Reader Mail

You Can Go Home Again

If our representatives get off their rump Congress. Also: Leakers will be fixed. Post-Supermen. Citizen Ozzie. New anti-Swift vet offensive. Kerryist concessions. Plus much more.

7.6.06

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BUMP THE RUMP CONGRESS
Re: Jed Babbin's In the Name of God, Go:

The statement by Oliver Cromwell when he dismissed the Rump Parliament was also made (more famously, IMHO) by Conservative MP Leo Amery against Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in the House of Commons in May 1940. Leo Amery was a long standing and well respected Conservative MP and a colleague of Winston Churchill -- he was one of the pitifully few MPs who supported Churchill in voting in Parliament against the Munich Agreement in 1938 to sell out Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany, standing almost alone against what was probably the lowest, most cowardly and shabbiest deal in parliamentary democracy in the last one hundred years.

In May 1940 Amery made a highly critical attack on Chamberlain in the House of Commons over his management of the war, finishing his speech with the famous, damning dismissal made by Cromwell to the Rump Parliament. Churchill later credited Amery's speech to the House of Commons and the quote from Cromwell in particular as the event that instigated Chamberlain's downfall and Churchill's own election as Prime Minister. The rest, as they say, is history. Let us all be eternally thankful.

While Cromwell can certainly claim first use of those particular words, I think their later use by Leo Amery in May 1940 against Neville Chamberlain is probably more dramatic, more relevant to history and to the lesson on the importance of replacing weak, cowardly and incompetent leaders with people who have the guts and the vision to get on with the job, regardless.
-- Christopher Holland
Canberra, Australia

Mr. Babbin has once again hit a hard line drive towards the right field fence. Telling congress to go home and stop doing whatever it is they're doing is always a good idea. I have long been a proponent of grid lock. It keeps them from doing anything to me, as opposed to for me which is really quite rare.

The only reason Mr. Babbin's line drive doesn't go out of the park is his saying they should come back next year and start over.

Umm...NO!
-- Bill Deady
Manchester, New Hampshire

I wish to second the motion made by the honorable gentleman, Mr. Jed Babbin. Until I draw my final breath, I shall maintain that the two most dangerous inventions to the health of our great Republic were, and are, air conditioning and television.

First, we air conditioned government building and our elected officials and their creation, government bureaucrats, decided that they could stay on the job year round. Prior to air conditioning, we had a respite from the wicked ways of the governing class for four to six months during the oppressive Washington, D.C. summers.

Then they decided to televise the proceedings of the House and Senate and their committees. We went from elected officials that hardly said a word during their entire terms of office, to "Will someone PLEASE tell them to shut up!" Additionally, it has gotten more dangerous to be in proximity of our Capitol building or other important government structures. If you are caught between Senators Schumer or McCain (and a few others) and the TV cameras, you can be trampled to death in a heart beat.

Yes, Mr. Babbin is right. In the name of God, Go -- and don't come back.
-- Ken Shreve
An escapee from the environs of Washington, D.C.

THE TWO TIMES: NOT TOO "SWIFT"
Re: The Prowler's SWIFT Deposits:

Speeders know that the Highway Patrol uses speed traps, yet using speed traps still catches speeders ... unless someone publishes the locations of the speed traps.

Criminals know that the police use informants, yet using informants still catches criminals ... unless someone publishes the names of the informants.

Racketeers know that the FBI uses sting operations, yet using sting operations still catches racketeers ... unless someone publishes the details of the sting operations.

Terrorists may know that counter-terrorist officials use financial tracking programs, yet using financial tracking programs still catches terrorists ... unless ... well, you already know the obvious, even if the "swifties" at the New York Times pretend not to.
-- Paul Schlick
Maple Grove, Minnesota

Why haven't the reporters been brought in and jailed if they do not reveal their sources? This is a real leak unlike the Plame "leak." What is the holdup?
-- Elaine Kyle
Cut & Shoot, Texas

In the future when and if terrorists attack, wound or kill so-called mainstream American journalists I will not shed a tear. If terrorists or some deranged lunatic attacks the New York Slimes and/or its employees directly I will be tempted to cheer. If supporting terrorism is good enough for the New York Slimes and the old media then it is now respectable to wish such traitors ill-will. Frankly, the drive-by media along with the bureaucrats that betray this country by illegally providing them with classified information are terrorists and should be incarcerated with their colleagues at GITMO. Of course, thanks to the liberals on the Supreme Court (none W. appointees), the thugs at GITMO have more rights than our troops who have allegedly committed crimes against terrorists, terrorist agents, Saddam Hussein's torturers, or third parties in Iraq and Afghanistan.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Crownsville, Maryland

I note with wonder the amazing outburst by President Bush, directed at the NY Times regarding the printing of a story highlighting the administration's efforts to halt the flow of cash to terrorists and their organizations. Since 9/11, the Bush administration has highlighted on different occasions the success that they have had on stopping the flow of money to terrorists. Given that this is the only point the New York Times article was making I was astounded at the paranoid outburst by the Commander in Chief. As his second term continues, the President has become more and more removed from the reality that is the real world. Failing to veto the big-spending Republican Congress on any bill, failure to come up with a strong Border Security package that doesn't give amnesty to illegal immigrants and utter failure to reign in the massive budget deficit, coupled with soft stance on North Korea and Iran makes me wonder if George Bush hasn't been afflicted with a spot of the Nixons'...That is, he's completely lost the plot!
-- Nathan Maskiell

IT'S A BIRD, IT'S A PLANE, IT'S PC SUPERMAN!
Re: Carol Platt Liebau's Swallowing the Kryptonite:

The new politically correct Superman movie should come as no surprise. The upper-class, liberal Baby Boomer types, or what I call "boom-libs," long ago completed their so-called march through the nation's institutions -- seizing the heights of the popular culture, as they have also phrased it.

The boom-libs have pretty well determined the overall direction or "zeitgeist" of American society, ever since they slithered onto the public stage in the late '60s, regardless of any election results.

And, although there are always exceptions, I would say that the rich, spoiled brats of my generation have ruined everything they have touched -- the schools, liberalism and the Democratic Party, the justice system, and especially the popular culture.

There was actually a Superman comic recently that showed him firing a gun. It was into the face of a nasty gun owner, however, and the Man of Steel did it "only" to terrorize him, and caught the bullet at the last moment. The gun shop dealer was mean and ugly and had huge buckteeth and a pot belly, and a Confederate flag on the wall, and he didn't want immigrants (legal or illegal, the story didn't say) -- so that was all right, you see.

Meanwhile, for just 3 or 4 dollars, you can buy a typical DC Comic nowadays and often see images of torn limbs, and internal organs, plus blood-soaked faces, and naked dead women on morgue slabs. In short, the boom-libs have done to the comics what they have done to movies and TV -- come up with a mixture of blood, guts, porn, and politically correct lectures.

Think about it -- kids' heroes used to be Roy Rogers or the Lone Ranger. Now it's Freddy, Jason, Hannibal Lecter, and all their other imitators. Why pay $10 to go see a movie?

If there is any one word that will describe the boomers in history -- at least the boom-lib fraction of it -- I nominate the word "ugliness." It is almost a reverse Midas touch. What they touch, they ruin. And my generation is not going to change. They haven't grown up in 40 years, why start now? They're the most important, terrific people who ever lived. Those who have different opinions are evil, everything must be politicized -- even children's animated cartoons on TV now, win at any cost, the end justifies the means, and spend your life having temper tantrums -- or maybe one unending temper tantrum.

Now the boomers are getting old -- or "middle-aged" as we now say. I wonder if the boomers will be able to handle it.
-- John Lockwood
Washington, D.C.

Thanks for your observations about the pusillanimous "truth, justice, and all that stuff." In addition, there was also the challenge "Bring it on!" uttered by none other than Lex Luthor, would-be leader of the world and menace to free men everywhere. (Hmm... wonder who Lex got that inspiration from?)

I was also dismayed to see that Lois is a tart (she had to take up with the editor's son within a few weeks of conception to make him a plausible father) and that it never occurs to Superman to do the right thing once he learns about his son. Strange how today's superheroes model themselves after unwedded losers like Letterman and his ilk.

The movie was a huge disappointment because of these craven capitulations to a limp ethos. Who knew that Superman would prove to be all muscle and no spine?
-- John McGuinness
Cedar Grove, North Carolina

CITIZEN OZZIE
Re: Paul Beston's Ozzie Guillen: He's No Carlos Delgado:

Oh, please. I'm a vet first, Met fan second and baseball fan third. As such, I happen to think both Ozzie Guillen and Carlos Delgado are entitled to their respective opinions and wholeheartedly support their rights to voice them. Ozzie Guillen is nearly 100% correct about Jay Mariotti, as anyone who's ever watched this pontificating putz on ESPN's "Around The Horn" would speedily agree. Though I may not agree with Delgado's position on our war with Islamofascism, I find nothing "pompous" about his approach to voicing his opinion. If anything, his willingness to respect the Mets' organization's policy on the 7th inning stretch salute to our troops shows he's got more class than the majority of today's overpaid and undereducated celebrities. For the record, I say this while the guy's in a horrible slump.

Paul, you're way off-base on this one, and I'm only too well aware I'm headed for some special ring in hell for stooping to that pun.
-- Jeff Kocur
Milford, Delaware

Ozzie Guillen isn't any better than Delgado. After the White Sox won the World Series, Guillen rushed to Venezuela (with trophy in hand) to kiss the *** of Hugo Chavez. Upon return, Ozzie was granted U.S. citizenship. When the White Sox team made the customary winner's trip to the White House, Ozzie was a no-show. Ozzie can kiss me too!
-- Jack Hughes
Chicago, Illinois

Ozzie may be a "vulgarian" in the proper (old) sense of the word, as are most baseball players. But Paul Beston (ditto the TAS headline writer), whose work I usually enjoy, sounds here more like a Yankee fan angry at the rise of the White Sox and the likelihood his team will be on vacation during the post season.

As for Ozzie, here's this from Wednesday's Chicago Tribune:
Proud American Guillen relished his first Independence Day as a United States citizen. "It's awesome, but I have to work," said Guillen, who was sworn in with wife Ibis and son Oney on January 20. "I feel like I'm an American since I got here. I am who I am because of the United States. "I feel lucky and proud to be an American. A lot of people want to be in the position I am right now. I went through it and now I am (a citizen) and I enjoy it."
Vulgarian?
-- Jameson Campaigne
Ottawa, Illinois

Mr. Beston hits the nail on the head with his article on Carlos Delgado! I noticed when Mr. Delgado would not stand for the playing of the national anthem before he got to New York, and I have read some of the laudatory things sportswriters have had to say about his allegedly noble protest. That is just a bunch of hooey! There is nothing noble about not honoring the playing of the national anthem, and there is certainly nothing noble about showing disrespect to those who allow you to have a right to protest!

But this case also shows how fickle the media can be when it comes to what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to honoring the flag, etc. Contrast the praise that Carlos Delgado gets for his "courageous" political protest to the treatment of Chris Jackson a.k.a. Mahmoud Abdul Raouf, formerly of the Denver Nuggets. When Mr. Jackson converted to Islam, he was taught not to give his allegiance to any nation, and that pledging to the flag was a form of idolatry; because of those reasons, when the anthem was being played Mr. Jackson would retire to the locker room so as not to cause any type of distraction or controversy. The press soon noticed this and was all over him for not being present when the flag was being presented and the anthem was being performed. The media pressure got so bad that the NBA disciplined him and forced him to be present during this pre-game ritual in part to appease the suddenly patriotic press.

What I want the press to answer is why they were so quick to attack Mr. Jackson for trying unobtrusively to keep to the teachings of his imam about his religion, but are falling all over themselves to applaud Mr. Delgado for making a spectacle of himself to get his "enlightened" view of the war out into the public eye. What's worse: a man trying to practice his religion without offending anyone, or some millionaire blockhead who deems it beneath him to show a little respect to those that are willing to fight and die for his right to make a jackass of himself in public?

And you're right about Ozzie Guillen too -- he's a world class putz!
-- unsigned

Your opening paragraph makes an erroneous assumption in my opinion. Bill Clinton could have used every racial epithet in the book and his supporters would still support him (regardless of that support's race). We can never forget that Bill Clinton is, was, and always will be supported by the slobbering left and the socialists that require power...at all costs.
-- Stu Margrey
Denton, Maryland

CRASS ACTS
Re: James Bowman's Right or Wrong, Our Country:

Many current Americans despise American men whom they think of as "gentlemen." Perhaps Hollywood or television has made the word "gentleman" mean something vile. My father taught me that a gentlemen was a tired tenant farmer walking down a country road to his house at the end of a hard day knowing he had done a good job and being quietly proud of it. In this day people look up to loud-mouthed trash who appeal to television and Hollywood because they are cheaper than actors; perhaps the television and Hollywood people think of themselves as products of loud-mouthed, low down, no good, no account trash and wish to give that genre some "class."
-- Nathan S. Lord

LEFT AND BEHIND
Re: Herbert I. London's The Threat We Face...and the Path Ahead:

Herb London. The only reason I'll confess to having taken a degree from New York University. Now that the Professor's gone Emeritus, what shall I say of my alma mater?

The University's young fund-raisers who phone me relentlessly, whining for money, sound like they're lying in vessels of warm saline solution, wired into a monstrous electronic virtual unreality device. I'll never give the school another penny.

The University has what must be the most fabulous gym in Manhattan. Tax-exempt facilities needn't scrimp on the square feet, you see.

And that's what's left to say about the New York University Professor London's left behind.
-- Paul Kotik
Plantation, Florida

ADVANTAGE COULTER
Re: Richard Kirk's Brain Food and "Goddess At Work" in Reader Mail's Coulter Design:

Since I have not as of yet read Godless, my wife is currently reading our copy, I cannot comment on specific passages in the book. Having read both Slander and Treason I can say that I agree with Ann Coulter on most things. She brings historical insight backed by formidable research to matters concerning governmental, legal and cultural affairs. She does this in a manner that is entertaining as well as educating. I have both high hopes and fears for her latest tome.

Both my hopes and fears center on her tackling the left's distortion and perversion of science. For much of my life I have witnessed the left using all manner of logical fallacies to advance "bad science." Always to increase their control of the lives of people. I hope she will expose this as she has the perfidy of the left in her other books. The chapters on evolution are where I have fears. The left, as is their wont, have pushed evolution far beyond the actual science to support their agenda. The right has also advanced "bad science" arguments involving evolution. I grew up hearing from relatives all the creationism/intelligent design arguments. As science they are nonscientific. As religion they propose that God created such an imperfect world that he must constantly "tweak" it to keep it working. This is God as Tim Allen on the TV show Home Improvement. Another idea is that God is Loki. A trickster God who creates a world full of red herring to deceive us. I believe in neither of these types of God. My belief is in a God that created the universe and created us with minds to learn all about his creation. Evolution, to me, is the means by which God creates the infinite variety of life. I fear that Ann Coulter will bring only the old tired arguments to this long debate. I hope however that her intellect will find a new way of addressing this subject and bring a new perspective to it. Hope being God's gift to us I will take counsel from it for now.
-- Geoff Bowden
Battle Creek, Michigan

Tim Makinson's letter on Ann Coulter seemed the most comprehensive attempted refutation of her, to me, excellent section on Darwinism in Godless.

It strikes me that the letter has a great many of what Ben Bradlee called "non-denial denials" in the movie All the President's Men.

To wit:

1. Whether the Miller-Urey experiment has been successfully replicated is beside the point. Coulter's point is that the conditions utilized by that experiment are no longer thought to represent the atmosphere of the primordial earth. Is Makinson agreeing with that or not? The question of replication was not at issue. Coulter observed that the experiment itself was scientifically sound.

2. Coulter's point about Haeckel's embryo drawings is that if they are phonies, and Makinson seems to agree that they are, what are they doing being replicated in scientific work? Either they are true pictures of embryos or they are not. Coulter says they are not. Is Makinson disagreeing with that? What does "corrected" mean in this context? Falsified data cannot be "corrected" and then used. It is false.

3. "...blatant misrepresentations of Gould's and Popper's statements" is vituperation, not argument. WHAT blatant misrepresentations? HOW were they misrepresented?

4. Whether Behe has written anything of significance in the last decade is entirely beside the point. Is what he wrote 10 years ago true? That is the point. It is not refuted in Makinson's letter. And Coulter makes the point that biologists are list makers these days, so Makinson calling Behe a biochemist rather than a biologist enhances Behe's status in this argument; it does not diminish it.

5. The statistical improbability of the random formation of life on earth drove no less a figure than Francis Crick to the desperate measure of distributed panspermia. That is not the same as the improbability of evolution, I concede, but counter-assertion is no real argument. One of the things that strikes the educated layman about the theory of evolution IS the lack of mathematics. Where is the math? How much mutation do we get per unit time? How is mutation defined and how many are required to develop a feature like the eye or the ear? Where is all that work? Pounding the table that it is absurd to ask such questions is a technique to prevail through bombast not science.

6. I think a fair reading of the issue is that Gould and Eldredge's punctuated equilibrium is a desperate expedient to explain exactly what Coulter claims - the lack of intermediate forms and the lack of gradual transitions in the fossil record. The record demonstrates "saltations" -- i.e., the sudden emergence of new species that then do not change. For Gould to admit as Makinson quotes him that "transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level" is a staggering concession. What, after all, is the title of Darwin's book -- The Origin of Species.

7. "sock-puppet for the small and discredited cabal of anti-science cranks" -- did Einstein talk this way when he was advancing general relativity, or Schroedinger when he was developing the wave-form of quantum mechanics?

Advantage Coulter.
-- Greg Richards

I'm so glad all those brilliant people wrote in to correct Ms. Coulter's statements regarding evolution. We're honored to have such intelligence in our midst. As Dear Reader Kim might say, they're so smart, handsome, and physically fit, but nobody else seems to realize it. I'm sure Ms. Coulter realizes it though, and appreciates the correction. (With apologies to Trey Parker and Matt Stone.)
-- R. Trotter
Arlington, Virginia

FLAG FEDERALISM
Re: Reader Mail's Hate Burning and Ben Stein's Defending the Flag:

I guess I'm a right-winger and all that. And the argument that banning flag burning is a dangerous curb on free speech is drivel. But I'm against the proposed Constitutional amendment to ban burning the American flag.

Why? Because I believe it will increase flag burning.

Now, the burning of the Stars and Stripes by an American is considered to be contemptible and juvenile. Banning it will make it seem to be an act of courage, giving it a dignity it doesn't have now.

In addition, enforcement of such a law will probably be flaccid. Most prosecutors will decide they have better things to do than taking someone to court for using matches to set a piece of cloth on fire. Which will only increase the "courage" of the flag torchers.

Banning flag burning could transform it from a rare act to a regular ritual. Beware of unintended consequences.
-- John Combellick
Oshkosh, Wisconsin

I believe that what too many people opposed to the flag burning amendment do not realize is that the amendment was not to ban flag burning at all. The purpose of the amendment was to give the STATES the right to decide how flag burning would be dealt with in the states and to keep the SCOTUS out of the decision making process. A constitutional amendment is the only way to effectively keep the judicial branch from declaring flag burning constitutionally protected "speech"; after all, the SCOTUS can't possibly declare that the Constitution is unconstitutional, can they? Well...this group probably could!
-- E.D. Edwards
North Carolina

If I may, let me express a few more thoughts on flag burning. First, in response Mr. Gerald Brennan, who tells Mr. Stein that "Only an idiot pledges allegiance to a flag," I assume, sir, that you have never recited the pledge, which begins, "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands." That seems abundantly clear to me, Mr. Brennan, but perhaps you don't understand the English language very well. Alternatively, perhaps you are one of those people who are always ready to explain that what seems to be easily understood English sentences, really mean something else entirely.

Point number two is, it seems to me to be a reasonable assumption that a person who burns the American flag, unless he is doing so because it is an old one, no longer suitable to display, and is thus disposing of it in the correct manner, is not doing so to express his love, admiration nor respect for our country. Thus, it is safe to say that he is expressing contempt, and hatred for our country. If that action is "symbolic free speech," and in my estimation that is a farrago of arrant nonsense, as any intelligent adult knows well the difference between speech and actions, then I submit that burning a cross is also symbolic free speech, and is thus equally protected by the First Amendment.

Finally, to take my second point to its logical conclusion, if the action of burning the flag is symbolic free speech and free expression, then my actions, when I beat the bloody hell out of a flag burner, is also symbolic free speech, my free expression of my outrage at the flag burner's despicable actions, and is also protected.
-- W. B. Heffernan, Jr.

GOING ON 60
Re: Lawrence Henry's "Yes, Dear":

Last week I was able to be with my parents in the Texas hill country. The trip from East Texas is long but the journey was necessary because my folks were celebrating their 59th Wedding Anniversary. I hope they are both alive next year so my sister and I can plan a 60th anniversary celebration. We did this for their 50th but I must say that at that time was not optimistic they would both live to their 60th anniversary celebration.

As I sat at breakfast the next morning I watched them conduct their usual morning routine. Mother doles out the vitamins and medicines my father takes and he grumbles about the stack of what he calls "horse pills." It is a great routine to watch. He grumbles and she hands out great one-liners. To anyone else watching there might be a temptation to think they are incompatible. But to those of us that know them best it is a melody of harmony resonating with humor that has seen them through some of life's hardest journeys.

My father will turn 87 this summer and in the fall my mother turns 80. Both are frail, yet my sister and I pray that there are many miles of the journey left for them still. They are, you see, our models for living successfully despite difficulties. They demonstrate a God dependence and trust we admire intensely. They provide care for our brother and have since he was born autistic and handicapped some fifty years ago. He is now bedridden and in the last seven weeks he has been hospitalized some six times. During his hospitalization, my mother slept in a chair bed by his side the entire time. Her care giving is legendary and while extremely frail, wracked with osteoporosis, she carries on, like she did at forty years of age.

My father fell last year at 85 and broke his hip while working cattle! He lingered for several weeks between depression and melancholy until I called him one day and made him mad. Knowing I had nothing to lose with my ploy, I told him that he needed to know that if he died the hunting license he had bought for a deer hunt in Wyoming would be lost and the government would NOT refund his estate. Knowing that he hates taxes and giving the government any of his hard earned money unless absolutely necessary, he fired up and came alive. He spent the better part of five minutes ranting and raving about the government. The ploy worked. He got up the next day and decided to walk again and not give up.

My husband and I celebrated our 35th anniversary this Spring. I cannot fathom making it to our 50th because of health issues. But, like mother, I have learned to carry on. It is marriages born of endurance, pain, joy, and passion growing into blessings of great contentment that become tools of blessing the next generation. Flaws covered by the grace of love are the pattern a demonstration of life at its best. A 1 Corinthians 13 passage born out in the theme of "Love endures all things." What measured grace and what joy to behold. And what a blessing to pass on to others.
-- Beverly Gunn
East Texas Rancher

The author of "Yes, Dear" briefly mentions marriage vows and then goes on to say, in effect, that insisting upon promised behavior is destructive to marriage. I believe just the opposite.

Many years ago, when divorce was rare, vows used to reflect the complimentary roles of husband and wife as they are delineated in Holy Scripture. Now, of course they have been watered down and we see the correlative abandonment of marriage.

Covenants made for business deals, holding public office, enlisting in military service and marriage are only as strong as the character of the parties who speak their vows and know that severe consequences will follow violation. No covenant integrity means no civilization.

If once again people believe that God sanctions marriage and that He punishes everyone who violates his or her vows then more marriages will last. Thus, the specific behavior promised should be taken very seriously. That's how God designed marriage to work for the husband and wife and for God's glory.

The "Yes Dear" anything-goes marriage is a prescription for turpitude and mockery of true marriage. Staying together can't be the highest good. It may become immoral. Such a couple may even wind up staying together eternally in hell.
-- Bruce Whaite

DAM POLITICS
Re: Reid Collins's Dam It:

About 30 years ago I and my friend Jim went up to Johnstown to visit the dam site and look around. The dam site was then a national monument, with a small visitors' center/headquarters and one National Park Ranger on duty. We were the only visitors at the time, so we could spend some time talking about the Flood. We went down into the bed of the creek, about where the earthen dam had been, and took some pictures. Then we went into town. The downtown was clearly dying as folks moved away and businesses followed them. Empty buildings, nearly deserted streets, were what we saw as we drove around. Since that time, the Congressman from Johnstown has earmarked a Johnstown Flood National Park which includes much of the, now-restored, downtown area in addition to the dam site. Pennsylvania is dotted with the products of congressional earmarking, like Bud Shuster's inclined railway and visitors' center at the Horseshoe Curve National Historic Monument (earmark -- formerly visitors had to walk carefully up a long stairway fashioned of old railroad ties and ballast and the property was owned by the County government). Shuster also blessed the country with the really little-visited Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site. The late Joe McDade created one of the greatest Pennsylvania earmarks when he inserted an earmark into an Omnibus Appropriations Bill ordering the National Park Service to take over the Steamtown railroad museum and turn it into a National Historic Site -- he earmarked no money but directed the NPS to spend $85 million out of their normal appropriation. The total expenditure came to over $150 million and the NPS starved just about every national park and historic site and monument in the country to scrape together the funds to pay for McDade's largesse.

The Steamtown National Historic Site is more frequently visited than the Allegheny Portage Railroad, but its presence in the heart of downtown Scranton did not spark a big turnaround in the downward progress of the area's fortunes. The bulk of the steam locomotives in the Steamtown collection are Canadian -- the collection was assembled in the late 1950s and early 1960s by F. Nelson Blount who bought old coaches from the Long Island Railroad and steam engines from Canadian National and Canadian Pacific as those companies had stayed with steam longer than their American counterparts. And Congress wants to preserve the earmark. Does Great Falls need a National Historic Site/Monument/Park?
-- John Williamson

Dams aren't going to do any good if politics determines how they will be used! Witness that some of the largest, best and newest Dams in the United States, located on the headwaters of the Delaware River were useless in protecting Communities located on the banks of the Delaware River during the recent storm in the Northeast. These Dams, located at Deposit and Downsville, in New York were built 30 years ago to supply drinking water for New York City (Over 200 miles away and in the Hudson River watershed.) and also for flood protection for the communities located on the Delaware River and to provide protection from Salt Water polluting the aquifers that supply Philadelphia's water during periods of low water. A four state compact composed of NY, NJ, PA and DE was formed to manage these issues.

Since 9/11 New York has ignored its responsibilities and refuses to release any water from the reservoirs, keeping them at full capacity in order to have a maximum amount of water available for the next "terrorist" attack. Normally, the reservoirs are at 60% to 70% capacity in June. The Dams, at that level, have the capacity to store potential flood waters and protect the communities down river. Not any more! This past week's recent storm dumped its waters into dams that were at 101.5 percent capacity and every town on the Delaware River, down to Trenton, N.J., had major flooding. And, readers, you and I and all the other taxpayers in the USA will bail those towns out, but at least New York can breathe easy knowing that it still has lots of water to drink. I drove over the Delaware River at Port Jervis, N.Y., this past Wednesday, the day after the storm abated, and returned Saturday. It was still "ripping!"
-- Bob Keiser
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania.

"FACT CHECK"
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s The Kerry Brigade:

Mr. Tyrrell's recent column exalts the virtue of a group of proven liars.

I offer no excuses for the idiotic posting from left-wing blog commentators (who compete for highest achievement in online idiocy with their right-wing counterparts at blogs like Free Republic). Their excess offers no validation for the shameless dishonesty of those who would slander an honorable record. Jim Rassman, a lifelong Republican who owes his life to Senator Kerry, Jim Rassman, flat out contradicted the claims of the Swifties regarding the Bronze Medal episode in his August 10, 2004 commentary published in the Wall Street Journal:

Machine-gun fire erupted from both banks of the river and a second explosion followed moments later. The second blast blew me off John's swift boat, PCF-94, throwing me into the river. Fearing that the other boats would run me over, I swam to the bottom of the river and stayed there as long as I could hold my breath.

When I surfaced, all the swift boats had left, and I was alone taking fire from both banks. To avoid the incoming fire I repeatedly swam under water as long as I could hold my breath, attempting to make it to the north bank of the river. I thought I would die right there. The odds were against me avoiding the incoming fire and, even if I made it out of the river, I thought I thought I'd be captured and executed. Kerry must have seen me in the water and directed his driver, Del Sandusky, to turn the boat around. Kerry's boat ran up to me in the water, bow on, and I was able to climb up a cargo net to the lip of the deck. But, because I was nearly upside down, I couldn't make it over the edge of the deck. This left me hanging out in the open, a perfect target. John, already wounded by the explosion that threw me off his boat, came out onto the bow, exposing himself to the fire directed at us from the jungle, and pulled me aboard.


Or, read the account by William Rood, the only other officer present in the Silver Medal incident, and who broke a 35-year silence on his Vietnam experience to denounce the Swifties' lies:
Rood is now an editor on the metropolitan desk of the Chicago Tribune, which published his first-person account of the incident in its Sunday edition. Rood said he had refused all interviews about Kerry's war record, even from reporters for his own paper, until motivated to speak up because Kerry's critics are telling "stories I know to be untrue' and "their version of events has splashed doubt on all of us.

Rood described two Viet Cong ambushes, both of them routed using a tactic devised by Kerry who was in tactical command of a three-boat operation. At the second ambush only the Rood and Kerry boats were attacked.

Rood:

Kerry, followed by one member of his crew, jumped ashore and chased a VC behind a hooch -- a thatched hut -- maybe 15 yards inland from the ambush site. Some who were there that day recall the man being wounded as he ran. Neither I nor Jerry Leeds, our boat's leading petty officer with whom I've checked my recollection of all these events, recalls that, which is no surprise. Recollections of those who go through experiences like that frequently differ.

With our troops involved in the sweep of the first ambush site, Richard Lamberson, a member of my crew, and I also went ashore to search the area. I was checking out the inside of the hooch when I heard gunfire nearby.

Not long after that, Kerry returned, reporting that he had killed the man he chased behind the hooch. He also had picked up a loaded B-40 rocket launcher, which we took back to our base in An Thoi after the operation.


Rood disputed an account of the incident given by John O'Neill in his book Unfit for Command, which describes the man Kerry chased as a "teenager" in a "loincloth." Rood said, "I have no idea how old the gunner Kerry chased that day was, but both Leeds and I recall that he was a grown man, dressed in the kind of garb the VC usually wore.'"

George Elliott, one of the principal Swifties featured in their 2004 ads, has changed his story several times. Larry Thurlow has found himself in the peculiar position of having to admit that if Kerry's Bronze Star was fraudulent, then his own Bronze Star must have been a fraud also, since he claimed in 2004 that there was no enemy fire at the event, even though his own citation for the same incident read "under constant enemy small arms fire." Sure, there are "hundreds" of Swifties, but all but a few were nowhere close to any of the medal related events of Kerry's service. Most of these vets detest Kerry for his role in the movement against the Vietnam War, and have chosen to believe these lies in order to better fit their hatred. But even if we allow the worst case about Kerry's record (a dubious assumption at best) -- that he was a medal hound who exaggerated his injuries -- in the moment when it counted, he put his life on the line. A stark contrast to chicken hawks like Bush and Cheney, who spared no effort to avoid going to Vietnam at all, but don't seem to mind putting other Americans' lives in danger.

I could not care less about Kerry's presidential prospects. As a candidate for 2008, he doesn't rank in the top ten contenders in my opinion. But it is disgraceful for political operatives to smear a record of honor and courage for partisan gain. And it is shameful for any pundit or politician, conservative or not, to fan those phony accusations.

Note on my source: FactCheck.org is a nonpartisan organization that sniffs out misleading and inaccurate claims by both sides in the political arena. Original documentation is linked from the above articles.
-- Andrew Crawford
Mt. Prospect, Illinois

SLOW SWIFTIE RETRACTION
Re: David Holman's The Huffington Post's Swift Antics

I was able to convince "Democratic Veteran" to delete the names of the Swiftboat Vets. They are now gone.

See my blog for the whole story.
-- Stogie

The list and the post on my site containing the list that found its way to the Huffington Post comments section have been removed from my site as well, in toto. They were left in what I believe was an un-moderated comment by someone who dropped them in and "ran." I did not remember seeing them, nor did I even find them until I followed the link in your article. I have removed the post, and deleted all the comment(s) (the guy hit the "save" button like four times apparently, I guess he wanted to make sure it got saved, a lot). I have to wonder if he left it in other places around the internet as well, it seemed like a sort of an "astroturf" comment. I can't speak to that, and I hope he didn't. He posted by the name of "elmerfudd", how original. It's interesting that you linked to the comment, instead of pointing out that it existed as the source of the HuffPo information. Had you emailed me, I would have removed the information ASAP, which I did when made aware of its existence. However, I have now been threatened by a right-wing blogger because it was there, so there's always that. OTOH, your link allowed me to find and remove the information as fast as possible so thank you for that. If you follow your link now, you'll get nothing but an error. The post (and comments) exist no more and the link is dead.
-- Jo Fish

POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS SYNDROME
Re: Francis J. Beckwith's Not All the News Is Fit to Print:

Professor Beckwith makes the case that we need a propaganda campaign to convince Americans to join in the fight against terrorism. Perhaps he could write on the malady that, in the absence of a common enemy, we find the need to fight each other. Or whether terrorists are our common enemy. Are they or not?
-- Greg Ripke
Veneta, Oregon


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