Reader Mail

No Men Need Apply

Who's entitled to criticize NOW? Plus: Alaska East. Ben Stein defended -- in a BIG way. Pork paths. And much more.

3.28.05

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JUST LIKE A NOW WOMAN
Re: Andrew Cline's Not Their Kind of Woman:

WOW, Now! The real question is how does NOW spell HYPOCRISY? There is plenty on their site about violence to women but, I guess your totally estranged and living with another woman husband who had two kids for him while he insists on pulling out your food and water tube does not qualify as violence to a woman?! Terri apparently has no rights in the definitions of women's rights that NOW is interested in! There is also plenty about disabled women on their website, but I guess Terri does not fit into any disabled category that NOW is interested in since she can't link arms with them actively! What a sick sick feminist bunch! I think all of them should have food, water, and taxpayer funding withheld permanently!
-- J. Kerr
Jones, Oklahoma

Regarding your apparent disgust that national feminist organizations have not stepped up to challenge the conditions of Schiavo's pending death, I feel I need to make a few brief remarks to you:

1) You have no place, as a man, helping women's organizations develop a platform. You just can't possibly understand.

2) Perhaps the organizations in question realize the illegitimacy of the media bombardment surrounding this single case, and instead wish to focus their attention on issues relevant on a much larger scale than a single human life.

3) Your presumption that left-wing feminists would use Schiavo's husband's lifestyle against him is possibly the most ignorant idea I've read in print this year. Lifestyle issues, such as gay rights, come down to the basic presumption that what people do intimately should not be used to judge them. Why then would a group which advocates for sexual equality make light of a situation which is charged with gender stereotypes of expectation?

Feel free to answer on that last, somewhat rhetorical question. If you're going to write about feminists, perhaps you should consider becoming one. It would make all involved parties much happier, I'm sure.

Thank you,
-- Shawn Fleek

Am I the only one that thinks it is a little odd that a man is questioning what is important to womens' rights organizations? It's like asking a white man to report on the importance of NAACP issues.

Like I said -- just a thought.
-- John

WHEN ALL ABOUT YOU
Re: Patrick Michael's Half-Baked Alaska:

Dr. Patrick Michaels' analysis of Alaskan Senatorial surrender to global warming alarmists was accurate in recognizing that such Kyotophilia cannot be justified by sound science or economics. But that of course is precisely the point. Climate change policy is about green faith and religion, not rationality.

Eleven of twelve New England Senators have backed greenhouse gas regulation that will surely sharply raise energy prices but have no detectable affect on global warming. For some, like Olympia Snowe, it's just practical re-election politics. For others like Susan Collins, Lincoln Chafee, and Jim Jeffords, supporting the green left is simply attending services with their co-religionists. Only John Sununu has kept his head.
-- Jon Reisman
Cooper, Maine

EXTRA CREDIT
Re: James G. Poulos's A Democratic Domino:

"War is God's way of teaching Americans geography" may be an old saying, but it does have an author. Since Mr. Poulos thinks highly enough of his readers that he expects their knowledge to encompass Rousseau and Locke, then I suspect we all can handle the name Ambrose Bierce as well.
-- Michael Robkin
Altadena, California

BEN UNBURDENED
Re: Reader Mail's Concentrated Minds and Ben Stein's Simply Terrifying:

I'm amazed by the number of your correspondents who fail to understand the most basic principles of our form of government, as shown in their opinions on the Schiavo matter.

We have three independent branches of government. It is the duty of the legislative branch to pass laws, of the executive to approve and enforce them, and of the judicial branch to determine the applicability of the laws in individual cases. It was never the intent of the Founders to allow judges to make laws, nor for them to override the intent of the legislators.

Judges must follow the law just as must everyone else. They have no constitutional right to choose which laws to apply, nor to invalidate laws, nor to decide that standard judicial procedure (so-called due process) is superior to the will of the people as expressed by their elected representatives; yet in this case we have seen judges cast aside or avoid the clear intent of laws passed by both the Florida and national legislature. This is simply unconstitutional.

Judicial usurpation proceeds apace. There is nothing new about it, of course. In Ohio and, I believe, other states the courts have threatened legislators with jail for, among other things, the "failure" to "properly" fund courts. Again in Ohio a local judge has used some vague language in the preamble to the Ohio Constitution to decide that the legislature was improperly funding schools, and ordered the passage of new laws that would meet his requirements. In Kansas City, Missouri a judge took over the school system, ordered taxes imposed on the people, and designed new school buildings and new educational policies, all without effective opposition from the legislative and executive bodies of the city and state. (And, I might add, without any noticeable improvement in the educational attainments of the students.) Other examples are too numerous to mention.

Judicial usurpation seems to have reached a crescendo with cases concerning the right to life. Roe versus Wade was decided extra-constitutionally, and the Federal courts have time and again denied the states any power to control abortion, acting not to apply the law but to re-write or contravene it. The courts have even gone so far as to use foreign law to justify usurpation of legislative rights and the effective abrogation of the Constitution.

One of your correspondents says, "The courts then stand separately and interpret what the laws say." INCORRECT. It is the duty of the courts to apply the law, and to obey it themselves unless some clear constitutional conflict exists.

Another writer states, "...religious extremists that are more interested in one woman's "life" than in the rule of law." CONFLICTED REASONING. The founding document of our nation calls for the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." The law, by any rational interpretation, does not allow the execution of a person who has not been tried and convicted of an appropriate crime. Terri Schiavo is guilty of no crime yet she has been condemned to death by not just removing a form of "treatment", the feeding tube, but by being denied all sustenance no matter how delivered or by whom.

Another, "...in this country, when families can't agree courts must decide. How else would you like this issue to be settled? By Congress?" MISSING THE POINT. Legislatures decide issues, courts apply the law. In this case the courts are ignoring laws specifically passed to deal with this issue.

Still another, "If we are to have ordered liberty in this country, we need to respect the court system and the process of the law, not trash them." WRONG. The interests of liberty and constitutionality require that we rein in the courts and stop their ongoing takeover of legislative powers.

Ben Stein gets on my nerves quite a bit with his whining about his career, fortune, and family. But on issues of liberty and patriotism he could not be more correct. The main danger to our liberties is presently the courts. It is very unfortunate that Congress did not take advantage of this opportunity to insist upon legislative primacy with regard to writing the law, and that the President did not find it in himself to use his Constitutional powers to enforce the rather tentative law that Congress did pass. God help us if this continues.
-- Richard Donley

I was sickened by every letter criticizing Ben Stein's denunciation of the travesty of justice being done to Terri Schindler Schiavo. These people who seem to believe that the judges have had all the answers and that those trying to save Terri from this horrible fate have been nothing more than zealous busybodies should go across the proverbial hall to our friends at National Review Online and read everything that Andrew McCarthy has posted since March 17. There you will learn of the paucity of information on which this case has been decided, and you will see clearly that Terri's rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments have been cavalierly violated; and maybe then even you will come to the realization that this innocent woman is being criminally subjected to a fate so cruel, in a screamingly obvious violation of the Eighth Amendment, that if it were done to his dog, Michael Schiavo would do jail time, and if it were done to a death row inmate, hundreds of thousands would be marching in the streets.

You might also pick up a copy of the U.S. Constitution and notice therein that Congress has the indisputable authority, albeit much too rarely employed, to direct the actions of the federal courts; you might then wonder how a federal judge could blithely muster the temerity to accept as irrefutable the conclusions of a state court despite clear instructions from Congress that he was to examine the matter de novo (that means "completely anew" for those of you, as Rush might say, in Rio Linda). You could be forgiven if you also wondered why President Bush and Attorney General Gonzales did not immediately order the arrest of Judge Greer for contempt of Congress when he threw out the House subpoenas, and instead inexplicably permitted the carrying out of his order for the death by starvation and dehydration of a federal witness.

You might also marvel at the cowardice of Florida Governor Bush whose attorneys stated publicly that he already had the authority as governor to rescue Terri: Jeb's career in public service is now over. For my part, as I read of the governor's petition to Judge Greer for permission to save Terri, I recalled our efforts prior to the Iraq invasion to persuade France to accept a new U.N. resolution, time wasted while Saddam activated his defenses and secured his goods.

Is this "It"? Probably not, but it sure as hell ought to be: this whole affair stinks of Dred Scott.
-- Stephen Foulard
Houston, Texas

What does reader Parker know about the background of the neurologist whose testimony was found to show by no more than "clear and convincing" evidence that Terri is in a persistent vegetative state? Or is he waiting for a "news report" on that from the same network that sought out input from Dr. Kevorkian, who's doing 10-25? The court adopted the opinion of a "right to kill" neurologist (see Appleton Consensus -- Cranford) who, among other things, advocates killing to save scarce medical resources. Ben Stein has no "burden" to "prove" anything.
-- Alfred Stanbury

Perhaps nothing better illustrates the cultural divide separating blue state voters from their red state counterparts than what has happened in Florida in recent weeks. Within hours of Terri Schiavo having her feeding tube removed by order of a Florida judge, a registered sex offender confessed to kidnapping and murdering a 9-year-old Florida girl. Assuming he is convicted and sentenced to death, which of the two do you think will command the left's sympathy? Will it be the severely handicapped Ms. Schiavo, who is slowly being starved to death through a denial of food and water? Or will it be a confessed murderer who may soon find himself sitting on death row?

When those on the left support life, invariably it is the life of the death-row inmate or of a terrorist in some far away prison. Otherwise, the left promotes a culture of death with its support of abortion on demand and the homosexual death-style. And now the gates to their morbid domain are opening wider to include euthanizing the handicapped!

Nurses have testified that Schiavo has been denied basic rehabilitative care by her husband. And for years she has been confined to her room like a prisoner. Now as she lies dying, not even an ice cube can be used to comfort her dry, cracked lips. Is she a human being with intrinsic value and worth? Or is she a piece of property to be discarded at the discretion of her husband? Where are the women of NOW?

The left would have us believe that we are expanding the frontiers of human dignity by allowing this helpless woman to die. But more than likely we are taking a step backwards to a dark and tragic past. Schiavo’s death now appears inevitable but when she dies she won’t go alone. With her will die the left’s credibility of ever speaking in the name of compassion again.
-- Thomas M. Beattie

Re: Ben Stein's column on the judge system.

If this were an injured dolphin that needed a tube inserted, Teddy Kennedy or Hillary would break a leg getting there for a photo op.

In Cincinnati, one is fined $500.00 for destroying a goose egg.

You figure it out.
-- M. Goudzwaard
Leesburg, Florida

I read some of the transcripts of the malpractice suit that Terri's husband filed 10 years ago. What is horrifying is that not once did he say that Terri was beyond help, that she wished to die if ever left in a PVS state. The court awarded him $765,000 for rehabilitation of Terri as a consequence. One year later he let it be known that she did in fact wish to die all along. Nothing in her condition changed. Did her husband commit insurance fraud? It would be grotesque if her rehab money went to the lawyers who argued that she wished to die by starvation.

Ben Stein is right we have come full circle with the courts. They are our new robed masters. Almost everyone see judges as political partisans these days. The courts have only themselves to blame. If they are in fact partisans, then we should amend the Constitution, and they can run for federal office like everyone else.
-- J.P. Koch
Indiana

Just a thought -- Pope John Paul is lucky he ain't living in Florida.
-- Ken Wyman
Huntsville, Alabama

PORK PATHS
Re: Shawn Macomber's The Vermontization of America:

I suspect Shawn Macomber's objective was to show that funding for bike paths in a federal highway bill was just more pork, equally supported by members of both parties. At least I think that was his point, but it was hard to tell amid all the distracting blah blah about lining said paths with Romanesque columns and whether bicyclists are "fun people."

Certainly such spending is illegitimate, since the Constitution does not direct the federal government to pay for bicycle paths. It's equally true that the feds ought not to be in the business of building roads. Or airports. Or railroads. Those responsibilities are reserved to the states, or the people. A curious document, that Constitution. It could be the basis for a hilarious reality TV program showing that 90% of what the government blows your money on is illegal:

"Survivor: Career Politician" where Senators compete to see how much dough they can blow. Budget cutters are barred from re-election; "Pimp Your Spending Bill." A rudimentary law is brought to Washington, where legislators festoon it with flashy, unnecessary bling bling. Hosted by Senator Byrd; "The Real World -- Congress." Strangers live together in the House, where they betray each other and confess their innermost thoughts to C-SPAN. Conflict and zaniness ensues; or "Punk'd: The American Taxpayer."

But as accurate as Mr. Macomber is about the $284 billion bill being at once profligate and miserly ("It's never enough"), I think he picked the wrong battle in the War on Pork. Since obviously we cannot count on this president to veto unconstitutional spending, we might as well extract what benefit we can. I would be much happier if the "dirty hippies" were off somewhere riding their bikes, instead of driving their Kerry/Edwards-bumper-sticker-encrusted Volvos too slow in the left lane.
-- Jim Bono
Midlothian, Virginia

All of this, and we cannot even get a dime to fix the roads in our county in northern Michigan. The potholes are so big, someone is going to get lost in them and you have to drive the center of the road as the sides are so broken up there is danger in losing control of the vehicle. There is no money for even sanding the roads at a decent time of the day and so the hundreds of commuters that leave for work at 6 a.m. are thrown off into the ditches (that is, if they are lucky). So many head-ons, even on the main highways. It is a disgrace!
-- Becky

BEAUTY TESTS
Re: Sherri Reaume's letter ("Celebrating Esther") in Reader Mail's Concentrated Minds:

Sherri Reaume is too simplistic in saying that the simple truth is that the power of a beautiful woman lies in the strength she imparts to her husband. It may have been 30 years ago that the President of Italy said that the most cogent proof of the existence of God is a beautiful woman. And, of course, her beauty provides joy to herself, to other men, and to other women.
-- R.L.A. Schaefer

DEMERITS
Re: Reader Mail's Concentrated Minds:

Boy, I've never read so many people rattling off e-mail in those smug tones. But what was more enlightening was that, as usual, the most smug, arrogant, and berating were riddled with errors.

I'll take just one of the worst written by Stuart Chatham; "...the legislature belongs to the people. The courts belong to the law. The people write the laws -- through their elected legislatures. The courts then stand separately and interpret what the laws say. To be otherwise, would be law by media circus."

Sorry Mr. Chatham, but Congress has the authority over the purview of the courts as given in Article III of the U.S. Constitution. It's incorrect thinking like yours that have allowed our courts to not interpret but legislate from the bench. I can list case after case after case where an overwhelming majority of the people have voted, thus spoken, only to have ONE judge say "tough cookies."

I suggest people berating your fine writers over the "It" and Terry Schiavo read the Constitution. Our branches of government are separate and equal to provide checks and balances. Our courts today pretend these constraints do not apply to them any longer as they actually use foreign sources to justify their perverted rulings.

You can whine and complain all you want about what a bipartisan Congress did by passing a bill telling a federal court, as their constitutional power allows, to have an evidentiary review of the case (as opposed to just a legal review as the often cited "16 judges" did in this case). The court said, "no" and that judge should be removed from the bench as also is allowed under the Constitution.

As to the unsigned hippie singing "Give Peace a Chance" I suggest he read Dylan himself who doesn't hold his material up as mankind saving mantras nor does he regard himself as some idol to be worshipped. The man was just trying to make a buck.
-- Greg Barnard
Franklin, Tennessee

WITH AMIGOS LIKE THESE
Re: Jed Babbin's The Three Amigos Summit:

Amigos such as these in America's attic and cellar makes one long for a hurricane and flood.
-- unsigned

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