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Sticking It to the Clinton Appointnik

License plate blues. Plus: Dirty breeding. CB Radio Days. Plurality rule. And more.

7.21.03

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GET YOUR MOTTO RUNNING
Re: E Unum Motto Pluribus:

Concerning Happy Feder's "E Unum Motto Pluribus" article from the 17 July section of your website, I should remind everyone of Virginia's motto: "Sic Semper Tyrannus" -- and let it be a warning to overzealous judges, and others, who choose to ruin our history and infringe upon our right to publicly air non-PC viewpoints, be it on a license plate or wherever else we choose.
-- John McConnell
Herndon, VA

An entertaining speculation but Mr. Feder should be careful -- he just may have given some lawyers and judges ideas for their next assault on America.

Judge Duval is an excellent example of why judges, especially federal ones, should not be lifetime appointments; this was one of the Founding Fathers' biggest mistakes. Recall, elections for retention, reconfirmation at 10-year intervals, or being subject to removal by the states within their jurisdictions should be considered.
-- unsigned

In the article titled "E Unum Motto Pluribus" the question was asked whether U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval is a Clinton appointee. I can confirm that he is. Here is the source:
-- Ed

I think your writer (Feder) misses the point in his "E Unum Motto Pluribus editorial.

The state government administrations' issuance of designer automobile license plates as a vehicle to impose additional de facto taxes is already an end run around the fact that most states' constitutions grant the power to raise taxes to their legislature, and is abhorrent on its face.

That said, the government should not put itself in a position of supporting one viewpoint by offering official plates that advocate it, while withholding the option of plates that present the opposing view.

A more reasoned conclusion would have been that the state government constitutions almost certainly provide no authority for the state to offer sanction of any political viewpoint on a fee basis, and that all of the advocacy plates were unconstitutional.

To put things in context, would Mr. Feder similarly reach the conclusion that state-sanctioned license plates advocating drug use were acceptable when none counseling non-use were offered? I think not.

The fact is, the states need to charge the simple requisite fees, issue standard no-message licenses, and let citizens exercise their own free speech on topics of the day without government interference.
-- John Mercer

I really enjoyed Mr. Feder's suggestions for politically correct state mottos to be placed on personalized license plates. I have long agreed that to defeat a stupid idea, such as politically correctness, humor is the best weapon. Humor really highlights just how stupid a stupid idea truly is. This is why tyrants cannot abide satire and sarcasm sent their way. Can anyone imagine a Castro, Hitler, Stalin, Mao or a Clinton laughing at a joke about himself (or herself)?

I note that Mr. Feder resides in Ashland, Oregon -- my home state. Ashland is a lovely little community but I cannot stand the hot summers. My wife and I attended the Oregon Shakespearean Festival there and roasted in the twilight heat during a performance in the outdoor Elizabethan Theater.

I look forward to more from Mr. Feder.
-- Al Martin
Depoe Bay, OR

Happy Feder replies: Thank you Mr. Martin, and you will appreciate the following anecdote. Stalin attended a circus performance one evening and perceived anti-Stalinist ideas in a particular clown's skit. He had the clown shot on site, surprising no one but the clown. But Stalin was able to rise above the average, petty, spiteful tyrant---he had the audience members who had laughed at the clown skit executed beneath the big top, too. Were he still alive, I'm sure the clown would have found a certain dark Russian humor in that action.

FULL DISCLOSURE
Re: Paul Beston's Give That Man a Cigar!:

Be careful, Mr. Beston -- you just might get what you asked for. The problem with "non-partisan" races is not with the one at the top of the ballot where you probably know what the person stands for, but the ones lower down where there is no name recognition.

A better solution would be to dispense with primaries but require that all candidates identify their party affiliation. This way, even if the voter knows absolutely nothing about the candidate, he/she can gain some insight from the company the candidate keeps.
-- Robert Murphy
Imperial Beach, CA

PLURALITY RULE
Re: The Washington Prowler's Showdown Time:

A minuscule and technical point of order if you please.

In regard to the now pending California Davis Recall election, the statement was made that: If it appears unlikely that either man can win a majority vote, look for Feinstein to jump into the fray for a position she has always coveted. However, that comment, as written, may not be completely accurate.

You certainly should check on this further, but it is my understanding that the recall ballot will contain only two questions -- a) should Mr. Davis be retained as governor, and b) if not, who should replace him, with voters selecting a single name from a list of candidates.

If the voters determine not to retain Mr. Davis, the office would devolve on the person attaining the most votes in the second question, who would only need win by a plurality, not the majority indicated in the article.

However, I would unhesitatingly stipulate that should Ms. Feinstein run as the single Democrat on the ballot and should Mr. Davis be recalled, there is an excellent chance of her being the next governor of California -- Terry McAuliffe machinations notwithstanding.
-- Sam Keck
Indian Wells, CA

BREEDING BREEDS CONTEMPT
Re: George Neumayr's Sterilization Particulars:

Some years back I showed Rottweilers in dog shows. The standard for judging at American Kennel Club dog shows is "Conformation" in which each dog is compared to an idealized concept of each breed. In effect, winners have to physically "conform" as closely as possible to the AKC published Standard for each breed. When Doberman Pinschers (another German breed) were all the rage, a beautiful Dobie won "Best of Show" at the Westminster Kennel Club show. He had a "fault": an extra tooth. He also had a bad disposition. The two faults were genetically connected. He was put "at stud" and fathered most Dobermans sold at the time, and the bad disposition was widely propagated, giving rise to the reputation Dobermans had for biting.

One source for Rottweilers that I used was a German immigrant who imported her breeding stock from Germany. She told me that in Germany each breed in each "ward" had a "Breed Warden" who had final say on which dog could breed with which bitch. When the puppies were born, the Breed Warden would visit the breeder, examine the pups, and "Cull" the ones which he/she deemed unworthy of growing up and propagating the breed. Culling consisted of killing the non-conforming specimens. The same process was used when the pups were grown enough to be sold. An extra tooth, for example, would have resulted in instant culling.

In deference to the science behind this practice, which is totally ignored by "puppy mills" that breed dogs purely for sale, Nature's way of conforming a breed is for the pack to kill any member which exhibits any difference in appearance, behavior, etc. I myself have seen this behavior at work on chicken farms. The flock will peck to death any chicken which doesn't "conform." Further evidence of this obsession with "survival of the fittest" is another German practice when a bitch has more pups than she has nipples. The blind newborn pups are placed on one side of a pen and the bitch on the other. The pup(s) which do not win this little race to their dinner are culled. In America we enlist the services of another bitch of whatever breed which has an excess of feeding capabilities as a "Foster Mother." This practice results in more pups for sale, and in the German opinion, pups with less than optimal survival instincts.

In my humble opinion, this German obsession with keeping the breed lines "pure" was evidence of the German attitude about eugenics which Hitler was able to corrupt and use to create "The Master Race" with the ultimate goal of having a blue-eyed blonde population of superior physical and mental characteristics. A population which accepted culling in dog breeds isn't far from a population which accepted culling humans. In due respect to George Neumayr's thesis that California imparted the concept of sterilization of "undesirables" to Germany, I suspect that the reverse was the case.
-- Bob Johnson
Bedford, TX

ARKANSAS' MAD MOONER
Re: Francis X. Rocca Strangers on the 'Net:

Francis X. Rocca had me traveling down memory lane when he mentioned CB radio. I was in high school in the mid-seventies and installed one in my 1965 Pontiac Catalina ($800 for the ten year old car with only 42,000 miles on it, what a steal) that I called the Batmobile.

But I recall more usage than just checking traffic on the interstates or pretending to be a girl talking to a lonely trucker. Since my mother never got off the phone it was like my private line locally. Most of my friends, and half the town, had CB radios (car units and home units). We knew who everyone was and actually had fun flirting with the girls which for some reason we didn't do at school. But then again, my girlfriend would catch me at school.

We also loved to climb drive up logging roads in the hills of Arkansas southeast of Ft. Smith and, on a clear night, pick up "skip"; the long distance connection you just might make with someone hundreds of miles away. We used to compete to see who could get the farthest without fancy antennas.

The radio was also great for our hide and seek games with our cars. We'd pick one to be "it" and the rest of us would use the CB to find that car. Channel switching strategy and mapping was very important. And since I was in the Batmobile, I mostly did the chasing.

The one thing I remember clearly, through the many CB clubs that arose, was that the vast majority of CB radio owners knew the FCC laws like the back of their hands and would even police the airwaves to make sure someone wasn't breaking the so-called rules. Theoretically, it was illegal to "skip," illegal to use your real name (only handles but I never believed that rule), illegal to "boost" your home base signal, etc. We were even told that the FCC listened in sometimes (right, the FCC is listening to high school geeks in Arkansas) and, of course, you couldn't have a chat with anyone on channel 19 without someone breaking in screaming, "get off this channel, it's for emergencies and general help only"! I don't think ten percent of Americans today even know what the FCC is.

And now we have the Internet without many of those rules. At the time I had the CB my father said to me, "What's the big deal? We had party line telephones when I grew up and were thrilled when we finally got private lines. Now you want to go back?" It's still true today that, regardless of the technology, it still requires parental supervision. Sitting up past midnight in my car on the front lawn talking on the CB was not something my parents would let me do at 12-15 years of age.

And if anyone wondered (I doubt), my handle was "Mad Mooner." Another reader mail about yet another late 70's fad for another time!
-- Greg Barnard
Franklin, TN
P.S. My Internet "handle" in many sites is "Die Fledermaus" or a variation thereof. Say "hi" if you run across me in some forum.

SATISFACTION GUARANTEED
Re: David Hogberg's They Like Us!:

GREAT, GREAT, GREAT ARTICLE. LOVE your stuff.
-- Gene Hauber
Meshoppen, PA

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