Reader Mail

Tick, Tick, Tick

John Kerry has all the time in the world. Also: Praying for rain. Indianapolis's Peyton Place. Terribly sad. Plus much more.

11.25.07

ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.'s Crybaby Kerry:

I just read your article exposing Kerry for the imbecile that he is, and then I returned to The American Spectator main page and you really do have a clock there!

That is so cool!

Thank you so much!
-- John Nehmer
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Though Mr. Tyrrell's article doesn't specifically mention it, let us not forget that in an appearance on Meet The Press shortly after the 2004 election Senator Kerry specifically and repeatedly promised Tim Russert that he would release all of his military records. When Russert pressed to know when -- would it be months, or weeks, or days? -- Kerry replied that it would be a matter of weeks.

Well, the clock is still ticking on that one.
-- C. Vail

The Crybaby Kerry did promise to release his military records several years ago and as yet that has not been done. So when Kerry says he is going to do something, please don't hold your breath.
-- Elaine Kyle

I like the idea of the Crybaby clock and expect it to run for a very long time. Do you think it would be appropriate if it were to Flip/Flop, rather than Tick/Tock?
-- Jerry Singleton

I still wish to see the poor Senator show how he obtained an Honorable Discharge as indicated on the posted DD214 form under Sections 1162 and 1163 of Title 18 of the US Code. While these are obsolete and have been long since replaced with more up-to-date sections, if you can find an old version of the US Code it is obvious they cover having a board of officers formed to upgrade less than honorable discharges to something higher.

Most of us who served or retired did not need that and got something much simpler with a "By Law" tag and not a board of officers.
-- Cookie Sewell
Democratic Peoples Republic of Maryland (Soon to be the Socialist Republic of Maryland)

T. Boone Pickens offered up a cool million to anyone who could prove there was one lie in what the Swifties said. Senator Kerry promptly accepted Boone's generous offer and immediately T. Boone added conditions that were not in his initial offer. It is absolutely clear that to any reasonable person that Mr. Pickens reneged on his bet -- case closed, no matter what Mr. R. Emmett R. Tyrrell Junior says.
-- Phil Kenny
Colorado Springs, Colorado

In what passes for his mind, doubtless Mr. Kerry envisions himself a hero. A hero in the quintessential meaning of the term: a valiant warrior in battle. Sort of a modern-day Hector. In truth we have a right to be skeptical. One of the qualities I have repeatedly noticed about real warriors is a chronic reticence; a reticence to talk with non-comrades about their experiences, much less brag about them. I took such a man, my beloved father-in-law to the scene of one of his most profoundly difficult battlegrounds: Iwo Jima. He appears on the title page of a recently published photojournalistic book. His picture depicts a young man clutching an M-1 and the black sand of the landing area. He has obviously just crawled across some bodies of his fellows, The look on his face does not reflect bravado...it reflects fear, wonderment that he was still alive, and it reflects a determination to stay the course. He virtually never speaks of his 30 odd days on that hellhole. For that matter, none of the other vets conversed much with anyone at all about their trial. Real warriors never seem to talk about this stuff. That's what struck me so pointedly about the Alvin York of Massachusetts: The boy CAN'T shut up about his exploits. And now he erupts in petulance at an aging financier over an issue he's stewed over lo these several years! Surely this gentleman can't be the best his state has to offer?
--- J.C. Eaton
Chetek, Wisconsin

TIME TO RETIRE

Flailing about with helpless arm,
Tilting at anyone he can alarm,
This long-faced lugubriousnist supreme,
Still trying to live his impossible dream,

M. Kerry is a cheerless hang-dog of shame.
It's best he drop his sad quest for fame.
While dancing outside the group round the fire
This pathetic shadow still seeks to inspire

A generation that's already forgotten his name.
(For which the Swifties are clearly to blame).
Go back to Teresa. Give it a rest.
You're a second rate would be. You were never the best.

-- Mimi Evans Winship

My Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes tells another story of arrogance, although not on the scale of Senator Kerry's, that may further tickle Mr. Tyrrell's funny bone.

It seems John Kenneth Galbraith was having breakfast with President Kennedy on the morning that the NYT published a profile of Galbraith. When JFK asked him what he thought of the article, he said it was OK but he could not understand why they had called him arrogant. The president replied, "I don't see why not; everybody else does."
-- Howard Lohmuller
Seabrook, Texas

I wish there were more people like Boone Pickens who had the backbone and integrity to take on buffoons and charlatans like Kerry and Gore in a very public way. Both men and a lot of their brothers, sisters, cousins and alike have enriched themselves through the public trough and never been held accountable for anything.

As someone who served in the military near the end of Vietnam but didn't serve there I'm still reminded that both these men and their political sugar daddies slimed every honorable tradition our military has spent 200 years building upon. Public figures are not above a public accounting unless you are a Democrat it seems. Rather than complain about the Liberal bias it might be instructive for those of us on the outside of the Liberal toilet bowel to start competing in the market place of ideas rather than complaining all the time about the Democrat Press. That's who they are and there is no Constitutional block on having an opinion and working for a profit seeking business like the Democrat News divisions that protect the two icons of buffoonery above. An unbiased Press has never existed and rather than trying to make Liberals be "fair and balanced" it might be helpful to stop being "nice" to people who will spit upon you if they get the chance.

Since Freedom of the Press is an individual right and not a collective right as is practiced today, we might want to remember that and remind a few elected and unelected government officials of this from time to time. These people can't stand the truth to be shined upon them. It isn't going to happen through the propaganda machine of the left. It is absurd that all the "free" TV Networks and their News Divisions are controlled by the same political belief structure; it is absurd that the Nation's Public School institutions are controlled by the same political belief structure. Every form of evil wants to control the flow of information, the education process and the economic means to produce goods and services. They've got two of those and we are conceding the third as a pretty good clip. The Founders gave us several ways to prevent this; we've chosen to ignore it. Boone Pickens has at least put his money where his mouth is. We should follow his example in my humble opinion. The Founders weren't delicate flowers like the left is today. They could take (and give) the heat.
-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia

Say what you will about John F. Kerry, but I remind you that he killed more communists than George W. Bush.

Yes, I know, it wasn't Gen. Giap, or Ho Chi Minh that he dispatched. Nor did Kerry exhibit the heroism, or face the long odds, of Ia Drang or Hue.

No, reportedly, it was a wounded teenager in a breech cloth. Trying to run for his life. Shot (in the back?) by John F. Kerry.

Some might quibble and call the youth an agrarian reformer, but I prefer to give John F. Kerry the benefit of the doubt, and credit him with a communist kill.

Others might be troubled by the circumstances of the shooting. But considering John F. Kerry's regal bearing, his aristocratic lineage, and love of all things French, pulling that trigger was an act of mercy -- the coup de grace.
-- Dan Martin
Pittsburgh

I spent two years in Vietnam 1969-70 and '71-72 and I also spent 10 years in the Unites States Army so I feel I have some knowledge of the situation in Vietnam in the '70s. I was in the United States Army, but all the services are alike in one respect. They all do things the same. I don't care if you are dumb, brilliant or in between or whether you are a nobody or the son of someone important, you did what was prescribed for your rank. LT (jg) Kerry with 3 months in Vietnam would not have been running secret missions. He would have been in charge of burning of the details of human waste. He would have been nominally in charge of the officers club (nominally because they usually had a senior enlisted man doing the actual bookkeeping but they needed an officer in charge). The same with the enlisted clubs. A alt (jg) would have done what ever sh** jobs the more senior officers didn't want to fool with.

As far as his secret missions in Cambodia? I was part of a group (regular army-4th inf. Div -- Ankhe, Vietnam) that went with some "civilians) to the Cambodia border. We were not allowed to cross over the small river that was the border but the "civilians" did so and that was that. We went back to our regular patrols and never heard about these people again. I can just see a "select mission into Cambodia. A swift boat with a full crew would have been about as secret as the Ronald McDonald clown at a funeral.

In two years of listening, talking to other soldiers and Vietnamese and observing closely I never encountered a creditable atrocity. Did bad things happen occasionally? Of course, but they happen at the mall, or the local carry out or on the street. Kerry is a fake, a fraud and every time he opens his mouth he spits on those that never made it back alive.
-- Gaylord Cooper
South Shore, Kentucky

I watched Sen. Kerry tell both Tim Russert and Don Imus on Live TV he would sign Special Form 180 granting complete access to his military records in late January 2005. To this date he has failed to keep his publicly stated word. The fact that Sen. Kerry received his General Discharge from Pres Carter's general pardon in 1978, 12 years after his 6 year enlistment raises interest. That the Senate's self-proclaimed war hero only received his Honorable Discharge from the Navy Secretary in Pres Clinton's last week, January 2001, raises further suspicion. Sen. Kerry's military records are doubtless filled with written pleas to cleanse it of yet-unpublished shame. Could it be that it was Lt Kerry, not Lt Bush, who was AWOL in 1971, failing his reserve duties upon joining the anti-war movement?
-- Tim O'Neill
Pompano Beach, Florida

Wasn't the good senator also going to make his discharge documents public? I remember there being some discussion that because of his anti-American activities in Paris during the peace talks with North Vietnam, that his discharge was under less than honorable circumstances. Then as I recall, Jimmy Carter allegedly "pardoned" the good senator.

The Massachusetts war hero, who apparently recommended himself for medals and then approved the awards to himself, denied that he was discharged under anything but honorable circumstances and told us he would make that information available.

I've never heard any more about it. Could one of your readers please enlighten me?
-- Jay Molyneaux

The only way he got an honorable discharge was when Jimmah Carter pardoned all the CO's in '78. I proudly wore my Vietnam Veterans Against Kerry button during his campaign. As a matter of fact, I had to attend a convention in Boston right before the Democrap Convention and the policeman directing traffic saw the button and got me a police escort through all the traffic to the hotel. They hate him in MA too. I don't know who votes for him and Kennedy. Oh wait, I know. It's the clowns who want me to pay their way through life.
-- Mike Barbour
Naperville, Illinois

This guy Kerry is just too much fun. He hasn't even got enough sense to keep quiet. You just gotta love it.
-- Steve Hayes
Utah

I loved Tyrrell's article. It reminds me of the other great Crybaby in American politics: Crybaby Ed Muskie.
-- Paul Zisserson
Cranston, Rhode Island

Way too funny R. Emmett. This vet doesn't hide his contempt for the pompous creep Jean-Francois Kerry.
-- Russel Ready

AWESOME!!!!!!!!!
-- Donna
Monroe, Wisconsin

SPAHNIE SEASON
Re: Jay D. Homnick's The Sky is No Limit:

Re: Jay Homnick's column on Georgia prayer and rain:

I don't disagree with Mr. Homnick's take on Sonny Perdue's prayer leadership and the subsequent rain, nor the MSM's response to the same. But for him to use the "Spahn and Sain and pray for rain" (which is the way it actually was said, I believe) in reference to the Atlanta Braves is too much, for a Wisconsin boy whose dreams were destroyed by the Braves' desertion of Milwaukee for Georgia, lured by the promise of all the parking, concession and ticket revenue.

For the record, Warren Spahn -- the greatest left-handed pitcher of all time -- never played for Atlanta. Nor did Johnny Sain. When the Braves left the shadow of the Red Sox to come to Milwaukee, "Spahnie" came with them and helped make them a World Championship team (and me a baseball fan). Warren was also a legit World War II hero.

Four years after the Braves went to Atlanta, the Seattle Pilots came to Milwaukee and became the Brewers; although the Braves had more success than Milwaukee, Atlanta didn't outdraw the Brewers until they finally made it into the playoffs in 1982. And we didn't have the embarrassment of Ted Turner and Jane Fonda either.

I don't begrudge Georgia and the Southeast whatever rain they get, and an early end to the drought, or Gov. Perdue his right to pray for the same -- the ACLU, Americans for Separation, etc., be damned (not that they'd care, although they should). But until the Brewers moved to the National League, and real Major League baseball returned to Wisconsin, I never really forgave Atlanta for stealing the Braves from us.
-- Scott Thomson
Whitehall, Wisconsin

Spahn and Sain pitched for the old Boston Braves, before the team even moved to Milwaukee (from whence it migrated to Atlanta). As I remember it, the ditty went: "Spahn and Sain and two days of rain" -- pitchers worked on three days' rest.

A more appropriate anecdote is the one about the Jews who gathered in Synagogue during a drought. The "town sinner" asked the Rabbi for permission to lead the prayer service as it was the anniversary of his father's death, the day mourners lead the prayer service. The Rabbi said, "By all means."

After the end of the service irate townspeople besieged the Rabbi. He calmed them, saying "a generation like him brought the Flood, maybe he'll bring a drizzle."
-- Abraham Shapiro

Mr. Homnick says that Sephardic Jews prayed for the death of Prime Minister Rabin and he died, that Georgia governor Sonny Perdue prayed for rain, and it rained. I find it difficult to give up my cause and effect view of the world when confronted with such examples.

I'm not against prayer, but it hasn't ever done me any good.

I pray regularly that I should get very rich and my enemies should die in agony. Nada.

I pray that the writers' strike will go on indefinitely. No, they'll cave eventually, writers being so unreliable. I pray that within my lifetime global warming will swamp all coastal cities, starting with New York and L.A.. It'll probably happen after I'm gone, when I can't enjoy it. So how does prayer help?

In addition, Georgia's rain is Arizona's drought. It's unseemly for Georgia to apply to the throne of grace to try and hog all the water, when Arizona needs it more. But that's just like Georgia, selfish.

The Pilgrims gave thanks because they had jettisoned their earlier socialism and became capitalists. Was Thanksgiving an answer to prayer, or just the use of plain common sense? Or is there something to the old medieval slogan, pray and work? Pray and use common sense, in other words.
-- C. V. Crisler
Gilbert, Arizona

Jay D. Homnick replies:
The interplay between work and prayer is beautifully captured in the Talmud (Niddah 70a), in a dialogue between the Jewish exile community in Alexandria, Egypt, and Rabbi Joshua (who lived during the destruction of the Second Temple, almost 2000 years ago):

"Rabbi, what should a person do to become educated?"

"He should spend more time at study than in business."

"Many have tried this, but it did not help."

"Let them ask mercy from He Who has all wisdom..."

"Rabbi, what should a person do to become wealthy?"

"He should spend more time at business and he should deal in a trustworthy manner."

"Many have tried this, but it did not help."

"Let him ask mercy from He Who has all wealth..."

PEYTON PLACE
Re: RiShawn Biddle's Giuliani's Lesson:

A slight update on your comment about the new football stadium. With cost over-runs now edging the cost up around $800 million, it becomes even more important to question your phrase about the taxpayers footing "part of the cost." The Colts pitched in $100 million after the city paid them $48 million to break the contract for the current stadium facility. A contribution of $52 million from the Colts constitutes less than seven per cent of the "present estimate" of the total cost. The contract entered into by Mayor Peterson's people also gives the Colts all football revenues, all sponsorship/naming revenues, up to $3.5 million annually of non-football revenues, and gives the city responsibility for operation and maintenance of the facility. This last amount is estimated to call for an annual increase of $10 million which the same folks forgot to plan for when telling the public what a big deal the whole boondoggle is. The mayor's cronies on the City-County Council, among other things, doubled the food-and-beverage tax on folks who use the local restaurants and bars -- a tax dedicated to the stadium deal -- while issuing $100 millions in debt to pay current charges on police and fire pensions.
-- Fred McCarthy

TERRIBLY SAD
Re: Jeff Emanuel's The Longest Morning:

I just want to start this letter off by saying I never write into places when I read an article. Regardless of how it makes me feel. But I have to write about you article called " The Longest Morning" by Jeff Emanuel. I was in the US Army for just shy of 8 years. I went to Iraq twice and also did a tour in Afghanistan. I have to say that reading this story was one of the most painful experiences of my life. Not because it is bad or that it told a bad story. Because I can honestly say it was inspiring. Also terribly sad. The thing that worried me the most. Since they have been able to keep this quiet for this long says a lot. But what is even more terrifying is how many of these stories should leave Iraq and Afghanistan each day and are kept silent by the love that a soldier has for their country and mainly their fellow soldier. I have lost friends over there. Mind you it was never in a way like that. I was in aviation for my whole time in the military and stationed at Ft. Campbell, Ky. I was with the 82nd Airborne while in Afghanistan and can honestly say I cried for close to an hour after reading this article.

To me it is an abomination that they gave out so many Medals of Honor during Vietnam. I am not trying to talk that down. I have respect for anyone who has served. But I do have to say. If they can give it to a man who did NOT really do anything to get that metal. Who was killed by friendly fire. But these men who truly deserve them will never get that. Instead they will wake up at night after seeing the faces of their fallen friends that they could not help. Because that is the worst thing about it. They will never got over the shock of that loss. So if a message can be sent to them in any capacity I would love for you to let these men know how much I appreciate them and everything they do. But mainly I would love for you to tell them they are the most deserving men I have heard about.

I know how the news coverage is when it comes to the war. I was there I had to hear the crying of my family after we did the invasion and it took three months for a call. I heard what was said to them everyday. So I can believe how this was swept under the rug (like a lot of stuff is). But I also want to point out the unit my husband and I just got out of is on their third tour over there.

So thank you so much for being the people to tell the story of our fallen Heroes.

Thank you with all of my heart.
-- Shannon

OPEN SEASON
Re: Robert Volland's letter (under "Hatred, Then and Now") in Reader Mail's The Hating of the President:

Robert Volland missed the central point of "JFK, Bush, and the Politics of Hate." The hatred the extreme right had for JFK when beyond anything he actually did or was. That hatred was rabid, personal, irrational and all-consuming. The longer Kennedy was in office the worse it got. Political opposition in the United States had always been heated and dynamic -- but the animus against JFK became pathological. We tend to forget this because after his assassination, Kennedy was elevated to a kind of secular sainthood.

Political opposition to Bush is fair. Conservatives themselves have more than a few bones to pick with Bush: the expansion of big government probably being the most important. I won't get into a point by point argument with the "sins" Mr. Volland lists against Bush except to say that when it comes to disregarding what the minority party said and absolute partisanship -- would that were true.

What is beyond the pale is the extreme hatred for Bush himself. It has gone way past the point of rational discussion. One is tempted to say that the left has started to believe its own propaganda; but it goes way beyond that. It is clear that many leftists on the blogosphere see Bush as a personal insult and something so loathsome as to be an Anti-Christ. Fantasies about violence against Bush's person are openly traded. Character assassination follows if you do not agree. It has come to the point that leftist's hatred for Bush has become toxic and self-destructive for themselves if for no one else.

I used to have a theory that the American people have something like an unconscious memory of the Civil War that allows us to take political warfare only so far. The Civil War was so devastating and costly with so many dead, maimed or lost we abhor a repeat. I no longer believe such restrains remain in significant portions of the population. Mr. Volland either does not recognize this soul-killing hatred or (worse) feels it is justified. Perhaps, sometime in the future, those that follow us will look back on our lifetimes and note JFK and Bush hatreds for what they were and see both the left and the right had angels among them.
-- Mike Dooley

In Mr. Volland's letter of Nov. 21 he had several items listed. If Bush had total disregard for the minority party he would not have had the swimmer Kennedy involved with the bad No Child Left Behind and he would not have been on the minority side, even against his own party, on ILLEGAL immigration and AMNESTY.

Are you referring to the war for the distortion of the truth? If so you need to go back and see what your President Clinton had to say about WMD that Iraq had and oh yes the Senate voted for war.

I will have to give you a half pass on the gross incompetence, see above on AMNESTY for illegals and no child left behind and he would have vetoed more of the spending bills. But the tax cuts have worked wonders and we have not been hit again by terrorist.
-- Elaine Kyle

EQUAL, NOT FAIR
Re: James Bowman's Lords of Ill Discipline:

Radical egalitarianism is like a golf handicap -- better players are required to give lesser players strokes in order to make a match "fair." Differences in talent, effort, desire and ambition? Irrelevant. While such "equalization" makes for an interesting wager on a Saturday morning, only a fool would believe you could run a country the same way.
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

PIONEERING TASTES
Re: Thomas J. Craughwell's If Only the Pilgrims Had Been Italian:

Here are some of the foods that the "new world" gave to the world:

Artichoke, avocado, beans (kidney, butter, pole, navy, snap, string, pinto etc), blackberry, blueberry, cacao (chocolate) cashews, tapioca, black cherry, corn, cranberry, concord grape, guava, huckleberry, papaya, peanut, pecan , peppers (chili, bell, jalapeno etc), pineapple, popcorn, potato, pumpkin, squash, raspberry, wild rice, sassafras, sunflower, sweet potato, tomato, turkey, vanilla.

You have to wonder what "old world" Europe ate in the old days. They didn't have tomatoes, potatoes, corn, peppers, and beans for staples. They didn't have chocolate, vanilla, pineapple, guava for dessert.
-- Fred Edwards

BIG THANK YOU
Re: Quin Hillyer's Thanksgiving, 2007

I'd like to add a couple more blessings to be thankful for, Quin. First, is TAS, without which I'd have never come to know such truly wonderful people, not only the regular contributors, but those in the Reader Mail, as well. Second, is you Quin. The fact is, there are not many such well-positioned editorialists, like Quin Hillyer, still out there, who are capable of writing such a piece as this. Thank you, Quin, and all of you. We will do well to remember our blessings, especially the blessing of freedom, this last Thanksgiving before a national election like none other. May we still be giving thanks for that freedom next Thanksgiving.
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

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