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Ben Stein draws blood. Democrat raging bulls. Bob Knight’s salad days. Plus much more.

2.8.04

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BLOODYMINDED
Re: Ben Stein's Democrats Taste Blood:

Ben Stein's latest was too delicious for words. It was so good it just about moved me to tears.

Forget "Ben Stein's Money," just keep the incredible political insight coming!
-- Jim Bjaloncik
Stow, Ohio

Ben, I read you, I admire you, I love ya. But that piece is your weakest I can recall reading. Your intelligence, perception, and wit just weren't well served. It read like something you just fired off when irritated and went off half cocked. It struck me as the political commentary equivalent of Rod McKuen poetry.

Everything you wrote is indeed true, but sometimes, Ben, you gotta hunker down and get mean. That's it! You sounded like you were whining. Take Jed Babbin's lead and just nail'em to the canvas once in a while. Don't hold back. Drop the hammer.
-- Stephen "Doc" Watson

It's not the point whether or not the men served in the National Guard or in Vietnam. The point is, once in the Guard the president went AWOL.
-- Thomas Kolter
Tucson, Arizona

Ben your logic is flawed. It is the Republicans that have made military service the macho criteria for the presidency.
-- unsigned

BULL RUNNERS
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s The Party of War Heroes:

You were too kind by half to Senator Lieberman. Yes, he may be the most gentlemanly of the lot. However, he too threw his principles over the side when he signed on as Algore's running mate. Take note, also, of his recent backing and filling about his comments on the horror of "what opponents call" partial birth abortion. The man wears the mantle of reason and moderation well, but it is, unfortunately, a sham after all. The gentlemen of the Democratic senatorial contingent can be counted on one hand -- Zell Miller, John Breaux, and, possibly, Evan Bayh. The rest are charlatans of the first order. The charlatans of the Republican senatorial contingent, by comparison, can be, fortunately, counted on one hand - Arlen Specter comes immediately to mind, followed by Lincoln Chafee, Olympia Snowe, and Susan Collins.
-- P.A. Melita
Charlottesville, Virginia

I doubt that Terry McAuliffe will promote the idea that Clinton served at Bull Run as he probably has no clue what Bull Run was except some vague notion that it has something to do with that "thing in Pamplona."

Besides, we all know that had Clinton been there, one would have found him in the chow line for seconds, whilst eyeing the laundress.
-- Paul Austin

I have been nosing around about the "transgressions" and "desertion" of George W. Bush and it would appear most of the heroic zealots of the Left have not been paying attention to what transpired nearly 35 years ago.

From what seems to be fact -- and not the fiction of useful idiots like Michael Moore -- Bush was able to obtain a slot in the Texas ANG. To get in he had to go through primary and advanced flight school and then convert to fly the F-102A Delta Dagger interceptor.

The F-102 had a long and troubled development career, and once in service was found to not be able to do what it was supposed to -- go supersonic on its way to intercept Soviet bombers -- and as such began phasing out of the active inventory in 1959 as they replaced it with the much better F-106A (which could.)

By 1970, the F-102 had been to Vietnam for a short period of time -- long enough to find out it did not belong in a "dogfight" environment and for at least one to get shot down -- and was withdrawn, never to serve again. Therefore, Bush would not have a chance to go to war in this aircraft, and in point of fact in 1970 the USAF began to cull them out for conversion to target drones.

By 1972, most folks in the military knew the war was winding down and as such the National Guard units (Army) that I was familiar with were not keeping close tabs on members showing up for drills. When the war ended, many people were released or terminated in order to cut back on strength totals.

So let me get this straight: Bush gets into the ANG, and by location is assigned to a unit flying obsolete aircraft which are going nowhere but to a gunnery range; the war (thanks to the determined efforts of Mr. Kerry, Ms. Fonda and their ilk) is winding down rapidly and the boys are coming home; and the entire program goes away after January 1973.

We had words for guys like that in my unit in Vietnam. Lucky stiff!

(We also had words for guys like Kerry too, but that's a matter for off-line and off-color discussion. Weasel is probably as close as it gets.)
-- Cookie Sewell
Aberdeen, Maryland

BOTH SIDES
Re: Wlady Pleszczynski Day and Knight:

Wlady Pleszczynski's defense of Bobby Knight sounded like someone trying to defend General Patton of World War Two fame. Both are considered giants in their fields, and both have been considered to have feet of clay. Mr. Knight appears to have a huge anger management problem, and whether or not Indiana University has a poor basketball team, or whether Texas Tech now has a good team is irrelevant to the question of his crude and boorish behavior. I just wish he could be Mr. Pleszczynski's boss for the rest of his journalistic career.
-- Bob Martin
Muskogee, Oklahoma

Thanks for shedding some light on events surrounding one of Coach Knight's recent lunches. Your perspective contrasts with the heat radiating from most of the other sources. Your perspective sketches character traits that are consistent with the ones I observed during my time as a student in Bloomington. Along with raising money for Texas Tech, Coach Knight is also helping generate business for a Lubbock sportswear store. They are selling shirts with the phrase "'Lettuce" support Coach Knight." I just placed an order for three. Keep up the good work and go Red Raiders!
-- Brad Lemler
Indiana University - BS, MBA, PhD; Texas Tech - MS
Warsaw, Indiana

It is nice to see an objective perspective.
-- John Yager

POLLSTERGEIST
Re: David Hogberg's Behind Bush's Numbers:

Can you tell from the poll numbers who is turning against Bush? I wonder how many Conservatives have had enough. Could that be the reason for the lower poll numbers?

Bush's immigration plan is objectionable for so many reasons not least of which is its basic irrationality, never mind the pandering. Anyone who thinks its okay because it will gain Hispanic votes, should think about the impact of advocating such policies.

The most damning accusation against George Bush and the Republicans is that, by not taking the opportunity to explain and advocate Conservative positions, they have missed the opportunity to create the conditions for future victory. Does anyone believe that if the Republicans keep quiet about "what they really believe", future electoral success will lead to anything but more of the same defeat for Conservatism.

Once the Republicans reach a solid majority in both houses of Congress and hold the presidency, the cloak will be thrown off and an ignorant citizenry will be dragged kicking and screaming into freedom. Yeah, just long enough to get to the voting booth and throw these closet Conservatives out of office.

Now more than ever: Friends don't let Friends vote Republican!
-- Mike Rizzo

OSCAR WEENIES
Re: The Washington Prowler Planting the Seeds of Victory: Oscar Pointers:

The Prowler informs us of "a plan to provide talking points to all the agents and media advisers of persons nominated for an Academy Award"

Wasn't John Heinz Kerry nominated for his portrayal of Treebeard? (Or was that Al Gore on steroids?) They wouldn't want to steal JHK's thunder, would they?
-- Dan Martin
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

TWO MORE MYSTERIES SOLVED
Re: Patrick Hynes's Murder Most Modern:

Two comments:

First, the rise of "lab-centric" mystery dramas (like the CSIs) is a logical consequence of the great recent advances in forensic science. Not only are there a raft of dramas with this theme, there are also several documentary shows about it, such as "The New Detectives". Lab evidence has grown so much in power that it must take a bigger role in drama.

Also, it's not a new theme. The 1950 film Mystery Street was a tribute to the forensic science lab at Harvard University.

Second, Law & Order: CI definitely matches his formula of "a main character... who is smarter than everybody else." Just about every episode ends with the genius, Detective Goren, staging a scene in which he confronts the criminal and manipulates him into confessing -- very much like Columbo.
-- Rick Rostrom

PIT ROW
Re: Enemy Central's War and Peace:

Clever EOW. I'm just going to indulge myself in a little nit-picking here. Maraschino isn't a variety of cherry like Bing, Lambert, Royal Anne, etc. It's a cordial from Italy.

mar·a·schi·no (mxr'x-skx'nx, -shx'-)
n., pl. -nos. A cordial made from the fermented juice and crushed pits of the marasca cherry.[Italian, from marasca, marasca, from amarasca, from amaro, bitter, from Latin amxrus.]

BTW, Amaretto has the same etymology. Most people think it was named for "amore" but it's flavored with almonds and they are bitter. I guess that's why a proper pronunciation is "A-mond" as well as "Al-mond." But I digress.

In my youth in the Pacific Northwest I worked in a "Maraschino Cherry" operation where the sweet red cherries you buy in the supermarket were made from Royal Anne cherries which are not good for eating as are Bings or Lamberts. They were put into wood barrels filled with a brine solution of water and sulfur dioxide and set aside for some months. When removed at a later date they were completely white and tasteless. Then the red or green color was added and they were placed in jars with sugar water.
-- Bob Johnson
Bedford, Texas

WHEN THE SOURCE IS ON THE OTHER FOOT
Re: Elisa Cohen's letter ("The New Journalism") in Reader Mail's Making Sense of It All:

I guess Ms. Cohen lives in a world other than the one I live in. The most popular liberal sources seem to be: an official who wishes to remain anonymous, a high-ranking official who wishes to remain anonymous, a high level official who spoke on condition of anonymity, et al. One need only to look at the recent scandals in the liberal media to realize that Ms. Cohen is throwing her knives at the wrong party! At times, I think that the media has a menu from which to choose when not naming their sources.

Oh well, if I had to guess, I would say that Ms. Cohen is one of those who still insist that President Bush was appointed, not elected.
-- C.D. Lueders
Boca Raton, Florida

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