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Going Down in Plames

An ongoing coup. The ruination of politics. Plus: Whippersnappers are ruining our roads. Ganglanders. A special teacher. Evolutionary wars. And more!

10.25.05

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THE ONGOING COUP
Re: The Washington Prowler's Rove, Miers Under Siege:

With all due respect, it isn't Rove and Miers under siege. What we are witnessing today is the imminent over-throw of the Bush presidency. Before us today being played out, in full view of God and the American public, is a well-coordinated, brilliantly executed, bloodless coup by the left wing of the Democratic Party in conjunction with their willing accomplices, the mainstream media and left wing loose cannon prosecutors.

Stop and smell the roses folks. Look at who is under attack by the quote, unquote "legal system" in this country. Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, Bill Frist, Tom DeLay and possibly even the Vice President. And what may follow with Mr. Fitzgerald is a continued investigation with the sole purpose of starting impeachment proceedings against the president for his attack on Iraq.

Yes sirs and ma'ams folks, what we have here in full view of God and everybody, is a well-coordinated full-scale frontal assault against the duly elected President of the United States, President George W. Bush. And what are the Republicans doing? As usual, they have their collective heads stuck in the sand and their collective tails stuck between their collective legs doing absolutely nothing to fight this coup. But, they are indeed going after Ms. Miers though. Oh, the bravery there is simply astounding!

And on the other end of the coup, I noticed how ecstatic the conservatives are with Ms. Cindy Sheehan going after Senator Hillary over Hillary's support of the war in Iraq, which no one in America really actually believes. The problem is, that this too is all a part of the coup. Very
few voters would support a lefty liberal, anti military, Hillary. Keep in mind that up until recently, Hillary has a record of being anti military (i.e., waiters in her and Bill's Whitehouse). Well folks, the Sheehan spat is all part of the game. If she, Ms. Sheehan, can convince the voters that Hillary is too pro-military, then the voters would be more likely to vote Hillary into the White House office, being a "War Hawk" and all, wink, wink, nod, nod!

Don't you all get it? Am I hallucinating here? Wake up folks, we are being overrun, the government is being over thrown. The trenches are caving in. It is time for a well-coordinated counterattack before it is too late. Wake up and smell the damn coffee for God's sake!
-- Jim L.
East Sandwich, Massachusetts

NAME NAMES
Re: Jed Babbin's The Post-Fitzgerald White House:

Three thoughts on Plamegate:

1. This entire thing arose from a query by Cheney to the CIA as to what they knew about reports from abroad that Saddam tried to buy uranium in Africa. For some reason, from start to finish, the CIA treated this inquiry as beneath contempt. It seems to have set out to discredit Cheney for asking it, whereas Cheney was looking out for the country by tracking down any evidence of loose nukes.

2. The only person who has benefited from this incident is Joe Wilson. He was a second-string diplomat out to pasture. Now he has become a public figure. I agree with Pat Buchanan that as soon as he wrote that editorial for the New York Times, he had to assume that his wife's presence at the CIA would come out. He "outed" his wife by any reasonable standard.

3. Wilson challenged the credibility of the Administration on a matter of high consequence to the nation -- the basis for our war in Iraq, which was being fought as his editorial was being printed. It is not only not unusual for the White House to have responded to him, it would have been derelict for them not to. Since we have a representative democracy, issues are hammered out by argument in the public forum. The White House had a duty to make its case -- which included examining Wilson's bona fides -- if for no other reason than to back up the troops then in the field. It is very hard to understand how this can be construed as a criminal activity.
-- Greg Richards

I can only hope that someone Bush brings in will understand the porous border problem and will at least stick a finger in the dike to stop the flow.

If we had all the money back that these "independent counsels" have cost it would sure help the budget.
-- Elaine Kyle

This may be overly optimistic but it may be a very good thing for Fitzgerald to wrap up his investigation and actually show his cards. Obviously the White House is performing at a very low level right now, probably because of dealing and worrying about Fitzgerald's investigation. Maybe once the actual target(s) have been identified, the White House can get on with its business in a more professional way.

Even if Rove is moved out of the White House, he can still participate via video teleconference. In fact, here comes some heresy, maybe the White House would be a little more principled and a little less calculating if Rove did not participate in every decision. Bush is not going to ever run for president again so why is it important that Bush do the politically correct thing? Maybe he should just listen to his conscience more and Rove less.

The down side is that Laura will have more influence and that is probably not a good thing.
-- Steve Koch

WHOSE GUESTS?
Re: Shawn Macomber's Dark Lords and Vegetables:

This doesn't diminish any of the good points Shawn made, but what would you bet that "Fruit and Vegetable Gang" is not what the members call their gang? I'm guessing it's something like "Treses" or "Locos." That's right, they're probably fairly typical examples of what Bush wants to make into "guest workers."
-- unsigned

Sorry, you're gonna have to get a lot more evidence to make a threat to Western Civilization out of overgrown adolescents trying to steal Sandor LaVey's act and Kiss's makeup (as well as Dad's credit card).

In fact they are useful in a way: without them thousands of prison guards, social workers, and general issue public employees in the "helping professions" would be jobless, not to mention record companies and journalists with nothing to write.

But you want to reconvene the Inquisition, then by all means have these morons tortured to reveal which hysterical evangelists and social crusaders are funding them on the sly. One group keeps the other in business.
-- Martin Owens
Sacramento, California

REPUBLICANS FOR ROE
Re: John Tabin's Doesn't Look Good:

Mr. Tabin refers to the Democratic Party as the "party of Roe v. Wade." While I understand what he meant, I would like to take issue with his choice of words.

Technically, the Republican Party is the party that gave us Roe v. Wade. Blackmun wrote the opinion, and Burger, Powell, Brennan, and Stewart all joined in it. All of these justices were appointed by Republicans. Those 5 votes were enough to give us Roe, even without considering the additional support of 2 Democrats, (Douglas and Marshall). Furthermore, the dissent was split 50-50 between Republicans (Rehnquist) and Democrats (White). And each time Roe has been upheld since then, the majority of judges who have voted to uphold it have continued to be Republican appointees.

Just wanted to make that minor point. I agree with the main points of the article.
-- Richard Bryant
Rochester, New York

REQUIESCAT IN PACE
Re: David Hogberg's Bob Morrish, RIP:

I know Bob. I drank with Bob, he taught me, he taught my children. I never knew Bob until he knew me and I am so sorry that he has passed. He and I exchanged e-mails in June after I had found out about the "Robert C. Morrish" day. I missed that event, and many will miss Bob, not those of today or yesterday but those of tomorrow. He was a guy I could joke with and learned to love as adult. I am sorry I could not have said good bye, and thank you! So here it is, Bob, Thank you!
-- Rod Glaze

DRIVE ME CRAZY
Re: Lawrence Henry's Danger Street:

Allow me to add my two cents regarding teen-age drivers. What I've noticed, firsthand, is that these inexperienced individuals lack respect for other drivers who, along with the subjects in question, share the roads. Tailgating, readily perpetrated by a good number of these youngsters is, nowadays, not uncommon. I, for one, am a victim of such practices because I adhere to posted speed limits. Evidently, speed limit signage means nothing to the neophyte motorist. When I peer through my rearview mirror, I regularly see a vehicle being driven, perilously close to my bumper. Oftentimes the person at the wheel is someone who appears to be under twenty. I will not go so far to say most are young women, but there have been a few. Secondly, if you haven't noticed, the cell phone regularly dominates a young person's attention. Be it the foot paths in a mall or behind the wheel of a hurtling vehicle, all of it is much the same. Clearly, the mind of the teenage driver is bereft of the need to focus on the road. Shall I mention, in addition, a failure to accord other drivers the right of "road respect?"

Let's put it all out there and take note, too, many adult drivers are guilty of much the same. Could it be the progeny of such adults, in some instances, mimic the stupidity of their righteous parents (in so many ways)? Without sounding saintly, myself, I could recall being taught, and reminded, driving is a privilege. That privilege, in my opinion, is too easily granted through state licensure. I definitely believe, in light of recent statistics, it is time state legislatures reexamine issuance of driver's licenses -- especially to prospective, younger drivers. Perhaps state-run driving instruction could be the answer. The independent, business-oriented, driving instructor would go the way of the oat bucket and trough. As I can recall having such instruction, the goal of both the instructor and the student was to pass the "driving test." Such an examination was cursory in nature and conducted on quiet side streets. One full-stop sign, a turn to the left or right to gain entrance to a driving lane, a parking technique, a broken u-turn, and a measured-speed approach upon return to point A, does not carry the "weight" of driver certification. We've come to rely upon the acquisition of "road experience" to do just that. To me, at least, that philosophy has been forever bankrupt.
Thanks for your indulgence.
-- P. Trepp
Washingtonville, New York

Can we reduce teenage driving deaths? Yes, of course.

Driving is a privilege. Make it more difficult to earn the privilege. Make the final testing more demanding. Teach young drivers what makes a car run, stop, turn, and become uncontrollable. Teach them about acceleration and deceleration, about tires and types of pavement. Ensure they are tested and understand how weather, ice, snow, fog and rain all work against safe driving. Let's teach situational awareness. Sound too tough? Then don't apply for the privilege.

One thing is certain: there is no shortage of young, new drivers; and also no economic demand for all the new license holders. So why not make it a longer, more thorough process to obtain a driver license? What's the rush to get young folks on the road in the first place?

New drivers could, for instance, be restricted for the first year to daytime driving only; and for the second year, restricted to driving at night only with drivers who have held a license longer than three years and who will be held responsible for the second year driver. That effectively narrows it down to parents and a select few others who value the life of the new driver.

We do not have to re-invent the wheel with this issue. Many countries have very stringent examinations for driver licenses. In Japan, for example, the permit/probationary period is quite long and very restrictive. There, the license is viewed with the greatest of seriousness and not simply as a rite of passage, or a ticket to drive to the prom or to explore the world at all hours of the night under any driving conditions.

Let's get serious.
-- Mark Medvetz
Henniker, New Hampshire

Halfway through your article I had the same thought. All new teenage drivers should be put through a hazardous driving course and possibly a high speed driving course (freeway speeds of course). These courses would be somewhat simple to implement. Almost all driving school companies have some sort of defensive driving course which can be expanded to include hazardous driving conditions. The only foreseeable (sp?) problem I can come up with is building and maintaining such a course. Such a course would take quite a lot of money to build and probably even more to maintain it. Your thoughts?
-- Rex
United States Air Force

When my youngest son got his first car, I told him if he got a ticket the car would be sold. Well his first ticket was for drunk driving when coming home from a Christmas party at the pizza place where he worked, he was 16. The next week the car was sold.
-- Elaine Kyle

HOPPING MAD
Re: George Neumayr's Kangaroo Court:

It astonishes me to see conservative brethren feel the need to defend Intelligent Design. In his article "Kangaroo Court" George Neumayr joins a growing number of conservatives who, lemur-like, are willing to follow this silly wing of our movement over the precipice into a free-fall into the chasm of intellectual disrespect and ridicule.

In an interesting twist, conservatives who often are outraged and call for censorship against those who would criticize religious or patriotic ideas, now set themselves up as the "really" open-minded iconoclasts and label the supporters of evolution as the "real" dogmatists and censors. In his article Neumayr states, "The ACLU argued that science teachers in the school district of Dover, Pennsylvania, are not free under the Constitution to question evolutionary theory." Of course I think he knows this is not true: the Dover School Board is actually forcing teachers to read a disclaimer before lessons on evolution. No one is suing any teacher for teaching anything. Instead, they are suing to allow teachers to determine what they will teach.

Neumayr thankfully makes few arguments that Intelligent Design may be true (which should be the crux of whether we teach it or not). In a lapse he makes this statement: "nature selects not randomly but necessarily, choosing random mutations that happen to prove useful, under Darwin's theory. What is nature? And how does it choose with such incredible precision and marvelous efficiency?" Well, the answer to even the casual naturalist will be obvious: it chooses by ruthlessly exposing the non-adapted to predation or starvation. That's intelligent design?

Conservatives need not fear evolutionary theory (in fact many conservative scholars, often the real iconoclasts who face censorship daily, use these theories in their work often). We do need to fear the propensity of some in our midst urging us to distort reality, avoid evidence, or just go along with politically important wings of our movement. Especially when their designs are not intelligent.
-- Kenneth Wagner
Assistant Professor
Department of Criminal Justice, Radford University

In a stunning example of hypocrisy, some of the same people who so loudly proclaim that they oppose discussion of religion in science classes in Pennsylvania are behind a federally-funded evolution website in California in which �- believe it or not -- they actually urge teachers to use religion in science class to sell evolution to students! That is why my client has filed a federal lawsuit in San Francisco against officials of the National Science Foundation and the University of California at Berkeley regarding the "Understanding Evolution" website created with over $500,000 in federal tax money.

The website directs teachers to doctrinal statements by seventeen religious denominations and groups endorsing evolutionary theory. A statement by the United Church of Christ, for example, declares that evolution is consistent with "the revelation and presence of... God in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit."

The website further suggests classroom activities that explicitly use religion to promote evolution. In one suggested activity, teachers are supposed to share with students statements by religious leaders on evolution, but only those "stress[ing] the compatibility of theology with the science of evolution." In another activity, students are assigned to interview ministers about their views on evolution, with the purpose of showing students that "Evolution is OK!" Teachers are cautioned, however, that this particular activity may not work if they live in a community that is "conservative Christian."

So why is the liberal media that is "breathlessly" covering the Pennsylvania lawsuit ignoring the California lawsuit?

Clearly, a double standard applies: the scientific establishment and their media allies don't mind having religious beliefs discussed in science class after all, as long as those discussions are aimed solely at convincing students to believe in evolution.
-- Larry Caldwell, JD, President, Quality Science Education for All
Roseville, California

Thank you for your recent article about the Dover Trial...

Just for fun, I thought you might enjoy this light-hearted poem to commemorate the ongoing debate between the Macro-cadabra Evolutionaries of the Tautology Most High and the upstart ID challengers:

"What design!?" we hear them chatter...
"We've got Science on our side!"
"Life's just Natural Selection!"
....(and a liberal dose of Pride...)

"We're just offspring of the monkey,
Who was offspring of the squirrel...
We're collecting nuts for winter
In this Accidental World."
(continued here)

God bless,
-- Tom Graffagnino

CHILDREN'S BOOK HERESY
Re: David Haddon's Child-on-Child Crime, the "Pithiness and Potter" letters in Eyes on the Road, the "Defending Hogwarts" letters in Flat Truths, the "Proverbial Potter" letters in Those Trojan Horses, the "Dirty Harry" letters in The Devil's Details, and the "Potter's Christian Joy" letters in Wie Was Robbed:

Mike Lopke, again striving for profundity, writes, "Let me get this straight. Expressing concern over the Harry Potter books makes one a kill-joy, erstwhile 'good' Christian, Milton-less, Tolkien-phobic ignoramus who doesn't really understand Christianity."

Actually, no, Mr. Lopke. It is ignorant, ill-informed criticism of such works that makes one a kill-joy. To have an opinion on a book, one must needs read it, first. And while we're at it, I suggest that critics of fantasy should read Tolkien's seminal essay, "On Fairy Stories" which explains far better than I the manner in which fantasy literature illumines "reality" far better than erstwhile literary "realism." As the bumper sticker puts it, "Reality is just a crutch for people who can't handle fantasy."

Mr. Lopke also writes, "The crux of the matter is that a segment of Christians desperately wants to Christian Harry Potter, another wants nothing to do with him and a third is unconvinced but skeptical. Count me in the latter group." Actually, there is no need for Christians to christianize Harry Potter -- that's implicit in the moral universe of the stories. It would be more accurate therefore, to say that there are Christians who recognize the Harry Potter books for what they are, and those who are either unwilling or unable to see them for what they are. And many of the latter have leveled precisely the same charges at other works of Christian fantasy, including both Tolkien and Lewis. Sadly, many of them come from the very evangelical milieu that should welcome morally complex works of fantasy with open arms. But as evangelical scholar Mark Noll has written, "The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind" (Mark A. Noll, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, Eerdmans, 1994).

Mr. Lopke would be better advised to direct his ire against truly dangerous books that, rather than exploring the complexities of the Judeo-Christian moral universe, invert and pervert that universe through the medium of "harmless" fantasy. I speak, of course, of Phillip Pullman's series, "His Dark Materials" (soon to be a major motion picture). If Lopke wants an anodyne to his criticism of J.K. Rowling, I suggest he begin by reading Pullman.
-- Stuart Koehl
Falls Church, Virginia

MORE OF THE SAME
Re: Andrew Cline's The Plantation Right:

I think one reason why the G.O.P. has become so profligate on so-called social spending is because they are trying to out-nice the Democrats. Our (rich) liberal friends are always shrieking about how the mean ol' Republicans are starving children to death, and all. I think some Republicans actually believe they can spend their way out of such accusations.

Yessir, let's pile up one social program after another, and maybe the Democrats and their parrots in the media will stop yelling about how uncompassionate we are. Of course it won't work. This technique is far too useful for the Democrats to give up. Besides, if you're a liberal you know your opponents are evil anyway. But the G.O.P. -- the stupid party -- will keep on trying.

Likewise with quotas. The Republicans seem to figure that if they surrender on quotas, the liberals will stop calling them racists. But of course, the liberals won't give up this technique either, no matter how many quotas (rich) Republicans come up with. And after all, it's only white male nobodies who are betrayed by quotas, not rich white politicians.

The Republican Party seems to think it has a lock on fiscal conservatives and white males, so it can betray them constantly -- much as Democrats seem to think they have a lock on the black vote, so they can betray black Americans by denying them school choice, for instance.
-- John Lockwood
Washington, D.C.

FANCY WATER
Re: Jack Hughes' letter (under "Out of Gas") in Reader Mail's Eyes on the Road:

What I'd like to know is where people get $7 a gallon for bottled water. At my local supermarket, a 2.5 gallon of Poland Spring water is about $3.89. Nowhere NEAR $7 per gallon.

Just thought I'd point that out.
-- Anastasia Mather
Staten Island, New York

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