Reader Mail

NIMBY Recruitment

Military pay and respect, moral unequivalence, and RINO hunting in Virginia. Plus: McQueen again, Ben, and much more.

6.15.05

DON'T ABANDON IRAQ
Re: Christopher Preble's You and What Army?:

I agree with the author that we should withdraw U.S. armed forces from many foreign countries. To relieve the pressure on our Armed Forces, we should immediately withdraw out forces from all countries in Europe. This would deploy about 125,000 service men and women back to the U.S. It would eliminate billions of dollars in payments to European governments. It would eliminate the European part of the DODEA school system and save billions of dollars. We should also withdraw our forces from South Korea, Japan and other countries in the Asian area. This would deploy about 75,000 service men and women back to the U.S. It would eliminate billions of dollars in payments to Asian governments. It would eliminate the Asian part of the DODEA school system and save billions of dollars. These actions alone will release from foreign garrison duty 200,000 or 14% of the U.S. Armed Forces for other duties. These forces would deploy to the U.S. and occupy bases in the U.S. This would pump billions of dollars into our economy.

Remember when President Bush was reluctant to have the U.S play the world's policeman? He was attacked as an isolationist. It is necessary for the U.S. to project military and economic power to protect the homeland. That was the reason the U.S. deployed up to 400,000 service men and women to Europe. That deployment of 40+ years resulted in the defeat of the Soviet Empire. If we don't pursue our enemies in other lands, they will attack us in our homeland. The current crisis in manpower was caused by President Clinton and his decisions to reduce the U.S. Army from 14 divisions to 10 divisions. He also reduced all the other branches of the US Armed Forces by a like level. Then he radically increased the operational tempo of the US Armed Forces and thousands of members of the Armed Forces left the service. Yes we should increase our military back to the level President Bush (41) set in 1991.

We will leave Iraq when the people of Iraq acting through their democratically elected government can withstand the attacks of terrorists, Baathist and foreign. To do otherwise would be to repeat the shameful act of abandoning a people to evil. The U.S. government did that in the fall of 1974 when the Congress over the President's veto cut off the Republic of Vietnam's supplies and air support. That shameful action resulted in millions of deaths and genocide in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. To this day millions of people live in slavery because of that shameful act. We should NEVER do such a thing again.
-- Wade Smith
Fredericksburg, Virginia

I agree with your observations as to troop dispositions. However there is also a structural reason that enlistments are down. The period 1972-1975 is the lowest birth rate of the postwar era, down nearly a million births from the 1956 high. We don't reach that level again till 1989. This was the 'baby bust' period.

Considering that it takes nearly 20 years to reach enlistment age that puts the 'enlistment bust' period at around 1993 forward. So the U.S. military since then has had a smaller pool of candidates to enlist, presuming all other factors remain static. What should concern the military is whether the enlistment remains flat over the next five years. Their enlistment pool should be rising over this period tracking to 1989 birth peak. After that it becomes harder still as a birth shadow appears following the 1972-1975 lows.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

I can't remember who wrote it, but a suggestion was made that would end the military's recruitment problem. It is simple: pay each person who is on the front line of the fight in Iraq $100,000 per year. I, too, think that would end the problem. We would soon be turning away young men and women who wanted to serve; plus they would finally be getting the monetary recognition they deserve.
-- Yvonne

Agreeing with your right-on point that increasingly Americans are getting wiser about the pratfalls of policing cultures which historically reject our ideas of law and order, your point about conscription misses a critical mark:

America's politically-correct and morally cowardly rejection of the draft was a watershed in our history. It was the ultimate NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard). WE and OUR kids are NOT going to get involved in all that dirty, messy, you know, WAR stuff. Eeewwwwww! No. We'll leave that to the poor dummies from Alabama or Texas (see Howard Dean's inspired insights on this subject!), or maybe some of the Hispanics or Blacks. But not US. We have more important stuff to do like going to go to Vegas or the Mall. Or Disneyland. Or maybe get some new video games or a beer. Or a Makeover or an SUV. Whatever.

But history can be a hard mistress. For, if one's country is not personally worth defending, then one will not have a country for long.

We are, therefore, in much greater trouble than your otherwise excellent piece suggests; a country of progressively less-well-educated while increasingly more juvenile citizens whose highest and greatest thought seems to be oneself with the latest music system.

P.S.: You might want to look into what resulted from the "vision" of another American liberal president who helped to bring down a perceivably dictatorial regime and replace it with a more "Western Style" Democracy. From Wilhelm to Adolf took just 15 years.
-- Gene Wright
Laguna Niguel, California

Christopher Preble writes on June 14: "Since neither the Army nor the Marines can meet the existing recruiting goals, even with record high incentives, how would raising those recruiting goals -- which is what expanding the Army would mean -- do anything to address the fact that young people are increasingly skeptical of signing up to support the current administration's foreign policy?"

How does Mr. Preble conclude that young people are staying away for the reason he states here? Maybe they are staying away because they do not want to don white gloves in order to hand a copy of the Koran to a terrorist in Gitmo. Or, perhaps, they do not want to face a court-martial for killing a potentially booby-trapped terrorist faking death. What do you think? Could these be possibilities?
-- Jim Estrada
Gilbert, Arizona

I agree with Mr. Preble's statement that peacekeeping is often a thankless task. Ask the citizens of old Europe and South Korea if our peacekeeping efforts are appreciated. I am sure the people of Taiwan and Japan see things differently.
-- Diamon Sforza
San Diego, California

WESTERN COWARDS
Re: Brandon Crocker's Moral Equivalence Rides Again:

Kindly pass along thanks for his informative and clear appraisal of the moral equivalence follies which are the bane of sensible living and daresay survival strategies, thank you.
-- Dick Sheppard
Jersey City, New Jersey

Mr. Crocker's piece on the folly of moral equivalence was outstanding!
-- unsigned

Crocker's article on moral equivalence made some good points. Militant Islam is not the moral equivalence of Christian fundamentalism. Western society has eased pass the pain and suffering of the Inquisition, the Crusades, and hopefully the persecution of science. But as these events point out, Christianity also has blood on its hands from its more primitive days. All modern religions suppress man's creativity and hope to bend men to their will. On that point, they are morally equivalent.

I find it ironic that it was Reich who hoped men would be responsible as individuals, not just to a higher being. His economics shy away from individual responsibility and he would substitute a socialist nanny state for the present Christian nanny state.
-- Joseph R. Davey

Brandon Crocker points out the moral bankruptcy of the moral equivalence crowd, but he neglects mentioning the underlying cause of moral equivalency: simple cowardice. The morally equivalent crowd desired to placate the Soviet Union, of which (for good reason) they were terrified. The good ol' US of A, however, didn't frighten anyone. How simple to curry favor with the Soviets by (safely) trashing the Americans who opposed the U.S.S.R. Likewise with today's jihadists. Eurotrash and the American left are terrified by the brutal nature of Islamofascism. How much safer and easier to appease the nasty jihadists by attacking the non-threatening Christian community or conservatives generally than to actually confront the terrorists themselves!! These people are gutless; they are despicable and deceitful parasites who endure only because the people they insult have the fortitude to carry on.
-- Steve Gingerich
Battle Ground, Washington

It's interesting to see the secularists blaming those of a religious bent for the various problems in the world. But, what gives one pause is that the one and only time in history that the secularists had any real political power was the French Revolution and the subsequent Reign of Terror, and we all know (or should know) what happened then. Seems that the pot is calling the kettle black again.
-- Bob Schwartz
Buffalo, New York

EXPOSE THE HOSPITALS
Re: The Prowler's Grassley, Lott & Scruggs:

With all due respect, The Prowler is way off base in its attack on Senator Grassley's attempt to rein in the greed and attitude of God-given right to confer privilege on favored entities and individuals that besets today's so-called non-profit hospitals. No organization or individual in the entire country prices its goods and services like hospitals do, i.e., the less you have, the more you pay. Airlines don't do it. Drug companies don't do it. Only hospitals do it.

The preferential treatment given patients with employer provided plans versus individuals who are self insured, is a natural result of the distortion induced by government interference (tax breaks for some, but not others; government payment for some, but not others) in what once had been voluntary transactions of individuals.

Another cause of the outrageous differences in actual amount a hospital accepts, as opposed to the hospitals' imaginary fees billed is the change of non-profit hospitals from their origins as institutions of charity (mostly religiously affiliated) into for-profit in fact monsters by the hospital lay administrators' insight that "just because you are 'non-profit' doesn't mean you can't make money" (and lots and lots of it).

The result has been that those who are uninsured or self insured pay the outrageously high imaginary fees, while those who have employer provided plans pay the substantially lower actual fees.

Since the hospitals that were once non-profit have been replaced in fact by a system that is entirely for-profit, Senator Grassley's inquiries make more sense than allowing hospitals to continue their fictitious game of pretending to be non-profit. Rather than attacking Senator Grassley with cheap-shot innuendos about Senatorial motives and internal politicking, you should be championing his investigation into the dinosaurs known as general hospitals.
-- John Gridley

Is it ethical for non profit hospital board members to rake in millions and millions of dollars from the same institutions that they control as board members? Here in Tupelo, Mississippi, that is exactly what is going on, and I, a life long Republican, applaud Senator Lott for his courage to expose what is happening here and all over the country.

The same board members who call themselves conservatives here in Tupelo at the North Mississippi Medical Center spend millions of dollars to stamp out health care competition. Their actions reek of hypocrisy. They are simply concerned about protecting their own fat self serving contracts.

Dick Scruggs may be a Democratic trial lawyer but he is doing the country a service with this litigation. It is a shame the Congress has been unwilling to provide proper oversight to non profit hospitals. But what could you expect from Dr Bill Frist, a major shareholder in a health care company? Speaking of conflicts of interest?
-- Grant Fox, Law Firm Fox & Fox, P.A.
Tupelo, Mississippi

SEEDING FOR SECURITY
Re: James G. Poulos's CAFTA Is About Security:

Mr. Poulos fails to make the case for CAFTA. Despite NAFTA, we have a large illegal immigrant population (mostly from Mexico) that is continuing to pour into the U.S. We also have a huge trade imbalance that is continuing to balloon wildly out of control. Neither of these extremely important issues is addressed by this article.

I also found this statement "everyone except American and Mexican farming and labor interests has something to gain from CAFTA" to be particularly enlightening. Guess what, Mr. Poulos, the average American IS those "labor interests" that you dismiss so cavalierly. We actually need jobs in this country to feed and raise our families.

This is another free trade at any price propaganda piece disguised in national security rhetoric. You have convinced me to contact my representative and request a vote against CAFTA.
-- Beth Plymale
Arroyo Grande, California

James Poulos replies:
It is possible to support CAFTA as a bulwark against Latin American chaos and support the muscular halt of illegal immigration at the same time. I do. In fact, an overarching support for the rule of law -- at a minimum within the United States -- informs that joint endorsement. Just as it is one thing to export cheap jobs and quite another to import cheap laborers, pursuing CAFTA on national security grounds is key to ensuring the rule of law at home and abroad, whereas accepting a permanent extralegal underclass of cut-rate migrant labor is the virtual antithesis of the rule of law. Not to mention bad for American families.

What level of "national security rhetoric" will resonate with the "average American" when every Latin American nation from our border to Brazil's exports the narco-thug version of the Sandinistas to suburban areas of cities from Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.? That moment has already arrived -- that day is today -- and unless we act now to bring transparency, accountability, and order to Central America, tomorrow's rhetoric will be as vicious and desperate as the American streets caught in the grip of foreign criminals.

Is this worth selling U.S. labor down the river? Nor is it necessary. For starters, with trade, we can start by looking West instead of South. In 2004 our trade deficit with China lapped our deficit with Mexico more than three times. As a rule, simply because it's called free trade doesn't mean we should give it away. And a patient read of my "case" for CAFTA might uncover, among other things, the tandem thought that simply because CAFTA is loaded with a policy freight no trade agreement can politely be asked to bear doesn't mean that we aren't better off trying to do something right by it rather than turning our backs to another crisis already working its way across our borders.

TAX-AND-SPEND REPUBLICANS
Re: David Holman's Potts Shots:

David Holman's article is very interesting, indeed. Russell Potts might as well have the call sign "Crack". His politics are purely surly, and his political orientation is pure "Old Bull". Potts comes from a time in Virginia when Republicans could meet in a phone booth, and were desperate to have anyone call themselves a Republican. This meant to a large extent local politics began to be driven by the big developers and their paid for elected clones, dishing out prime zoning and freebee road construction.

Mr. Holman gets an A for the summary of the governor's race, but the
50th District race (Manassas) will be the true indicator of whether or not the "Old Bulls" will become the retired "Old Bulls." Delegate Harry Parrish is in a fight for his life. By the time this reaches your mailbox, he will be just a few hours from winning or losing. Parrish is the delegate who wrote Mark Warner's tax plan. He is a nominal Republican who has served 25 years in the Virginia House of Delegates, which seems to be about six years too long. His last three terms have seen some terrible fights over taxes lost by the GOP and he had much to do with the losses. His RINO status was solidified as one of his biggest buddies in the state legislature, Charles Colgan -- a BIG Capital "D" Democrat -- has seen fit to endorse Harry for re-election.

Well, all things must come to an end, and one hopes that by the time this is read, that the 50th District of Virginia will be an open seat that leans heavily toward electing a real Republican to fill that seat in the oldest representative governmental body in the western hemisphere.

There are several other races, but this one is closest to me. It is time for Harry to leave, and since he didn't step aside in head hanging shame for having double-crossed his constituents, I guess it is necessary to toss him out on his ear.

Republicans who raise taxes lose. It is just that simple.
-- John W. Schneider, III
Bristow, Virginia

KEEP LOOKING
Re: Jed Babbin's Not Missing: Moved:

Loud cheers to Jed Babbin, and I hope to hear the results of his continued scientific experiments! "In the interest of science, let us proceed."
-- Vicki Small
Tucson, Arizona

"...the fact we haven't found Saddam's WMD proved precisely nothing. That's so, I said, because while we fiddled and diddled in the U.N. for six months before military action began, Saddam almost certainly moved all his WMD and scrubbed away all the evidence of it."

Exactly.

I have heard respectable men say that they were wrong about Saddam's WMD. However, I haven't heard them explain away the information that led them to believe the WMD were there before the invasion. If it looks like they were there before, and they aren't there now, then is it not reasonable to consider the possibility that they are somewhere else?

The long wait after the warning was something we should not do again, should similar action be necessary (Iran). There is no need to warn, and warn again, and then again, and again...etc. We are the United States. When our statesmen speak, the world should listen the first time. When speaking softly doesn't get it done, just move immediately to the big stick. This will greatly improve the attentiveness of our enemies to things we might say in the future.

Call it the "E.F. Hutton Doctrine."
-- Mark Stewart
Jacksonville, Florida

I read the subject article and could not agree with you more. Sometimes the obvious is missed intentionally because it doesn't conform to the political agenda. We know Saddam hides things, including burying jet planes in the sand.

In all of these discussions concerning what Saddam did with the WMD (we know he had them because he used them) I don't understand why no one has brought up Saddam's flying his jet fighters to Iran in 1991 to avoid being destroyed by the U.S. This is his M.O.

Now if Saddam is willing to move his jet fighters to his enemy (Iran) rather than having them destroyed by the US, then it does not take a great leap of imagination to believe that Saddam moved his WMD to an ally (Syria).
-- Michael McLaughlin
McLean, Virginia

Would Mr. Babbin be able to follow up with some comments on the possible complicity of "Kofi, Dominique and their pals" (Vlad & Gerhard, perhaps) in actually moving, or providing political cover to move, whatever was in those trucks that crossed the Iraq-Syria border? I've felt for some time that the "Oil-for-Food" cover-up was only half of what the "pals" had to hide. Thanks and keep up the good work.
-- W. G. Wheatley
Worton, Maryland

Jed Babbin replies:
I only wish I had evidence that Kofi and the Kupcakes were responsible, either directly or indirectly. Trust me. If I ever get such evidence, you'll hear about it long, loud and continuously.

SUPER SITCOM WOMEN
Re: James Bowman's The Honeymooners:

I grew up in Brooklyn during the '50s. I have long felt that there were many people during that period, who had never recovered from the Depression emotionally or otherwise. Ralph met Alice on a W.P.A. job. She was handing out the shovels. Alice wasn't liberated, but she was free in a way that people would not understand today.

The Honeymooners was transitional between the Depression/World War II period and the '60s. You had to be there to know what getting a telephone or a television meant.
-- Michael J. Ellard

I think there is an underlying commentary on the taste and intelligence of the "great unwashed" to be learned here. I know I am treading dangerously close to the line between objectivity and my own subjective impression of TV and movie audiences, and some may see some barely concealed racism and class distinction or both in my remarks. Perhaps so. And then again, perhaps not.

First we should consider the television audience of the original Honeymooners. At that time there weren't two or even one TV set in every household and the TV audience was relatively affluent compared to today's set-watchers. My recollection of TV set owners of that time is that for the most part they were households where the "head of the household" brought home the bacon, not by cashing a welfare check but by working at some profession or at least a steady blue-collar job. The distaff side was a stay-at-home housekeeper, often taking care of several children, and just about every sitcom of the time had an intelligent and capable woman helming the ship at home. Father didn't always know best, but Mother never upstaged him while working behind the scenes to maintain peace and quiet.

Ralph and Alice were simply such a pair taken to the limit for comedy purposes. None of the episodes required any explanation whatsoever of Ralph's failings, Norton's successes, and Alice's absolute rule. We all "got it." Over the years the evolution (or should I say devolution) of the TV family sitcom progressed through such gems as All In The Family, Maude, and Home Improvement to current examples such as Everyone Loves Raymond, and now the supreme female protagonist works outside the home and brings home at least half of the bacon, and she saves the male's butt in every episode, all the time keeping a clean house and making dinner.

I suggest that the current movie version is a black household so as to appeal to the growing black market, and that the current Ralph had to have his moment of "self-awareness" in order to show that, after all, we aren't bigots here. And yes, it also makes it possible to have a domineering mother-in-law stereotype which has carried black humor since Eddy Murphy dressed in drag and where no equivalent exists in white society.

Well, as Norton once said to Ralph, "When the sewer fills up, just lie back and go with the flow." Words to live by.
-- Bob Johnson
Bedford, Texas

THE RIGHT APPRECIATION
Re: Ben Stein's Recruitment Improvement:

Ben Stein means well, but he should keep quiet (Recruitment Improvement, June 13, 2005). Yes, I appreciate the fact that he's supportive of the troops. But he handles it like a typical liberal, just go all gushy with random emotions, and then throw a lot of money at somebody. And if that doesn't work, invoke some social welfare tinkering.

"Pay (the troops) a lot more..... much, much more." And raise taxes to do it. Trouble is, you're not giving away Ben Stein's money, you're giving away the money of the guy who is the soldier's dad, or of his wife who is working at home. Or of the veteran who served years ago. We can be sure Ben's Hollywood liberal friends and his Pepperdine lawyer buddies won't be paying those higher taxes, nor will Ben, most likely. What a cheap, liberal way to assuage guilt and moral debt with someone else's taxes.

Next, how many "much mores"? How much do you pay a man for a job if it gets him killed? A million a year? Twenty mil? This is the way the Roman Empire got in trouble. Whenever the Emperor or Senate had a political problem or wanted to feel popular, they'd raise the wages for the legions. Eventually it busted the Roman budget. And perhaps you might not realize it in Malibu, but there is no imaginable amount of money that can buy a grunt a "great life style" when he's campaigning in a jungle or a sand trap. And that "great lifestyle" might just get him killed by dulling his cutting edge.

Then, if you can afford to start a bidding war for today's troops, what message does that send to all of us who served earlier? Even factoring in inflation, today's troops are paid better than twice what the Vietnam veterans were paid when in service. And the Guard and Reserve components get all sorts of benefits, even if not called to active duty, beyond what active military personnel received back then. Oh? That was then, and we're no longer needed now, so SCREW US! Besides, we're an embarrassment to well-connected lawyer-actors who hung out then, and now are retroactive practicing patriots.

And if you go fiddling with the tax codes as well as a luxurious pay scale, and include parents, descendants, veterans and relatives, pretty soon you'll develop exactly what America has always been at pains to avoid -- a military caste, with special privileges.

Of course if you ask a soldier or a veteran if he needs more money, or would like more money... the answer will always be yes. But that's not really why most of them joined, and not really what any of us Banquo-ghosts of the past want. It ain't the money.

More important than money is RESPECT. And that's not an Aretha Franklin song. Respect and the pride of accomplishment. Living a hard and dangerous life, accomplishing one's mission, and receiving the recognition of one's peers... that is what matters most. And genuine respect from the folks back home.

And that leads directly to Brother Stein's other inane suggestion, having the "media show(ing) the military building schools, saving little children's lives, feeding families, getting sick people medical care." Sure that may give warm and fuzzies to the Bull-wimp of Beverly Hills, but that's not why young men join the military. That's why other young people join VISTA, or the Peace Corps. Men join the military because they want to live a hard and simple life, defeat enemies, and prove themselves -- or to force themselves to become like that. What recruitment needs is more emphasis on the combat, the transcendence of difficult living, and the fullness of being warriors not social workers. And we also need to turn the military back toward those goals. End sensitivity and diversity training, and terminate abruptly the excessive concern for the feigned sensitive feelings of our enemies.

Who wants to join a military where he will be treated like Lt. Pantano, put at risk of execution for shooting two Iraqis? Or like the fortunately anonymous Fallujah marine? Treat the MSM like the enemies they are, take off the gloves and resume fighting a war really to win, and give the troops honor, instead of mewling and mewking sympathy. And then get ready for a spike in enlistments.

Thirty-five years ago, upon returning home, I was reminded of Prince Hal's promise that "those in England now a-bed... will fall silent when one speaks who fought with us on Crispin's Day". Unfortunately, today they even have the temerity to advise us on the enlistment they never signed themselves.
-- George Mellinger

Why don't we just close Gitmo? Here are the reasons given:

1. The MSM publishes a fictitious report on Koran desecration at Gitmo.
2. People riot; some are killed.
3. The MSM grudgingly recants its story.
4. The Pentagon releases their report; the truth.
5. It shows the detainees, not us, were desecrating the Koran. Any acts by us were incidental and quickly acted on.
6. The Left demands we close Gitmo because of the bad publicity.

What bad publicity? The MSM's fictitious report? I have a replacement item #6.

6. The Left demands accurate reporting from the MSM.

I know, get a life. But I can dream can't I?
-- William R. Falzone
Seminole, Florida

WITH A BULLITT
Re: Wlady Pleszczynski's It Ain't Cool:

Bullitt might of shown the same car several times, but what makes that car scene great is that McQueen did his own driving!
-- Janis Gurney
Miami, Florida

Don't forget Bruce Brown's great motorcycle documentary, On Any Sunday, featuring Steve McQueen, Malcolm Smith and Mert Lawwill. I don't even like motorcycles, but loved this movie.
-- Elaine Kyle
Cut & Shoot, Texas

Very good article on Steve McQueen. You missed, however, one his more charming, if boyish roles. That was in the movie Soldier in the Rain starring McQueen and Jackie Gleason.
-- unsigned

Thank you to the person who wrote this! A long time McQueen fan myself, I have always felt -- and still do -- that Love With the Proper Stranger is one of his best. To me there was a tender magic between Steve and Natalie Wood, the result of these two great actors and the time the film was made. Never again will that combination be possible. I re-watch it a few times a year and I am 66.
-- Mary Louise Kleman
Grasonville, Maryland

PROFESSIONAL DISCIPLINE
Re: Mike Spencer's letter (under "Assessing Justice") in Reader Mail's Keep Plugging, Ben and Robert F. Casselberry's letter (under "Medical Courage") in Reader Mail's Superman Ben:

Just for the record, I too am an engineer, specifically a Chemical Engineer, University of Dayton, class of 1979. I practiced as an engineer for almost 14 years and got my J.D. by going to night school while working as an environmental manager in a steel mill.

It seems that putting "Esq." by my name ticked you off, and I usually don't use the honorific because I think it's pretentious myself. But I wasn't showing off as much as I was making a point in the letter. I am a lawyer and feel like I have an informed viewpoint on the issue of medical malpractice. I wanted to make it clear in my letter that I was not just another "delusional knight errant."

I am also not a trial lawyer, I am a corporate attorney. Most attorneys do not chase ambulances, in spite of the common wisdom disseminated by TV and the movies. Like the medical profession, the practice of law has a few bad apples, but unlike the medical profession, you can easily find a lawyer to take your legal malpractice suit and go after the bad actor. Try getting a doctor to do something about a lousy colleague. And let me point out that when one of us "greedy lawyers" screws up our clients seldom suffers an agonizing death or a life of debilitating physical pain.

As to your suggestion that doctors be prosecuted under the law, I
Heartily agree, and I believe that even trial lawyers would agree with me. In legal practice, having a criminal conviction makes reaching a civil judgment much easier.

But if you want criminal convictions, society needs to pass the laws to do it. Go write your congressman about the situation. I'm sure that he or she will be happy to work on the legislation, right after they get back from the junket paid for by the American Medical Association.
-- Bob

DEAN AND PETER
Re: George Neumayr's In Dean's Den:

Over the years I have noticed that there are basically three types of identifiable Christians. There are those Christians who live their faith from day to day, using it to infuse their lives with meaning; there are those whom I call social Christians, and they pretty much conform their lives to the principles of Christianity as a sort of grease to make the wheels of life go round easier, and finally, there are the Christians like Mr. Dean who trot out their Christianity when they perceive that they can gain some sort of an advantage from it, that is, the nominal Christians. Based on all that he has done as a governor, a doctor, and a presidential candidate, no observer could conclude that his Christianity is anything but paper thin. I realize that "he who is without sin may cast the first stone" and I wouldn't think of claiming to be without sin, but Mr. Dean has the chutzpah of the defendant who murdered his parents, then asked for mercy from the jury because he is an orphan. Watching this man operate in the political world is enough to frighten any sane person. That he could be the choice of a 21st century political party to be its leader is either the most terrifyingly evil act of a jaded, power hungry organization, or somebody's idea of a great cosmic joke.

In the educational world there is a principle (the Peter Principle -- I'm not kidding) which holds that people start their careers at entry level, continue to get promoted and given more responsibility, until they eventually reach a position at which they cannot function -- and there they stay. Let's hope that Mr. Dean has reached his.
-- unsigned

MAYBERRY FACT-CHECKING
Re: Dave's letter (under "Don't Be a Stranger") in Reader Mail's McQueen for a Day:

Regarding the letter from Dave from Elk Grove ("FYI: McQueen's Blob female co-star went on to play the TV role of Barney's girlfriend, Thelma-Lou, on the old Andy Griffith Show"), actually McQueen's female co-star in The Blob was Aneta Corsaut, who played Andy's girlfriend Helen Crump, not Barney's girlfriend Thelma Lou.
-- Ronnie Cramer
Denver, Colorado

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