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9.17.02

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DRY RUN:
Re: The Washington Prowler's Veto Relief:

What the Prowler failed to mention is that the House has not passed such drought relief and there is little chance it will. Thus many of the Senators had a "free vote" knowing it would never become law.
-- Kate Logsdon

DELAYED REACTION
Re: George Neumayr's Churchill and India:

Mr. Neumayr's article, admiring the prescience of Mr. Churchill in the inability of Indians to run their own affairs in the absence of "Western" influence, is an anachronistic, inaccurate and condescending opinion. What is more troubling, however, that such a view should find a place on your website. The imperialistic doctrine has been dead for over half a century now and its demise began in the United States over 200 years ago. The conflict between India and Pakistan is complex and has numerous roots, not the least of which was pernicious and malicious "western" interference at the time of Independence. To assign the current scenario to the withdrawal of the British is akin to saying in 1863 that the Civil War shows that the United States should never have been free.
-- Narender

WELCHERS
Re: Peter Hannaford's Four Ways for CEOs to Retire:

I live in the greater Corning/Painted Post area of Upstate New York. The city of Corning has a population of maybe 12,000 at most. When factoring in its multitude of little burbs, the population is said to be about 35,000. Corning Inc. is the major employer of quality jobs in this valley. A couple of years ago Corning Inc., at its manufacturing height, employed 8,200 locals. However, those halcyon days are long gone since the telecom bubble burst and Corning (company and town) got slimed in the process. Several thousand locals have since been laid off/fired.

To add insult to our local economic injury, the CEO, John Loose, "retired" this April with a sackful of goodies. Mr. Loose had been with the company for over three decades, but he was CEO a mere sixteen months when he suddenly decided he needed to spend more time with his family. When Mr. Loose left, Jamie Houghton came out of his retirement to assume the reigns once again of the company his family had, at one time, controlled. Mr. Loose was frolicking in Europe when this was announced.

As CEO retirement packages go, Mr. Loose's might be considered almost paltry. But in this community, where people, who had worked their entire lives, were being summarily dumped with no viable employment prospects awaiting them, the news of a $6Million cash payment, plus an annual lifetime pension of nearly $1Million, is obscene.

Besides ensuring his hefty stock options, the company also agreed to buy his newly built home for the amount he put into it so he wouldn't lose a penny. The 6,672-square-foot-house is assessed for $838,500, which makes it one of the most expensive homes in the area. Plus, the company will pay for the storage and transportation of the Looses' household furnishings. Try telling that with sincerity to those who have not been able to sell their homes, even at a loss.

But the perk which galls the most is a security system, for the home of his choice, to the tune of $35,000. I should say that I never have, and don't now, work for Corning Inc. I have no family member who is unemployed thanks to Corning Inc. However, it did occur to me that $35,000 is an average salary, which promoted further thought: Which employee was dumped so Mr. Loose can sleep at night?
-- Kitty Myers
Painted Post, NY

Not to plagiarize Daffy Duck's marvelous rendition of Robin Hood, but "Yoicks" is the hunting call when Brits stampede off after an unfortunate fox. Now the press -- and Peter Hannaford -- have joined in the chase after Jack Welch.

For shame.

From today's Wall Street Journal Online:

"SEC Investigates Package That GE Offered to Welch

"FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- General Electric Co. said Monday that the Securities and Exchange Commission is conducting an informal investigation into the retirement package the company granted former Chairman and Chief Executive John F. Welch Jr.

"GE said it received a request from the SEC on Friday, a day after the conglomerate's board modified Mr. Welch's post-retirement benefits to include only an office and administrative support. The move came in response to widespread criticism of the perks, which included use of the company's Manhattan apartment and corporate planes.

"GE said it will cooperate fully with the inquiry.

"The SEC decision to open the inquiry comes amid a series of disclosures involving alleged misbehavior by top-level executives at a number of U.S. companies.

"In a column published Monday in The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Welch said he agreed to pay the company between $2 million and $2.5 million a year for use of the apartment and planes, among other things.

"'In these times when public confidence and trust have been shaken, I've learned the hard way that perception matters more than ever. In this environment, I don't want a great company with the highest integrity dragged into a public fight because of my divorce proceedings,' he said in the Journal column.

"Mr. Welch is challenging a divorce-case filing by his estranged wife, Jane, which argues that the retired CEO enjoys an 'extraordinary' lifestyle thanks in part to GE-provided benefits."

It may be appropriate to "dis" Jack, even though his contributions to GE's success during his tenure more than justify the retirement package he received, and Hannaford implies that he "demanded" these perks, but how does he know?

I thought it was the Democrats in Congress who want to tar all CEOs with the same brush.

Disgustedly,
-- Bob Johnson
Bedford, TX

PLANE WRONG
Re: Reader Mail's The Plane F-106 Truth and R. Emmett Tyrrell's Chicken Hawk Squawk:

After sticking my neck out (common practice for a Defense Contractor) -- I checked out George W. Bush's official biography and confirmed he was an F-102 pilot.

The F-102 has its design roots going back to 1949 and build history through the mid-50's. It was replaced in active Air Force (NORAD) service by the F-106. Flying a worn-out, used jet fighter in the early 70's qualifies as a "risky scheme"... Uh -- certainly more risky than a Vietnam army war correspondent with a personal bodyguard (right Mr. Gore?). Whenever the liberals get over chest beating as foreign policy expertise (unless that is all they have) they'll get down to the real issues in the Iraq debate.

As far as the JCS reluctance to go to war with Iraq - how could you recommend a SECOND FRONT after taking inventory of an Armed Force that still shows starvation symptoms after eight years of SecDefs Aspen and Cohen? Planners and decision makers who wear the uniform are more concerned about readiness and logistics-than the political musings of spinners trying to avoid a Democratic foreign policy disaster prior to the November elections.
-- Mike Horn
LTC, Military Intelligence
US Army Reserve, retired
Dublin, CA

The F-106 Delta Dart was built by Convair. It was an all-weather interceptor based on the F-102 Delta Dagger. The F-106 had more powerful engines and structural reinforcements. About 300 were built. Do a Google search on F-106 for numerous links & photos.
-- John Manguso
San Antonio, TX

I was born in February 1938, I served in Uncle Sam's walking army from December 27, 1957 until September 26, 1960. No wars were going on while I was "on the inside." My initial primary MOS (Military Occupation Specialty, I think), was that of a "Light Weapons Infantryman." I was sent to Korea in August 1958 where I was assigned to Bravo Company, First Battle Group, 5th Cavalry which was attached to the 1st Cavalry Division. There's lots of Cavalry in the name but let me tell you we were nothing if not infantry. I guess if a war had happened while I was in the Army I would have been a prime candidate for a little shoot 'em up action but it didn't and therefore I wasn't. Query: Does the fact that I chose the exact right time to be born make me a Chickenhawk? If not, how about Dick Cheney, he's a year or so older than I? Pat Buchanan? I think he was born in 1939.

I guess you can get on their case for not serving in the military, but to say they dodged the draft for fear of being shot at is simply not true. No one was shooting at anyone from about 1953 in Korea until 1964, or thereabouts, in Vietnam.

It seems to me that anyone born between 1935 and 1944 would have had to be very unlucky or a career soldier to have been in any danger whatsoever of becoming cannon fodder.

It's a simple matter of numbers not guts or the lack thereof.
-- Larry R. Duncan
Reynosa, Tamaulipas

REMEDIAL LATIN
Re: Jed Babbin's The EU's War on NATO:

While I wholeheartedly share the authors opinion on the EU and its minions, I do have to take exception to one statement. Towards the end of his otherwise well reasoned treatise he utters the words "Saddam delenda est" -- now far be it for me to disagree with the intent, but it would appear that he has put the cart before the horse. To paraphrase Cicero, the more accurate sentiment would appear to be "praeterio censeo Saddam esse delendam." Hopefully by next summer we can use his phrasing, but the bear should be shot before the pelt is disposed of -- but what do I know, I am just a lowly neurologist.

Peace,
-- Svend Gothgen

Jed Babbin replies:: I greatly appreciate Dr. Gothgen's comments, and those of the many other Latin scholars I have heard from on this point. The phrase, "Carthago esse delendam" is one attributed to Cato the Elder, also known as Cato the Censor. It means, "I think Carthage must be destroyed." That is the reference with which I began. After suffering much correction, I now believe that "Carthago delenda est" or "Carthage must be destroyed" is more likely the correct quote. It serves me right for using any Latin. My skills regarding language are, demonstrably, limited to English. But I will persevere in using Saddam delendum est, which I believe to be correct, using the masculine "delendus."

RAWHIDE LAND
Re: Bill Croke's Big Eli and Little Wahb:

I read my first Bill Croke article a couple of weeks ago when he wrote on the sad state of politics in my home state, Oregon. He described the terrible climate perfectly. I was impressed and I still am after reading his story about Meeteetse, WY. Mr. Croke has an excellent knack for getting to the heart of the matter and laying it all out in easy to read and understand terms. His talent deserves a tip of the hat. The comments about the horse poop in the streets during the annual parade reminded my of my days as a newly minted school principal of a very large grade school in a very small eastern Oregon town. That would be Heppner, OR, which is about 90 miles southwest of Pendleton, OR. I spent five years there from 1966 to 1971.

The school, grades K-8, consisted to two buildings divided by a public street which got a good bit of traffic by local standards. The upper grades, 5-8, were housed in the old high school building, a three-story light brick structure that had more coats of paint on the interior walls than Elizabeth Taylor has layers of makeup. The primary grades building, grades K-4, was a newer split level red brick building. The offices for the school secretary and myself were in the newer building. When I arrived, I was aghast at the state of the complex. Mainly there was a communication problem. The only way to contact someone from the older building was to make a phone call to the teachers' lounge on the top floor or to actually walk across the street and up the stairs to the individual's room. There was a third building which housed the gymnasium, dressing rooms and the band room. By the way, there was only two single phone lines to serve the entire school. I requested an upgrade that included four separate phone lines and an intercom system to every room. It was the best investment I ever made.

Anyway, each fall and spring there was a cattle drive right down the road between the two classroom buildings. We had cow pies and horse poop all over the street and even on the lawn areas in front of the buildings. When the primary kids walked across the street to the cafeteria in the old building, they had to tread carefully for a few days. The trail boss would always ride ahead to warn me that the herd was coming and outriders did an outstanding job of keeping the herd bunched up. We never let the kids go outside when the cattle were being moved. In my graduate school studies which led to my principal's license, I never saw a college level course in Cattle Drive Management.

I was, and I suppose still am, a city dude so I never quite fit in with the wild west culture though I admire it greatly. The individualism, self-reliance, thrift, hard work and honest dealings are traits that I strongly believe in and follow. The folks there are, I think, much like those in Meeteetse and mostly conservative Republicans. There are notable exceptions, though. They can be seen when the federal gumment hands out the farm welfare checks for not growing so much wheat and barley. The farmers take the taxpayers' money, keep their mouths shut and place orders for new pickups and private airplanes.

It would be a pleasure to read Mr. Croke's impressions of state politics in Massachusetts, though it might be physically difficult for him as he would have to write it while holding his nose. He is a fine writer with good insights and instincts. I look forward to more Bill Croke.
-- Al Martin
Portland, OR

MAHONY'S CATHEDRAL
Re: George Neumayr's The Cardinal's Superdome:

It looks like a Masonic mausoleum, a fitting tribute to the funeral industry that financed it.

God bless,
-- Irene Groot
San Jose, CA

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