Reader Mail

Ms. Mischief in Michigan

More on a hot new Hillary. Plus open letters, smokes, taxes, and states of birth -- and more.

8.12.02

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BUMMER
Re: Dave Shiflett's Death Therapy:

Dave missed a good one. The funeral music in The Big Chill was "You Can't Always Get What You Want." That film, by the way, included Kevin Costner's best performance. He was the corpse.
-- Bob Johnson
Bedford, TX

ABOUT JENNIFER GRANHOLM
Re: Enemy Central's Smell the Applause:

She is more Hillary than perhaps you know, only more personable. Think Hillary ruthlessness with Bill slicktitude.

Strangest thing: During the primary I kept seeing this "negative attack ad," ripping Democratic gubernatorial candidates Bonior and Blanchard. Bonior was ripped for not protecting seniors' pensions while getting a special congressional pension, and Blanchard was ripped for raising taxes.

THE AD WAS UNSIGNED. No candidate or committee took credit for the ad. I thought that was illegal. It's certainly contemptible; there's nothing wrong with ripping the other candidate, as long as you stand up and take credit for the criticism; that's what elections are all about.

I was baffled; if this was a preemptive strike by Republican candidate Dick Posthumus, then why didn't the ad attack Granholm too? And if it was an attack by Granholm on other Democrats, then why was she bashing our last Democratic governor for raising taxes? I thought raising taxes for "investing in the American people" was good Democratic policy.

Turns out they were Granholm ads, as they later started appearing with a microscopic picture of Granholm. Perhaps she was forced to start signing her attack ads.

One thing is for sure: had a Republican run that unsigned attack ad on Granholm, our news media would have hammered him into the ground everyday from now to the election. But not one peep about Granholm; none of the usual fretting about "negative attack ads" paid for by "special interests".

Like Slick Willie, she's perfectly willing to say any two flatly contradictory things together, knowing our state news media will never bother challenging folly with facts unless the candidate is a Republican. For example she vaguely promised a vast new after-school program (i.e. cleverly disguised government-paid childcare for all families) and smaller class sizes, programs that will absolutely require vast increases in taxes, yet she's bashing Jim Blanchard for raising taxes as governor. She's developed her own riff on the "new tone" business to try to sell conservative West Michigan on the idea that she's a Democrat we can do business with; yet her "new tone" involves an unprecedented series of anonymous attack ads.

What really frightens me is the pure stupid insanity of the Democratic primary electorate. This state is absolutely dominated by government employees, first and foremost the teachers' unions. Yet here is their favorite candidate, ripping on Blanchard for tax increases! And they applaud!! Are they completely insane or mind-bogglingly stupid?! If you want vast increases in government programs and spending, fine, step up like a man and spell out for people whose taxes are going up by how much and why it's all worth it. Are these people complete children?

Given her obvious lack of character or integrity or honesty, her skill at peddling factual contradictions and mesmerizing the press, her pandering to the infantile contradictory wishes of the self-deluded government class, I predict Jennifer Granholm will go very far in the Democratic Party and national politics.
-- Eric Richter
Grand Rapids, Michigan (soon to be known as "the western revenue-raising resource area")

OPEN LETTER FROM CALIFORNIANS
Re: Bill Croke's Open Letter to Californians:

Dear Mr. Croke: It's August 10 and in spite of Gray Davis' bankrupting my state, and the stupid, stupid, stupid, and corrupt Demo. leftist state legislators who raise their already exorbitant salaries and per diems, while they tax the suckers, it doesn't look good for Simon. So give me the names of the real estate agent or upstream rancher who are looking to sell to Californians. We're not the typical California doofuses since we're gun owners and conservatives so maybe you folks will show a little mercy toward us. Thanks.
-- Carol Nowicki
Castro Valley, CA

Dear Bill:

Here I sit at my computer, airplane tickets in hand for Las Vegas - rental car to pick up at Las Vegas airport -- for HOUSE HUNTING in St. George, Utah.

Originally from Brooklyn (NY), my significant other from Minnesota -- we settled in California after retiring from the Army; living the California lifestyle with a house that has appreciated 31% since we moved into it 2 years ago...

Now even suburban California feels suffocatingly like the streets of New York... (Little Hillary's everywhere) Democratic Clubs and ward healers on every block -- promising my tax dollars to anyone who can count and many who can't! Latest proposal is a 5 cent a bullet tax to make up for our esteemed Goobner Dufus' -- uh - Davis - new budget math.

"She who must be obeyed" and myself are already counting on that California house equity to by a large chunk of the Southwest -- and then your article rained on our parade. Nope, we're not part of the problem - it just seems that the Brooklyn liberals of my youth and their ilk follow us everywhere we go.

Many of your new snakes in Wyoming have learned to walk upright and mis-punch butterfly ballots... Our next house search will take us to Guernsey, Wyoming (population 1100), a National Guard training site -- a railroad town with one ATM that is locked up at 8PM promptly. Maybe this will be the place...

Regards,
-- Mike Horn
LTC, US Army, "retired"
NRA Endowment Member
Tracy, CA

Better yet, give the whole misbegotten, fetid, nasty, left-wing place back to Mexico. Mexico seems bent on slowly invading the state, why not wash our hands of the troublesome mess?
-- John W. Schneider, III
Manassas, VA

SMUGGLED SMOKES
Re: George Neumayr's Tax Addiction:

George Neumayr fails to mention what will happen in California if and when cigarette taxes are raised: smuggling will explode, and organized crime will be thoroughly involved in it. And he overlooks the sale of tax-free cigarettes by the American Indian tribes in the state. A cursory Internet search for American Indian tribes in California revealed dozens near Sacramento alone.

So perhaps California smokers aren't as dumb nor as passive as they might seem. After all, they know or will soon know that they have alternative, cheaper sources of cigarettes, be they legal or illegal.

Regards,
-- Roger Chaillet
Dallas, TX

If California raises it's tax on cigarettes to $3 a pack, they too will achieve the time honored truth of unintended consequences; cigarette smuggling into the state will skyrocket! It works every time it's tried.

I don't know what Nevada's or Arizona's tax on a pack of cigarettes is, but it's no where near $3 a pack. So the Democrats will have to increase border patrols to stop the cigarette smuggling. Given the number of illegal aliens entering California, their border patrols are obviously worthless.

If the illegal Mexican immigrants are smart, they'll bring a few cartons of cigarettes over the border with them and make a quick buck or two!
-- Greg Barnard
Franklin, TN

POSSIBLE FOREIGN-BORN U.S. PRESIDENTS
Re: Francis X. Rocca's Citizen Lafayette:

Mr. Rocca wrote: "No one born outside a U.S. state has ever been elected president, but there have been at least three serious candidates with such origins: George Romney (born in Mexico), Barry Goldwater (the Arizona Territory) and John McCain (Panama Canal Zone)."

Two points: there is no requirement that a person be born in a state to be eligible for the Presidency, only that the person be a natural born citizen.

Persons born in the territories, or the District of Columbia, are born citizens. So Goldwater was unquestionably eligible.

However, there was one other case of a foreign-born American who was considered possible Presidential timber:

General George Meade, the victorious commander of the Army
of the Potomac at Gettysburg, and for the rest of the War.
General Meade was born in Cadiz, Spain, where his father,
an American merchant, was in business.
-- Rich Rostrom

VINNIE AND THE BARBERINO
Re: Wlady Pleszczynski's Chickie Babe:

I must disagree with Wlady Pleszczynski on the subject of Vince Scully. I was a kid growing up in NYC when Scully joined Red Barber in the broadcasting booth. I was appalled when he actually inherited the play by play job. I have always found him smarmy, glib, condescending, and know-it-all. He and Jim Palmer have been about the very worst sportscasters to whom I have ever had to listen. They have made Mel Allen look and sound good by comparison.

Of course it may simply be that Scully is more attuned to California sensibilities than I. I spent six months out there a couple of years ago and realized I am not at all attuned to those frequencies.

By the way, I just got my new issue and am very glad that you are all back. Gilder put out a good magazine, but it lacked the savagery which I hope will return.

Cordially,
-- Bill Lannon
Rockland, ME (a 20+ year subscriber)

Don't recall for sure, but I believe it was 1951 or '52 when Vin Scully did his first Dodger game. As I recall, either Red Barber or Connie Desmond had laryngitis or some other ailment (hell, it was 50 years ago) and Vin was called upon to substitute/fill in. From the first, his poise and professionalism were outstanding - his unique enthusiasm was what made him such a terrific broadcaster; he got the listener excited without ever raising his voice!

As a retired broadcaster of 45+ years who made #1 in my field, I acknowledge and recognize talent, and no one, except possibly Jack Buck, has come close to Vin Scully. There's a kid in Everett, Washington, doing play-by-play of the Aqua Sox minor league team on a little FM -- a junior version of Mr. Scully who we may hear from in future years; not a copycat, but genuinely good -- enormous potential, if he gets a break.

That being said, as an aside, I had a tryout with the Dodgers at Ebbets Field (flunked) and recall that right field bullpen vividly -- where "Happy Felton's Knothole Gang," a kids' show, was televised a few years later, just before the game on local New York television. One day Happy was ill. His replacement? Howard Cosell in his first on-air gig!

Continued success!
-- Geoff Brandt

NOT EVEN CLOTHES
Re: Dave Shiflett's Clothes Call and Paul Kellogg's letter in Reader Mail's Leagues of Their Own:

Dave wrote:
"Just yesterday, as we sat beneath the canopy at said tavern, the karma was suddenly cracked by the appearance of an earnest young man wearing a suit -- jacket, tie, pants, the entire catastrophe.

"What would Buddha do?"

"Reach for his revolver."

Mr. Kellogg complains:
"I point to the following and Mr. Shiflett's closing; 'When I hear anyone talk of culture, I reach for my revolver.' This observation was made by none other than Hermann Goering, Hitler's Reichsmarschall, a known drug addict and also a cross-dressing homosexual.[My comment: Now that's certainly relevant!] Mr. Shiflett should be more circumspect in his choice of references."

If Mr. Kellogg were more attentive to his reading, he'd have noticed that the "Reach for his revolver" comment came from "the chaplain," the other half of the "we" who were sitting beneath the canopy. Dave Shiflett should be commended for accuracy in reporting, not condemned for a reference which he did not choose!
-- Bob Johnson
Bedford, TX

EASY WRITER
Re: Kim du Toit's letter in Reader Mail's Leagues of Their Own:

If your mommy is a commie, then you gotta turn her in.

Kim du Tait is right. Using an acronym for our new turn-in-your-neighbors-and-friends program, TIPS (Turn In People Skulking), is opening it up for a good deal of ridicule. Perhaps a stuffy bureaucratic name would be better. "Committee of Public Safety" has already been used, but I'm sure we could come up with something.

In the first round of stories about TIPS, the Justice Department flack whooping up the program is one Barbara Comstock. I wonder if she's any relation to Anthony Comstock, the indefatigable secretary -- for 43 years -- of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. Even if there's no blood relation, are there commonalties of spirit and purpose? Will Barbara be to neighbor-peeping what Anthony was to smut?

I don't have cable (there's enough schlock on broadcast TV without having to pay for more) -- so I don't have to worry about spies from that quarter. I doubt my mailman (steady on, ladies -- my letter carrier is a man) is trying to keep an eye on me. (If he is, he knows my bird dog, Easy, is keeping an eye on him. If my reputation is in danger, then so are his ankles.) But who knows what government document stamper or corporate supernumerary is alone and palely loitering out there. I guess I'll just have to loosen Easy's rules of engagement.

All right, all right, the subject is serious, and the danger is real. But Lord love a duck, Americans are smart enough to get in touch with the proper authorities if they see something truly suspicious without a crackpot federal program that incites them to abuse their neighbors. Just as they're nimble enough to volunteer for something worthwhile without checking in with a bureaucrat down to the local Freedom Corps office. Bah humbug!

Cool your jets, Easy. That's just the meter reader.
-- Larry Thornberry
Tampa, FL

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