Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

Latter-day Complaints

From the September 2013 issue

Jeremy Lott’s recent article (“Stranger in a Mormon Land,” TAS, July-August 2013) is certainly thought-provoking, but not always thoughtful. The only “keeper” was the insight describing how a Jew might think and feel when attending a Christian church for the first time. The remainder of the article is not terribly informed and makes the too-common mistake of focusing on differences instead of similarities among religions. (It is bad enough we hear so much Mormon-bashing in the dominant media; I expect more from a writer for one of my favorite magazines.)

It is not quite clear what we are to make of your response to the Mormon who said, “If you pray about this….” The flippant “Yeah, I’ll get right on that,” is downright disrespectful, if not arrogant (surely arrogance is not a typical characteristic of Catholics?). Your other “theological brickbats” don’t serve a useful purpose either.

Can only one of the Christian sects be right? Of the five major world religions—Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism—can only one be right, or even worse (as some atheists contend viewing the plethora of beliefs), are none?

Odds & Ends

Mama Grizzly 2016?

From the July-August 2013 issue

Three cheers for your headlining “Sarah Palin’s Rack” feature article in your May issue—a timely, overdue tribute to, and partial defense of, the most falsely, diabolically maligned and crucified political figure in memory.

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

From the June 2013 issue

James Taranto deals with a basic human problem (“Journalism That Dare Not Speak Its Name,” TAS, April 2013): bias, agenda, worldview, paradigm, ultimate concern, religion, excuse for living. He handles Pexton’s covert “reporter” about as well as can be expected, given the secrecy complication. Unfortunately, that “reporter” gets away with straw manning conservatives as having the same bias as Leftists: fairness, i.e. equality. Well, whose “equality”? John Rawls was very clever. He reduced justice to fairness and put right ahead of good. A leading academic. A sophist maybe?

Odds & Ends

Her Unrequited Letter

By From the May 2013 issue

TOM BETHELL's “Black Plight: Conflict With Unions” (TAS, April 2013) touches on something very important: human nature. The human nature that the Founders of our country and the authors of the U.S. Constitution clearly understood and feared. The fears of those great men have come true. Self-interest is number one. The embedded civil rights leaders have cushy jobs, some with wealth and notoriety. Those jobs are directly linked to the Democratic Party and are opposed by the Republican Party. So human nature dictates that they do the bidding of those progressives. If others—such as black kids—suffer, so be it; what is important to them is that they keep their livelihoods. And most or many of us would do the same.The same holds true for labor union bosses. They use workers’ dues to finance the election of Democrats who keep legislating to support unions. Racism, unions over kids, black kids without a father, without an education, without a job, but with gangs, guns, and drugs—none of that matters so long as the Jesse Jacksons (Sr.

Odds & Ends

Those Dastardly Mailmen

By From the April 2013 issue


I SUBSCRIBE TO MANY magazines, and try to read most of them. Of course, I’m saving up National Geographic until I’m paralyzed, retired, or dead. I’ve noticed that my favorites, like The American Spectator, National Review, Weekly Standard, and American Rifleman sustain considerable damage in transit through the USPS. Commentary is too thick to damage, and Playboy has a plain black wrapper, so they are OK.

Reading the March letters, I see that several people don’t like the new, improved, larger format. I have to agree. My mailman, I suspect, doesn’t like it either, since in the past he only tore it a few inches in. Now he tears it halfway through. Also, I disagree that the past format was particularly ugly. And since Mr. Clinton was the main topic, years ago (he misses it), the magazine has greatly improved in content and relevance.

Stephen DeGray

Via the Internet

I TOO DISLIKE the new format. I keep my back issues of many magazines and the size is not compatible with this storage...

Odds & Ends

She Loves Me… She Loves Me Not

From the March 2013 issue

Jerry W. Gerde, a board member of this magazine, passed away in January in Panama City, Florida, where he had practiced law for over four decades. I remember Jer for many things—often very hilarious things—but we should all remember him for at least one thing. Without him I doubt there would have been an American Spectator.

It was he who suggested that I join the conservative movement. At Indiana University in the early 1960s, the administration in its innocence made Jer my roommate. We had never met, yet suddenly Jer, a farm boy from an admittedly non-traditional farm family in Crown Point, Indiana, and I, a native of the Chicago suburbs, were thrust together in an all-male dormitory under the relatively harsh disciplinary system of the university. That is relative to today’s standards. There were hours for the co-eds, dress codes for both sexes, all sorts of rules and thus all sorts of opportunities for getting into trouble…and we did, both of us.

Odds & Ends


From the February 2013 issue

I have been a subscriber to your excellent magazine for years. Recently I received a copy from the efficient folks at the Post Office with an extra cover saying that this would be my last issue. (I used to buy AmSpec at the bookstore because the union thugs at the P.O. kept tearing the covers or losing the issues. After notifying the Postmaster, the abuse stopped.)

I checked my account and it is not even close to expired. So I checked the name on the cover, Gerald W. Oliver, to contact him to see if he had my issue, or none at all—a terrible fate, as I had already read, coffee-stained, and dog-eared his.

His phone was disconnected but I found the following obituary in our local “Progressive” rag:

TRAVERSE CITY—Gerald W. “Jerry” Oliver, 85, of Traverse City, passed away Sunday, May 29, 2011.

He was born on Oct. 11, 1925, in Jackson, the second son of Harry E. Oliver, of North Dorchester, Ontario, Canada, and Elizabeth Wines, of Howell. The family moved to Traverse City in 1937, and Jerry graduated from Traverse City High School with the class of 1942.

Odds & Ends

Grenades and Guts

By From the December 2012 - January 2013 issue


FOR A FORMER UNITED STATES MARINE, Daniel J. Flynn makes a surprising error in the November issue (“The Battle of Gangjal,” TAS, November 2012). Reviewing his fellow Marine Dakota Meyer’s new book Into the Fire, Mr. Flynn writes that at a crucial moment in combat in Afghanistan, Corporal Meyer’s M203 (an M16 rifle with a grenade launcher mounted below the barrel) failed to function. This was due, Mr. Flynn speculates, to “dud” ammunition, causing a 40mm grenade round to bounce harmlessly off the chest of a charging enemy only “two feet” away from Corporal Meyer.

While one would be tempted in such a situation to curse hungover munitions factory workers back home, Mr. Flynn—being a proud former Leatherneck—should know that there is a more likely explanation.

Odds & Ends

Pollsters in Black Robes

By From the November 2012 issue


CONCERNY RANDY BARNETT'S EXCELLENT ARTICLE in the September issue (The Wages of Crying ‘Restraint,' TAS, September 2012), a few observations on judicial review and tenure: In Marbury v. Madison (1803), the United States Supreme Court established its authority to review judicially and invalidate statutes it believed to be unconstitutional.

Let’s look at the record:

In Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), the Supreme Court issued a ruling that made compromise impossible and was, therefore, the immediate cause of the Civil War, which cost 600,000 lives.

In Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the Court ruled that equality rather than excellence is the paramount requirement of public education and thereby ruined it. Virtually no public figure has since chosen to use public education for his or her child.

Odds & Ends

There Ain’t No Magic Stash

From the October 2012 issue


Gov. Rick Scott’s gutsy piece, “More Medicaid? No Thanks” (TAS, September 2012) sparked some thoughts: One of the huge problems with federal/state “partnerships” is that they introduce more debt where it would otherwise be avoided, and more legal counterfeiting where it would otherwise be impossible.