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Forgotten Yalies. Rush on Bush. Boy Dennis. Dean watch. School waste. Sane Canadian. Plus much more.

1.13.04

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THE YALE POLITICAL EXPRESS
Re: Ben Stein's Go to Yale:

My friend Ben Stein (uncharacteristically) understates the case when he notes that Bush, Dean and Lieberman, not to mention Hillary, are Yale-bred candidates. John Kerry is a Yale graduate, too, and the Hon. Dick Cheney was Yale '62. No degree, though. Cheney will tell you (characteristically) that he "flunked out" of Yale. Yes, it's in the New Haven drinking water.
-- Neal B. Freeman

Ben Stein replies:
I knew about Cheney, but since he did not graduate, he did not get included. I knew about Kerry, too, but simply forgot about him. I forget a lot.

HEAR AGAIN
Re: Ken Shreve's letter in Reader Mail's Amnesty Amok:

Rush certainly doesn't need me to defend him, but I can't let Ken Shreve's mischaracterization of Rush's views pass unchallenged. Mr. Shreve describes "Rush Limbaugh disease" as "the one that says that 'if George Bush said it, it must be defensible and must be so defended, regardless.'" Within the last year, Rush has taken the administration to task for its departure from conservative principle on steel tariffs, campaign finance "reform," and the new prescription drug entitlement, to name just three issues that come to mind. I don't know who Mr. Shreve is listening to, but it's not the Maha-Rushi.
-- Bob Boyd
Galloway, Ohio

MENACE TO SOCIETY
Re: Shawn Macomber's Dennis the Little Menace:

Reading Shawn Macomber's account of Dennis Kucinich campaigning in New Hampshire only intensified my embarrassment -- Kucinich is my Congressman. Anyone wishing to help change this situation and help end my embarrassment can send a contribution to the Ed Herman campaign --the man who should stop the Menace.
-- James Hammer
North Olmsted, Ohio

Based on his record as the boy mayor of Cleveland, if he builds on that, we should seriously consider successful alternatives like Algore or Grayout Doofus.
-- G.M. Strong
Media, Pennsylvania

Yep, that's our Dennis, N.E. Ohio's favorite son. I was born and raised in Cleveland and lived quite a bit of my life there, especially during the "Golden Years" of Kucinich's brilliant rule as Mayor. Many thought that the late Ralph Perk, another former mayor, highlighted the ills and downward spiral of the city at that time when he set his hair on fire (to match the burning Cuyahoga River) during a metal-ribbon cutting ceremony (oxyacetylene torches do a great job at that). Oh no, you had to have lived through the Reign of Dennis K., Hero of the Working Class, when he virtually and single-handedly drove Cleveland into default and almost bankruptcy.

Is there any reason why I've lived outside of Cuyahoga County and next door to Akron for many years after that? Macomber does a great job of illuminating the little twit.
-- Jim Bjaloncik
Stow, Ohio

IN NO TAXING MOOD
Re: David Hogberg's Dean's Tax Cuts for the Rich:

I know it was not Mr. Hogberg's intent but it seems implied in the piece that someone making $80k a year is necessarily "rich." My family resembles his fiscal profile and trust me there are no plans for a week in Aruba this year! With just a little under a third of the electorate paying no taxes, someone like myself pay a heavy tax burden. Nor do we qualify for "free services" due to means testing. We are not wealthy by the John Kerry standards but have a decent income that is drained away in 45% tax rates (Federal, State, Local). At such levels it is nearly impossible to develop capital accumulation for investment or retirement.

"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country?" I would take President Kennedy's proclamation to a different slant. What everyone can do, is pay their fair share of tax. Eliminate the 1/3 of the non tax paying electorate, even if only a token amount ($100). To participate in this country means to do so fully, which also means to pay for a portion of the bounty that this country bestows on us all.

THAT is tax reform.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

THE WORLD IS WAITING
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Knowing Howie As I Do:

Okay, now that RET has spoken to MSNBC, when will he write that column with which he teased us?

Lisa Myers: " 'I never saw him to have a temper. I saw him shoot from the hip,' added R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., the conservative editor in chief of the American Spectator who often sparred with Dean on the show. 'That's a difference.' Tyrrell says, however, that Dean was often prone to 'talk down to everyone around him.'"

A fellow L.dotter posted the URL to RET's column, "That's Howard Dean," 6-25-03: "Reading it now, with six months' worth of hindsight, is even better. It's also hysterical! Quote: 'President Bill Clinton could have been caught practicing cannibalism in the Oval Office and Dr. Howard Dean would neither be embarrassed nor at a loss for words.' "Tyrrell, that's just a little something the President picked up in Arkansas," he might say. Or being very proud of his progressive insights he might asseverate: "Nutritionists are finding that an occasional leg of human delays the onset of arthritis."'"

Oh, RET, please write that column. Pretty please? Because frankly, my dear, we do give a damn.
-- Kitty Myers

GRASPING
Re: Jed Babbin's Truth Takes Another Beating:

Curious about one part of the article: the charges both serious and false.

Now that is interesting, because with all the rhetoric no one has written exactly what is false in the O'Neill exposé. Of course no one has asked that if WMDs were not discussed in National Security Council meetings, where and when were they discussed? Could be possible, I guess. And then again maybe the Niger Documents being held by Powell since Oct. 2002 were not discussed at a national security meeting on Dec. 13 and Dec. 14 prior to the State Department releasing the fact sheet making the uranium claim. But you know, I can't for the love of me figure out one thing. Powell briefed the press on Dec 14 at one, the State Department released the fact sheet at five, so why didn't Powell mention the niger claim at one? Just beyond my grasp, I guess.

A good piece but small potatoes fiscally. If some pol wants to look like the white knight to the middle class, they need to solve the Alternate Minimum Tax issue. Here is a scathing, scorched earth tax policy that is capturing 1 million additional taxpayers every year due to bracket creep and rising incomes.
-- Paul Mackiekowich

Jed Babbin replies:
Oh, please, Mr. Mackiekowich. You know that the charges are serious because they imply that the president stated falsely the reasons for going to war and that he'd decided to do so for other reasons. And you know very well that the "Niger uranium" business was neither material to the war decision, nor ever stated to have been. Enjoy voting for Dean.

EDUCRATS LEFT BEHIND
Re: William Tucker's No Critics Left Behind:

In his special report, New York Sun columnist William Tucker asserts the consensus on educational reform is beginning to unravel.

No surprise there. Tucker correctly notes, "Under NCLB, states must test their schools for performance."

For the first time ever, the feds are attempting to find out exactly what has been purchased for all the federal money squandered on public education since the days of the Great Society. The pinch of real accountability is quite painful for the comfortable educrats long accustomed to blue skying a cornucopia of good intentions and untested feel good "reforms" with the sure knowledge of escaping ANY consequence when the latest Peter Pan approach fails to pan out.

In my state -- the only state in the union with a single statewide school district "managed" [mangled] by an out of control, utterly unaccountable bureaucratic colossus masquerading as a department of education -- the annual test is sheer humbug trotted out in pretense of NCLB compliance.

At latest count, the DOE sucks a staggering one point nine B*I*L*L*I*O*N dollars out of a struggling state economy in a single fiscal year. It gets worse. In recent days the state Supe has appeared before the legislature to complain about the lack of adequate funding.Our fab DOE stubbornly refuses to establish ANY academic curriculum whatsoever, measurable performance standards aligned to curriculum, or even a common grading scale to define the traditional grades A, B, C, &c. Indeed the DOE is piloting "report cards" in which these traditional grades will disappear altogether.

Absent a curriculum, each teacher is free spend the academic year teaching (or not teaching) anything that strikes his or her fancy.

Children are thus "tested" by the DOE on material they may or may not have been taught.

Based on results of this "test," the DOE publicly lists all the schools designated as failing to have achieved proficiency as defined by the DOE. In the latest round of such tests, every public high school in the state was cited as "failing". If a teacher is naive enough to ask, "what questions did my students most often miss in the last test?" in hopes of modifying his or her own personal curriculum to help students achieve proficiency, the DOE answer is that the contractor who has been paid to produce the test refuses to release this information.

Bottom line? The DOE refuses to do its job yet points the finger of blame at schools and teachers publicly designated as "failing."

And what of the teachers union to which every public school teacher is compelled to pay dues in this "closed shop" state? What does the union say when teachers are labeled as failures by the DOE bureaucrats? The silence is deafening. The suspicion of some teachers is that "their" union and the DOE are cozy political bedfellows, both recoiling in horror at the prospect of ANY change in the comfortable status quo.

It is my view that George -- and especially former school teacher Laura -- Bush deserve enormous credit for exposing the great hoax masquerading as public education. For formerly comfortable educrats high up in the bureaucratic food chain, funding and upward career mobility are EVERYTHING. As for the kids? "Let 'em eat cake."

I sincerely hope the President will get the necessary public backing -- especially from parents of children now being robbed of educational opportunity -- to roll out the next great milestone in public education: the guillotine.
-- Thomas E. Stuart
Public School Teacher
Kapa'au, Hawaii

I wish he had found out what percent of "students" are in this country illegally. In California, some locales have 30%+ of students in "illegal status" and nobody cares to do anything about it. We should not be educating illegals at any educational level. Every dollar spent on an illegal erodes the quality of education for "legal students" (e.g. citizens) and (obviously) increases the overall cost of education.

And, does any of the recent Bush immigration "update" account for this problem? It would seem that a temporary work permit should not allow the families to be in our country, thereby helping to relieve the illegals' burden on our education system.

Thank you.
-- Bill Toutz
Neenah, Wisconsin

PERFECT STROKES
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Remembering Doc Counsilman:

I just sent this article to my son Josh, co-captain of the swim team at Kent School. He won't get teary-eyed when reading it as I did, but he knows about the pain. He is a conservative bastion of strength at Kent and RET is one of his heroes. Learning that he swam under Counsilman will move him to a new level in Josh's pantheon.
-- unsigned

As an IU alumnus ('86) I enjoyed thoroughly your article on Doc. Thank you.
-- Brent Smith
Indianapolis, Indiana

I don't know much about this respected writer, but I do remember the era and the coach of which he speaks. Those were times of perfection and idealism that I do wish would return. Mr. Tyrrell brought back memories of the true amateur athlete that took on the Soviet Union in the Olympics and won easily. My sport was Cross Country and I know the fight that those great swimmers pursued. Money was not an issue.

I wish Doc Counsilman Godspeed. His memory I'm sure lives on in his students and it made my day better to remember what perfection is.
-- John Wilson
Chicago, Illinois

WORN BELTS
Re: Eric Peters's Buckle Up for Hillary:

The Hilldebeast's seat belt plan is about more than safety. Primary enforcement seat belt laws are really a universal stop-and-frisk law. Where are the Patriot Act whiners on this issue? Further, it chucks the issue of race profiling. ( "Judge, I honestly thought his seat belt was not on. But since I had 'em stopped...") So, it'll probably get more police support on this alone.
-- Gary Cape
Grand Junction, Colorado

I enjoyed and agreed with most of Eric Peters's article on why we shouldn't have a mandatory seat belt law. However, his assertion -- "Unlike such things as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, running a red light, reckless driving, even 'speeding' --wearing or not wearing a seat belt has no negative effect on the safety and well-being of other drivers" -- is false.

Several years ago, I was heading south on I-57 somewhat north of Effingham, Illinois, when I was forced off the highway onto the grassy median between the N & S lanes. The ground under the median was quite rough and I remain convinced to this day, the only reason I didn't lose control of the car and most likely continue across the median into the oncoming traffic lanes was that I was buckled up. Worth a national seat belt with "primary enforcement"? NO, but failing to wear a seat can have consequences to others.
-- Tom Macke

That nauseating picture: Nooooooo! Make the hurting stop! I understand that you want to show how upsetting her desires are, but do you have show that, after all, some of us have to eat.
-- Troy Harmon

You make a lot of good points. Here in Oregon, sprinkled along the highways are reminders to buckle up, or pay up, "IT'S THE LAW!"

I'm lucky to have done a slow roll over, in snowy conditions, when driving home for Christmas vacation from college, while wearing the seat belt. Talk about positive reinforcement! I can't sit in a moving car without feeling naked, or better yet, like I'm likely to be slugged in the crotch with no cup!

I think Hillary would be smarter to force public schools to create some kind of machine, such as flying simulators, that each student must use, that gives them the same life-lesson I got. Part of Driver's Ed. Just think, some entrepreneurs could make a fast buck, and the future generation would be programmed to be thus careful.

Also, in respect to auto insurance, I bet if everybody did wear seat belts (and didn't drink and drive, for example) the rates we all pay would be of an order of magnitude lower.
-- James Crystal

What happened to the liberal maxim of "Keep Your Laws Off My Body"?
-- unsigned

LIKE A GOOD NEIGHBOR
Re: Thomas DeChastelain's letter in Reader Mail's Loose Talk and Greg Barnard's response ("Setback for Canada") in Reader Mail's Language Lessons:

As a Canadian let me confirm we really do have a lot of morons, especially concerning the United States.

We trash George Bush, diss the war in Iraq, refuse to help, get in bed with the cheese eaters in France at the UN and then indulge ourselves in a snit because we are not given contacts to rebuild Iraq.

We ship over 80% of our exports and 40% of our GNP to the U.S. while our government has looked for new ways to irritate Americans, from innovative name-calling to smugly asserting that the Americans called 9/11 down on themselves by their attitude. To add insult to aggravation our government appointed a professed homosexual as Foreign Affairs minister whose biggest file is dealing with a socially conservative U.S. administration.

Go figure!
-- David Davies
Toronto, Canada

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