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Eat This Up

Home economics. Ben Stein salute. Iraq, now what? Police chases. Hillary-free. Plus much more.

5.12.04

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SLOW COOKERS
Re: Marina Malenic's Food for Thought:

Thanks for the informative column on the Slow Cooking movement. It does not appear that those promoting it mention the root cause of these weight gains in the industrialized world. Could it be, in part, the lack of physical exercise? I don't think it can all be blamed on food alone.

I am a member of the last generation who was "schooled," in fact it was mandatory for girls to attend home economics classes in the 7th and 8th grade. One semester of sewing and one semester of "kitchen arts" for two consecutive years, a requirement in the State of California. Before High School graduation, another requirement was one full year (Senior) of general Home Economics, which included household management, checking accounts, furnishing, food budgets, decorating, etc. Every female student was required to take this class to graduate. How far we have come since then.

Although I was on the college preparatory track, the lessons I learned in those classes have served me well throughout my life. Simple things like handling the checkbook and basic cooking skills. Perhaps, we should change the term from "slow cooking" to "cooking from scratch," which is the American term for this activity. I've always enjoyed cooking because of the creativity that can be involved with food preparation.

Thanks again for the article.
-- Edda Gahm
Diamond Bar, California

BEST OF BEN
Re: Ben Stein's American Salute:

Thanks for giving us Ben Stein's TAS-Live journal entries. It is good to hear from a man who writes and lives from the heart, who sweetly celebrates traditional and not-so-traditional America, who never has an unjust word to say about anyone -- even those whom many of us would call "the enemy" -- and who grounds all this in strong faith.
-- Jeffrey S. Erickson
Davidson, North Carolina

My compliments to a lovely entry; a description of an America at its finest, and most typical, in Walla Walla.

The vast, vast majority of this great country is like the Walla Walla of Stein's narrative. There's no news in so much of it that the many Walla Walla's across the country get no press. No crime, peace, citizens in their homes pursuing their happiness. Not the stuff of lurid headlines.

We carry this country on our backs out here in Walla Walla land, living orderly, peaceful and generally happy lives. One day the liberals will push us too far and Walla Walla might never be the same.
-- Pat Fish
Georgetown, Delaware

POST-APOLOGY
Re: Jed Babbin's Damn the Apologies: Full Speed Ahead:

This is an extremely hard letter to write as I am thoroughly predisposed to agree with Mr. Babbin. Indeed, I agree with a significant portion of this column and particularly its thesis of lets get on with the job. Ah well, on with the letter.

First, the time period between when the military authorities (Gen. Sanchez, perhaps) learned that there was a problem and the first courts martial just announced is totally unreasonable and unacceptable. The entire staff of that prison should have been cleaned out and replaced by the end of last year, and I mean to include the so called military intel folks. The idea that a 6 month or more long "investigation" of a problem when there are a veritable plethora of pictures in existence is ridiculous, absolutely absurd.

Second, the idea that Rumsfeld was not FORCED to endure a full briefing on this situation before the end of last year is positive dereliction of duty. Either Gens. Sanchez or Abazaide or Myers need to be told to retire at a reduced rank for their full blown stupidity in keeping Rummy under the impression that it was no big deal, if they in fact did. It is NOT acceptable for Rumsfeld to say that the report just got to him and he hasn't had time to read the 53 pages is totally absurd. It ranks right up there with refusal to admit ANY mistakes or errors in the Iraqi portion of the War on Terror.

Third, to keep the President out of the loop on this, coming up on an election year, is just too stupid for words. At this juncture Bush needs to publicly fire somebody (other than Rumsfeld who he needs), but he hasn't the cojones. It wouldn't be changing the tone in Washington.

Fourth, the whole Fallujah situation is a total snafu. The politicians (starting with Bush) should never have been allowed to snatch stalemate from the jaws of victory. The Marines should have been allowed to win that fight Now the bad guys have, in large numbers, abandoned Fallujah for Bhagdad and other points where they wish to apply pressure. Now more American military folks will be killed and maimed.

Fifth, our military spokesman general in Baghdad went on TV and vowed to kill or capture al-Sadr. Now we obviously have no intention of doing so. So much for convincing the Arabs that we mean what we say.

Bush ought to be 10 points up in the polls, given the mistakes and idiocies of the Kerry campaign. Instead he is in a statistical tie. His handling of the Iraq situation has been a disaster starting with his mission accomplished fiasco aboard the aircraft carrier. There is only one reason that I can see to vote for Bush in November, and that is that John Kerry is so unbelievably bad that he simply must not be allowed to get hold of the reins. I had planned to stay home in November, but now I may have to hold my nose and vote for Bush.
-- Ken Shreve
New Hampshire

Consider the real lesson of Vietnam: Don't support a President whose actions clearly show he cannot or will not pursue victory.

This was Lyndon Johnson. This is George W. Bush. Just like in Vietnam, many describe what they think Bush is doing in Iraq, not what the President is actually doing ("We're not going to cut and run. We're not going to give up the global strategies of preemption.") Optimistic assumptions are made based only on what the President says and failures are assumed to be the work of subordinates ("Colin Powell...won't allow it".)

We are warned against John Kerry because he will fail in Iraq at the same time George Bush's failing in Iraq is detailed. ("Brahimi -- who the president inexplicably gave carte blanche to a few weeks ago".)

If we learn the lesson of Vietnam, we must conclude that supporting Bush is the worst of all evils. Focus on his actions, not his words. Just one example of many: Would you have asked Brahimi to tell us what to do. No? Then why would you support a President who has done so.

Tough times call for tough decisions. No more Vietnams, cut our losses and get out.
-- Mike Rizzo

Seeing those pictures made me furious! How dare our MP units use humiliation tactics that are less severe than those the average high school freshman encounters during the initiation into the football team! Thank you! May I have another?
-- Randy Gammon
Drexel, Missouri

AMONG THE GLOATERS
Re: Nicholas Ziener's letter ("Schadenfreude") in Reader Mail's No Longer Friends:

To Mr. N. Ziener: Even if we were about to lose the war, which we are not, one of the great things about it, is the fact that your cowardly and corrupt government is no longer profiting from sleeping with Saddam. That alone makes the effort worth it.
-- Greg Goff
Casper, Wyoming

May I recommend that you read the book of the great Greek philosopher Avaros (The Ethics), and explain it to American people, as you might know the meaning of shame?
-- Dr. Azzam Mahran, Ph.D.
Medical Director (Sedico Pharmaceuticals)
Egypt

KID STUFF
Re: Cathy Thorpe's and B. Valley's letters ("With Friends Like This") in Reader Mail's No Longer Friends and Enemy Central's Fiends:

Just to let you know, I completely agree with Enemy Central. I too have never been able to sit through an entire episode of "Friends." Who was it called media "The Vast Wasteland?" Well, television is for the most part "Chewing gum for the eyes." I guess it's a Gen-X thing.
-- Bob Johnson
Bedford, Texas

COMBAT ZONES
Re: George Neumayr's
2004: A Sexual Space Odyssey
and Thelma and Louise in Iraq, and Kadira Belynne's letter (under "Digital Disgrace") in Reader Mail's No Longer Friends:

George Neumayr states, "When Elaine Donnelly explained to the feminists that women in combat would mean the exposure of women to rape and torture in captivity, their response was to say that America could get used to violence against women, and that men could be conditioned out of their chauvinism. And that's what the feminized military endeavored to do," he seems to imply that female civilians in the United States are safe. One need only view the reports and publications of the U.S. Department of Justice to get the true story. This is a violent society, and women do not have to join the military to experience physical assault, rape, torture and murder. We can experience that when we are two years of age, or eighty, black, white or Hispanic, gay or straight. We can experience that in our homes, at work, during recreational and leisure activities, and when walking through a parking lot from the shopping center to our car.
-- Paige Schneider

Neumayr's attempt to blame "the feminists" for the Abu Ghraib atrocities is the most disingenuous diatribe I've seen about the incident. "And why is the behavior depicted in the photos so appalling to liberals?" he crows. "If the behavior had been voluntary, liberals would call it free speech." But voluntariness is exactly the point, isn't it? The entire concept of sexual assault depends on the fact that the sexual acts are not voluntary. Perhaps Neumayr would be able to understand the implications of the behavior depicted if it were heterosexual rape. Those pictures are out there, too, apparently. The Pentagon just hasn't released them yet.
-- Brian E. Sims

I just waded through Ms. Belynne's feminist screed absolving women in the military of any responsibility for the mistreatment of the Iraqi prisoners. In what can only be considered an olympic leap of logic, she expresses the belief that Donald Rumsfeld ordered the abuse personally. The poor female soldiers were powerless to stop the big bad bullying male soldiers who obviously got their orders directly from the Secretary of Defense. Ms. Belynne's promise to avoid the Spectator website is probably for the best. Perhaps she would be better off clicking on the website of Germaine Greer or Betty Friedan. After all, these two had a lot to do with these female soldiers being in Iraq in the first place.
-- Joseph Baum
Newton Falls, Ohio

CHASERS
Re: Eric Peters's No Cop, No Stop?:

As much as you state the statistics, the fact is any death of a single bystander in the period that a high speed pursuit is unjustified. It is not warranted on the moral grounds of what is stamped on a lot of police cars "Protect and Serve." Not much protection is going on when six people have been killed in the two incidents that have occurred in the Dallas area of the past four years involving police chases. Nor is it justified on economic grounds. Of the statistics that you state, likely 80% were involved in some robbery of less than $5,000. Under what circumstances is it viable that in pursuit of that felon, we risk an officer(s) ($25k in training ea.), vehicle(s) ($30k Crown Victoria fully configured ea.), possibly another vehicle (maybe $20k) and the hospital costs of the bystander possibly involved ($20k-100k, or death)? And then there are the lawyers after the fact -- in the millions.

There are other ways. Some departments, LAPD for example, utilize parallel pursuit so that the tracking of the perp is out of sight reducing the speeds and behavior of the driver to a more manageable level. Urban police have helicopters to assist in such pursuits. No car can outrun them, the chopper can remain a safe distance not agonizing the driver and assist in a managed entrapment without using high speed chase tactics. And what is becoming even more common is the use of GPS services like OnStar to track the vehicle so equipped from yet again a managed distance to avoid chase.

Or how about something as simple as this. Nearly half the time, in an urban scene, at some point the cruiser is sitting right behind the target not moving. Now the officer will not leave the vehicle for safety and pursuit reasons if the target has the capability to flee again, and that's rational. But there is nothing saying that the officer could not reach out the window with a tear gas gun and lob a shell thru the rear window. Within about 3 seconds that vehicle will be filled with gas and smoke. The chase ends right there, at least with a car.

Car chases may not be avoidable in all cases. And the police need to retain the flexibility to give chase when warranted. But the police have the tactical advantage and the time and choosing of the pursuit. It goes on too often and in some cases is becoming entertainment in the view of those being chased.

Car chases are the police equivalent of a frontal assault. Any military officer will avoid frontal assaults as much as possible, so should the police when possible.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

Eric Peters's indictment of liberals' edicts preventing cops from shooting fleeing criminals is a beacon of light into what has become a daily scene: high-speed chases of criminals, which results in allowing them both to elude police and cause great property damage; not to mention the lesson to future felons.

I don't understand why everyone cannot realize that cops should be allowed to capture fleeing criminals ANY WAY they see fit, including deadly force. That is the way it used to be, everybody knew it and agreed with the process. Of course, in those days criminal behavior wasn't considered to be society's fault. However, after more than forty years of "progressive" law enforcement, the jury is in: criminals just won't listen to reason!

Restore the right of policemen to sockittoem!!
-- Brooks Hughes
Ann Arbor, Michigan

PAST AND PRESENT
Re: "Brock Trio" letters in Reader Mail's Wiser Heads and Wlady Pleszczynski's Brock's Content:

The Spectator is, of course, a journal of commentary. However "biased," and "right-wing" the publication may be, their letters were published without accusatory comments from the editors.

The rub with people who want to get the news, is that the market is dominated by papers and networks purporting to report the news, but editorialize on their news pages and news programs ... doing their best to hide this fact, and maligning anyone who makes the point.

If NPR, PBS, CBS, NBC, CNN, ABC, the NYTimes, W.Post and their farm league hopefuls the are really news outlets, then I look like Tom Sellic, and my true age is 39. (Please DO NOT have any of your female friends attempt to contact me.)

As far as liars are concerned, the most prominent creatures of the illiberal left are obsessive practitioners: Bill Clinton, who lies for the fun of it. Rodham Clinton, who is just a common subversive. Algore, who has no idea who he is. And John Kerry, who doesn't recognize the truth any, and every, time it hits him in side of his head.

Over the years 1963-65 when I lived in Uruguay, the Commies were rampant in that country. They plastered posters on buildings all over the country proclaiming their opposition (mainly Johnson and Goldwater) as liars and criminals. Then there were plenty of other posters picturing the Despot of Cuba's face over the slogan "CON FIDEL" (pranksters would often change the "L" in FIDEL to an "O," for the appropriate "FIDEO" trans "NOODLE".)

One is well-advised to use caution in referring to such people as those whose names appear in this letter as Communists ... but, from a superficial view, their tactics and/or philosophies are the same.
-- Carl Gordon Pyper
Monett, Missouri

I'm a big fan of TAS, but I must concur (at least partially) with Mr. Lawson ("Three's Company") on the issue of full disclosure regarding David Brock's history with The American Spectator. I wouldn't go so far as to say a "serious breach of journalistic ethics" has occurred, but knowing Mr. Brock's, um, colorful relationship with TAS and Mr. Tyrrell is essential in putting Wlady's comments in context.

I haven't visited Mr. Brock's site, nor do I intend to, but as the grownups in the conservative vs. leftist War of Words (I was going to say "Ideas," but realized one side lacked ammunition), I expect the Spectator's writers to continue to hew to higher standards even as the libs wallow in invective.

A lot to ask, but not too much, of your talented contributors (and especially Mr. P) IMHO.
-- Wylie Merritt
Norman, Oklahoma

THE NIGHTMARE FROM HILLARY
I have been a subscriber to TAS since about 1992 and I read the website every day. I ask that you eliminate the pop-up of Hillary. Enough is enough. Every time I finish a story and go back to the home page that damn window pops up.

My suggestion is that you put the advertisement on the side, make it larger than the others. Seeing the pop up between every story will not induce me to buy the book no matter how much I am temped. I have bought Mr. Tyrrell's previous books, but as long as the obnoxious pop-up continues, I will refuse to buy the book.

Not to end on a sour note, TAS and National Review are the only two magazines I subscribe to and they are both fantastic.
-- John F. Sharkey
Red Bank, New Jersey

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