Reader Mail

No Fault Marriage

And other social situations, including golf, courts, prisons, and DDT symposiums. Plus much more.

3.6.05

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AN UNMARRIED STATE
Re: David Holman's A New Covenant:

Ms. Carlson's diatribe on Capital Gang was pathetic, but no more so than Mr. Holman's whining about it. Mr. Holman writes, "To Margaret Carlson, any politician who voices the idea that the state ought to discourage divorce is an opportunist cashing in on the culture war." The state ought not to be taking a position on divorce or marriage one way or the other. Maybe I missed that section on divorce in the Constitution. Marriage is nothing more than a civil process for legal entanglement between two people. The standard marriage vows seem unambiguous to me. Do people like Mr. Holman and Gov. Huckabee not take their initial marriage vows seriously enough and therefore need to "upgrade" their marriage to one of the covenant variety? Shouldn't this be a private matter? Mr. Holman also mentions "voluntary covenant marriage legislation." If I ever get in trouble with the IRS I'll be sure to mention the idea of voluntary tax legislation --voluntary being the operative word.

If politicians are so serious about marriage they should spend more time working on them and less time publicizing their marriage "upgrade."
-- Ben Berry
Washington, D.C.

Amidst the dispute over Covenant Marriage should at least be a question about the value of marriage counseling. I saw no data on how effective that was. Why should the taxpayer or citizen pay for an ineffective screening process? If half of the population gets divorced in a lifetime, I could use a coin flip and be right 25 percent of the time. Can they do better than that?
-- Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

PUTTIN' AROUND
Re: Lawrence Henry's Funny Golf:

Lawrence Henry is so right. I enjoy playing golf, and if I break one hundred I think I'm Tiger Woods. But no matter how lousy I might play on any particular round, it's those two or three really good shots that stick in my mind and keep me coming back. Ah jes' cain't hep it.
-- Michael Hargis
Shepherdsville, Kentucky

Stan Utley's Short Game. This one page will do more for your short game than any other.
-- Mark Candon
Rutland, Vermont

TERMS OF SURRENDER
Re: Re: Doug Bandow's Appeasing North Korea and Chris Buckley's letter (under "Seoul on Ice") in Reader Mail's The New Ropers:

We should make the grunts of the North Korean Army an offer. Surrender or die!

Tell them they can choose one of the following options:

1) Walk home, leaving their posts deserted.

2) Remove their uniform shirt exposing a white t-shirt, walk slowly toward the nearest U.S. or South Korean soldier, and when challenged shout "U-S-A".

3) If they cannot do either of the above, they should find a piece of open ground and arrange some rocks in the form of a "Peace Sign," it sort of looks like a Mercedes hood ornament. We can detect the surrender by satellite.

Once they have all surrendered, we will send in the South Korean troops to take possession and re-unify the country under ROK leadership. Then it is "Miller Time" for U.S. troops, who will be re-stationed in the Good Ole USA! The Korean War will be over. Finally!
-- Bruce Thompson

Mr. Bandow makes some very interesting points in his article, but I can't help wondering exactly what he wishes would be accomplished with regards to North Korea.

North Korea is an insignificant speck in international circles. It's only importance rests in its ability to be the Balkans of the 21st century. Even with nuclear weapons and the limited delivery capability that they possess, they are a limited threat at best. Their only true threat lies in their potential to provide a spark that could ultimately ignite a regional or global conflict, one possibly even involving nuclear weapons.

For this reason, the Red Chinese must be made to see the threat posed by a nuclear-armed rogue state to their south. They must bring pressure to bear on the administration of Kim Jung-il to abandon its nuclear ambitions and accede to the requests from the international community for nuclear accountability. If Pyongyang remains uncooperative, then it may serve Beijing best to sponsor regime change south of the border.

That South Korea chooses to hold the vicious dog to their north at bay by unconditionally throwing fresh meat over the fence composed primarily of U.S. military might, is unsurprising. But sooner, rather than later, the fence will be gone and they will have to deal with the dog on their own. If that dog proves to be unafraid of South Korean promises of military action if invaded, then many, many more South Koreans may find themselves captives of the North. Mr. Bandow is correct in his assertion that South Korea should take a strong stand against the activities of the North, beginning with a demand for an accounting for the whereabouts and conditions of their missing citizens.

The present administration of the United States attempted to warn the world and the ostrich citizens of their own country of the threat posed by the nations of North Korea, Iran and Iraq by applying to them the term, Axis of Evil. That the application of this title may have caused North Korea to become more recalcitrant, if that is possible, is irrelevant. The important players in this particular drama are the US, Red China and Russia. They are in a position to directly influence the future of the planet. Should Pyongyang launch a nuclear strike on South Korea, Taiwan or Japan (possible with the new generation of missiles available to them), the US could turn South Korea into an island in a matter of hours. The resultant conflict, as Red China and possibly Russia were drawn into opposition to the US, would be catastrophic. It is for this reason that the US refuses to enter into unilateral talks with North Korea. The important players in this situation must be made to understand that if North Korea is not contained, then everyone will suffer. It is in their best interests to actively pursue the containment of North Korean nuclear ambitions. We will see if they show any more willingness to do this than they already have.
-- Michael Tobias
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

IMPEACH JUSTICES
Re: George Neumayr's Constitution Killers and "unsigned's" letter (under "Under the Influence") in Reader Mail's The New Ropers:

George Neumayr has it right: the Supreme Court has evolved into a de facto Constitutional Convention. Albeit one that fails to seek ratification of its frequent "updates" of our Constitution. Although clearly this would be a very different Court if certain Senators hadn't forced Reagan to substitute Kennedy for Bork, I doubt that the problem can be fixed merely by asking Arlen Specter and gang to send us "better" Justices next time. Judicial activism is just too deeply entrenched, built decision by decision over the course of several decades.

So a structural fix is in order. Our much celebrated system of checks and balances lacks a much needed check on the Court's Judicial Activism. Anybody have any ideas?
-- Andrew James
Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania

A correspondent ("Unsigned") faults Neumayr's logic for allegedly conflating "middle-aged" 17-year olds of the late 18th century with those of today, asserting: "But guess what, 17 is no longer middle age! Believe it or not, the world has changed since the late 18th century, and some of the values and worldview that even modern conservatives hold would be foreign to our forefathers. They thought that blacks should be slaves and that women weren't fit to vote."

Both the abolition of slavery and women's suffrage expanded rights and responsibilities to classes of people previously deemed incapable of meeting the obligations of full citizenship. Unsigned's view essentially argues that a group not given adult citizen rights ("children") now merit a responsibility for adult crimes. I wonder if Unsigned thinks today's victim of a teen killer is less dead than someone killed by a 17-year-old in the 1780s.

Though he doesn't say so outright, "Unsigned" apparently believes that today's teens are infantilized relative to their forebears, and thus deserve cosseting for any crimes they commit, no matter how heinous. Well guess what! Unless one wants to sign up to the liberal idea that there's a History of Human Nature, today's 17-year-old is every bit as capable -- physically, intellectually and emotionally --of committing murder as he was 200 years ago. That today's young Crip or Blood has a much longer life expectancy has no bearing on his ability to commit crimes now.
-- John Link

THE FELON VOTE
Re: Shawn Macomber's Re-Enfranchising Felons:

The rules restricting the rights of felons were in place prior to the felon committing the crime. A person doesn't just become a felon; he has been tried in a court by a jury of peers. It's part of the sentence.

There is a mechanism to restore those rights to a felon. If a felon were so inclined, he could pursue clemency. He would once again be judged, and may be found worthy.

Issuing blanket "clemency" to felons is not the solution.
-- Tom Smith
Austin, Texas

Hillary Clinton wants this bill passed so all of her good friends can vote for her.
-- Leon Weight
Idaho Falls, Idaho

KEYSTONED IN 2006
Re: Avi Dov Klein's The Jomo Kenyatta Professor of Law :

I really enjoyed the article "The Jomo Kenyatta Professor of Law" by Klein. It did seem a little strange to have the article written by a former student, but aside from that, I found the article really interesting and well written. In particular, I liked this author's style and I'm interested to see what this writer has to say on subjects he is less personally connected with.
-- Rick Barrett

BEARERS OF BAD NEWS
Re: John Tabin's Running Up the Score:

It never ceases to amaze me why the majority of the public puts up with the media and their attempt to dictate the news. It is so obvious which newspapers and which columnists are the biggest offenders. I for one find the writings of Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd especially offending. They write as if the general public were a bunch of dolts, and I feel offended. Naturally I gave up reading them years ago but all I need to see is a title on an article in various newspapers, including my local one, to know it is written by one of those two. I feel the same way when my favorite news station interviews some of the pundits or politicians. From the first sentence uttered by the guests you don't even need to turn around and see who it is. The Democrats claim they don't understand what happened to their party. It should be obvious. They have chosen a minority leader who hasn't had a nice thing to say since he took office, they have spent the last few months whining and complaining but have nothing to offer, they criticize the opposition to the point of how they dress, they continue to support the crazy rhetoric of Kennedy and Byrd who seem to be losing their grip, and the party as a whole is definitely not attempting to join our President to make this country safer. The liberal media and the Democrats (politicians) are consumed with getting power back and the hell with the safety of our country. Why would any sane person want to put people with this record in charge of the country?
-- Jane McNair
Mystic, Connecticut

ANOTHER SECURITY BREECH
Re: "Knight Errant" letters in Reader Mail's The Best Is Yet to Come:

The readers responding to Michael Knight's diatribe in "The Devil Himself" have every right to complain about his unseemly language, but they are throwing rocks in a glass house. I've found much worse in The American Spectator's own Reader Mail said about the left than Knight has said about the right. And my own perusal of right and left blogs and online political news has left me with the general impression that invective on the order of Michael Knight is quite common on the right. For example, Ann Coulter outbursts on TV and in columns.
-- Ron Schoenberg
Seattle, Washington

DRAFT BUNTING
Re: H.W. Crocker III's The Jomo Kenyatta Professor of Law:

Will someone please get the ear of the Republican National Committee and tell them to draft former VMI superintendent Josiah Bunting to run for President in 2008? I don't want to see some compromising political hack, like Republican Senators Bob Dole, Trent Lott, Bill Frist, Richard Lugar, and Charles Grassley, et al., trotted out to take on Hillary Clinton. The thought of a flavorless, spineless Republican Senator debating someone who actually believes something makes this conservative want to throw up. A firebrand, young Turk Conservative, who actually articulates, God forbid, PRINCIPLES, is necessary to defeat Hillary Clinton. The next Teddy Roosevelt is needed in 2008.

By the way, I read Grant's memoirs. The republic would not exist, if the North had not had Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses Grant.
-- David Shoup
Dublin, Georgia

CHOOSE CHOICE
Re: Michael Selick's letter (under "You Can Hide...") in Reader Mail's Get Out of Jail Free:

Methinks that Akron's Mr. Selick protests a tad too much. In his zeal to knock my (and others") pro-CHOICE stance, he illustrated just why the initials were used.

Zealots bombing clinics and murdering doctors? Paradoxically, some of the supposedly pro-life people have killed -- taken lives. Numerous times, too.

Thus, common sense dictates that one should use some semblance of care when corresponding with potentially demented bombers and anti-choice folk.

Since no positive argument or suggestive ideas were expressed by Michael Selick, just his rant on "cowardice" and how-dare-I; that alone was probably reason enough to simply use the "slg."

Hey, I'm no fool. Next, he'll be wanting my address? Nah.

Remember, in perspective -- we were talking about a movie. And choice.
-- Sweet Lovable Geoff

DDT SYMPOSIUM
Re: Gerald and Natalie Sirkin's DDT, Fraud, and Tragedy, "When a Virus Is Not a Virus" letters in Reader Mail's Get Out of Jail Free, and Mark Schaffer's letter (under "Four Out of Five Scientists Concur") in Reader Mail's The Best Is Yet To Come:

In response to a letter concerning DDT alternatives for Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS), I believe propoxur and bendiocarb have both been used for this purpose. I believe malathion was used as well during the latter days of DDT's "reign." Again, I do not work with malaria, so my memory may be faulty on this, but anyhow; These alternatives should not pose undue hazard to birds when used for this purpose, because in IRS treatment is done in one of two ways: 1) All vertical and horizontal surfaces of the structure are treated, to kill or repel any anophelines that rest on these surfaces after taking a blood meal. 2) In a modified IRS protocol, WALLS ONLY are sprayed in a BAND 1.65 meters high above the floors, and 1 meter below the ceiling, selectively targeting the mozzie resting sites. This allows the use of less pesticide. In either technique, there is really no exposure of birds to the pesticide. Indeed, in most selective mozzie control applications, whether for control of West Nile virus-carrying Culex, or Malaria-carrying anopheles, bird hazard should be negligible. Modern ground level adulticides like Sumithrin have such a low toxicity that, at dosage and flow rates used for mozzie control, it is virtually selective for mosquitoes alone. Again, if any of my malaria facts are inaccurate, I invite any "malaria specialists" out there to clarify what I have said. My expertise is with surveillance of mosquito-borne viruses like West Nile, and in the training of mozzie control personnel, not malaria. But I reiterate, the biggest problem with DDT, in any control strategy, is rapid selection of resistance. Hopefully, any further uses will be tempered by this knowledge. But, if the DDT advocates persist in pushing it as a "magic bullet" for malaria, well, I am concerned. It is just another weapon in the arsenal, nothing more, nothing less.
-- unsigned

Mr. Mark Schaffer takes the Sirkins to task about their assertion "malaria is a virus," which they reassert along with a huffy criticism of Mr. Schaffer as a "nitpicker."

Plasmodium, the microscopic organism carried by a certain type of mosquito that causes malaria, definitely is not a virus. Other types of mosquitoes carry the yellow fever and dengue fever viruses. Plasmodium is a eukaryotic organism, meaning it is quite different from a virus, a bacterium, an Archaea (a bacterium-like organism that Carl Woese found to be genetically unlike a bacterium). As a eukaryotic organism, it is genetically and functionally like you, me, animals, plants, yeasts, and all of the other organisms with a differentiated cell nucleus. For information on this, this paper explains the different life stages of Plasmodium. Some life stages live in your blood; other life stages live in your liver. This organism functions like a virus in that it hijacks certain types of cells to reproduce, but it is not a virus.

That the malaria parasite is not a virus but a eukaryotic organism with multiple life stages is a big part of the health problem. It is hard to find drugs against it or any other parasite for that matters that are not also poisonous to us. It is hard to get a vaccine against it because it has so many life stages that it is hard to figure out what to vaccinate against. The whole point about the withdrawal of DDT is that many health scientists believed a vaccine was just around the corner, but this proved to be a false hope, and the only hope is mosquito control.

I suppose it is a nitpick to argue what kind of organism is the infectious agent of malaria when the emphasis is on mosquito control. But to incorrectly describe malaria "as a virus" is just plain wrong, and to compound the error by an ad hominem attack on Mr. Schaffer makes things only worse -- it affects the credibility of the Sirkins about every other thing they say of DDT and arguments about the environmental impact.

There are a lot a people out there eager to say that conservative critics of the scientific main stream are ignorant, and asserting that malaria is a virus and then attacking someone who points out this error really doesn't help. The Sirkins need to apologize to Mr. Schaffer and issue a correction, or the Spectator needs to find authors more credible and more civil to argue a case that needs to be made about bringing back DDT.
-- Paul Milenkovic
Madison, Wisconsin

The Sirkins reply:
Correct. The use of the word "virus" was an error.

In reply to Craig Reynolds, who in last Thursday's Reader Mail wrote: "The question remains screaming in my mind... Why? What was the motivation to kill off the Malaria killer? Follow the money... I eagerly await the rest of the story":

Dr. J. Gordon Edwards laid out the motivation

"I believe the majority has good intentions and noble goals, but few realize the true objectives of the eco-industry. The major goals of those groups are first the accumulation of money and property, second, the enhancement of political power, and third, the decimation of humans in the third world countries by any means available." ("The Lies of Rachel Carson," 21st Century, Summer, 1992, p. 43)

1. On money: The effect of the 1972 ban: "In particular, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council [have] become multi-million-dollar businesses via their anti-DDT campaigns." (Ibid., p. 48)

2. On power: "Dr. Charles Wurster (alleged to be the 'chief scientist' for the Environmental Defense Fund) wrote in BioScience: 'If the environmentalists can win on DDT, they will achieve a level of authority they have never had before. In a sense, then, much more is at stake than DDT.'" (Ibid., p. 43)

3. On population control: "Alexander King, who headed the Club of Rome, in an interview that appeared in the 1990 book The Discipline of Curiosity, describes his role as a chemist in England in introducing DDT for use with troops 'and the "enormous numbers of lives" it saved.' Then he says: 'My own doubts came when DDT was introduced for civilian use. In Guyana, within two years it had almost eliminated malaria, but at the same time the birth rate had doubled. So my chief quarrel with DDT in hindsight is that it has greatly added to the population problem.'" (Ibid., p. 48)

C'MON IN
Re: Tom Bethell's Welfare State Immigrants:

To the writer of the article, I can only say "hallelujah," and hope that people reading it will understand that we need "legal" immigrants, and not "river runners." If the condition continues to exist as it does today, you can read the future history of the United States in the book Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire.
-- Kenneth Caver

PISTOLS OR SWORDS?
Re: Fred Z's letter in Reader Mail's The New Ro:

Sorry, but I couldn't let Fred Z impugn my integrity. I have yet to commit a felony in my 40 years on this Earth. Hasn't been real hard to avoid committing one, either.
-- Andrew J. Macfadyen, M.D.
Omaha, Nebraska

RESCUE 8
With the mainstream media performing like they are, it's a pleasure to have found your website. You're on my "Favorite" list. Keep up the good work, you give me hopes that this country just might wake up and smell the roses.
--unsigned


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