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To the Point

Enough Clinton? Shinseki? Broder? Plus: Tampa, tourism and more.

8.1.02

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CLINTON CHATTER:
Re: The Prowler's Sucker Puncher:

It's past time to cease publicizing his every utterance -- if you don't
water it, it may wither and die.
-- Storrs Warinner

GRIN BERET
Re: Jed Babbin's Stalled at the Euphrates:

If they fire Shinseki, who will select the color of next year's beret?
-- An old soldier

Jed Babbin replies: Dear Old Soldier: If Clinton were still around, we'd have to have twenty colors, and let each soldier choose his own. Can't be judgmental, 'ya know. But we do have grownups running things again. How about scrapping the Everybody Beret, and letting only those who earn it -- Rangers and Green Beenies -- wear it?

POINT SPREAD
Re: Lawrence Henry's History vs. Hollywood: The Beautiful Mind:

Mr. Henry's disclosure of his 650 score on the math boards is something I would expect from someone of the other side of the aisle.
-- Ronald Frantz

Lawrence Henry replies:
Now that comment puzzles me. I don't think of 650 as being a particularly high score for the time. Most of my fellows at Columbia scored much better. I struggled with a course known pejoratively as "Poet's Math." I just wanted to indicate my general competence, as measured way back when, and to illustrate how far above me were John Nash's thoughts, and those of his fellows.

But get real, Mr. Franz. Everybody knows his SATs, right down to the decimal -- at least everybody from my college era, the 1960s. We'll all rattle them off at a moment's notice -- liberals, conservatives, Naderites, libertarians, all of us. (And that 650, casually noted, was actually a 653, thank you.)

ROAD SCHOLAR
Re: Bill Croke's Getting Out There:

I agree with your article. While some obvious tourist spots are a necessity, like the Hoover Dam, most of the sightseeing my wife and I do are in the "off the path" places. We will use the computer and choose some of the popular places to see but then usually drop a couple when we read local pamphlets and brochures and go elsewhere.

Our October 2000 trip driving through New England was a perfect example. We decided to drop the "tourist" spots in Boston early so we could spend more time driving around Maine's coastline near Popham Beach. Then we voided a day in Concord, NH early to stay in Conway and enjoyed three full days in the White Mountains (I'll never drive up the Mt. Washington auto road again!) instead of one.

We spent more time changing our plans. Cut a day off Hartford, CT from Albany, NY to drive back into Vermont to visit Kennington and then Robert Todd Lincoln's Hildene, both of which we found in pamphlets at local stops and not while doing Internet research.

I also tell my friends that if you want to really tour great spots in the South, forget Nashville and come down 20 miles south to Franklin, TN. I know, I live in Franklin!
-- Greg Barnard

BAY BUCCANEER
Re: The Prowler's Convention Wisdom:

Please -- the name of the city is Tampa. Tampa Bay is a body of water. The local Babbitts and boosters caused this lamentable confusion by naming the local sports teams Tampa Bay This and Tampa Bay That so that folks from all the towns surrounding the bay would want to shell out for overpriced tickets to sporting events.

I hope you're right that the Republicans will hold their convention in New Orleans rather than Tampa. It would be a lot more fun for the people attending - lots more places to go and great food and music to enjoy in New Orleans between the times when the lowing mob is needed as cheering backdrop for the scripted platitudes and ham bone the convention's choreographers will come up with for TV consumption.

Against all reason, the Tampa Babbitts and boosters are droning on and drooling about all the great "exposure" the Republican convention would bring Tampa. (Have you noticed how Babbitts and boosters seem to be obsessed with exposing themselves?) Aside from having hordes of politicians and journalists underfoot for a week, lowering the moral and cultural tone of the city, I'm not sure the Babbitts and boosters would be happy with the "exposure" Tampa would get. It would surely include snippy columns by the likes of Maureen Dowd on what a hick town Tampa is. (It isn't any more hick than most places -- not that there's anything wrong with hick -- but she'll say it is because she won't be able to get a date here either.)

Next to not having a convention at all -- the intelligent choice, so don't hold your breath -- N'awlins is the best choice, cher.
-- Larry Thornberry
Tampa, FL

P.S. Democrats are always accusing Republicans of being a bunch of uptight, Scrooge-like white guys who don't know how to have a good time. Choosing Tampa over New Orleans would just add fuel to this stereotype. Laissez les bons temps rouler, all you wild and crazy Bushies.

P.P.S. The only upside to the Republicans choosing Tampa for a convention site for me is that my house is barely a mile from the convention center and I might be able to rent it out for a week to a junior banker or car dealer, maybe for enough to be able to spend the week in New Orleans.

BRODER PATROL
Re: George Neumayr's The Bogus Broder:

Why would David Broder worry about whether taxpayer money is spent on things not supported by the majority of taxpayers? He and other politicians ("news people" are just politicians in different jobs) like him resent the fact that they have to pretend to consult the American public on anything. If there ever was an over-used phrase, it is "American public" when used by politicians trying to sound as if they are in touch with somebody other than themselves. Taxpaying Americans do not have any value to politicians other than to serve as their fans, just as groupies serve that purpose for rock stars.
-- unsigned

PHOTO FINISH
Re: Jed Babbin's Tell It to the Marines:

Thank you for reporting on the odious and frightening display of Hezbollah subjugation of the U.N .and taunting of Israel. Jeb Babbins' article mentions that retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely took powerful photographs at the site they visited. Is it possible to confront U.S. and U.N. administrators with those photos?...

Thanks again, let's hope something can (and will) be done to eradicate Hezbollah and U.N. complicity in terrorist acts.
-- Mayer Waxman
Queens, NY

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