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Softening Hard Times

Ben Stein does it again -- too artfully? Also: Patience runs thin in second terms. Mobbed-up docks and myths. The Crocker wars continue. Plus much more.

4.6.06

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ONCE AGAIN
Re: Ben Stein's Greetings from Rancho Mirage:

Thank you, Mr. Stein.
-- JMP

Ben Stein does it again! My God! I wish I could express myself half as well as he does. Spectator readers -- make sure this note gets to the families of every military person you know.

Ben, you better be careful. If you keep writing pieces as eloquent and important as this, Barbra Streisand will come to you house and tip over on you. Being crushed is not a pleasant way to pass. One more time: "God Bless Ben Stein!
-- Jay W. Molyneaux
Wellington, Florida

Ben Stein, bless his humble heart, has written a poignant letter to our servicemen and women and their families extolling their virtues and acknowledging them for their service. He goes to rather extreme lengths to diminish the importance of anything and everything that we here at home do, and seems to go out of his way to have a whack at Oprah, but who can fault him for that? A more abject expression of personal humility would certainly give rise to suspicion that Mr. Stein is pathologically self-hating, and having seen him often on TV, there is no visible evidence of such an affliction. He is most droll, charming and self-assured.

So, I have no problem with any of that, and I don't think that I have any less appreciation for the hard life of a serviceman or woman and their families than has he. However, I detect in his letter another bit of the sleight of hand that he employed in his recent odes to the oil companies. That is, he directs our attention to the service of the little guys (like Gomer at the service station, or now, in Iraq), but really, his purpose is to gloss the honchos and their policies.

Just as he managed to paint a rosy glow on the cheeks of the oil company executives by reflection from the Gomers of the country, he now attempts to do the same for the administration of G.W. Bush by reflecting it in the light of those in harm's way. In the former case, he worked to deflect the anger of the public over astronomical oil profits while it paid record high prices for gas. Now he labors to deflect the discontent of the public over the quagmire in which the Bush crew has landed us in the Middle East.

Not to be unduly cynical, I hope, but when the high and mighty find themselves getting bad poll numbers, a call apparently goes out to Mr. Stein. He responds with his mighty feats of misdirection, and whether or not the poll numbers go up, there is a predictable flood of mail in these pages endorsing his work and implicitly at least, the persons and policies basking in the reflected glow.

I know it's tantamount to blasphemy to take issue with Mr. Stein in these pages, such is his art at using such mirrors. Still, while I accept that art for its own sake, I remain unsatisfied that the oil companies and their executives were anything more than greedy. Likewise, although mine is one of very few voices I've heard raise the issue, I remain unconvinced that our military adventures do anything to improve our security here at home, particularly when the administration stubbornly refuses to secure our borders....

I suggest that we hold the commander-in-chief to account for his decisions, and not let him escape scrutiny because the troops are brave and selfless. Let him not send squads into the bush while he stands waving through truckloads of purported lettuce and workers who "do windows." That the squads in the bush are taking heavy casualties without complaint should not absolve him of his responsibility to protect the base.
-- Mark Fallert
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

It's always heartening to see Mr. Stein write about the men and women of our Armed Forces. I wish, though -- and this is not criticism -- he'd remember the veterans who've served.

As for his assertion -- "We are on our knees to you and we bless and pray for you every moment...You are everything to us, as we go through our little days, and you are in the prayers of the nation and of every decent man and woman on the planet." -- how I wish that were true.

But as Mr. Stein said, I believe every decent man and woman, at least in America, does lift up prayers and appreciates the sacrifices the Armed Forces.

Indeed, God bless them all. May they and their families be protected by the Lord God and may we give them their due respect for their service, regardless of whether it's in a combat zone or not.
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

Kudos to Ben Stein. Well done sir! Those who serve in our armed forces, those who have given the ultimate for our country, and their families are indeed forever heroes! Thank GOD they are there for us! I truly hope that regardless of political affiliation or negative feelings toward the war, that all free people do indeed pray for these that save our sorry selves from tyranny and oppression each and every day! Dear heroes, I pray daily for your safety and health. THANK YOU!
-- George Triplett
Tucson, Arizona

Once again Ben breaks our hearts by getting to the heart of the matter. Can the soldiers hear? Can they hear these words over the sounds of battle? And can they hear these words over the outrageous vocal contempt heaped upon them by those who aren't fit to be their water boys?
-- Cara Lyons Lege

Wow. (Speechless pause.) Wow.

I sinfully covet a fraction of Ben Stein's ability to convert my feelings of gratitude for those who serve into words. Once again, the power of his words of love for our country and those who defend her has taken away my breath.

Wow.
-- Mark K. Zunk
Indianapolis, Indiana

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for Ben Stein's wonderful letter to the military men and women of the United States. As a mother of a United States Marine Corps Private First Class son, I am always overwhelmed by any expression of gratitude for what my son is doing on behalf of his country. David has only been in the Marine Corps for 10 months and is currently still in his military occupational skill school, but nevertheless, he is still one of the few, the proud. His first duty station is as a ceremonial marcher, but he has already asked if he could lay aside that duty to serve in Iraq. The answer was no, but who knows what may lay ahead for him once his schooling is completed.

I am very proud of my son and the country he has chosen to serve. I hope no one forgets the sacrifices our soldiers make in order to defend the rights of everyone who call themselves an American. It is a difficult journey that some never return from, and their decision to serve affects everyone who loves them.

God bless our service men and women, and God bless America!
-- Angela Eaton

My best friend forwarded your article to me via email. You cannot imagine how much such an essay means to us, the parents of a GI in the regular Army stationed in Germany. He has finished one tour in Iraq in which he had two near-misses that would most certainly have killed him. He will probably have to do another tour before his enlistment is done. We are encouraged by the lessening of American casualties there now. But, we feel guilt daily because some other soldier or Marine has given "the last full measure of devotion." We dread a visit from his comrades will bring us the news that we feel we cannot endure.

When I think about how many mothers lost children in previous wars, I am confident that most of them were comforted that their son or daughter would be honored by his countrymen for his sacrifice for a great cause. But we cannot feel that way. Daily, we hear the drumbeat of petty men (and women) who preface their hurting words with hollow praise. Daily they undermine the security of our son and his comrades with nitpicking criticism of all things related to the great war against jihadists and their fascist allies. Daily they give succor to the mad fanatics who read the New York Times before their breakfasts.

While George Bush is less articulate than Abraham Lincoln, and will never give a speech like candidate Lincoln gave at Cooper Union, or the Gettysburg Address, or the Second Inaugural, he is no less brave, or determined. I hope that a great success in Iraq will save Bush's place in history just as Sherman's victory saved Lincoln's. If Sherman had not taken Atlanta, George McClellan would have appeased the Rebels and who knows how disastrous that would have been. A military victory! The sacrifice of those mother's sons would have been for nothing! Lincoln would have been remembered as a bumpkin who wrote a noble speech or two, but lost democracy for this nation or any other nation.

Keep up the good work, Mr. Stein. Your outspoken campaign in writing and on the tube is no small thing. Give yourself credit for the great effect you have upon the population at large. It is no small thing you do. People like you give comfort to us and, I am sure, affect the opinions of others who might have succumbed to the drumbeat. Don't sell yourself short because you worry about your bills. You are not treading water. Your voice and others like you, make an enormous difference. No matter that you are not in harms way like the servicemen and women are. You give them a voice and for that you should be very proud.
-- Eugene and Juanita Kallman
Santa Monica, California

Thank you for putting how so many of us feel in words, and so powerfully. I forwarded your article to my son-in-law in Korea (USAF); to my nephew (Navy); and to his dad with whom I served in the '60s, who retired a Master Chief, and who is now an EMT. And I made sure to forward this to their families, who are rarely recognized for their service.
-- Norm Gould

I just read Ben Stein's article thanking the armed forces. Ben, you just made my whole day. Thank you.
-- Brad Beatty
Major, USAF

You've plucked the words right out of my mouth. We, in Australia, are also enormously grateful.
-- Alexandra Taylor
Sydney, Australia

IMMIGRATION CHASMS
Re: Lisa Fabrizio's Second-Term Opportunity:

First, Heaven help us if the "American Dream" consists of paying an imported member of a new underclass to do a hard job that one never would have dreamed doing himself for such low wages earlier in life. No doubt, in the early 1800s, some thought that the "American Dream" was to buy a slave to tan hides, clean the chicken coop, or to pick cotton all day in the sun.

Secondly, regarding the issue of controlled immigration points on the East coast controlling immigration in the past, there was a very significant cultural difference between the immigrants who came to America in years past versus the current illegal aliens from Mexico. That difference really goes all the way back to the immigration to Mexico from Spain. The past immigrants to America wanted freedom, especially religious and political freedom, and opportunity for themselves and especially for their families, who came over as well. They did not have much loyalty to their place of birth...otherwise why were they immigrating? Not one in a million cursed America while they sailed the Atlantic. We might take pride in our heritages, but that is distinct from political loyalty to the current government of the homelands of our forefathers.

The immigrants to Mexico, on the other hand, were Spaniards whose plan was to come over, find gold, get rich, and then move back to Spain. They did not bring over families and it was not the pursuit of freedom, certainly not religious freedom, nor the opportunity to make honest livelihoods that were the main attractions. As usually happened, they did not get rich, did not move back to Spain, and instead settled down with Indian wives. The point is that the motivations of the Mexican illegal immigration to the U.S. is not much different from the motivations of the Spanish immigration to Mexico. Granted, landscaping for four dollars an hour is nobler than torturing Indians for gold, but again, the whole idea is to make some money and go home with it -- this is not immigration with the goal of assimilation and is not at all comparable to the past immigration to America.

A country made of failed get-rich-quick schemers seems unlikely to very free of political corruption: welcome to Mexico. Where rich natural resources plus proximity to the worlds largest economy plus proximity to two oceans equals third world country. Drive on I-10 between El Paso Texas and Juarez Mexico...the only thing separating prosperity from poverty is the rampant corruption that stops heading North at the Rio Grande. In Mexico, and I write from experience, bribery is the way of life for government officials. Imagine having to slip money to any and every government employee you ever meet -- that is inconceivable in America but is the way of life in Mexico. If that sort of corruption could be gotten rid of there is no reason why Mexico could not provide excellent jobs to all of its citizens. But instead, the rich ruling elite exports the surplus population to America and has them send home money, and all the while blames it on the gringos. What is more noble: paying someone three dollars an hour to mow our lawns, or doing what has to be done to reform his country so that maybe his children may enjoy the same freedom and prosperity ours will?

I'm all for controlled immigration for Mexicans who know English, bring their families, intend to work their way up in a company and to gain valuable skills (as opposed to day labor), and have no interest in ever moving back to Mexico -- I used to hire and work with such green card holders at a company in Southern New Mexico. And I have more respect for some of them than I do for a lot of the Americans I went to college with. If we need workers, they should be selected and screened such that only those able and willing to be Americans in all ways should be let in, instead of letting loose a new underclass. The likely outcome of this new permanent underclass, loyal to a foreign government and speaking a foreign language, will be problems in the future that are not worth any amount of landscaping and restaurant table cleaning today.
-- D. Lewis
McKenzie, Tennessee

"George Bush and his conservative base are suffering an acute bout of second term-itis"? Not so. It's him and his Republican base suffer. Actually, it appears they're terminally ill. Conservatives simply wonder, in their agita and disbelief, what happened to those GOP types they have elected in national presidential and Congressional elections since 2000.

With respect to giving aid to the illegals? It's a dilemma, for sure. But before we continue to drain resources to take care of illegals -- and, in the end, increase our tax burden and/or rob Peter to pay Paul from other programs -- let's do some honest gut-checking.

For instance, let's get out on the streets of our cities as well as rural America's hills, dales and hollows. See how we're taking care of our own. See if we're satisfied with how we're taking care of the elderly, the young and any group that's fallen through society's cracks.

While we're at it, we might ponder why illegal aliens get better, perhaps even cheaper, access to healthcare than many Americans.
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

How is it possible to de-politicize an issue that is 100 percent politicized by the opposition? And, why would you even want to de-politicize the issue? The Mexican government has no problem politicizing it. La Raza has no problem. The Democrats have no problem. How are we supposed to solve this issue if we don't solve it through politics?

Just because it was "easier" to control immigration when the Europeans came here doesn't make the argument irrelevant. Especially when the government refuses to control immigration today. Especially when the government refuses to enforce immigration laws. If we built a fence along the southern border I guarantee you that control would be a lot easier. Just ask Israel about their fence. If we started deporting large numbers of illegals things would get a lot easier. Once these people realize we actually intend to enforce the law they will begin to control themselves.

I am so sick and tired of so called pundits, experts, the government, the president, and everyone else telling us these people are doing jobs we won't do. That's 100 percent USDA Grade A B.S. I live in Texas and everywhere you find illegals working you find Americans doing the same job. Of course the American could be making more at the same job but because of illegals the job no longer pays what it should. In many job categories pay has remained flat for many years because of the never ending supply of cheap "illegal" labor. Most job categories in this country are overwhelmingly performed by legal citizens and/or workers. Maybe you should go check it out sometime. Just because someone looks Mexican/Hispanic/Latino/whatever that doesn't necessarily mean they are illegal aliens. That's just our nativistic prejudice showing through when we automatically think they are illegals. But what does that say about the U.S. when our automatic response is wrong and not supported by the facts? It means we have been brainwashed by the media and the government.

What about the illegal aliens sitting in federal prison, state prison, and city/county jails? Were these scum bags doing work Americans won't do?

I'm not a Michael Savage fan but he has one thing right: "Borders, language, culture are what define a country." We have no borders since we refuse to enforce immigration law. We have no language since it has been co-opted by the left and since the government now prints all kinds of stuff in multiple languages. And multiculturalism is a culture killer.
-- RW

You want us on the right to remember President Reagan's Eleventh Commandment. Perhaps you should first get George Bush to honor it. He demonized those that pointed out Ms. Miers's lack of qualifications as "sexist." He demonized the Minutemen as "vigilantes." He demonized those against the Dubai ports deal as anti-Arab and "nativist." Course at the same time he had next to nothing to say about the elected bomb throwers within the Democrat party.

You object that some of us prefer to stand on principle instead of just meekly going along with whatever Bush wants by "compromising." What else would you like to compromise about? How about this: abortion is OK as long as it is in the first two trimesters and an equal number of boy and girl babies are aborted. Oh, I know, how about this: all murder is second degree unless the prosecution can show that the killer had first committed a detailed plan to paper or his computer hard drive. Maybe we could compromise with the tens of thousands of MS-13 gang member that have entered our country illegally. They will only be prosecuted for crimes against LEGAL American citizens.

Wait until the media starts hiring illegals at below scale wages to write news and opinion columns and articles. Then I will expect to see ALL scribes close ranks and call for immediate and complete border control, regardless of thereby losing their nannies and gardeners and maids.

Remember the Alamo -- George Bush won't.
-- Ken Shreve

Lisa Fabrizio replies:
Your point about President Bush's remarks concerning his critics is well taken though the term "demonized" is one I expect from the left.

Your other insights are a bit over the top. If you read my article, I used abortion as an example of issues on which moral men should never compromise. I do not feel that the House immigration bill is one of them, however.

TIMELESS MATCH
Re: Quin Hillyer's Traditionalists Like No Others:

As one whose adolescence included the extraordinary good fortune of first exposure to golf (both as a caddy, and as a "night member") on the unrelenting hills of Donald Ross's first masterpiece this side of the drink, Oakley Country Club, in Watertown, Mass., my scally cap is off to Quin Hillyer. His take on the Masters conveys that same captivating timelessness that is the game's itself, surely sport's version of a book from the Bible -- both inspired and inspirational.

That said, what I wouldn't give to see my guy, Tom Lehman, don the tacky green sports jacket in the waning Augusta sunlight this Sunday afternoon. By Mr. Hillyer's own admission, it could happen!
-- Francis M. Hannon, Jr.
Melrose, Massachusetts

WISE GUYS TO THE BORDER
Re: Ralph R. Reiland's Port Security? Fuhgetaboutit:

My guess is that Mr. Reiland is correct about the "wise guys" and the ports. I remember reading/hearing about the ports and the "wise guys" contemporaneously during my misspent early youth. My further guess is that the "wise guys" could and would do a fabulous job in controlling our borders. I would bet that, within six months, illegal immigrants would enter this country via only a half dozen or less points, and that they would be screened very effectively, and that 500,000 illegals per year would be down to about 50, 000 per year. I would bet that the violent Hispanic gang, MS-13 would be soon gone as a concern for law enforcement. (Wise guys don't like competition.) I would bet that the drug trade would be effectively regulated. Then the law enforcement authorities could move to the same sort of potemkin-like enforcement activities as they did for booze during the Prohibition Era. At least we would have a controlling handle on several of the country's intransigent problems that the Bush administration can't or won't get serious about.

Remember the Alamo -- Bush won't.
-- Ken Shreve

I don't really wish to take on Ralph Reiland in general. But his column does call for some disputation.

It has in fact never been clear if the influence of Lucky Luciano, through his lieutenant "Socks" Lanza, really helped on the docks of New York during WWII. Author Norman Lewis, in The Honored Society, his well-regarded book about the roots of the Mafia in Sicily, makes that point forcefully. The stories about Luciano's "aid" to the country that deported him back to Sicily in 1945 remain apocryphal, and as, Lewis writes, "wildly improbable." It is, however, apparently true that when Allied tank forces wished to make contact with Don Calogero Vizzini, then head of the Mafia in Sicily, in 1943, that they flew on their vehicles a yellow guidon with a black "L" for Luciano on it. After this contact with Don Calogero, specifically Italian resistance to the Allied invasion of Sicily seemed to melt away, as Lewis notes.

Nonetheless, when his Senate Crime Committee's investigation of 1950-51 tried to make sense of the many stories about the debt an ungrateful nation might have really owed to Luciano for actions during WWII, Senator Estes Kefauver received only obfuscation from the various parties he approached to testify on the matter. Governor Dewey, who'd commuted Luciano's sentence, for example, declined to come to Washington to appear before Kefauver's committee to clear up the matter. Naval Intelligence reps also proved slippery to pin down. And Kefauver himself recounted a tale told him by a narcotics agent that it was in fact a drug-dealing underling of Luciano's who'd first approached the authorities, rather than the other way around (as Reiland seemingly would have it). Nonetheless, Kefauver noted that this approach was supposedly meant by way of aiding the Allied advance on its planned (and well-advertised) invasion of Sicily, and had nothing to do with conditions on the N.Y. docks.

So there the matter apparently rests. It's a good story that the "wise guys" may have done their bit for Uncle Sam on the docks during WWII. But it's likely also a false one.
-- Richard Szathmary
Clifton, New Jersey

DEMOCRACY-LITE
Re: Doug Bandow's India: Uncertain Democratic Partner:

India has a sheer veneer of democratic overlay in a land plagued by religious strife.

The pagan Hindus, accustomed to a well-established caste system, resent all Muslims for liberating the Untouchables. Those Untouchables who shed their low caste shackles did so by accepting another religion and becoming equals in the sight of Allah. However, in the sight of true Hindus, all Indian Muslims are still members of the Untouchables. They were able to slip their bonds and that is why there is such a deep and abiding hatred between Hindus and Muslims.

Christianity, too, is a problem for Hindus. It, too, threatens not only a caste system that still survives, albeit more openly, in rural areas, but the many pagan gods and festivals that is culturally quintessential India. Losing the Hindu religion to a monotheistic religion is cultural suicide for an entire country: no more festivals to the myriad of gods, no more sexually explicit art in Hindu temples, no more vegans or cow worshippers.
-- Wolf Terner
Fair Lawn, New Jersey

CITIZENSHIP GIVEAWAY
Re: Brandon Crocker's Be My Guest (Worker):

Let's talk about guest worker programs. I propose we have a program where someone from another country is given permission, call it a visa or a green card, to visit our country. This person has to follow certain rules as they live and work in our country and when their visa or green card expires they have to leave. But what do we do about the people who overstay their visa? Right now we mostly do nothing. Let's call that a guest worker program and save the money developing a new program.

On to your argument about the differences between a guest worker program and giving illegal aliens amnesty. Your point seems to be that a guest worker program will impose penalties and an amnesty program would not. Since we are unwilling or unable to impose penalties with our current laws and programs what makes your guest worker program any different? The Senate planned guest worker program is a paper tiger with no teeth. If you have a program that is not an amnesty program because it will impose penalties and the drafters of the program have no intention of imposing those penalties you have an amnesty program with a different name. Right now members of congress pressure the INS to NOT enforce the law on a case by case basis.

Thus a guest worker program without proper enforcement is an amnesty program. An amnesty program will make the problem worse. A guest worker program cannot exist until we achieve better enforcement and border security, because this is the key.

Both political parties are reluctant to confront the problems of illegal immigration. Copy me by sending their fund raising letters back with a paper stating "No border security, no donation" in big, bold letters.
-- Jeffrey Ring
Lorton, Virginia

As with most of the suggestions and recommendations for dealing with immigration, there may very well be problems with my suggestion. I have waited for a similar plan to be presented, but no one has. That indicates that what I am about to suggest may be totally ridiculous. I'll take that chance.

At the center is this simple change to the tax code: there will be no business tax deductions for expenses related to labor in which the labor is performed by a non-citizen without a valid work visa.

An employer would be free to hire anyone, but they could not take an expense deduction for undocumented persons. They may choose to do this, but, it would effectively increase the federal tax on the business. This is unrelated to the required withholding for taxes, FICA and Medicare, and these would be unaffected.

If they wanted to legally take the expense deduction, they would take the time to verify the status of every applicant. Employers are supposed to do this now. However, without serious penalties the task is done half-heartedly in the knowledge that the records will never be checked or that the dealings are with the softer INS. Make the compliance organization the IRS and the whole dynamic changes. Over time, after a few high viability audits, the demand side of the labor supply would begin to be reduced.

Let's ask the true beneficiary of the low-cost labor to do the work in helping to solve this problem.
-- Joe Strader

Crocker has some very convincing arguments for a Guest Worker program as part of immigration reform. And I agree that this might be a good idea to deal with both labor and immigration issues. But I have a few very good reasons to oppose it as well:

1. Crocker suggests that a guest worker program should be passed at the same time as efforts to strengthen our borders. One very good reason to tighten security first is that we cannot trust the politicians to keep their word. Let's get them to do their job first by protecting our borders then we can consider how they can appease their corporate donors interested in cheap labor. It's about priorities. "We the People" are their bosses and they need to start realizing that.

Once they regain popular trust, then they might be reelected in November and then they can tackle other important issues such as the budget (repealing the pork laws from last year, for example), serious tax reform (and cuts), and entitlement reform. At least one can hope they might.

2. His arguments in support of the guest worker program sound too pie-in-the-sky. Providing a new legal alternative to illegal immigration will not necessarily reduce the number of illegals making the attempt. If they think the illegal method is easier, they will continue to attempt it. And if these numbers are not reduced then security will not be enhanced, as he suggests.

Allowing current illegal aliens to register for such a program offers no guarantee that many of them will. If they suspect it will result in penalties or that it will not lead to citizenship then they won't register. The same is true if they balk at paying the $1000 fine or they think that they won't be able to bring their families into the U.S. There is no guarantee that they will trust the government, regardless of what bill is passed. Can you blame them?

As far as government will is concerned, there is no guarantee that any new bill will have any significant impact on that either. If the attacks on September 11, 2001 did not convince Congress to strengthen our borders I don't see how any guest worker program five years later will. Was Congress responsive to public outcries against their pork laws last year? I'd hate to see the Democrats retake control of either house of Congress this year, but if the Republicans act like Democrats what is the difference?

There will always be some who find arresting poor, hard-working people undesirable but how many illegal aliens are on welfare or in prison instead of "hard working" and productive? And those who complain about such arrests tend to complain about almost any enforcement of the laws. Should the fringe Left dictate immigration policy?

I think it would be wonderful if such a program were possible -- and if the Courts could be convinced that illegal aliens are not entitled to benefits of citizenship (or if the Courts could be circumvented by defining this out of their jurisdiction). But I'm not very optimistic about any of this happening.

3. The best reason I can think of to oppose the Guest Worker programs currently being proposed is that they would benefit existing illegal aliens living in the U.S. It is quite possible that our immigration laws need real reform (as with most everything else) and a guest worker program designed to make it easier for foreigners to immigrate and get jobs is a great idea. But any reform that facilitates citizenship for current illegals is a big mistake. Whether or not you call it "amnesty" or include fines and other penalties, illegal aliens would be rewarded for violating our laws. And, at least in the short run, it might provide encouragement to others who come here illegally.

Employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens need to punished severely and illegals need to be deported immediately. After decades of neglect, enforcement must come first. Then a Guest Worker program might be a good idea to consider.
-- Mark Long
New Braunfels, Texas

BULL BURST?
Re: Robert T. McLean's Bullish on Baghdad:

Mr. McLean, reported in your article "Bullish on Baghdad," you expressed that American troops were buying the "new" Iraqi currency as a future investment with hopes that Iraq will emerge as a secure and prosperous economy. In your opinion, do you feel that this "new" emergence and economy will be short-term? If so, what support, if any, can you offer of other Americans that are also investing in the new economy?
-- unsigned

BASEBALL FORSAKEN
Re: Paul Beston's Shadows Past and Present:

There was once a baseball team called the Baltimore Orioles, yes they are still around...although now, nothing but a joke of was once the best teams in the American League, if not all of baseball, from the late fifties until the early eighties.

Brooks Robinson at third base; demolished the Big Red Machine. Frank Robinson, now Manager of the Washington Nationals, Jim Palmer, Gus Triandos, Hoyt Wilhelm, Jim Gentile, Boog Powell, ...the farm system and I could go on and on. Some Hall of Famers. Need we mention Cal Ripkin? Some were platoon players and gifted and contributed to win after win. Thanks to Earl Weaver. The Manager, hat on backwards, sometimes in the ump's face... and always in Baltimore's heart.

I lived at a time when I could open my window and hear the cheers from Memorial Stadium (a few miles down the road) and then at a time I could walk over there and buy a cheap seat for $3.75 and a beer for a lot less and watch great baseball on a humid Baltimore evening.

The point? Steroids are an absolute aberration. The owners and ML Baseball are the greater aberration. Peter G. Angelos destroyed a Baltimore baseball team. The owners and ML Baseball will shortly take care of finishing it off.
-- Jim Woodward
Fruitland, Maryland

SINISTER CYNTHIA
Re: The Prowler's Mount McKinney:

In my opinion, Rep. Cynthia McKinney deliberately left her lapel pin off, deliberately walked around the metal detector, and deliberately ignored the Capitol Police Officer asking her to stop in order to provoke them. That way when he "touched" her to get her to stop, she was prepared for it and reacted in her premeditated way. All the more easy for her to claim "racial profiling" during her next news conference. A normal person would have begged forgiveness and thanked the police officer for doing his job as trained. But then, we aren't talking about a normal person, are we?
-- Paul Lindberg
American Fork, Utah

DEJA NEWS ALL OVER AGAIN
Re: The Prowler's Take the Money and Run:

Let me get this straight... Clinton and cronies cozy up to foreign interests, possibly break laws, get big bucks, and when the deal becomes public and goes south manage to get the blame shoved onto the Republicans. I must be having a 1990s flashback.
-- Geoff Bowden
Battle Creek, Michigan

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