Reader Mail

Kudos and Apologies

Boswell's must read. Swiss health care extraordinaire. McGovern's birthday marked. Cigar luxury. Global quackery. Plus more.

7.25.07

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MIDNIGHT MADNESS
Re: Katharine Boswell's Potter Plants:

I loved Katharine Boswell's "Potter Plants" Special Report article in Tuesday's TAS. I read the first half of the piece dead-set against Potter mania, but by the end she had won me over.

She is right on target with her analysis -- that all the Harry Potter fuss is a little silly, but it is over a book, and isn't this just what we've wanted for decades now, for our kids to drop visual and auditory stimuli for a while and get excited about reading?

Kudos to Ms. Boswell. You should hire her after she graduates.
-- David K. Wolfe
New York, New York

HAPPY MEDICINE
Re: Philip Klein's Dr. Fabio vs. Michael Moore:

The article entitled "Dr. Fabio vs. Michael Moore" by Philip Klein recounts an unhappy medical experience the author had using the public health system in Italy. I want to recount a happy experience I had with this system.

I live in Geneva, Switzerland, the only country in Europe that, as far as I know, does not have a national health system, that is a system where health care is provided "free" by the government.

In August 1988, while on vacation in northern Italy in the region of Rapallo, I was struck by a motorcycle and seriously injured while crossing the Via Aurelia. I was first taken by ambulance to a small local hospital in Rapallo. There, a doctor who spoke fairly good English administered preliminary treatment. He informed me that my injuries were far too serious to be treated in Rapallo and he had me taken by a second ambulance to the main regional hospital in Genoa, about 25 kilometers to the north.

The public hospital in Genoa was housed in a massive, medieval-looking building. After a period of "observation" I was placed in the ward which consisted of an enormous room with dozens of 1930-style barracks beds. Each patient was surrounded by members of his family. The "visitors" looked after the patient's needs, not only for food and drink but also for bandages, aspirin, etc. My accident occurred on a Saturday afternoon, and my wife and I were quickly informed by the friendly Italians that doctors never worked on the weekend. I would have to wait until Monday to see the "professor." We were also told to be ready to bribe the professor, the doctors, and the nurses.

So, there I lay on a straw mattress, 48 hours later still in my blood-stained clothes, when, at last, it was my turn to be seen by the professor. He briefly examined me, then turned to me and my wife and said, "You live in Switzerland? Then take my advice, return to Switzerland." My wife, who speaks fluent Italian, arranged for an ambulance to take both of us to Geneva, a five-hour voyage during which my wife and the two-man ambulance crew exchanged jokes.

At the famous University Hospital in Geneva, I received superb care and managed to avoid a number of serious complications which, I learned from the Swiss doctors, threatened me in Italy. Six weeks after I wisely followed the advice of a senior Italian doctor, I was discharged from the hospital in Geneva almost as good as new.

This was my "happy" experience with the Italian public health system. Thank you, Mr. Professor.
-- Kent Gordis
Geneva, Switzerland
(via snail mail)

APOLOGIA
Re: Jeffrey Lord's A Benchmark Birthday:

The idea of making McGovern's birthday a day for Americans to apologize for abandoning Vietnam (and then Iraq?) gets some support in the blithe blindness currently on display, mirroring McGovern's erroneous past platitudes.

Obama has already done his imitation of Pontius Pilate by washing his hands of any responsibility for what he acknowledges might be Iraqi genocide.

Both the Tavis Smiley and CNN-You-Tube debates basically closed their eyes to the fate that would come from Surrender, Isolation, and Retreat (SIR).

A forum with audience questions tends to produce self-centered questions. John Roberts crowed positively about that on Sunday with Bill Schneider. They noted how Iraq and immigration were high on some lists of political issues, but low among the questions being submitted for Monday's debate. They called this an emphasis on issues that are "personal." Time's Joe Klein attacked this neglect of Iraq; and he attacked the Time narcissistic mirror cover for Person of the Year.

Tavis Smiley's debate was called mostly self-congratulatory (Howard U congratulating and celebrating itself) by the middle-of-the-road Iowa Press TV talk show. Reporter Mike Glover noted that Iraq and immigration were not discussed, something he considered awful. When a black woman called into C-Span the next day on Washington Journal and brought up immigration, Tavis bullied her by referring three times to the fact that she would not give her name; he said he'd have to call her "anonymous caller." He said immigrants do jobs that blacks and whites won't do. He ignored the fact, for instance, that blacks have been driven out of the hotel industry in parts of the East coast. As one commentator put it: The hotels want illegal immigrants to turn down their sheets and they want rich foreigners to stay at their hotels. I think the reason Smiley avoided and even attacked the very idea of bringing up the immigration issue is that he didn't want to have the differences between blacks and browns even mentioned.

Because of this, I have coined the phrase "pull a Tavis" for suppressing certain issues in a debate.

It has been observed that terrorism was not mentioned in the CNN and YouTube debate. Immigration was mentioned little. A C-Span caller the morning after the debate noted that when a question was actually asked on immigration (Should illegal immigrants get health insurance?), the candidate answering did not actually answer the question.

So CNN and YouTube pulled a Tavis.

And the Democratic candidates are pulling a McGovern.
-- Richard L.A. Schaefer
Dubuque, Iowa

Count me in! The idea of a way to annually look back at the carnage the leftards find so easy to ignore or belie (see recent comments by that fool Jean-Francois Kerry) is inspired! Imagine the parade we can have on 7/24/10 to commemorate "Apologies Day," maybe we can get the MSM to maintain a weekly or monthly body count, similar to the current ghoulish count of Iraq war casualties, maybe Cindy Sheehan can get clearance to leave the sanitarium to say a few words on the behalf of the BDS contingent...

Better yet maybe these morons will get their collective heads out of their collective rear ends.

A great commentary!
-- Stuart Reed
Grosse Pointe Woods, MI

SENATE SMOKER
Re: David Hogberg's Emptying the Humidor:

The title of this article could also be "Searching diligently for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Senate." What idiots these men are. Not only did they not learn the last time around, but day by day they prove they are, indeed, prancing, preening, self-congratulating idiots with high self-esteem incapable of learning the most rudimentary economics lessons.

I give up!
-- Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

A "luxury tax" is wrong for reasons both practical and ideological reasons. Mr. Hogberg covers the practical (i.e., economical) with great clarity and does not need repeating here (though repeating it on an endless loop subliminal tape for our tax and spend congress might be a worthwhile venture).

The ideological reason against luxury taxes is that it is contrary to the morality of fair taxation. Taxation is not a moral method to change the behavior of citizenry. No, the only morally defensible reason for taxation is to pay the government for services that cannot be provided by any other means. Government has certain responsibilities spelled out in the Constitution. Since the government must provide these services, it must be paid for these services. ("Pay unto Caesar what is due Caesar.") Any taxation beyond the fundamentals is pure thievery. Yes, often it is good hearted (and weak minded) Robin Hood thievery, taking from the rich to give to the poor, but it is still theft. (See Social Security for a shining example.) More often it is Bread and Circus theft, pork barreling, such as the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere," that is used by our representatives to bribe their constituents.

Our Founding Fathers were moved to revolution in response to moral issues involved in unfair taxation. How long do we, today's citizens, sit and allow our lawmakers to pick our pockets? We are far from a point of needing to revolt; we have a far more simple solution: elect fiscally sane representatives and hold them responsible while they breathe in the intoxicating airs inside the Beltway. Spending someone else's money can be intoxicating and addicting, but if the citizens of this country keep their eyes on their wallets and the Congress, we can keep more of our hard earned money. Remember, thieves remain upright citizens as long as somebody is watching the cash register.
-- Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York

It is hard for me to believe the proposed cigar tax will pass, as it is so intrusive on the lives of people who just enjoy a good relaxing smoke in the privacy of their own house or yard. But I fear it may pass due to Congress being so detached from the reality of what people do to enjoy themselves. I go back to JFK having Pierre Salinger round up hundreds of Cuban cigars for the president's enjoyment before he stopped the common man from having them. The Democrats and Republicans are so far out of step with the average American that there must be a total house cleaning to right the ship. Unfortunately I am too old to see it happen, but it will happen.
-- Dan Mittelman

KNOW IT ALL QUACKERY
Re: Jay D. Homnick's Global Kellogging:

The thought that the idle rich know what's best for Joe Six Pack is appalling. Nothing in their education and experience makes them experts in the subject matter. Only their pedigrees give them a voice in the public square. And I, for one, refuse to listen to their nonsense. Their views are not based on science but on faith, not on reason but belief.

The scientific method begins with a hypothesis and gathers data from experiments and observations to test the hypothesis. What these trust fund babies prefer to do is cherry-pick the data that supports their hypothesis. And the scary part is we continue to use junk science to formulate public policy at tremendous cost to taxpayers with little if any benefit and a myriad of adverse unintended consequences.

The ethanol craze is a perfect example. My car gets 20 miles per gallon on gasoline and 18 miles per gallon on a 90/10 gasoline/ethanol mix. The addition of ethanol provides no benefit as my car would still go 18 miles on 0.9 gallons of gas anyway. And the real cost is higher food prices, wasted energy converting corn to ethanol and additional transportation costs. Meanwhile, millions die of starvation while we "selfish Americans" put food in our gas tanks.

The carbon offset is another foolish idea. According to Louisville Gas and Electric, my electricity usage generated 1.6 metric tons of CO2 last month. That would be 1,310 metric tons of CO2 over the next 70 years. According to Carbon Neutral, six trees remove one metric ton of CO2 every 70 years. So just to "offset" the CO2 from my home electricity usage would require an additional 7,862 trees. Based on reforestation figures from the South Carolina Forestry Commission, this equates to 11 acres of trees for my 2,000 square foot house on a one fourth acre lot. The 2000 census counts 55 million single family homes which would require 600 million acres of trees. The USDA identifies 2.3 billion acres of land in the US, 651 million acres are already forests and another 442 million acres are farms. So half of the remainder would have to be planted in trees just to offset the CO2 from homes. We have yet to consider offsets for commercial buildings, multifamily dwellings and transportation.

By the way, won't the 651 million acres of existing trees be more than enough to offset the carbon footprint of all single family homes?
-- Bob Staggs
Goshen, Kentucky

Jay D. Homnick is spot on with his article on the quackery of Al Gore and the fraud of "GLOBAL WARMING"! I have been ridiculed for an letter to the editor in my home town paper in Northern Michigan in which I questioned the science behind Global Warming and stated that 25 years ago, Al Gore would be the guy wearing sandwich board saying the ski is falling as he walked around all disheveled in sack clothe robes and tire sandals, wild haired and bearded and laughed at by people! No one has been able to explain why if Global Warming is caused by man's industry, what caused the glaciers that gouged out the Great Lakes and then caused the glaciers to thaw if man wasn't industrious then, only aboriginal hunter gatherers! Great article, thanks a lot!
-- Ron Moore
Harbor Springs, Michigan

That "Doctor" Kellogg was a "piece'o-work" when it comes to the topic of sexual repression. Another item or two might complete the sorry picture of this consummate creep: Dr. John Harvey Kellogg also apparently was so enthralled with the topic of masturbation that he suggested sewing-up boys' foreskins with silver wire, and putting carbolic acid on the clitoris.

Methinks that Jay minimized that supreme nutcase's weirdness, or perhaps he was sparing us from Kellogg's strange behavior, lest the populace of that Michigan area suffer a nasty case of the vapors, or (at the least) terminal teeth-gnashing.
-- frost

TRUE SHARING
Re: Ralph R. Reiland's HillaryCare Revisited:

Someone should ask all Democrats running for any office (and any Republican who support Hillarycare, for that matter) the following:

"Would you support an amendment (to Hillarycare) that would require that elected officials use Hillarycare and not private or other special medical care in any form?"

If it is going to be so great, I sure want "them" who votes for it to be in the line taking a number with us little folks.

Good luck on that happening.
-- Robert Arnold
Sonoma, California

FUNNY BONE
Re: Christopher Orlet's Defending Islamic Rage Boy:

I so enjoyed that article. It seems humor is being lost everywhere on everything in the world. I told my daughter in England the first of the two Islamic approved jokes and, after a short silence, she told me she didn't get it and asked me to repeat it. I said not necessary because there was a second one. I told her "Father of cats." Oh yes, and killed myself laughing. Actually, I find the Islamic approved jokes hilarious in a Monty Python sort of way. I doubt they intend them that way, but they are so funny by being overly serious and pretty incomprehensible. Monty Python would have loved them.

When you have no humor, you have no humility.
-- Alice Mollison
Houston, Texas

SCOTT THOMAS GONE AWOL
Re: John Tabin's Doubting Baghdad Thomas:

Thank you, John Tabin, for your detailed analysis and commentary on the New Republic's fantasy boy in Iraq. Your article was written in a very gentlemanly fashion ... far more than the stuck-in-adolescence left deserves.

I doubt that Scott Thomas will ever surface. If he does, expect a sure-fire war hero, complete with three Purple Hearts and two Silver Stars (records/citations not available). He will also have plenty more to say against officers and troops of our Armed Forces...in the form of pre-written and rehearsed scripts suitable for Mad Magazine/the New Republic/New York Times, etc., etc.... and for making pre-targeted noodle-spined Republicans soooo indignant and compliant.

Responsible Americans err whenever we expect the insane left to be reasonable.
-- C.G. Pyper
Monett, Missouri

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