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Empty Tanks

At least at Republican stations. Plus: Newt's Contract. Where have you gone, Ronald Reagan? Where have you gone, George W. Bush? And much more.

4.28.06

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EARLY BUZZ
Re: Clinton W. Taylor's Snakes on Board:

Many thanks for the brilliant read. It truly made my morning.

Just one question (and it's an honest question, which should make perfect sense when you see my email signature): Can we count on Mr. Taylor going to see Snakes on a Plane when it comes out in August?
-- Aaron Sugarman
Vice President, Interactive Marketing
New Line Cinema
(yes, we're the studio behind Snakes on a Plane)

INTO THEIR HANDS
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Republicans Run Dry:

Senator Frist was on the Sean Hannity radio show yesterday (4/26/06), and tried to explain this latest brilliant political ploy of the good Senator and Mr. Hastert. Essentially, the letter to the President, hearings to investigate possible price gouging, more hearings to pillory oil company executives ad infinitum (remember last summer after Katrina?) are all little more than showboating to appease their unhappy constituents. Once they've gone through the motions and determined there is no price-gouging, and the executives have been thoroughly scourged for making their shareholders a profit, they will begin resuscitating legislation on ANWR, move to suspend the gas tax for the summer or longer, etc., etc., etc. Anybody HAVE a problem with that? Anybody SEE a problem with that? It just so happens, I do.

What Mr. Frist apparently doesn't understand, or doesn't want to understand, is that we're way past playing stupid games with the Dems! What the @#$& does he think the Republicans are going to gain from that? Cooperation? If you want cooperation, promise them a year's supply of gas for their limos, or whatever. C'mon, Senator, we already KNOW, and HAVE the solution! It's probably in a word processing file on an aid's computer. The President, and the Republican leadership (if it's still accurate to call them that) should be out in front on this DEMANDING the legislation NOW to open ANWR, the California coast, the Florida coast, the temporary suspension of regulatory requirements on additive requirements (as they did on Katrina to ensure supply), and yes, suspend the gas tax for a few months to alleviate the immediate irritating effects, both economic and political, of the increase in prices. This is retail politics, not some navel gazing philosophy class.

And what about alternative energy? Sure! Even good ol' Dick Morris has pointed out that this is a perfect opportunity for the President, (and I include the Republicans as well) to bounce back and take away the perceived political advantage the Dems have. I think he's right. But, the Republicans are so ANXIOUS about staying in power, they don't seem to understand HOW to do it! All you've got to do is LEAD, take ACTION, and nullify the Dems' demagoguery. Let the Democrats vote against it! Then, take 'em to the woodshed in November. Just let the people see you lead, just let them see you govern for God's sake!
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

The President is simply delivering the goods produced by the current Republican Party. This is now a party of people like Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Lincoln Chaffee, Sherwood Boehlert, Christopher Shays and Lindsay Graham. It is disgusting. It needs to be flushed.

There are two options for individualist Americans: One, we can vote third party, in which case we might as well not even bother going to the polls. Two, we can run some decent people in Republican primaries over the next few election cycles and throw out the garbage that's been rotting up there since 1994. I favor option two.
-- Mark Stewart
Jacksonville, Florida

Just go back and look at who was pushing all the regulations and laws against drilling, refineries and nuclear and you will find Democrats and RINO's. The next time you fill up at the pump, say a BIG THANK YOU to an environmentalist and a RINO.
-- Elaine Kyle

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Table 3-14, the cost of driving a car has changed a lot between 1975 and 2004. The cost of gas has gone from 33.4 percent of all costs in 1975 to 11.6 percent of all costs in 2004. Using an inflation calculator, it can be determined that the cost of gasoline now is far below the inflation-adjusted price of 6.5 cents per mile in 2004. If the 1975 costs of gas per mile were inflation adjusted, it would be 18 cents a mile to run your average car an average distance of 15,000 miles.

If President Bush is going to call a hearing in Congress, how about calling in the people who contribute to the fixed costs of automobile operation? Theses fixed costs are: insurance, licensing, registration, taxes, depreciation and financing. Please notice that the government has a hand in most of those activities. The escalation of fixed costs since 1975 is 6.06 percent per year. The background inflation rate during the same time was 4.56 percent. This means that the fixed costs in 2004 exceeded, by $2,215.50, the inflation adjusted costs that were experienced in 1975.
-- Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

TALKING DOWN
Re: David Yerushalmi's Newt's a Little Too Smart:

Great, great piece.

But, of course, Mr. Yerushalmi you simply just don't understand the requisite nuance of a true intellectual and his handlers. Yeah right! C'mon, Gingrich, who do you think you're talking to with that list, Mr. Chips?
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

I have read some recent articles about Mr. Gingrich and I have a question. Sincerely, how successful was his Contract with America? Congress's spending is out of control with few persons who seem to act in America's best interests.
Was his contract successful enough to earn him another shot at it?

I would like to read an article which addresses the specifics of how successful his plan has been over the last 12 years.
-- Ann Barrientos
St Louis, Missouri

It seems to me that the author, like Mr. Newt, fails to state the obvious conclusion suggested from his arguments. Yes, Newt is attempting to take the hard edge off some of his views by linguistic slight of hand. Kind of like saying that I want to kill my enemy, but I don't want to aggravate him before doing so. I see this as nothing particularly new with Newt -- or many other politicians.

Were the author to call a spade a spade, he would write that Republican politicians DO NOT believe that they can win an election by taking a clear, unambiguous, principled stand on an issue and then sticking to it through thick and thin. St. Ronald the Reagan was the last one to achieve high office by taking a forthright stand and sticking to it. Even he had to compromise on some smaller issues in order to carry the day on his larger issues. The pols and their consultants are convinced that there is not a majority among actual voters for such a strategy, It has become a given among the elite and the opinion makers that "Diversity is our Strength." How I hate that phrase.

Until American voters make it crystal clear to candidates for electoral office that diversity and political correctness are inescapable curses, we will continue to see the same thing from candidates of all stripes. That is what we see in the immigration/border debate. That is what we see in the morass that is the terrorism pandemic currently so prominent today. That is what we see in issue after issue. I would love to see politicians be straight forward and transparent, but it ain't gonna happen until we the people show them that they must be that way in order to win their contests.

St. Ronald the Reagan was the last person that snatched the gold ring by proclaiming to all that would listen that government was a part of the problem and not part of the solution, in most cases. I hope for, but don't expect to see in my lifetime, another Ronald Reagan.
-- Ken Shreve

GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM
Re: Andrew Cline's Pumped Out:

Come on America, all the king's horses and all the king's men cannot put cheap gas back on the market again. Having Congress investigate high fuel prices is like having the fox investigate why chickens are disappearing from the henhouse with feathers all over fox's mouth. The high gasoline tax is Congress's idea of Social Security reform. Hey, stranger things have happened in Rome.
-- Melvin Leppla
Jacksonville, North Carolina

POLITICAL MEMORIES
Re: Robert D. Novak's Republican Doldrums:

God, how I miss Ronald Reagan. When he spoke to the nation over the heads of the MSM, he lifted your soul. You might have even disagreed, intensely disagreed, with him on a policy issue, but unless you were dead, you were always reassured by his almost childlike faith in the concept of America. He made his love for the country, our love for the country. Simply because we were Americans, we were different, unique. We had a purpose in the world unlike any nation before or since. We had a reason to live and a reason to die that showed the world the worth of being alive. Alas, how I miss Ronald Reagan.

That said, how I miss George W. Bush. The one with the swagger we call walking in Texas. The one with tears in his eyes after 9/11 in front of the press in the Oval Office, but who was nonetheless confident and strong in his conviction that this would not stand, that we would not allow this evil to be redefined as our fault, that no matter how long it took we would not waver. The one who in "reaching out" to the other side of the aisle, still managed to cut through their demagogic rhetoric, and expose their duplicity with simple, to the point logic, that was irrefutable even when using his own charming vocabulary. Alas, how I miss George W. Bush.
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

GET OVER IT
Re: Paul Dorell's letter (under "Sounds of Silence") in Reader Mail's Overcome by Fumes and Mark Coppenger's The Curious Rationale for a "Day of Silence":

Mr. Dorell is somewhat behind the times. It is eons since the homosexual community (whoever and wherever it might be) has sought respect from the heterosexual majority (whom they should thank for their very existence). Respect is not now enough for this group. If it were, they would not be involved in the loud, tasteless, and usually offensive displays that mark their celebration of an abnormality (that's right, abnormality -- if you don't believe me, look it up) that, like heterosexuality, should be personal and private. I have struggled with their bizarre desire to persuade the "heterosexual community" to celebrate homosexuality as though it were some kind of social triumph. Any heterosexual who does not stand up, cheer, and salute homosexuality is automatically branded "homophobic." Hey you guys and gals, or guys and guys, or gals and gals, shut up already. We don't care what you do as long as you don't use it as a club to extract some extra rights from the government. Go ahead, celebrate, but don't get upset if some of us homophobic heterosexuals pay no attention to you. After all, we have our lives to live too.
-- Joseph Baum
Garrettsville, Ohio

TURNED AWAY
Re: WJM's letter (under "Who's at War?") in Reader Mail's Rise and Fall and Jed Babbin's Jail Time:

WJM's reply to Jed Babbin's "Jail Time" put it much better than I and I've been saying this to the President and elected representatives for a couple of years now. Might just as well been spitting into the wind. I would add that not only are the bulk of us not involved in this "war" but by law and other means we are prevented from being involved. Ask the Minutemen about such things. I believe it is fundamental that your population have a stake in such a matter, not just the outcome for a sustained effort to be successful. We don't have that. How would you feel if you found out that our fun-loving guys over in the Middle Earth hadn't made one attempt to attack the U.S. since 9/11? I do believe they have but that's the nature of a defensive war run mostly in secret. It expends a lot of resources on static defenses while the enemy picks and chooses the time and place to employ its limited resources. We have a lot of resources (as in people with free time on their hands) in this Nation that aren't being called upon to help out while we spend billions trying to plug every hole in the dyke. When lawyers run the show and liability risks determine the policies this is what you get.
-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia

PROTECTED FROM PROTECTION
Re: Martin Owens Jr.'s letter (under "An Agent in Every Home") in Reader Mail's Overcome by Fumes and Lisa Fabrizio's Encroachment of the Nanny State:

I think Mr. Owens is on to something, and have run across the logical and unanticipated outcome of the Nanny State at our county fair.

I was charged with running the local first responders booth which has included firefighter's getting bicycle helmets for kids for nearly a decade, fitting them to kids for a fraction of the real cost and often for free. Last year they stopped, why? Because the lawyers told them that should a child come to harm while wearing one of the protective helmets the firefighters would be liable. I kid you not. We will not need agents of government in every house to bring the downfall of the Socialist State, just a lawyer on each corner!

Viva La Revolution!!
-- Craig C. Sarver
Behind Enemy Lines, Seattle, Washington

PRESSING FOR DEFEAT
Re: Jed Babbin's Jail Time:

It is disheartening, demoralizing, and damaging to the country to think, much less believe that because of its leaks, "Anonymous" book publishing, op-ed falsehoods, disclosure of current war efforts, that the CIA works for foreign interests at odds to the interests of the United States. And yet that is what it appears. The CIA was one of the agencies that provided the intelligence fodder for the Presidents, Senators and others, who denounced Iraqi as harboring WMD's and as being a clear and present danger. Yet, when Bush does something about it, he's "lied." That is so much falsehood. The Democrats as well as Republicans believed and acted upon the intelligence. Had Bush done nothing and an attack came about, these same people would say he failed his Constitutional duty to protect the United States. (And he may be too by not prosecuting these Fifth Columnists).

Meanwhile, the CIA with its politically correct intelligence assessments, leaks classified information like a sieve, information that is knowingly damaging to the United States. The scope of the damage will be unknown until the attack comes. Years ago, it was "Loose lips sink ships" but now it may be "Loose lips from the CIA sinks the U.S."

Whose side are these guys on anyway?
-- Mark Davis
Houston, Texas

Jed Babbin replies:
The Wall Street Journal asked if we should close the CIA and start over. Please read Loose Canons for the answer on Monday.

THE LOGICAL PERILS OF RELATIVISM
Re: Steven M. Warshawsky's letter (under "My Truth, Your Truth") in Reader Mail's With Spies Like These and Mark A. Kalthoff's To Tell the Truth:

I have a question for Mr. Warshawsky who wrote: "But these understandings can be quite different....I for one have no hesitation in saying that our way of life is better than the Islamist way of life...." The rest of your comments suggest that you really don't believe in objective truth, so on what basis can you justify the truth claim "our way of life is better than the Islamist way of life?" If there is no objective truth, there can be no way to make judgments such as these. Your statement merely expresses your belief and it doesn't matter how many people agree with you, it is still only your opinion, shared or otherwise. If no paradigm exists to test opinion against an immutable standard, then the search for truth is futile. You have affirmed the relativists' position perfectly by stating that "there is no such thing as 'Truth' that is shared by all people." Since when is truth dependent upon the consensus of everyone with an opinion in order to be valid?

As C.S. Lewis once observed, "Unless the measuring rod is independent of the things measured, we can do no measuring." Truth is not what the majority says it is. Truth cannot be held hostage to the whims of sinful men and women no matter how unbiased they believe themselves to be. Objective truth can never found by looking inward. Only by recognizing our total inability to discover truth on our own can we hope to find it. Perhaps that is why God created this conflict within us, so that we would look to Him for that which we cannot provide for ourselves.
-- Rick Arand
Lee's Summit, Missouri

TUITION PAYING UNITS
Re: Christopher Orlet's Osama U.:

You missed one crucial connection.

At universities in the U.S., there are two tiers of students financially.

1. Full tuition students
2. In state students and scholarship recipients.

Guess which category Arab students fall in. Guess what category schools prefer.
-- Yaakov "Jim" Watkins

HANDS ON WITH ANIMALS
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s The American Circus and Gary Kaskel's letter (under "Tigers Unleashed") in Reader Mail's Earthy Language:

I was so impressed with this article that I felt the need to respond.

As an exotic animal trainer of large felines, I can tell you that the animals look forward to the daily routines of training. Not only does it act as an enrichment for them, it creates a sense of routine and stability. Exotic cats form bonds with their keepers much like you would have with a domestic, there just larger.

PETA claims of abuse to performing animals is a perfect example of being ill-informed. On the contrary, the animals perform because there is a mutual respect between trainer and animal. Yes, conditioning is involved, but try and beat a tiger into doing something he doesn't want to do.... Not gonna happen!

There is an animal rights agenda out there, and in my opinion, there goal is to have all animals removed from human contact. The tactics they use to achieve their goals are beyond reproach.
-- Victoria Windland
Florida

I read the replies to Mr. Tyrrell's article by representatives of PETA and United Action For Animal and seeing that no has since disputed their words, I thought that I would share my thoughts and experience in support of Mr. Tyrrell's views.

Gary Kaskel of the United Action for Animals, Inc. stated that Mr. Tyrell was acting in a knee jerk fashion and "was not in the know". Since Mr. Kaskel describes himself "As one who is in the know" I thought that a little background check was in order. According to information supplied to justgive.org by the United Action for Animals we have under the Leaders of the Organization heading, "Chief Executive Profile: Gary Kaskel became president of United Action for Animals in February 2003 after being an animal advocate for many years. He is a founder of the Shelter Reform Action Committee, an ad hoc committee advocating to improve the municipal animal shelter system in NYC. Mr. Kaskel has been a filmmaker and computer consultant and is a published writer."

Hmmm. So according to information supplied by the UAA, Mr. Kaskel is just a layman when it comes to animal husbandry and animal health. I'm not sure of Mr. Tyrrell's background, but I have been involved with the care and raising of various kinds of livestock and domesticated animals for the better part of four decades. So I guess by Mr. Kaskel's standards that would qualify me "As one who is in the know."

My farm upbringing and subsequent career have brought me into contact with many various horse ranches, cattle ranches, dairy farms, poultry farms, hog farms and fur ranches. Additionally, I have seven years of experience with circus animal acts. In all of these, I can honestly say that I have not seen one example of true animal cruelty.

Actually what is more common is people going to extraordinary lengths to provide and care for these animals. I have seen ranchers spend thousands of dollars to vaccinate their animals against diseases. As you can't buy health insurance for large animals, the expense comes right off of their bottom line. If they were the cold-hearted exploiters that they animal rights activists want people to believe they are, they would pocket the money and let the animal take its chances. Instead you see them taking second jobs to offset the cost.

Caring for large animals is not an easy job; it takes expensive equipment and a huge amount of time. It is nowhere anything close to a 9 to 5 job. As such these people have a huge amount invested in these animals, in both time and money, and of course they want them to thrive. It is in the best interest of the animal and the owner that they do. Is there abuse of animals? Although I've never seen it happen, I know there is, for this is not a perfect world. But PETA and the other animal rights groups would have you believe this is norm rather than the rare exception. They show pictures and videos of animal abuse, but this shows no perspective as to how often it occurs. They simply want people to base their judgments on the exceptions, because that is what suits their aims.

Recently a couple of members of PETA were caught euthanizing young animals given to them by veterinary clinics that the clinics were led to believe were going to be put up for adoption. Instead they drove a few hundred yards, euthanized the animals and callously disposed of the bodies in dumpster. The Animal Liberation Front has made terrorist threats, death threats and bombed and destroyed private property. If we were to play by animal rightist's practice of the exception being the rule, then these examples should then be the face of PETA and the United Action for Animals, Inc.

Of course they would oppose that, but that simply shows that they are not interested in the truth or fairness. It also shows that they have no ethics at all when it comes to pushing their agenda forward.
-- Scotty Uhrich

TURNED OFF
Re: A. DiPentima's letter (under "Who's at War?") in Reader Mail's Rise and Fall and Jed Babbin's Jail Time:

My sediments exactly in regard to the assessment of Juan Williams of Fox News. The man is an embarrassment to all rational thinkers. I was also disappointed in the response of Mara Liasson on the same Fox News Sunday program when she was asked about the Pulitzer Prize winners' ethical conduct in revealing government secrets. Her response was: "The administration has a right to protect the secrets and the press has a job to try to get them out."

Based on that statement she must believe that the main role of the press is to destroy the Government of the United States by jeopardizing its ability to fight our enemies. From now on any time Juan Williams or Mara Liasson appears on my TV the channel will be changed.
-- Richard Swett
Georgetown, Massachusetts

SWITCHING SIDES
Re: Lawrence Henry's The Logistics of Backlash:

I have been voting Republican since 1969 in every election -- I have never missed a vote. That has changed. I will vote Democrat in 2006 with the hope that the Democrats will win both the House and Senate. I hope with all my being that this happens so the Democrats can then institute IMPEACHMENT proceedings against Bush and convict and remove him from office. I further hope that after Bush is impeached that in 2008 a Democrat wins the presidency and their Justice Department goes for federal criminal prosecution of Bush. I doubt it will happen, but I want to see Bush in a federal PRISON with a bunch of Mexicans that know how to treat a "white boy" as their girlie man. If I had known what Bush was really like, I wouldn't have voted for him twice -- fool me once, shame on you -- fool me twice, shame on me!!!! I absolutely detest being lied to and I absolutely detest being taken for granted and used.

I have never seen such horrendous mistreatment of law-abiding, patriotic Americans as Bush's statement, while standing next to mejicano Fox, that the Minutemen were "vigilantes." I'm amazed that Bush wasn't on his hands and knees while making this horrendous charge. The Bushistas have a very sick physical love affair with illegal Mexicans that is going to destroy this country so I want to see them destroyed too. This captain of the ship, and his crew, is going to go down with the ship if I can have anything to do with it!!!!
-- Larry Thompson

The same stupid, base cowards, the same vicious hypocrites that justified importing black slaves in the 1700s-1800s are active today, stating with brazen arrogance that "immigrants" or "guest worker" are needed to "do the work Americans will not do." Five hundred thousand died in the first Civil War -- the "beneficiaries" of "cheap labor." How many will die in the coming race war, the next civil war? What will be the real price for "cheap labor" and "useful idiots"?
-- unsigned

A BROKEN RECORD
Re: Ken Shreve's letters:

Bless Reader Ken Shreve's big Texas heart. Every time I see his tag line, REMEMBER THE ALAM0 -- BUSH WON'T, I recall a story of the hapless Gerald Ford visiting there. Someone in the back of the room (maybe Ken?) shouted, "Remember the Alamo!" and (it is said) Jerry replied "No, thanks, I don't like ice cream on my pie." Probably not true, but he was known for falling out of Air Force One, beaning folks in the gallery with golf balls and thinking Poland was a free country.

Once while touring the site I recall the jarring feeling on hearing a desk guy, guard perhaps, answering the phone, "Alamo" -- making it sound like "Yuh-alamo." Sounded like the car rental desk at the airport.
-- Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California

A LIVING TRUCE
Re: MPM's letter (under "Revisionist Politics") in Reader Mail's Overcome by Fumes:

"Any mention of George W. Bush and Abraham Lincoln in the same breath is heresy and sacrilege."

Oh God, save me from the pompous asses. Do you know what "heresy and sacrilege" mean?

Righteous cause huh? My people died on both sides; we Southerners tried to throw the damn Yankees from our land while we Massachusetts regulars tried to free the slaves. After it was all over we tried to work together, (my existence is that proof).

You are ignorant and wrong, and you don't know enough and aren't free enough, intellectually, for me to try to educate you.

You are an insult to my Lincoln-loving Republican ancestry (he was one, SURPRISE!!!) and my home-loving Virginian ancestry.

Get an education!
-- M. Andreasen

THE VALUE OF THE SOUTHERN MAN
Re: Nathan Maskiell's letter ("No More Southern Men") Overcome by Fumes:

Nathan Maskiell and his ilk of Southern bashers need to remember one thing -- it's us redneck, Bible-thumping Southerners (and other red state troops) who make up the majority of the military defending blue state voters who want to surrender to Islamic extremism and cut and run from the war we're winning in Iraq. We are also the base of the Republican Party that keeps our country from being taxed into oblivion and pulled into the moral sewer by blue state voters.

Some facts overlooked by Mr. Maskiell: Harry Truman's Missouri family supported the Confederacy and he viewed himself as a Southerner. That's why his grandmother wouldn't let him wear his WW I dress blue army uniform into her house. Also he was terribly unpopular during his second term (not unlike President Bush at this point) and only became popular after he left the White House and Americans began to appreciate his forthright and matter-of-fact leadership.

As to some other factoids: FDR without WWII was a total failure. The depression was worse in the late '30s at the height of the New Deal. Clinton and Carter politically were blue state Yankees. It is not merely carpetbag politics that led the Clintons to relocate to New York -- that's their political heartland. Also where do Carter's stupid ideas and even the man find praise (hint -- not south of the Mason-Dixon Line)?

As for the slurs against Bush 41 (born and bred in New England) and 43 they reveal the ignorance of so many so-called "conservatives." A few facts about President Reagan that are conveniently overlooked by the Bush bashers -- as Governor of California Reagan raised taxes and signed the states abortion law, President Reagan adopted a Democrat scheme to "fix" Social Security that merely passed the problem onto future generations, he granted blanket amnesty and citizenship to millions of illegal aliens, to pacify Democrats and raise his poll numbers he raised taxes in his second term (that led to a near meltdown of the stock market), as a percentage of GDP he had deficits higher than today, he appointed moderates to the Supreme Court and he allowed Iranian backed terrorists to murder over 250 Marines and U.S. military personnel in Beirut without retaliating. The fact is President Bush (43) is governing as conservatively as President Reagan he's just not as eloquent or photogenic. Also let's not forget that during his second term President Reagan was excoriated by many of the same conservatives who now are joining the liberals to attack President Bush (43). I know I was always an unabashed supporter and apologist of Reagan like I am of Bush (43).
-- Michael Tomlinson
Crownsville, Maryland

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