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Bioethical compromises. Rude sports. Republican deficits. Plus much more.

12.8.04

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UNETHICAL BIOETHICS
Re: George Neumayr's Compromising Bioethics:

In one brief column George Neumayr has restored right order to moral reasoning on bioethics.

This sentence...

"Moving reproduction from marriage to science tore the door off the dignity of embryonic life."

...restores my confidence in the value of human language. Who dares to lift the banner of "the dignity of embryonic life" from the bloody battlefield of modern culture and hold it steady under the fire of "reasonable people"?
-- Martin McPhillips

It is evidence of the tragic world in which we find ourselves that supposedly eminent scientific minds are even contemplating the termination of embryonic life to develop a treatment for physical injury. What happened to this country in the last fifty years?

This is the country where three hundred thousand men (most of them not slaves and not likely to become slaves) gave their lives to end the immoral dominance of one group of men over another. This is the country where the "weaker" sex fought for the right to have their own voices heard at the polling places and to be able to directly elect their representatives, thereby ending another immoral dominance. This is the country in which people of all races marched together to end the shameful and immoral dominance of racial segregation and discrimination and later that of sexual discrimination.

That has changed now. Now it is all right to terminate the life of an unborn child without do process, as long as it is sanctioned by the child's mother. Now we are discussing, not whether to terminate the potential life of frozen embryonic organisms, but under what circumstances it can ethically be done.

The answer is simple: it cannot be done ethically. The termination of life is worthy of serious consideration, the more so when it involves human life. And make no mistake, if a man can be put to death for causing the death of an in vivo embryo in its first trimester by injuring the mother, then the termination of embryonic life for scientific purposes can not be done ethically. Right, Dr. Mengele?

If the scientific value of embryonic stem cells is as great as some would have us believe, then some other way must be found to harvest them, possibly from placental blood. Next, the whole concept of fetal abortion, both in vitro and in vivo must be addressed. The victims of this practice are not the same as those on death row. The unborn have committed no crime other than being conceived and pose no evident danger to society by their continued existence.

This ethical debate is a no-brainer. The fact that such eminent scientific minds are even engaged in it does not bode well for the future of science in this country.
-- Michael Tobias
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Neumayr's excellent article hits squarely at every point on every level. I was one of the ignorant many who never knew that IVF meant that embryos sat in limbo indefinitely, or were ultimately destroyed, all for the benefit of desperate infertile couples. If it is so terrible not to be able to create your own children, why is it not equally terrible to play god with each genetically different potential human individual sitting on the shelf? Why mourn over the inability to procreate when the excess of the science you advocate is never mourned?

I do not understand the mentality that predominates today. I do not understand what is so awful about Western Culture that it must be attacked and annihilated from every direction. The scientists on this government panel are clearly in line with the ideals of eugenicism, married with socialism, in bed with totalitarianism, governed by the absurd notion that 2000 years of Christian tradition be damned.
-- Brendan R. Merrick
Budd Lake, New Jersey

BERRY CHUCKED
Re: The Washington Prowler's Quite Contrary:

As delicious as the prospect of having this ridiculous woman forcibly removed from the building by U.S. Marshals might seem, I would advise against it. It would simply provide Ms. Berry, and her allies on the left, another phony excuse to cry foul and (gasp!) racism. Just imagine the glee that ABC. CBS, the New York Times, et al, would feel at having video and/or photos of the eviction that they could use as a cudgel against the Bush administration.

The best course of action in this situation is one often practiced by the private sector on troublesome employees. In short, freeze her out. Remove her name from e-mail distribution lists. Do not provide her with information pertaining to meetings and Commission functions, and don't invite her to attend. Severely limit her responsibilities, as well as her access to any and all information pertaining to the Commission's official business. Name an official successor, provide him/her with all of the duties and responsibilities that the office provides, and move on.

If Ms. Berry wants to continue coming to the office to preside over a Potempkin-like charade, let her. Ultimately, she'll get the message, and leave of her own accord.
-- Gavin Valle
Peapack, New Jersey

TEAM SPIRITS
Re: Reid Collins's Fight Songs:

Loved the article! It lists most of the reasons that I no longer attend sports events. I remember attending high school football games back in the '40s and '50s. At halftime the cheerleaders would switch sides of the field and lead the opposing crowd in a cheer. I remember when the National Anthem was played by the band and was sung reverently and lustily by the entire crowd. There was big time competition, but no trash talk; no arguing with the officials; no hate. And there were hand shakes after the game. Sigh!
-- Jim Law
Albuquerque, New Mexico

In his piece today about the abysmal lack of courtesy now prevalent at "sporting" events, specifically about the singing Mr. Reid Collins wrote the following: "Ofttimes, an a cappella performer renders a melismatic rendition that would make Francis Scott Key enlist with Cornwallis." This sentence is absolutely magnificent, especially the use of the word, "melismatic," which places Mr. Collins (almost) on a par with William F. Buckley, Jr.

That said, I must register a pedantic nitpick! Lord Cornwallis was the British commander during the Revolutionary War, whilst the action at Fort McHenry, about which Key wrote, was during the War of 1812. The British commander at that battle, who was killed during it, was Major General Robert Ross. Key could not very well have "enlisted with Cornwallis," as Cornwallis had been dead for some time.

That bit of historical inaccuracy, however, in no way detracts from one of the best sentences it has been my pleasure to read in quite some time.
-- W. B. Heffernan, Jr.

Great article. It's funny how sometimes articles with the simplest themes can really reverberate with the reader. I remember when I never missed a Saturday night hockey game with my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs in the mid to late '60s. It was exciting, fast and physical but clean hockey. Then the Philadelphia Flyers came onto the scene in the early '70s with their Bobby Clarkes, Bill Barbers, Dave Shultz's and their win at any cost mentality. The intimidation, the fights, the intentional dives, the slashing, hacking, hooking and talentless goons changed the complexion of the game and sapped my enthusiasm for it. It has never recovered.

I guess my question is how did the current state of affairs come about? Did the fans change by becoming more bloodthirsty or did the League itself change? Or was there a culture change in general?
-- Mark Cerar
Hamilton, Ontario

DECK THE HALLS
Re: S. T. Karnick's Muscular Christians Flex Their Muscles:

We Christians have sat back on our fat behinds far to long before we took up arms to start our revolution to restore God and Christ to our society. Let's start by impeaching the liberal judges who aid and abet the removal of God from everything from schools to the Pledge of Allegiance. Then let's start dumping those wimpy, cowardly elected government and school officials who panic and knuckle under when a small minority starts complaining about Christmas and any other representation of Christian religion. This country was founded on Christian principles. Our citizens are overwhelmingly Christian followers. It's time to rise up and take back what is precious to us. The "muscular Christians" in Denver and elsewhere have made a start...sort of like the Boston Tea Party.
M. William Challburg
Bradenton, Florida

Just read the article on Christmas -- it's about time for people to stand and say "Enough!"

I get so tired of all the "political correctness" that is just another way to say "out with God."

Really, what do I care if some foreigners feelings are hurt because I believe in God and Christmas? I don't go to their country and expect them to change because I don't believe as they believe and I expect the same from them.
-- Betty Wiggins

I would like to commend S. T. Karnick for the article, "Muscular Christians." The article was not only so very timely but absolutely spot on in its analysis of the problem and suggested remedy. Perhaps that is why I have a terrible urge to call the author Karnack à la Johnny Carson.

The whole trouble, as I see it, is that there is not a majority of voters willing to actually hold the left-wing secularist regressives accountable. Can anyone cite for me any college or university president removed because of the sprint to the left by academia. How can the entire education establishment, from kindergarten to post-grad college level, even in the entire education establishment, from kindergarten to post-grad college level, even in the reddest of red states, continue to maintain their little fiefdoms in their arrogant, semi-Marxist, elitist fashion without the least bit of real reform or accountability to the voters. Can anyone cite a single centrist or right leaning Governor that has demanded the resignation of a state university president or actually cut the university's budget until specific reforms are accomplished. Can anyone point to any academic institution that has an affirmative action program to hire and promote conservative professors and staff until the balance reflects the ration in the state populace as a whole.

How often have we seen Congress actually hold the Judiciary accountable for their coup against the Legislative and Executive branches AND their absolute denial of the voters rights of initiative in the electoral process. Even in the states where judges must run electorally to keep their office, the judges are rarely thrown out on their ears.

I just don't see "The People" standing up and forcing the elite to mend their arrogant ways. I wish I did. It is fine to go to the polls and elect centrist and right leaning politicians, but then none of the pols actually do anything substantive to reign in the arrogant left bureaucracy which simply goes on forever, undisturbed.
-- Ken Shreve
From a camouflaged bunker deep behind enemy lines in the New Hampshire Department of the Peoples Republic of New England

MAL-DISTRIBUTION
Re: Patrick Hynes's Do They Know Anything About Christmas?:

I recall that there were huge problems delivering the aid after that concert. Once it was shipped to Africa, poor roads hampered delivery while much of the food ended up being confiscated by warring clans and bandits. Bob Geldof remarked, rather naively, that the idea seemed so simple: People were starving, so just feed them. He had never anticipated the logistic headaches he encountered, which made the logistics of the concert pale by comparison. But at least the entertainment community felt good about themselves.
-- Kitty Myers
Painted Post, New York

REPORTING FOR DUTY
Re: The Washington Prowler's Prepared for 2008:

I guess we shall see if a viable political party which has as its base unlimited government financed abortion, submission to the will of the U.N., and ever increasing taxation can return itself to power. I'm betting that it can, but only if it can camouflage its goals and makeup at election time. I guess I just don't have much faith in the intelligence of the average American voter. I should add gay marriage (an oxymoron if there ever was one) and disarmament (that is, no guns for private citizens) to the mix. Sometimes it is understandable for people to long for the relief that death brings.
-- Joseph Baum
Newton Falls, Ohio

America has spoken. The people ultimately will not elect a male Jane Fonda. And have no mistake about it; if Kerry decides to run again, he will not get a pass on opening his military records to public scrutiny. That alone will sink him.
-- C.T. Randall
Davis, California

CAROLINA SLAVOPHILIA
Re: John Tabin's Miracles of Freedom:

It has become so "easy" for the mainstream media (including TAS now) to malign the evil, Kremlin-backed ruling party of Viktor Yanukovych. I beg you to examine what really goes on there.

The party of Kuchma and Yanukovych reflects the indelible, Eastern characteristics of the Ukraine (historically Little Russia) -- and hey, it is the majority party too I might add. The only praise TAS and others in the MSM gives to Yushchenko is that he is "pro-Western."

What does pro-Western mean? Secular, let's support Moslem terrorists with ideas of "tolerance," pro Abortion, pro confiscatory tax schemes, pro rejection of true Slavic heritage.

Even better, how about making up outrageous claims of the leader being poisoned by, let's choose now, Putin, Kuchma, Yanukovych, Bush, etc., etc.

The ruling party of the Ukraine is composed of Orthodox Christians; the Orthodox Church has been the saving grace so far for the nations of the former USSR that were subjugated by the atheist (secular, pro-Western then?!), totalitarian Communists.

Conservative publications should tread carefully when endorsing the agenda of Yushchenko and his Orangeists: It's a lot more like France than America.
-- H.C.A. MacLean
Newberry, South Carolina

REAGAN CONSERVATISM
Re: Jed Babbin's The Conservative Backlash:

Some of your points are well taken, however I must call you to task for your fairly clear implication that budget pork is the sole province of liberals. Rather it is and has been the province of American politics, both Republican and Democrat. This omission of fact serves to cast the ugly shadow of demagoguery on the rest of your points, regardless of their individual merits. I realize TAS does not bill itself as a publication with no ideological leaning, but consciously skewing facts by omission places this piece firmly in the camp of propaganda, not as a reasoned thoughtful apologetic in support of a political position. Relatedly, if reducing the size of government is a core value, then it would logically follow that all departments and budget line items should be equally considered for deletion or adjustments, even the sacred cow of DoD. By choosing to examine some departments of the federal government while ignoring others, suggests that the core value is, rather, divesting federal involvement in certain objectionable areas. You are apparently hiding your true agenda in the cloak of a larger (and more marketable to the masses) principle of smaller government. If this agenda is a worthwhile goal, then please have the integrity to come out and say what you really mean, and let it be judged on its' merits. To not do so makes you an intellectual coward, and undermines your position to any observant reader. What are you afraid of?
-- Alan Ulibarri

I sure hope that someone over at the White House gets a hold of Jed Babbin's article demanding cuts in government spending. Now that the Kerry threat is behind us, it's time to start holding Bush responsible for the out of control government spending that he has reigned over for four years. I do however reject Mr. Babbin's intimation that pork is some sort of liberal affliction and that any budget cuts that might offend red-staters should be avoided like the plague. If conservatives truly believe in smaller government then we should all be willing to give up some of these pet spending projects that are fun to have but antithetical to our core political beliefs.
-- Hasani Pippins

Oh man, would I love to see the president spend at least a good 20 minutes of his State of the Union address running down a litany of federal departments and programs that need to be given the ol' heave-ho!!

I'd be jumping up and down like a spastic on a hot-seat!

I'd be punching the air like the biggest fan of the losingest sports team on the verge of a gargantuan upset over Number One!

I'd be mentally counting the dollars I was going to make in the stock market just in the next day's trading!

And I'd be rushing to contribute to that organization that is lobbying to get George W's bust included on Mt. Rushmore!

Here's hoping he does it, if not in whole then at least in large part!
-- Charles R. Vail

THE NEW SHARPTON
Re: Enemy Central's Kennedy Warren:

Harry "Tremblechin" Reid -- remember Little Iodine's hapless father, "Henry Tremblechin," from the King Syndicate cartoon of the '50s -- is more conservative, actually reactionary, than he admits. He apparently prefers African-American grifters such as Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson -- confidence men who make their way in the world with their wits, without much regard to morality or values. They are entertaining if not particularly admired -- like The Kingfish and Andy Brown from radio, television and the movies' "Amos and Andy". (Yes Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll made one film in which the two Caucasians portrayed "Amos and Andy," but it is hard to find today.) Audiences in the '30s, '40s, and '50s appreciated these lovable scamps rather than the noble enterprising Amos who owned his own cab and worked everyday, i.e. Amos was someone you'd likely hire or go into business with but otherwise he was boring -- as Tremblechin Reid apparently thinks of Justice Clarence Thomas and Secretary-designate Rice. Reid needs to be taken to the woodshed and educated concerning the proper roles of African-Americans in contemporary America.
J.R. Wheatley

ONE LAST OVERCOMER
Re: Ben Stein's We Shall Overcome and Reader Mail's The Coast Is Clear:

I live in L.A. and drove all over the place with a big VIVA BUSH! sticker on the back of my car. The number of waves, Victory signs and flashes I got in the period leading up to the election proved to me that we Conservatives were still there, just keeping quiet in the face of shrill spiteful condemnation from fanatic liberals. Actually I figure that I'm going to leave that VIVA BUSH! sticker on my car till 2008. After all I put up with "Bush Lied," "The Election Was Stolen" and "Bush Sucks" stickers for 4 years, now it's my turn. And if any liberal wants to take issue with me on the highway over my "bigoted redneckkery" well I guess I'll just have to drive my massive British Offroad SUV all over his pansy-assed granola-mobile. FOUR MORE YEARS!!!
-- Guy Langley

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