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Lon Simmons, Turkey Gore, Mad Daschle, Sweet Johnny -- and AT&T is still dead. Plus lots more.

9.27.02

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GRAND SLAM
Re: Ed McFadden's Tell Him Goodbye:

Please tell Mr. Ed McFadden that his piece on Lon Simmons was wonderful. I've been a fan of Mr. Simmons for his entire career. On top of his obvious talent and vocal gifts, he is truly a "neat guy."
-- Jon Huber

CONQUERED
Re: Jed Babbin's Howlin' Howell and Jane:

Excellent article. And fine Latin, too!
-- J.C. Shea

TURKEY GORE
Re: Wlady Pleszczynski's Vintage Gore:

'Twas the "turkey shoot," not the duck shoot. Although both birds aren't easy to shoot, the turkey has a tendency to just sit there.
-- Paul Strasser
Lafayette, Colorado

Mr. Pleszczynski has Gore's number for sure. The sentence that jumped out at me was, "Which is just what Gore was counting on. He survives because other commentators let him slip away, primarily by paying little if any attention to his substance and focusing instead on his efforts at political repositioning."

Gore has survived many transgressions due to the blinders worn by the left in the "mainstream" press. How many of those media outlets reported on Gore's rental homes in 2000? The ones that were falling apart, peeling paint (probably lead based), and dumping raw sewage into the local river that he rented to a poor, government dependent family. They had to call local TV stations to get any relief from their constant pleas to his management company (which on its letterhead was printed "Gore Reality"-- and they said Bush was stupid) to no avail. The Tennessee GOP paid to move them to Ohio. What say you Rather, Brokaw, Jennings?

Now of course, Gore lives in prestigious Belle Meade, a suburb on Nashville. He paid $2.1 million the same summer that it was reported he was having money troubles and couldn't pay his staff. Do you think the good, objective (cough), "mainstream" media would let a Republican presidential candidate get away with buying a palatial estate on what was once one of the largest slave owning, Confederacy backing, plantations in the south?

And to think 50 million people voted for this joke of a man.
-- Greg Barnard
Franklin, TN

For heaven's sake, let all sensible Republicans do everything possible to keep Al Gore as a viable candidate for President in 2004. It may seem impossible, but he's too valuable to lose.
-- Michael J. Lynch

CALL WAITING
Re: John Corry's AT&T Goes Dead:

I had a similar experience a week ago.

I had a WorldCom cell phone, and my year contract was about up. AT&T bought them and I was beginning to think about upgrade options, whatever. Then my cell phone went through the washer.

So I call "customer service" to see about new phone/new contract. After an hour and a half on hold, I dropped the phone and lost the muzak (well, actually classical). After another hour of various tries, culminating in choosing a "business" rather than personal entry, I got through. Canceled the contract.

And went with Verizon two days later.

There are severe management problems at AT+T.
-- Hal Davitt
Washington, D.C.

Please tell John Corry that he should contact Verizon for a local telephone and then he can deal with AT&T for long distance service. Or ... just get a cell phone.
-- James Siegler

MAD DASCHLE TO THE FINISH
Re: The Washington Prowler's Senate Pouters: Mad Daschle:

What Senator Daschle was really saying is "just because we're anti-American doesn't mean we're not patriotic." That's it in a nutshell. If you stop and think about it, it isn't as goofy as some of the other stuff they've peddled.

The Dems forced W. into a debate over Iraq/terrorism just before the election and now regret it. E Pluribus Unum be damned, they can't back down now.

To accompany this dual message, they will need a two-level campaign. Any Democrat up for a tight election will grant grudging favor to the Bush Doctrine. Any Democrat not up for election, or those from safe Liberal areas, will oppose All Things Bush. Natch, the major media/press outlets will assist enthusiastically. That's what they'll try to do, anyway.
-- Jed Skillman
Brookfield, IL

DEAR JOHN
Re: The Washington Prowler's Senate Pouters: In Bad Form:

Sen. Edwards needs to be reminded that he is the junior senator from North Carolina and a member of the opposition party. He could not seriously expect that he would be consulted by the administration. This hissyfit further demonstrates his unfitness for higher office.
-- Dave Heinekamp

This is one Tarheel that can not stand pretty boy John Edwards. He has pandered to the Northeast and Westcoast liberals a little too much. If my memory serves me correctly he is elected by the voters in this state. No incumbent in the seat he has, has been reelected in over twenty years, and I will do my damnedest to see he is not.
-- Mebane Beaton
Wrightsville Beach, NC

FEATHER BRAINED
Re: James Bowman's review of The Four Feathers:

About James Bowman's laments over no battles in The Four Feathers, just a quick note:

Anyone who has read The Four Feathers will know that there are no grand battles in the novel, so the lack of them in the movie is not at all an omission. It should rather be commended for greater accuracy.

However, James Bowman does get it right on some of the language and sentiments. "It's not just about" sounds awful in Ethne's mouth. Couldn't they at least have changed it to "It is not only"?

In addition, having Jack Durrance not give him one of the feathers -- doesn't that, by the way, mean this should be titled "The Three Feathers"? -- and having him rescue all three friends is also a major departure. Harry's quest was incomplete from the beginning, as one of his friends was killed before he could rescue him.

Previous versions of the film have been stifled by imperial googaw. The novel, rather, dealt with the idea not only of courage but of cowardice, and of a last wish by Harry to prove that he is not contemptible to those who called him one. This happens not through grand battles, but through very personal suffering and self-sacrifice. The Four Feathers, as a book, was not about nations colliding, or the Mahdi and Gordon. It was not about the last charge of the light brigade, the valley of the five-thousand, & etc.... it was a personal story about conscience. So, at least in the lack of grand battles and historical filigree, there is nothing wrong about this newest film version of The Four Feathers at all.

As for Kate Hudson as Ethne? Well....
-- Alexander Craghead
Portland, OR

THE BAY STATE M.A.S.H.
Re: Lawrence Henry's Massachusetts Politics, and the Pro From Dover:

I wish Lawrence Henry the best of luck in his new life in The Peoples Republic of Massachusetts. He'll need it.

I left the Commonwealth last year for more hospitable climes, after a 5-year sojourn which I'll not soon forget. While I was not literally tarred, feathered and run out of town on a rail (the townsfolk of Newton, MA are far too dainty to engage in such vigorous activity, JFK-worship notwithstanding) I sure was relieved to see the state line in my rear-view mirror.

Here is the anecdote I'd like to get across to Mr. Henry:

As the 2000 elections approached, so did my daughter's 18th birthday. She had arranged to spend the autumn in Israel with her grandmother, and asked me to arrange an absentee ballot so she could perform the Quixotic but morally necessary act of voting Republican in Massachusetts.

I went on down to the Newton town elections office, and got on line. I heard the elderly couple ahead of me interacting with the clerk. They, too, were arranging an absentee ballot, and chatted about the cruise they'd be enjoying come Election Day.

The clerk asked them whether they wanted to continue to be registered as Democrats. Of course, the gentleman chuckled. "Of course!" replied the clerk. "We wouldn't want any Republicans signing up here, now would we ?"

When my turn came, the clerk explained that some paperwork would be mailed to my daughter for her signature, and on receipt of the signed form, she would be registered to vote in absentia. I passed in the form I'd completed on my daughter's behalf, and went home. The form indicated my daughter's wish to be registered as a Republican.

Needless to say, the paperwork never reached her in Israel, and she was not able to vote in the 2002 elections.

My wife and I did, though, and we noted that our Congressman, Mr. Barney Frank, ran unopposed, much as fellows such as Hosni Mubarak and Fidel Castro do. It seems to work for them.

Let's see how sanguine Mr. Henry is after a year or two in Massachusetts. Howie Carr, VB and Mitt Romney are simply not enough.
-- Paul Kotik
Plantation, Free State of Florida

Mitt Romney is from Belmont as almost everyone knows. Governor Francis Sargent was from Dover
-- Jill Fallon

Lawrence Henry replies: I lifted the phrase "Pro from Dover" from the movie M.A.S.H., where it was employed to describe an expert from out of town.

ROADMASTERING THE VOLVO 240
Re: Larry Thornberry's "Road Room" letter in Reader Mail's Road Conditions:

Dear Reader:

The same strata of people who drive SUV's today drove your Volvo back in the day. It's unfortunate that you never had the inclination to buy and experience the joy of a real American- conceived and manufactured ("proudly in Texas by Texan's") car -- The Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon. The Roadmaster -- which ceased production in 1995 -- featured sufficient space for the Reader's self- described ample frame; living room sofa comfortable full leather bench seats; 8 cylinders/ 275 horsepower engine (the same as used in the Corvette); and a host of amenities including a moon- roof and convincing aesthetically pleasing fake wood trim unavailable in the more expensive Volvo 240. Moreover, before you jump to any conclusions, Roadmaster gas mileage is comparable to the Volvo and mechanical "reliability" of the Roadmaster is demonstrably superior. It's tragic that you chose an uninspired auto designed by a bunch of socialist Nanny-state Swedes over a better American product.

I bought my Roadmaster new in 1994; maintain it in pristine condition; and take great pride in exhibiting the best of the quintessential American wagon in the face of tree-hugging, Bierkenstock-wearing lefties driving their dusty Volvo 240s (now "station cars") -- and the Yuppies with their mammoth SUV's who populate my leafy suburban New York Hillary-loving community. (By the way the great author Tom Wolfe also drives a Roadmaster Estate Wagon.) I'm dismayed that the Reader took the effort to extol the virtues of the Volvo 240 on the American Prowler website. Perhaps The Nation would serve as a more appropriate forum for your musings on this subject....
-- M.S. Crawford

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