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Salutes to Ben Stein

Tribute paid where it is due. Plus much, much more.

3.6.06

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GIVE HOLLYWOOD HELL
Re: Ben Stein's Missed Tributes:

I just finished reading Ben Stein's article on "Missed Tributes." I realize you will get all kinds of feedback from this article, but I would like to be one of the first to say thank you. Thank you for publishing such a fantastically succinct and accurate summation of our thankless masses out in Hollywood. I guess I have become so used to their misuse of their fame, that I didn't even notice the absence of tributes to our brave men and women overseas and their families at home (though in all honesty, I too didn't see the entire spiel).

My husband is a captain in the National Guard. He deployed to Iraq on November 4 (after leaving home in early September for training). We just celebrated the 1/3rd mark yesterday in our countdown to his year being over. He and I both have long since tired of Hollywood and their crazy abuse of fame for publicity of their own ridiculous ideas and notions, (i.e. Tom Cruise and postpartum depression, etc.) We even have decided to boycott movies as the actors in Hollywood are so grossly overpaid, while our teachers, firemen, policemen and soldiers are so grossly underpaid).

I just want to express my sincerest thanks for the way Mr. Stein was able to so aptly identify and describe the state of decay in our neighboring country of "Hollywood." What a sad statement after acting greats like Eddie Albert, Mel Brooks, Ernest Borgnine, Henry Fonda, Clark Gable, Tyrone Power, Glenn Ford, and so many more served our great country. I'd like to see how many current "stars" would be willing to give up all their lush comforts to risk their lives, leaving family and friends behind for a war zone. Disgusting is the only word that comes to mind. Thank you, Mr. Stein. You have a new faithful reader and my most heartfelt thanks.
-- Amanda G. Edwards, Proud wife of Captain Renato Edwards, 5-113FA, LSA Adder-Tallil

As always, Ben is succinctly on the mark.
-- Kent Steen

Ben Stein did a great job in his review of the Oscars and of Hollywood.
-- Robert J. McCreavy

YES, YES, YES, another great article by Mr. Stein. Hollywood has blinders on and I can only pray that their box office money keep dropping until one day the blinders slip away and they see the damage their filth is doing. But I will not hold my breath for that to happen anytime soon. The hero is the soldier that has made our country where Hollywood can spew their hate without worrying about being thrown in jail, but they don't think about that. Hollywood is where we are told to conserve fuel and yet they have huge SUVs, Limos, Jets, pools and houses as big as football fields. Everyone is supposed to do as they say, not as they do. Hollywood is where the stars really do think they have something important to say and we should all stop, get on our knees and worship them. I THINK NOT.
-- Elaine Kyle

I am sure I won't be the first to point out that when Hollywood's beloved Muslims take over, everyone in Hollywood will be stood up against a wall and either beheaded or shot.

I doubt very much if the Mullahs will be impressed by the number of times an actor can say f*** in six seconds (I believe the record is now five), or will glorify anal sex and lifelong blatant adultery when they are in charge. If you think the Cartoon Intifada is fun, just wait for the Brokeback Mountain Intifada.
-- Kate Shaw
Toronto, Ontario

Thank you.
-- John McGuinness

Ben Stein's article was far more moving than any silly platitudes issuing from the mouths of Hollywood celebs at the Oscars ceremony. God Bless Ben Stein!
-- C. Hill
Augusta, Georgia

Thanks, Ben. You are right on target. It always gives me the creeps when these airhead know-nothings assemble and speak their minds.

FYI, my recent take on the lack of patriotism and national will.
-- Barry K.

I have not watched the Oscars for at least 20 years. I refuse to go to most movies or purchase new movies on video or DVD.

I do this because I despise and reject the prevalent Hollywood culture of the last 20 years. It is contrary to everything that is true and great about this country.

Mr. Stein expressed my thoughts perfectly.
-- Doug Santo
Pasadena, California

The more I read of Ben Stein's writings like this the more I am saddened that Hollywood cannot make use of them as a scriptwriter. Reading the comments on the drivel that passed for a script in Crash with an apparent new record of obscenities (excluding the deliberate efforts of Stone & Parker in South Park the Movie: Bigger Longer and Uncut) it is really a tragedy that such talents are not used in their place.

Of course, if he were, then my granddaughter would be denied the joys of "H.P." and other great characters!
-- Cookie Sewell
Aberdeen, Maryland

Ben Stein, you are my hero. I watch Sunday morning to hear what you have to say. Your piece on Christmas was fabulous. Your Missed Tributes expresses my opinion so eloquently. You make so much sense. Why can't everyone think like you do???

Thank you for doing a great job.
-- Carolyn Woodul

Excellent column re Bollywood, hooray for Ben.
-- Galen Woods
Decatur, Illinois

...I think it was movie critic Michael Medved who said that if George Clooney won the Oscar for supporting actor, it would mean that the Oscars and movie industry had "jumped the shark." His reason was that Syriana is diabolically silly. The idea that a reforming ruler in the Middle East in 2005 would be the target of the U.S. government for the sake of oil is the opposite of the current situation, which Clooney apparently could not face up to. At least in the movie Good Night, and Good Luck, Clooney merely ignored that fact that there really were communists in the U.S. government, as liberal historian David Halberstam noted, rather than making up an Oliver Stone hypotheses as Clooney did in Syriana. ...

Medved has also been saying for years that Hollywood picks for the Oscar the movie that thumbs its nose at traditional values over the ones that support traditional values--giving awards for movies on abortion, euthanasia, etc. (Note that the exceptions seem to resemble this year: the few movies that were surprise victors over the favorites often had more traditional values than the favorite or favorites that year.) It's hard to argue that Hollywood even gave itself a traditional values movie nomination to reject this year. Most people expected Hollywood to thumb its nose at the Little Old Lady from Dubuque by its awards as it had already done in the nominations, generally speaking. The fact that Crash won for best picture and Brokeback Mountain only won for best director means that Hollywood backed off from jumping the shark.

One could argue that the fact the six different movies won the six main awards means that Hollywood didn't have the courage of its bad convictions, indeed, didn't have any convictions, except in court (I couldn't resist the pun!). And one can argue that Crash at least supported traditional values by somewhat realistically, rather than in an overly romantic way, examining the problems of race in America. Having a larger number of stars in the movie did give the movie an extra lobbying group. And one could argue that Hollywood honored a movie about itself, always its favorite love object. Crash also let them vote for one somewhat politically correct movie while rejecting other politically correct movies.(There was no way that, of the six main awards, Walk the Line would have won anything except for the consensus best actress, so that particular traditional-values movie was defeated as usual. A significant portion of winners did not mention a husband or wife.)

Regarding the shark, I would not actually argue with anyone who said that the jump had occurred. The ratings were terrible, as many predicted. It may have been Dave Chappelle who did a parody of an awards show in which a recording artist thanked Jesus profusely as he accepted an award for a song about pimps. Now it has actually occurred. Chappelle has run out of things to parody or make fun of when his jokes happen in real life, leaving nothing to parody. I recall the editor of a book on parodies noting that life itself had become such a parody that parody was very difficult to write. Art Buchwald has noted this also. Maybe reality has jumped the shark. Two award winners actually thanked their doctors. At least no one thanked their abortionist or a doctor who decided not to administer euthanasia on them, though Altman came close. Of course, few could have sincerely thanked their parents for not aborting them, since so many have no convictions that favor life.
-- R.L.A. Schaefer
Dubuque, Iowa

This is a sad but true article you wrote about the Oscars. Why can't Americans have guts enough not to go to these movies. Most people just think this is a great country to wake up in each morning but have no appreciation of why we're able to do so. I hope you can get your message to people in Hollywood who can and will make a difference.

Thanks for your efforts.
-- Olen Akers

Many thanks to Mr. Stein for his accurate and timely assessment of Hollywood. I tried to watch the Oscars but quickly became nauseous. These are a pathetic and sick lot of Americans. What amazes me more than anything is how they have benefited more than anyone from the system they seem bound and determined to destroy.
-- Edward Carrier
Bristol, Tennessee

I am proud to be an American. After reading Ben Stein's article on the Oscars, I must say that I whole-heartedly agree with him. Hollywood is nothing more than a bunch of whining babies screaming "Look at me!" just to get whatever attention they never received as children.

My thanks to Ben for saying what needed to be said: We should stand up and thank our men and women of the armed forces, as well as their loved ones, for protecting our country and giving celebrities the opportunity to be the thankless crowd that they are.
-- Corey Livermore

Thank you for publishing the piece. Hollywood has been staring at its navel for so long that the rest of America doesn't care. This past year is an accumulation of the drivel. The box office returns reflect our interest. But, unfortunately, it reflects what 50 percent of Americans are thinking.

If you would like an opportunity to visit with and honor the men and women from the New York area who have been serving our country by putting their lives on the line, I encourage you to join us at the Leatherneck Ball, sponsored by the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, on Friday April 21 at the New York Hilton. Nationally, the Foundation raises scholarship funds for the sons and daughters of Marines who have served honorably. Special consideration is given to the children of a Marine Corps parent who was killed in the War on Terror.

To inquire about tickets, contact Ms. Fran Liner (212) 997-0100, or visit our web site www.marine-scholars.org or contact me on email.

The evening is a patriotic celebration of what America stands for!
-- Fred Shaffer

When they used to tell Harry Truman to "Give 'em hell, Harry!" he would reply "I don't give 'em hell. I just tell the truth and they think it's hell." Give 'em hell, Ben.
-- Lawrence Chisholm

Granted it's revolting and repulsive that there wasn't breath given of tribute to our Armed Forces at the Oscars.

But surely Mr. Stein isn't surprised that Tinsel Town, along with San Francisco, the co-capitol of the Left Coast, didn't make such tribute at its annual love fest. After all, it wouldn't be politically correct, given TT's inhabitants' political leanings, now wouldn't it? Also, it would take more than the navel gazing and self-promotion that said inhabitants seem to be so possessed with.
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

Another great piece by Ben. They just get better and better, more direct, more pointed, harder hitting.

He is a credit to your organization, and a key player in the informal team that is trying to turn the "post-socialism" liberal elite around.
-- Lamar Johnson
Beaverton, Oregon

Thank you, sir. We know who our friends are.
-- SPC Snuffy Smith
Tal Afar, Iraq

Big tribute to Ben's "Missed Tributes."
-- Dick Grogan
Yorba Linda, California

A thousand thank yous for stating the obvious in an unforgettably true and beautiful manner.
-- Paul J. Johnson

THAT CLINTON MEMORY
Re: The Prowler's Foreign Agent Clinton:

It is beyond all rational thinking to assume that Mrs. Clinton was completely unaware of her husband's actions as an "Agent of a Foreign Principal" with the UAE ports deal and who knows what other dealings that President Clinton had with foreign powers when he was a sitting President and as a former President.

"She knew America," Hillary Clinton didn't get to where she is politically by being naive. "Oh, I am unaware of my husband's dealings with the UAE." This mean, vicious, and politically calculating woman fully expects us to swallow that tainted rational and the sad part is that the majority of America will swallow it hook line and sinker.

It is a sad day in American politics and this country's proud history that we have a former president on the payroll of a nation with ties to terrorists and a wife who monetarily benefited from those ties and publicly state on the record, "that she didn't know." Just like she didn't know about the Rose Law Firm billing records, just like she didn't know about the White House Travel Office, just like she didn't know about Vince Foster and this is the stuff that we do know about.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin are spinning in they're graves at the outright mockery and disdain the Bill and Hillary Clinton have of the American political process and its people.

"America, do we have the courage to cast these two political charlatans into the abyss of obscurity to never infect the American political process ever again with the vile and corrupt actions." I think not, because America seems to care more about antics of Paris Hilton and the acquisition of more political power than the selling off of American Presidency to the highest foreign bidder.
-- Melvin L. Leppla
Jacksonville, North Carolina

SLOW REGULATION
Re: John C. Wohlstetter's Ma Bell's Lost Sons:

Anytime you hear someone say I'm from the government and I am here to help you...RUN. I have SBC and still have dialup at the blazing speed of 26400. Believe me I don't have dialup because I want it: DSL is not in our area and the cable company does not have it and I sure can't afford satellite. I have enjoyed watching all of Ma's kids come back to the big house and wondered what was going to happen next.
-- Elaine Kyle

John C. Wohlstetter replies:
Thank you for your comment. One of the things government cannot resist is the urge to tamper with things, even when they are working. Bert Lance once said: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Ma Bell was far from perfect, but it was not broke. In his Jan. 16, 1979 radio address Ronald Reagan (not yet a declared presidential candidate for 1980) wondered whimsically if the government was suing Ma Bell because the phone company might someday put the Post Office out of business. Ma Bell provided better service at lower prices, versus the Post Office's poorer service at higher prices. We live with the consequences of the government's folly.

YOUR FRIENDLY INQUISITOR
Re: Jed Babbin's On Her Majesty's SGO:

I just read most of "On Her Majesty's SGO" by Jed Babbin, when I was stopped cold by this line:

"When religion has been central to European history -- as in the Spanish Inquisition -- Europe has taken an ugly turn."

Since the "Black Legend" of the Spanish Inquisition has long been known to be mere propaganda from the British, and since Tudor England was much more bloodthirsty than the Spanish Inquisition ever was, it is stunning to me when I read such comments from anyone, much less Mr. Babbin.
-- Luke A. Lafferre
Huntington, West Virginia

EVOLVING STANDARDS OF ACADEMIA
Re: Clinton W. Taylor's Taliboola! Taliboola!:

My 18-year-old grandson took additional courses to have a better than 4.0 GPA so he would be accepted at Cal Poly or UC Davis (he was, at both and four more). If his name was Rahmatullah instead of Smith and he was a former terrorist he would be being courted by Yale instead of paying tuition at Davis. And he could have quit school after fourth grade and taken a high school equivalency test. I understand that Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi has a fourth grade education. Probably from one of those madrassas terrorist academies where the only requirement is that you rock on your rump endlessly, as you memorize the Koran.

Rahmatullah's sponsor, Mike Hoover of the International Education Foundation (whoever heard of that??) looks like a crazier Jim Carrey (Dumb and Dumber). He was interviewed on Fox News, eyes darting furtively, like a paranoid schizophrenic in dire need of medication. Hoover and his group worked to get this born-again Terrorist Spokesman admitted to Yale on a student visa. Immigration is as loony as Yale.

The prospect of this Taliban punk lounging around the student union influencing freshmen ought to put a damper on enrollment, but it probably will not.

Drop down to North Carolina and we have Mohammed Taheri-Azar who works off his hostilities by plowing into groups of students with his car. The local constabulary have determined that it is "probably not terror-linked." Well, that's comforting. He's just a whack-job. Mohammed's also here on a student visa.

Over in Aurora, Colorado, where the mentally walking wounded are allowed to teach Human Geography, (sounds like the study of tattoos) we have Jay Bennish, barely 10 years older than the students he is attempting to brain wash. Mr. Bennish is an untidy, long haired "up talker" of the whiny Valley Girl persuasion. Ends every sentence as though it were a question. Pronounces "coca" "cocoa" -- as in "we spray their cocoa crops?" Isn't that what you make your Hershey Bars out of? This clearly a teacher with no lesson plan.

We don't need to worry about securing our borders when our immigration/visa program allows the likes of Hashemi and Taheri-Azar in our country as students. And if our standards allow Jay Bennish inside a classroom, we are doomed.

When I get to be head of Immigration, my first xenophobic rule will be "If your name has more than 35 letters and I can't pronounce it, and there are more than five of you already here with the same name -- then, sorry, you can't live here." Applicant will say, "You got a problem with Rajikraqmanimullahpiranhakashmirikittykat? OK, here's another visa. My name is Ahmed."

But that probably won't happen, as I am a woman and did not graduate from Yale.
-- Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California

GOOD RIDDANCE, MODERATES
Re: David Holman's Republicans Turn on Santorum:

Just read David Holman's article regarding the thugs, that's right "THUGS" of the RMC. Here's a group of alleged Republicans who are espousing that the "extremist," that would be those of us who cherish life and believe that all are entitled to it, as in "LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," are "ruining" the party image. Are you upset yet? Well then how's this grab you; the quote from Jennifer Blei Stockman who says "we will be going after candidates we don't agree with" (i.e., Rick Santorum). WOW -- does she not sound like someone planted from the camp of Bill and Hillary! This woman was on Neil Cavuto's this past Friday and she actually said if we don't "wise-up" she and her ilk will be leaving the RNC. I SAY, SEE YA Jennifer! I guess that is supposed to be construed as a threat. She obviously does not realize how serious we are to see this evil holocaust of murdering a baby in womb to end. She obviously does not understand that we are not just about being fiscally conservative -- if that were the case, most people right now would not be voting Democrat nor Republican -- since both parties are bent on spending our money. What is so ironic is the phrase that her ilk describe us as "extremist." Yet she sees nothing extremist in her quest to keep partial birth legal. Well Jennifer, you go girl -- and I mean go -- go join Hillary's group now -- we are never giving up. Just like those brave but radical folks who never gave up in freeing the slaves -- just like those brave fanatics who valiantly fought two world wars so that all would be exposed to a better world -- and just like the brave men and women now fighting, seemingly against all odds for a end result of a world united in one quest, a world of hope. If anything, I hope the next time a "conservative" Republican thinks about backing a "liberal" republican as opposed to a "conservative" Republican -- they pull out this article by Holman and think again.
-- Joellen M. Arrabito

Pennsylvania liberal RINOs are in trouble and are panicking. After being solidly rebuked for the pay raise debacle and tax increases, many are getting out. Those remaining see themselves losing their grip and figure if they can show Senator Santorum they have clout, they will somehow be held in esteem. Not so. Clods like Perzel would rather pander to Fast Eddy and the crossover Rendell Republicans (read re-registered Democrats) than serve their constituents. They look weak and they will pay a price, especially if they turn on Rick Santorum. Republican Majority for Choice is a collection of has-beens from the liberal base that is losing its influence, not gaining. They have been co-existing with the Philadelphia liberals for long enough and the genuine Republican base is saying, "no more."

Republicans in Pennsylvania are better advised to coalesce around their candidates like Rick Santorum rather than shoot themselves in the behind trying to ingratiate themselves with the Rendell opposition.
-- unsigned

Some observations. First, it's some few Republicans who've turned against Sen. Santorum, not the real Republican and/or conservative majority, regardless of RMC's name and how many newspaper ads they may have. Second, Arlen Specter placed himself in jeopardy by being on RMC. Third, why be concerned about the reactions of RINOs Specter and Chafee? C'mon.
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

LIBERALISM'S SACRAMENT
Re: Andrew W. Ferguson's letter (under "A Principled Politik") in Reader Mail's Reporting the Military:

Mr. Ferguson asserts that "no one is pro-abortion", and proceeds to make the case for abortion as birth control while attacking those who refer to the "pro-choice" crowd as pro-abortion. He defines himself as a "middle of the road Democrat" who seems to object to (my take) the perversion of the language that has made those who favor "choice" into those who favor "abortion."

I would suggest that Mr. Ferguson is 180 degrees wrong in his assessment of the situation. If, as he seems to do, you favor abortion (even partial birth abortion) on demand, as most "middle of the road Democrats" do, you are going to have a difficult time convincing anyone that you don't like abortion. If you favor government financed abortion, paid for by the tax money of those who have a strong religious objection to the practice, are you still a "middle of the road Democrat"?

I am always puzzled by these "middle of the road Democrats" who desire that abortion be the right of every woman on demand at any time, yet decry the practice and vocally hope that it is a right that is rarely exercised. I also get a charge out of the specious argument that if abortion would once again become illegal, it would still continue in the back alleys, usually with coat hangers, and women would die. Does this mean that no law should exist because they all get broken? Or perhaps any law that is frequently broken should be stricken from the books as unworkable? I read somewhere that liberalism is a religion and abortion is their sacrament. It seems that there is quite a bit of truth in that statement.
-- Joseph Baum
Garrettsville, Ohio

PROOF IN THE TEXT
Re: M.L. Gilbert's letter (under "Unproved Prover") in Reader Mail's Reporting the Military and Steve Beck's letter (You and Your "God") in Reader Mail's Count Hillary:

In response to the letter of Steve Beck: Have you ever felt your mind? Have you ever tasted your mind? Have you ever smelled your mind? Have you ever seen your mind? No?

Then by your own rules, you don't exist.

As for contradictions? I know of none. Study it. They are all answerable... take the time
-- Kevin W.
Morgantown, West Virginia

Mr. Gilbert says the bible hasn't been rewritten? El wrongo!

Briefly, if I recall properly, 'round the year 500 in Constantinople, a bunch of clerics took out all references to reincarnation; they wanted to control their flocks NOW and not allow them "future options." Almost a thousand years later, the good book was reviewed again -- retranslated, reinterpreted, revised and rewritten. And then, after several years, it was approved by a committee of 47 of the king's very good friends.

Of course there's the earlier/original Hebrew, the aforementioned King James, and the Roman Catholic's Douay version. And probably several others I haven't heard of?

Now, I'm certainly no biblical scholar -- just an interested bystander. But Mr. Gilbert might want to rethink his statement maybe...
-- GB

DATA DRAMA
Re: Karl Auerbach's letter (under "Talking About the Weather") in Reader Mail's Reporting the Military, Bud's letter (under "Selling the Science") in Reader Mail's Defining the Enemy and Michael Fumento's Empirically Biased:

I would just like to respond to Karl Auerbach's response to the "Empirically Biased" article. He is absolutely correct in questioning the use of statistics when evaluating weather phenomena. While statistics are used daily in estimating things like high and low temperatures, they are problematic when used in the realm of climate studies. Karl is correct as well when he compares the "science" of economics to that of climatology. Statistics are vital when used to solve complex, yet concrete problems; however, when used to prove theory in general (whether economic or atmospheric), the theoretician can make the statistics fit any theory. All one must do is revisit Dr Mann's famous hockey stick graph of the late '90s. While no one accuses Mann of "cooking the books," he can be criticized for "smoothing" his data. As a matter of fact, he appeared to smooth the entire Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age right out of existence. Doomsday scenarios are where it is at right now. Scientists' knowing who pays to bills are smart enough to say what is expected of them. And Ken, you are not alone in noticing that even the Weather Channel has gotten in on the act. One would hope they would stick to what they are paid to do -- namely tell us if it will rain or not, and leave the End of The World propaganda to PBS and Al Gore.
-- JP

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