Reader Mail

John Chevy Chase Kerry

Biking for our pleasure. Plus other signs of Boomer maturity. Also: A new Canadian initiative. Lessons in proliferation. IT recovery. And more.

5.5.04

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TOMMY THOMPSON
Re: Joseph Cella's letter ("National Catholics") in Reader Mail's Breakfast Talk:

I was a little confused by the letter of Joseph Cella, President of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast. In one paragraph he says that no Catholics of either political party who go against Church Doctrine would be given the opportunity to speak. Then one paragraph later Cella says that Tommy Thompson spoke at the event. Clearly there is a great inconsistency here, because Thompson goes against Church Doctrine on stem cells and other issues. I hope Mr. Cella can clarify the position of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast as to whether Catholics who go against Church doctrine are allowed to speak at the event.
-- Ryan Jones

ALMOST GROWN
Re: William Tucker's Kerry's Empty Secret:

William Tucker hits the mark when describing the silly self-absorption of the Baby Boomer generation. Could anything surpass the arrogance of the "Caution: Baby on Board" bumper stickers that first appeared when the Boomers began to reproduce? What other generation could have produced the unbelievably shallow Clinton and Kerry? Fortunately, there are some of us, at least, who have actually grown up as we grew older.
-- Cynthia Good
Lake Sherwood, Missouri

I'm sick of him already. Enough said.
-- Shirley Sims
shirleysims@earthlink.net

NEW INITIATIVE
Re: Wlady Pleszczynski's Brock's Content:

Wlady Pleszczynski asks: "Whatever happened to 'Worthwhile Canadian initiative'?'" I took a look at Brock's website; the top headline under "news" referred to Al Gore announcing a new cable television network. I clicked over to the article. Let's overlook that this is not a new cable network, but the purchase by new owners of an existing network. What I found interesting is that the content for the network is, and will continue to be, provided by the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp.). So, there is your Canadian initiative; whether it is worthwhile is a question I will leave to others.
-- Charles Meyrick
Fairfield, Connecticut

KERRY SPOKES MEN
Re: The Washington Prowler's Bikegate:

You say no word yet on Kerry's bike being American, French or Italian? Unfortunately, it is made in Saratoga Springs, NY despite it's euro-sounding name, Serotta. Here in Boston, ground zero for Kerry-bashing is Howie Carr, conservative talk radio host extraordinaire. Howie is The King in many of our minds here in Boston, and when Kerry "won" the nomination, you knew Howie was looking forward to 12 months of fun and great ratings. Well, the good luck continues for Mr. Carr: Just last Friday Howie did a column in the Boston Herald about Kerry's custom-made $7,000 bike and how the more we learn about "Liveshot" Kerry, the less he has in common with the average voter. Another wipeout later (not blamed on Secret Service -- yet), and Kerry blows a clearly staged photo-op designed to appeal to the outdoorsy set. I sense a rock-climbing accident waiting just around the corner.....
-- William H. Stewart
Boston, Massachusetts

Kerry's $5,000+ bicycle frames are made in the U.S.A. (not sure, but NOT by union labor, I think), but all the components are Japanese and/or Italian in origin.
-- The Comedian<<p>
Since, after Kerry's spill while skiing on the bunny slope, we know by his own declaration that he "never falls," but rather, referring to his Secret Service protection agent, "that SOB ran into me," one has to wonder whom he blames in this embarrassing snafu. When, since Kerry is proving he can't remain upright, will he join Gerald Ford in the "Candidate as Klutz" pantheon?
-- Warren Mowry

I have the feeling that one of his advisers told Senator Kerry that he needs to act more presidential. Judging from his misadventure on the ski slopes in Idaho and his cycling mishap in Concord, it seems that the senator has taken this advice. Unfortunately for him, he is acting very Presidential Ford.
-- John Corrigan

LESSONS IN PROLIFERATION
Re: Marina Malenic's Pyongyang Proliferation:

Marina Malenic suggests that if a terrorist organization went shopping for nuclear weapons "...the suspect list for the supply-side of the equation would be short. And North Korea would lead it."

I am afraid she is wrong. The former Soviet states have not accounted for literally hundreds of nuclear warheads. Those warheads are somewhere, and there is a reason why they have not been found.
-- Jan Machat
Redmond, Washington

Marina Malenic replies:
For four decades, the greatest potential for nuclear conflict was the Cold War rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union. Upon the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the first major nuclear proliferation threat -- of seeing four states with nuclear capabilities emerge from the carcass of the USSR -- was averted when U.S. negotiators persuaded the newly formed nations of Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus to relinquish all of their nuclear weapons to Russia.

The second threat -- that Russia would become a supplier of nuclear weapons from the diversion of expertise and fissile materials to hostile entities -- prompted a series of U.S. initiatives under the Nunn-Lugar legislation aimed at safe and secure dismantlement of the former Soviet nuclear arsenal. And because of such efforts, the Soviet nuclear weapons have been secured. Admittedly, conventional weapons and shorter-range missiles from the Soviet arsenal do keep turning up in unexpected places. But we have yet to find Soviet nuclear materials in the hands of a third party.

After these two threats were addressed, policy makers believed that North Korea posed the third great post-Cold War nuclear threat.

With the unearthing of Abdul Qadeer Khan's nuclear black market, we now know that we are dealing with a multi-headed beast.

And now there's clear evidence that North Korea is a part of that loose underground association of terrorists and opportunists -- and is an even more potent danger than we at first thought.

LUCKY MAN
Re: W. James Antle's Hell of a Ride:

Mr. Antle: First I found a good deal of humor in your article, kudos. But it would not be right to not respond in a more serious manner than your article's contents imply.

* The first one is you were very lucky. At the point that you entered the IT workforce anyone who could breathe and type at the same time was hired. It was the conjunction of the Y2K scare and the Internet Boom that made jobs in this area white hot. Not to burst your bubble but there were some weeks in that time frame I was being given 2 job offers a day!

* You were good. I have been 25 years at the IT biz. That is where I wanted to go with my career. But I have peers that are musicians (magically for some reason a good many musicians make good math majors), civil engineers, armed services double dippers, etc. all degreed in some other field. But they all adapted. Which is a key point in the IT business. Any IT degree over 5 years old is reasonably worthless, such is the pace of change in this field. To stay alive one has to have the ability to continually update ones skills which you have done.

* It's normal again. The current situation in IT is back to what I was experiencing 8 years ago. You have to be prepared and experienced. The jockey just looking for the hot paycheck are being weeded out. The life of an IT person is not a cup of tea -- 50-60 hours is about par for the course. As an industry we tend to eat our own. Few if any "managers" are really such, they are just engineers with staff. Requirements are vague, objectives ill defined, time frames this side of ridiculous. A successful IT person is one who can pull out the need, get it done and keep the suits out of the way.

* Outsourcing is not what it is cracked up to be. We have not seen the full consequences of such decisions. Already some corporations are pulling back their efforts in outsourcing. Dell, EMC and several other firms have scaled back their investments due to customer complaints. Firms have to pick their opportunities, but the best crystal ball tends to indicate no more than 10% by 2015. Still plenty of opportunity in this country.

* The future is bright. Microsoft itself indicates than the nature of
IT will morph in the next 15 years. And wherever there is change there is opportunity.

The past of IT was a tough row, took hard work and continuous study. We had a blip in that picture and have returned past expectations. Any maybe that is as it should be. If one is serious with one's career that also means that there is a level of commitment required.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

BRAVE NEW DEAL
Re: Colby Cosh's Disabling America:

Yes, it's true that many alleged conservatives worship the ground that FDR walked on. But these are the neo-cons. They are the big business liberals who learned under Johnson that Big Business which benefited under FDR Liberalism (Fascism), was the target of the Big Government Liberalism of Johnson (Marxism). They just changed names not policies. They still love and defend socialism, but only the socialism that socializes their problems.

Anyone given to a fair read of history must conclude, that from Wilson to FDR, the Democratic Party became the party of corporate socialism, aka Fascism. The individual was nothing but a cell in the corporate whole of the USA. Anything that would transfer money away from the middle class "cells" to the upper class governing elite "whole" was good. The cells were to be granted only those rights to which the whole would benefit from. If the whole did not benefit the cells rights were to be eliminated. The cell had no right to live, its responsibility was to sacrifice for the whole. The entire population was nearly fooled, with the few supporters of individual liberty resisting. Finally, I should point out that the ACLU was founded, not to defend liberty from the "right wing extremists who wanted to shred the Bill of Rights," but to defend the Communist Party USA members from Wilson's support the "Great war or Go to Jail" Fascism. This came from the Second International's desire to join all the socialists, except the communists, to resist the violent radicalism of the Marxists.

The self proclaimed "neo-cons" are just part of the socialist anti-Communists. They have never been conservatives.
-- Gerard Cote

SURE DOUBTS
Re: Brett's letter ("Code Fiction") in Reader Mail's Breakfast Talk:

A recent writer, "Brett," has brought to the Da Vinci de-bunkers the school of "I'm not so sure." That means he is skeptical and tolerant. He addresses the easily impressionable people which would have to include those who believe that Friday is an unlucky day, that ghosts haunt cemeteries, that believe hell is a destination, and assorted miracles and panaceas! Perhaps the early Christian missionaries, before the crowd in 325 determined by vote! what the word of God would be, and made a carpenter and newly transformed evangelist, divine, tried to deliver some of the Christian message to parts of the world where they found despair and evil. As Mencken said on many occasions, all religions try to go too far! They pretend to explain the unknowable, and "do it in terms of the not worth knowing."
-- Edward Del Colle

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