Reader Mail

We Have Seen the Enemy

Besides Specter, that is. Also: Compassionate surrogacy. Townsquare abortion tests. Make mine milk. Plus more, including: Tyrrell debuts in Birmingham, Alabama.

1.26.05

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SPECTERO DELENDA EST!
Re: The Washington Prowler's Specter's Trial Lawyer Appointee:

We are outraged at the appointments made by Senator Specter and amazed at the complacency of the Bush Administration and Republican majority in the Senate. Something must be done about this man or the Judicial Committee will be in the pocket of the Senate Democrats, if it is not already.
-- Billy & Sandra Deyton
Lakeland, Florida

As a suffering, life-long, conservative Republican resident of the city of Chicago, who has been surrounded by Democrats within one of their citadels for decades, the fact that Republicans can't see what Specter is and what he stands for totally blows my mind. He is a deceptive, deceitful, flim-flam artist and continues to ply his trade amongst some of the most gullible Republicans I've seen in ages. Dismiss him immediately, no matter what the cost politically...this may be the only chance in the next 30 years to clean up the Supreme Court and put judges in place who reflect the majority of Americans positions on abortion, religious freedom, defense, family, marriage, etc. I repeat, this may be the only chance...get rid of him, now.
-- David P. Bennett
Chicago, Illinois

Supporting oily Arlen in his reelection last year was a big mistake on Bush's part. Sometimes the Republicans seem to be as stupid as the Democrats are corrupt and unprincipled.
-- Dick Melville
Ozone Park, New York

We conservatives are like Charley Brown running up the kick the football. This is what we've received for our support of Mr. Bush: Deficit spending in the trillions during his reign... Ted Kennedy Education bill... Huge Farm bill... Medicaid expansion drug bill... 3 million illegal immigrants per annum.... Hundreds of billions and thousands of lives to install democracy on the other side of the globe... Lack of democracy in Washington state election and massive voter fraud elsewhere.... Pro-abortion head of judiciary committee... Zero vetoes of congressional pork... Loss of civil liberties by average citizens at airports....etc. But it's OK, we're used to it.
-- G. Ferguson

This whole thing with Specter illustrates what is wrong with the leadership of the Republican Party from the president on down. Not a one of them has any street smarts. These clowns are now surprised that Specter stabbed them in the back? You have to go back to daddy Bush and his being suckered by the Dems. to betray his "No new taxes" pledge to see this level of childlike trust. This also applies to Bush's and the Republicans' belief that they can ignore the rank and file about immigration. Where are their heads? Do they think they can get away with this stupid ignoring of reality forever? I for one am sick of them and if Hillary runs on a platform to the right of Bush she has my vote. At least with her I know she is lying and I'll not be disappointed or surprised when she bones me. Is there no one in the Republican leadership who was ever in a street fight? Or are they just a bunch of dweeb lawyers who feel most comfortable having drinks and discussing policy with their avowed enemies?
-- John Williams
Santee, California

So conservatives are shocked that liberal Arlen Specter -- the darling of the Republican party's power and fundraising machine -- hired a liberal lawyer. While the Republican Party pours its resources into liberal Republicans, files briefs in support of affirmative action, increases federal education programs and interference with the private sector, and welcome illegal aliens to the financial benefits of others' earnings, and while radio talk show hosts play the role of shill and spin servant on behalf of the party elite, the same political machine thinks we peasants will write letters in support of Gonzales, Rice, et al., even as the party continues to ignore our concerns. Note to the party: The party is over. Don't count on the average, middle-class Republican who not in your circle of hobnobbing with politicos, running the rubber-chicken circuit or chatting about politics during golf games, to support you.
-- Caroline Miranda
North Hollywood, California

Arlen Specter thinks he got a "get-out-of-jail-free" card when he snowed the Republican leadership into sticking with Senate tradition and giving him the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee. He is mistaken. What he got was probation, and his actions this week prove that he has violated it. As with a felon who violates probation, Specter is going to have to pay a price for his folly.

When conservatives rightly tried to block his appointment after his outrageous post-election press conference, Specter first denied saying what he had plainly said, then meaning what he had plainly meant, and finally agreed to be a good boy and report out the presidents nominees while reserving his final vote. He also told critics to judge him by what he does, not by what he says - an interesting reversal of the usual liberal formula.

He also suggested that his close relationship with Senate Democrats made him the only potential committee chairman who could reach across the aisle and prevent the sort of Democratic obstructionism we've seen in the past. (Although Snarlin' Arlen didn't explain what it was about his winning personality that was supposed to cause Pat Leahy to vote for a Supreme Court nominee who didn't have "I [heart] Roe v. Wade" tattooed on his or her forehead.)

Well, now we have some actions to judge the Senator by, his first two staff appointments. The saying in Washington is "personnel is policy," and by that standard Teddy Kennedy might as well be in charge of hiring for the majority. A former counsel for the NAACP, a race-baiting group that once libeled President Bush in a TV commercial by suggesting he was somehow to blame for the dragging death of a black man? A Democratic activist and former associate of Hillary Clinton? These are Specter's idea of the kind of staffer's the Republicans should hire. I can only assume that Larry Tribe was too busy, whoever's running the ACLU these days wasn't interested and that the general counsel for NARAL didn't return Specter's call until the interviews were over. At this point the Democrats should be pitching a fit because they won't have any decent candidates left to propose for the minority staff.

Maybe this is Specter's secret plan to avoid Democratic obstruction of the President's nominees on the floor. He'll just have the staff torpedo all the genuine conservatives before they get that far.

At this point Specter has passed beyond the joke, embarrassment and annoyance he has always been, and spun into Ted Turner/Howard Dean insane fantasy land. By rights he should be expelled from the Republican caucus entirely. It isn't like he voted with it often enough for this to be a loss. Let the Democrats have him and good luck to them.

If there is anybody in the so-called Republican Leadership either capable of or willing to show a little actual leadership (yes, Senator Frist, I'm talking to you) now is the time to act, before the committee gets down to its serious work.

Enough already. Throw the bum out!

Let our motto be, "Spectero Delenda Est!"

That's how I'm ending every letter and e-mail to any Senator, no matter what the topic. (Surely they all have someone on their staffs who can explain it to them.)
-- Joseph DeMartino
Greenacres, Florida

HAVE A HEART
Re: David Holman's You're Gestational:

With respect, I must disagree with Mr. Holman's premise. While I may dislike the use of surrogates to provide children for homosexual couples, there is a true need for this kind of service. What Mr. Holman is forgetting to take into consideration here is the married couple who has tried time and again to get pregnant themselves, who has tried again and again to adopt with no success, and must now finally resort to surrogacy. By outlawing surrogacy, Mr. Holman has alienated an entire class of people, and seeing as how he estimates that at least half of the people seeking surrogates are not homosexual, that makes me wonder how many of that 50% are married people, seeking to bring a child into a married home.

Some of my friends are currently suffering through a terrible time dealing with this very issue. They are unable for whatever reason to get pregnant on their own, or to carry a baby to term. Seeing as how I have had several successful and easy pregnancies myself, I have let it be known that it would not be outside the realm of possibility for me to be a surrogate for them if they choose to go that route. Whether they want to use my egg, or a fertilized egg of their own would be their choice. I would happily perform a task such as this because I know the joy that it would bring to their lives -- a life now currently shrouded in pain because of the inability to conceive. And seeing as how these people are my friends, I would more than likely be involved in the child's life -- they would know the love I bore for their parents and for them. This is one of the reasons why there is no outrage about surrogacy. Because there are many times when it is done in the right way and for the right reasons.

People who pervert such a beautiful gift, such as "Scott" who sought out a womb for rent, should not be allowed to do away with something that can be the greatest gift you can provide.
-- Sarah R. Palmer

While I agree with most of what is written in your mag, I must completely disagree with this. Many women suffer from infertility and surrogacy is their only option. While I don't agree with many of those able to use a surrogate, I defend wholeheartedly the rights of married, infertile couples using surrogacy as their last viable option. I fail to see how these couples should be punished for their infertility or banned from bringing a child into their warm, loving, and thus far, incomplete family. Thanks for your time.
-- Jason Iannotti

David Holman's article on the practice of surrogate parenting is a bit overwrought. I share his distaste for a world where children seem to be becoming ornaments or playmates for bored adults. But if this is the worst peril we face, we are in good shape. I would settle for being able to go a week without reading a newspaper article about natural, biological parents stomping infants to death or throwing them in a trash dumpster.

I also cannot get my mind around one sentence in his article. The statement that "Prostitution is still wrong without the money" is neither right or wrong. It simply makes no sense.
- Glen Hoffing
Shamong, New Jersey

THE FRONT ROYAL TEST
Re: George Neumayr's Abortion is Un-American and Ben Berry's letter (under "Pilate Politics") in Reader Mail's Blame the Good Guys:

I guess we don't live in a "democracy" (whatever that word means), according to the "townsquare" test. Try protesting child-killing with photographs of babies butchered before birth in your "townsquare" and you will see what I mean. You will be harassed by the police, threatened with arrest if you don't leave, arrested and charged with trumped-up bogus charges, lied about in court under oath, and found guilty of whatever you were charged with. This is the America of 2005. A perverted, child-killing, big, rude, lying, obnoxious nation. These are the American values that we send out soldiers half-way around the world to force on nations that don't want them. Poor, powerless W -- he can't do anything about the millions of murdered babies in his own country. But somehow he has the power to destroy nations on the other side of the world.
-- Mark Egger
Front Royal, Virginia

Mr. Berry asks an interesting question concerning abortion. But, then he is lucky enough to have been delivered into this world to ask it rather than ending up as a potential fetal stem cell donor. Unfortunately, he misses the point.

In this country, we kill hundreds of thousands of unborn children every year. In the eyes of some, this is permissible. But let the same number of adults die at the hands of another person in the same year and there would be a general uproar against the practice the likes of which have never been seen in this country before.

To the anti-abortion camp, the right to lifers, this is murder. To the pro-abortion group, this is simply cosmetic surgery. The two camps are diametrically opposed in their view of the practice and will never share common ground. To them it is a black and white issue and it will always be so. The vast majority of people in this country simply try to ignore the issue, for a variety of reasons.

This is, of course, a very foolish thing to do. If it is permissible to end the life, or even potential life, of a human being in the womb, then why is it not permissible to do the same thing to one who has already been born? Remember that killing another human being, after birth, is permissible only under very stringent conditions involving self defense from possible death or grievous bodily harm. Why not simply abort the remaining life of a person because they have a mental deficiency, a physical deformity or handicap, or are simply old? Or possibly, because the person's mother simply no longer wishes to be bothered with the raising of the individual? Or, since Mr. Berry is so concerned with the welfare of the 1.5 million children who enter foster care every year, why don't we simply abort them when they enter the foster care system?

The answer to his questions are simple, every human being who is conceived deserves the chance to live and contribute to the species. Whether those contributions are good, a la Louis Pasteur, or bad, a la Adolph Hitler, everyone should have the chance to make some.

You see, it is a simple binary issue after all. But then, most important issues in life usually are.
-- Michael Tobias
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Every year January comes around and the Pro-Life and Pro-Abortion tribes duke it out. Just as predictably, the "above it all" crowd complains that the rhetoric of both sides hasn't changed for all these thirty years. "Can't we hear something different?"

Well, the argument hasn't changed because we can't change. Any reasonable person would realize that if Americans were free to decide this issue political compromises would be worked out. Some abortions would be allowed and some would not. The dividing line would be different state to state; but it is highly unlikely that we would have either total access or total abolition. The people would decide who it counts as its citizens and to whom it chooses to extend the protections of law.

But we can't. The Supreme Court removed the question from the people, established its standard, and left us in the state of affairs we are in today. Neither side is free to moderate its position to reach an agreement because the Supreme Court has foreclosed any possibilities of a deal. Both the Pro-Life and Pro-Abortion sides have evolved their positions over the years; yet in many ways both are frozen in 1973.

So, if you ask me, the "above it all" folk are griping to the wrong people.
-- Michael Wm. Dooley
Indianapolis, Indiana

MILKY WAY
Re: Christopher Orlet's Wild, Wild World of Animal Rights and Eric Ooms's letter ("Udder Nonsense") and Mr. Orlet's reply in Reader Mail's Blame the Good Guys:

Like Eric Ooms, I too check The American Spectator every day and read and enjoy a couple of articles. Like Ooms, I also was put off by Christopher Orlet's closing comment in "Wild, Wild World of Animal Rights," but I dismissed it as a throw-away line until I read his reply to Ooms's response. To be clear, let's review the bidding.

Christopher Orlet: "Perhaps they can investigate why California taxpayers are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to advertise milk."

Eric Ooms: "As far as I'm aware, the California Milk Producer's Advisory Board is funded by a producer assessment. Every producer (myself included) in the country pays $.15 per cwt of milk to promote the product. $.10 is spent nationally through the National Dairy Board and $.05 is spent at the state level to promote products locally. It is true the state departments of agriculture appoint their states members of their advisory boards, but the fund to run them are from producers."

Christopher Orlet: "According to the California Supreme Court, the California Milk Producers Advisory Board is a state entity. Mr. Ooms says the Advisory Board is funded by a private entity, the California Dairy Producers. A government-appointed agency funded by a private entity? Seems like a potential conflict of interest to me. How is that different from Rupert Murdoch paying a U. S. Supreme Court Justice's salary?"

Mr. Orlet, as near as I can tell you were first upset that the taxpayers of California were funding the California Milk Producers Advisory Board and then became upset that they were not. Is this some new form of lactose intolerance?

Everyone agrees that the consumption of milk is vital to the heath and well being of our nation. In this light, the government subsidized its production in order to ensure the cheap and easy availability of it. A decade or so ago, the government entered into an agreement with the dairy producers to promote the use of milk, funded by the producers, in order to reduce the amount of subsidy funded by ALL of the taxpayers. This is a good example of co-operation between government and private enterprise to supply a reasonably priced vital commodity to the nation. To compare this to Rupert Murdoch paying a Supreme Court Justice makes as much sense as asking a snake to comment on sensible shoes.

I hope that this was just a momentary lapse of good judgment in an otherwise excellent article.
-- Scotty Uhrich
Glyndon, Minnesota

BROWSER BRUSHUP
Re: Patrick R. Glass's letter ("Teaching Techies") in Reader Mail's Blame the Good Guys:

Far be it for me to correct a retired light colonel, but lest Col. Glass's inaccurate statements discourage truly open-minded Internet prowlers, let me say this about that (with a nod to Richard Nixon):

One has only to check out one of the many web sites that discuss things technical to see examples such as Col. Glass's comments. There they call it "flaming." Usually it comes from mindless morons who love Linux (previously Macintosh addicts) and detest "Micro$oft."

I posted a simple recommendation for open-minded people to try out a free web browser which is steadily encroaching on Internet Explorer's heretofore sacrosanct territory. After beating Netscape to a pulp by simply giving away Internet Explorer, Microsoft had the field to itself. But Firefox is moving up. That's unfortunate in a way, because soon the hackers, script-kiddies and virus-writers will turn their attentions toward Firefox and we will no longer be able to enjoy virus-, popups- and malware-free browsing.

Specifically: Yes, Col. Glass is partially correct. IE (Internet Explorer) does have five font sizes. Firefox on the other hand has virtually unlimited sizes. IE does not change all the fonts on a web page. Again, James Bowman's site is a good one on which to experiment. Change the font size in IE and only the already readable portions get larger. The main text remains at its eye-squinting size. Firefox changes ALL the fonts.

As for Col. Glass's well-meaning but misguided comments about "hassles of changing your Internet software," IE and Firefox co-exist quite happily on Windows. The only time I need to use IE is when connecting to Microsoft's Windows Update page, and when I occasionally run across a website which uses Active-X to do certain tasks. Don't look for Active-X on Firefox. Active-X is the biggest single weakness in software that the bad guys out there in Internet-land use to do nasty things to your computer.

In short, log on to www.mozilla.org and download Firefox. It's only 4.8 megabytes, and when installed it imports all your IE favorites and other settings so that you can immediately start using it. It even has a help page for IE users to smooth the transition.

Take my word for it; once you start using Tabbed Browsing where you can have as many web pages open at the same time as your computer's memory will support and can switch back and forth between them with a click of the mouse, you won't quickly go back to IE's more limited capabilities. And yes, you can open more than one instance of IE and cascade or tile them, but it's really not the same.
-- Bob Johnson
Bedford, Texas

MERCKY WATERS
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.'s Painkiller Killers:

I recently read your opinion concerning Vioxx in the "Black & White," Birmingham's city paper. How cavalier you are. My guess is that you have not been affected by the blatant actions of Merck Co. I am a 45-year-old man who suffered a massive heart attack last August. I had also been taking Vioxx for four years. I am very fortunate to be alive to send this e-mail. I am not a litigious person and I have never before sued anyone for anything, however, it is quite clear to me that Merck went above and beyond to hide the very clear dangers of Vioxx. Having been actually affected by their greed, I have followed the story very closely and have been appalled by the information that has been made available. I'm guessing that you have caught a blurb "here and there." If you had done your homework, you would know that the reason for the lawsuits is not so much that Vioxx may have been producing a drug that caused people harm but that they did so with the "knowledge" that it was causing people harm but continued to do so all in the name of the almighty dollar. Everyone makes mistakes but when a company tries everything in its power to prevent the general public from finding out the truth about the harmful effects of its product -- all for the sake of filthy lucre -- they should be punished and for the "every man" like me, trial lawyers are the only avenue we have to seek justice and to keep these corporations in check.

Shame on you.
-- Jeff Crook
Birmingham, Alabama

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