Reader Mail

Time Travel

When driving was a trip. Also: Presidential steel. Rahm Democrats. Prelapsarian coral lapses. Plus more.

8.4.06

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ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Re: Eric Peters's Boxed-In Beauties:

Perhaps it would be more fun if we could all drive as fast as people in Europe can drive. I for one love beautiful fast cars. But when you look inside what most people are driving today, perhaps it doesn't matter anymore. Personally I believe that the saddest sight of modern times is those parents who have bought the huge SUV with the DVD player on board, so their lumpen offspring can be carted through some of the most beautiful and enthralling countryside the world has ever produced, with their eyes glued to the same poo-fart-drop-your-pants trash they'd be glued to if they were sitting at home on their beds. Why bother to take your children anywhere if you're going to lock them in a box of Same Old Same Old for the duration of the journey?

Yes, in Olden Times when cars held more people in the back seat, children were allowed in the front seat, and there was no "entertainment" on board except for the load of library books and the radio controlled by Mama, travel was more of a strain and one had to actually acknowledge the presence of siblings and learn to read a map so as to avoid asking "are we there yet?" more than twice an hour. But when we arrived at the Tourist Court, the Motel or the Cabins for the evening we knew we had made a journey and we knew where we were. Today's kids might just as well be left locked in their bedrooms with the curtains drawn as carted down a featureless Interstate to a generic motel, having spent the whole day staring at a screen and deafening themselves in isolation with iPods. Not only do they not know where they have been or where they are, they don't even know if anybody else was traveling with them. And it surely doesn't matter to them how fast their parents got to drive.
-- Kate Shaw, Editor
RFM Sports

At the current rates, we will double the length of our highways in 363 years, but the population will double in 66 years. Governors and highway departments are obsessing over how to get more sales and property tax out of highway construction. These considerations are detrimental to mobility and safety. The idea that highway departments are suppose to be planning and designing for mass mobility of our real mass transit system, the car, seems to be ripped out of the engineering curriculum to make room for too much concern about the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act.

We need a financially sustainable balance between roads to new destinations, like new homes and roads to old destinations, like where we work. What must be done is to increase the capacity of the existing system. The car is worth the costs. How many people were evacuated from Mississippi or Louisiana on the trains?
-- Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

Although the traffic situation in my locale isn't quite as bad as the metropolitan areas mentioned in the article, I have learned to love to play in the traffic with my new Mustang GT convertible. In my younger days, speed was the thing. Now, I find that "quick" is a lot more fun. Between that and sticking to the back roads, I can get my car freak addiction taken care of quite nicely and I worry less about meeting the local ticket writers.
-- J.W. Purcell, 1SG, USA (ret)
Nashville, Tennessee

The clogged-all-day condition of highways and roads in our metropolitan areas is a strong argument, just one of many, against greatly increased immigration. And that's why George Bush should get up one of these weekday mornings, leave the Secret Service and the bullet-proof Caddy behind, borrow some underling's wheels, and spend rush hour tooling around the Washington Beltway. Then let him try to explain to us why we need tens of millions more people in this country.
-- C. Vail

MAN OF STEEL
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Cool Under Pressure:

Bret Stephens like most civilians, journalists and Americans just doesn't get it -- once the shooting starts all war plans change. When you have great fighting forces (as the U.S. and Israel have), the next most important thing needed is a Commander-in-Chief with "steel." The United States and in a sense Israel have that in George W. Bush. No President since Lincoln has faced more "subversive" opposition in a time of war than President Bush, but like Lincoln Bush has remained firm in his resolve to win. As one who has served I thank God for President Bush. Fault him for what you like, but he is a great Commander-in-Chief.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Crownsville, Maryland

Bush got this one right, for sure! I'm very tired of the Muslim trick of attacking the US or Israel then screaming for a cease fire as soon as we respond. Apparently, that was Saddam Hussein's grand strategy when we invaded in Iraq in 2003. The sole point of the game is to make them look big and brave in the eyes of other Muslims. Victory, in their twisted minds, is not defeating Israel, or the U.S., but merely survival. If Israel kills every last Hezbollah fighter but one, he will declare victory and Israel defeated. They've played this game for half a century and it's time we ended it.
-- Roger D. McKinney
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Seems to me the last President we have had that wanted to really WIN a war was Truman -- yes, a Democrat. Even though Bush would love to win, he is not giving the service men and women the go-ahead to GIT'ER DONE.
-- Elaine Kyle

You are either blind, or sympathetic to the neo-cons as most journalists are (if they want to get ahead, that is.)
-- unsigned

RAHM RAISINS
Re: Jeffrey Lord's The Emanuel Brothers' Mel Bonding:

The brothers Emanuel's outrage is all show. If Mel's drunken diatribe is so intolerable to them why aren't they offended by the sober anti-Semitism of America's Joseph Goebbels -- Michael Moore? Could it be because Ari represents Moore in Hollywood? When is Rahm going to condemn Hezbollah loving John Dingle and demand he and the other terrorist loving anti-Semite Democrats resign their seats in Congress? For that matter when are they going to make an ad thanking President Bush for reversing the anti-Semitic attitudes of the Carter and Clinton administrations? If Rahm and Ari took their "partisan sheets" off they'd see the majority of anti-Semites aren't alcoholic actors, but the base of their party (Democrats).
-- Michael Tomlinson
Crownsville, Maryland

Excellent article.

Many loyal Democrats and sadly many Jews seem to have forgotten that their Icon: Franklin D. Roosevelt in a particularly cynical move did not want to upset voters by allowing a boat from Europe that was filled with Jewish families to dock in America and thus escape Hitler's death machine.

Fearing a reputation for "favoritism" from the press and voters rather than doing the humane thing Roosevelt failed to intervene and in effect sent that boat back to the European port for which it came, sentencing many Jews and their children to certain death and persecution.

How do I know this? Why I saw it on PBS!

Mel may have said it. But Franklin D. Roosevelt DID it!
-- P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan

THE LEBANESE
Re: Jed Babbin's Israel as George Bush:

Hey, Mr. Babbin: I hope all is going well with you. I read your article regarding removing Hezbollah from Lebanon. I was glad to see that out there. I had a few thoughts about this....

Can the people of Lebanon take action to remove Hezbollah politicians? Certainly, they could allege and prove the organization is illegal (its existence as a militia) and it is operating in violation of the U.N. resolution. The organization has caused the destruction of the Country. Hezbollah is not a state and the Lebanese govt. is just sitting there watching Israel do the work they should be doing. This is bizarre! I hope our government is conducting covert efforts to motivate and inform the citizens of Lebanon.

I was also wondering why the U.S. or other governments aren't asking the Lebanese army or getting an international force in there now to work in the Northern part of the country to watch for supplies and weapons going to Hezbollah. They could block some roads. They could even arrest Hezbollah. If they are caught with weapons. It's just frustrating knowing they are just sitting on the sidelines while Israel has to enforce Res. 1559 and lose lives of its soldiers.

Well, thanks for reading. I always enjoy your articles (and radio subs).
-- Tom Rosenblum
Jacksonville, Tennessee

Jed Babbin replies:
Thanks for the note. I think the Hizballah have established themselves in such a position that the Lebanese are powerless to do anything about it. As to an international force, that is a standing gag. First you have to get agreement of the Lebanese government which they have so far refused. Next you need to agree what the force is going to do and then who is going to make it up and command it. Then you need to gather it, ship it in, and deploy it. Takes months, not days. Won't happen any time soon.

COMMAND POSTS
Re: Jed Babbin's Brownwater Sailors:

An excellent piece of straight reporting. I pity the enemies of the U.S. who meet the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command.
-- Doug Santo
Pasadena, California

An excellent article. I'm glad to see this is finally coming on line. It's been talked about for years.
-- Michael A. Brueckmann, USN (Seabee) retired

MEETING OF MINDS
Re: James Bowman's America: From Freedom to Fascism:

Mr. Bowman's column on the convergence of movies and paranoia for the extreme right and extreme left raises the question of the ideological convergence of left and right. Columnist Sidney Harris once stated that, at their extremes, the left and right become one another as they meet each other coming around. If one accepts the arguable position that Hitler, Franco and Mussolini were on the right and Stalin and Mao on the left, it's easy to see the resemblance. Hitler had a National Socialist party that destroyed mediating institutions and handed all power over to the state and a command economy. So did the populist Peron. And so also Chavez today. Note that the way the "right-wing," Islamofascist government of Iran got a discontented population to choose the most extreme candidate over a slightly more moderate candidate was to promise a not-provided redistribution of income. Note that the rebellions in Iraq and Lebanon are aimed at destroying mediating institutions provided by democracy, including an army subject to laws. Indeed, it can be argued that the army was traditionally the other party in Latin America that provided a check on extreme government by a party of the right or left. The same for Turkey and Pakistan.
-- RLA Schaefer
Dubuque, Iowa

This is not a movie review, it's a political diatribe. Mr. Bowman states that "the law is what the judges say it is." Not so. We have a written Constitution which states specifically that judges "are bound by it." If judges rite opinions in violation of our Constitution, they are acting lawlessly. Haven't seen the movie, not defending it, just feel like Mr.Bowman needs to stick to reviewing movies...
-- C. Baker

A CORAL CRUSADE
Re: Patrick J. Michaels's Okay Coral:

Most climatologists can't tell a troglodyte from a triloboite, so it's great to see the doyen of data downsizing on the global warming front, Virginia State Climatologist Pat Michaels celebrating his reincarnation as Professor of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech by invoking 500 million years of geological history in challenging coral paleontologists to believe. "You can bet that they'll be around a long time after humans have come to the end of the evolutionary road."

Sadly, our polyp friends have already flirted with extinction in connection with massive changes in atmospheric and ocean chemistry, including pH and calcite compensation point shifts associated with CO2. For 10 million years after the Permian extinction, there was no such thing as a coral reef and it took the few survivors 100 million years to recover their diversity. Alas, the trilobites croaked entirely, and have never come back, which leaves paleontologists and crab cake aficionados eternally indebted to The American Spectator for its heroic contribution to troglodyte diversity here at the end of the neocontrarian epoch.

As a paleo-con, I refuse to forget the burning question of who lost China's Permian Corals? The evolutionary forebears of the perfidious paleocommies, whose excessive zeal for environmental regulation even when the primordial protomaoists consisted of fewer cells than can earn a Presidential veto nowadays, took coral diversity down from 753 species, 167 genera and 39 families in the Chuanshan formation to only 68 species, 20 genera and 10 families in the Changsing strata -- by the end of which, all rugose and tabulate corals has become extinct . As this is somewhat earlier than the invention of collective farms, Fukienese seafood restaurants, or revisionism, some suspect CO2 may have had a hand in it.
-- Russell Seitz
Cambridge, Massachusetts

PROSE POETRY
Re: Jeffrey Lord's Dear Senator Kennedy: Resigning to Reform, Mimi Evans Winship's poem (under "Teddy Haymakered") in Reader Mail's Passion Fodder, and Paul Curley's letter (under "Hit the Road...Again") in Reader Mail's Coming Clean:

Thank you, Paul. I stand corrected. I did forget big brother Joe. Carrying three martyrs on his back has probably plunged Teddy even deeper into his cups than I related. Add Miss Kopechne into the mix and it's a wonder he's ever sober, if he is. Dashing around tilting at windmills over the years has not lessened those burdens, though lumbering is more like it these days. If his desperate crusading has not helped him, sadly it has not helped his country, either.
-- Mimi Evans Winship

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