Reader Mail

Sawyer, Gibson & Co.

Firm reactions to Diane’s Passion. Plus: Chin music. Dean farewells. Border patrols. Gay parenting. And much more.

2.18.04

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NO GIBSON GIRL
Re: George Neumayr's Mel's Maligners:

Thanks for calling that lemon-lipped bottle blonde Sawyer on her Gibson interview.
-- Dick Sheppard
Jersey City, New Jersey

I don't know when I have been more disgusted by an interviewer that I was with Diane Sawyer in prime-time. She dripped liberalism and disbelief and in a most unprofessional manner. Unbiased? She doesn't know the meaning of the word. If I never see her again in the news or elsewhere, it will be all right with me. It would be so refreshing to see a whole new crop of newspaper people who have a respect for morals and values. It's "time" news people! We're sick to death of her type of tripe! Consider this your wake-up call.
-- Kathryn Byer

Your article on Diane Sawyer's condescension of Christianity was excellent. She, like many of the Left, do not understand that the Bible does not preach tolerance and good will to false gods and religions--it does command loving our neighbor, even the unrepentant. But, the Bible teaches only one way, the Way of Christ.

If there be no resurrection, then Christ was not raised; and if Christ was not raised, then our gospel is null and void, and so is your faith; and we turn out to be lying witnesses for God... (1 Corinthians 15:14-15)

What Diane does not understand, and I pray one day she will, is that the crucifixion of Christ and His resurrection are what set Christianity apart. Every other religion is about man doing something to save himself, in Christianity Jesus bore it all for us. Our only duty is to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. This is truly good news!
-- Steve Shaver
Dallas, Texas

A-LEAGUE A-ROD
Re: Wlady Pleszczynski's Trading Places:

Well said.

Who would have guessed the consequences when one of the Boone boy's buddies said, "Wanna shoot some hoops?"

Apparently George Steinbrenner won't rest until he has all members of both all-star squads under contract, even if it takes as much as a G.W. Bush budget deficit to sign them all.

I doubt any sports writer will ask Alfonso Soriano what his thoughts are the first time his Washington Generals play the pinstripes. And someone needs to elaborate on the "financial flexibility" the doormat Texas Rangers will enjoy as a result of paying George Steinbrenner $67 million (more than twice the Tampa Bay Devil Rays payroll for this year).

Your analysis of the A-Rod future is sound. Many of his 47 home runs last year for the last place Rangers were the baseball equivalent of empty calories. He'll certainly be seeing a lot fewer belt-high fastballs out over the plate this year. And let's just see how much A-Rod likes third base after a couple months of fielding lasers with his cup.

Play Ball !
-- Larry Thornberry
Tampa, Florida

I normally love your observations, but your musings on the A-Rod/Soriano trade leave me wondering a) what's your point? and b) you may be speaking out of class. The debate on the value of the trade and the projected results is endless around here (Boston), so you're not alone in that angle. However, there's a few obvious points your analysis overlooks: Soriano was beloved by Yankees fans (a young Hank Aaron, remember?) until his alarming error and strikeout totals started to take a little off the shine this year. When he broke the strikeout record during this post season (26 in 71 at-bats), and the Yanks failed in the World Series, perhaps management was thinking of taking some profits on this former high-flier.

But the heart of the matter is about Tom Hicks (Texas GM) misjudgments on how to run a franchise. After signing A-Rod for $252mm, and not vacating the cellar of the AL West in three years, Hicks realized it was time to blow it up and start over. The only logical way to do that was to get rid of the albatross of a contract. With Soriano a relatively cheap $5mm/year, it was a case of making a trade with an out-of-the-money player for an in-the-money-player.

Comparing Bonds with A-Rod is a stretch, and Todd Walker lost more games with his cement glove at second base than games he won with his clutch bat. Finally, the Yankees have always had more money than the other teams, so the concept of everyone against the Yankees isn't a new one. And given the last three World Series champs (D-Backs, Angels, Marlins) being relatively unsung, I don't think the Yankees take for granted a championship the way the rest of the world believes they do.
-- William H. Stewart
Boston, Massachusetts

I have several bones to pick with Wlady Pleszczynski's "Trading Places"?

Most baseball fans (including those outside of NYC) would instantly recognize the talents of Alfonso Soriano, the player the Yankees gave up in their trade for A-Rod. Soriano is one of only three players in major league baseball history to have two consecutive 35-35 seasons (home runs and stolen bases) and his name, therefore, appears in this same sentence with those of Willie Mays and Barry Bonds. So, this trade did not "go in one direction." The Rangers picked up a cheaper star, and have positioned themselves to strengthen themselves elsewhere.

As far as Rodriguez "playing out of position" at third base, 20 to 30 feet closer to line drives aimed at his head, although most people agree that he is a better shortstop than Derek Jeter, A-Rod would also be the far better third baseman, with a quicker first step. A Golden Glove is not impossible. Others like Cal Ripken have made this same change, not to mention Johnny Bench. A-Rod might not be Graig Nettles, but I'd take him as my third baseman any day.

Finally, I do agree with Pleszczynski's final points about the Yankees not being that smart in not acquiring more pitching. Their biggest loss was failing to make up for the loss of free agent Andy Pettitte to the Astros. As long as Schilling and Martinez remain healthy, Boston's staff looks formidable for the playoffs with Lowe and the rest, and might shut down the Yankees' powerful line-up (like Florida in 2003), while the Red Sox pound the Yankees' weaker pitchers (like the Angels did in 2002). As a Yankee fan, I can't be at all optimistic the Yankees will go all the way, even if they make their usual mid-season pick-up. Thank goodness for the curse.
-- Ted Dobracki
Emmaus, Pennsylvania

RADICALIZERS
Re: Shawn Macomber's Letting Go:

Mr. Macomber, "the much more moderate Kerry." Puh-lease. Mr. Kerry, moderate? I can't even justify this if you were comparing Kerry to Dean. Kerry is to the left of Teddy, for cryin' out loud. How could he be moderate even when compared to Dean, never mind in the literal sense??
-- Bill Deady
Manchester, New Hampshire

Dean is finished. He has hung up his hat and while he may go home, he still thinks he's the cat's meow in politics. Howard believes that he energized the race and that his ideas are being carried forward. The only thing he energized was a bunch of bored media types who have an almost pathological hatred of Bush as Dean does of everyone else.

Shawn Macomber is right. The Dean campaign will be studied for its failures rather than its winning strategies while Joe Trippi will bank the money he got from it, and continue to tout to other campaigns how marvelous he was at fund-raising (and spending).

Getting right down to brass tacks, the only ideas Dean came up with is the same politics of hate and fear that have been the cornerstone of not only his campaigns, but the Democrats as well. Once more a political loser is going to set up his little organization for those who don't know any better to push an agenda that was rejected by everyone. A few months from now Dean will be a country doctor in little ol' Vermont (or Long Island) who will have his hands full telling the judge why his records should be sealed, page by page.

Meanwhile, this ol'boy is going to have to find something else to write about (there's plenty) but winter is almost over and I'll be able to get back outside again. Bush in '04.
-- Pete Chagnon
Vermont

GROPING WITH ILLEGALS
Re: Brandon Crocker's The Immigration Thing:

Kudos to someone who I believe gets it. If people want to bash President George W. Bush about his attempt to address a problem that has gone untouched, then they are going to do it any way. Once again, our President is showing leadership, by starting the dialogue regarding a new policy to face down a real threat, both economically and potentially terrorist. No one in their right mind should expect the problem to go away without sacrifices and negotiations from the many involved in addressing this issue, but the man I am proud to call my President, has begun the process by stating what he feels will work to help America. With so much party bitching and bellyaching, I see how this Harvard MBA listens to people on both sides of an issue, and then makes a decision to go forward. This talent he has is one most would be smart to emulate.
-- Bob Cunningham

Brandon Crocker believes that President Bush's recent initiative will "reform," or at least improve, thirty years of steadfast refusal by both parties (for totally different reasons) to deal with the issue of illegal immigration. Crocker further believes that the overly vocal "Right" seems transfixed with the idea of deportation, and for conservatives anything short of taking that step warrants the charge of "betrayal" against the president. While I respectfully disagree with the tenor and tone of his arguments, what I find ironic is that Crocker is a southern Californian, where many of the arguments he marshals are clearly responsible for bankrupting the state. For another southern Californian's view of this matter, Victor Davis Hanson's Mexifornia is worth reading.

For openers, what Mr. Crocker seems blissfully unaware of is that the events of 9/11 dramatically changed the calculus of the threat of illegal immigration. Does Mr. Crocker think that Mexicans and other Latins are the only entrants across the border? Think again. Along with "OTM" (Other Than Mexican), the Border Patrol has a new acronym that it currently uses: SAI (Special Alien of Interest). One need not have the deductive powers of Sherlock Holmes to decipher what is going on here. Last week, the Washington Post published a story about the death of a Border Patrolman who died trying to save a woman illegally crossing the Rio Grande. She and three others were Chinese. It should be noted that since the Bush "reform" proposals, the illegal border crossings have "surged," because, unlike Mr. Crocker, illegals know another amnesty -- the word that dare not speak its name -- is only a matter of time. How many Americans know that there have been seven amnesties since the disastrous Mazzoli-Simpson Act of 1986?

For all of the lack of realism displayed in this article, one further point needs to be addressed: Mr. Crocker knows that citizenship is conferred in the U.S. by birth. That is why many pregnant Mexican women flock across the border when they are near delivery, and the reason why Los Angeles County hospitals at one time had 80% of its maternity wards filled with children born to illegal mothers. What Mr. Crocker advocates is nothing more than continuing this process. I have some experience in this matter: as a Foreign Service Officer (now retired), I lived in Latin America for seven years. In 1994, I was part of a group that visited the San Diego/Tijuana border crossing and heard a Border Patrol Officer tell us the situation, "is out of control." That assessment still holds.

Late last year in these pages, the very talented George Neumayr wrote that, by Republicans embracing Schwarzenegger as their gubernatorial candidate despite his obvious flaws, they had become "a party of gropers." By adopting Mr. Crocker's pleas for justifying illegal immigration, have we not become a party, or worse, a nation of law-breakers?
-- Vincent Chiarello
Reston, Virginia

Brandon Crocker replies:
Unfortunately, Mr. Chiarello's letter epitomizes everything that is wrong about the Right's criticism of the Bush guest worker proposal. In a nutshell, Mr. Chiarello argues many points, none of which have to do with the proposal.

Terrorists aren't going to circumvent border security by enrolling in the guest worker program, but a guest worker program, by reducing the flood of people trying to get into the country illegally, will result in better border security. People who come here with a job in hand aren't the ones causing major financial problems for American tax payers. Having a guest worker program won't cause more Mexican women to cross the border to have their babies. And I doubt that the referenced four Chinese crossing the Rio Grande were there because they heard about Bush's proposal, and thinking it might lead to amnesty, hopped on the first boat to Mexico.

I also don't understand the importance of Mr. Chiarello's "experience in this matter" -- having visited the San Diego/Tijuana border in 1992. Having lived in San Diego for 40 years I'm not impressed.

As for Victor Davis Hanson (a Central Californian), he makes many good points about the problems associated with illegal immigration. But I heard him recently say that he really didn't support the Bush plan because he is uncomfortable mixing legality with illegality. When asked for his solution, he responded that we should figure out how many foreign workers we really needed, give them legal status, and then enforce our immigration laws. Well, that sounds a lot like a guest worker program to me.

SWEATING KASHMIR
Re: Pete Brittain's observations on Kashmir ("Pak Protection") in Reader Mail's Spitting Images:

Like reader Pete Brittain, I also visited Kashmir, my visit coming 24 years after his in early 1999. On both my Lake Dal houseboat lodging and at Gulmarg I also had conversations with locals about Kashmir's future and their choice of rulers. Indeed they uniformly disliked Indian rule, but they all wanted Pakistan to stay out as well. "We don't want any of them," I remember one vendor summing it up. The attitude expressed as typical by Mr. Brittain's host may or may not have really changed over the course of those 24 years, but my impression was that Kashmiris greatly appreciated the relative peace they had enjoyed for the previous several years and wanted it to continue. Sadly, a month after my visit major fighting again broke out along with terrorist attacks in Srinigar on Lake Dal, and it seems Kashmiri attitudes and desires don't seem to have much impact on the struggle over this land.
-- Mark Hatzilambrou
La Canada Flintridge, California

FAMILY SHAPES
Re: Demetrio's letter ("You're Kidding") in Reader Mail's Spitting Images and P. David Hornik's Save the Children:

I have to agree with Demetrio. My father was raised by an Aunt and two uncles all under the same roof. He came out as normal as any other American. ('Course I am sort of partial ...) Go back two generations, it was quite common for orphaned children to be raised by aunts, cousins, etc. And it's more than one family that had the two eccentric aunts who lived together.

What is important is that the effects of raising children in a same sex arrangement are not known. It would be a societal tragedy to subject children if it is determined sometime in the future that such arrangements had detrimental effects. For over a 1,000 generations most societies around the world have settled on 1man/1woman as the family unit. There has to be a reason that that occurred. If there was a more successful arrangement society over the generations would have gravitated towards it. But that is not the case.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

If readers are interested in research on the need by children for both parents, reporter David Virtue has an excellent compilation and summary:

Furthermore, pertaining to the adoption issue, friends and neighbors of mine have to travel to other countries to find children (with birth defects!) to adopt. Your local dynamic may be different, but there is an unmet desire by heterosexual couples in this country to adopt.
-- Alexander Scott
St. Paul, Minnesota

OFF CAMERA
Re: James Bowman's Send Them to Guantanamo:

These press conferences are almost too painful to watch. Mr. McClellan might start by taking the camera off of these preening hyenas. There should be a rotation of press corps that would allow all press members to have a seat in the front row. Wouldn't you love to see John Roberts, David Gregory, and Terry Moran seated in the back row?
-- Timothy King
Temperance, Michigan

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