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Federal Cases

Extending protections to the Unborn. Bob Graham's demise. Meet the Enemy. Stryker One. And, last and least: the New Yuck Times.

5.14.03

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APPEAL DENIED
Re: Joel Miller's More Crime for the Money:

Hear! Hear! In the past several decades, the feds have intensified their invasion of state legislative areas. Using the Highway Trust Fund as a club, they imposed the 55 mph speed limit and the 21-year-old drinking law. On general do-gooder (or busybody) impulses, Congress enacted the "assault weapon" ban and the recent federalized Amber Alert system. Etc., etc. Whether these are wise or unwise laws is really besides the point -- the federal legislature has no business passing them. We don't need Leninist "democratic centralism" here, or -- God forbid -- a centralized state à la française.

As a recovering lawyer and part-time judge myself, I have to put much of the blame for this appalling pandemic on federal appellate judges. Congress has passed harebrained and unconstitutional laws throughout our history, but the judges who have historically protected us from those laws aren't doing their job any more.
-- Richard N. Burns
Canoga Park, CA

Though Joel Miller makes a presentable case against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, his arguments do not justify his skepticism.

First of all, a federal law is needed because backwater liberal states (hello Maine) and even large ones (Texas) may never pass an act protecting unborn children who are murdered.

In other words, in the current political climate, many states are faced with the situation of either having a federal law protecting the unborn or no law protecting them.

Think of it this way, imagine if it was a different group -- say Internet columnists -- who had no legal protection from being killed. Sure some states have sort of law, depending on how old the columnist is and how well developed their arguments are but there are no across the board protections.

As conservatives, I think it is imperative of us to say that it is in these rare situations that the federal government must act. That's because no matter how much we love our columnists, the reality is that over a million people are butchered every year in the U.S. because a federal institution, the Supreme Court, devalued the lives of the unborn.

Though it started in a few states that legalized abortion, that court decision struck down all the other state laws.

A federal law now protecting some unborn children will help reverse that injustice.
-- Jojo Ruba
Ottawa, Ontario

AND THE WINNER IS...
Re: The Washington Prowler's Graham Viability (cue the laugh track):

I've come at politics from every direction except running for office myself (and I'd rather have root canal surgery while passing a kidney stone than take that final step). Studied it at college, covered it as a reporter, lobbied legislators when working at a trade association, and was lobbied myself when I worked as an assistant to a congressman. In all those years of close association with politicians, I was continually amazed at how so many members of this species (boobus politicus) could talk themselves into believing they could win an election that everyone else in the lower 48 knew for a dead-bang certainly they had no chance none, zero, zip) in. (Your honor, I'd like to offer in evidence J. Danforth Quayle's run for the presidency. -- Yes, your honor, that's correct. Of the United States of America. -- No sir, I'm not making this up.) Bob Quixote de la Graham is another primo example of the lost-before-it-begins cause. Graham was a popular Florida governor who left for the U.S. Senate years ago and has not been heard of since save for people who watch the Sunday morning yack-yack shows, where there's been the occasional Bob sighting. No one a five-iron shot outside of Florida knows who he is, and hardly anyone in Florida cares anymore.

Bob is a nice enough fellow. Not too wacko by Democrat standards. But he has no issues, and his personality could best be described as Wally Cox without the charisma. His campaign style will create more narcolepsy than enthusiasm among the electorate. He has about as much chance of winning the presidency as I have of winning the American League batting championship. And I'm 60, flat-footed, and wear trifocals. (Damn, it's hard enough to hit a curve when it just breaks once, but when it breaks three times…..) The only thing Bob will add to his political resume by this fool's-errand is embarrassment.
-- Larry Thornberry
Tampa, FL

Anyone, with an IQ of at least double digits and who has listened to Senator Bob Graham speak off the cuff for over 2 minutes, will conclude that the man has no business running the country.
-- David Shoup
Dublin, Georgia

WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY
Re: Enemy Central's No Picnic:

Re: Labeling Jacques Leslie "Enemy of the Week"

You contrast Mr. Leslie's refusal to shake President Bush's hand with his willingness to shake the hand of a Viet Cong leader he had tracked down during the Vietnam War. You imply that this is because, while he disapproves of the policies and choices of his own president, he approved of those of the Viet Cong.

Either you don't care what you write, and will write anything for money and approval (which puts you in a weak place from which to throw stones at Mr. Leslie), or you have no slightest clue about what it means to be a journalist. Mr. Leslie was meeting the Viet Cong leader in pursuit of a story. It was, in fact, the first time any Western journalist had been able to penetrate the Viet Cong to interview any of their leaders. Mr. Leslie did so at considerable risk to his own life. To have come all that way with Viet Cong guides, under circumstances of great danger, to meet this leader, and then to have insulted him by refusing to shake his hand or dine with him, would have been tactically idiotic, and could have greatly increased his personal danger. Mr. Leslie's story was a journalistic coups of the highest water. There is nothing morally troubling about his intentions or his methods.

Articles like yours are an embarrassment to conservatism.
-- Joe Flower

THREE STRYKERS AND YOU'RE OUT
Re: Jed Babbin's May SGO:

As long as President Bush allows Powell free rein at the State Department, this is what we will get. Dubya's defensiveness and "circle the wagons" mentality when it comes to criticism of State will be the undoing of his foreign policy objectives sooner or later. The recall of the ultimate foreign affairs bureaucrat that was to run the central portion of Iraq was a step in the right direction, but only a first small step. Many more steps are needed. About General Garner, I do not feel sufficiently informed to express an opinion. There did, however, seem to be a lack of tightness and efficiency in his results. If Powell refuses to completely reform the State Dept. like Rumsfeld is doing at Defense, then he must go as soon as the re-elect results are certified in 2004.

John Roche may or may not be the right man for the job as Army Sec. As I have argued to you before, the Air Force Academy mess and Roche's solution to it is not the proper issue on which to make that judgment. The very fact that there was a serious, and indeed, systemic question to be investigated shows me that the Academy was out of control and drastic measures were needed. Besides, I suspect that Roche will do just about what Rumsfeld tells him to do and will keep arguments behind closed doors. Either that or he will be gone also. And as for Gen. Shinseki, if there was ever a better example of symbolism over substance, PC over effectiveness, I can't perceive it. He was truly Clinton's (his or hers) kind of General.

As for Gen. Franks, it may be just as well that he demurred on the job of Army Chief of Staff. Reach down and pull up a true "in-his-very-bones" believer of the special units concept of modern fast and agile warfare. I say "units" to include the Airborne and the Rangers, as well as Special Forces and Delta Force. Then, as you suggest, cancel some of the misguided programs and reinforce the upgrade on the M1A1 and the Fighting Vehicle programs.
-- Ken Shreve
New Hampshire

So the Abrams is the best there is, if you can get it there. How do you propose to do that? And having achieved that goal, how are you going to keep supplied with the fuel it needs to keep running.

Weight is the Abrams greatest enemy. Weight makes it hard to transport, forces its engine to consume huge quantities of fuel, and limits where it can operate. Ultimately that is the problem that must be solved.
-- Steven Dugger

Jed Babbin replies:: Yes, weight is an enemy, but you need mass. The Army seemed quite able to get the Abrams to the battlefield, and keep it well-fueled in Iraq. I don't say that we need nothing else, only that Stryker is a bad solution to the problem. Better to upgrade the M113 to the A3 version -- at vastly less cost -- and use some of the money saved to upgrade Abrams. The choice is neither Abrams or nothing, nor Stryker or nothing. The choices are many, and the good solutions don't include a peacekeeping truck that won't fly on a C-130.

RACE TO THE FINISH
Re: Wlady Pleszczynski's The Short, Troubled Reign of Raines and George Neumayr's The Howell Problem:

This is liberal racism at its worst. Liberal gives a pass to the standards and qualifications that would normally be required; the implication is that racial minorities cannot do as well as whites, and their mistakes must be taken in a racial context.

Utter nonsense. There are standards of behavior and ethics that must be met for any job. Race should play no part in it. Howell went overboard to portray the miscreant as young (and irresponsible) and black and irresponsible.

Liberal racism is even more harmful than other forms of racism to my mind, because it lowers the bar of excellence because of race. This, of course, ties in to all the racial preference claptrap that the left is so fond of. They should all be ashamed of themselves. (As if liberals had a sense of shame...).
-- Lamar Johnson
Beaverton, OR

When you flash ahead even ten years, say after Bush has led a transformation of the political dimension on the lines that Karl Rove is working for, after having a Republican President and Congress all that time, we'll look back on the NYT as a bitter cut-your-nose-off foolish money-losing rag. It may make the head spin---I, for one, living on the west coast, have never understood the respect still given to that "Old Newspaper." Never will, either.
-- unsigned

In a letter to The American Prowler a few months ago, I ventured that given their apparent precepts (e.g. that our amoral landscape was caused by Eisenhower era values and not the licentiousness of the 70's), Sulzberger Jr. and Raines were better qualified to edit and publish the Playboy mansion house organ than the paper of record. When will America's intelligentsia admit the obvious -- this newspaper's prejudices long since have disabled its function as an accurate gatherer and reporter of news.

Remember its page one repeat of Kitty Kelley's libel of Nancy Reagan (directly implying the president's wife had a carnal relationship with Hollywood low-life Frank Sinatra), its sliming of William Kennedy Smith's victim, and its serial Pentagon Papers derring-do depicting Daniel Ellsberg as an American hero? I don't know why anyone should be surprised that the Times would print Jayson Blair's unlikely D.C. snipers' scenarios i.e. unlikely except to editors blinded by hatred of George Bush and his faith.

By the way, have any introductory college English instructors looked at the mea culpa to their staff by Punch and Howell -- they could chop deadwood in there for an hour.
-- J. R. Wheatley

It seems to me the real diversity that's missing on the majority on newspapers is writers who are not predisposed to liberal thinking.
-- Margaret O'Neil

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