Reader Mail

Hurricanes and Race

Responses to Ben Stein's latest. Wal-Mart's altruism. Plus much more.

9.28.05

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DAILY BREAD
Re: Ben Stein's A Big Lie Put to Rest and Reader Mail's Unanimous Verdict:

What a treasure trove of articles in Tuesday's TAS Online. From Ben Stein (good as usual) to the letters section, I picked up plenty of ammunition to sling at my liberal counterparts up here, except they won't print me in the local rag but once a month (if I'm lucky). I notice a lessening of the letters from the left. Is it because the destruction from the hurricanes wasn't as permanently damaging to Bush as they thought, or maybe this has exceeded their attention span? Of course, we can't rule out the possibility of their spinmeister taking a week off, so most of them don't know what to say. Whatever the case, it's good to see intelligent responses again to the articles, and as I said, what fine articles they are.
-- Pete Chagnon

DIRECT HIT
Re: Ben Stein's A Big Lie Put to Rest:

Succinct: expressed in a few words. Concise. Terse. Ah, that's Ben Stein for ya! Hit the nail on the head, so to speak. His words are my words. Thanks Ben.
-- Clasina Segura
New Iberia, Louisiana

I admire your persistence in seeking the truth. Trouble is, those of us on one side already know it and those on the other care nothing for the truth. When lies prove more effective in bringing down a popular president, who needs the truth?
-- David Govett
Davis, California

I heard Franklin Graham declare that if every church in America would take six families, we could care for all the Hurricane Evacuees. I didn't hear or see any action by the ACLU, the Senate Democrats, nor did I see any other militant group offer to help. I found that interesting.

In our small town with a population of around 2000, we took in families from BOTH Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. Last Friday night our church fed some 60+ people the evening meal and housed the newest evacuees in our small Civic Center. That is who we are in America. We didn't ask any details of these folks, we just brought food, clothing, games to entertain the children, and rolled up our sleeves and helped.

Let the ACLU and the liberal press keep chattering like inane fools. That is why there is a divide with normal RED STATE folks on one side who help, and fools that chatter wildly from BLUE STATES on the other.

Most of America is seeing this and the true colors of the liberal press as all the stories they reported proved to be lies. I love seeing the self-destruction of the liberal press. We have been shaken in the South by two disasters. We are growing stronger as a result of adversity and learning new lessons on what counts in life.
-- Beverly Gunn
East Texas Rancher

Ben Stein, in "A Big Lie Put to Rest," gets pretty down deep and dirty, comparing the "media" to Goebbels in propagating the lie that race had anything to do with the feckless government response to Katrina.

Usually, when you level that heavy a charge, it pays to cite examples of such allegedly Goebbels-like propaganda. Stein cites not a single example. Rather, he vehemently protests that race had nothing to do with the outcome, citing that although the victims were overwhelmingly nonwhite and of less than median income, the response was as bad for whites as it was for blacks.

Assuming his conclusion were solidly true, he assumes further that no one could believe that racism was at issue in good faith -- despite the fact that polls show a significant percentage of whites and a strong majority of blacks so believe. But they are presumably all dupes.

Here's a question -- if NOLA was a predominantly white city, and the areas flooded predominantly white, would you have the Wall Street Journal and other Republicans insisting on not rebuilding much of the flooded areas, after, as one resident was quoted as noting in the New York Times, Florida gets built and rebuilt after every hurricane with no such qualms. Nor do we see the black community front and center in this debate. Would that be the same if the community to be abandoned to the sea were predominantly white? I suppose those of us who doubt that it would are all jack-booted Nazis, or the dupes of same.
-- Jeffrey Holman (aka "Cloudy")
Springfield, Massachusetts

Look on the bright side: Your hero Bush's approval isn't affected by Katrina.

In fact, his numbers were in the toilet before Katrina ever struck. In fact, he actually polls better on Katrina response than he does on the Economy; Iraq; and many, many other factors.

(I am telling you this because that is really what you are trying to say in your long-winded article. It wasn't that bad, and don't blame Bush.)

The only president on year-5 with ratings this low in the past 50+ years was Nixon, right before they threw him out.

Ain't it grand?
-- Rick from Minnesota

If I see on my TV that many of the looters and evacuees are black, am I a racist? No, I'm an "observationist." If you see the truth and report it as such, we all need to accept that.
-- John P.
Elmhurst, Illinois

Black, white, or otherwise, disaster plans all over the country state that locals and municipalities are to be assisted first by state and local government entities, with the feds rolling in some 72 to 96 hours later.

Nagin's efforts were not tardy, nor were Blanco's -- they were missing altogether! Those two need to do JAIL TIME!

The feds did EXACTLY what they promised they would and were supposed to do as soon as it was possible to do it.
-- Michelle Meeks
Dallas, Texas

A wonderful article (as usual) by Ben Stein and on the mark on several points. But, in my opinion, this racial component to the Katrina aftermath would never have come about, had all these natural disasters occurred during the Clinton, (or any Democrat) administration. Why? Well, aside from being the first "black" president, we all knew he "feels our pain." I am also convinced that, in the same circumstances, that the federal response time would not have been so vehemently condemned, but that is merely conjecture on my part. It is mind-boggling to me, that the people spoke their will last November and after a fairly convincing victory less than a year ago, the Bush hatred has reached critical mass, and it's even sadder that even some so-called conservatives have bought the big lie.
-- HGC
Candler, North Carolina

Mr. Stein is right. We are witnesses to a new manifestation of the Dark Ages, complete with Wicca-like powers attributed to a single human being. The MSM and the left are in a daily pell-mell race to exhibit their devolving irrationality. Robert Kennedy Jr.'s sinister evocations of Katrina's increased power due to the failure of Bush (not Congress, of course) to ratify Kyoto, invokes the hysteria over the "unworldly-like" powers that overcame the infamous Salem community. So too is the left's insistence that Bush is responsible for the carnage from Katrina and Rita. Kennedy would no doubt scoff at my unnuanced ability to appreciate his rhetorical imagery, but try as he may, he cannot dismiss the fantastical flight from sanity exhibited by the left and the MSM. This intellectual spiral appears to have no end in sight. The carnage that we find after this madness has passed might indeed be irreparable. Far more so than that of Katrina and Rita.
-- A. DiPentima

Ben Stein gets it right again. Veracity is no longer important in the "reporting" of the so-called mainstream media. Their agenda is to rid the nation of "wicked and evil" George W. Bush and any means are justified. What irony, the country was only spared the evil of the wicked Clintons by the election of a Republican Congress for the last six years of Clinton's administration and now the genuinely religious and family man George W. Bush is pilloried as a monster. As some politician once said, "I am too old to cry and it hurts too much to laugh."
-- unsigned

Hey, seven paragraphs by Ben Stein on the racial situation and not once the use of the klunky phrase, "African-American." It's black, black, black. Congratulations for returning to an honest descriptive. I've gone through "colored" (my grandmother's term), "Negro" or "negro" (my mother's term), and from the '60s on, Afro-American, and finally "black," to be replaced ultimately by "African-American." In all, I think plain "black" is easier, you know, like in Congressional Black Caucus and Black History Month (previously Negro History Week).
-- Larry Cott
Sausalito, California

A singular voice of reason amid the cacophony of misinformation and hatred dressed up as "reporting."
-- Conrad Bowman

Ben is yet a treasure.
-- Ken

ONE-STOP SHOP
Re: Carol Platt Liebau's A Point of Light:

Our family has been reading a lot of alternative news sources for who is doing what in that disaster zone.

My comment to my family was, "Well, it's time to go shopping at Wal-Mart."

It's as simple as that.
-- Anastasia Mather
Staten Island, New York

Liberals talk about compassion a lot. They like to put on spectacles to prove that they care about the plight of those ravaged by natural disasters. They make sure fellow liberals are recognized at awards ceremonies for all the good they do. They are great at raising large sums of money and drawing attention to themselves, but not so hot when it comes to making sure that the people they are trying to help actually receive the assistance they need. Liberals are particularly adept at criticizing the relief efforts of others, especially those with whom they disagree politically.

But when the catastrophe that was Hurricane Katrina struck, who was there first to help the victims? Not agencies of the local, state and federal government. Certainly, not a coalition of high-profile liberal groups eager to roll up their sleeves and get to work. No, it was churches, private organizations and corporations who marshaled their resources and mobilized their people that were among the first to arrive on the scene. These folks came with no fanfare, no media entourage, they came only to help others in the hour of their most desperate need. We didn’t see their representatives appear on CNN to lambaste the federal response to the disaster or to make outrageous and inflammatory racial accusations. Their attention was focused on meeting the needs of the survivors of the hurricane. Neither did we see any of them stoop so low as to use the disaster as an opportunity to gain political capital. There was no time for that because lives were at stake.

To be sure, there were numerous individuals and groups of liberal persuasion that were there on the frontline aiding the victims of this tragedy. We commend their efforts. But it seems like, based upon what was reported in the media, that most liberals were queuing up to make sure their talking points, mostly critical of George W. Bush, made the six o’clock news. All the usual suspects were there -- the Hollywonks, the race-baiters and the ubiquitous Ted Kennedy -- spewing poisonous rhetoric from every quarter. Okay, we have heard your words, we need to see evidence that your compassion extends beyond your mouths.
-- Rick Arand

MAKING THE ROUNDS
Re: Lawrence Henry's The Presidents Cup Comes of Age:

Thanks for Mr. Henry's fine column on the Presidents Cup. I agree with him. Still, he has a few minor facts wrong. First, Mickelson/DiMarco did win three matches; Woods/Furyk won two. Also, I'm sorry but nobody can "carry" anyone in alternate shot. TV guys may give that impression with their "Phil is not Tiger" analysis, but each man must do his part in this format (in four ball, one man may carry another). Thanks for the interest in the great game.
-- Bob Byrne
Garden City, Kansas

LIBERALISM BY DECREE
Re: Jed Babbin's J'Recuse:

How ridiculous for Democrats to grill Judge John Roberts on his "beliefs" or whether he would pursue an agenda while on the High Court after reading Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg's remarks. "Advance women's rights" (read: abortion on demand) or "human rights" (read: gay marriage) is how she sees her votes on the high court. Screw interpreting the Constitution or laws; just make it up as you go.

And for a Supreme Court justice to actually say that she would "take enlightenment wherever she could get it" should be grounds for impeachment. But that'll never happen. Can you imagine if a conservative justice or nominee said that he/she favored some foreign law from say, Iran, Syria, or China? The N.Y. Times would make it the lead headline for weeks! Apparently these "godlike" justices are intelligent enough to know which laws (from which countries) we should use for our enlightenment. Funny, as a history student in college I never remember reading where foreign laws could be applied in the U.S. I'm so glad to know that justices like Ginsburg are there to steer us poor-old dumb regular citizens into the "light" -- and into socialism if we let them.
-- Dennis Vest
Ripley, Tennessee

BASE ABANDONED
Re: The Prowler's Pence Politics:

Just finished reading "Pence Politics." Good commentary. I hope that you do follow-ups on this. The GOP leadership seemingly has totally lost touch with its base.

Rep. Pence's group is on the right track, finally. Anything that can be done to support their cause should be done.

Thanks for the article.
-- Bruce Squires
Fargo, North Dakota

LOOK UNDER GIANTS STADIUM
Re: J.M. Heins's letter (under "Morale Victory") in Reader Mail's Anger Management and R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Why So Glum?:

J. M. Heins' "50 odd years" have been odd, indeed. Perhaps Heins has drifted, rather than the Republican Party he decries. Bereft of original thought, Mr. Heins barfs up the "We haven't found bin Laden yet..." one more time. We have not found Jimmy Hoffa, D. B. Cooper or Natalee Holloway, either. For various reasons, some people are simply not findable. Although it might be possible in Hoffa's case, if we wanted to jackhammer up a few parking lots. Bin Laden was last seen heading for the impenetrable tunnels of Tora Bora. He may be entombed in one, for all we know, recent Al Jazeera interviews notwithstanding. For Heins' edification, Tora Bora is not the Big Rock Candy Mountain. We found Saddam, "Chemical" Ali, and others so numerous we named them after a deck of cards. Just today we found the #2 al Qaeda honcho. And let's not forget Saddam's prankster sons, Uday and Qusay, whose favorite toy was the woodchipper when they tired of frolicking in the Rape Room.

Tune up the violins for Heins' American Dream. Apparently it is represented only by his bank balance and his latest tax return. He whines that his children will pay. My children and grandchildren will pay and pay willingly for the privilege of living in a country whose freedom has been bought over and over with the courage and blood of its heroes. It is worth any price to all but the shortsighted, parsimonious and self-involved Heinses of this world.
-- Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California

BEIRUT AND ABLE DANGER
Re: "Worth a Gorelick," posted by The Washington Prowler at AmSpecBlog at 9:20: AM on Sept. 27, 2005:

"The terrorists saw our response to the hostage crisis in Iran, the bombings in the Marine barracks in Lebanon, the first World Trade Center attack, the killing of American soldiers in Somalia, the destruction of two U.S. embassies in Africa and the attack on the USS Cole." "The terrorists concluded that we lacked the courage and character to defend ourselves and so they attacked us." -- President George W. Bush

It's nothing if not despicable for Bush to implicate President Reagan this way. Maybe Bush and Pappy can swing by Libya and ask Muammar Qaddafi if Reagan lacked courage and character. While we're at it, could someone please remind our current POTUS that RR was responsible for the expiration of one of mankind's most ruthless ever terrorist organizations -- the USSR and its satellite states.

I am utterly surprised that R. Emmett Tyrrell, Rush Limbaugh, et al. have not spoken out on GWB sinking to this level of contempt that he would disrespect and malign President Reagan.

Also, is there any particular reason that when one enters "Able Danger" in AmSpec's search that the result is 'No articles Found'?
-- Jeff Anderson
Richmond, Virginia

Editor's note:
Certain technical glitches in our new AmSpecBlog's operation are being resolved. Again, please see The Prowler's item on Able Danger yesterday on the new AmSpecBlog. And check the "Comments" sections for reader reactions to individual posts.

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