Re: Ethan Epstein’s Stamped for Failure:
I work in Santa Cruz as supervisor of the District Attorney’s Sexual Assault Unit and as a homicide prosecutor. My colleagues and I routinely work rather more than 40 hours per week, and get called out in the middle of the night as needed.
The county supervisors just gave all of us assistant d.a.’s a ten percent pay cut. On top of last year’s 7.5 percent cut.
In addition to furloughing us without pay they are refusing to pay the 2.5 percent raise we negotiated as part of our contract three years ago. But the 26 percent raise they gave themselves, that’s largely intact.
Also, if we use our cell phones (which we are required to carry) to tell our wives and partners that we will be stuck at a crime scene, that will be 6 bucks per call. If we use personal phones to call witness who won’t accept calls from blocked numbers (our mandatory-carry county phones have blocked numbers) we will not be reimbursed.
Nice to know where my money went.
— Andrew Isaac
Re: Bill Croke’s The Evil Ivy:
I was born and raised in South Florida, about 15 miles north of Miami to be exact. I never saw nor heard of poison ivy in our area or a case of it until I moved to Jupiter, about 60 miles north, in 2000. We moved to a semi-rural area with lots of open space and natural flora as opposed to the post-card kind (palm trees and St. Augustine grass) that all the transplants surround themselves with in the sub-divisions. Then I got three or four cases of it in rapid succession in my yard, the worst time like in a horror flick where the victims of some dread virus, biological agent run amok or space alien infection tears themselves apart in a demented fury to find relief from the hellish itch. I attribute this disparity to S. Florida’s unique environment. Down by Miami is semi-tropical with more natural tropical flora like palm trees, ficus trees and ferns. Almost with each mile you drive north you can detect a change to where, by the time you’re up by us, it’s all scrub pine, hardwood, spanish moss and, apparently, poison ivy. Finally, I learned how to identify and steer clear of it. One day, just after we’d moved there, my wife started tilling a garden out of the sandy soil in our backyard which is to say she was going to convert a patch of bahia grass threaded with occasional weeds into a solid square of dead vegetation. I saw her standing barelegged in a patch of springtime-fresh poison ivy. I yelled at her to run for her life. She looks at me, down at her feet and says, “Oh it doesn’t bother me, I’ve been out here lots of times”. Sure enough, it didn’t touch her.
We have six kids, three have her complexion, three have mine. She is of Jewish heritage with Semitic features and lovely olive skin that will tan under a fluorescent light. She never burns. I’m the guy they send to the set if you call Central Casting and say, “send me a middle-aged, German-Dutch type pinkish, freckled white man.” I’ll burn under that same lamp. And sure enough, the three kids with her skin don’t suffer ivy’s torments or react to other noxious plants or irritants. The three with my skin, however, are susceptible to all I suffer with a dose of shellfish allergy thrown in for one of the girls. For Floridians this seems an especially cruel curse. But I’ve always held there is a rough justice in this life and so it’s true even in our clan’s dermatological eccentricities. If there is a mosquito anywhere within its operational range to my wife, even a lone holdout on an early winter’s night, it will find her and administer it’s special little dose.
— Mark Shepler
Poison ivy is a scourge for those of us highly allergic to it. Living here in northern Maryland hard by the Mason-Dixon Line, the noxious plant is hardy and ubiquitous. Though I stay out of my woods that gobble up the land on the western edge of my rural property, my eight long-haired dogs frolic in the brush and trees, bringing it to my skin with glee when they rub against my legs.
Why modern agriscience hasn’t developed an inexpensive defoliant targeted to only kill poison ivy that property owners can use to destroy the hungry crop is beyond me. Seems there’s a huge market for it. Or is it too plebian to elicit much interest?
NO RESPECT FOR THE LAW
Re: Aaron Goldstein’s Is Arizona’s Immigration Law Being Put on ICE?:
Does anyone who is rational seriously believe that Barack Obama didn’t perjure himself when he took the Oath of Office — particularly, when he swore, hand on Lincoln’s Bible, that he would “to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”?
Besides apparently detesting America and being hell-bent on destroying it, the man who continues to talk about the rule of law has no respect for the law.
— C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Re: Janice Shaw Crouse’s AAP Gives FGM an AOK:
Maybe these devout Muslim men ought to have THEIR precious equipment cut off as young lads. This is sick stuff and an abomination.
FILLED WITH PRIDE
Re: William Murchison’s Textbook Texas:
As a proud American, as a proud retired member of the armed forces of the United States of America, as a man who reveres the founding documents of our nation and the principles of Liberty I say GOD BLESS TEXAS! I wish I had been born a Texan. You folks make my Southern American heart fill with pride.
Re: James Bowman’s Getting to Know Miley Cyrus:
God gave all of us life…like it or not, He did. He has made the rules by which we can obtain eternal life versus eternal death…AND THEY ARE NOT DIFFICULT, BUT…THE CHOICE IS OURS, EACH INDIVIDUAL.
Miley Cyrus might think she knows “who she is”, but only God does for sure.
Knowing this, the answer to the question that all philosopher’s ask, WHY AM I HERE?” is answered simply and truthfully.
We are here to give honor and glory to God…….no other reason!
If Miley Cyrus knows this then she knows who she is, if she doesn’t, then she is sadly mistaken and at risk.
— Gene Hauber
Brick, New Jersey
Thank you so much for an excellent, excellent article concerning our current plague of narcissism.
One note concerning fact: “Utopia” does not mean “nowhere.” It means “Good Place” as in “Eu”–“Good” (Like, sadly, “Eugenics” or some other such) and “Topia” — Place (as in topographic map).
The Nowhere you are looking for is Erewhon by Samuel Butler, an 1873 novel of a place that on the surface sorta kinda maybe looks like a utopia but turns out not to be so. “Erewhon” is “Nowhere” spelled somewhat backwards according to the uniqueness of Butler who was, shall we say, seriously unique.
If we take up Plato’s Utopia and follow it with Bulter’s Erewhon, we can approximate a true vision of the wretched mess that is the only possible attainment of a fallen human race.
PARTY OF WALL STREET
Re: Ben Stein’s Orange Juice Unlimited:
Stein misses two important points regarding his analysis of the financial crisis: first, while it is true that Wall Street ran wild with “housing finance instruments,” none of it would have been possible without government, via Fannie and Freddie, making home ownership a de facto affirmative action program.
Second, it’s about time people like Stein reminded the American public that, despite all mythology to the contrary, the overwhelming majority of Wall Street campaign contributions over the past three election cycles have gone to Democrats, not Republicans. The so-called “party of Main Street” is anything but.
— Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida
Re: Jeffrey Lord’s Bribe Charge: Issa Jobsgate Video Slams Sestak, Gibbs:
Your problem…err, that is — our problem, is right now we have no “Eliot Ness” working this White House…gang.
It’s just that simple!