Reader Mail

Battery Juice

Keeping the electric car in motion. Also: Clearing the Mideast air. Gadget inspectors at the wheel. Conventional McCain. Plus more.

9.20.06

Send to Kindle

EMMY FOR RUSH
Re: William Tucker's Liberals Find Their Groove:

In William Tucker's article he asks the reader to recall how "poorly" Rush Limbaugh's television show did. I loved his show. The two best things that Rush had on his TV show were (1) The complete version of the notorious Rodney King police beating video that showed King leaping from his prone position on the ground and running at L.A. police officers. 2 - The video of Bill Clinton leaving Ron Brown's funeral, laughing and smiling - until he spies the video camera pointing in his direction, at which time he instantly transmogrifies his face into a faux mask of unparalleled grief. An all-time classic of phoniness exposed.

But then there's also the video of Bill and Hillary "dancing" on the beach in the run-up to the Monica Lewinsky debacle- 'cause they're so in love, don'tcha know?

And there was also Bill Clinton "Finding" six or eight stones on an otherwise barren Omaha beach in Normandy and arranging them into a cross.

Okay, there was also Bill Clinton "Happening Upon" a fallen American flag at a military cemetery and placing it back upright.

Wow. There were sure a lot of video clips of Bill and Hill and their phoniness. I kinda miss his show. Are you listening, Rush? I mean, of course he actually can't really "listen" because of his deafness - but he has those implants in his head... Okay, I'll shut up
now.
-- Bryan Frymire
Louisville, Kentucky

Although I agree with virtually everything in Mr. Tucker's article, he is mistaken when he says that Rush Limbaugh's TV show never did very well. It won good ratings, for a 30 minute syndicated show, that only got better over time. This was in spite of the fact that the show was usually buried in a late night slot. This was also pre-TiVo. He quit doing the show because of time constraints and his dislike of the format. It wasn't as spontaneous as radio and did not showcase his strengths. One of which is knowing his own strengths.

Rush gets slimed enough from the left, I just wanted to make sure the facts were correct when he is referenced by his "sympaticos.".

And yes, the electric car died because there was no market for such an inferior product. Ironically, that's exactly why Socialism will fail. There is no market for such an inferior product.
-- David Cowling
Dallas, Texas

"Significantly, all of these people were leasing their EV1s. None actually bought them."

This was due to the fact that the EV1 was never available for sale, only lease. The reason was that the manufacturer did not want to maintain repair parts for seven years like they would have to if the cars were sold.
-- unsigned

The author pretty much missed the whole point, the fact that a whole lot of electricity is used to charge these things; plug into the grid and you're using fossil fuels, hence polluting. Evil people!

And, figure that the converting from one fuel to another loses about 15 percent efficiency?

The hydrogen power also requires beaucoup electricity to turn the water into useable power, right?

And let's not get into any discussion about the weak, under-strength ethanol.

'Cause, after all, it really isn't about pollution or efficient energy, it's simply "control."

The pretentious and condescending ones who've become the self-appointed arbiters of what's proper have decreed that we mere citizens aren't wise enough to know what's good for us, so they'll do the dictating?

And we let them get away with it?
-- J. Frost

Those hybrid owners that are connecting battery chargers to reduce the purchase of gasoline are tilting at windmills. The hybrid automobile is designed to use only a small portion of the energy stored in the batteries. The reason for this is the Federal and California government requirements for 100K mile guarantee on the battery pack. All rechargeable batteries have limited cycle life. The greater percent of battery capacity used in a charge-discharge cycle the shorter the battery life in cycles. This relationship is not a zero sum game. So for the hybrid manufacturer to include an AC power charge option that significantly reduces fossil fuel consumption, they will have to increase the size (capacity) of the battery pack. This will increase the vehicle's curb weight, which has negative effects of energy consumption. To have no net effect on energy consumption the Feds and CARB could reduce the required minimum mileage guarantee. However, for the hybrid owner this is the "You can pay me later" option in the Fram filter commercial. The batteries used are nickel metal hydride like those in the 1996 vintage notebook computer, which are expensive ($3K+).
-- unsigned

What happens when all those batteries start hitting the local dumps?
-- Jim Woodward
Fruitland, Maryland

FRESH THOUGHT
Re: Brandon Crocker's Let's Think Back:

My name is Lee Ruddin (UK) and I am mailing in relation to the piece listed below.

Brandon Crocker's latest piece ("Let's Think Back") is a breath of fresh air. From the outset he pitches the question to the reader, "What was the Middle East like before the U.S. messed things up by invading Iraq?" Crocker facetiously rejoins, "Was it like the mythical Garden of Eden?" What is more, innumerate integers of anti-war commentators assert that by invading Iraq we "created" a mass of new terrorists. Well, President Bush rhetorically states that, "If America were not fighting terrorists in Iraq... what would the thousands of killers do -- suddenly begin leading productive lives of service and charity?" That is what one has to ask oneself.

Crocker correctly reaffirms that, "The American led invasion of Iraq in 2003 took care of the perennial disaster that was Saddam Hussein." Now we need to turn to British-born Harvard don Niall Ferguson whom scholarly stresses why this is so. "Had it not been for the hard power of the U.S. military...is little question that what Joseph Nye has called soft power" would have been enough for the successful Iraqi elections. Moreover, stationing "U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia indefinitely [whilst witnessing the affects of sanctions] was not an option" -- since this was the chief exasperation and catalyst for Bin Laden launching his (Ferguson's) Islamo-Bolshevist war against the Kafir (a man who conceals god).

Crocker concludes illuminating the precarious counterfactual to U.S. intervention. He enquires, "If our invasion of Iraq did not 'create' hordes of new anti-American terrorists, what would doing nothing...have done? How many anti-American terrorists would we have 'created' by our show of weakness and impotence in the face of a defiant Saddam Hussein?" This latter quote is the one to pay heed to. In tune with Crocker's idiom, "Let's Think Back" here. The attack on the U.S. embassy by Khomeini and the protection the regime extended to the Soviet counterpart after the Red Army's invasion into Afghanistan is clear for all to see. The radical fundamentalists despised communism at least as much as they loathed the U.S. -- therefore the difference in Khomeini's strategic treatment of the two embassies could not be explained by ideological or political factors. What could explain it was his fear of Soviet retaliation as against his expectation that the U.S. has lost its nerve. Put simply, weakness is provocative. "Just Think Back" for a repertoire of examples.

Any correspondence would be most appreciated,
-- Lee P. Ruddin

JOY DRIVING
Re: Eric Peters's Lousy Drivers in a GPS Age:

OK, here's an idea. Since ANY distraction is "bad," let's totally encase the driver in a sound-proof, light-proof, heck ANYTHING-proof enclosure. Ensure absolutely NO contact with anyone in the vehicle that might disrupt their concentration. Then we can fit him/her with a helmet with a video display that shows the driver what they would actually see as they turn their heads. You can feed in directional sound, as well. No music, no cell phones, no conversations, no distractions. Then see what happens over an 8 hour drive…

Facetious, sure, but damn, this nanny-state interest in absolute control over "interruptions" to the driver is getting a bit crazy. I don't know what they'll do about sneezing.

Regarding motorcycles in blind spots, I want to point that from a motorcycle rider's perspective, I'm ALWAYS in the blind spot. Even after eye contact, drivers still don't seem able to see me. And I'm on a pretty big bike. I think it has something to do with drivers prejudiced to seeing only four or more wheeled vehicles. They "see" me, but since I'm only on two wheels, they don't actually consciously recognize what they're seeing. I hate being in heavy traffic where I'm constantly in some vehicle's natural blind spot. You get feeling like conditionally living road-kill real quick.
-- Karl F. Auerbach
Eden, Utah

Your point that to have a driver's license is a "right" that cannot be questioned is accurate. Case in point. Several years ago a driver killed a pedestrian in a cross walk. It was discovered that the driver (a senior citizen) was "legally blind" but still received a license renewal . This discovery caused a minor uproar with politicians around the issue. Yearly testing of anyone over 75 years of age was being called for and more frequent road tests. The AAPR and advocates for seniors made sure that there were no additional tests of any kind to be mandatory for seniors.

I now see this same dynamic being applied to voting. Civil rights groups making sure that no one has to prove they are a citizen in order to vote.

Of course, if you try and cash a check....what's wrong with this picture?
-- Len LaBounty

"The difficulty is setting regulations based on the 'typical' driver and his ability (or lack thereof) to deal safely with things like cell phones and in-car GPS units."

There are licenses for aircraft pilots. And there are licenses for doctors. And there are licenses for other professionals. But licenses for drivers of motor vehicles are mandatory revenue donor forms and DMV full employment machines, nothing more, nothing less. Such licenses certainly fail to guarantee any minimal level of competence (or incompetence). But honestly, the objective of any "government that governs least governs best" type should be to adopt a "hands off" attitude toward as much as possible, and that must include motor vehicle drivers and owners of firearms, just to head the list. Conservatism's creed says "you are free to do right and be rewarded, or do wrong and be punished." Pre-emption in the domestic context is synonymous with the nanny state and most un-conservative. So stop worrying about the GPS that is even more distracting than a screaming child or two in the second row child seats, and instead settle forever the man and wife argument over whether you were supposed to take a right turn onto Cropsey Avenue in order to get to Garguilos on Coney Island. The GPS never lies.
-- Frank Natoli
Newton, New Jersey

GOOD HUMOR
Re: Jay D. Homnick's An Unconventional View:

In Mr. Homnick's essay entitled "An Unconventional View," he admits to being a humorist. Having read the essay three times, twice more than I wanted, I concur that Mr. Homnick is both unconventional and humorous. That being said, his perspectives echo the casual glibness emanating from the likes of Messrs. McCain, Powell and Graham. With all due respect to these American political giants, their political gamesmanship and grandstanding is nothing short of complete moral and intellectual abdication. Let's start with the straw dog of Bush's attempt to alter the Geneva Convention by legislation.

As Mr. Homnick so casually reminded us, the Supreme Court, in Hamdan (a truly remarkable decision, surfeit with sloppy and poor reasoning), implied that non-uniformed terrorists, caught on the battle field, were subject to the protections of Article 3 of the Geneva Convention. Article 3, in a classic example of diplo-speak gibberish, prohibits the use of interrogation methods that are "humiliating and degrading." Oh, ok, that's real clear isn't it? I think it was Justice Potter Stewart who opined in one of the obscenity cases in the '70s, "I know it when I see it." So is it now with torture. Thanks to the Supreme Court and Messrs. McCain and Powell, their fecklessness have led us into this brave new world that subjects CIA agents and our military to American and International tribunals for violations of Article 3. President Bush, in an attempt at sanity, seeks clear definitions of the above in order to protect those aforementioned agents from prosecution. In return, we get more wailing from the likes of Mr. Homnick, et al., bemoaning this attempt by the president. Apparently, five liberal members of the Supreme Court along with Messrs, McCain and Powell are more concerned with limiting the president's war powers and his proposed call for legislation that clarifies Article 3, than protecting Americans. No other explanation rationally flows, given these facts. If Mr. Homnick doesn't think that our military and CIA need these guidelines, let me quote from Justice John Paul Steven's majority decision in Santa Fe Ind. School District v. Doe, the recent student led prayer at a high school game decision..."We are nonetheless persuaded that the delivery of a pre-game prayer has the improper effect of coercing those present to participate in an act of religious worship." Is that the same as humiliating and degrading?

Just asking.
-- A. DiPentima

Mr. Homnick's position and his apparent reasoning is disturbing. His opposition to the proposed "special" rules for captured terrorists is claimed to be based on an aversion to altering established conventions. These terrorists are clearly "unlawful combatants" by existing norms established by the Geneva Convention, Contemplating the Bush Administration proposal, he writes, "However, short-circuiting the system in this way must be reserved for special circumstances of immediate, definable danger. It cannot become a new norm."

Transnational terrorist cells stimulated by the same ideology, able to afford and deploy weapons ranging from car bombs to WMD, supported by patrons such as Iran, seems like a fine example of "immediate, definable danger."

I think Mr. Homnick is in fact advocating a new and far more dangerous norm than the one he opposes: accepting the status, behavior, and tactics of terrorists as acceptable modes of combat, in contradiction of the Geneva Convention.

Following the desires of Senators McCain, Grapham, and Warner would tacitly do just that. The thought that our adversaries are more likely to treat U.S. prisoners according to the Geneva Convention should we do so is wishful fantasy. The only reason U.S. prisoners might get decent treatment is fear of retribution or the tactical advantage of live U.S. hostages. The U.S. is broadly considered a pariah and we should have no illusions that being nice will win us any points anywhere.

If aggressive interrogation doesn't provide vital intelligence, why would the Bush Administration want to pursue it? Casual cruelty might be offered by the moonbats of the left: any takers in this forum? If aggressive interrogation is torture, and it provides vital intelligence, then those who claim that torture is useless contradict themselves. Perhaps the Bush Administration is correct, and aggressive interrogation is not torture and does in fact provide better intelligence.

If terrorists have no fear of aggressive interrogation and harsh punishment, then we have removed significant deterrents to people becoming terrorists in the first place. Just how do we "drain the swamp" if those so tempted can be credibly assured that if they don't get sent to Allah, they can spend years well-fed, well-housed, comfortably clothed, and well-represented by ACLU lawyers acting pro bono?

Finally, put yourself in the place of a CIA interrogator. Messrs McCain, Graham, and Warner's desires are now law. You've got a real bad guy in front of you, and the bidding is that this individual knows something that might save a lot of lives. Do you want to be remembered as the war criminal who saved millions of U.S. citizens or do you want to be remembered as the consummate professional who played it absolutely by the book?
-- Bud Hammons

Mr. Homnick's column regarding the substantive discussion of how do we handle prisoners of war when they are not in uniform, prove a significant risk, and fully intend to kill us, postulated examples and remedies and the notion that we will not be in this war forever, therefore we can afford them special privilege. It confuses me. I could not see that even he, as brilliant a writer as he is, could define what is and is not defined by the Geneva Convention. We will be in this war a very long time. And it is not a war defined in the manner that WWII was. Nor is it like Korea or Vietnam. This war is a fully defined clash of civilizations as we know it. We either win the war or the U.S. will find itself living under Sharia law. Of this you can be sure.

Our son went to the AF Academy. One of the summers there is spent learning survival training. In Flight School he continued to learn what to do if he was captured. To a mother this chills the heart. We are the only country in the universe that tries to abide by the Geneva Convention, Senator McCain should know this. It wouldn't matter one bit if we followed the rules to the letter our enemies will not. What matters to most Americans is what will our government do to keep our children and grandchildren safe from a nuclear device or another day like 9/11. I do wish Washington game players knew this.

Instead we have Rep. Conyers planning impeachment. We have Pelosi and her gang planning how best to hand over the U.S. to the Islamofascists and be the last to get executed. We have the treason of a Retired General entrenched in cloak and dagger politics during war time. This mother is angry. This mother knows we could lose. I only wonder if it is too late to wake folks up to realize the danger out there. I do hope this last weekend's demonstrations, anger, and death of an innocent nun will help every American realize, we did nothing, some folks want to kill and conquer.

Wake up, America...before it is too late.
-- Beverly Gunn
East Texas Rancher

The Geneva Conventions were meant to protect lawful combatants from harm upon capture. Unlawful combatants were not excluded by oversight. The origin of this distinction can be traced back to the Peace of Westphalia ending the Thirty Years War. During this brutal conflict Princes and Kings hired private armies of mercenaries who ravaged the country side and virtually destroyed Germany where most of the war was fought. After the war ended nation states banded together to outlaw and severely punish private armies leaving military force as monopoly for state actors. The traditional penalty for the treatment of unlawful combatants and Pirates was summary execution. It is still legal under international law to do so. Placing Al Qaeda terrorists under Geneva Convention rules takes a step backward into the pre-1648 world. Such a policy courts disaster for the civilized world.
-- Jerrold Goldblatt
Arlington, Virginia

Jay Homnick replies:
It is too late now to reengage the debate if the Convention applies. The Court has ruled, whether wisely or not.

My point is only that when we must take exceptional measures that bypass the Convention, we can do them discreetly. But the rules on the books serve a purpose.

ARMITAGE CROWNED
Re: Jed Babbin's A Special Place in Hell and Reader Mail's Going Down in Plames:

I think Jed Babbin's award is a great idea!

Why not give it out it at the end of each year they way RET gives out his Coogler awards?

Finalists could be determined while quaffing a few fine domestic ales at a meeting held at an establishment sort of like McSorley's Old Ale House.

Black tie, of course, and Cigars would be mandatory.

The host tavern would receive a special plaque honoring its induction into the Great American Saloon Hall of Fame.

Does anybody remember Bill Buckley's "Committee to Horsewhip Drew Pearson"?

Them were the days!
-- Bob Keiser
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Regarding Jed Babbin's "A Special Place in Hell" and speculation generated therefrom. I believe everyone in the White House knew from the start what we now know, and the thinking was "give 'em all the rope they need to hang themselves." That is certainly what I would have done to the seedy Joe Wilson and his fair Valerie. Sound Machiavellian? Maybe just Karlrovian or even Georgebushian. Texans are pretty good poker players.

We could cancel the national debt if we woke up tomorrow morning with all the misspent special prosecutor money back in the Treasury. This has been worth it. Or would be if we could make Joe Wilson work he rest of his sorry life paying the legal bills of others.
-- Diane Smith
San Francisco, California

Jed Babbin is again much more of a gentleman than I am concerning what should happen to Armitage and Powell.

The special award I'd like to see them receive is delivered at massive speed with the help of an ancient Chinese invention.

For the life of me I'll never understand, regardless of his Christian beliefs, why Bush and his "new tone" would allow this kind of back stabbing and treasonous actions. Being at war now I'd prefer the old drinking frat boy Bush who wouldn't take this crap.

Between Republicans like Powell, McCain, Graham, Warner, cowards in the House, etc. it's getting more and more difficult to be persuaded they are still better than the Democrats retaking Congress.
-- Greg Barnard
Franklin, Tennessee

The whole Novak/Armitage/Plame affair is sordid beyond belief. But central to the whole affair is the question of why Colin (The Most Admired Man in America) Powell allowed this matter to drag on for so long. The opinion of many Americans, especially conservatives, of Colin Powell has changed a great deal over the past three or four years. First, he sat on his duff in Washington instead of going to Turkey to strong arm the Turks to allow the 101st Airborne and The British Special Forces to come into Iraq from the north to cut off the retreat of the Iraq Army at the beginning of the war. In the opinion of many that had a great deal to do with the development of the insurgency. The failure to gain that permission lay directly with the Department of State and Powell. When we failed to find WMD, Powell began to position himself, I believe through Armitage and others, to make one and all aware that he regretted his testimony before the UN on WMD. Then, the Plame mess. And, a few days ago, this "moral basis of the war on terror" nonsense. I think old General Powell has a lot to answer for but he will never be held to account by the MSM.
-- Elwin E. Fraley, M.D.
Eden Prairie, Minnesota

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article