TWO WRONGS DON'T MAKE A...
Re: Lisa Fabrizio's Is the Rev. Wright Right?:
Ms. Fabrizio writes a very good column this time. She is undoubtedly correct in her analysis of the situation. I am concerned, however with one of her points. I believe that our modern society MAY have left the point too far in the rear view mirror.
Lisa writes; "We used to salute as 'Captains of Industry,' risk-takers who invested their own money in order to found solid companies which used their profits to create jobs for all classes of people. These men drove the machine that fueled the American dream."
Lisa, I am not convinced that we do not still salute them, on the rare occasions that we can find one. I am also not sure that there are enough of them left to count on the fingers of one hand without fingers left over. It seems to me that you would be hard pressed to identify an individual or company that invested significant sums of their own money in some new idea or process. At least not without a considerable contribution, in the form of subsidies and grants from state and national levels of government, our tax dollars at work, whether we like it or not. When was the last wonder drug brought to market without government funding for research and development. When was the last energy source or system developed without significant government funding. Even the Internet was developed in university labs by researchers that were in whole or in part funded by government grants -- the grants were not specifically for the Internet, but money in fungible. And these are just examples. I would argue that the point applies across the spectrum of business, industry, and innovation.
Lisa, please identify a dozen or so current "Captains of Industry" that are risk takers. They are, for the most, part folks that went to school until they had their MBAs in hand. They then hired on to some semi-large to gigantic corporation and rose within the ranks on bureaucratic skills, along with making good safe decisions that could not get them in trouble. In due time, after serving their time in the ranks, they were given the keys to the executive elevator, and they were on their way, they had broken through. Now they could sign on to their executive contracts that guaranteed good salaries, giant bonuses, plentiful stock options, and no take backs for poor performance. If fact, if you manage to lose money, to tank your company, you will be released from the Captain's chair with a severance package that would have made King Midas steal off like a thief in the night. They are, too often, little more than the private sector equivalent of a GS-18 or so in the federal Civil Service. Think the auto companies, think ENRON, think Wall Street, think the whole financial industry, think on and on.
Would you seriously argue that FedEx or UPS is the same excellently run company that it started as, that they have not deteriorated from the start up risk takers? Are you seriously suggesting that Sam Walton is not doing 9000 RPMs in his grave to see what WalMart has become? Do you even remember when everything sold in WarMart was made in the USA? Did you even know that Mr. Sam used to visit each and every store every year, and that he opined that if you could be reached on your office phone, you were not doing your job? If you can't think of a hundred more examples, then you aren't trying.
Now I don't completely blame the corporate executives alone. A good start on the problem would be to disbar 25% of the lawyers in America and reduce the admissions to law school by 50% per year ad infinitum. Nevertheless, I would suggest that the people and companies that fulfill the perimeters that you lay out in the quoted paragraph above are a rare breed indeed. The folks in the very top strata of business today are a very hard group to love and admire, even for a hard core, Milton Friedman, Conservative, Capitalist like myself.
But hey, the rest of the column is great.
-- Ken Shreve
Excellent Lisa! "The truth will set you free!" This is the kind of dialog that needs to be discussed in the MSM in order to bring it into the nation's consciousness and dispel the many falsehoods about which party is really to blame for so many of societies' ills. Unfortunately, the falsehoods being perpetuated by the dishonest media is by the very same MSM (that should be looking out for us).
-- John Nelson
Fabrizio makes good use of the phrase "chickens have come home to roost" by reversing its original meaning and also Wright's intent. She points out that the terrorists attacked on 9/11 because the U.S. is promoting good values in the world, values that they oppose.
It is worth mentioning, however, an obvious point I have not noticed being mentioned by the media. This phrase, as Wright surely knew, had been used by Malcolm X (sound familiar?) when JFK was assassinated. And Malcolm X added: "Chickens coming home to roost never made me sad. It only made me glad." It was too much even for Elijah Muhammad, who banned him from public speaking for 90 days.
The sentiments of Malcolm X resembled those of Vietnam's First Lady who seemed to assert that JFK earned his assassination by what he did to the Diem brothers. She meant: live by the sword, die by the sword; and she and Malcolm X meant: I'm not sad about what happened. What Wright seemed to mean was that the U.S. had earned and provoked the 9/11 terrorist attack by acting with bad values in the world. Bad karma. Inevitable result.
For a similar echo of Malcolm X, there is the Nov-Dec 2001 issue of The Link that included published responses by various authors to 9/11. Edward J. Dillon said of the 9/11 events: "The chickens have come home to roost." He then also affirmed a street way of saying this about 9/11 that he had heard: "What goes around, comes around."
Wright likely got carried away by his own performer approach to preaching and by the dramatic effect he knew the awful words of Malcolm X would have as he entertained the people. His style seems to be resemble both Red Foxx and Sherman Hemsley as George Jefferson. The preacher as clown.
Regarding Obama blaming evil on corporations and "the System," recall that a tendency in the three liberations theologies (black, feminist, and Third World) is to overemphasize sinful social structures. A similar overemphasis on racism, sexism, and classism is promoted by post-modernism. It's true that a Catholic cardinal emphasized what might be called "social sins" in his recent highlighting of current new sins. But he did not intend to violate the warning by Pope John Paul II that an overemphasis on structures inappropriately denigrates the core of evil: individual sins -- whether committed by whites, browns or blacks, by males or females, by rich, middle class, or poor.
-- Richard L.A. Schaefer
Re: Robert Stacy McCain's Fourth and Long for Hillary:
Hillary Clinton is doing what all good politicians do -- fighting to win. Less than 200 delegates separate her from Obama and if she wins big in Pennsylvania his lead will shrink even more. So what if she wins the nomination with Super Delegates? She's playing by the rules the oligarchic Democrat party established to keep undesirables (patriotic, free-thinking, self-sufficient, pro-life, people of faith with traditional values) from winning their party's Presidential nomination. Good for her. If anything it proves she's tenacious and has fire unlike most of the spineless and limp noodle men who make up her party.
The Democrat's media stooges want her to drop out, because they're afraid each day the two "intellectuals midgets" battle Democrat chances of bamboozling voters diminishes. But who would have guessed that Obama's "magical mystery tour" would have been damaged at this late stage by his hate mongering spiritual mentor? Banal platitudes and Oprah Kumba yah fraudulence even delivered with rhetorical skill cannot make up for 20 years of bad judgment and facilitating racist hate. Geraldine Ferraro may have been right, but it was people like her turning a blind eye to Jesse Jackson's and Al Sharpton's racism that created Obama.
That Hillary has the audacity to hope she can still win the Democrat nomination may offend effete Democrat elites, but as she knows they consistently backed losers or those should have lost so why listen to them. Obama is seriously damaged and a Muskie moment is not impossible. Who knows a tirade from Michelle bashing America may convince enough Super and pledged delegates to abandon the sinking "Good Ship Lollipop" to give manic Hillary the prize. If Obama can't handle the pressure of a Democrat Presidential primary with a fawning media how's he going to handle an even tepid John McCain backed up by aggressive 527s and heroic bloggers much less a real foreign policy crisis (where cutting and running and surrender are not an option)?
As a proud "tribalist" straight-ticket conservative Republican who wants to defend America from the threats without and within I'm enjoying the "catfight." I hope it lasts beyond the August Democrat zoo in Denver. I hope the vitriol trickles down into the ranks as the candidate's partisans begin attacking each other. Bill Richardson's knife in Hillary's back was sweet, but Carville's calling him Judas was even better. All I can say is more, more, more!
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina
If Hillary does "plan to help families in Pennsylvania have a secure retirement," she can begin by slashing Social Security taxes and other insidious incursions by the IRS and other federal agencies when she's president. (Hillary slashing taxes?!? A Clinton cutting bureaucracy?? Not gonna happen.) She says, "It's time we had a president who puts the people of Westmoreland County ahead of Wall Street." Why must a conflict of interest between the folks of Pennsylvania and the people on Wall Street exist, or be presumed? Cannot both parties use the assets, productivity, creativity, intelligence and capital of the American public to further their own rational self-interests without conflict? Does HRC divine some higher law or principle that demonstrates the interests of the common man must conflict with those of influence and affluence? In the words of Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?"
The junior Senator from New York (ugh!) finds no irony in asking the voters for money so she can manage her affairs while she slams Senator McCain for pledging to let the very same people have more voice in managing their finances. Hillary is a true believer, but sadly, the only thing she believes in her own self-interest. Hillary is incapable of anything but Machiavellian machinations. If she were to tell me it is raining, I would know instantly that she has an interest in an umbrella company. If the people of America are gullible enough to contribute to her campaign, well, "You can fool some of the people..." If we are foolhardy enough to elect her -- every day the odds of that happening are getting slimmer than Billy Boy on a no fat diet.
Her Majesty Clinton, "When I'm president..." Not gonna happen.
-- Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York
As I recently told a friend of mine, the Clintons will not be done fighting until the last gavel of the Democratic Convention has banged, the doors are bolted and locked, and everyone has headed home.
And someone goes back in, counts the silverware, and inventories the furniture.
-- A. C. Santore
"Hillary was conjuring up the gritty spirit of Joe Paterno....Trailing badly in the fourth quarter of her campaign for the Democratic nomination, Hillary may yet lose, but she seems determined not to quit until the final whistle."
Joe Paterno has been known to "work a ref," and he has occasionally benefited from a timely call before that final whistle.
Reports indicate that Bill and Hillary are working the refs, aka super-delegates. What material might they deploy in such negotiations? FBI files? Recorded phone conversations? Incriminating photographs?
Furthermore, Hillary informs us that even the elected delegates are not "pledged," opening up more targets for friendly persuasion.
Hillary might alienate the African-American vote. So what? Screw the party, McCain beating Hillary in November is better than 8 years of an Obama administration.
I'll be surprised if Hillary is NOT the nominee.
-- Dan Martin
What goes with Allan Greenspan's worse half Andrea Mitchell repeatedly changing her story on events to favor her Democrat buds? Recall her first public statement that "everyone" knew that Valerie Plame was employed at the CIA in Washington before the outing by Bob Novak and others. Then she reversed field and said she did not know what moved her to say that because it was incorrect. These selective memories by not only her but other news people let to the selective prosecution of Scooter Libby. Now all of a sudden now Andrea Mitchell remembers sniper fire in Bosnia although no one else does rather than Miss Hillary and even she has recanted the story. Will the network powers who ever they are retire Ms Mitchell so she can join her husband in his well paid senility?
-- Jack Wheatley
GO PLAY IN TRAFFIC
Re: Elizabeth Terrell's Question Authority:
Elizabeth Terrell writes about the trouble she is having getting the city of Alexandria to approve a convex mirror outside her parking lot. How this is connected in any way to the Northern Virginia Transit Authority is something that completely escapes me.
-- Glen Hoffing
Shamong, New Jersey
I live in Northern Virginia and it's appalling how little the traffic authority does to make obvious basic changes that would cost little, but improve traffic flow while reducing emissions.
I sit at red light after red light after red light during my short trip from Arlington to Falls Church.
How much time and expense does it really take to adjust traffic lights so we don't all sit at two traffic lights within a few hundred yards of one another, for minutes at a time? For no apparent reason?
How much time and expense does it really take to figure out that a good number of traffic lights are completely unnecessary or are far too long? I regularly sit at traffic lights located at little used side streets, for 30 or more seconds when no cars come or go due to the light. If these traffic authority bureaucrats would get out of their offices once in a decade or so, they'd see this for themselves.
The Traffic Authority in Northern Virginia does not do the quick, easy, low-hanging fruit type of things it would take to move traffic along and reduce auto emissions. Why should I trust that they can handle the larger problems?
-- Brian Schafer
I hope you get a lot of emails that essentially say, Just do it. Put up the mirror for safety reasons before somebody gets hurt. If the authorities complain say sorry we had to act before somebody gets killed.
-- Robert Ashton
Fort Myers, Florida
THE ONLY GOOD COMMUNIST
Re: Doug Bandow's China's Long March on Human Rights:
When someone of my age talks about Communism we are looked upon as if we are from another planet, followed with a perplexed and questioned look, "Communism??"
How Westerners look at Communism today is not even remotely close to the way that Americans viewed Communism twenty to thirty years ago. From grade school into adulthood we had it constantly hammered into our heads that Communism was evil and directly responsible for the deaths of millions that we know about and the multiple millions that we don't.
I remember having drills in public schools of getting under a desk as if that meager piece of tin and wood could afford protection from a nuclear blast. Large public structures were designated with placards at the entranceway with a nuclear symbol as a fallout shelter.
There was this sense of urgency and extreme deadly seriousness of, "Hey, these Communists really do want to wipe us off the face of the planet!" And this seriousness and urgency was shared by all that didn't believe in that Marxist ideology. Americans joined with others around the globe that felt the same way that we did, and we formed a virtual wall opposite the Berlin Wall of containment and then triumph under President Reagan.
After the fall of the Soviet empire, Americans and the rest of the Western World have been lulled into complacency that we reached and end game with Communism. Well, someone forgot to tell the Communist Chinese. Chairman Mao and his little Red Book and succeeding Chinese leaders have murdered and imprisoned more Chinese and Tibetans' than Stalin and Lenin put together.
When the Western World defeated the Soviets we didn't do it by rewarding them by trading with them and allowing them into our political system with campaign contributions or allowing them in our free markets. We were at war, albeit a cold war with the Soviets and we defeated them as such.
Instead of defeating the last Communist bastion responsible for the deaths of millions, we reward Chinese Communists with the Olympics, and a billion dollar plus trade deficit.
While the Chinese Communists are rounding up Tibetan Monks like cattle to be sent prisons for Chinese Patriotism Training the Western World worries about whether or not it will interfere with the opening Olympic ceremonies.
I guess we have forgotten that a Communist is a Communist no matter what disguise it presents to us.
-- Melvin Leppla
Jacksonville, North Carolina
Re: Robert M. Goldberg's McPeak on Display:
I was in the Pentagon during Merrill McPeak's reign. He was always seen as outside the mainstream as a Military leader. He is an anal retentive bureaucrat. As chief of staff his only claim to fame was to dress us senior staff officers like bus drivers with changed uniform designs that cost us dearly for all types of dress and regular uniforms. When he happily retired we all quickly reverted back to what is worn today. As a staff officer it was painful to sit thru though one-on-one meetings. He is an embarrassment to the Air Force. Good pilot and a Thunderbird. I suspect his sponsorship to the General officer ranks and as Thunderbird lead was some liberal member of Congress or two.
-- Jim Bruchas
I have read the article written by Mr. Goldberg about Gen. McPeak. This is the worst kind of garbage I have seen in a long time. Shame on you for publishing it.
-- Dusan Knezevic
Mr. Tomlinson, please re-read my letter in response to Major Harris's letter. In it, I acknowledged that Mr. Harris's accounting of the positive work done by the Republican Party viz civil rights is accurate, as far as it goes. His account is not, unfortunately, the whole story. I went on to give examples of contemporary racist behavior by some members of the GOP. I did not recollect Willie Horton at the time I wrote my letter, but if memory serves, the GOP made him the centerpiece of an advertising campaign against Governor Dukakis in the 1988 election. As far as Falwell, Robertson, Dobson, Hagee, et. al are concerned, I believe hatred is hatred. It makes little difference in my opinion whom is the target of hatred -- hatred is wrong. Last time I looked, a primary Christian value is loving, not hating and denigrating, one's neighbor. In his speech on race, Senator Obama forthrightly acknowledged the grievances of both the white and the black community. He also noted the progress that has been made. He challenged us to discuss race in a civil manner. To their credit, many conservative commentators have acknowledged all of this. Others have chosen to continue Obama bashing. It was so bad on Fox News one morning that Chris Wallace had to chastise the hosts of the show for their conduct. The truth is both parties have done horrible things in our nation's history of race relations and both have contributed to the progress noted by Senator Obama. On that, Mr. Tomlinson, I suspect we are in agreement.
-- Mike Roush
Re: Ann Crute's letter (under "Not Brain Surgery") in Reader Mail's Red and Yellow, Black and Blue:
Have been thinking about Ms. Crute's suffering incidents of racism at least 20 times.
When I married and moved from Dallas, Texas to California in 1946. I had already worked for two summers in the editorial department of the Dallas News. My husband, just out of the Navy was going to college and the plan for me was to work. Finding a job in California was not easy for a Texas girl -- even one with no discernible "twang" to betray her origin.
One place I applied got me as far as filling out an application. The proprietess of the little stationery store seemed quite enthusiastic -- until I listed Dallas, Texas as my birthplace. I will never forget the look of dismay on the woman's face. She said, "Oh, I am sorry, I just couldn't think of it (hiring you) Mr. White would have a fit -- you southerners are so lazy." I put on my best Southern Drawl and said "Yes'm. In Texas we call it shiftless -- but we do have better manners than most I have experienced in California."
Unlike Ms. Crute, I did not keep score. One funny one I do recall, though, was the local football queen, remarking "Isn't it strange that Hal married you instead of one of the local girls?" I was ready for that one -- we were at the beach. I took a leisurely look around and replied "Strange? Not from what I have seen of the local girls."
Racism, Regionism -- it only hurts if you let it. I never got any affirmative action benefit as a result of it.
-- Diane Smith
Re: Brian Doherty's Give 'Em Heller:
The reason most people opt for a CWP [concealed weapon permit] is that it's too inconvenient to carry a cop around.
-- E. Costello