Reader Mail

For the Boys

Answering Ben Stein's call. Also: Pulling the plug on Rather. Tuning out news radio. Democrats come in all brain sizes. Plus more.

11.28.04

Send to Kindle

CBS-ing
Re: Jay D. Homnick's Dan is Done:

Well said, Mr. Homnick. I know when I heard the news that Dan Rather was done, I was as happy as an ant at a confectioner's convention, I was as pleased as an ape, inadvertently trapped in a ship cargo hold full of bananas. The news left me smiling like an airport baggage handler, after a $20 tip. I laughed so hard my bladder felt like a 12 oz. soda can, filled with 14 ounces of soda. I'm sure some folks will miss Dan like a "Monday Night Football" addict misses his favorite couch. Personally, I'll miss Dan, about as much as John Kerry misses hangin' out with his fellow Swift Boat Vets. Ol' Dan left a blemish on his legacy the size of the big red forehead zit my cousin sported, before his high school prom dance.
-- RRD

Hoping that CBS will somehow get religion on unbiased news reporting is like hoping that once Bin Laden is killed the entire militant Islam movement dies. It will take at least a couple of generations if ever before the bias that exists in the network and big city newspaper production rooms reforms itself. The journalism madrases that masquerade as schools will still be churning out misguided graduates to make mayhem and socialist propaganda on the world.

I believe Rather like that single weed that can not be eradicated from the perfect lawn would rather keep on broadcasting his mug until the end of time even if there was a single viewer to see him. He was taken out because his worth has diminished.

One thing is certain. The generation that reveres Rather and his ilk will someday turn to dust. And then there will be no memories good or bad. Pollyanna would best make use of her energies hosting tea parties.
-- Diamon Sforza
San Diego, California

Homnick's parody of Rather speak is one of the funniest pieces I've read on the web. I just wonder if Rather will ever own up to his transgression.
-- Dave Petersen

The talking heads are wrong. Rather did intend to retire soon, which is precisely why he took the stupid & malicious gamble of going with this 5 year old bogus story. He wanted to go out on a grand scale, to bring down his biggest prize to date, Pres. Bush. Had he succeeded, he would have been instantly enshrined in the pantheon of great liberals. But Dan overlooked one thing. This is not the '70s and CBS, NBC & ABC are no longer in control of the news. The Internet and alternative news run the show now. He though he could lie his way through this story, like he did with Vietnam and Nixon in the '70s and get away with it. Poor old Dan, the world has passed him by and he doesn't know it. How sweet!
-- Anthony F. DiPentima

Good bye Dan and good riddance? Who cares? I've never seen Blather do a news broadcast. I stopped watching network news when CBS and Walt started pimping for the VC after Tet.
-- Michael Gewin
Saint Louis, Missouri

He'll hit the trail like a warm cow patty! To whom will Molly Ivins send all those snappy Texas zingers to now?
-- Greg
Rancho no lehace, Texas

GIVE THANKS AND MORE
Re: Ben Stein's The Land of $800 Haircuts:

Mr. Stein, there is something we can do, and it is sponsored by our very own Pentagon. See the website www.americasupportsyou.mil:

Please pass this on in your next article.
-- Eleanor Traeg
Los Gatos, California

Really enjoyed reading the $800 hair cut commentary by Ben Stein. How sad. Just think, Kerry only spent $1,000 for a trim. Wonder what he spends on a full cut.

Just think, if all those people who think they need a $800 hair do had any since of reality or any feeling toward their human beings, what that kind of money would do to help man kind.

Our church recently had a drive for items to help the troops. I am glad to say that we filled up a very large box, actually several, of items the troops could use. Sun flower seeds, peanuts, lip balm, CD's and players, stationery, cross word puzzle books, disposal camera's, et cetera. Probably was about $2,000 worth of items. As a Vietnam vet, I was a bit disappointed that there was not more, but there was quite a bit, and those items are certainly going to a good cause. I personally spent about $100. I usually spend about $12 on a hair cut. Proportionally, that would amount to each of the rich and famous (at least in their eyes) to spending somewhere over $ 6000 each to help others.

Want to bet the majority of them don't even spend the $100?
-- Bruce Squires
Fargo, North Dakota

Omaha buried a Marine today who was killed in the assault on Fallujah. He was barely 23 years old and left a young widow and a son he never saw. He joined the Marines to the chagrin of his high school classmates because it was something he felt he must do. He believed in the cause and he believed that the cost would be worth it. The military is full of people who believe that very same thing. I doubt that many would quit if given the chance.

The world is full of inequities. It always has been. If it wasn't $800 haircuts, it would be (and has been in times past) some other excess. It also makes me ill to think of what Mr. Stein spoke of in this article. There has never been a reward, at least this side of Heaven, for doing the right thing just because it was the right thing to do. If memory serves me correctly, most of the signers of the Declaration of Independence gave up all they had to sign. They believed that it was an honor to do so.

The route to the cemetery was lined with thousands of people who turned out this morning to pay their respects to this fallen hero and the family he left behind having died doing the right thing.
-- Donald R. Dugger
Omaha, Nebraska

What can we do to help? I am 56 years of age and wish I could sign up to go fight with our young men and women. I am a registered nurse. Is there any use for a nurse of my age.
-- Wanda
Indianapolis, Indiana

As much as I love every single thing that I read of yours, this article almost drove me insane. Hearing the words "The government should do something" coming from your lips was particularly painful. As always, when something needs to be done, the people must do it. And concerning the soldiers, the people are doing it. Organizations like Adopt a Platoon, Homes for Our Troops, Soldiers Angels, Operation Mom, and Operation Gratitude are contacting and helping everyone they can. The Wall Street Journal had an article on what a lot of these organizations are doing. If you want to pay more for taxes than do so your self, don't take my tax money. And for your information, I too am making a sacrifice. Although 22 years retired military, I am taking a job back over there, because I don't feel like I have done enough. Instead of waiting for the "government" to do something, charge that hill yourself.
-- William B. Armstrong
Sierra Vista, Arizona

Along with Ben Stein's concern about luxurious waste at home while soldiers are dying is the complaint by some government employees that pay raises for the military without attendant raises for others employed by the government is unfair. That's because it sends the message that regular government work is not as valued as the work done by the military. And you know what? It's not. Nor should it be. May we be worthy of those giving their lives for us.
-- Michael Landry (state employee married to a federal employee)
Tahlequah, Oklahoma

I've read your articles before and you always make some good points, this article was no different.

There are many, many grassroot movements that are sending packages to soldiers, helping the families and other welcome activities to let them know how much we appreciate them.

What is missing are the celebrities that are getting those $800 dollar haircuts. There are no activities or special dinners or fund raisers (that I am aware of) by the basketball players, celebs and other millionaires to support our troops. As usual its the regular people like the ones that voted for Pres Bush that are doing the work and donating their time and money.

Note the MSM although they tell the tragic story of soldiers wounded or killed never tell or encourage Americans to help with these grassroot movements. Why? Because they don't want to report even one good thing about this war. They can't even report honestly enough for people to get a full picture of what's going on. If it wasn't for the Internet I'd think it was all hopeless and nothing had been accomplished. The MSM and Elites are the ones who should be taken to task for their lack of help not ordinary citizens.
-- C. Benson

I have always liked Ben Stein's articles, and this one is too close to the mark.

Having followed all of the shenanigans in the election -- and the disgraceful letter cited in the Washington Times the other day that two Harvard professors feel that there are few conservative professors on campus as they are too stupid to grasp the concept of subjective thinking -- and this article, all I am reminded of is the ending of John Frankenheimer's classic film The Train.

At the end Paul Scofield -- as a German colonel, highly cultured and educated -- who has tried to have a trainful of the greatest art in the world spirited back to Germany only to be frustrated by trainmaster Burt Lancaster, has 50 French hostages shot out of sheer spite. When Lancaster confronts him about it, all he does is degrade Lancaster as little better than "a ape." When he asked why Lancaster did all of the sabotage, Lancaster turns to the bodies of the 50 murdered Frenchmen and then puts a full clip from a submachine gun into Scofield.

Somebody needs to put a "full clip" of at least common sense into the chattering classes with the $800 haircuts if they don't grasp what all of the last four years has been about.
-- Cookie Sewell
Aberdeen, Maryland

Thank you, Ben Stein, this could be a "Thanksgiving" prayer today, and if we could have everyone feel this way even for just this one day it would indeed be reason to give thanks to our creator for our blessings.
--Roger Ross
Tomahawk, Wisconsin

We live in a country that pays players of sports millions of dollars each year to entertain us only to pay the teachers that educate our children next to nothing.

Our country is the world leader in Internet publishing of pornography, hate group sites, and cults (freedom of speech allows this to happen).

You can easily get robbed, mugged or raped in any of our major cities by walking the streets alone after dark or be killed by drunk, drugged or a road raged driver.

Drug companies (as the cigarette companies did for years) will dominate our minds with commercials on how great a drug is even if it has serious side-effects, and financial institutions will try their best to get you as far in debt as they can with advertisements to turn your home equity into boats, vacations and other worthless items that depreciate.

Sounds bad doesn't it? Well it's actually called the price of freedom. It's our right to choose, and our freedom of speech to say what ever we want. It's the American way, and if you want to charge $8,000 for a haircut, and someone wants to pay it, but doesn't give a hoot about what is going on with our Marines in Fallujah they have that right.

If someone doesn't want to be educated, learn English or just ugly and stupid you can do it here. As our lady in New York harbor says -- Bring me your hungry, tired and poor. Can we add drunk, drugged and stupid to that to? We will take them, and if theirs isn't enough we will make them.

So why does all this happen? It's because it's what people want. Just like people that want to eat greasy food, get overweight and have health problems even when they know it's bad. It's their right to choose. I voted for Bush too and would do it again. I choose to stay healthy, exercise, support our local schools and help people where ever I can. But it doesn't mean I don't see the imbalance and get frustrated just like you do. But you know what, we are Americans and we won't stop trying to point out to others that something is out of whack. Hopefully enough people listen to make a difference or better yet save a life.

In the end what did it buy us? Our freedom I guess. A chance to choose his or her own path in life. I think we have an amazing country and strongly believe that those that don't stick up for it shouldn't be in it. I believe America is a collection of a lot of great people from all over the world and that makes it even better. I don't care their race, color, creed or religion. I think at some level we are all equal. That starts with being able to make your own choices good or bad.

Thank you for your article, Ben, I really enjoyed it and want you to know you are not alone when it comes to recognizing our Military.
-- Dan Linton

I've got to admit, I don't know what to make of Ben Stein's article about the sacrifices being made by our brave soldiers in the Middle East and the what the author sees as relative apathy at home. First of all, I'm shocked that your editors even printed an article that promoted higher taxes!
-- Hasani Pippins

Great article. I also liked your on air tribute to your late farther in law, it was very heart felt. Best to you and yours.
-- Stephen J. Phillips
Walterboro, South Carolina

I am do not live in the land of $800.00 haircuts. In a strange way it is a testament to how incredible our society is that we can wage war and still have our chocolate sundae. America is truly a land of milk, honey, efficient weaponry, and an amazing volunteer armed forces.

This is what amazes me most: That in this land of opportunity, we still have these brave young people that do serve despite the risks while forsaking the promise of greater rewards elsewhere. In simpler sentences, these GI's from the land of $5.00 haircuts can articulate what we're fighting for better than most of their supporters.

We almost elected for an $800.00 haircut president. As if we didn't learn from the $300.00 haircut president. Besides donating to the GI's in Iraq, Afghanistan and other regions, all I got to give 'em (and it's really the most genuine): "God Bless You Soldier! May you come home soon!" and "Thank You GI!"
-- P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan

I thought Ben Stein was a conservative. He thinks high end earners should pay more taxes??? Why doesn't he put his money where his mouth is, and write a check the to U.S. treasury. What is stopping him? He will not poney up the dough unless all his neighbors are forced to do like wise?

What? Our taxes are not high enough already? Why does he want to punish the highest producers in the country even more? Wreck the economy by punishing productivity to make Ben Stein fill better. It is not the fault of the high end earners that there is not enough money in the budget for the military. It is the fault of an out of control congress spending all the revenue on Socialism.

What about the over two-thirds of the U.S. budget that is unconstitutional. Why doesn't he ask all these un-productive leaches to poney up the dough. They are squandering $1.5 trillion every year of other people's hard earned money. Why is it more just to make the hard working high end earners pay more, than to make these Federal freeloaders receiving the stolen properties of others pay their fair share?

I used to like Ben Stein, but now I see he is not really a conservative.
-- Wm. Veitschegger

I personally appreciate your sentiments about our Soldiers in Harm's Way. But I am also a Conservative, and if I may be indelicate, your Liberal Beverly Hills instincts are showing. Let me get this straight...you are upset that some rich guy is dumb enough to spend $800 on a haircut, or rent an Ocean Liner for a business meeting? And furthermore, your first reaction is to ask, "Where are the higher taxes that high end earners -- and I definitely include myself -- should be paying, to show solidarity...?" A true Liberal reflex, i.e., 1) Rich guys are not spending THEIR money as you would deem fit, and 2) Let's get the GOVERNMENT to impound more of their money and redistribute it to those YOU deem more worthy! Well my friend, check out www.AmericaSupportsYou.mil to do some research on just how much outpouring of pocketbook support there is for The War (especially from Mississippi). Let us not pollute our true admiration and support for our Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines with calls for MORE GOVERNMENT. This approach ALWAYS harms the "worthy" cause.
-- Edward Reyes
Pasadena, California

Thank you for your excellent article concerning "The Land of $800.00 Haircuts." I appreciate your sensitivity to this matter. I'm a former enlisted Marine and Vietnam vet. Plus, I've been a Navy Chaplain for the past twenty-one years. In August I completed a two year recall, serving with the First Marine Expeditionary Force as the Deputy Command Chaplain for the I MEF. These young military men and women are the best.

The following information may be useful: "DoD Launches 'America Supports You' To Showcase Support for Troops." Check it out at americasupportsyou.mil.
-- Dr. Charles R. Roots
Pastor, Ripon Free Methodist

DONKEY BRAINED
Re: Christopher Orlet's Manchurian Voters:

Christopher Orlet cites a study of brain reactions of Republican and Democrats where it is shown that Democrats have a more horrified reaction to 9/11 images than Republicans and finds it difficult to believe.

I find this consistent with my theory however, which is that the events on 9/11 and their implications conflict with the fundamental Democrat/Progressive world view, and thus are horribly threatening to all they hold dear.

This would explain many of their reactions in general post 9/11.
-- Frank O'Gara
Skillman, New Jersey

Other possible factors in the difference in Republican response to human suffering: Being more religious opens them more both to expecting evil and to anticipating redemption with regard to that evil. As Bernard Lonergan pointed out, romantic idealism (e.g., Democratic liberal idealism) tends to think that we have already arrived at the solution without doing anything. So it is surprised at the occurrence of shocking evil and at the persistence of evil. But rather than visiting a homeless shelter, as Orlet suggests, idealism is more likely, in effect, to shift from idealism to cynicism by putting exclusive hope in government solutions. Those solutions tend to demolish mediating institutions, according to Peter Berger. And that makes the necessary individual and social non-government initiatives less likely and the evil even more persistent (cf., the welfare mess up until 1994).
-- R.L.A. Schaefer
Dubuque, Iowa

In a nation of great givers, only about 15% of Americans are giving their time to great causes. So that mythical woman with the co-opted mindset I would accept with open arms to sling hash. Great deeds that need doing are done by those that do it regardless of their political motivation. Though Red Staters are more likely than not to give their time than a Blue Stater.

In context of your time reference to Presidential choices, should not the contender been Al Gore and not Kerry in reference to 9/11?

Finally, fear can be motivated by inability. Taking your reference of snakes of the mind to the physical level; an individual with no means of defense will feel genuine fear. A similar individual armed with an axe may have concern but the fear passes once the axe has met it mark. That a Republican brain would be relaxed is the knowledge that the axe is at the ready. For a Democrat the fear remains for they not only did not fund the axe but have forgotten how to wield it. Such maybe the Democrat mindset as it relates to our national defense.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

My surprise to these findings is underwhelming, yet also quite entertaining. Over the years, the words "bleeding heart liberal" have rarely failed my understanding of the political Left. It has been no secret that liberals are ruled by their emotions, as can be shown by the nearly endless stream of hysterical, do-gooder policies they are responsible for.

The greater amygdala response in Democrats is also to be expected. Simply put, liberals think on the lines moral relativism. They go through their lives without dealing with the problem of evil. To them, "greed," "being mean," and "not caring about the environment" are the triumvirate of wrongs in this world; all of which can be solved by curing the socioeconomic ills of the world and fighting "big business." When liberals come face to face with the stark reality that there are truly horrible people in this world, ones that are willing to do anything in their power to kill us, these liberals fail to cope. An example of this failure can be cited when Sen. Kerry and his Democratic colleagues spent nearly an hour immobilized during the 9/11 tragedy.

I'm not stating that all liberals are emotional basket-cases, or unrealistic dreamers incapable of admitting that pure evil is alive and well in this world. That would be presumptuous of me. Only those liberals that I actually had to deal with are as such.
-- Patrick Janecke

NEWS CRACKLERS
Re: Lawrence Henry's How Media Bias Really Works:

Lawrence, EXACTLY!! I've suffered for the longest time over those cackling ABC (Attack Bush Constantly) "news" hens on the radio. Liz White et al. spouting socialist propaganda hour after hour. Writing the conservative owner of Clear Channel evidently was pointless, but I wasn't aware there was an alternative such as Fox they could use. Sure wish I could change their minds and be able to turn on the radio again.
-- Russ

Having read your article about radio reporting bias, I must agree. In the St. Louis, Mo. area we have KMOX radio which carries CBS news and I have, several times, caught them in biased reporting. Whether Fox can deliver is subject to question. Fair and balanced is their mantra, I don't agree on giving liberalism (evil) equal time. Still they are the best of the lot.
-- Gary Lacey

Lawrence Henry hits the nail right on the head, as I have stated for some time now. How aggravating it is to listen to Rush, Neil, Glenn, and Sean for approximately 40 minutes out of an hour, only to have ABC or CBS read their dribble to me in a totally biased manner. I hope that most people recognize this, and do as I do when those breaks come up. My radio goes dead just long enough for me took get some work done without their chatter. I'll probably have to replace my radio due to the on/off button being used excessively, but it's a small price to pay to keep my sanity. I've written several e-mails to my local affiliates asking them to check out Fox or anything else, but so far I've had no luck. How bad is it that I can remember Christopher Glenn's Saturday morning news stuck in between cartoons over 35 years ago, and now I have to put up with him as an adult. I find him "Rather" biased, to say the least.
-- Bob Cunningham

HOMELESS IS WHERE THE HEART IS
Re: David Hogberg's Homeless on the Range:

As you look at the meanest cities to the homeless, it's quite interesting to note that most of those in the top 20 are in warm climates. "If I'm gonna be homeless, by God I want to be warm and comfortable." Their sheer volume in these warm weather climates are forcing these cities to deal with them more strictly, as their numbers shrink the number of available jobs for those who might even want to work. Maybe places like Cheyenne, Wyoming, or Bismarck, North Dakota, might provide a friendlier environment to actually find a real job and leave the ranks of the homeless. Far too many homeless choose to be that way, and wouldn't want to be any other.
-- William Challburg
Bradenton, Florida

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article