Reader Mail

Keep On Truckin’

Incandescent thoughts on fuel economy. Happy drives. Tax and tax. Assimilating Islam. Illegal immigration days. Plus much more.

4.4.07

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WHEN PUSH COMES TO SUV
Re: Eric Peters's Fuel Economy at All Costs:

I love it when I see a big truck or SUV filling up at my local Valero gas station. I try to imagine how much "road tax" is being collected by our state and federal government when the "big guy" is filled to the top of its tank. The owners of these biggies are contributing huge sums of money to our economy and tax collections. This is one time that I am a pro-choice advocate. I'll bet you a plug nickel that Markey and Platts ride in the comfort of a SUV. Oh, but they need their mode of transportation because they are biggies in DC. And while I'm at it, how about the legislation banning incandescent light bulbs in favor of those "mini fluorescents"? These new fangled light sources will pollute the land fills with mercury. Thomas Edison will be condemned; likened to Christopher Columbus. The Belgians are going to tax barbecuing. You know, barbecuing contributes to global warming. Do you suppose Texans would roll over and pay a tax for barbecuing? What will they think of next?

Messrs. Markey and Platts, get out of our faces. Get out of our wallets. Leave free enterprise alone. Ninny nanny state.
-- Clasina J. Segura
New Iberia, Louisiana

Peters claims that people will drive their cars more if mileage efficiency is increased. But this is largely a straw man; yes there is some increase in the number of miles driven as mileage efficiency is increased but it is fairly small. Just because I could drive twice as many miles if my mileage efficiency is doubled doesn't mean I'm going to. People don't willy-nilly decide to dramatically increase the number of miles driven just because their car mileage efficiency increases.
-- unsigned

Mr. Peters points out the efforts of Congress to get rid of SUVs. I would suggest that the number 1 move that Congress needs to make is to ban private jets, which are exceedingly wasteful of energy resources and extreme emitters of CO2 per capita. This would start the conservation with those most wasteful of energy resources and most emitting of excess CO2. Why does Congress always start with the little guy, rather than the real culprits? Ground Al Gore and the Hollywood glitterati first, along with corporate bigwigs, rather than letting these characters get away with saying to us peasants, "Let them ride bicycles," while they luxuriate in their Versailles-type fuel consumption. (Does John Travolta really need 3 personal jets?)
-- Kent J. Lyon
College Station, Texas

N.B., apropos your teaser line, "Ed Markey wants you to trade in your farm truck for a pair of oxen": A pair of oxen emit too much CO2 to please the Mass. Delegation.
--- John Williamson

HAPPY DAYS
Re: Jay D. Homnick's Happy Passover, Family:

Mr. Homnick, you're right. All happy families are happy in their own way -- and when we in our turn begin to wax nostalgic about our families, we'll realize in retrospect that we were happier than we thought we were at the time.

Despite the continuing Mommy Wars in which the stayathomes carp that working mothers are evil and the working mothers carp that the stayathomes are brain dead slaves, the fact is that the kids will remember the happy times and discard the rest -- if you're happy in your own choice of family. Our family spent a lot of time traveling "on the cheap" -- although we kids didn't know it was cheap at the time, we only knew that none of our friends came home from school on Friday night and heard "Pack the car, Mama, we're going to Chicago!" or Vermont, or Iowa, or Pennsylvania, or wherever we were headed for the weekend. Our friends didn't spend every Easter vacation with Granny in Alabama, or driving blue highways looking for the Big Apple (Virginia), the Statue of Vulcan (Birmingham), the See Rock City and Pedroville signs, or the unmistakable odor of Sweetwater Junction, Tennessee (home of a paper mill). They didn't listen to Daddy's stories about Baron Von Geiger's Castle (which was in fact a hotel high on a mountainside) or Chief Falling Rocks who wandered the hills (hence the sign "Watch for Falling Rocks") or the great NOSMO KING (No Smoking) who ruled the Kingdom of Allentown...and they didn't get to stay in a tourist court run by Hopalong Cassidy's mother. (Mrs. Cassidy who owned the tourist court fell right in with this story although of course she was no relation.)

Yes, we had a community closet of clothes that were owned jointly by all five of us girls; yes we ate what we were told to eat and said Thank You, enjoyed the Christmas Wish Books as any other book without any hope of getting anything in them, and got jobs as soon as we were old enough to have Working Papers (when the money we earned began to pay for our glasses, our clothes and shoes and our piano lessons -- which were OURS) -- but that was Life. And as the last of us turns 50 this year, we remember what a wonderful time we had growing up, and not the sound and fury, the lack of Goodies, and the hard work.

And we feel sorry for the kicking, screaming GrabbyBabies who will never know what it was like to have bedtime stories read by Daddy and not by a battery-operated teddy bear or a Video ... and the day we saw Daddy in both Archie Bunker and in Peter Falk who read his grandson "The Princess Bride."

Happy families are all different, but they're all happy. If the snarky women sniping at each others' choices of family structure would sit down and remember their own happy childhoods, they'd probably be happy too.

Thanks for that, sir. And Happy Passover.
-- Kate Shaw
In Kanukistan
(Toronto, Ontario)

TAX TO THE MAX
Re: W. James Antle III's The Coming Democratic Tax Increase:

How can there be a tax cut when the Democrats are just letting the Law expire This was the law enacted by a Republican Congress. Don't blame the Democrats for this, blame the Congressional Republicans. They were in control of Congress when it was enacted. It's their law and their expiration date. Please be honest in your rhetoric. Americans are sick and tired of this party spin whether it comes from Republicans or Democrats.
-- Mary O'Connell

This article just reminded me once again how we got stuck with Bill Clinton and now the very real possibility of his lovely wife being Chief Executive. Bush 1 was the overwhelming favorite for a second term until he reneged on his "read my lips, no new taxes" pledge. Up until then no Democrat wanted to run against him, the field was open to this strange Arkansas governor who had a thing for women other than his wife and who somehow always had plenty of money for his and his wife's desires despite a salary of less than $30,000 a year. Of course we former Southerners knew exactly what was going on. Term limits long before they became a reality in the North were a staple of Southern politics. In our little Tennessee town the position of County Highway Commissioner was a highly sought after position despite a term limit and a low if any salary. The badly kept secret was that the winning candidate had a limited amount of time to appropriate as much of the county funds for himself and his supporters during his term as he could and everyone sort of accepted it as long as he also kept the roads in good repair, not too difficult a job in a relatively mild climate. So when Clinton entered the not crowded race for president in '92 he faced a lackluster field and plenty of money to outlast the constant scandals he knew he would face. O for the good old days but wait they are here again. Scoundrels and millionaires once again running for president.
-- Jack Wheatley

Great article, I wish more Americans knew the real score. There are few things that make my blood boil more than a politician stealing my hard-earned money to secure his/her own power. As if that weren't enough, they rationalize their theft by claiming to be doing it for the greater good. Insult to injury. AS IF private property, free market competition, freedom, and hard work DIDN'T make this country the sole super power it is today, and the envy of the world. Where are the 21st Century Sons of Liberty? This current crop is WAY WORSE than King George III.
-- Dan
Manhattan Beach, California

FRESH ACCENTS
Re: Lars Walker's Hello, Columbus:

I read the piece by Lars Walker with interest. It occurred to me that Mr. Walker's analysis can be applied to our relationship with the middle east in general and with Iraq in particular. Western values are not universal, they are exceptional, and arise from the particular social, religious and philosophical ideas of Western Europe and, later, the United States. People in the Middle East do not share our values and are proud of that. To paraphrase Mr. Walker, middle easterners are not "culturally impoverished" "little brown people" so bereft of thought that they will soak up our world view like a sponge. We in the West cannot formulate policy on the naive notion that all people, if given the choice, will ultimately chose to be like us. That was our mistake in Iraq. We assumed that freedom and democracy would naturally arise once Saddam was removed from power. Why? Did we really believe that Iraqis had put so little thought into their civilization that they would automatically see the superiority of the West and its values upon liberation?

The best policy is not to assume that, given the opportunity, others will adopt our civilization and "be just like us." Instead, we should accept that clashes of civilizations will occur and we should use our resources to ensure the survival of our way of life. We can assume that everyone is the same, but it just isn't true.
-- Rob
Los Angeles, California

I agree with Lars, though I think it's funnier with a Clouseau-type French accent.

The Founding Fathers had the correct idea: all men are CREATED equal. They understood there's nothing special about the meeting of sperm and egg, and left it there. They didn't even touch birth or events afterwards.

The multiculti crowd has thrown this idea away in favor of some perceived "equality" which is nothing of the sort. They fundamentally recognize that a child born to a rich family will have certain advantages over a poor family. The multiculti crowd then spends inordinate efforts to change that outcome, always unsuccessfully, but they do try.

The multiculti crowd does recognize that cultures are different, but they don't value their own western culture. For some reason, these folks have the capability to look at cultures that they wouldn't live under for any reason and make the dubious claim that they're as good as western culture. Whippings? Genital Mutilation? Child slavery? Hey, let it be. Even though western culture has sown time and again that it values people more than any other culture, the multiculti refuse to recognize that value. They fight even the suggestions that other cultures even think about changing.

As Lars points out, these folks hate their own culture. And why not? Most of the multiculti crowd are self-avowed leftists. These folks bought into the socialist/communist propaganda that the west is a failed system. It stands to reason that if the political-economic system is a failure, then the corresponding culture is a failure. This, of course, ignores that virtually all socialist/communist systems have failed, along with their cultures, while capitalism and Western culture have survived (at least somewhat in the USA). These failures are ignored. This is easy to do when you have already accepted the failure of your system, and your focus is on sustaining that perception of failure as much as possible.

I wish these folks had the opportunity to live under Sharia with the knowledge it wasn't going to change, and they couldn't "go home" to get away from it. If they have their way, I may get my wish. That would be a shame for all of us.
-- Karl F. Auerbach
Eden, Utah

HEAD FOR COVER
Re: Christopher Orlet's Scarf Wars:

I just read Christopher Orlet's article "Scarf Wars," and I couldn't disagree more strongly with him on many points.

He said that Muslim women's soccer teams in Jordan and Iran compete completely covered, and no one gets hurt there. But it is one thing to have a custom made uniform designed for soccer, and quite another to be out there having your vision blocked by a headscarf.

Second, he said that Muslim women are told that their religion requires them to wear a headscarf or they will be beaten. The Koran tells women that they should dress modestly, but as with most things Muslim, they took that way overboard.

Finally, he ends up with the idea of assimilation of Muslims into the West. If he knew anything about Muslim teachings, he would know that there is no assimilation in Islam. There is the "house of Islam" (Muslims) and the "house of war" (every one else). When will we in the West wake up and understand that Islam is a totalitarian ideology amazingly similar to the Nazi party. We don't want to assimilate with them any more than we would want to assimilate Nazis. The goal of Islam is to bring all the world into the "house of Islam." When that occurs, then there can be peace. All that would require is the overthrow of our government, the shredding of our constitution, and rule by Muslim clerics. By all means, lets hustle down that path.
-- Lanson Ross

I am all for assimilation of anyone that wishes to come to America to stay and become a citizen. I am also all for an increased sense of modesty then we see all around us today in America, and a higher standard of moral behaviors. But then again, I am very reluctant to see the government entering into almost every possible interpersonal life style decision. I tend to want to let you live the way you wish to, as long as you are not trying to get me to change my "American" ways to suit or agree with you.

I have a problem, however, with the article by Mr. Orlet. He addresses the problem of pushback from the Islamic folks that do not wish to assimilate in the West. He does NOT address the problem of pushback from the Hispanic folks that do not wish to assimilate in America. The ones that do not wish to learn English, that want to wave the Mexican flag during demonstrations demanding rights and benefits for ILLEGAL aliens that have no desire to become real Americans. They demand a full range of government services, and they demand that the services be delivered to them in their native language, Spanish. The demand their own Hispanic studies curriculums to major in at university. And the list goes on of their demands that Americans accommodate them, as opposed to them assimilating into our society.

I could re-write that last paragraph in almost every particular and simply replace Hispanic with African-American or Black. They are increasingly demanding segregation in schooling, housing, language, culture, laws, etc. I do have to give them credit, however. They are one culture that, while coming to what is now America 400 years ago or so, they did NOT do so voluntarily. For that reason I believe in cutting them considerable slack, just not as much slack as they are currently demanding. I can not, for the life of me understand why ESPN insists of force feeding me Ebonics from its anchors and analysts instead of them speaking English.

In sum, Mr. Orlet, I agree with your article as far as it went, but let us not ignore the other groups that are doing the same thing as the Islamists, and in most cases, have been doing it longer.
-- Ken Shreve
New Hampshire

JUDGE NOT -- NOT!
Re: Mark Tooley's Methodists for Jimmy Carter:

From my pagan vantage point on Mt. Olympus, all the fuss about presidential libraries is quite amusing. Mr. Tooley correctly notes that Jimmy Carter holds a naive view of foreign policy, but fails to mention the inherent naivete of Christianity. Perhaps he should reread the "Grand Inquisitor" section of The Brothers Karamazov. As far as I can tell, Carter is the only president in memory who actually makes an effort to live by Christian principles -- that's much harder to do than any conservative pundit would have you believe. It is therefore no accident that the patriarchs of The United Methodist Church, whether liberal or conservative, might look kindly upon him. President Bush's version of Christianity, on the other hand, stems from the perverted offshoot that began with John Calvin and reached its pinnacle in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the robber barons, whose ranks included his great-grandfather, Samuel Prescott Bush. For the sake of argument, let's say there is a Heaven: George W. Bush isn't going to make the cut.
-- Abe Grossman
Pleasantville, New York

Maybe these Social Gospelists, as you call them -- including former President and former Southern Baptist Jimmy Carter -- would do well this week, which ends with Resurrection Sunday for Christians, to pause from working up such a lather over conservatives and aggravating or promoting yet another us-them division in America and in the body of Christ in America.

Should they take such break, perhaps then they could take a long, hard look at the cross of Jesus the Christ. If they can see that cross, perhaps then they'll re-examine the meaning of the Christ's life, death and resurrection in their lives, in their denominations and to the world. Or maybe they'll actually discover some or all of these things, afresh or for the first time.

Either way, that would be productive and more powerful than what seems to have snared their flesh, rather than liberated their spirit. Same goes for any others who call themselves Christian, writer included.
-- C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia

IN SEALS' SHADOW
Re: William Tucker's In the Line of Fire:

Upon reading your article "In the Line of Fire" dated 26 March, I was happy to see that you recognized the contribution and commitment of the soldiers and sailors responsible for providing security and stability to Bayji and the surrounding towns. However, there is one fact in your article I feel compelled to correct. The Navy team you accompanied on the QRF patrol was not part of a SEAL platoon but members of the Navy's "other" special community, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD). EOD techs have long served in the shadow of the SEALs and they do so without complaint as both communities often work together in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world. You will never hear much about EOD techs because there are no movies or fiction telling their stories, but when it comes to IEDs or any other bomb squad type missions, they will be the only Navy boys on scene, not their more famous cousins. A retraction or correction to your article is not necessary over such a detail, but I feel that it is only fair to properly recognize and credit the men who risked their lives on that mission and every other day since they landed in Iraq.

Take care,
-- Lt. Jon T. Enberg

ILLEGAL SCREENS
Re: Merlin Perkins' letter (under "Immigration Types") in Reader Mail's No-Brainers:

I see that some people are still having problems grasping the concept of illegal immigration. Rather than go into a long winded dissertation on the social, ethical and legal ramifications of tolerating illegal immigration, allow me to present an analogy that should be easy to follow.

You leave your home for a month to go on vacation. Upon your arrival home, you discover that a man has broken in soon after you left. He moves his extended family in. While you are away, he keeps the house clean, mows the grass and paints the garage. What would be your reaction? Would allow the man and his family to remain in the house with your family? Would have him pay $2000 and then let him stay? Or possibly even make him move out, then pay the $2000, then let him move back in? These choices are analogous to those being offered to illegal immigrants under the various non-amnesty amnesty plans. After all, just because the man broke a single law to enter and remain in your house, he has proven himself to be a good tenant.

More likely, you would immediately call the police upon finding the people in your house and request their arrest for trespass (at the least). Then you would probably write a letter to the local newspaper decrying the fact that the local police department had not done their job in a conscience manner and found the people living in your house before you returned. Why? Because that is our natural reaction when someone invades our house.

You see, the United States of America is our house. We have established certain laws that govern who can enter our homes and when. Just as someone must have your permission to enter your house, so to must someone have permission to enter the United States. To enter without requesting permission is not only illegal, it is disrespectful and unethical. And we do not, usually, invite someone who is disrespectful to us and unethical into our home. There, that was simple enough, wasn't it?
-- Michael Tobias
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.

I just finished reading a letter in I>TAS that hit a nerve, even at this early hour. One reader who hails from Washington state cannot fathom why we'd want to send anyone back across the border if they were "good people" not criminals. Well, Mr. Perkins, let me tell you that until you have Canadians flowing across the border illegally and having babies at your expense, using your hospital facilities for "free" service that you pay for, and your schools to the tune of hundreds of millions, then you can pick and choose who you want to keep here. As for most Americans in the southern to middle states, we are overrun and our taxes have risen dramatically. We cannot receive medical care without waiting scores of additional hours and all in all we are tired of the entire mess. Every day brings with it new headaches, from traffic accidents with the uninsured and unlicensed, to folks walking into your yard, ranch, farm, uninvited.

My dear son-in-law is a true immigrant. He came here legally and made the United States his home, legally. Last summer he took his oath to become an American citizen. We are proud of his efforts. As for the rest of these illegals, we are just plain "compassion" tired. We're exhausted from entertaining those here who have broken our laws.

My eyes were opened further a couple years ago when I served as foreperson of a Grand Jury. Many of our case were being committed by illegals and one of the newest crimes, we were told then, was financial crimes. Homes and vehicles were obtained by illegals using bank loans. The vehicles quickly disappeared south of the border never to be seen again. And trying to find the person delinquent on the debt was near to impossible. Meanwhile the banks tried to absorb the loan, so too, the car dealerships. I suspect part of our subprime problem with banks could be traced to illegals getting loans. So, too, were those who committed the heinous crimes of child sexual abuse. One case in particular still causes me to awaken in the night in a cold sweat thinking about the children who were abducted, taken to Mexico by a "funny" uncle, and never seen again. We tried warrants and subpoenas to no avail. The children are in the hands of a molester and south of the border never to be seen again.

So, Mr. Perkins, until you are flooded by illegal Canadians, let us decide for ourselves. I believe Congress may be getting the picture of our real disgust. As for us, we'll ship you as many as you personally can support, C.O.D.
-- Bev Gunn
Texas Cattle Rancher
Proud Mother of serving pilot

HARD TO SWALLOW
Re: David Hogberg's A Prescription for Bias:

I too watched the 60 Minutes piece.

I know too little about the pros and cons of Prescription Drug Bill that was passed not long ago to argue its merits

What was upsetting to me was that many the legislators who pushed for the passage of the bill, including the leader, Billy Tauzin...(or something like that), who was chairman of the committee that regulates the pharmaceutical industry, later got jobs working for the drug companies as lobbyists.

I don't know how this looks to you, but to me It looks bad and it smells bad. It's like finding out a referee is going to get a brand new car from one of the contestants in a boxing match.

I think legislators should be barred from representing any group that has business before the government. It's just too easy for companies to "pay back" friendly legislators with big salary jobs...

The problem with our American system is that the consumer...that's you and me...can't dangle any cushy jobs in front of retiring legislators. But big companies can...and do.

And if you believe that people, in the end, act in their own best interest...it's not to hard to figure out which way a legislator is going to vote when a job with a big fat paycheck is at the other end of the vote

So, although I don't know if the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill was good or bad for the American consumer...It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that it was a good deal for the drug companies.
-- Ernie Geefay
El Dorado Hills, California

LOW BLOW
Re: Michael Tomlinson's letter (under "Big Bad John") in Reader Mail's No-Brainers:

In his letter regarding John McCain, Michael Tomlinson hopes that McCain, if elected, will "grow in office to become more like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush and less like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

Has Mr. Tomlinson not noticed that George W. Bush is becoming more and more like Jimmy Carter??
-- Jack Hughes
Chicago, Illinois

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