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Our First Hate Mail

But reinforcements from WorldNetDaily save the day. Plus: Clinton, Hollywood, Bono and the GOP, Ben Stein v. Stanford Law, and more.

2.19.02

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ENGAGED TO BE LIBELED
You and your publication should be thrown in the garbage. You serve no earthly purpose and are engaged in what amounts to libel.
-- George Drewyor

THE BEAT GOES ON
So happy to have you all back. I missed you.
-- S.K. Singh

Boy I'm glad you are back!
-- Amy Lyons

I found your site by way of World Net Daily and I'll recommend to my on line friends that they stop by for a guaranteed interesting visit! Keep up the good writing!
-- Penny Phares

As a long time subscriber to "TAS" I have missed the unrepentant positions that were staked out so humorously. Now it seems I have found it again. You will be a daily read.
-- J. Peek
Dallas, TX
P.S. You should say thanks to WND for the referral. They too do a good job well.

Wow, what a great site. I read about you on FreeRepublic.com and checked it out. Thanks and keep up the good work.
-- Cheryl Gabbard

I just came across your new website today. Believe me, this little discovery is one of the nicest surprises I've had since Christmas 1968. I very much miss Amspeconline.com and I am thrilled to see all its sainted interlocutors (it seemed like I was carrying on a dialogue with them anyway) returning to the web.

Believe me, you have found another devoted reader.

Bon chance,
-- Dan Hogan

I was just introduced to your site by a link on www.worldnetdaily.com and I'll be adding your site to my Opera "Personal Bar" so I can get back again quickly!
-- Bill Hutchison

I was really pleased to discover your site -- I was a big fan of the old "Spectator" both in print and online.... Best wishes for your continued success.
-- Michael J. Duggan
Chicago, IL

Did I miss something when "TAS" changed over? I just happened onto this site from a WorldNetDaily link. Great to see you again,
-- Les Coffman

I stumbled onto "The American Prowler" through Lucianne Goldberg's website. As someone who was a faithful "American Spectator" reader long before it changed its size and complexion, this is a pleasant surprise! Warmest welcome back, old friends!
-- Hans Sachs

Hey, I missed you guys. Even though the worst of Clinton is over, his
"legacy" lingers on. I wish you every success.
-- Lamar Johnson
Beaverton OR

Great job! I will be a daily reader. Best wishes!
-- Steve McVeigh

Lotsa luck!

From the 1970's: "A liberal is a parent whose children haven't been mugged yet."
-- Yehoshua Kunkel
Brooklyn, NY

HOLLYWOOD MOCKS CLINTON
Hollywood Laughing at Clinton? Why should they of all people laugh at anyone? They are a reflection of old Bill and Hillary
-- E. Bridges

GIFTS THAT KEEP ON GIVING
Re: "It wasn't a hunt for dirt, just to make a point that gift-giving and gift-taking is a problem in the executive branch that has to be fixed."

This is the problem, we keep making new laws, new regulations, but don't do anything about the two that caused this problem!! When is everyone going to realize what crooks these two, heck three throw Chelsea in there, are!! We need to do something about them!!! Camp X-Ray!
-- Kaya Kittelson

PRO BONO
Everyone wants to portray Bono as nice and kind hearted because of the crusade to "forgive" debt to third world countries. The net result of Bono's activism is the U.S. and Western taxpayers (parochial slobs who don't even rate a footnote in the story) will pay large concerns like Citibank, Chase and other giants through taxes and higher rates for the losses they absorbed. Bono gets PR points plugging for the poor while doing the legwork of Big Money.
How sublime!
-- MV

Re: "Bono is best known for his longtime advocacy of debt relief for third-world nations and has lobbied the United States Congress for debt forgiveness for African and Latin American countries."

Tell me this: How does an Irish citizen claim the right to ask the USA to forgive a debt to yet another country? I uphold his right to free speech, but his request is totally out of line; I suppose the liberals who strive to give away our money just love this guy!
-- Janet Carroll
Irvine, CA

In re: Bono and Republicans. When U2 played the MCI Center in D.C last year, he invited Senator Jesse Helms to attend (who did). There was something in the "Washington Post" about it. Helms said it was the loudest thing he'd ever heard but admired Bono's ability to "dance and move around like that all night," or words to that effect.

From Republican U2 fan in MD (help!).
-- Rick Hiteshew

GROUND UP
I really liked your blurb today about Terry McAuliffe, which I didn't see highlighted in the other media.
-- James Casey

THE SOUTH SIDE
Just a quick note to tell you how much I enjoyed Dave Shiflett's article titled "Tinkletown." You have to wonder just what is being taught in schools all across America when you hear a someone say "We were told that this kind of thing only happens in the South". I heard a weeping Columbine student say this to a reporter on that fateful day and the reporter just nodded and then asked another question.
-- Monty Goolsby

FOR THE LOVE OF MONEY
Ben Stein appears to have received the same talking points memo as Paul Krugman, who, in his February 1, NY Times column stated:

"Once upon a time, the threat of lawsuits hung over companies and auditors that engaged in sharp accounting practices. But in 1995 Congress, overriding a veto by Bill Clinton, passed the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, which made such suits far more difficult."

The facts are otherwise, as the Once Respected Economist and Mr. Stein could have discovered in about 60 seconds on the Internet. Take, for instance, this from the Stanford Law School site, which gives the following figures for number of such lawsuits:

1991 -- 164
1992 -- 202
1993 -- 163
1994 -- 231
1995 -- 188

Total 948

For the five years following passage of the legislation Krugman claims, "made such suits far more difficult," the numbers are:

1996 -- 110
1997 -- 178
1998 -- 236
1999 -- 209
2000 -- 216

Total 949

AND, for the year 2001 the number was 486 (more than double any year pre-PSLRA).

I excerpt from the same Stanford website:

"While vigorous debate continues to swirl regarding the merits of class action securities fraud litigation, certain patterns appear to characterize litigation behavior during the five-year period since adoption of the PSLRA. In particular:
• The absolute number of issuers sued does not appear to have changed dramatically since passage of the Act. Litigation activity declined in 1996, but that decline was likely a transition effect;
• Since passage of the Reform Act, a larger percentage of litigation activity centers on allegations of accounting fraud, with revenue recognition issues emerging as particularly significant causes of litigation;
• Since passage of the Reform Act, a larger percentage of litigation activity also alleges trading by corporate insiders during periods when frauds are allegedly "alive" in the market;
• The dollar magnitude of settlement has increased noticeably, particularly in the settlement of "mega-cases." There have been three post-Reform Act settlements in excess of $200 million. The Cendant litigation was settled for $3.525 billion ($3.185 billion in the common equity settlement and $340 million in the Prides settlement.), the 3-Com litigation was settled for $259 million, and the Waste Management litigation was settled for $220 million."

Another source has this to say:

"Be careful what you ask for. You may just get it.

"Take, for example, the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, which Congress passed in December 1995 over President Clinton's veto....

"[S]ecurities class action filings in federal courts have actually increased, from 188 in 1995, to 238 in 1999, according to National Economic Research Associates (NERA), an economic consulting and analysis firm based in New York. " ...
-- Patrick R. Sullivan
Kent, WA

Ben Stein replies: The answer to this is that it is to be expected that there would be an increase in fraud claims after a spectacular stock bubble and its bursting. The numbers by themselves without reference to what was happening in the world outside, where fraud had become a commonplace, are meaningless.

And of course one expects anti-shareholders comments from Stanford Law School, where major anti-shareholder sentiments are rooted in certain faculty members.

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