Re: Spectator.org's Reader Mail department:
I am so impressed. Having read many, many comments in all forums: the MSM, blogs -- liberal and conservative -- Internet publications. The level of discourse in the Reader Mail here on The American Spectator is far and away the clearest, most erudite and well reasoned that I have seen. Unlike other forums, posters actually do not feel the need to resort to the typical nasty "talking points" offered by others elsewhere. The excellent writing offered by American Spectator must encourage such wonderful Reader Mail.
It's intimidating to praise such thoughtful dialogue, fearing that my praise is inadequate, condescending or some other such thing. How nice it would be if public discourse (in Congress and elsewhere) could be so civil.
-- Margaret S.
Bethany Beach, Delaware
HEAVY METAL THUNDER
Re: Shawn Macomber's Longhairs Versus Blue Helmets:
I turned 61 yesterday -- a bit old to be a heavy-metal listener, and my own tastes run mainly to Bach and Brahms. But in 1999 I worked briefly on a job where Megadeth was occasionally on the radio. One of their most popular songs has the lyrics:
My body aches from mistakes
Betrayed by lust
We've lied to each other so much
There ain't nothing we trust
At the time I thought "This is moral theology. What the hell is this doing on a heavy-metal station?" And the song is very good music, on its own terms as heavy-metal. (In my misspent youth we listened to Led Zeppelin and Jefferson Airplane, so there isn't any prejudice here against Megadeth.) It was very interesting that Mustaine is a born-again Christian. It was also interesting that a heart surgeon is among Megadeth's contemporary fans.
Thanks for the interesting article...
-- Thomas Paulick
Megadeth's music has long been referred to as "A Thinking Man's Metal."
I heard Megadeth for the first time in '91. On Saturday afternoons the owner of a little local FM station turned the programming over to his ditzy teenaged daughters. Fortunately for me the girls were metalheads, and when they played tracks from Countdown To Extinction, I remember stopping what I was doing, turning up the volume and thinking, "hey, this is really good!" Thank you Shawn, for the piece on Dave Mustaine and his politically astute music. I'll be sure to buy the United Abominations CD next time I'm near a music store.
-- Bruce Clark
Y'know I was stoked about Megadeth's theme so I went to the Barnes & Noble to listen to the record. Loved the message, but unfortunately that death metal or whatever they call it is a bitter brew to digest. Still, I'm holding my lighter aloft to the boys.
-- Mike Baron
In many conversations I have brought up Mustaine's truism that: "many people talk of selling peace, but nobody's buying it."
To this day, few pointy-heads, and few of our own on the Right have been able to so succinctly sum up the folly of "peaceniks" world-wide.
-- P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods Michigan
Just read the Megadeth article ands thought it was great. Congratulations on writing that one. The band really doesn't get enough credit these days.
-- Chris M
Re: David Hogberg's Health Insurance Deregulation:
David Hogberg makes several excellent suggestions regarding the impending catastrophe in privately delivered health care in America. Unfortunately, Mr. Hogberg overlooks Stalin's dictum "to make an omelet, you have to break some eggs." The Left's omelet, in this context, is socialized medicine, and the eggs that need to be broken are the American electorate, who needs to be made as miserable as possible before they will break and jump into the frying pan to make the omelet.
Democrats at any level, federal, state or local, will not lift a finger to relieve the impending catastrophe, because any positive action delays their ultimate goal.
This is not peculiar to health care. It is also the case in energy policy, where Democrats have intentionally strangled U.S. domestic fossil fuel production, thus directly causing runaway energy prices and massive transfer of wealth from the U.S. to Islamic theocracies in the Middle East, who then pass the same funds to their friends in the terrorist world. And it is also the case in retirement funding, where Democrats have intentionally turned a blind eye to the impending catastrophe in Social Security.
Health insurance companies know what is happening, but are terrified to go public with the facts, for fear that a Democrat controlled legislature, at the federal or state level, will make life even more miserable for them than it already is. In that sense, those companies will get what they deserve.
-- Frank Natoli
Newton, New Jersey
Re: Jay D. Homnick's A Taste of Their Medicine:
Mr. Homnick is just a little bit off the mark in his warning comparing medical schools to pre-9/11 flight schools. It would be the medical residency and fellowship programs that should be examined. Almost all medical students are U.S. citizens, and if we have potential terrorists among them; that is an even more chilling situation. As fewer Americans have been interested in medicine as a profession, foreign medical graduates have filled the vacancies in these programs. (Residents are also a cheap labor pool for the large training hospitals.) That would be an easy way to gain entry to the US, and being doctors would possibly face less scrutiny by counter terrorism officials. Hopefully they are being screened more closely already. As with all comments regarding terrorism, just because someone is Arabic or Muslim does not make them a terrorist. Then again the UK has shown us that being a physician does not keep them from being one.
-- Caleb Harris MD FACS
Before one becomes a doctor, one must receive state licensing. Any license granted can be revoked by the issuing authority. If all states add the stipulation that any doctor who denies or delivers sub standard care to a patient for any political, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, or religious reason, will forfeit all rights and privileges associated with being a doctor. (While this does perform jujitsu on politically correct thinking, it is not a PC in any way; it is a demand for ethical treatment of all people, not special consideration for any group.) Further, the AMA can certainly add such a provision to their constitution. Any doctor, against whom charges are brought, can ask for a fair and impartial trial by a competent review board so that arbitrary or malicious accusations do not lead to injustice. The possibility exist that Muslim doctors will be disproportionately represented in these accusations, but the terrorist attacks around the world are also disproportionately represented by Muslims.
-- Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York
The behavior of these Muslim doctors should be of no real surprise to anyone who understands Islam and its history. Many of the more recent and current leaders of extremist Islam are medical doctors, or trained as such. As in any social/political movement (I refrain from calling it religious), they are almost always managed by the best educated and most intelligent of people, i.e., doctors and lawyers. As for their treatment of non-Muslims, again, not a surprise, if you understand Islam and its history of treatment towards anyone non-Muslim, especially when they as a group reach positions of power. There are certainly enough history books and recent publications analyzing Islam from an objective perspective for anyone interested in understanding our enemy.
In the end, it is and will be a clash of civilizations, as it has been in the past 1,400 years; Judeo-Christian Western vs. Islamic Eastern. Historically, the West has, for the most part, won. However, never in history has the West invited the very seeds of its own destruction (beyond those of its own seeds that it often carefully cultivates) like it has with Muslims. Something's got to give; I prefer sooner than later given I'd rather be involved in the fight directly than have my own children and grandchildren deal with it later.
PLUMBING THE LEAKS
Re: The Washington Prowler's The Leaker As Plumber
I've thought that, when and if Thompson's campaign gets rolling, that that old Watergate sound bite would be exhumed and brought out. After all, it's one of 1970s most-beloved moments among liberals---the step that led to bringing down their most bitter enemy---and reminding these people that it was Fred Thompson asking the question might bring in some support and votes. Ah, but would it help him among conservatives?
-- Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida
Having enemies like that is a definite positive for Fred Thompson.
-- Jerry Owens
RUNNING ON EMPTY
Re: Eric Peters's Seppuku for the U.S. Auto Industry:
I agree with Mr. Peters about the theory that increased fuel economy leads to greater consumption of vehicle miles traveled. We are on the verge of underestimating and belatedly understanding the value of being able to drive farther at a lower costs.
If mobility can be viewed as the ability to travel a certain distance in a certain time then mobility defines an area in which workers may forage and obtain work. Likewise, businesses may expect to look for and engage employees within a zone surrounding their particular location. As that area shrinks, so does our economic prospects.
The national data collected by highway departments of the total vehicle miles traveled shows that we are experiencing the longest sustained decline of vehicle miles traveled since 1982. In the past, minor dips and flattening of the Vehicle Miles Traveled curve could only be seen during recessions or spikes in gasoline prices.
Mobility was already under attack by unresponsive departments of transportation to the problem of congestion. The Senate Energy Bill makes things even worse. I suspect that the drop in Disposable Personal Income in the last two months had something to do with the gas prices.
I am on the edge of betting a cup of coffee that I will live long enough to see all of the money "saved" by removing tax credits for the oil companies spent on unemployment benefits.
-- Danny L. Newton
CONSERVATISM WITHOUT COMPROMISE
Re: Stephen Zierak's letter (under "Enough Already!") in Reader Mail's Toeing the Line:
Mr. Zierak does a good job of highlighting the highs and lows of President Bush's administration. I would only point out that on most issues he is building on the legacy of the 20th century's greatest President -- Ronald Wilson Reagan. In fact, on most issues President Bush is either following the Gipper's lead (immigration, free trade, supply-side economics, support of the military, spending and loyalty to friends/staff/cronies) or moving to the right of him (taxes, Supreme Court nominations, pro-life agenda, Social Security and fighting terrorism). Sadly, based on the heated rhetoric or mindless dribble (Buchanan and Bartlett) from many on the right President Reagan, judging by his policies as Governor of California and President, couldn't be elected "dog catcher" much less President in the current political environment .
The problem is that too many conservatives prefer grumbling to governing. Until we embrace the latter, which often entails compromise as we found in the '80s, we can be assured the Democrats will remain a potent threat not only to the nation's unborn, economy and military, but its existence. Maybe when Hillary's President (she's going to carry all the blue states plus OH, AR, AZ, NM & possibly VA or CO) will learn to appreciate the many highs of President Bush's tenure in the White House.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina
Re: Ben Stein's Bush Amazes:
What all the Compassionate Christian Conservatives seem to actually enjoy overlooking is the fact that Libby raised his hand, swore to God Almighty to tell the truth and then flat out lied to protect his political cronies....those same aforementioned Compassionate Christian Conservatives. It doesn't matter who knew what first or last -- he just plain lied -- and not about a cheap, cheesy extra-marital affair but rather about the foundation of America -- our Constitution. It seems that every Democrat has a sexual itch and every Republican has a totalitarian itch. Our nation can easily overcome a philanderer -- but not a despot.
Some of us have spent our lives defending America and the Constitution "from all enemies, foreign and domestic..." and we are offended in the highest at the actions of the Bush Regime, et al. -- especially at their pronouncements of "moral superiority" over us lesser folks.
-- Keith Pulver
Here's a question, if properly answered, might help those afflicted with myopia from Madame Mata Valerie's two-year dance upon the stage of the Washington press corps:
Why didn't Robert Novak, once the prosecutor had set his attention and his prosecutorial power on Scooter Libby, hold a press conference and simple state for the world to hear "Scooter Libby was not the leaker"?
This simple little press conference would have helped to put Scooter Libby's charges in their proper context plus helped an embattled White House enormously. But Novak did not do this. Why? History, historians and housewives in Michigan will not be kind to Mr. Novak.
-- Mrs. Jackson
Re: Annie Hudson's letter (under "Dazed and Amazed") in Reader Mail's Toeing the Line:
In Monday's Reader Mail a writer proclaimed: "No one cares what Ben Stein thinks." Well, maybe. But I have a couple of observations for the "said" aggrieved: (a) "Yes, we do." And (b) "You're an idiot."
Take two Midol, put "Kumbaya" on your CD player, and call Hillary in the morning.
Elk Grove, California
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