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Bad Times

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9.17.07

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MOVING ON
Re: The Prowler's The New York Times Moves On:

I wonder how the Times's regular advertisers will take these new ad rates. For a paper said to be in a bad financial position, it must seem strange to discount an ad so much, for a group that probably would have paid the full market price.
-- Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida

The New York "Slimes" like MoveOn.org is a surrogate mouthpiece for the Democrat Party. When they "speak" they are speaking for the Democrat Party (even the two-faced blue dogs). The Democratic Party needs to be "tarred and feathered" with the lies of their media whores and brainless twits (aka activists). When they attempted to undermine General Petraeus they were speaking for Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Rahm Emmanuel, Joe Biden, Dick Durbin, Jim Webb, Mark Warner, Ike Skelton, Tom Lantos, Imam Obama, Mrs. Bill Clinton and every politician in America who has a D beside his or her name.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

The incredible thing about the "General Betray Us" ad is that no one expresses embarrassment. The ad was so low brow (there are more sophisticated plays on names on fourth-grade playgrounds), yet I've seen none of my liberal friends here in the Athens of the West reaching for barf bags. And this is an oasis of sagacious people. Most Dem members of Congress also are intelligent (no one -- Dem or Republican -- gets into Congress by being stupid), yet the Dem member have signed on to this silly name-calling by remaining silent. This is really scary. Does this mean that Soros owns them to a man (woman)?
-- Ty Knoy
Ann Arbor, Michigan

RIGHT SOUNDS
RE: Greg Gutfeld's The Cretin Hop:

Your article "The Cretin Hop" really struck a chord with me. Being once a Los Angeles ex-punk musician (1978-84) and now a solid conservative with latent libertarian leanings, I couldn't agree more. Now working within the "entertainment" industry by supporting IT-based studio equipment offers a continuous exposure to the biggest morons this city has to offer.

I used to be disgusted and now I try to be amused (I know, early Elvis C. was a personal hero of mine) is sometimes is the only way to get through the day. And to top it off I am Latino, so already they expect total agreement (stereotyping in the extreme) when spewing some white guilt, America-hating tripe from the 60's. The few times I've fired back with the cold slap of reality they acted like I was kidding!

Note: I do keep my conservatism under cover because by personal experience it is better to do so profession-wise.

Keep up the good work.
-- J.E Limon

HUMBOLDT ROCKS
Re: Peter Hannaford's Fame Fizzles, But Not Always:

Heavens to Hephaestus, can't you even get 18th century science right?

Peter Hannaford's paean to the good and great Alexander von Humboldt tells us that after perambulating: "Up and down volcanoes, he decided they came from fissures deep the earth, thus upending the popular view that they were built up from ancient oceans."

Hannaford seems to confuse the common wisdom about volcanoes, which antedates Pompeii, with the Neptunist versus Plutonist controversy current in academe when Humboldt was a grad student at the Royal Saxon Bergakademie in the 1790's. The Neptunists maintained that rocks were relics laid down as sediments by the Biblical flood, while godless Plutonists, drunk on secular materialism, raved that granite might once have been molten. The very idea!

As to the continuing fame of A.v.H 's magnum opus Cosmos, whose title and theme were pinched without credit by Carl Sagan's eponymous PBS series, I gave it pride of place in the Wall Street Journal last year as one of The Five Best Science Books.

Mr. Hannaford ought to read it, along with the work of Humboldt's more intelligent elder brother Wilhelm -- he's the one who invented the modern university.
-- Russell Seitz
Cambridge, Massachusetts

When I was at the University of Houston, my geography professor, the late Dr. John Coffman, extolled the virtues of getting out of town for field research and would go on at length about the exploits of the great Prussian explorer. Recalling President Kennedy's remark on the occasion of hosting several dozen Nobel Prize winners that "this is the most extraordinary collection of talent and of human knowledge that has ever been gathered together at the White House -- with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone," Dr. Coffman added the correction, "... with Alexander von Humboldt."
-- Stephen Foulard
Houston, Texas

BUY ME SOME PEANUTS
Re: Larry Thornberry's The Race-Ball Game:

Larry Thornberry asks, "So where will the new baseball fans come from?"

I don't know about the rest of the country, but here in Pittsburgh an argument can be made that the people filling the stadium aren't really baseball fans at all. As the Pirates limp through a second decade without a winning season, attendance is solid, if not spectacular. What brings so many people to part with large sums of money for the privilege of watching our bungling Buccos?

It seems that the baseball experience has been effectively shifted from going out to watch a ballgame and maybe having a hot dog or pack of peanuts and a cold drink. Instead it's now about going out to partake of the wide assortment of foods available, pick up a bobble head doll and stay afterwards for a spectacular fireworks display. Throw in the chance to look across the river at the city skyline on a pleasant evening, and you have a mix that draws thousands each night, many of whom probably neither know nor care that the performance on the field is seriously deficient.

There was a joke that was current in the early days of PNC Park, when the assortment of foods available for game goers was widely touted as a drawing card:

"Want to go out and see the Pirates?"

"Nah. I'm not hungry."

Provide food and bobble heads and fireworks, and Pittsburghers will flock to the stadium in droves, and not many of them will ever notice what percentage of the players are black, white, Asian or otherwise, unless maybe they take a look at the bobblehead someday. It's not about baseball anymore, it's about the experience. It's all in the marketing.
-- Mark Fallert
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Larry Thornberry replies:
I'll defer to Mr. Fallert's greater knowledge of the Pittsburgh scene. And he's certainly right that MLB suffers from a plague of marketing majors who've come up with endless noisy diversions in an attempt to get the minds of fans off the game. But in places like Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, or Wrigley Field it's the baseball that creates Major League enthusiasm. Fenway Franks are all right, but certainly nothing to fight Boston traffic for (let alone to try to find a safe and affordable parking place in the same or an adjoining zip code with Fenway).

I doubt the food on offer at PNC is any better, or less overpriced, than the dreary MLB average. So unless Pittsburghers have some of the most untutored palates in the lower-48, surely there must be some vestigial interest in the Pirates and the baseball they play. A lack of winning seasons doesn't always dampen the enthusiasm of the true baseball fan (see above re: Wrigley Field).

WHO'S ATHWART SUPPORT?
Re: Michael Roush's letter (under "Words of Support") in Reader Mail's Hsu Manipulations:

Once again, Mike Roush reveals his liberal bias in lambasting Republicans and their support for the "troops." Like MoveOn.org, he's out of touch with reality. As one of the troops my response to his petulant "Republicans have a hell of a way to demonstrate support for our troops" is easy -- more U.S. troops died during the eight years of peace in the Clinton administration than have died in Afghanistan or Iraq fighting the terrorists. Democrats chose to turn a blind eye to during the 1990s and now want to appease and empower by handing them Iraq like Jimmy Carter gave them Iran (a major factor for today's war).

When the Democrats took power in 2006, their first act was to cut the military housing budget and to thwart a Republican initiative to increase spending on veteran's health care. Of course, earmarks and pork for Democrat's pet projects sky-rocketed while they couldn't find a few dollars for our families or vets.

When George W. Bush took office in 2001, he not only gave the troops a desperately-needed pay increase (we've gotten one every year he's been in office), but he began spending money on training and equipment after eight years of neglect by the military-loathing Bill Clinton.

As for care in military hospitals, I was a patient in Bethesda in 2005 and could not have had more splendid care. When admitted I was in a very sad state, but in no time due to wonderful surgeons and nurses I was back on my feet in no time. When I've been back visiting wounded Marines all I hear is praise from them and their family members for the care. I also received out patient care at Walter Reed and found it superlative.

When it comes to supporting the troops there is no comparison between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats stab us in the back (Vietnam, Somalia and now Iraq) and use us as pawns in their cheap political machinations. Republicans on the other hand treat us like heroes and family. That's why when it comes to counting votes Democrats work like fiends to disenfranchise the military. When it comes to the troops all the Democrats have for them is "hell."
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

MEDIA MATTERS
Re: Robert Heiler's letter (under "Easy Fit") in Reader Mail's Hsu Manipulations:

The letter by Robert Heiler on the Hsu affair really hit the nail on the head. Indeed without a compliant press the Clintons would still be investing in Arkansas real estate. Does anybody think Hillary would stand a chance in a race unfiltered by the liberal press, the networks and the entertainment industry? Name one problem from education, to Social Security and even Iraq, that wouldn't benefit from an unbiased presentation of the undistorted facts to the largely unknowing public.

When the time comes to write the definitive history of the late great U.S.A., the decadent media will have played a decisive role.
-- John T. O'Connor
Wallingford, Connecticut

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