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Strokes of Genius

Long live Dr. Phelps! Woody woodpeckers. Performing engines. Dan Quayle. And more

4.8.04

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GRATEFULLY
Re: Peter Phelps' letter (Vive la Différence!") in Reader Mail's What Makes Us Different:

I've just read Dr. Peter Phelps' response to Monsieur Ziener's mail and I am close to tears. I've never heard or read any contemporary outside of this country who has ever grasped the foundation of my conviction so definitively. In a nutshell: Dr. Phelps got it right....and more. Although I've never met you, Doctor, I am grateful that you could put this into words. Thank you and God bless you, sir.
-- Kenneth E. Lizotte
Bristol, Vermont
United States

PECKERS
Re: Ralph R. Reiland's Shoot, Shovel & Shut Up:

We were deeply moved by your Pecker story. In Arizona we have them pecking on all sides of the house and of course the chimney at 5 a.m. I once called the Fish and Game to see if I could save the several hundred year old Saguaro in my yard, it has a ten story condo for peckers in it and they drill a new hole each year, it will fall soon and probably kill one of us. I asked Fish and Game if the peckers are endangered and he told me no, once on the list always on the list. I asked if their was a way to control them as the first one arrived in 1998 and now we have dozens as does everyone in the area, the response, "It is not legal for me to tell you how to control the woodpeckers," got the point. The government tells us to protect and at the same time tells us how to rid ourselves of the pest.

Our woodpeckers in Arizona are so over protected they are our rat.

Don't get me started on the burning down of Arizona or how we couldn't harvest the burnt timber!

I am sure we are only days away before the Africanized Bee is protected.

Thanks for the ear.
-- Laurin

The last time I was in North Carolina, there was a very big December ice storm and power was out for several days for most of the people in a 70 mile radius of Raleigh. I don't remember anyone asking if it would be OK to remove woodpecker habitat from the power lines so we could get the lights on. Could it be that Eco Freaks have devolved so that their brain freezes well before their behinds freeze? Maybe sacrifice for the environment is like taxing the rich.

The tree huggers who had insisted on minimal cutting of the trees were treated to a more than hypothetical example of how sweet and wonderful Mother Nature will try to kill you every once in a while . But, since their brains was frozen during the most enlightening fraction of the lesson, the rare teaching moment probably felt to them like missing time in an alien abduction.
-- Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

ENGINE EARS
Re: Eric Peters' Kerry and the 2006 Chevette:

The article by Eric Peters leaves out several important aspects of higher fuel economy vehicles -- those powered by hybrid powertrains and clean Diesel engines.

Currently only Honda and Toyota market vehicles with hybrid powertrains, but Ford is due to begin production of a hybrid Escape later this year, and more will be coming. In fact, Toyota has plans to offer hybrid powertrain options across the board in the future. These vehicles will have an excellent chance at attaining 36+ mpg. Large pickup trucks most likely will not be candidates for these powertrains, however.

Clean Diesel engines is the other technology to watch within the coming decade. With better combustion systems, low-sulfur fuel, and efficient exhaust aftertreatment, these engines will begin to make inroads in the market in the next 4 to 8 years. Diesel engines are already a favorite in the large pickup market.
-- Rich Belaire
Ann Arbor, Michigan

A great article, makes well a point that I have tried to make to some of my friends in the past, that CAFE costs lives. (How ironic that the anti-war voices decry the Iraq war as "blood for oil.")

Can you tell me where I can find source data that pinpoints the cost in lives of the weight and size reductions made to comply with CAFE?
-- Rich Renken
Ballwin, Mo.

Actually what you should have mentioned was that internal combustion engines are pretty much at their zenith technologically. My wife drives a 2000 Metro, a subcompact car. It delivers 32 mpg. I drive a 2001 Forrester, a midsized SUV. It delivers 28 mpg and it is about 700 lbs. heavier and almost double the volume. The mileage differences are so similar I should have bought a second Subaru.

I would give up the car for the daily commute if there were convenient cross town mass transit. But alas there is not in my area. I personally would benefit as I would use the time to catch up on reading and reports, let alone getting out of the aggravating driving. I would also consider an electric or hybrid vehicle as much of our driving is local and less than 40 miles a day. But the models I have seen so far on a cost per mile basis are 50% more in operating costs than IC based vehicle. Mass transit does not mean I would give up the car, just that I would drive it one heck of a lot less which would help the imports issue.

One last observation. Congress is wrestling with a rather large highway construction bill are they not? At the same time many in Congress wring their hands over the oil imports. This sounds too much like the tobacco schism of old. Subsidy on one side, contrary social policy on the other. If the dolts in Congress are at odds with themselves why should the motoring public take note?
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

YANKEE IMPERIALIST
Re: William Tucker's He Saw It Coming:

According to William Tucker, "... we hadn't been attacked on our own soil since the War of 1812."

The Japanese navy attacked Hawaii in 1941. If the Territory of Hawaii was not "our own soil," whose soil was it? The Japanese navy and army in 1941 attacked and occupied Wake Island and Guam. Whose soils were these? The Japanese navy and army in 1942 attacked and occupied islands in the Aleutian Chain of the Territory of Alaska. Whose soil was this? A Japanese submarine in 1942 shelled oil facilities near Goleta, California. Was this just a slip of memory or a mind set that only the East Coast is "our own soil"?
-- Earl Fullingim
Anchorage, Alaska (the 49th state)

I don't know if you remember, but in Jan. of '99 Dan Quayle appeared on Meet the Press, as he was considering a run for the presidency at the time, and was asked by Tim Russert what he thought was the most pressing threat to the U.S. I believe I remember him responding by saying that a major terrorist strike on U.S. soil was a strong possibility in the next couple of years and that Mr. Russert almost chuckled him off the set. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
-- Rob McMillan

Oh come on Mr. Tucker, everyone knows Steve Emerson must be a kook for thinking Muslim fanatics had anything to do with the Oklahoma City bombing.

Bill Clinton told us Rush Limbaugh did it! And we all know Clinton NEVER lied about anything!
-- Greg Barnard
Franklin, Tennessee

SLGGING IT OUT
Re: "slg"'s and Nora Peralta's letters ("Crossing the Line") in Reader Mail's What Makes Us Different:

"slg" writes: "I totally resent any self-appointed arbiter of public taste (or whatever) trying to tell my daughters what they can or cannot do with their bodies."

When will these "pro-choice" people get it right? We don't much care what they (or their daughters) do with their bodies; our concern is with what they choose to do with the bodies (and lives) of others: unborn children. And it has nothing to do with "public taste" -- only with the desire to see humans treated humanely.
-- Richard Donley

That the preening "slg" would let his daughters think that murdering their innocent babies (for selfish convenience) was simply controlling their bodies says all that needs be said of him. The usual pro-abortion position is to be personally against the act but recognize that it needs to be done for other people's children. This of course is a disgusting position but seems a great deal better than slg's desire to have his grandchildren whacked in the name of civil rights. For the secular I guess he is proving some Darwinian point.
-- Clif Briner

Regarding the "Reader's Mail" appearing under the title "Crossing the Line" submitted by two respondents to my earlier mail relating to George Neumayr's column entitled John Sager Kerry: first for Nora Peralta, bless you dear, I agree entirely with your admonition that some women (those you characterize as "helpless creatures") are often psychologically cohered to abort their children by scurrilous abortion counselors and evil, bullying men who impregnate them.

As for "slg," you, sir, appear to be exactly the kind of "self-absorbed American" I mentioned as accepting of abortionist platitudes such as "no one should be able 'to tell my daughters what they can or cannot do with their bodies.'" This strange logic, of course, begs the questions: Why should anyone be told they can't use their own bodies for prostitution, or for injecting various illegal substances, or for any number of other illegal volitional acts? And, the answer is: society can and does prohibit people from using their bodies to perform certain acts hurtful to themselves, others and, as in the matter under discussion, humanity.

Secondly, your comment that I committed "unspeakable brutality against simple logic" would be humorous if it weren't so very illogical. I didn't criticize your lovely wife who gave birth to 3 children while holding pro-abortion opinions -- unless, of course, she is an abortion doctor or counselor. Apparently, she committed none of the evils about which I spoke in my original letter.

And, lastly, if my letter as printed in TAS offended you, I would say you're lucky the editors chose not to print its last few paragraphs. Had those paragraphs been used, you may have had a stroke.
-- A. A. Reynolds

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