Reader Mail

Spiritual Gains, Material Losses

Dividends, cuts and biases. The philanthropic George Harrison. Losing sleep over Democrats. Has anyone walked down Clinton's street before? Plus much more.

1.14.03

CAPITAL IDEA
Re: Lawrence Henry's The Dividend Tax Cut: The Right Questions:

Bush's plan eliminates taxes on capital gains as well as dividends. Corporate profits that have already been taxed could be excluded from gains when an investor sold his stock. This means that almost all U.S. stocks would get a boost from this plan, and not just dividend-paying ones. However, it's very doubtful that this plan will make its way through the Senate. I wouldn't count my dividends before they're hatched.
-- unsigned

Lawrence Henry replies: The writer is right, but of course the tax cut on capital gains (on an imputed basis) requires a fair amount of explanation. It looks like the Bush administration has been fiendishly clever, putting through a capital gains tax cut in a form that no Democrat can get into a sound bite. Demagogue-proof? We'll see.

IF IT'S BROKAW, FIX IT
Re: David Hogberg's Media Bias and the Bush Plan:

A great and timely article.

Please check on this. Last night (Monday), on NBC's evening news with Tom Brokaw, the following was presented:

In discussing the income tax cut plan, they interviewed a college professor who presented this example, purported to show how the "average" taxpayer definition can be misleading.

Ten taxpayers, one of whom is Bill Gates, nine other ordinary citizens.

Bill had an income of $1,000,000, and each of the others had income of $30,000. The professor then, on a chalkboard, summed the incomes, arriving at a total of $1,270,000. She then made the statement that the average income was over a million dollars.

I had been reading while listening, and didn't pay much attention until I heard that last assertion. I looked, but couldn't see the chalkboard math that resulted in that average; I was also sorry that I missed the name of the college at which this professor mangled her math. I still can't believe that I heard what I think I heard.

Perhaps you could check on this, and if my recollections are correct, obtain a copy of the broadcast. If possible, it should be rerun daily somewhere (Fox News?) every time the discussion of media bias arises.

Regards,
-- Richard Renken

THE BEST POST-BEATLE
Re: Paul Beston's Remembering George Harrison:

When discussing George Harrison's solo career, overlooked by most writers, Paul Beston included, is a sweet nugget of an album by Ringo Starr, simply titled, Ringo. This late 1973 release was touted as a virtual Beatles reunion. All four Beatles appeared on the record, though not all four were on any single song, and each Beatle wrote songs.

I'm sure it did not pass unnoticed by Lennon or McCartney that the album's hits were the cover of "You're Sixteen" (by Richard and Robert Sherman, perhaps best known for their work in 1960s Walt Disney musicals), and "Photograph" (Starkey/Harrison).

Scratch a little deeper and you'll get an idea of Harrison's philanthropy.

The real money in the music business comes from royalties which are paid to the songwriters and the song's publishers. On Ringo, Harrison gets three songwriting credits (two of those are shared). He only claims his publishing once.

All of "Photograph"'s publishing went to Richoroony Ltd. (Ringo's company).

All of the publishing for "Sunshine Life for Me (Sail Away Raymond)" went to "The Material World Charitable Foundation," a charity of Harrison's.

The full publishing for "You and Me (Babe)" was kept by Harrisongs, Ltd., but half that songwriting credit went to Mal Evans, former Beatle roadie who worked a lot, as did Harrison and McCartney, with the group Badfinger.

Contrast that to the Lennon and McCartney contributions which kept the full songwriting and publishing money for their respective works (which, incidentally, is their right).

I also can't forget the scene from Let It Be where Harrison (on piano!) is going through the chord progression in "Octopus's' Garden" with Ringo. Ringo got full credit on Abbey Road for that tune, but I wonder...

Respectfully,
-- John Calen

Excellent article on George Harrison.

I always thought that George's post-Beatle was the most interesting.

He organized the Concert for Bangladesh, thus ushering in the large benefit concerts like Live Aid.

He was at once a soloist and a great ensemble player (i.e. his collaborations with the Traveling Wilburys and his tour with Eric Clapton in Japan).

And he was the most talented of the four Beatles when it came to the medium of film, financing the right kinds of projects.

Finally, I just bought Brainwashed this past Saturday, and I concur; it is his finest album. (I especially like his take on "The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.")

Thanks,
-- Steve Sottolano

PUZZLED IN FLYOVER
Re: Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder's Senator Lieberman, We Presume:

Your piece puzzles me. Perhaps growing up in Texas, and living somewhat insulated from the right or left coast has rendered me naïve. It seems that most of the angst about Jewish involvement in politics or the media has its origins in places other than the "fly over" region of the country. I am much more concerned about what a man's character and ability than his ethnicity or academic pedigree. Seldom does the topic come up in conversation.

It makes me wonder if I am ignorant or insensitive. I confess that I am a believer, a Christian, was in the college ministry for a number of years, and earned a Master's in Theology. Joe Lieberman's faith was never an issue in evaluating his qualification for Vice and now President. I am much more interested in his stand on fiscal policy, defense, the Constitution, etc. I read with interest his piece on North Korea last week. I find him either dishonest or … no just dishonest. He has seemed to embrace the notion that whatever forwards his agenda is true. That seems to be the case with a number of people in his party. That has little to do with his faith, unfortunately. It seems to have more to do with the view that his ideology is superior. Although bankrupt of any ideas other than casting opponents as catering to the rich, or insensitive to race issues, or wanting to starve children, or savage elderly women on welfare.

No, here in Oklahoma, it isn't that Senator Lieberman is Jewish that causes me to oppose him, it is his condescension and commitment to a bankrupt ideology, commitment to attaining power for the Democratic Party by any means necessary, commitment to the party before his country, that makes me oppose him.
-- J. Michael Cunningham

JOHN McCAIN, S.C.
Re: The Washington Prowler's Going After McCain:

John McCain is suddenly angry at George Bush and the White House? Did you miss the 2000 primary and general election? McCain has shown anger and even hatred toward Bush ever since his "Straight Talk Express" spin machine. The Democrats are still in Florida and McCain is still in South Carolina.
-- Joseph Kane
New Orleans, LA

CLINTONIANA
Re: The Washington Prowler's The Two Bills Come Due:

God help us if Clinton sticks his nose into the N. Korea agreement again; he messed up so badly the first time with Jimmy Peanut Carter. Why doesn't he just go away? He sold our nuclear secrets to the Chinese, forsook our nation's security for eight years, put us in the spot we are in with Osama.
-- Dee Moore
Newark, OH

Are you sure Clinton didn't contact Richardson just to make sure that he wasn't trying to find a "position" for the cast-off bimbo of some other corrupt head of state?
-- unsigned

SOUNDS PERFECT
Re: Michelle Heisler's "Late Hits" letter in Reader Mail's Batting Around:

How did the Buckeyes earn their number one ranking? They beat the number nine team Michigan, number ten Washington State (when Gessner was healthy), eleven others, and finally number two Miami in one of the all time great bowl games, a game where OSU led almost the entire game. Finally, they're the only undefeated team in the country. Sounds like a champion to me. All others who claim to be better should do what Ohio State did... play a fourteen game undefeated season.
-- Randy Puraty

LOCATION, LOCATION
I found the magazine Oxford American in my mailbox today, which was a surprise since it had ceased publication about a year ago. I had first subscribed to the quarterly in order to read John Grisham's A Painted House, which was first serialized in OA before the book was published. OA turned out to be a fairly decent read, and I was disappointed when it went under. So imagine my surprise to see it once again!

It looks just like the old one, inside and out, with one teensy-weensy exception of its address. Oxford American moved its offices from Oxford, Mississippi, to its new benefactors' hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas. Arkansas was the setting for Grisham's A Painted House. Okay, I can deal with Arkansas. But it's not just Arkansas (no offense to Arkansans), it's Little Rock, and their offices are at 303 President You-know-what-his-friggin'-name-is Avenue! And they've got him on page 16, quoting his induction speech to the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame (whateverthehell that is)!

I cannot bring myself to re-subscribe to Oxford American because of that address named after that man, that man who will keep cropping up in OA because of that address. I simply can't because, as Lucianne Goldberg wrote back on 9-14-01, "... my loathing for this man requires medication."

I had to tell someone and thought that TAP would understand. Thank you for being there in my time of need.
-- Kitty Myers
Painted Post, NY

LATE NIGHT DISTURBANCES
Generally, I sleep well. Most days I rise quite early, work quite hard, try and make my way in the world using the sweat of my own brow, spend an hour or two in relaxation and recreation of various kinds and then, naturally fatigued, I go to bed. From time to time I may eat out or may entertain friends or family at home, or I may visit with others. Under those circumstances, and usually a little later than the norm, I may eagerly take to my bed with a mixture of naturally and extraneously induced fatigue. I guess that makes me a regular kind of guy.

So why is it that recently I have noticed that I am not sleeping quite as well as usual? I'm going to my bed under precisely the same circumstances as I have always done, but somehow, there's a "thing" out there. Consequently, I'm not getting right down to that deep and restful sleep zone.

You see, if I'm right, and I am a regular kind of guy, it seems that I now have a new champion. John Edwards' eligibility claim for the highest office is that he wants to represent "regular folk," but I don't know what that means. I know that honest John was (is) a lawyer, has a reputation for going after the insurance companies (purely for the benefit of his clients, of course), is keen to appear as a "people person" and to be all things to all people (to the extent, I am told, of introducing himself to all his fellow passengers on flights that he takes), but who precisely are "regular folk"?

I guess I just don't understand how a freshman senator, who made his money grinding insurance clause axes, and has since spent his time in the heady, secular, uncooperative and uniquely partisan Democratic Party in the Senate, could possibly understand what "regular folk" are all about. Even if I allow the thought that he, as an American, may have his own idea of what "regular folk" in the USA are all about, I can't help thinking that whatever definition he may apply to that term, it is certainly not universally applicable. So what, I am wondering, would he think of other "regular folk" in other parts of the world should he ever hold the highest office in the land (world)?

For a moment, I thought I was off the hook when Sen. Joe Lieberman announced that he too was running for the Democratic nomination on the grounds that he was a "different kind of Democrat." But then, on reflection, it doesn't help. I saw this "different kind of Democrat" in 1999. The kind of guy who was then all things to all people, and therefore by extension, not a "regular folk." Or maybe he was, or is, or maybe whatever went before is to be ignored because now everything is different and he is now, all things to all people. Some people (or Democratic "all people") allege that this new found (but time worn) clarity of intent and purpose was previously endorsed by the majority of the popular vote during the last presidential elections; trouble is they can't prove it. The great thing about Florida, last time around, is that an audited result was eventually declared, which is something that several other states were glad to avoid.

I'm beginning to realize that the only coherent pitch for the presidency that is currently out there is the one coming from Al Sharpton. Guess I'm in for another disturbed night.

Sincerely,
-- Regular Guy

JUST DISCOVERED YOU
Thank God for an organization that tries to espouse American values. I have a 12-year-old Granddaughter that shows aptitude for writing and maybe someday she can apply for your Scholarship. Keep up the good work.
-- Peggy Akin
Plano, TX

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