HITCHENS FOR SENATE
Re: David Holman's Smoking Room:
Of course, Hitchens gets it right regarding the smoking ban in D.C. One of my favorite eateries on the Hill, very near where I live, is a smokers' paradise. They also have the best waffles and chili burgers in town. Sometimes I go and deal with the smoking, sometimes I go and sit outside, and sometimes I choose not to deal with the smoking and go elsewhere. See, that is how an adult makes a decision about patronizing restaurants/bars where smoking is allowed. By the way, ever noticed how most of the people who work in bars smoke also? Just say NO to our elected morons making decisions for us.
-- Ben Berry
People's Republic of D.C.
Mr. Hitchens admirably and pointedly illustrates why we split with the Crown in the first place. He has declared his independence from the tyranny of the left with his argument before the D.C. Council adding to his Bill of Rights. He is a shining example for us all though he be but an American-in-waiting.
The citizenship application of Mr. Hitchens ought to be immediately advanced to the head of the queue, thereby creating the earliest possibility of his election to the Senate. With that accomplished, the intelligence and civility level of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body would at least double during his term of office. As his would be only one of a hundred votes, the quality of legislation would scarcely be affected. However, the quality of debate would be infinitely greater and Hitch could very well become the first to achieve superstar status via C-Span.
-- Dennis Sevakis
Wahoo! I'm a retired smoker, but when I did smoke I enjoyed it and I tried to be a polite smoker and not impose my habit on others. I just wish the non-smokers in this country were as polite in return and didn't impose their habit of not smoking on others. Didn't a similar group of "We Know What's Best for You" types try imposing their will on the general public once before? I believe we called it Prohibition; and we all know how well that worked! Fight the good fight Mr. Hitchens and light one up for me!
-- M.L. Gilbert
I can't believe it. Here's another issue I agree with Christopher Hitchens on.
I don't smoke myself. I don't want my children to smoke, and I have watched my business partner die of throat cancer brought on by smoking. Still I am really disgusted by the intolerance of the anti-smoking crowd. I agree with Hitchens that there is something un-American about these non-smoking bans. Just as with the forced wearing of seat belts, I don't want the government to protect me from myself. The government should treat us as grown-ups who can take care of themselves, not children in need of its overbearing care.
-- Frank Mauran
Mr. Hitchens brings out some very good points in his objection to smoking bans but also has some things a little backwards. I smoked myself for 35 years before quitting cold turkey 7 years ago, so I have seen both sides of the argument. To say, the ban on smoking is a left-wing issue is not entirely true. Throughout the history of this country, smoking in certain places has been discouraged if not totally banned, while socially, women and gentle people did not partake of the weed. Certain Christian sects also forbade their adherents from smoking (and drinking, etc.). It wasn't until the first part of the 20th century that smoking became the vogue among all kinds and classes of people. While it is true that America's fortunes in the beginning were the result of tobacco (among other things) it is stretching the fact to say it was the foundation of our nation's freedoms. There is some credence to his assertion of the left-wing impetuous to smoking bans (they want to ban only smoking tobacco, not pot) but a lot of good conservatives are tired of being assailed by the obnoxious smell and irritating smoke of tobacco. He is right in his assertion that alcohol, tobacco, and music might mix well but that too leaves room for debate, especially in light of drunk drivers, which is another subject. I agree it would be better to give places the choice of allowing smoking or not but sometimes, you have to take into consideration the fact that some people would have no choice but to be subjected to some inconsiderate lout blowing smoke in their direction. Given that smoking tobacco is enjoyed by fewer and fewer people, in this case, the majority is being served by a ban. Smoking bans are nothing new in this nation's history so Mr. Hitchens doesn't really have a case. Let's put it this way. Alcohol is highly regulated as to age, time to purchase, etc. and where you can drink it, because it affects other people indirectly, not just the person partaking. Now tobacco is facing the same type of restrictions. That is within the scope of democratic rule.
-- Pete Chagnon
BACK TO THE PAST
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell's Biden His Time:
Actually we need to repeal the 17th Amendment and remand the selection of senators back to the states as it was done for nearly a century. I am not antipopulist but I think the last five years of senatorial grandstanding speak for themselves. The smoke-filled back room can do no worse, and it gives the states representation they have not had since the Amendment passed. And it puts back the federalist concept with a capital F.
-- John McGinnis
Bravo, bravo! Author, author! Marvelous irony. Mr. Tyrrell has managed to gore every Democrat's ox. Further words fail me.
-- Bob Johnson
SAFE AT MANY SPEEDS
Re: Eric Peters's Double Nickle Double Talk:
What is making roads less safe in my neck of the woods is more traffic and only two-lane roads on major thruways, Highway 105. Then you get someone driving 40 on a road posted for 55 and no way to get around them. So chances are taken with very bad results.
-- Elaine Kyle
Cut & Shoot, Texas
NOT WHAT IT USED TO BE
Re: George H. Wittman's What Could Be Worse Than Gitmo?:
Mr. Wittman's point is well taken, but his facts are wrong. Modern coed basic training is a joke and nothing like what Mr. Wittman remembers. If in doubt, he ought to visit Fort Jackson or Great Lakes Naval station these days. Modern coed basic training for all the services (except for the Marines who still have single-sex basic training and the still all-male infantry, armor and artillery units in the Army) is even more PC and kids-glove than Guantanamo. All the "Dogface, your ass is mine, drop and give me 50" is long gone. Causes the poor dears too much stress. At the service academies, plebes can't be made to brace up, and the Naval Academy dropped its disciplinary pushups two years ago. That was the last vestige of the old method of indoctrination. Midshipmen now run in "ability groups," so that no one has to push beyond their limits. In Army Basic training, incoming recruits aren't even called recruits. It is "soldier" from day one. Any doubts on just how hard it is now should be erased by remembering that Jessica Lynch passed Army basic training. Modern "recruits" have plenty of space. And rights. Drill instructors can't swear at the troops, can't touch them (let alone kick them), can't rattle them in any way. Maybe that's why battle fatigue (post-traumatic stress disorder) complaints are running at 17%, a record high and well beyond even Vietnam. Incidentally, women are suffering at twice the rate of men, and are suffering from longer, harder and more debilitating PTS. Fortunately, we only fight fourth rate enemies, so we haven't had to learn the hard way that handling the Koran with gloves isn't the only stupid policy governing our military.
-- Anthony Mirvish
Right on to Mr. Wittman. We have too many (mostly liberal) members of Congress providing aid to the enemy by their asinine complaints about Gitmo and other places. The people at Gitmo definitely have it easier than regular basic training and absolutely easier than advanced training for the Rangers, Seals, etc.
These "so called" public servants are an embarrassment to the nation and to any right-thinking American.
-- Keith J. Coriell
I had a feeling that Sen. Durbin had never served in the military. That being said, I applaud Mr. Wittman's comments, sadly however, basic training isn't what it use to be back in the '50s due to the ACLU, liberals and political correctness run amuck even in the military. For that matter, it's not even what it used to be when I went through in the early '80s.
Still, he has made a very good point. Our military endures much worse conditions on a daily basis than these terrorists at Gitmo have ever seen. For that matter, they should be use to it. I know they receive much worse treatment than this when they go through their own terrorist training camps. Is he kidding? This is a vacation for them. He and the other Liberals in Congress still don't think that we "dolts" in the "red states" get it. Sen. Durbin needs to give us a REAL apology and resign as Sen. Lott was forced to do for a lot less. Then, he needs to volunteer to go through an eight-week basic training session with the military with no special treatment. Let's see if he survives.
-- Heather Schmitz, SFC, USA, Ret.
San Antonio, Texas
"What Could Be Worse Than Gitmo" is having liberals and the ACLU living in our wonderful country! I just had to write you and say this.
-- R.P. Fuller
Re: Ben Stein's Father's Day Perspectives:
Folks, I will get up off my dead a** and subscribe soon. I was a subscriber in the early to late '90s, and dropped off the face.
After reading Ben's article, it helped me to reflect differently about myself, and my service to country. As a retired Army Senior NonCom, vet of two low intensity conflicts, and one major war, I found his piece to be very enlightening. Especially, "Lush, ungrateful nation can still yield up so many heroes." As far as I am concerned, this nation will always be swamped with heroes. In today's day and age, and the way some whippersnappers and their parents live their lives, it just never seems to be fast enough when needed in time of war. In a sick way, they indiscriminately turn their backs to their country, and eat their cake, too.
Ben, you are the MAN!
-- Mike Manley
I just discovered George recently through his Spectator articles as shared on Rush. I am in love with his brain (and sensibility). I don't take kindly to people calling him the "a" word. What is with them anyway? It's like they can't hear themselves when they screed. And that guy telling George, who hadn't even interrupted, to let him finish -- he needs to take a Midol and chill. You tell that George he has done nothing wrong and we love him.
-- Laurey Boyd
A simple observation.
Isn't it interesting that the liberal e-mailers spouting their vitriol about Mr. Neumayr all watch PBS and feel obligated to write to The American Spectator? Further, isn't it interesting that those conservatives that defend Mr. Neumayr didn't watch the program?
Call me crazy -- but it appears that one could conclude that PBS is a liberal magnet.
-- Michael Medoro
Always looking for the silver lining in a bad situation, it is obvious that the one good that comes out of the whole affair is that Wlady can drop the crazed off the Spectator distribution list. Save the postage.
-- John McGinnis
I don't claim to be an intellectual giant, but I do believe that having surpassed the mental age of 15 years I must be way ahead of the average PBS hate-mailer.
Take the letter from Jon Bonano that you included in your June 23 edition. In that letter, Mr. Bonano fails to recognize that he doesn't have to pay for Fox News if he doesn't want to (he can simply cancel his cable subscription), while those who don't want to pay for PBS have no choice in the matter. The warped logic and self-centered emotionalism evident in his letter brought to mind the irrational attitudes and arguments presented by my daughters during their adolescence.
But far more troubling is the fact that Mr. Bonano's e-mail was one of the more reasonable and polite missives that you recently received in response to Mr. Neumayr. Judging by the tone and content of the letters sent by Bonano's fellow pro-Moyers liberals, most of them haven't even reached the level of mental/emotional development attained by the average sanctimonious 15-year-old.
Perhaps this is why my mind's eye so often sees a surly, sniveling, self-righteous teen-ager when I hear or read statements made by liberals (regardless of their actual age or exalted position).
If you decide to print this letter, please withhold my name and address. I don't want to get into some pointless debate with family and co-workers because of opinions published in your website.
Keep up the good work!
Ms. Payne states that she "raised her sons to embrace diversity, accept other's differences and seek to understand others with an open mind and an open heart." The she uses hateful terms such as "Bushie puppets" and "Evil Empire" to describe her fellow Americans that don't agree with her perspective. Her version of embracing diversity, accepting other's differences and seeking to understand others with an open mind and an open heart is predicated on everybody holding her opinion!
Ms. Payne then states, "The minority like Neumayr are the same people who want an amendment so we can't desecrate a piece of red, white and blue cloth, but also go out of their way to discriminate millions of gay families... real human beings who serve their country and contribute to society." This minority won the last presidential election. In every state where a constitutional amendment was on the ballot to preserve marriage as a union between one man and one woman, the minority she labels won every vote usually by three-to-one or better margins.
Ms. Payne states that, "I teach Critical Thinking at the university level and it is very obvious to me that people like Neumayr, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Rove, and the rest of the Evil Empire desperately need some education before this country is completely destroyed!" I have taught doctoral level course on philosophy and research and analysis. One of the first prerequisites before a person can develop critical thinking skills is the possession of a knowledge base deep enough to enable a person to make and defend reasoned arguments. Ms. Payne, develop your fact based arguments and stop name calling.
-- Wade Smith
In response to the recent liberal letter writer, who wants the ability to have "a la carte" selection of his cable choices to de-fund Fox News and all the other nasty conservative channels I'd say BRAVO! I'll help you do that, just the same minute I am able to have "a la carte" selection to where MY tax dollars go!
If you give me the option NOT to help fund the National Endowment for the Arts (known well for putting crucifixes in jars of urine), or NOT help fund an endless parade of meaningless studies on subjects like bovine flatulence or the mating habits insects, I would be MORE than happy let you opt-out of the Fox News Channel on your cable box.
Incidentally, you already have the ability to not fund Fox News. If it really bugs you that much, cancel your cable service in protest. Unfortunately, taxpayers who cancel payment of their taxes in protest usually do not fare well with the IRS.
-- D.J. Osmek
I was astounded at the debate between Bill Reed and George Neumayr on the NewsHour two days ago. It was like a one-armed man in a paper hanging contest and I refer to Mr. Neumayr. I was only able to go to your website today and discovered to my disbelief how many people were championing his extremely weak and poorly defended position.
To put things in perspective. I am not a liberal. I have not voted for a Democrat for any public office in 30 years with the exception of one juvenile judge in a local race two years ago. That was the lamest defense of one side of an issue I have ever seen on The Newshour and I have been watching it since it was the McNeil/Lehrer Newshour. I do not watch ABC/CBS/NBC as they, to me, are the liberal press. Frankly Fox is just about as bad a slant the other way. To your absolute amazement, I am sure, I find The Newshour far more balanced than any of those above listed news entities. I used to be a regular watcher of William F. Buckley's "Firing Line". Mr. Neumayr's consistently mentioning Bill Moyers, who like William F. Buckley is now gone, was droned over and over. Mr. Reed kicked Mr. Neumayr's posterior. What those folks listed on your website saw must have been different from what I saw. Perhaps they are not very enlightened or possibly not very intelligent or both.
Over time, Mr. Buckley's show had a profound influence on the way I have voted in the past. Frankly, Mr. Moyers's reinforced that same position and I used my power of changing the channel when he was on. But this crusade against The Corporation for Public Broadcasting needs to go away. I would much rather have my grandchildren watch PBS than the manure on commercial TV. Who cares if one of the Teletubbies carries a purse? Children's moral foundation is the basic responsibility of the parents and not the electronic babysitter.
-- Jim George
Liberal bias in PBS and NPR? Hah! Is the Pope Catholic? One has only to listen to the two NPR "All-Stars" who appear on Fox News Channel; Mara Liasson and especially Juan Williams. I suspect that Brit Hume keeps them onboard as "token liberals" in order to be able to justify the claim to being "Fair and balanced." They certainly have nothing else to offer except occasional comedy relief.
I've resisted joining the rush to judgment of some of your readers because: 1) I completely agree that PBS and NPR are "liberally" biased (and the sun also rises in the East.); and 2) I've long since stopped watching The NewsHour and any other PBS program that professes to offer news and/or opinion. Thus I missed George Neumayr's appearance there. My loss.
To those who mention the programming of art, drama and music, I can only ask, "And your point being?" We are discussing news/opinion broadcasting here. The rest of PBS is indeed excellent.
Herewith I offer my own albeit unscientific assessment of the letters critical of George's appearance on, and defensive of, PBS. It appears that the majority of those deigning to sign their missives were, judging from their names, of the female persuasion. Several of those are notable for their comments about George's physical appearance. Well golly-gee-whiz, girls. If physical appearance is your criteria for judging someone's intellect, why then do you admire Teddy Kennedy so much? Perhaps it is because you are excellent swimmers?
My own conclusion about the support from the female writers is that they are/were mothers who allow[ed] their children to watch Sesame Street and not the commercial pap put out, such as Barney and Sponge Bob Square Pants. Then, after the children have left kicking and screaming, either for bed or school depending on the time of day, the TV is left on PBS to drone away in the background with its subliminal brain-washing like the ever-present messages in Brave New World, 1984, and Fahrenheit 451.
Finally, a comment about the most vituperative examples I saw. Invariably they contain spelling and grammatical errors, which lead me to draw conclusions about the writers' educational levels. I suspect that there were submissions that would have upset even the FCC and were perforce not published. After all, how many times can you use the "F-word" and descriptions of bodily functions or anatomical features?
If these writers could possibly graduate from law school and pass a bar examination, they could then make use of one of my favorite legal aphorisms: "When the law is against you, pound on the facts. When the facts are against you, pound on the law. And when both the facts and the law are against you, pound on the other attorney." Well, perhaps they can all pound sand!
-- Bob Johnson (Esq.)
George's appearance on PBS have your website booming does it? Maybe PBS is a good thing after all?
-- Dan Shenkman