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Testing Tolerance

The New School fails on all counts except making McCain look good. Also: Fingered and printed. Stay clear of Kansas. Return to Eden. Daily missive to Ben Stein. Plus much more.

5.24.06

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POUTERS, SCREECHERS, AND HOWLERS
Re: Patrick Hynes's New Agents of Intolerance:

If I had been an Arizona voter I would have voted for John McCain. I believe he is a sincere and dedicated American. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, warrior, prisoner-of-war, elected to the U.S. Senate! Fewer have a better resume.

However, I did not support him for his presidential campaign -- nor will I in 2008! If you look at history, service as a U.S. Senator is NOT an indication of any ability to be the President of the United States. As Al Smith said in the 1920s, "Let's look at the record!" No one has been elected President of the United States directly to the Presidency and served a full term in the office! There have been several Presidents elected in my life time who did serve in the Senate sometime prior to their election to the Office of the President: Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, and Lyndon Johnson. Only President Truman is respected today for being a GOOD president! An older Andrew Johnson was president in the 1860s and I have difficulty finding any good words of praise for his services.

I have wondered WHY senators make such poor presidents and decided that it's their ego and personality failures as worthwhile presidential politicians. Their arrogance that has been displayed by the current group of senators manifests itself. Look at the way both the Democrats and Republican senators seek their TV time to be heard; these senators LORD is over the American public and Supreme Court nominees to needlessly irate the voters and embarrass the nominees; the way they "earmark" special funds of our taxpayers' earning to build "bridges to nowhere" and many other wasteful projects; their ability to duck their responsibilities to American citizens to enact proper immigration laws while devoting their efforts to insure that we increase the quantity of lower intelligent voters who can be swayed by political rhetoric. Those that vote with their pocket book rather than their mind!; their fight to insure that 95 percent of the American workers are NOT allowed to have a Social Security personal savings accounts they have provided for themselves and government workers; and they can vote to increase their salaries while not being able to enact laws that Americans needs. They pass laws for truth in lending, truth in products, but do NOT support truth in Congress; truth in Congressional ethics, lobbying and/or political contributions!

For the students of New School, I have little to say to them about their conduct -- only "SHAME on you!" To their parents and teachers I say that the parents and teachers FAILED in their reprehensibility to TEACH these students what this country is all about and some social graces. To the administration of New School -- and other schools with similar problems -- I sincerely suggest that they start with "clean sheet" for planning commencement activities. Off the top of my head, if I had my way, I would schedule a cafeteria "FOOD FIGHT" where the students and faculty could get it all together and the parents would have an appropriate opportunity to see what they have begat!
-- Phil Smith
Genoa Township, Ohio

Well, all I can say is Long Live the Liberals; they are making fools of themselves and sending more people to the Republican side. How good is that!!

Anyone with half a brain has for years laughed at libs, with their "inclusive" talk. They are only inclusive if you agree with them: just look at what Joe Lieberman is going thru.
-- Elaine Kyle

Shades of Hillary Clinton attacking Senator Brooke on her graduation, right down to the proclamation of having a prepared speech that she would abandon at the last minute.

Heaven help us.
-- Bob Kopitzke
Fort Collins, Colorado

I know I'm liberal. I care so much.
But something has happened. I'm out of touch
With those who would lead me into the light.
Now let me see if I've got this right.

"I've got room in my heart but not my yard,"
Martin Sheen once said as he stood guard
On the grates of the homeless while the cameras rolled.
His immense compassion I truly extolled.

When President Clinton felt our pain,
I saw tears in his eyes, and I would remain
Loyal to him through his troubled days.
My heart would ache for him always.
(Though I found it remarkable the way he could
Turn laughter to tears when he thought he should).

It goes without saying, Jimmy Carter's a saint.
His purity of heart is touchingly quaint.

John Kerry gave to this country his youth.
Teddy Kennedy, though, seems a bit long in the tooth.
He sits on his veranda in Hyannisport,
His whisky at the ready for the occasional snort,
Spying on the horizon the odd windmill or two.
"How dare they spoil my exquisite view!"

But Dr. Dean has been troubling me.
I wonder if it could possibly be
That what you get isn't what you see.
Could it all be some kind of trickery?

But to what end? I don't suppose
The deep compassion is all a pose
In search of power. No it can't be.
Yet there is a crack in my loyalty.

I've begun to think about this creed,
Not letting my emotions take the lead.
I'm reading now about all I've missed,
Things before I merely dismissed
As cold and thoughtless conservative rote.
I've seen the other side and I've taken note.

And one day soon I'll make the call:
I'm not a liberal after all!
-- Mimi Winship

The following statement --"We have an economy that is by almost every measure stronger and more vibrant than the economy of a decade ago, which pundits called the most prosperous time in human history. And yet a plurality of the people has been convinced by an administration-hostile media corps that we are on the edge of ruin" -- is the most simplistic and untrue statement I have seen made on your pages. The above may be true for those of the population (and the oil corporations) getting the benefits of the tax cuts, but so far as us people in the middle class (who are obviously intended to pay for those tax cuts) it is very unpleasant. We have lost any pitiful gains made during the previous "stronger and vibrant" economy during the pre-9/11 period of uncontrolled spending and tax cutting. Our real income has decreased consistently, as has our standard of living, in order to enrich the non-productive financial sector of this country.

I normally tout your pages as being pretty much the mantra of truth. I am going to have to rethink that altogether.

But then, I suspect a lot of Americans are tired of being bent over, lied to, and stolen from. And as each day goes by our eyes are opened a little wider. I am a conservative. But I hesitate to say I'm a Republican. It's becoming a shameful thing.
-- Clay Routh

You are sane. So are the rest of use who find objectionable the discourteous, hyper-intolerant behavior of the immature, uninformed, intellectually constipated, ideologically bigoted, culturally biased, divisive and humorless pouters, screechers, and howlers (PSHs).

At bottom of their behavior? Fear and the lack of respect for anyone, including themselves. The reasons? For the former, knowledge of the emptiness and untenability of their position(s). For the latter, could it be that they are predominantly, if not exclusively, moral relativists or situational ethicists, without the anchor of God in their lives?

That they attend or teach at universities is laughable. Genuine students of anything seek to expand their minds and embrace experiences. And a university, by definition, should be a diverse institution of higher learning created to educate its students for life. One wonders, though: What kind of putative "higher learning" and life? And to whose specific and general benefit?

That the PSHs might have slightest potential to be the political majority after the 2006 Congressional and the 2008 presidential/Congressional elections should make much more than just our bowels clench, because such upheaval would likely threaten our very security.

But, oh, would that political shift bring glee to the the mainstream news media, the French, the United Nations and the terrorists. And, of course, the PSHs.
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

Mr. Hynes spins a lovely story of the intolerance, indeed pure hatred, existent on the left of the political spectrum. Well, Patrick, it is said that with age comes wisdom or reason or whatever. For some of us, with age also come vivid memories of the way things used to be. Let me say, sir, that the left is no more intolerant today than they were in the mid to late '60s. I was there.

I spent a most of the '60s going to college part time while working full time. I went to the University of Maryland and worked a great deal in the Georgetown and Foggy Bottom areas of Washington, D.C. The government was run by the Democrats and the Republicans were, for the most part, quite docile with their masters. Neither side was willing to rock the boat in any serious way because it would upset the entrenched bureaucrats, and that could NOT be tolerated. Everyone tolerated the left, as long as they stayed in their small pubs and drank and sang protest songs. It was when they ventured out into the streets that folks got upset. Nevertheless, they were equally as intolerant as they are today. Do you remember the antics of the Chicago Seven? I do. Do you remember the Black Panthers, and SDS, and SLA? I do. The university sit-ins and takeovers? I do. Do you remember the virtual lynching of LBJ (yes, LBJ -- a Democrat)? I do. Do you remember the way that the Left shouted down and disrupted the campaign of Hubert Humphrey? I do. That against the hated Richard Nixon, no less.

Sir, the only difference today is that those left wing zealots are now running the show. They are the tenured powers at virtually all major colleges and universities today. They are the entrenched bureaucrats in government. They run the media today. Today's journalism schools teach "how to make a difference." What the zealots of the '60s screeched for is the enforced multicultural norm today. There may be a slight increase in the zealotry level, but not much of one.

Today the moderates constantly tell us to just be nice to the leftists and they will moderate, and then they will love us. That didn't work back in the day and it ain't working now. If you constantly place yourself in the company of the Left, they will not change, you will. They are infinitely more dedicated to their cause then are a huge percentage of the conservatives/moderates. You end up converting, or going crazy, or leaving. I much prefer the attitude exhibited in the title of Ann Coulter's book How to Talk to a Liberal - If You Must.

Good luck, Mr. Hynes, as you gather and socialize with your left-wing family and friends. I would be inclined to tell them to leave their liberalism at home or stay home themselves -- but that is just me.
-- Ken Shreve
From my camouflaged bunker behind the enemy lines in New England

INTELLECTUAL MOLEHILLS
Re: Ralph R. Reiland's Hoping for Armageddon:

I'm with you Mr. Reiland.

I say we send Messrs. Falwell, Robertson, and Phillips, to a quiet deserted island where they can duke it out for king of their peculiar intellectual molehill.
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

America being destroyed by true believers? Phillips is right. He's just focused on the wrong set of true believers.

Far more dangerous than those of us he casts as insufficiently secular are those whose morality is unanchored, who confuse openness with having insufficient defense and security, who loathe truth but embrace fluff and who major in the minors of life, rather focusing on what's important.

BTW: What if Robertson and Falwell are right? What if 9/11 was a wake-up call for the country founded on Judeo-Christian principles to remember that fact and act accordingly rather than, say, having allowed approximately 40,000,000 in utero murders of children since 1973 and still allowing that practice now?
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

PRINT IT
Re: Eric Peters's How Creepy Can It Get?:

"How Creepy Can It Get?" Not creepy enough. It's never bothered me. I have been fingerprinted for my driver's license, for a civil service job, for being employed by an airline -- also had a photo badge with encoded information in it (we were told -- I always doubted it), the likes of which you wouldn't believe.

But apparently our Congressional royalty, from Patrick Kennedy to Mr. Jefferson of Louisiana, enjoy some kind of diplomatic immunity. Jefferson thinks the FBI overstepped its authority in rifling his office. Bill Frist and Newt Gingrich agree. Are we to believe that the most highly paid criminal class in America have some kind of King's X territory where they can hide the evidence of bribery? It didn't work for Randy Cunningham, but Jefferson has that Ace-in-the-Hole, RACE, which trumps everything. Has the Mouth of the South, Cynthia who slugged a congressional cop, had charges dropped? Probably.
-- Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California

I can see it now.... One bright morning in the near future, the Neighborhood Health and Safety Commissar will want to break down someone's door for smoking cigarettes, eating red meat, or watching movies with no social conscience. But she'll be prevented by the NSA, who will want to keep their wiretap undisturbed. No problem: the Highway Patrol will catch the villain at its next random commuter roadblock, where they test the chip in your arms for nicotine, caffeine and cholesterol as well as booze on the breath (but never for THC from marijuana).

Who needs fascist repression, when everybody's rights are at the mercy of "health and safety experts" that nobody elected? Will we only wake up when government calls dissent a "health problem," too, as the Soviets used to do? Fat lot of good it will do then!
-- Martin Owens
Sacramento, CA

Since our government is in a fingerprinting mood, then let them start with Congressman Jefferson, Democrat from Louisiana, Tom DeLay, Republican from Texas, and every other corrupt politician that hasn't been caught yet. The very repressive and dim-witted laws that Congress comes up with are the very laws that our esteemed law makers violate. The old, "Do as I say and not as I do," mentality definitely applies.

If the United States Congress is the best and the brightest that this country has to offer then, "Then God help us." Ooops, I not going to be fingerprinted for making a reference to "God" am I?
-- Melvin L. Leppla
Jacksonville, North Carolina

Eric Peters was doing fine with his comments on the intrusion of government surveillance into our society, but then he couldn't resist the temptation to cheapen his work by a gratuitous slam at Richard Nixon. "Sullen DMV personnel and low-grade Nixonian bureaucrats will shortly have total access to our vital personal information at their whim, anytime -- without any meaningful legal/judicial protections against such random searches."

I doubt that many bureaucrats from the Nixon era remain low grade after more than 30 years of service, so I presume he intended to communicate the concept of those engaged in political espionage by his disparaging use of the term "Nixonian." Well, even granting that some few of Nixon's minions engaged in political espionage, at least their efforts were directed at political figures for political reasons, and not at ordinary citizens going peacefully about their daily affairs for announced reasons that remain quite specious, in my judgment.

Under cover of the so-called wars on drugs and terror, presidents since Nixon have engaged in an unrelenting assault on the privacy of each and all of us. From bank transactions to medical records to computer traffic to phone calls to the trash we put on the curb, for heaven's sake, we no longer have any legitimate expectation of privacy in this country. This was not the work of Richard Nixon. It has been the work of presidents and congresses and the Supreme Court, who together engage in the unending emasculation of the Bill of Rights and our culture as a whole.

I abhor this latest ramping up of the war on privacy conducted "for our own good" by our burgeoning government as much as does Mr. Peters. Let's put the blame where it belongs, though, and let Nixon rest in peace. Don't diminish the significance of the threat to liberty for the sake of a petty political grudge.
-- Mark Fallert
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

How appropriate it was for you to use the State of Kansas for an example in your article. You should see the ad their highway patrol is running on television right now. At first glance, you think it's a parody. But it's a real ad.

It features a snarling highway patrolman pulling over a couple in a convertible. He says he's going to give them a ticket for speeding (okay, fine, that's a real violation) and then snarls that both the driver and passenger are getting tickets for not wearing seatbelts. The passenger says, "I'm not even driving." The highway patrolman snarls back at her, "I don't care, it's the law." The whole attitude is like not wearing your seatbelt is tantamount to first degree murder.

I've seen it on several Kansas City, Mo., television stations.

It's really a bad ad. It leaves a negative impression in the mind about the Kansas Highway Patrol. The patrolman's attitude is confrontational, abusive, and what in former years would have been considered grossly unprofessional. There is no "sir" or "ma'am" in this flatfoot's vocabulary.

If this ad represents the mindset of the leadership of the Kansas Highway Patrol, I would recommend any travelers re-route their trips to go across Nebraska or Oklahoma instead.
-- Gilbert R. Ohlson

PERPETUAL CRACKDOWN MODE
Re: Eric Peters's How Creepy Can It Get? and Hal G.P. Colebatch's The British Inversion:

Two columns in two days, both decrying governmental misallocation of enforcement resources. Both are spot on. The energies of policing organizations at all levels are routinely squandered on punishing offenses rather than fighting genuine crimes. It is extremely unfortunate, but perhaps it is inevitable. The officials responsible for such silliness are actually making predictable economic decisions based on assessments of risks and rewards.

Imagine for a moment that you are a police captain, dispatching your officers to various assignments. If you send them to take out a crack house, they are almost certain to face return fire, perhaps in greater strength than they possess. Ditto for having them round up suspected members of MS-13 or Tony Soprano's crew. The perps are alert, heavily armed, and have little to lose by fighting back. You could very well lose a few officers, and heaven help you if some innocent bystanders are caught in crossfire. Then, assuming you are successful in apprehending the villains, you must prepare evidence, go to trial, and hope for conviction. Perhaps you managed to confiscate a pile of expensive contraband that you will have guard until it is put to waste. Also, the state must now provide free housing, food and medical care to the miscreants for years. A high risk, low reward option.

On the other hand, you could send your squad on radar patrol. They may spend the day intimidating suburbanites, who are unlikely to be armed, and whose natural respect for authority makes them highly unlikely to resist. These "criminals" are statistically certain to pay their fines and go back to their jobs and families. Nobody gets hurt, the state cashes the checks, and you can pretend you are objectively enforcing the law. Low risk, high reward.

Whether it involves driving 55 in a 45 zone, or importing an antique BMW, or employing the wrong epithet in a moment of emotional distress, when government cracks down on minor infractions while ignoring serious ones, it is making a logical, if penny-wise, decision based on the relative risks among its alternatives. Of course, the pound-foolishness of such decisions should be obvious.
-- Jim Bono
Midlothian, Virginia

DOUBLE STANDARD
Re: Mark Tooley's Code Turkey:

I could almost picture Jesus carrying an NCC sign in a protest march.

I've not seen the movie, as yet, but I have read the book. I really enjoyed it. I found the book a fun read.

But then being a Freemason it might have held a deeper meaning for me...
-- Jim
New Providence, Pennsylvania

Anytime our brave, push-the envelope baby-boomer brats in the media dump filth on Christianity, I think to myself, "You wouldn't dare do that to the Moslems."
-- John Lockwood

COVERING WHAT?
Yale Kramer's letter ("Is Original Sin Sexual?") in Reader Mail's Paradise Lust, the "Forbidden Fruit" letters in Reader Mail's Bush Out-Foxed and Yale Kramer's Paradise Regained:

The Bible is quite clear that Eve and then Adam, ate from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen 2.9), which they were specifically forbidden from doing. I don't see what is ambiguous about that.

But I understand your point about the sexual nature of the whole affair. An essential aspect of "The Fall" is that our human natures became sinful and as a result the sexual arena tends to be the arena where our sin natures are most often displayed.

But us Evangelicals consider the attempt by Adam and Eve to cover their nakedness with fig leaves to represent man's useless attempt to cover his own sins by his own efforts. When God found them, he killed animals (the first shedding of blood) and clothed them himself. Only God can cover our sins, (through the shedding of the blood of the Lamb). So it behooves you to look at the whole story, not just the parts that play into our current Freudian Pop culture.
-- Paul

Having read Mr. Kramer's explanation of original sin, I would like to respectfully respond to his belief that it surrounded and was surrounded by sexual matters. There is no doubt that Adam and Eve understood that they were also sexual beings. It was natural and they were not ashamed.

However, the sin that is termed original alludes instead to their desire for the knowledge that would make them like God, i.e., to know good and evil, and to substitute their truth in place of God's. When the serpent spoke to them, the question had nothing to do with sexual matters. Rather, he challenged them intellectually, knowing that they were rational creatures. And when the choice was made to transgress the law against eating of the Tree of Knowledge (not the Tree of Sexual Knowledge, as Mr. Kramer called it), this was a moral decision -- and moral decisions/beliefs are reasoned through before one settles and acts on them. As Jonathan Edwards said, "The will is the mind choosing."
-- Nigel Assam

IRAN'S FAIT ACCOMPLI
Re: Jed Babbin's China's South America:

Scary article by Jed Babbin. Unfortunately I don't share his optimism about a response from our leadership because quite frankly, we don't have any. If we did, we wouldn't be facing the situation we are now. Maybe G.W. Bush isn't any near what Carter was but he's running a pretty good second as far as I'm concerned. When Eagle Forum comes out questioning Bush's credibility, that is cause for concern. 'Nuff said.
-- Pete Chagnon

SWANN DIVE
Re: David Holman's Toomey Defeats Specter:

Toomey has destroyed the credibility of Pennsylvania's professional Republicans. He has won the election.

Wish he'd mount a last minute fight for the governorship. He'd do better than the supposedly Republican Lynn Swann. The real question in Pennsylvania politics is, "Who replaced Scranton with Lynn Swann?"
-- Bill Adams

"Some argue the election indicates widespread opposition to Republican incumbents, but that anger seems directed at specific legislators who have abandoned conservative principles. Santorum has been careful not to join that group, holding the line on spending and immigration, conservatives' pet peeves with Congress these days"

Are you aware that both Swann and Santorum ran unopposed and Santorum received 22,000 fewer votes than Swann? Santorum was also sent a big message, and he is in severe trouble.
-- unsigned

ALWAYS MEMORIAL DAY
Re: Ben Stein's Greetings From Rancho Mirage:

My husband, a deployed Army Captain, read your recent editorial and was very moved -- as was I. He wishes to remain anonymous but asked that I forward to you the following letter on his behalf and that of his team. I echo his comments and thank you as well.

Mr. Stein,

My name is unimportant; suffice it to say I am an Officer and leader of a U.S. Army team currently deployed in a combat zone in the Philippines in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Most Americans don't even know we have troops in the Philippines, much less that we are conducting combat operations here. It's not as "sexy" as Afghanistan or Iraq, but yesterday four Filipino Marines that we live with were shot and killed by Islamic fundamentalists, so it's still a dangerous place to be.

My wife forwarded my team a copy of the editorial you wrote reference our contribution to our nation, and I had to take a minute to write back and just say, "thank you."
Thank you for acknowledging our contribution to our country, a contribution that some how is no longer looked at by many as worthy. It seems like if you're not making millions of dollars or building skyscrapers in New York City, you're job isn't considered "value added."

Thank you for recognizing our families and friends, that though they remain strong for us while deployed, worry every day and night whether or not their sons, daughters, wives, husbands, moms and dads will make it home safely.

Thank you for recognizing our sacrifices for our country, which we all do freely and readily. I truly believe that the nation would be proud of my team and the things we are accomplishing every day, not only to help the people of the Philippines, but also to deny safe haven to members of terrorist groups that have chosen to "hideout" in the small and austere islands of the Philippines.

Thank you for recognizing the evil that Islamic extremists represent; in whatever country they live in. Be it Baghdad, Kabul, Sadr City, Fallujah, Zamboanga City, Luzon, or Jolo Island, the tale remains the same and the outcome never changes: bombs go off and innocent people die all in the name of a religious cause. We are here chasing small brown Filipino Muslims as opposed to Arabic mullahs, but the tactics and outcomes remain constant...innocent people die. Americans have a short memory and easily become complacent, and though I never thought it would happen, many have managed to forget the horror of 9/11 and those who were ultimately responsible.

Thank you for not forgetting....

Thank you for your vocal support of our armed forces. I recently saw an interview on The Factor (yes we get it even out here in the jungle) during which you proposed tax increases for the rich (to include yourself) and an across-the-board pay raise for all military members. While all of us welcome pay raises, I believe we are all here out of a sense of duty, honor, and country. Pay increases only allow us to enjoy our time in the States more when we are home, and provide our families with a slightly higher standard of living, which they all certainly deserve. Money is the least of our concerns, but it certainly is refreshing to have someone as notable as yourself in our corner.

Finally, thank you for taking the time to put your praise and recognition on paper. Many people have opinions...fewer voice them...and even fewer take the time, energy, and money to make their views heard and read by others. So my team and I say thank you. Thank you for your support, thank you for your words, and thank you for your recognition of our sacrifices in support of the greatest country in the world.
-- Captain, United States Army

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