Reader Mail

Courting Disaster

The Hurricane Chainsaw Massacre. Arafat on the move. Judges on hold. Punch card California. Teachers AWOL. Plus more.

9.19.03

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NAP BEFORE THE STORM
Re: Jeremy Lott's Worst Case Scenario:

I'm both a two-time ex-Washingtonian and a survivor of Hurricane Hugo, so I do feel for y'all.

Get a good nap today. If the weather forecast holds for tonight, you won't be getting any sleep. Whatever happens, believe me, it will be easier to bear if you get a nap before the commotion starts instead of no nap and no sleep between now and maybe noon Friday.

I faced Hurricane Hugo 200 miles inland from a town just west of Charlotte, North Carolina, and on three hours' notice.

Compared to a lot of my neighbors, I got off pretty lightly, but some of the memories aren't going to go away.

After 14 years, I still get twitchy and irritated when I hear chainsaws -- because I heard chainsaws constantly for a MONTH after Hugo hit....
-- Elizabeth Whitaker
Easley, SC

TELL IT TO THE INTERNATIONAL COURT
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Arafat Removal:

Mr. Tyrrell's suggestion that the Israelis ship Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat to Paris to negotiate with Jacques Chirac shows that Mr. Tyrrell is a typical American cowboy and unversed in the sophisticated ways of the French and other important European statesmen.

Mr. Arafat is the duly elected leader of the Palestinian people having withstood a Democratic election process that would surely have passed muster with Al Gore and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

As such, Arafat, with the rights afforded and guaranteed to an international statesman by the UN, cannot simply be exported, like a case of French brie, to a country not of his choosing, without the action of the UN Security Counsel, or the approval of Muammar Qaddafi or Saddam Hussein.

In the event that Chairman Arafat is deprived of his due process by the Israelis and actually sent into exile in Paris, we would expect that the Israelis would face charges in the International Criminal Court in Brussels.

In addition, the suggestion that M. Chirac should have the time to engage in years of endless negotiations with Chairman Arafat fails to appreciate the accomplishments of Chirac on the world stage and reduces Chirac's status to that of an inconsequential bureaucrat. Mais, non! He is certainly as accomplished as Kofi Annan or Howard Dean.

Finally, Mr. Tyrrell's gratuitous swipe at Chancellor Schroeder is unconscionable. The Chancellor is a busy European statesman as well, often engaged in high level negotiations with the German Foreign Minister. Does Mr. Tyrrell honestly think that Chancellor Schroeder has time to waste with Arafat between all those appointments at the beauty parlor and tanning salon?
-- John Patterson
New York

ACROSS THE TORRENTS AND INTO THE SPRING
Re: Bill Croke's It's Fall!

Bill must not have run afoul of the worst of all of Hemingway's novels, The Torrents of Spring, which was his very first one. Rumor has it that this was written specifically to break his contract with a major publishing company and was written by Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald over a four-day period while both were roaring drunk. They reportedly took turns on the chapters and it shows! (Hemingway was fired and then turned A Farewell to Arms over to his new company for a lot more money.)
-- Cookie Sewell
Aberdeen, MD

POWER JUDGING
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Butchered by Schumer:

Mr. Tyrrell seems to have forgotten the nineties, when "bitter-end" Republicans held up scores of Clinton's judicial nominations, denied him fast-track trade privileges and turned politically motivated obstructionism into a fine art. Much as he might like, many Americans of all political stripes simply do not want to roll over and play dead as the current administration grabs for yet more power --particularly since it becomes progressively clearer that it isn't making our nation safer or more prosperous.
-- Karen M. Foran

I just loved the editorial by Mr. Tyrrell on the selection of judges. I was wondering if you could reprint the editorial he wrote when the Clinton selections were held up by the GOP. If memory serves me correctly, the GOP said that the D.C. court didn't need any more judges because it was not hearing a lot of cases. And to my shock they now want to fill those spots. That would be okay if the workload had gone up but it hasn't. The latest numbers show that the workload has gone down. So why does the GOP want to fill those spots now? It couldn't be that the D.C. court is a stepping stone. It couldn't be that they want to spend more money by putting another lawyer to work for the government. I got it now its all part of Bush's new employment plan. Gee, I can't wait till that plan trickles down to the working class.
-- Thomas Scott

SENATE SPLASH
Re: The Washington Prowler's In Their Dreams:

Interesting report on Republican difficulties recruiting quality Senate candidates for '04. Probably the reason is candidates follow the news, too. And they see that while Democrats are busy rousing their base, the Republicans are doing their darnedest to tamp theirs down.

I sense a big Republican belly-flop next November.
-- Jed Skillman
Winfield, IL

I wanted to ask a question about an item in Wednesday's "Washington Prowler":

"Allen has been putting the hard sell on restaurateur Herman Cain, an African American, to challenge for that seat. And several state party officials have thrown their hat in the ring." Does this mean that Sen. Allen is encouraging Herman Cain to run for the U.S. Senate seat in Georgia? Mr. Cain recently announced he was doing exactly that. Should we then assume that Sen. Allen is supporting Cain in this race?

I have no dog in this fight, as they say, but there are two sitting Congressman in the Ga. Senate race on the GOP side.
Cong. Johnny Isakson (Ga. 6) and Cong. Mac Collins (Ga. 8). It would surprise me if Sen. Allen supported anyone in that race.

I'm just looking for some clarification. :-)
-- Buzz Brockway
Lawrenceville, GA

The Prowler replies: It's not Allen's job to endorse or support a candidate but to encourage strong candidates to run. It's our understanding the Cain fits the bill, in part because it's thought he will have the financial wherewithal to wage a serious campaign. Money isn't everything, but there's no pretending it's not a central factor in everyone's calculations.

PUNCH DRUNK
Re: George Neumayr's One Minority, Two Votes:

Regarding "One Minority, Two Votes," by George Neumayr, isn't the 9th Circuit Court's -- and the ACLU's -- fear based on the understanding that more blinkered and confused people tend to want to vote for Democrats, and that they should be given voting technology that will override their ineptitude? As I recall, this was one of the problems in Florida in 2000 -- that a massive Democratic voter drive was not followed up with a "how-to-read-the-ballot-and-punch-the-card" seminar. If the liberals of California admit this to be the case -- that too many of the voters they're courting are either stupid or stoned out, or just plain goofy, or can't really speak English -- one should have no problem with postponing the referendum.
-- Jeffrey S. Erickson
Davidson, NC

I enjoyed your column today. Anther point to consider is the possibility that under the 9th Circuit's ruling any jurisdiction with punch-card voting (or any other form of "unacceptable" tabulation) can preemptively defeat an election or ballot issue by simply refusing to update it's machinery. It's my understanding that all California counties will have new machines by next March but if they do not implement and/or operate them correctly will be more claims of disenfranchisement, giving rise to more liberal claims of illegitimate elections. One last point, the law requires every vote to be counted. However, not every ballot constitutes a vote if not completed correctly. Liberals either ignore this point or are ignorant of the difference.
-- James G. Aldrich
Troy, MI

For the record, Beverly Hills (LA County) will use punch cards, and Oxnard (Ventura County) will not.

FWIW, Santa Clara County (Silicon Valley) will use perfed punch-cards, Orange County (Defense gulch) won't. Glamis (Imperial County) also won't.
-- Paul Sarvis
Thane of Glamis

STRUCK BY TEACHERS
Re: Heather Roscoe's That'll Teach 'Em:

I am thoroughly ashamed and disgusted with the union antics of my former profession. There was a time when all of the professionals in education were members of a professional organization, the NEA (National Education Association). Teachers and administrators were united in a single national group and its satellite state associations. Then, in the wretched 1960s, the split happened. The administrators where tossed out, literally, of the NEA and the teacher unions held the old organization hostage. I recall the seminal weekend when all of the furniture, files and equipment owned by the elementary principals' sub-organization was hauled out of its offices in the NEA building in Washington, DC, and dumped on the sidewalk. The office doors had a new set of locks.

The partnership in education dissolved. The trade unions had taken over. The AFL-CIO cabal was on the march. Strikes were ordered. I was sickened. I was a university educated professional and dedicated to teaching. Professional teachers do not strike, period! I moved on to a series of appointments as a school principal. There was no way I could be a part of a union.

Today we see the tragic results of teacher unionism. The death of education in America with our children paying the ultimate price. It is time to dissolve teacher unions and their power to strike. Our children are much too precious to be mentally slaughtered on the alter of union greed, corruption and irresponsibility.
-- Al Martin
Depoe Bay, OR

IN MINT CONDITION
Re: Mark Delles's letter (under "Star Turn") in Reader Mail's The Perfumed General:

When Mark wrote, "The Clintons will use General Clark like Bill used Monica," it reminded me of how quickly we make word associations. Recently at work I offered an Altoid to my fellow employee and simply stated that "Monica Lewinsky made the mint famous." Our boss turned beet red and whispered, "NOT IN FRONT OF CUSTOMERS!"
-- Kitty Myers
Painted Post, NY

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