone has started to say what needs to be said about China.
The Chinese communist party is not the rightful ruler of the Republic of China, and for that matter is not the rightful ruler of mainland China either. It is an oligarchy whose sole power is from the muzzles of guns and treads of tanks. It should be the explicit policy of all free nations to topple all totalitarian governments. Running up massive trade deficits with China will not magically bring democracy; it will only bring about a huge military (for what? to repel Yak mounted cavalry from Mongolia?) to not only prevent democracy domestically, but also to destroy it abroad where ever it may.
The theme of the 21st century will not be the wars of ideology of the 20th century, but will be a massive counter attack of the totalitarians--smart, realistic totalitarians who use capitalism to their advantage--against the very concept of freedom and self government. A dollar spent with China is another missile purchased to kill your grandson later on this century. Happy Christmas shopping.
-- D. Lewis
Re: W. James Antle III's The Life of His Party:
The Honorable Henry Hyde was a graceful man of great eloquence. On many evenings, I listened to C-Span reprise the day's debate. Frequently featured prominently was Representative Hyde as he held forth on a subject.
Who can forget his impassioned orations as the House Judiciary Committee brought charges to impeach the abominable Bill Clinton? We shall miss him and his deep sense of right and wrong -- brought to bear most prominently to save the lives of the unborn.
Who among contemporaneous Democrats can compare?
-- Judy Beumler
Editor, The Wedding Chronicle
Re: Windsor Mann's Flushed Out:
Working at Johns Hopkins University, I sometimes have to submit forms to the HR Department for visiting lecturers and there is the gender choice that follows -- MALE FEMALE UNKNOWN. So far, the responses have been traditional. For the majority of people, it is inherently understood what gender he or she is.
As for Ms. Farmer, yes, MS., by identifying herself as a lesbian, she automatically, though not aware of it, identifying herself as a female homosexual. This continued lack of acknowledgement of facts is evident of the continued slide from objective truth.
-- Nigel Assam
R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Missing from the News:
Mr. Tyrrell wants to know what the media sees in Britney and Paris. Didn't he provide the answer himself? "Admittedly their tawdriness and general stupidity does not speak very well for American popular culture. Perhaps this explains their fame."
The problem is that America is easily entertained. Can you say Reality TV, or Championship Wrestling? Or Richard Simmons' exercise videos? Why does Mr. Tyrrell sound so mystified?
Some of us require more than popular fluff to be entertained. I, myself, sometimes read philosophy for entertainment. Lately it's been Plato's dialogues, especially "Symposium" and "Parmenides."
In the case of "Symposium," I thought I'd stumbled into a gay chat room -- not that I've ever visited any of those, regularly. The dialogue was supposed to be about Love, but if that's so, I'll take Undying Hate any day. With respect to "Parmenides," I read about halfway through until an overwhelming desire to kill Parmenides and Zeno came over me.
I'm not perfect, I admit, sometimes. My piano playing is still at the "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" stage. My poetry appreciation has never made it much past the limerick. I'm the last to find out that I mustn't call my teddy bear "Mohammed," and when it comes to philosophy and science I sometimes feel dumber than Australopithecus.
But there's one thing I do know: Britney and Paris's "sudden absence from the headlines" is only a temporary respite. I think that one can believe to a mathematical certainty that we haven't seen the last of them. And the idea that their temporary absence may be due to their becoming Republicans shows us that Mr. Tyrrell's analytical powers are beginning to fade. Let us mourn this sad situation.
-- C. V. Crisler
WHAT IN SAM HILL?
Re: Samuel A. Hill's letter (under "No News is Bad News") in Reader Mail's Fair Tax Counting:
I enjoy the fact that The American Spectator has a sense of humor. Posting Samuel A Hill's letter regarding the actual situation in Iraq clearly reveals the lunacy that is Ron Paul's gang of idiots. The only difference between Ron Paul's followers and the Moveon.org gang is the latter are a bunch of socialist idiots while the former are just idiots.
-- Paul Moody
"I find it both amusing and astounding to listen to morons..." no, scratch that: "people" (No need for the ad hominem) like Mr. Hill who seem to have a rather bizarre definition of success.
"Picture this: WWI troops, huddled in a 7-foot trench half-full water, congratulating each other on the fact that a whole day has passed without the enemy shooting at them, calling it a "success." It served for Patton who stated that "success" was the other SOB dying for his country. Given that, any day a soldier, sailor, marine, or airman is still alive, kicking, and ready to kick-butt back is in every way an unmitigated success. Heck, it's no different than the "success" claimed by Bin Hidin' and others. If it's good enough for them, it should be good enough for us.
"Face it, American occupation troops fight in a solely defensive position." Uh, as far as I know, the Military doesn't name defensive "operations." If our people are only fighting from defensive positions, than why name operations? If you haven't heard of any operation names, then I suggest you check out Michael Yon's web page. You don't go "out on patrol" in large numbers that invite IED attacks if fighting from "defensive" positions. AQI would be ruling Iraq by now if we only fought defensively. I haven't heard about that yet.
"Except for kicking in a few Iraqi home's doors, they must wait to be attacked." Ah, the Murtha Maneuver! Result: he's now changing his tune and admitting the Surge is working. Poor Nancy and Harry.
And speaking of "Shams," the rest of your letter literally reeks of it. Oh well, I expect nothing more when a letter starts with an ad hominem.
-- Karl F. Auerbach
Enjoyed reading Sam Hill's letter. Well, didn't actually enjoy it, but certainly caught the salient points he was trying to (and did pretty successfully) make.
He was right, absolutely! Trying to force the protestant/religious concept of "freedom" down the collective throats of a culture that too often calls itself the "most barbaric" in the world? Doesn't seem to work very well; their legislature (such as it is) wants a three month summer vacation while we do the dirty work/heavy lifting? Candidly, that sucks!
Having a "leader" who accepts a series of McClellans for 3-4 years before actually trying to (possibly) win that mess in Iraq? Our Pentagon has become nearly as wimpy as the State Department (wonder if the fabled Dr. Rice will admit to being brainwashed) -- and having such an inept "leader" sucks as well.
Heck, aside from the spending and government growth, he's reduced to mouthing platitudes about Ethanol while refusing to push ANWR or drilling offshore in the Gulf -- has turned his back on border protection and the insistence on lawful immigration? What an awful president he turned out to be!
Mr. Hill used the word "sham" most appropriately, but perhaps we've reached different conclusions. Maybe. You see, we're there -- and we might be able to actually WIN this thing if we have a ballsy (cojones) president like Rudy Giuliani, the only guy I've seen with the strength necessary to push the proper buttons 'n possibly kick the necessary amount of butt so that we don't leave with the proverbial tail-between-our-legs scenario.
But, there again, maybe he's right, and now's the time to follow Dr. Ron Paul's (my congressman) advice and cut our losses. What we've accomplished there in Iraq will never be appreciated, except by a few. Too few. And they'll probably go back to their old ways when we're gone. They appear hopeless.
Thus, seems as if we're back, caught between that Rock-and-a-Hard-Place, with a "leader" who's now trying to again get the Israelis to bend, again.
In all of my 73 years (going on 36), never have I been so thoroughly disgusted by a so-called president, a pukey congress, courts like the 9th; a lazy, good-for-nothing media (of which I once was a part), and the fragmentation-grenades gleefully tossed by the zealots: from Jesse Jackson to Bennie Hinn, Al Sharpton to the sanctimonious pontificator James Dobson, Barry Lynn to Jimmy Swaggart. Saints preserve us, if you'll pardon the expression.
Truly, methinks that Dubya will continue to share the bottom-of-the-barrel with the likes of Tyler, Pierce, LBJ, Buchanan and Harding. But if he continues to screw-up as royally as he has these last few years, he'll possibly sink a tad farther, and join Jimmy Carter as the worst ever.
Really, as an eternal optimist, Deist, "small-L" libertarian type, it takes a lot to get me sufficiently ticked-off to write such a letter -- but, damn, this poor country is flushing itself down the toilet while Limbaugh continues to make excuses for Dubya, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid issue more stupid statements, Hillary-R and that bunch of Marxists spout more socialist rhetoric, while the Hugo Chavez types giggle. So very sad.
-- Jack Frost
Mr. Hill: Please avoid dark alleys and any other places where you might be attacked. Your insistence on passive non-resistance will most likely land you in the hospital or the morgue. Don't you understand? These people are trying to KILL us! Don't fight back because it costs too much is not a viable pathway. I, too, am greatly upset with President Bush. He has prosecuted this war in such a cautious way, without the ruthlessness needed, that it has dragged on and on.
-- Joseph Baum
FAIR TAX AND SCIENTOLOGY CONT.
Re: The Prowler's New Arrangements:
I would like to correct your editorial about the Fair Tax organization -- Americans for Fair Taxation, which is, by the way, fiscally alive and well. The organization is not broke but "went for broke" in the last Iowa straw poll and got payback in national exposure to the Fair Tax. Evidence of this is that publications such as yours are writing about it, albeit inaccurately.
AFFT was founded by Houston businessmen Leo Linbeck and Bob McNair, who were frustrated because they were wasting time at board meetings talking about taxes instead of business. Linbeck and McNair and their friends spend over $20 million in academic and market research to determine which tax reform proposal would be most workable and acceptable to the people. Those were the origins of AFFT and the Fair Tax.
Let me put the Scientology canard to rest. Apparently that legend came from commentator Bruce Bartlett, who had not done his research.
There is no link from AFFT to the Church of Scientology. About five years before the Linbeck McNair research there was a group of tax reformers who by coincidence happened to be members of the Church who supported an earlier unrelated consumption tax reform proposal. Detractors of the Fair Tax have decided to imagine a link between the two that simply isn't there.
Once a legend starts, it is hard to dispossess people of it.
-- Jim Bennett
New Jersey State Volunteer
Co-Director of Americans for Fair Taxation
Summit, New Jersey
Have you ever heard of libel? AFFT is NOT a "onetime offshoot of the Church of Scientology." A totally different organization known as "Citizens for An Alternative Tax System" (CATS) had funding form COS sources. There is no connection between the two.
In the late 1990's (3 - 4 years after AFFT was formed) a key member of CATS decided the FairTax was a better bill then their own bill and started volunteering for AFFT. A couple years after that, he was appointed COO and stepped down a year ago from that position.
I've heard it stated that he was a member of COS. Who cares?!? That has nothing to do with whether or not the FairTax is a good bill that would be great for the country. The point is that AFFT IS NOT an offshoot of COS. These types of statements are only meant to create some sort of negative image of the proposal.
Secondly, AFFT has never been a top down organization. The FairTax PROPOSAL is supported by volunteers around the country. Most of them donate time to educate others, not money. That isn't going to go away regardless how the national organization's funding efforts go. The national strategy did bring the proposal more in view of the public eye, which helps all volunteers by providing additional opportunities to educate more Americans.
As a longtime VOLUNTEER, I can tell you that interest has never been higher at the grass roots. Thank you for firing up more volunteers.
-- Bill Rollyson
If there is some connection between Gov. Mike Huckabee and the Church of Scientology, as your Nov. 29 Prowler column suggests, I'm sorry to hear it.
The Church of Scientology is not just some slightly loopy, new age religion populated by smiling celebrities. It is a mind-controlling cult run on a totalitarian model which daily exploits the vulnerable and the unwary.
Families are destroyed by Scientology's "disconnection" policy. Members of its elite "Sea Organization" (SO) who sign billion-year contracts to serve the "church" are coerced to have abortions when they become pregnant; child rearing would interfere with their duties. Staff at the "missions" work extremely long hours, seven days a week for sub-poverty wages. SO members who demonstrate disloyalty or fail to meet productivity quotas are incarcerated in the Rehabilitation Project Force -- Scientology's own forced-labor camps, where inmates subsist on an inadequate diet, undergo intensive "re-education" including interrogations while hooked up to a lie detector, are subjected to sleep deprivation, perform hard manual labor, and are generally treated in a dehumanizing manner; some people are held in these camps for years.
How do I know all this? I used to be a Scientologist and I can provide documentation for what I've said. Gov. Huckabee would do well to steer clear of the Church of Scientology.
-- Mary Ann Bosnos
Fountain Hills, Arizona
LOW SPEED CONNECTIONS
Re: Tom Bethell's A Slow-Motion Revolution:
Our government in its wisdom broke up AT&T and now is letting it get back together. I am sorry to say I still have a very slow DIALUP using ATT phone lines that they say are too expensive to upgrade so DSL can be put in, but they still have the money to go buy more of the baby bells instead of taking care of customers they already have. In fact ATT just raised my dialup service cost to more than DSL, go figure. Also there is not a cable company in my area that has high speed internet and on SS sure can't afford the monthly cost of a broadband card. So in this high tech country there are lots of people caught in a time warp.
-- Elaine Kyle
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