SOUNDS GOOD IN THE ELEVATOR
Re: Christopher Orlet’s The Day the Music Died:
Thank you for a fascinating look into the history of one of the world’s most misunderstood institutions. I say “misunderstood” because while people think of Muzak as insipid “elevator” music (the blandest of the bland), at its peak it was actually a carefully engineered medium designed to boost moods and, hence, improve productivity and increase buying — much the same way that most retail businesses employ bright colors (yellows and reds) to enhance the customer’s desire to part with his or her money.
Even though I am an aging rocker who prefers the stuff of U-2 and the Stones, I kind of like Muzak — in its place.
What rankles me these days is the practice of retailers to play a standard hit song, but insert a commercial in the middle, only to resume the song as if nothing had happened. It’s been focus-group tested and apparently works, but not for this boy.
— Dennis Bergendorf
ENOUGH TO GIVE YOU A HEART ATTACK
Re: Lawrence A. Hunter’s The Hidden Healthcare Horror:
Remember the organization N.I.C.E. in C.S. Lewis’s book, That Hideous Strength? I think our government needs a new head.
— Desiree Efner
What all of the “Universal Healthcare Now!” proponents do not understand is that rationing will happen here too. Why do potholes in roads go unrepaired seemingly for years? Your local schools crumbling buildings need repair and restoration? Cops get laid off to balance a city, county, or a state’s budget. Depression era-sewer line repairs cause a legislature to propose a massive tax increase? We hear about it locally and nationally all the time. Yet we forget these words: “…to provide for the common defense, ensure domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare.” The government’s REAL job: Maintaining sewer lines and hiring police, not making expensive baubles for the populace to “ooh and aah” at. Politicians spend today’s money it gets buying new votes because all the people clamoring for “Universal Healthcare Now” are AWOL when it comes time to call their representatives to account for the lousy roads, schools, and infrastructure that’s supposed to be government’s job.
— P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan
Readers of The American Spectator and the American public really do not understand how significant a problem the new left wing vision for transforming American medicine is. The basic idea in short as is that a group of designated “experts” will review data form studies they generate, fund and select. They will review the data in ways that may be tendentious, and arrive at conclusions that are politically convenient. Does anyone think that a study that contradicts the government sponsored “comparative health care effectiveness research” will ever see publication? If you have any doubt what that would look like think of the treatment a dissident on global warming gets. The goal is to restrict patient treatment options, and to subject the whole health care system to de facto government control. This is outlined well by Mr. Hunter. What your readers may not be aware of is that this movement is very largely already supported by a large group of physicians. That is not to say the majority of practicing MDs. If you receive your care from a doctor in private practice, very likely they view this as something that will negate their clinical judgment. But if you happen to get your care at an academic medical center, from one of the faculty, chances are they are enthusiastically on board.
This means that the medical professional societies are promoting this, as of course is just about every medical journal which is published by the same professional societies. Thus will the left claim that medical science and expert physicians favor the CER and more government control. The vast majority of those of us delivering most of the actual health care in this country do not have a vote. One can only speculate why this is the case. Why do academic docs see things so differently? Maybe they are just more brilliant than the rest of us? Nope, more likely it has to do with power. Increasingly we can find large community hospitals can now do what years ago only university hospital centers could do. Need open heart surgery, complex cancer chemotherapy, even an organ transplant? There is a good chance that a large tertiary care community hospital, can deliver this care and is staffed by a variety of well trained specialists. Thee natural tendency is for academic medical types to reassert themselves and what better way than to promote an overall government run bureaucracy that will dictate care. One can safely bet that the government will be looking to the those folks who control the medical journals and specialty societies as the real “experts” who can decide what health care the rest of us can give or receive. Of course the “experts” will always get around the rules set for the rest of the unwashed (i.e., us) just think of how Tim Geithner can handle his taxes.
Not sure what the solution is… But be afraid, be very afraid.
— Michael DePietro, MD
IRONING OUT THE IRONY
Re: Jeff Emanuel’s Mark Sanford Bails Out:
Much thanks to Governor Mark Sanford for taking the irony out of a sentence that has Republican and “principled stance” in the same line.
— Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York
Re: Robert Hubert’s Good As Goldwater:
By all means, tell about the “Funding Fathers.” However, please leave out the father of all RINOs, Barry Goldwater. We can do better than him for an example in conservatism.
— Michael Skaggs
RIGHT NOW, OVER ME
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s Conservatives and Liberals, Come Together:
Liberals and conservatives ought to come together to defend free speech, but one need not travel to England to find such an issue. The ugliness that is the “fairness doctrine” has raised its fascist head once again. The left, stuck with a message nobody wishes to hear, is trying to force that message down the intellectual throats of America.
The left is fueled by hate and anger. With Mr. Bush gone, their anger stems from the fact that no one will listen to their views of a thought controlled utopia. Their hatred is for the conservative radio talk that everyone does wish to listen to. Their hatred is for the Fox network that so eloquently shows the vast wasteland that is liberalism’s unfathomable social and economic philosophy by daily placing a conservative, who speaks of ideas, next to a radical leftist who calls people names. The radicals wish to silence their honest detractors. The fact they have NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, NPR, MSNBC, Air America, and every major newspaper and news magazine as cheerleaders matters not. Those outlets are balanced and fair. They spew the party line, uncritically and without analysis.
It is ideas that frighten radical leftists like those now in control of our federal government. This next two years may change the social and economic landscape of America so greatly that due to the wreckage of the economy and the controls placed on all of us — the erosion of our personal freedoms — by nationalizing banks, education, medicine and the destruction of Christian religion — it may require generations to set things right. Remember, Hitler was elected in Germany. Castro in Cuba and Chavez in Venezuela. This presidential election created the conditions for the perfect radical left’s storm. Radical leftists controlled Congress, and now an avowed socialist is president. Be very afraid.
— Jay Molyneaux
DEFINITIONALLY NOT AN OPTION
Re: George Neumayr’s Benedict and the Abortion Holocaust-Deniers:
Being a pro-choice Catholic is like cooking kosher pork; it is not a paradox or an oxymoron. It is simply an untenable position, an impossibility by definition. The Catholic Church, through its agents (i.e., priests), has a moral obligation, a categorical imperative, to deny holy communion to those who refuse to support such a fundamental position of the Holy See. And since the masses are more likely to read a message posted on a billboard than a label a pill bottle, denying communion to politicians, be they of the right (e.g., Mayor Giuliani) or the left (Speaker Pelosi) is a morally just method to send a message to all: abortion is not an option.
— Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York
CORRUPT CITY, CORRUPT RESIDENTS
Re: Chris Robling’s Take Me Back to Chicago:
Illinois is an eternal hotbed of corruption and so we should not be surprised that Roland Burris has turned into another rotten pumpkin from the magic wand of Rod Blagojevich. I remember learning in 4th grade about Paul Powell’s shoe boxes full of money and this was only the tip of the iceberg of corruption which preceded and followed those memorable payola containers.
To modernize the immorality tale we only need to note that the sewage bilging forth from Illinois runs deep to Obama. There is no doubt in my mind that the sinking of Blagojevich and Burris has more to do with Obama corruption than with their peccadilloes. Can anyone say Tony Rezko? Just like old Web Hubbell needed to be silenced so do Burris and others. Whitewater left a tidal wave of 40 convictions which Obama surely does not want to see repeated in his own tawdry affairs. So throwing Burris under the bus is the most convenient thing to do. And the lovely thing about it is that the race card cannot be effectively played.
Ultimately Obama is being Setup to be silenced and controlled just as the Clintons were with Vince Foster. It will be interesting to see how high the sleaze factor goes with Obama. Do any powerful Democrats pay taxes?
— David Bonn
CHECKIN’ IT TWICE…
Re: Mark Hyman’s Obama’s Enemies List:
I am curious if, in the case of Hillary Clinton’s current travels, she has included reporters from the more conservative media outlets. Or has she been able to cut them out? I saw Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC give reports as she travels with Clinton; and other reporter Meka Brezinski from MSNBC is with Clinton. But are their others who are not liberal traveling with her? I would not be surprised if Clinton did not include conservative networks.
— Joanne Cole
Machiavelli, ever perceptive, wrote this: “…when a people goes so far as to commit the error of giving power to one man so that he may defeat those whom they hate, and if this man be shrewd, it will always end in his becoming their tyrant.” Nostradamus was a prediction-piker by comparison.
If there were ever two issues custom-made for the ACLU, they are this impending Soviet-style silencing of the opposition in violation of the First Amendment, and this impending violation of Article I, Section 2, the hijack of the census and consequent savaging of our fundamental civil liberty — the right to vote for a government which fairly reflects the will of the people.
Yeah, I can hear you now — there he goes again, the ACLU…droll as a troll.
Well, I didn’t say that the ACLU would take up the challenge, did I? I have learned from a long life that whenever hope springs eternal, it always lands in reality.
If the ACLU will not fight these battles, who will? Congress? Now that is really droll, even though Article I, Section 2, of the Constitution is clear that the census is the responsibility of Congress [“The actual enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.” How much clearer can that be?]
If there is not another national organization willing to fight these Constitutional battles, then one must be created.
Is there an organization out there ready to fight these two battles to preserve our liberties?
With or without the word “liberties” in your name?
— A. C. Santore
WISDOM COMES WITH AGE
Re: Bill Croke’s The Old Crock:
It occurs to me that Bill Croke’s “friends” are not. Also, that the Mr. O’Neill’s blog title “The Smirking Chimp” may be as much a mirror as an epithet. In my letter just after election day, I noted that the Obamans need to shut up and put up. Mr. Croke’s piece brings to mind that they need to grow up first…and the tale of perfessor O’Neill does not augur well that prospect.
— Reid Bogie