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Fill ‘Er Up

Suburbia is here to stay -- and the need for cheap transport. Also: Media implosion. Wal-Mart charges. To die in Kosovo. Plus much more.

2.20.06

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FUEL ME ONCE
Re: Martin Hutchinson's The Politics of Oil Addiction:

Good article. Comprehensive. Has anyone noticed the recent study that shows it takes slightly more than a gallon of oil to produce one gallon of domestic ethanol? Also, twenty years ago there was much talk of how too high a concentration of ethanol pitted the cylinder walls of a motor; that seems to have disappeared without a whimper.
-- Lawrence Chisholm

Great article.

The whole situation is full of complex axis of thought. Suburbia is here to stay, it's just a matter of keeping transportation cheap. Powering the vehicle fleet with a blend of alcohol is a good start. The biggest impediment to the fleet's efficiency is its weight. SUVs are obvious for their heft, but in a quest to make other cars more solid and safer a lot of steel has been added. Also tailpipe regulations prohibit the most efficient engines that exist in Europe, the turbo diesel and direct injection gasoline, to be sold here.

Also nobody is talking about getting oil out of businesses it's not needed. Phasing out the use of oil for heating would be a good start. Problem is the price of natural gas has gone through the roof. Solution would be to reinstate the ban on generating electricity with natural gas. Calpine and its ilk have tied up the market for long term contracts.
Electricity my boy its the answer for the rest. But we need to keep it cheap. Time to deploy the nuclear solution. As far as I'm concerned every major metro area gets a mega reactor site with the government having the power to silence the NIMBYS and courts.

Another sector of transportation that could be weaned off oil are the railroads. They would require major government help doing this due to the cost and securing a big and cheap enough supply of juice.

I'm all for the pie in the sky solutions like the hybrid, hydrogen and electric car. But they aren't there yet, so why not get started doing what we can do already?
-- Paul Petersen
Hillsboro, Oregon

Martin Hutchinson's "The Politics of Oil Addiction" is so full of holes, flawed reasoning, and poorly made assumptions that is difficult to know exactly where to begin with criticism of it.

How about the persistent notion of taxation to encourage conservation? This idiotic beast has been around in one form or another since Jimmy Carter's "gas guzzlah" tax. To debunk this one, Martin, check last year when fuel speculators briefly had gasoline at a high of $3.29 per gallon here in the Northeast following Hurricane Katrina. No conservation was encouraged. It still takes the same amount to run a service truck for a week at $3.29 as it does at $2.09. It just costs a whole lot more to do the same work. Who do you think pays for the increase, genius? What we could see was the highly regressive impact of high costs as well as the negative drag on economic productivity. Fortunately, these price increases were relatively brief before longterm economic damage resulted. You think it's a good idea to legislate this into permanent policy? It does show the stupidity of this notion as energy policy. Incidentally, how intelligent is the idea of taking economic cues from those masters of the thriving market economy, the Europeans?

Second, how is changing from one imported fuel source, oil, to another, sugar cane ethanol make us less vulnerable to supply interruptions and political extortions? Perhaps Evo Morales in Bolivia, or an Aristide in Haiti is easier to deal with than Chavez or the House of Saud? This might be nice table chatter at cocktail parties which you attend, but it seems fairly blind to most of us.

You also don't seem to understand why the domestic auto industry is in trouble. It's not rooted in CAFE standards, dude. It is rooted in decades of irresponsible management by people such as Roger Smith and William Clay Ford. Heavy-handed union demands for unsustainable benefits also factor in. By the way, they build "immensely ugly and slightly dangerous" SUVs because we buy them! This is market forces at work not evasion of CAFE.

You rant on about anti-oil snobbery. In fact it fills most of your essay. But underneath all of the good sounding rhetoric, you betray the typical ivory tower arrogance about oil needs and usage as well as ignorance of how your pet ideas would devastate any average working class family as well the small businesses (like the one I work for) so vital to our economy. Please take your rant back to the cocktail party circuit. Thankfully President Bush is not consulting you for energy policy ideas (I hope!).
-- Robert L. Barninger

Mr. Hutchinson did a very nice apology for the president's use of the words "oil" and "addiction" in such close proximity. I love that phrase,"cocktail party arithmetic." The problem with such math is that it is usually mixed with cocktail party philosophy. History teaches me that there is no assurance that cocktail party arithmetic will be banned from government policy making. When arithmetic becomes the dishonest servant of questionable philosophy, we permit people like Karl Marx to claim without challenge that after the perfect communist state is established, the state will wither away.
-- Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

The more fundamental issue in this oil addiction is not whether we're turning corn or sugar or whatever into ethanol, regardless of the raw material's country of origin.

The fundamental question demanding an immediate answer is this: Why do we, who sit on extraordinary, plentiful untapped oil and natural gas reserves as well as unmined coal that also can be converted into diesel fuel, lack the common sense to explore and then use that energy we have within our sovereign borders?

Another equally compelling question that also demands an answer very soon: Why don't we put realistic nuclear power options on the table?

It's time we admit that, indeed, denial is not an African river and that contemporary political actions have endangered our basic freedom, because we're still picking at energy nits, rather than embracing genuine, long-term solutions.

It's also time we face and accept the responsibility -- as adults, not a bunch of adolescents -- to free ourselves of enslavement to not just foreign oil, but now also foreign natural gas.

But do we have the common sense coupled with the will to survive to do these things?
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

So Iowa has sugar cane? I think Iowa's crop is corn used in the production of ethanol. Pool old Louisiana grows sugar cane. Not far from my home is an empty, decrepit, defunct ethanol plant that was supposed to produce ethanol for fuel. Perhaps, someone with lots of money will come in and tune the machinery up, sign up the sugarcane farmers and produce ethanol. Oh, that is, of course, some crooked politician doesn't get his fingers in the pie and screw up the works.
-- Clasina Segura
New Iberia, Louisiana

Read Mr. Hutchinson's column, I wanted to make him aware of an emerging technology that has the potential to radically reduce oil use world-wide.

It's called personal rapid transit (PRT).

Learn more about it:
-- Ryan Kennedy

PRICE LINES
Re: David Holman's Thugs for "Choice":

I hope Wal-Mart's managers think long and hard about the decision before them. As a free market proponent I defend Wal-Mart at the drop of a hat; as a consumer it is my store of choice for most things. But it doesn't have to be. I can easily shop elsewhere and am quite willing to pay a little extra in return for not having my sensibilities assaulted.

I've noticed that recently Wal-Mart seems to be making overtures to the anti-capitalist left. This is a mistake. Wal-Mart's mangers would do well to consider an antidote I heard regarding Exxon, though I have no idea whether or not it's true. As I heard it, since Exxon is constantly a target of liberals' lies and innuendos, periodically one of it's managers will suggest they mount a feel-good PR campaign, as a couple of other oil companies have done. In response the CEO tells the manager that if he runs such a campaign in a test market and demonstrates that it changed public perception there in any measurable way, he will approve a company-wide version of such. To date I've never seen such an ad.

I hope Wal-Mart spokesman Dan Fogleman and the rest of the company's management realizes before it's too late that just as Exxon's managers have no delusions of ever winning over the environmental kooks, nether should Wal-Mart's managers deceive themselves into believing they can ever win the hearts of liberal blue state urban shoppers. And it would be a mistake for them to abandon their loyal customers in a fruitless attempt to do so.

No matter what Wal-Mart does the left will always hate it. Always. Wal-Mart needs to dance with the ones who brung 'em.
-- R. Trotter
Arlington, Virginia

What's the big deal. All Wal-Mart has to do is up the price. If they want to force Wal-Mart to carry it Wal-Mart should increase the price and the result would be nationwide the price will go up. Wal-Mart has the right to make a profit. Since this is a slow moving product, a higher price is justified. I say Wal-Mart should really stick it to them.
-- P. Skarote

IN MEDIA'S WRECKS
Re: Paul Chesser's Firestorm and Media Brimstoning:

Thank you, Mr. Chesser, for this article. I am so sick and tired of the infantile antics displayed by the severely insubstantial reporting "media" people. It is time to quit referring to the "news media"...in this day and age there is no such animal, merely propaganda machines run and inhabited by immature, clueless, crude, impolite, rude, and mean-spirited "people."

Since the Internet, neither I nor my husband read any print media or watch any alphabet news. All our information comes from the Internet as we mostly know whom to trust. Thank God we have the Internet and thank God we have some people with the talent such as yours to impart news as well as opinion that is believable.
-- Mary K. Washburn
Coolidge, Texas

THANK YOU! Your comments on the self-absorbed White House Press Corps are right on the money. That they think they can somehow link this PRIVATE hunting incident to any of VP Cheney's official actions is beyond ridiculous. This story should have had a one or two day shelf-life AT MOST. I rarely take the time to send comments on things I see in the media, but this time I HAD to e-mail NBC News to express my disappointment with their overblown coverage of this event. Thanks for NOT being part of the problem that is a narcissistic, self-centered media.
-- Kirk Waits
Captain, JAG Corps, U.S. Navy

David Gregory's spoiled, childish, "Mommy, he hit me first!" routine during the volley he instigated with Scott McClellan only further reveals the true agenda of the MSM. The networks implication is that Cheney was obviously stonewalling, in an effort to hide the truth and cover potentially embarrassing circumstances. Of course, while the MSM beats it's collective chest with false indignation over being denied immediate access to the story as it unfolded, what they are REALLY indignant about is a lost opportunity to spin the story ASAP in a manner most destructive to the integrity of the administration.

Dick Cheney has always been a man who has kept a quiet, low profile in the Republican Party. This is perceived by the media as a sure sign that he must also be secretive, cunning and out for his own shady interests. If Cheney were a Democrat, he would be lovingly portrayed as a loyal, unassuming, quiet strength to his party, who just happened to have a little hunting "oopsy" while getting some much-needed R & R with some friends.

Where were these "right to know" patriots in the hours and days after Uncle Ted swam to shore, leaving his pretty young date for the evening to fend for herself after the car plunged into the pond? Now certainly, the media's outrage at the incriminatingly slow unfolding of those revelations would have certainly cost THAT man his political future...right?

What's that??
-- Mark Kalbach
Morton, Pennsylvania

Re all the hand-wringing about what it is about Dick Cheney that MSM just doesn't understand. I think it is because he is from Wyoming where men are men. Remember Al Simpson and his willingness to fire back at the redoubtable Nina Totenberg, fearless tough dame reporter?

The White House press weasels reveal themselves for what they are in the manner in which they treat Scott McLellan, knowing that McLellan has neither the temperament nor the temerity to suggest to David Gregory. "You know what, Dave, why don't you just go be-friend yourself?" Perhaps that is why Dick Cheney steers clear of the press. He's already been caught on open mike once.

As for wishing the press people would just shut up, I say "Rave on." They are in a death spiral rivaling that of the Democratic Party. Witness their derision at Fox News' Brit Hume getting the interview they all wanted. I just wish McLellan would identify them thusly: "You have a question, Ms. Verbosity Bombast of the St. Louis Sentinel?" Ms. V.B.: "Uh, yes, do you think Cheney should resign over this?" Then we at home would know where the idiot population is most concentrated. Of course, there is one other possibility. This administration has some kind of mind numbing mist sprayed into the press room on a continuous basis, resulting in diminished capacity of the already impaired. There has to be a rational explanation for so many imbeciles collected in one spot.
-- Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California

This indignant bunch (White House Press Corps) of partisan crybabies with their incessant attacks and "holier than thou" attitude has no credibility. They ignore their charter to "report" the news and instead pursue their agenda of "get Bush" and anyone else in his administration.

Like the Democrats, the MSM have become a caricature of themselves.... How can they not be aware of what they've done to themselves and to this country? Perhaps the "I hate Bush" fever is running so high they've become incoherent and they don't care. They don't care, and they think we're stupid enough to believe them. They must be hallucinating.
-- John Nelson
Hebron, Connecticut

"Kind of makes me wish that, despite Hume's respected reputation, that Cheney had done his television interview with KZTV News in Corpus Christi instead."

Amen to that. Kind of makes me wonder why there is such a thing as a White House Press Corps. With Satellite Communications a pool camera could be set up in the press room, and questions could come in from reporters from Paducah, Peoria, Boise, etc. Just do it on a rotating basis and questions that where important for the days events, such as Al Gore's payments from the Bin Laden family, turning over U.S. ports to Foreign countries and other such items might actually get asked about.

On the economic part of it, the news gathering agencies, wouldn't have to pay $375,000 a year plus perks for basically bumps on a log.

Just some thoughts for a more efficient use of resources and talent. Let them be reporters again instead of high priced stenographers.
-- SFC Kenneth E. Miller USA (RET)
Tonica, Illinois

Thanks, Mr. Chesser, for describing the hysteria in the media over Cheney's hunting accident. I watched in amazement as the beltway bubble of bumbling reporters exploded over what should have been a one-day story (two, at the most).

The insanity of left-wing bloggers has now infected the mainstream media where rather than reporting the facts we're being spoon-fed conspiracy theories. While that bumbling bubble was focused on "getting Cheney" or "getting McClellan" -- real stories went by the wayside.

Rush Limbaugh reported on a New York radio station interview with a national news reporter who was so focused on the Cheney story that she hadn't even heard about the story of our ports being handed over to the control of the United Arab Emirates. She asked the interviewer to e-mail her the information about that story! This illustrates the problem with the national news media. They are so focused on minor stories that they totally miss the important ones.

Whether Cheney handled the dissemination of information correctly or not is beside the point. Reporters should be out gathering news rather than waiting for it to fall in their laps and complaining when it doesn't. What a sad commentary on today's journalists and journalism.
-- Deborah Durkee
Marietta, Georgia

It is always easier as an observer to come up with the right "mot," but I was dearly hoping that McClellan would say to David Gregory -- "David, I can't do your job for you."

Of course, as Nixon would put it, "but that would be wrong," because McClellan is doing David Gregory's job for him. The Cheney affair dramatizes that the White House press corps doesn't really do all that much. Doesn't NBC have a stringer in Corpus Christi? And if not, is it because they are overpaying their people in Washington?
-- Greg Richards

I kept waiting for Scott McClellan or somebody else to get behind the podium and give David Gregory and the rest a thorough tongue lashing. Why the White House tolerates their behavior is beyond me.
-- Chris Bramley
Allamuchy, New Jersey

TO DIE FOR KOSOVO
Re: James G. Poulos's Kosovo Syndrome:

I have read James G. Poulos article/analysis of the Kosovo situation with a great deal of interest and some surprise, as I found myself in considerable agreement.

A thoughtful, fair and important article.

Became involved with the problems of the Yugoslavian dissolution at the beginning, trying to help averting war, then mitigating and finally working with our government to stop it. As a result of my activities and experiences, I am now concerned that we are going to observe the end game about Kosovo follows the same flawed and shortsighted policy in the Balkans.

Our engagement in the Balkans during the past decade provides a textbook illustration of the dangers of short-term crisis management. What began as emergency diplomatic reaction to a civil-religious war caused by dissolution of Yugoslavia escalated to active involvement in the war, to end as our unconstitutional armed intervention in Kosovo and "humanitarian war" on a sovereign state. This misplaced and misunderstood involvement has continued as an open-ended commitment to "nation building," while setting some rather dubious and most likely dangerous precedents in international law and relations.

It will indeed be significant and instrumental to observe now the forthcoming negotiating process and its conclusion in Vienna about the future status of Serbian province Kosovo. Will the United States and European Union in the end reward Kosovo Albanians by giving them what they crave â€" a full independence and international recognition? In this context, some quintessential questions are in order. Let me add a few grave and significant question to the ones Mr. Poulos so perceptively have posed.

How would the democratic states of Europe and U.S.A -- all advocates of international law and order -- rationalize dismemberment of another democratic state? How to deal in the U.N with this unprecedented act where one of its founding members and currently a member in good standing is to be forced to give up its original source of its spiritual and historical identity and its ancestral lands to foreign hostile people? How is it going to be explained that the Western world will be promulgating international lawlessness and creating a dangerous precedent? Why wouldn't it be right, for example, to award independence to the Kurds in Iraq and Turkey who indeed have by far a stronger and more deserving case than the Kosovo Albanians? Why Cyprus may remain divided, but division of Kosovo is non-negotiable? Why would not Great Britain also let its grip go on Northern Ireland or Spain on Basque? What is the rationalization and justification for preventing Serbs and Croats in Bosnia, who do not wish to live with Bosnian Moslems in the same state, secede and join their respective homelands or also receive independence? And, of course, how does the dominant power in the world, America, expect to lead the world by examples? How does she expect to forge effective democratic alliances and advance democracy and justice if she would so blatantly disregard these fundamental principles in the Balkans -- the very ones she so fervently advocates under different circumstances and different parts of the globe?

Double standards and short term expediency have limited life span. Mistakes made in Kosovo now will most likely have serious consequences in future.
-- Michael Djordjevich
San Rafael, California

What I find so mind boggling about this whole, sad Kosovo situation is that if the Serbs had succumbed to the NATO ultimatum made at Ramboulliet, France, in the run-up to the U.S. led bombing campaign, Kosovo right now would be an independent nation. The Serbs walked out of the Ramboulliet talks after rejecting an ultimatum which would have allowed the Kosovars to have a plebiscite vote for independence within 3 years. This would have effectively taken sovereignty over Kosovo from the Serbian nation since Kosovo is 90 percent populated by Albanian Muslims who were fighting for independence (and still are to this day).

So why are we dithering over the Final Status of Kosovo at this point, seven years after we bombed the Serbs into submission? My only conclusion is that the whole basis for our bombing campaign against the Serbian Nation was deeply flawed.
-- Jerome Brick
Beaver Dam, Arizona

Mr. Poulos is not very clear what he is advocating in the case of Kosovo, but I infer through his foliage of legalspeak that he wants an independent Kosovo.

He supports America's 1999 air bombardment campaign against Serbia by presenting the Communists as the ones opposed: "From May 2 to May 4, 1999, the International Communist Seminar in Brussels made a number of statements of fact which are indicative: (1) the NATO attack on Yugoslavia was carried out without Security Council approval; (2) the allied bombing runs demolished not just military but "economic" targets, causing deliberate civilian casualties; and (3) the undeclared war against Milosevic and his country was, according to international law, entirely unprovoked." This is one time that I agree with the Communists. All three of their points are valid.

America's "extraordinary lengths" on behalf of the Kosovars were the decision of one man: President William Jefferson Clinton. These "extraordinary lengths" left 2000 Serbs dead. The Branch Davidian incident in Waco, Texaco, in 1993 proved that Bill Clinton was willing to kill people to strengthen his posture. President Clinton undertook the NATO (read "U.S.") bombardment of Serbia in order to divert public attention from his Senate trial in the spring of 1999, following his impeachment by the House of Representatives. Anyone who cannot see that is willfully myopic. Bill Clinton did not care about the Kosovars. Bill Clinton cared about...Bill Clinton.

His attack violated the NATO charter, a purely defensive agreement predicating action only if a NATO member were attacked. Serbia attacked no member of NATO. (For those who wish to review the NATO Charter: Bill Clinton violated the 1974 War Powers Act, which says that the President may order military action for a maximum of 60 without Congressional approval. U.S. planes bombed Serbia for 78 days, before Serbia submitted. Rule of law... from a lawyer, anyone?

At the same time America bombed an Eastern Orthodox Slavic country that was having separatist problems with a Muslim minority, Russia was engaging in gunfire with the Chechens. That would make them "an Eastern Orthodox Slavic country having separatist problems with a Muslim minority. Why didn't we bomb Moscow?

The plight of the Kosovars was no reason for the United States of America to bomb Serbia. That was the one time that I was embarrassed to be an American.
-- David Shoup
Dublin, Georgia

CROSSING THE LINE
Re: Brandon Crocker's Over the Top:

I for one think that the Democrats have stepped over the edge of dissent into the gallery of treason. If FDR had the same kind of invective during WW2 he would have sent those people to prison. I am so upset with the "Loyal Opposition" that I almost choke. I remember Fulbright being the loyal opposition to the Vietnam War. He was a voice of difference but he didn't trash Johnson. We were not in a war then that if lost we would lose our lifestyles. Our women will be covered in burkas and what we say will probably kill us. We are now in a war of true ideals and Islam is not my Christian ideal. They will kill us because we are infidels. I said one time that Paul was a strange creature. He was both a Jew and a Roman which could not be. One was either a Jew or Roman according to Rome, not both. In this time of war, not cold war, but the war for our minds, any seditious act by anyone is treason.
-- Tom Alexander

FOMENTING AT THE MOUTH
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Our Angry Left:

Before we see our angry left in the streets, I think we'll see them use their righteous anger to justify cheating at the polls. I expect to see numerous examples of voter fraud at the next presidential election, possibly the congressional elections this year, perpertrated by angry Democrats,
particularly young ones.
-- James L. (Jim) Allen
Houston, Texas

I enjoyed R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s column, but I think he missed the mark.

There are several factors that would prevent this from happening. Yes, I will concede that the majority of those who call themselves liberal nowadays are somewhat lacking in the individual thought department. Here in Southern California I caught a glimpse of them in action during the election year/war protest furor. The first thing I noticed is the marching orders from the Left were coming from the top down, not a grassroots movement; making it a weak show from folks who wave signs and make noise on the streetcorner for a living. The second thing I noticed was the 20 year plus age difference between the usual suspects and the younger "Support Our Troops" crowd posted on the other side of the street. As much as the Iraq/Bush/Halliburton/Gitmo/Quail Hunting protests are hyped as another youth movement, it just isn't the case.

I can prove it using the very terminology spouted out by throngs of 50-something-year-old millionaires constantly railing against the establishment. The term: Neocon. Now I for one have been having a tough time trying to find out exactly what it means. I think it's used mostly by UN bureaucrats who can no longer shout the words "filthy Jew" in public. But if it actually does stem from the prefix "neo" meaning new, or recent; and the abbreviation of the word "Conservative," then even the professional activists have noticed the pattern I'm talking about.

I myself like the term for of that reason. Ever since I was in my twenties, anytime I would dare to contradict a Baby Boomer they would want to use the same arguments on me that they used on their parents. And this would take so much time out of my life to explain to them what year it is, how old they are, how old I am, and it is a bit pointless to agonize to me about the plight of the working class when I'm the one washing their Mercedes Benz. Every single one would still have 1950s newsreel footage stuck in their head as they grasped for a counter to the point that I am of the generation that is going to be cleaning up their mess.
-- Chris H

Years ago when I was growing up my parents taught me to keep perspective and a calm mind about things. One of their pet sayings was, "Don't major in the minor." It kept me looking at the big picture, not small inconsequential things that would sort themselves out. It also helped me as a young mother see which things I should hold fast to in parenting and other battles that could be negotiated instead of fought.

I am in amazement watching the media's distortion of small events and total blindness to the things that really threaten America. In addition, the Congress of the United States seem to all possess Beltway mentality and insist that turning over sensitive information to our enemies is just, after all, a political game. The perfidy of fools and scoundrels would be amazing, if it were not for the fact that we are a military family and it is our children who are used as dangling targets by the words of those very people who should know better.

I don't doubt that Iran's President sees himself as the instigator of Armageddon and that the event will happen in our lifetime. But mostly, I grieve for the country these fine soldiers have died for and the insult it brings to their sacrifice.

I pray that something causes us to refocus before we lose our country and our land ceases to be the home of the free and land of the brave. We could find ourselves wearing burkas and having lost all liberty because of the traitors among us.
-- Beverly Gunn
East Texas Rancher

GIVE AND GO
Re: Wlady Pleszczynski's Political Deaths:

Your observations about the film Glory Road are well taken. I would point out, also, that while Texas Western may have been the first all-black team to compete and win at the highest level in NCAA basketball, they were by no means the best. Nearly a decade earlier, in 1958, the first team NCAA All-American basketball squad consisted of Elgin Baylor (Seattle), Bob Boozer (Kansas State), Wilt Chamberlain (Kansas), Oscar Robertson (Cincinnati), and Guy Rodgers (Temple), all of whom were African-Americans. While no one is arguing that the road for black athletes in the 1950s and '60s was anything but difficult and often fraught with racism-based peril, the fact is that black athletes had been receiving well-deserved recognition for more than a decade before Texas Western's victory.
-- Greg Lewis, GregLewis@GregLewis.org

ON TRAC
Re: Mark Gauvreau Judge's Shaving Like a Man:

I inherited my grand father's straight razor and my other grandfather's safety razor that was issued to him in Army boot camp in 1917. I use a Gillette Trac II razor that was issued to me in Navy boot camp in 1981. I still use it and will continue to do so until they stop making the twin bladed cartridges for it. The razor is a generational thing. My grandfathers had their kind, my old man had his (safety razor) and I have mine.

The main reason I don't use the gajillion-bladed razors of the 21st century is that they are too damn expensive. But you use what works. I don't worry about "feminization" of shaving. I mean, Mark, you really want to be a tough guy shaving, you could always pluck out your beard as the Ancient Greeks did. And they wore dresses and fought skeletons. Or was that David Gregory?
-- Paul Austin
Tempe, Arizona

WHAT'S MISSING
Re: Doug Powers's The Vice President's Plame Is Missing:

Another great column. You know, if the White House Press Corps has so much time on their hands, why don't they report on Al Gore trashing the USA while in a foreign country. Now that Cheney has spoken, the Press Corps will not only question whether or not he had a license to hunt quail -- he had a glass of beer. Now they'll make him out to be an alcoholic.

Why doesn't this Press Corps question how Teddy Kennedy and Joe Biden sit in judgment of others on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
-- Evie Roberts

HANDS UP
Re: Lawrence Henry's reply to C.D. Lueders' letter ("Shot Count") in Reader Mail's The Age of Treason:

Mr. Henry's response "...Mr. Cheney was using a .28 [sic] gauge shotgun loaded with #7 1/2 shot..." proves my point. While 7 1/2 shot is smaller than 6 shot, 28 gauge (.28 would denote caliber) is smaller than 20 gauge. Another variable is the size of the shell -- 2 3/4 or 3 inches. A 3 inch shell would obviously hold a larger load, both powder and shot.
-- C.D. Lueders
Melbourne, Florida

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