A BETTER ABORTION BATTLE
Re: Paul Chesser's Dakota Difficulties:
You are right on the money. The MSM has a habit of "forgetting" to place the onus on the individual(s) who make poor choices and then fail to live up to the responsibility of that choice. Instead, as you say and I concur, the blame game begins and the pro-life advocates are the "bad guys."
Thank you for telling it like it is.
-- Iris James
I am just writing in regards to your article, "Dakota Difficulties." I loved it. I am VERY pro-life but unfortunately a lot of pro-life advocates cannot argue with the liberals correctly, along with bringing a certain religious effort into it. I think the pro-life movement will only really get going once we remove the religious arguments. It broadens the movement out and into everyone's world rather than in the cliques of the religious people. I would like to add that in my comments I might have sounded a bit too harsh on religion. I am not attacking religion but the acts and arguments of some religious people.
Thanks for the great article and keep it up!
-- Carissa Lyons
David Hogberg's excursus into omphaloskepsis seeks to determine the answer to the question of whether current conservatism is in crisis. Along with Messrs. Babbin and Tabin, he leads us to believe that our commander-in-chief may have faults, but, still, he is made of the steely stuff of heroes. I dissent. Perhaps we are reading the entrails of different animals, for I am not as laudatory of this president's performance, not because of Iraq, or legitimate use of wiretaps in the name of national security, but for the fact that with one very minor exception of a throw away sentence, these three gentlemen display a steadfast reluctance to even mention that President Bush's willingness to seal the border of Iraq directly contradicts...nay contravenes...his unwillingness to seal our southern border from a potential terrorist attack, a violation of his oath to defend and protect these United States. Conservatism in crisis indeed!
In early December, I attended the press conference announcing the Hunter-Goode Bill, a proposal that calls for a wall to be built along the US-Mexican border. Duncan Hunter, a Republican from California, claimed that more than 150,000 people of suspicious origin had entered the U.S. illegally in 2005 alone; nonetheless, neither Hunter nor Goode expects the bill will come out of the Senate looking anything like what they proposed. Even the questionable Sensenbrenner Bill, which passed the House, does not touch two of the three "magnets" that attract illegal aliens to our shores: welfare benefits and birthright citizenship. It's no secret that the White House will attempt to resolve this House-Senate stalemate by proposing... ready?... a guest worker/amnesty bill early this year. That is why Signor Chertoff, in the name of Homeland Security, has been saddled with the task of selling such an amnesty, although the overwhelming majority of legally present Americans are clearly opposed to it.
Mr. Tabin's comment that the issue of (illegal) immigration has not (yet) affected the Republican Party will come back to haunt him in 2006. If the unexpected second place showing by Minuteman Jim Gilchrist, who ran strictly on the illegal immigration issue in the recent Republican primary in California is a harbinger of things to come, the White House and Republicans are in for a surprise in the congressional elections this year. Both still refuse to listen to those Republican lady volunteers at the White House who field the telephone calls from disgruntled Americans. They, alone it appears, know the profound depth that this issue has on the American public.
In his book, The Path to Rome, Hillaire Belloc wrote: "...and certainly men who know that the mere truth would be distasteful or tedious commonly have recourse to metaphor, and so to those false men who desire to acquire a subtle and unjust influence over their fellows..." If conservatism is in crisis, and there are many who believe it is, then a full and robust debate about the impact of illegal immigration on our national security must be aired. I do not believe this will happen soon, but I know where final accountability rests. To paraphrase the words on the desk of one president who accepted as his duty and responsibility what befell his country: the buck stops there.
Happy New Year,
-- Vincent Chiarello
Re: James G. Poulos's How to Stop Worrying and Love Gazprom:
Why does the West persist in not seeing the smoke still rising from the ash-heap of history, where the "corpse" of communism was tossed a while back? And why does Russia belong in the "Western orbit"? We do not have that much in common, historically speaking. That we appear to be attacked by the same enemy is all that unites us. What strong bonds those!
Russia (as part of the Soviet Union) helped train and finance the terrorists who now seek our demise, not because they thought it was a good way to pass the time, but because they sought our demise as well. Is that all changed now? Putin was, and still is, a KGB thug. The idea that he cares about entering into some kind of alliance with the West is only believable to the point where Russia benefits, and the West does not. We have forgotten that unlike personal foes, old geopolitical enemies can rise from the dead.
-- Mark Pettifor
Gazprom is a salubrious reminder of the nature of socialism. Gazprom on, I say.
-- David Govett
FEMINISM'S NATURAL PATH
Re: Christopher Orlet's Feminism Stripped Bare:
That the mainstream of feminism has moved into the camp of sexual promiscuity should not be surprising for two reasons: (1) lesbians have been fascinated with pornography from the get go, and (2) the logic of both birth control and abortion -- the first and second sacraments at the feminist temple of worship -- leads inexorably to promiscuity, since each is an attempt to strip sex of its procreative power. After all, if sex isn't about begetting children, then what remains is lust.
Orlet could have pointed out that Levy's book only proves that feminists of either the old or new stripe are not very smart, if it took them 50 years to discover the moral clarity that any teenage boy, in a moment of candor, could have revealed in a 30-second conversation.
-- R. Cross
Re: The Prowler's Hillary's Offensive Holding:
McCain could run as a Democrat and no one could tell the difference. Either way he will not get my vote.
I just loved seeing Chuckie with his whistleblower comments, does he really think Americans are that dumb. This is our security he is talking about and as usual he is on the wrong side.
-- Elaine Kyle
Cut & Shoot, Texas
I'll bet you a year's salary that Sen. Jay Rockefeller is your NSA leaker... I only hope there are some real journalists left in this country to pursue this lout.
-- Pete Everts
"Sen. Chuck Schumer took to the airwaves on Sunday saying that the leakers of the story about NSA data mining for al Qaeda operatives within and beyond U.S. borders, may have been whistleblowers rather than breakers of national security law..."
Well folks, could it be that ole Chuckie Schumer just might have been involved in the leak and this is his way of justifying it and covering his ultra left wing, sorry arse? In my books, whomever did the leaking needs to go directly to jail for a good long time.
-- Jim L
East Sandwich, Massachusetts
Senator Schumer's sanctimonious babble on the National Security Agency leaks is just another example of evil enthusiastic hate on the loose in Washington, where there are more closet sociopaths per square inch than anywhere on the planet, including the Russian gulag, Cuba or North Korea.
A heavy-handed hysterical statement, I don't think so.
We have become a country run by sociopaths -- people completely devoid of a conscience that choose on an hourly basis, on the expediency of the moment, what is right and what is wrong, in their eyes, and for their own personal benefit. Winning a minor political point and grabbing a few more nickels and dimes from special interests is far more important than winning a war or making the Republic more secure or making life better for the citizens.
These people are so out of control -- Republicans and Democrats alike -- they threaten the very existence of the United States and their actions make one wonder if they are simply so self-possessed they have become hopelessly blinded by the corruption of the process or are in fact the enemy. I do not think it is a stretch to ask who these people represent? I know for sure it is not me.
Democrats such as Sen. Schumer, Sen. Harry Reid and Representative Nancy Pelosi are living examples of living by the lie. It would be easy to label them the "axis of evil" but they do not stand alone. They are just three run-away amoral fools among hundreds.
Whether it's the war in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina or wildfires in Oklahoma and Texas, it is those low-life scumbag Republicans who did it, who caused it. Snow in the Dakotas in winter? Those bastard Republicans did that too. Lowlifes -- complete lowlifes.
Don't think for a second that I think the Republicans should get a free roll. They are just as flawed, evil and corrupt as their counterparts on the other side of the aisle, if for many different reasons -- and this party also is made up primarily of sociopaths. Without going into the faults of the Republicans, let it just be said that it is obvious that at some point the party must have underwent mass castration at some secret ceremony.
The bottom line is simple.
The leak, or whatever you want to call it, revealing the fact NSA was operating in clandestine fashion in the home land, is hardly the point. It is a mere distraction that serves as a talking point for those representing the body politic corrupt. The questions about NSA, which is far more secretive than the Central Intelligence Agency ever was, need to be discussed in private.
This country is at war, threatened as it has never been threatened before and in a manner almost unfathomable, and the hard decisions that need to be made to insure the future of this great country are the only issue. It matters not what political eunuchs such as Senator Schumer say.
Just to put this in a personal perspective, I am a Republican in exile from politics and an Episcopalian in exile from organized religion. Both have become organizations that believe in everything and thus nothing and that has left me in a place somewhere to the right of the John Birch Society and to the left of Lenin.
I do not wish to come across as some tobacco-spitting hillbilly from the outback but I am beginning to wonder if today's Washington politicians are the anti-Christ.
No, I don't think that is a ridiculous question either.
Peace, brothers and sisters.
-- Kelso Sturgeon
Re: Ralph R. Reiland's A New Years Resolution:
The very thought of Allen Ginsberg as a New Year's resolution makes Paris Hilton sound good (after the appropriate vaccinations).
-- David Govett
Re: Ben Stein's Good Morning, 2006:
Thank you Ben, again. You are really extraordinary. From a grateful heart.
-- Nan Patton
Thanks again to Ben Stein for reminding us how memories of our happiest moments contribute to our lives. Think of the memories made today for the participants and spectators at the 117th Tournament of Roses Parade. Whether you love a parade or not you need a heart of stone not to admire those willing and proud to march 5-1/2 miles in a driving rain -- one that most of us would not walk out to get our newspapers in -- to continue in a tradition unbroken since 1890.
December 7, 1941 did not cancel the annual parade. September 11, 2001 did not. That says something about the pride, trust and sheer guts of the American people -- to congregate in what could be harm's way -- in spite of all. I don't know what protected the throngs in 1941, but I have no doubt the Patriot Act protects us now.
Who could watch without a ripple of pride, as the United States Marine Corps Band passed, playing the Marines' Hymn? There was a time when children could sing along to that music. In our politically correct schools, who allow no recruiters on campus, I doubt the lyrics are even known, much less how they came to be. The reference "to the shores of Tripoli" comes from the Marines, in 1805 taking part in the capture of Darnah (now Libya) during a war with the Barbary Pirates (sounds like a baseball team, doesn't it?). Then in 1847 Marines were called upon to assist in the capture and occupation of Mexico City and the Castle of Chapultapec, a.k.a. the "Halls of Montezuma." These two engagements -- reversed in chronology for purposes of "scanning" -- were cited in what was to become the Marines' Hymn.
From the Halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli
We fight our country's battles
On the land and on the sea
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean
We are proud to bear the title
Of United States Marine.
There are a couple more verses (that might equal the length of Fairytale in New York), but you get the idea.
That a girls' marching band from Japan would be performing in the same parade with a high school band from Pearl City, Oahu, overlooking Pearl Harbor, illustrates the healing that can occur after a war.
Older folks might feel a twinge of guilt, witnessing the intrepid courage of a contingent of elderly gentleman, forming a Bagpipe Unit from Ontario, our Canadian neighbors. Slogging the lengthy trek protected only by kilts, is a feat in itself. But to muster the lungpower to wrest a tune from a bagpipe must be Herculean.
There were many significant reminders of the opportunities this country offers. Honda of America dedicated its float to a magnificent floral depiction of a billowing American flag. The accompanying music was Star Spangled Banner. Panning the audience, older men, shivering in the rain, held hands to hearts. Recall that years back, Volkswagen and Honda, both products of vanquished enemies. were able to compete with Detroit and change the landscape of the highways. We are truly the Land of Opportunity!
The Indianapolis Marching Band displayed a bit of politically incorrect courage by playing the Battle Hymn of the Republic (Mine eyes have seen the Glory of the Coming of the Lord...) and the Lutheran Church dared to feature a CROSS! Apparently the Rose Parade is a bastion the ACLU has not been able to breach.
And over it all, along the path flew Old Glory -- straight out, in a 25 knot wind -- is that what it takes to make a flag fly straight out? -- Whatever, it daunted no one.
My fondest memories are not of the event itself, but what it means to live in a land where such memories are possible.
-- Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California
Ben Stein's essay on January 1st was beautiful. Many thanks.
-- Thomas Paulick
OUR QUIET, STEADY PRESIDENT
Re: Paul Beston's Stoic of the Year:
Good title, good choice, good article.
In regards to the following paragraph:
"Bush's political instincts remain puzzling. It is not clear why he cedes so much rhetorical ground to his opposition, and for such long periods, before re-entering the fray. We've seen this pattern repeat itself over the years. Fortunately, his instincts as a commander in chief are much steadier. He won't give in, period."
I feel George W. Bush is more concerned with doing, not talking.
I imagine he feels that every minute and every hour he has to prep and have others write speeches for the media's consumption, takes away from the important job at hand. He is focused. He is steady. He is sincere. He knows that those who hate him will continue to do so. He knows that we can be under attack at any given second. One he can do nothing about. The other he can.
He takes the job as leader of a country at war as more serious than a job as a politician.
You can't fault him for that. We have a plethora of politicians and a thimbleful of leaders.
I imagine that without close, personal persuasion prompting him to speak out -- President Bush would not do so. He is focused on the little remaining time (three years is way too short) he has as President in which to ferret out and divide and conquer terrorists. Unlike his predecessors, he is not content to leave it for the next guy. He finds the American people more important than his personal ratings.
-- Dorenna Hart
NO HOPE FOR THE DEMS
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Dingy Democrats:
I regret to say that Mr. Tyrrell could not be more wrong about the future of the Democrat Party. To actually believe that the Democrat Party, under the aegis of its current crop of leaders, is capable of movement from its current location within the fever swamps of the far left, to a position of lucidity and sensibility, requires a leap of faith that I am not able to make. Nothing we have witnessed in the past five years would give any credence to this theory. In fact, what we have witnessed from this "august" group, is a deeper decent into the abyss of political lunacy. All of which brings me to Mr. Tyrrell's savior of the Democrats, Joe Lieberman. Mr. Tyrrell would do well to remember the miraculous transformation Lieberman made when tapped by Al Gore for the V.P. spot. Lieberman jettisoned his centrist persona faster than Howard Dean's descent in the '04 race. Lieberman is indeed a principled man, but lest we forget, he is first and foremost a politician.
As a deeply religious man, his perspectives on Israel and what a transformed Middle East portends for the future of that part of the world, has no doubt, been a large factor in his appreciation of the Bush agenda, which the rest of his party completely abhors. Lieberman is paying the price for his principled position and I suspect he will soon have to make a hasty retreat back to the left in order to assuage the leaders of the Connecticut Dems. No Mr. Tyrrell, future Democrats will not soon side with Lieberman. Zell Miller had it right. The Democrats are no longer a national party. They have taken up permanent residence with those who do not believe in the greatness of America. No national party can thrive on such a platform
-- A. DiPentima
NATURAL SELECTION 101
Re: Granville Sewell's Evolution's Thermodynamic Failure:
I think this subject has declined into a "can you top this" sort of debate. Creationism vs. Intelligent Creation vs. Evolution, ad nauseam.
I don't have a problem with the concept that evolution is driven by random events, and I'll explain why. Or at least try to explain, which is more than the "pur-sang" Creationists do.
As my father was fond of saying, "The more I know, the more I know I don't know." So to understand why I think evolution is the proper way to understand the Origin of the Species, I'll start with what I don't know.
I don't know what caused "The Big Bang" and furthermore I don't care. I have never heard any logical explanation for that event other than God did it, but since God is unknowable, so is "The Big Bang." To paraphrase Descartes, "It happened, therefore it is."
I don't know how long ago "The Big Bang" occurred, but I do know that it was a hell of a long time ago. I also know that given enough time a billion monkeys pounding away on a billion typewriters will write every word in the Library of Congress. (As a matter of fact, that's probably where most of that stuff came from in any event.)
So given that "The Big Bang" occurred an unknowable, albeit a vast, number of years ago, I believe that every possible genetic modification over the eons has been and is being tried and that the ones which are successful pass their DNA on to subsequent organisms. Procreation is, in the final analysis, simply DNA using organisms to propagate itself.
Over the eons certain climatic events have occurred on this, the planet Earth. One such was the collision of a gigantic comet, asteroid, or other celestial body with the earth creating, among other things, the Gulf of Mexico, drastically altering the Earth's climate (no slow global warming here) and practically eliminating, among other things, the dominant life forms of the time; specifically, the dinosaurs. That such events did occur is written in the rocks. So the DNA of the dinosaurs, although very successful at propagating itself in its day failed miserably after "The Little Bang" in the Gulf of Mexico. You could look it up!
Since size alone wasn't sufficient to dominate the beasts of the field, what was? Brains, naturally. Thus the hominids, whether descended from or merely cousins of the apes, were successful at passing their DNA along, and as genetic experimentation went on, the bigger brains killed off the smaller brains, and bigger-brain DNA spread while bigger-muscle DNA didn't.
And so it goes. It's a very slow process, but it's had an inconceivably long time to do it in. So all this maundering on about thermodynamics and such is simply mental masturbation. With such an incomprehensible length of time in which to operate, it's no wonder that our puny consciousnesses find the process incomprehensible. And so, as my father said, the more I know, the more I know I don't know.
But one thing I know for sure. If we don't stop the fanatics in the Middle East and North Korea from building nukes, the next cycle of evolution will start with the insects, primarily the cockroaches, who survived the first A-bomb blast without a whimper or any noticeable effect on their DNA.
-- Bob Johnson
OUR MAN IN RADIO
Re: Jed Babbin's substitute hosting for John Batchelor:
Hi Jed: You did a fantastic job hosting the John Batchelor Show.
-- T.G. Bailey
Jed Babbin replies:
Thanks. Talk radio is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.