Reader Mail

Rebuilding National Geographic

Slovenia vs. Katrina. Also: Florida's Crist as a minor nuisance. Moving to Mexico. Plus more.

7.26.07

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GOVERNMENT PARADISO
Re: Brandon Crocker's A Paradise Mandated the Government:

I just sat down yesterday with the issue of National Geographic that Mr. Crocker writes about and began laughing when I read the item about maternity leave. (Oh, sorry, I forgot that this was no laughing matter.) Steeling myself against the additional political correctness that was sure to come, my jaw fell to the floor when later in the issue they ran an article about the folly of rebuilding New Orleans and not once did they mention George W. Bush! Everyone knows that he was behind the levees failing. Even when the article threw in the global warming scare as yet another reason not to rebuild New Orleans, George W. Bush's name was again omitted even though he, of course, is responsible for global warming. So, Mr. Crocker, I'll have to give National Geographic a pass on the maternity leave item especially since they probably just lost half of their subscriptions by allowing such a pro-George Bush piece through. One question: Does National Geographic give its employees 52 weeks of paid maternity leave? If not, I hope they'll at least give the staff member responsible for the New Orleans piece a nice severance package.
-- Andrew Macfadyen, M.D.
Omaha, Nebraska

National Geographic's articles masquerading as geography but actually thinly veneered liberal politics were the major reason I dropped my subscription to it in favor of subscribing to The American Spectator. If I want articles on politics I prefer to read them in such venues as The American Spectator with its frank conservative point of view rather than out of some supposedly non-political publication as National Geographic, which these days seems to be yet another front for liberal Democrats.
-- Ken Fasig
Kalaheo, Hawaii

It's no mystery that one would choose freedom over oppression, but would they choose ostensible security over the uncertainty that freedom creates? That is part of the battle.

All National Geographic has to proffer is: "Paid Maternity Leave" in some far off paradise, while it takes a lengthy historical recollection from The Spectator to refute why it is the worst of choices. It should begin in the classroom, but the classroom is government run by mandated taxes.

While the multi-cultural types deny a distinct American culture exists, they want to make us as miserable as the rest of the world.
-- P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan

IT'S THE HUMIDITY
Re: Larry Thornberry's Orange Blossom Madness:

Larry Thornberry's takedown of our Governor is a timely reminder of the minor injuries many Florida Republicans sustained last Election Day, as we held our noses and voted for Crist. Some of us, nearly overcome by disdain, squeezed the fleshy protuberance a little too hard, with bruises and light bleeding the result. But look, the other guy was even worse.

Sure, Crist is a shrimp in a lobster's shell. Kow-towing to the Gaia cult is quite in character for this sleek, well-groomed statist. Fortunately, he hasn't got much of a state to work with, not yet. The State of Florida remains very much a background feature of most citizens' lives. The absence of a state personal income tax is a fine thing. I, for example, interact with the State of Florida once a year when I get my license plate update stickers in the mail, and once every seven years to update my driver's license and concealed carry permit. That's it -- otherwise, I never hear from the State.

Charlie Crist can say all sorts of high-minded things and, if it suits him, flirt with the wives of men funnier than he is, but implementation is another matter. Say what you like about Floridians, we know how not to get things done. Maybe it's the heat and humidity. Sure, there are plenty of things around here one would wish were different, but on the whole, Florida's got to be one of the least governmentally-encumbered of the 50 states. Knock yourself out, Charlie. This ain't New York, and you ain't a Spitzer. More like a spritzer. A white wine spritzer, that's our Governor.

As P.J. O'Rourke might say, and our Tourism Board ought to: "Florida! It Doesn't Suck !"
-- Paul Kotik
Plantation, Florida

THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW
Re: Ralph R. Reiland's Hillarycare Revisited:

I just returned from a driving trip in Canada. While in Ottawa -- a lovely small city -- my wife and I had a drink in the lounge of our hotel. There was a boisterous table of five people next to us who drew us into their conversation. The chat was concerning the move of these five families to Nova Scotia from Ottawa.

I asked why they picked Nova Scotia and their response was surprising. Nova Scotia offers almost no waiting medical care. They told us in Ottawa one can get great emergency for anything. But that once a person was stabilized it could take months to get corrective surgery. They said because there is no work in Nova Scotia, so people are fewer in number and care is available.

I asked how long one might wait for coronary bypass surgery and they all laughed. They said, "You drive or fly to Detroit and have a heart attack just outside the hospital. If you're in the States and it's an emergency Canadian health care pays for it."

My question is when we get "Hillarycare," where do people in Detroit go? Mexico?
-- Jay Molyneaux

LONDON UNDERGROUND
Re: Christopher Orlet's Mega Mosque Blues:

Anybody checked whether Ms. Armstrong has prattled on the topics of the grim message from the Muslim world delivered at the Glasgow airport or the right of women to prattle in public in the Muslim world?
-- Reid Bogie
Waterbury, Connecticut

INHALING LUXURY
Re: David Hogberg's Emptying the Humidor

I enjoyed your column about the new luxury taxes being discussed by our political leaders, but you have one fact wrong. You state "nicotine has minimal impact if the tobacco smoke isn't inhaled." The National Cancer Institute's (NCI) monograph Cigars: Health Effects and Trends, published in February 1998, offers this conclusion regarding the health consequences of cigar smoking:

"Regular cigar smokers have risks of oral and esophageal cancers similar to those of cigarette smokers, but they have lower risks of lung and laryngeal cancer, coronary artery disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We believe an accurate statement is that the risks of tobacco smoke exposure are similar for all sources of tobacco smoke, and the magnitude of the risks experienced by cigar smokers is proportionate to the nature and intensity of their exposure."

Even cigar smokers who avoid inhaling can't help but absorb large amounts of nicotine through the heavily vascularized tissues of the mouth. It's time to put to rest the notion that smoking cigars is safer than smoking cigarettes.
-- Bob Evans

DR. EINSTEIN, WE PRESUME
Re: The "Know It All Quackery" letter in Reader Mail's Kudos and Apologies and Jay D. Homnick's Global Kellogging:

Some years ago, the editor of Science Technology and Human Values astutely remarked that in terms of popular culture, "science" had come to mean "whatever Carl Sagan says on the Johnny Carson Show." Things could be worse. Imagine a time in which whatever Rush might say in that department would transmogrify into TAS's received wisdom on science policy.

I would not have believed it could happen here, for you were once esteemed great devotees of the first American to take up hammer and tongs to beat some irony into Boob Science. Yet so antithetical to Mencken's demolition of Bible belt idiocy is TAS's recent anti-scientific obsession as to require an explanation. Preferably one not requiring works of scientific reference.

If anatomy follows internal logic, the scientifically soundest explanation is that the Editors suffer infestation by small frogs or demons of the sort widely blamed for the Black Death before the golden age of metaphysics fell victim to the germ theory of disease. Readers should be reassured that there is nothing wrong with the Editors that cannot be remedied by the hydropaths whose advertisements grace TAS's sidebar, or Mr. Homnick's deep insight into roughage-based alternative medicine.
-- Russell Seitz
Cambridge, Massachusetts

HURTS TO LAUGH
Re: Roger Scruton's The Decline of Laughter:

Re: The Decline of Laughter

Funny, when I read that I wasn't laughing.
-- Pete Peterson
Boquete, Panama

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