ORDINARY FOLKS LIKE US
Re: Robert Stacy McCain's The Ordinary American:
Common sense ain' t common, and "ordinary," as it certainly applies to Joe Wurzelbacher, sure ain't ordinary. I'm 64, conservative and Christian, and I aspire to be as "ordinary" as Joe. Thank God for him.
-- Mike Smith
Welcome back to the 1770s. The LibTories want to control hoi polloi, who exist to finance zany academic schemes devised by those more inclined to think than to observe.
What is needed now is what was needed then: Revolution. Only force will end the farce.
-- David Govett
PRIDE BEFORE A FALL
Re: Thirsty McWormwood's Dear Arlen:
I've been wondering how ol' Arlen must be feeling about the Democrat "Big Tent" and this piece renders a nice summary. In the world of "hard hardball" the (now) junior senator from PA seems to have plunked himself on the posterior, which, I must admit, is a very impressive feat.
Hubris can deliver awesome and fascinating lessons. I hope that the RNC leadership understands the lessons here, but I'm not so sure. Hint: look beyond the spectacle of ol' Arlen himself to the lesson about trifling with this bunch of Dems. It's a lesson neither President Bush could master.
As to the (now) junior Senator from PA, this is what "just desserts" looks like, right?
-- Reid Bogie
POOR MEANS NO CHOICES
Re: Joseph Lawler's No One Vouching for Them:
I believe that Joseph Lawler is mistaken when he writes, "Furthermore, neither he (Obama) nor Arne Duncan entrusted their own children to the D.C. public school system, sending them to prestigious private schools instead."
It is true that the Obama girls study at a prestigious private school, but I think Duncan lives in the Alexandria public school district, and sends his children to public school. But this explains the resistance of white suburbia to vouchers and school choice. Professionals like Duncan work hard so that they can choose their neighborhood. The primary factor in the choice of neighborhood is the quality of the school district. White upper-middle class America already has "school choice," because they can choose where to live. Of course, this is true of Black upper-middle class America. Happily, prosperous white people generally have no problems with prosperous Black people living in their school district. They may be concerned, however, should families like Fields, or Shavazz, with average incomes of $24,300 per year, have a school choice that includes their suburban school.
-- Dan Martin
All good socialists remember (if not truly understand) the teachings of Hegel, Marx and Lenin. Hegel wrote, "The true courage of civilized nations is readiness for sacrifice in the service of the state, so that the individual counts as only one amongst many. The important thing here is not personal mettle but aligning oneself with the universal." So, where is the surprise that Obama, his acolytes and the Democratic s are quickly willing to "consign these 1700 kids to mediocrity"? The NEA, like all unions no matter what the level, has a fiduciary responsibility to its members, to protect its membership; the relationship between member and union is based on tshis assumption of mutual self-interests, but experienced members of unions have learned that the numerous person in position of power, much like many members of Congress, choose to supersede their interest above all others. This is certainly the case in Washington D.C. and the strangulation of it voucher programs. The problems with the school system are myriad, and choice is but one answer. Quality teachers want to teach. We do not fear school choice vouchers. No one tool is going to fix our nation’s schools. Choice does not address the choking levels of bureaucracy that kill both innovation and initiative. Privatizing schools, charter schools and alternative schools are a great place to start, but what is called for is more than just rhetoric about vouchers.
What can be more revolutionary in today’s climate than going against the growing momentum of federalism? The radical (though most) logical solution is block grants to the states. If the federal government must be involved at all, let it set standards (and set them high, for American schools still produces some of the greatest minds in the world), otherwise, let the federal government get out of the way. States have proven to be hot houses of innovation in many areas, including health care and welfare reform. A one size fits all, such as NCLB, is a formula for waste, bureaucracy and inefficiency. Fifty experiments in fifty states not only increases the probability of finding many solid solutions at lower costs, but it also returns authority and responsibility to where it belongs: with the people. Letting go of power is antithetical to Washington's ethos, but this is, at least for now, the government of the people for the people. Teachers are not the problem. Teachers are part of the solution. And if you are reading this, please remember to thank a teacher.
-- Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York
Re: Ralph R. Reiland's The Collectivist Fix Is In:
Having bought my first and last American-designed vehicle in 1973, normally I wouldn't have a dog in this fight. I wouldn't buy an American design if the Government gave me the money. The present situation bears on part of the reason I wouldn't own one. That doesn't mean I think the current situation is the least bit desirable nor do I think those that want American designs are going to like the outcome of Government Motors when all is said and done.
When I bought that '73 Ford Pinto, UAW labor cost (wage and benefit) was something like $22.00 an hour. Not long after this Chrysler was headed to its first bankruptcy. I was making less than $3.00 so my wages and benefits cost to my employer was around $4-4.50 an hour. I had a two year degree at that time. By the time Chrysler did go bankrupt I was well into my four year degree and my cost had risen to around $7-8.00 an hour. It wasn't until around 2000 that I actually matched the hourly rate of the average UAW worker who needs but a high school diploma to start out at $28.00 an hour. Most people with an undergraduate degree can relate to where I'm coming from here. To add insult to injury here, the people who made my current car 20 years ago make essentially the same hourly rate as their brothers in the UAW but their cost is similar to my cost after 37 years in my profession. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the UAW's 50% higher wages and benefits cost makes everything they make cost at least $2000.00 more expensive than their non-union competitors. I used to work with rocket scientists so I've confirmed this with them. Why do you think Chevy is pushing the $40,000 Volt rather than a direct competitor to what is now a $21,000 Toyota Prius? How many people in this country do you think can really afford a $40,000 vehicle?
The two things that bother me the most about this are, one, the government has essentially nationalized both GM and Chrysler and then turned the company over to the very union that has destroyed their competitiveness over the last four decades. Two, I'm now being forced to make someone else's vehicle payment where in fact there are no buyers in the first place. I think this is blatantly unconstitutional but hey, when has that ever mattered to government? The first person who says borrowing money to subsidize/buy into the operation of GM and Chrysler isn't forcing me to pay wins a prize.
Government Motors announced a stellar quarter of only $6 billion in losses and an extended shutdown in the not too distant future, but the second and third quarters are likely going to make this look like a cake walk. Even my friends who are fiercely loyal to their "brand" and want to buy "American" are going to have very conflicted emotions when the UAW gets handed ownership of these companies and propped up by the government while they and their businesses suffer the consequences of this economic downturn while helping to subsidize the new owners of the Government Motors Group.
I'm inclined to agree with those that say these two companies are "toast." George Will wrote over a year ago that Detroit and its problems are a microcosm of our larger Nanny State and its pending insolvency. The Government just keeps subsidizing failure at every turn.
Government Motors is losing enough to build four new Nimitz class carriers a year, or what 168 F-22 Rapters would cost. The market has spoken. All that is left to do is bury the corpses. I hope the UAW is happy with their handiwork. They have, after all, run Government Motors for some time and have now run it into the ground at the cost of several tens of thousands of former UAW workers paying the cost so a tiny few can continue to live a lie.
-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia
THE DECLINE OF THE WEST
Re: Bill Croke's The Map:
Waall (that's the way it's said in the West, isn't it), the left side of the Rockies is still alive. Just want to let ol' Bill Croke know that out here in the hinterlands of Oregon this weekend Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show will be staged in Prairie City, Oregon. The West ain't dead yet. If Bill would like some pictures, I've got one of those new-fangled digital cameras that'll put him right there.
-- William Ferry
MY PAPACY FOR A COMPETENT EDITOR
Re: George Neumayr's L'Osservatore Romano and the Illuminati:
Sadly, it's been a steady downhill slide in the Vatican media ever since Fr. Guido Sarducci left.
Fr. Sarducci was a beacon of light and hope, a shining star to follow, a tough hard-hitting journalist, the likes of which have not been heard from since.
Come back, Fr. Guido, and be a Guiding Light again!
-- A. C. Santore
CALLING INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISTS
Re: Matthew Vadum's Conyers Kills ACORN Probe:
Who else is behind the support ACORN is getting from politicians?
This organization has been suspect in 14 States, for voter registration fraud, to pay for votes. They will receive millions of dollars from tax payers. Why? Something is very wrong. It needs a deep hard look.
-- Jim Buhaley
BECAUSE HE LIKES DEMOCRATS
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s The Liberals Are Snickering:
I thought Justice Souter showed a certain amount of disloyalty, retiring when he did. If he hated life in Washington as much as is claimed, couldn't he have resigned during the previous -- Republican -- administration?
-- Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida
PEACEFUL IS AS PEACEFUL DOES
Re: Roger Scruton's Free Speech in Europe:
A few observations concerning Mr. Scruton's article and his remarks about the book of Joshua and the Koran:
A point Mr. Scruton overlooks is that the book of Joshua has not inspired war by Jews against the goyim all over the world. Also, the actions described in Joshua took place in a defined time and place. So our concerns with Joshua are of rather a different sort than those created by the Koran and Islam.
On the other hand, the Koran has inspired more than 1300 years of war against the infidel by Islam's adherents. Mr. Scruton is surely aware of the observation by Bernard Lewis that Islam has bloody borders. There is no reason to doubt that it always will.
I suppose killings inspired by the Koran could be considered a form of human sacrifice; certainly such killing is considered to be pleasing to Allah, and a fulfillment of a believer's religious duty.
People who've studied the Koran maintain that its theology is a jumble of Christian, Jewish, and pagan traditions and teachings. If that's so, Mr. Scruton probably does recognize "a heartfelt invocation of the pious life" in some parts of it. I suggest that Mr. Scruton, and the rest of us, would be wise to give more weight to 1300 years of war and massacre than to elements of piety borrowed from other religions by a hugely successful Arabian version of Jim Jones.
TIME FOR A NEW SUBSCRIPTIOn
Re: Bill Murchison's Killing Time:
I stopped reading Time in June '67, folloing the Six-Day War. I lived in an Arab country -- the Time version was so out of line (I am not pro-Arab), that the reporting did not fit what I hear from my Jewish and Arab friends. End of Time.
Sugar Land, Texas
A BASELESS PROPOSAL
Re: Ira Kessel's letter (under "Tip-NATO-ing Out of the Alliance") in Reader Mail's Judged in Advance:
Ira Kessel makes several valid points about the usefulness of NATO today but misses a few downsides that can not simply be discounted.
We have a fraction of the forces left in Europe we had during the height of the Cold War and in partner with NATO. We did not bring home the forces we used to have to bolster our defenses here -- we disbanded them completely. We've cut our deployable combat unit in half as a result. We've sold off excess hardware to so-called "allies" or simply cannibalized them for parts. We've closed numerous bases and facilities where such units would have to be based. It does not have to happen that way, but trust me on this, the cost to move our last remaining forces out of Europe and relocate them here would be enormous and my money is on that they would be disbanded to save that cost just as all the other forces "brought home" were. Same for South Korea.
Without the bases and facilities we access through NATO we would have to stage every mission from the Continental US. Aside from the shear logistical cost, the extra 4,000 miles or so of transport time each way would require a significantly larger logistical base of transport equipment and supplies. Our bases in Europe are a critical stage point for movement to and from the Middle East, and nothing is going to change our need to go there in the remainder of my life time.
If we withdraw out of NATO we will essentially withdraw from the world as far as military capability is concerned. If we have no "skin" in what goes on in Europe then Europe will not allow us to use their land as a stage. Military bases are always legitimate targets in warfare. We aren't there to protect Europe any longer.
Ira's points are valid in the political sense but from not from a military point of view. Like it or not, NATO is a sideshow as a military force. It's our capability to deal with larger fish that keeps us in the game.
-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia