GODDESS AT WORK
Re: Richard Kirk's Brain Food:
Godless -- written by a goddess!
-- Jack Hughes
Ann Coulter and Michael Moore have more in common than anyone at TAS might be prepared to admit. I find ideology an easy way to pigeon-hole people into neat classifications, and personally feel that if ideology does exist, Michael Moore and Ann Coulter are one in the same. They are haters of difference, rhetorical kingpins, and masters of playing the man (or women in Ann's case!), not the issue. When a democratically elected official takes a policy to an election and wins that election, they must be given the latitude to fulfill their policy ideals. If an individual chooses to believe in a world without God, do they not have the same valid beliefs as one who does believe in God? Ann Coulter traverses the line of religious wackiness, like the Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons, as similar as the loony tirades of one Michael Moore. These two have more in common than America realizes. They are both intolerant of difference, quick to judge, and completely removed from a world of reality, where bad things happen. Fortunately for us consumers they both have entertaining things to say, and I can't help but be intellectually challenged and provoked into thought by both of them.
-- Nathan Maskiell
Far from being the "compendium of information" that your writer, Richard Kirk, claims, Coulter's chapters on evolution are simply credulous regurgitations of the misinformation of notoriously dishonest ID-Creationist activists.
The Miller-Urey experiment (repeatedly and successfully replicated, using more accurate approximations of primordial conditions) and Ernst Haeckel's embryo drawings (inaccurate, but long since corrected, including in some instances using actual photographs) are lifted straight from Jonathan Wells's (a Moonie theologian who only studied biology in order to "destroy Darwinism") dishonest "Icons of Evolution." The blatant misrepresentations of Gould's and Popper's statements by ID-Creationists are an old and long-discredited trick (one which Gould himself complained bitterly about before his death), and Michael Behe (a Biochemist, not a Biologist, and one who has not written anything of significance in the last decade) is hardly a "biological heavyweight." In fact Behe's recent woeful performance at the Dover trial would be more likely to qualify him as a "biological incompetent."
Claims of the statistical improbability of evolution (due to Natural Selection, it is no more "random" than the house-take in a Las Vegas casino is) have been around, and have had their naive claims debunked, for decades. The latest peddler (and one of Coulter's main mentors on evolution) is William Dembski, whose infamous grandiosity, egotism, intellectual dishonesty and lack of mathematical rigor has rendered him an academic pariah, relegated to teaching in fundamentalist seminaries. His work has been described as "written in jello" by one of the co-originators of the theorems he based his "No Free Lunch" on.
The fact that she has the audacity to claim a lack of transitional fossils clearly demonstrates that she has never herself read Gould, who explicitly stated: "Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists --whether through design or stupidity, I do not know -- as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups."
So in Gould's own words, is Coulter dishonest by "design," or merely by "stupidity"? I leave the readers to decide. Either way she is little more than the sock-puppet for the small and discredited cabal of anti-science cranks that comprises the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture.
-- Tim Makinson
I am two-thirds of the way through Godless by Ann Coulter. And like her other books, they are never criticized for the content, but because Ann wrote them. I am still waiting for PBS or some other liberal mucky-muck outfit to prove Ann wrong about Senator Joe McCarthy from her book Treason. Her detailing of McCarthy's career is the first time anyone ever defended the Senator in any capacity.
Clearly if she were so wrong on so many counts, we'd be hearing the details...right? But all I'm hearin' is...crickets.
-- P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan
I totally agree with your last paragraph comments about Miss Coulter.
I have always admired her, not only for the content of her writings, but, for the fact that only she admonishes the lefties with the same language they always use to attack the other side.
-- Dale Johnson
You just wrote the best article reviewing Ann Coulter's book Godless. I will buy the book. One comment you made about teachers rang a bell for me. As a retired executive I graduated with a professional accounting degree in 1959. I remember a study that was released around the early sixties when the hippy movement was growing wild. It was the concern about education. The results were that 80 percent of the teachers that decade were coming from the lower 50 percent of the graduation classes. There was concern that education would suffer in the future.
We were warned but I believe the drug, sex and hippy crowd pushed this off the media screen. Defending the "I" crowd was more newsworthy than our coming education problem.
-- Kenneth Parady
Grand Rapids, Michigan
If there are two critical elements to making a point, substance and delivery, those of us who have been exposed to boolean algebra understand that implies four contingencies: those who argue with no substance and no delivery (the willfully ignorant who simply make raucous noise), those who argue with no substance but exaggerated delivery (virtually all the orators of the left, the Wellstone funeral being one of the most staggering and exploding cigar examples), those who argue with great substance but painful delivery (that good fellow most of us voted for in 2000 and 2004 comes to mind), and then those with great substance and powerful delivery, the top of that Olympus currently chaired by the goddess Coulter.
Separate the two elements and examine each in turn. Does Coulter have her substance right? As first year law students are taught, truth is an absolute defense. Case in point, did the named "Jersey Girls" in fact use their celebrity widow status to make political assertions in a national spotlight for which they had no expert claim? It appears some conservative contra-Coulters accept her substance, e.g., the "Jersey Girls," but reject her delivery. Those conservative contra-Coulters appear to be ignorant of the fact that most Americans are "informed" by a sound bite driven culture. It doesn't matter how good your substance if you don't accompany it with a sound bite compatible delivery, and that Coulter does better than anyone else today. If her substance is the horsepower, her delivery is the torque that puts the horsepower to the road. She is the 426 Hemi of the conservative establishment, and she will reach out and yes positively educate more Americans than those with more "sensitive" delivery. And that is what wins elections and in the end makes the difference.
-- Frank Natoli
Newton, New Jersey
Ann Coulter's arguments in Godless are impeccable. She is tart, entertaining, blunt, and perceptive. Her language is probably a ploy to create controversy, which then sells more books.
She makes her points with ruthless, yet entertaining efficiency. I very much enjoyed the book, but won't lend it to my 82-year-old father-in-law. It wouldn't be good for his blood pressure.
I hope she is planning a book on the foibles of the liberal members of the Supreme Court, those idiots who have to invent laws to justify their decisions, as common sense, the Constitution and current law don't suffice.
Your column is a very good review of her book.
-- R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida
I hesitate to comment on anything related to Ann Coulter, thereby contributing to her unseemly prominence as a public figure. However, Richard Kirk's review of her book does provide food for thought. To my knowledge, there are currently no valid arguments disproving Darwinism, and there have never been any valid arguments proving the existence of God. When Darwinism is linked to discredited individuals, nothing is done to topple the theory. Using that kind of defective logic, Albert Einstein could be considered a mass-murderer, since his theories led to the development of the atomic bomb. Darwinism can be seen as a de facto religion, but it is quite different from religion in that it is based on the scientific method, and is therefore subject to change as new evidence is obtained and new scientific tools are developed. This country is more the product of the rationalism of the Enlightenment, which expresses itself directly in our constitution, than it is of theology. If the U.S.A. ever becomes a theocracy, it will bear little distinction from the Taliban.
After sporadically reading TAS online for a few months, I'm thoroughly sick of the words "liberal" and "conservative." I don't think either word meaningfully identifies anything, and the result is pointless bickering. Politics is a difficult field as it is, and is harder than ever now that the natives are getting restless and are starting to throw rationality out of the window. It would benefit the country immensely if a few prominent politicians stood up and said that religion must never have a role in the government of the United States of America. Democrats and Republicans alike have been too cowardly to do it.
-- Paul Dorell
Highland Park, Illinois
I love most of Ann Coulter's work but I think Intelligent Design is not scientific at all while evolution seems like a solid scientific theory.
I also think that Ann would be way more effective if she would ratchet back her attacks by 5 or 10 percent. For example, when she attacked the New Jersey 9/11 widows, I agree that the widows used their husbands' deaths for political gain in a disgusting way. What dismays me is that Ann said these wives enjoyed their husbands' deaths or that maybe their husbands were planning on divorcing them (the New Jersey 9/11 widows). Ann simply destroys her own credibility when she goes so far. You might even say that she is like her hero Joe McCarthy in that she has a lot of good points to make but destroys these valid points by going too far and making unnecessary points that are not true and also personally attacking her political foes. It makes her seem crazy. It is too bad, because she is a brilliant woman.
Re: Francis J. Beckwith's Not All the News Is Fit to Print:
-- Bill Macfadyen
Santa Barbara, California
President Bush's on Monday said that disclosure of a formerly secret government program to track the bank transfers involving terrorists is "disgraceful."
The leakers should be nailed. Can you or some one you know start collecting a large reward for "information leading to the capture and conviction" of anyone that reveal classified information critical to our war effort. This should operate like the "Crime Stopper" hot lines that police departments have now for regular crooks. Maybe greed will give someone the guts to drop a dime on a traitor. A million dollar bounty on leakers should open some mouths and make potential leakers nervous.
One or more leakers convicted of divulging classified information during time of war or better yet full-blown treason would be a solid base on which to build a case against the NYT. Since the NYT has prolonged the war by at least a year, the NYT should be fined the cost of one year's military operations. In addition, the editors and owners of the NYT should also be charged with treason.
-- Charles Akins
College Station, Texas
The focus of any investigation should be who leaked the info to the Times. The NY Times is just a paper to cover the bottom of bird cages, but the leaker needs to be in jail for treason. Not just this one, but a big push needs to be made to find all of them.
Until people are put in jail this will not stop. Again Bush does not show that he wants to enforce the law. Of course I now know why he does not enforce border control, because he wants the North American Union, where there will not be any borders between Canada, America and Mexico. Just do a Google search for North American Union if you have not heard about this.
-- Elaine Kyle
Cut & Shoot, Texas
Mr. Beckwith has an excellent idea, initiating an ad campaign similar to the "Loose Lips Sink Ships" ads of WWII.
He described a couple of potential TV ads, but didn't include what I think would be the ideal media for such a campaign, the New York Times itself.
I would suggest half or full page ads daily in the Times, so as to insure the readers have an understanding of the damage the next time the Times breaks a government secret (you know it will happen).
-- Rich Renken
I doubt that the heavy duty core of inner circle terrorist did not suspect that the U.S. were taking countermeasures against them financially, but the NYT made sure that the wannabes, copycats and those leaning toward giving secret assistance have also been alerted.
Soon after 9/11, a troubled youth with a father from the Middle East flew a small plane into a bank building in Tampa. Terrorists use their kook fringe including the mentally unstable in their war. One way of making sure that most of the kooks don't get the wrong message from the NYT is to send a few editors down to Gitmo for about six months.
-- Danny L. Newton
I would be much happier if the Attorney General issued grand jury subpoenas to the reporters and the editors of the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, then ask them for the names of their sources for the CIA flights story, the NSA story, and the Swift story.
Upon their failing to name names (after all, how could the NY Times and LA Times continue to publish such stories without treasonous sources), these same reporters and editors should be jailed for contempt until such time as logic appealed to their liberal brains. (Hey, while I'm in here, I can't go on vacation, or to any of those cocktail parties where I am praised to the skies by my fawning fans.)
This would cost less than an expensive media campaign, touting the values of keeping one's mouth shut when opening it will damage national security. Those who leaked this information knew what they were doing. They did it deliberately, and with malice.
When their identities are ascertained, they should be tried for treason. The trial attorney should ask for the maximum sentence prescribed by law. This would have the same effect as a media campaign, and would also, coincidentally, be enforcing the law of the land, an extremely important function of government, something our politicians, and many others in this country seem incapable of doing these days.
-- R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida
I have been thinking a great deal of late about the WWII slogan "Loose lips sink ships" and have, regretfully, come to the conclusion that the attitudes among the MSM ranges from "whatever," through "so what?" to "great -- let's see how many more ships we can sink."
Ann Coulter has it right -- revealing these secret programs is not just irresponsible, it is treasonous!
-- Gretchen L. Chellson
It's all well and good to pass censure resolutions, ad campaigns, jaw-jaw, etc., regarding the Times' act of lese majeste in printing the existence and details of the SWIFT program, but nothing focuses the mind of the media more than a good, old-fashion prosecution. Not only of the government leaker, but of the enabler media as well. If we are to be serious about government secrets, then this is the perfect time to do so, as no illegality has been even claimed. If not now, when? Also, to react to this in a toothless fashion elevates the Times to a position even above that of the government, and will further embolden that rag to be even more arrogant in the future.
-- William J. Dye, Esq.
I am impressed by the article written by Francis J. Beckwith (6/30/06). I am old enough to remember "Loose lips Sink Ships" and have recently used the phrase in the presence of Democrats and they must either think I am mentally ill or stupid and ignore what I have said.
I think that a campaign such as described would have some effect. There are thinking people with common sense that would cooperate. Although it is late it is never too late.
Do you think a write in to the president urging such a campaign as described in the article would help to move him in this direction?
We face a serious hatred harbored by the Democrats and "Reds," liberals and extremists and elitists, but it is worth a try. Maybe the opponents will be shamed into cooperating. It certainly is worth a try and if I can be of help I'll be happy to volunteer.
-- Norman H. Petersen
Silver Spring, Maryland
BEFORE THE JOHNSTOWN SLUICEWAY
Re: Reid Collins's Dam It:
I don't get the point of Reid Collins's essay regarding floods and dams, but one sentence in particular drew my attention. He noted, in connection with the failure of the South Fork Dam that led to the Johnstown Flood of 1889, "The salient fact was and is that people chose to live in what could become and did become a sluiceway authored by a dam."
To me, this smacks of Jimmy Carter's slurs against the victims of the explosion of Mt. Saint Helens, whom he vilified for defying government evacuation edicts regarding the danger zone, although the truth is that many, or even most of the victims were not within the proclaimed danger zone. The essential point is that, like Carter, Mr. Collins seems to imply that the victims foolishly encountered an unnecessary risk.
I take exception to such finger pointing and after the fact pronouncements of alleged wisdom. Mr. Carter, having been revealed by history to be a monumental putz, is a renowned finger wagger, and barely worthy of the scorn he has heaped on himself. I've not known him to darken the pages of TAS. Mr. Collins, on the other hand, appears here frequently, and must be assumed not to be a putz. Why, then, this assault on the good people of Johnstown?
How many of the 2,200 victims of the Johnstown Flood of 1889 had a realistic chance to remove themselves from its path? Did they, in fact, "choose" to live in harm's way? I think not.
If I had on staff some competent fact checkers, or an abundance of time, I'd find out just what dim bulbs bought property and built their homes in the "sluiceway authored by a dam" with knowledge of any risk in doing so. Lacking such resources, I'll hazard a guess that most of the victims of the dam's failure inhabited the sluiceway long before the dam was the merest gleam in Andrew Carnegie's mind's eye. I'll go further and suppose that the South Fork Hunting and Fishing Club made no offer to buy at market value with a premium for moving and inconvenience the properties within the potential sluiceway. I'll even presume to suggest that none of those dim bulbs had any legal reason to relocate themselves due to the construction of an artificial impoundment of twenty million gallons of water. I think they had a legal right to believe that such a structure would be soundly built and maintained.
Did they have a say in the construction of the dam, or, more importantly, its suspect maintenance? Yeah, right. Were they too stupid to recognize the risk they encountered by living and working in the sluiceway? Were they too cheap to take a loss on their investments and sell out to even dimmer bulbs and move to the high ground?
It seems more likely to me that they simply had no power to control the construction or maintenance of the dam, and had no resources to escape any threat it might have posed. They might even have relied on the fact that some of the "some of the titans of early American industry" were responsible for the construction and maintenance of the dam, and supposed that those august fellows would drop a few dimes on ensuring its safety. Given that proof of the bloody ruthlessness of Andrew Carnegie was still several years ahead in Homestead in 1892, I think these victims can be forgiven for such a misapprehension.
I'm not so inclined as Mr. Collins to be dismissive of the fact that an investigation failed to prove claims of poor maintenance of the dam. With the titans of industry under the gun, wouldn't it be far easier and more convenient, to say nothing of cheaper, to lay the blame on 2,200 dim bulbs and their devastated survivors? Rather than acknowledge that government bureaucrats dropped the ball on the severity of the explosion of Mt. Saint Helens, wouldn't it be easier and more convenient, to say nothing of politically expedient, to cast its victims as lawbreakers and risk takers, and use a compliant media to popularize that notion?
My point is that power, whether in the hands of the merely wealthy or in the hands of government, will not abide the acceptance or imposition of blame. It will always manage to point the finger at its victims, and I object. As much as I abhor the so-called 'compassionate conservatism' of which we continue to hear, which is merely a shield for government pandering for votes, I favor the acceptance of responsibility by those who wield power.
Whether mischief results from the negligent actions of titans of industry or bureaucratic misfeasance, let us not be quick to blame the victims. That, I think, is a more proper manifestation of compassion, not to mention conservatism, which is based on the responsible exercise of power.
-- Mark Fallert
TALES FROM THE TRENCHES
Re: Lawrence Henry's "Yes, Dear":
Damn, I wish I had known that. My husband has been saying "What?" all these years.
-- Kitty Myers
Still married to the same man since July 5, 1968.
This husband of 14 years never tells his wife she's wrong. If she really is, she'll discover it for herself. And, rather than "correct" her, I'll say something like: "Well, why don't we try this...?" The key here too is: Wait for her to ASK you, DO NOT suggest without being asked first if a problem frustrates her.
Dr. Laura Schlesinger's radio show is a treasure trove for men if not more so than women. It is as listenable as Rush Limbaugh, to us conservatives that is. There are a few simple lessons regarding marriage: If you have problems as a couple, getting married will only compound them and make them even more glaringly obvious. Having children will not solve any problems those problems either.
And of course when she asks: "...Look fat?" You reply; "What on earth are you talking about?!"
-- P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan
While attaining "unconditional love" in a marriage is what we all vie for, a perfect world we do not live in. I agree that "yes, dear" could save a lot of marriages. The give and take is a necessity. The thinking of someone else besides yourself is a requirement. The sacrifices one makes in the name of love is a given.
However, I feel I must make mention that the "yes, dear" can be a very dangerous response to a marriage that is volatile. It should go without saying that no woman (or man, although statistics show it is usually the woman) replies with "yes, dear" when subjected to verbal or physical abuse. Unfortunately, the extent of emotional manipulation and the inherent need to "please" that is involved, many of the abused will continue to go along in a dangerous marriage thinking that if they smile more, dress better, cook larger meals, wipe the floor three times a day, or just sit quietly and don't move -- many continue to think that the abuse will disappear if they "fix" it from their end, if they just say or do the equivalent of "yes, dear."
This absolves the abuser of any responsibility, and the cycle will continue until the abused (thru much soul searching and internal struggle) realizes that "yes, dear" is not going to fix a thing. Realizing that, and acting upon it, does not bring relief -- it brings with it guilt and anxiety that one was just not good enough to make another one feel better. Throw children into the mix, and an abused spouse can be carrying a guilty burden for the whole family. Even being separated from an abuser, the abused will have a tendency to feel sorry for the one that was left, that maybe he'll be different if she goes back. It is a complicated, tortuous struggle to become unentwined.
Make no mistake -- I am an advocate of the "yes, dear" philosophy in a marriage. But if someone somewhere is reading this while nursing a bruise or feeling worthless after being called horrible names, I want them to know that it's OK if the "yes, dear" isn't working in your household, it's not your fault. No one deserves to be abused, and don't forget that being abused is not part of the marriage vows.
-- M. Dwyer
I would like to thank Lawrence Henry, for his article titled, "Yes, Dear." Being married for over twenty-four years, I knew exactly in what Mr. Henry is trying to convey to American Spectator readers. "Yes, Dear" should be read by every person who decides to make that important decision of marrying someone.
We go though the trials and tribulations of our daily lives and tend to forget the most basic and important things in life, and here comes along in a conservative online magazine such as the American Spectator a story that literally stopped my daily routine dead in its tracks. I kept reading it over and over because it is such a profound and simple explanation of unconditional love that only a marriage can provide, that made me instantly reflect on my own.
Married couples spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to seek the secret from scholars and philosophers of the secret of a happy marriage and here comes and here comes a little simple two page revelation that says it all.
Now when my wife asks me to take out the garbage late at night just as I am preparing to retire for the evening, I'll put my slippers back on and look at her annoyingly and say, "Yes Dear," then I'll shuffle outside with the dog, come back inside, and kiss my wife fondly on the forehead without uttering a single word. And just as I am about to drift off to sleep, she sticks her head in the bedroom thinking I am asleep and whispers, "I love you," and I smile to myself, "Yes Dear."
-- Melvin L. Leppla
Jacksonville, North Carolina
Charlton Heston was once asked, in the presence of his wife, what was the secret of his long, long marriage. His reply was perhaps a corollary of Mr. Henry's "Yes, Dear." Heston suggested the magic words were: "You're right."
Heston's formulation is I suggest even closer to the truth of the matter, which is, even when you know you are "right," you accept being "wrong." This is an issue which cuts to the heart of almost all interpersonal warfare, that between spouses simply being the potential theater of battle with the most hours of the day. Whether with your spouse, or parents, or (grown) children, or relatives, or in-laws, or friends, or business associates, or the service manager at the dealership that is presently holding your wheels hostage, we all have to face a moment of being "right" by all objective measure, yet backing off and not asserting it (and possibly needing to go the Heston way of cheerfully conceding the opposite).
If I do one thing right, it will be to pass this painfully learned philosophy on to my grown children, all in the spirit of "do what I say, not as I've often done."
-- Frank Badomi
Brooklyn, New York
THE LIMITS OF TOLERANCE
Re: Mark E. Hyman's Do Unto Others:
Nothing is so damning as one's own words. Thanks to Mark E. Hyman for sharing with us this vignette of campus life in America. Jean Rohe demonstrates for us just how supercilious and churlish those on the left, especially who claim to be tolerant, really are. I suppose if the only weapon your arsenal of ideas is your rage at anyone with an opposing viewpoint, your only recourse is to call them names and protest their very existence. That she is a product of our system of higher education is especially troublesome. If she represents the "best and brightest" of our graduates, this country faces a bleak future indeed. The fact that she considers herself intelligent and courageous underscores just how insidious her indoctrination has been. Ms. Rohe doesn't recognize how ignorant she is!
-- Rick Arand
Lee's Summit, Missouri
It is simply beautifully written. And quite to the point.
-- Richard Szathmary
Clifton, New Jersey
Re: Herbert I. London's The Threat We Face... and the Path Ahead:
Thank you for a very thoughtful and well-crafted article. I read a great deal, and this piece is one of the most trenchant items I have had the pleasure of reading this year. I took the liberty of forwarding the article to many friends and colleagues. Keep up the good work.
-- Joseph J. Doyle, Ph.D.
Rochester Hills, Michigan
Herbert London's call to vigilance is all well and good, but I'd like to add a tiny demurral to his exposition. I'm referring to his by now rhetorically requisite expression "well-meaning critics." I first heard that expression on a televised new conference from the lips of Ronald Reagan some 20 years ago, when the Gipper was referring in passing to this or that disastrous state program of previous years aimed at serving America's underclass. A similar expression is "well-intentioned efforts."
Since then, I've noticed the terms "well-meaning" and "well-intentioned" pop up again and again in conservative rhetoric when the topic is this or that liberal nostrum gone horribly haywire. But this is 2006, not 1985. Does anyone seriously believe any longer that the behavior of the ACLU and the New York Times and the Hollywood Left, to name just a few of the usual suspects (still a useful term of genteel conservative abuse) can reasonably be described as "well-meaning" or "well-intentioned"? Now repeat after me, slowly, at least three times: THE LEFT HATES AMERICA.
Get it? The terms "well-meaning" and "well-intentioned" don't apply any longer, if they ever did, when the topic is, for example, exposure of American defense secrets in time of war or depiction of Islamofascists as freedom fighters. Whatever nebulous rhetorical purpose the terms served in the past, they are now merely distortive. Can we dispense with them?
-- John R. Dunlap
San Jose, California
Re: Robert Seidenberg's Gay Behaviors vs. Public Health:
With all due respect, I hope that Mr. Seidenberg did not display the same ability to pass off distortions at his former position at the Red Cross with the same fervor he did when writing his column.
His column is nothing more than anti-gay propaganda.
In the first place, the study he mentioned regarding gay sexual habits was written by Bell and Weinberg, not Bell and Weinstein.
Secondly, it was published in 1978 and could not be used as indicative of the gay population in general because it had to do with white gay men in San Francisco. Bell and Weinberg had this to say about the study:
...given the variety of circumstances which discourage homosexuals from participating in research studies, it is unlike that any investigator will ever be in a position to say that this or that is true of a given percentage of all homosexuals.
Other than that flimsy statistic, Mr. Seidenberg does not give any proof of his claim that gays are more promiscuous than heterosexuals.
Also, there is no such thing as gay bowel syndrome. It is an antiquated term that describes intestinal disorders that have been recognized as affecting heterosexuals as well as gays. The Centers for Disease Control does not even use the term anymore.
It always amazes me how some conservatives constantly whine about being called bigots and then show themselves as such. I say if it looks like a duck and talks like a duck, it is a duck.
-- Alvin McEwen
Columbia, South Carolina
While I agree with the view of Robert Seidenberg relating to homosexual blood donations in general I do not think that a lifetime ban is absolutely necessary to ensure the safety of blood. New Zealand has a ten-year limit on those men who have had sex with other men. We have not had a case of HIV transmission through blood transfusion. A life time ban would include young men that experimented maybe in their early teens, it would include men who were sexually abused in their teens and those who engaged in homosexual behavior in jail.
I think the ten-year limit has proved safe. There are a few homosexual activists trying to change it. I do not think they will be successful as New Zealand Blood Services are aware of the Bad Blood incident in Canada where 1,100 people were infected with HIV and 60,000 with hepatitis C. If it looks like New Zealand Blood Services is considering caving in on this lunatic proposal by the homosexual lobby I will try and organize regular donors like myself to stop donating until blood services puts public health ahead of so-called gay rights..
-- Chuck Bird
Auckland, New Zealand
Re: Dennis C. Vacco's Labor's Desperate Measures:
Dennis Vacco is partly in error in his article on the Restaurant Opportunity Center (ROC). Organizing a minority union is not "illegal," as he states. Anyone can organize any group, majority or minority. The relevant law, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), simply limits what a minority union can do.
A minority union would violate the NLRA if it sought to bargain on behalf of all the employees, and certainly if it sought to force the employer to recognize it as the bargaining representative for the whole group. The law is less clear if the union seeks to bargain only on behalf of those who have chosen to join it. Members-only bargaining was once common but faded away after Congress passed the NLRA. The common assumption since then was that members-only bargaining would either be illegal or at least optional on the part of the employer. A recent book by Charles Morris, The Blue Eagle at Work (ILR Press 2005), challenges that assumption and argues that members-only bargaining is both legal and mandatory. His argument is a long shot that only now is being tested at the National Labor Relations Board.
The more interesting question is when a group becomes a union (or a "labor organization," the term used in the NLRA). ROC denies being a union, but the NLRA's expansive definition of a "labor organization" (any organization of any kind in which employees participate and which exists in whole or in part for the purpose of bargaining with employers) makes much of the conduct described by Vacco questionable. It would be easy for an employer to test ROC's status. It could either file a petition for an election or an unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB or seek a court injunction against certain prohibited conduct such as a secondary boycott. In the meantime, of course, the restaurant would suffer adverse publicity.
-- Dennis R. Nolan
Webster Professor of Labor Law
University of South Carolina School of Law
Columbia, South Carolina
I too am a little amused and surprised the erstwhile warrior-prince is thinking of doing battle with the Swifties again, in an ill-advised retro-fit of his recent, unpleasant presidential campaign.
What struck me as curious about Mr. Kerry's deportment in respect of his war experience were these two items: 1) The man left his men as soon as he possibly could. He took his three medals and called it a war....how could he know what kind of leadership would follow? Just a little quirk of most leaders to serve out the tour with the leader's men, 2) No real combat soldier I ever met talked publicly or as interminably as Brother Kerry. Real veterans DON'T talk about their experiences, even with friends because they don't have to. The connection is mystical... words unneeded. They don't talk to family members, even sons and daughters because they know that those potential listeners, while doubtless rapt, simply could never understand. In our man Kerry though, we have someone who has absolutely no internal braking-mechanism at all. The poor fool just can't shut up. He is certainly, in my experience, utterly unique.
-- J.C. Eaton
Re: John Sperling's letter (under "Worse Than the U.N.") in Reader Mail's Buffett's Billions:
Mr. Sperling laments the earth's supposed overcrowding yet somehow didn't volunteer to be the first to leave. It's others' whose existence he begrudges.
And in the process he demonstrated an astounding lack of economic understanding. In a free country with free markets people are net economic assets. The have to find gainful employment thus creating wealth, otherwise they will have no livelihood. Now it's true that in centrally-planned government-controlled communist "economies" or even perhaps in socialist nanny states people are a net drain on resources, but that is due to the faulty system; not the people themselves. As Thomas Sowell noted, for those who claim population growth impedes economic growth, please name one country whose economy grew while its population fell.
-- R. Trotter
Mr. Sperling reminds me of those folks who move to a nice, small community and then decide no one else should move there. He seems to think that now that's he's on this planet there are enough people and that no more are needed. Tell that to the "little ones" waiting to be born and waiting to enjoy the life he has on this planet. It was okay for him, but a lot fewer now should have the privileges he enjoys.
-- Sue Gray
Re: Unsigned letter (under "Run, Frenchie, Run") in Reader Mail's Scoundrel Time:
This is just so typical of liberals: call someone a liar but don't have the courage to sign their letter. Don't you just love it?
-- Elaine Kyle
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