THREE LONGEST YEARS
Re: Reid Collins’ Teacher’s Pets:
You know when that 20 year old gets home after spending 15 months wearing 40 pounds of body armor in 140 degree heat, I think it would be nice if he could buy himself a beer.
— Jim Karr
Blue Springs, Missouri
I am, alas, old enough to have gone to college when the drinking age (for beer and wine) was 18, but the voting age was still 21. And so we’d drink a good bit on the weekends, but took our studies seriously the rest of the time, and survived. Those who would have become problem drinkers at 21 simply became problem drinkers a few years earlier. By the time I completed my studies, the voting age had been dropped from 21 to 18, on the theory that if one was old enough to die for one’s country (we still had the draft), one ought to be able to cast a vote on the matter. I believed then, and believe now, that the same can be said for drinking a beer.
— Pat Korten
Once again we are shown just how bad it is when people try to justify the limiting of freedom of free thinking adults. Mr. Collins’ article is not only poorly worded but also poorly argued. How many people in this country are between 18 and 21? And considering that a great many of them still drink alcoholic beverages when they feel like it, saving 900 lives a year is supposed to be sufficient justification to allow our government to limit the rights of these men and women?
Is 18 the age of majority, or isn’t it? It’s old enough to vote. It’s old enough that the government can come down and pick you up, put you in uniform and send you across the world to fight for the state (the draft isn’t used, but it’s still there). It’s old enough for you to make any contract which you please and be forced to pay the consequences. Yet it’s not old enough to drink when you choose?
And Mr. Collins, how do you argue against the lower rates of drunkenness and alcohol abuse in nations like France and Germany where the drinking age is much lower? It would seem to me that this would argue for a lower drinking age (even below the age of majority). It’s really very simple. There are a lot of different reasons these young men and women drink. Most do it for social status. Some do it for fun, and yes, Mr. Collins, some do it because it is illegal and taboo.
And did you really write an argument that was essentially “they might even have sex if they get drunk and/or high?” How long has it been since you were a teenager, Mr. Collins? Trust me, they don’t need any drugs to encourage that particular activity. And quite honestly, peoples sex lives are none of our business. Actually, people’s lives are none of our business as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else. And a lower drinking age will help simply because it means people are less likely to be somewhere getting drunk and then have drive back home.
No, Mr. Collins, this argument is simple. The mandatory 21 drinking age is yet another example of an over-reaching federal government forcing the will of a minority onto the whole of the citizenry. But hey, guess that’s okay if their forcing a conservative position?
And I didn’t even start ranting about your total lack of understand on how making pot illegal is also down right unconstitutional…
— Charles Campbell
Let ’em eat (rum) cake.
— Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida
ABOVE THE PAY GRADE
Re: George Neumayr’s Obama: 110% Pro-Choice:
Barack Obama’s strong pro-abortion beliefs are there for anyone with eyes to see. Yet, a few months ago, the Catholic Universe Bulletin, the official newspaper for the Dioceses of Cleveland, published a letter that explicitly claimed that Obama was more pro-life than John McCain. And why? Because McCain divorced and remarried.
Now it is true that letters-to-the-editor do not reflect the editorial position of newspapers or magazines. But for this Catholic newspaper to print such an obvious, partisan lie on such a critical issue as abortion shows how far Catholic judgment has fallen since Vatican II.
So much of the current clerical leadership of the is so corrupted by political correctness that I fear it would give Satan equal time to present his case with no thought given to the many that he would thereby deceive.
Re: Roy Cordato’s Both Sides Promote Energy Socialism:
Ray Cordato’s premise regarding free energy markets is admirable. Unfortunately is it also a pipe dream (and not an oil pipe).
Bottom line: any policy whose success requires Congress to voluntarily reduce its level of power is dead on arrival in Washington D.C.
— Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida
Mr. Cordato nailed it — this ongoing energy crisis is entirely government-caused. Nuclear power was killed by the Carter Administration when it nominated as members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission a Sierra Club legal counsel and a Massachusetts consumer protection flake. The equipment failure at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant caused by the utility nincompoops operating it was proclaimed by the main stream media “a deadly nuclear accident;” not a fly was hurt in that “accident.” The Chernobyl nuclear accident was in fact a steam explosion that dispersed radioactive materials; it was caused by the ignorance of Soviet operators of that type of reactor’s limitations — its design was rejected as unsafe by the American authorities and was subsequently stolen by the Rosenbergs and given to the Soviets. Our “environmentalists” put a stop to offshore drilling which is completely safe as shown by the platforms operating in the North Sea that have given petroleum independence to Great Britain and Norway. The man-made globaloney warming scam has been refuted by 31,000 scientists and professionals (9,000 of them with PhD’s) who signed the “Oregon Petition” and the “Manhattan Declaration” (see Internet). Unfortunately, both our Socialists (aka Democrats) and our Republicans tout for more government interventions, more taxes, more subsidies for “new technologies.” Wind power dates from the Middle Ages — you remember Don Quijote’s windmills? Today one kilowatt-hour of wind turbine electricity costs some $2 per kilowatt-hour; besides those turbines are veritable cuisinarts for birds. After 2 years of operation those wind turbines in the California Sierras were surrounded with 6 feet-deep cemeteries of birds — including albatrosses and eagles. Solar power has been tried during the last 50 years; it is expensive (1$/kw-hr), it is environmentally destructive, and of course it is unreliable just as wind power. Hydrogen cells? Where is the electricity necessary for electrolysis of water producing that hydrogen to come from? Electric cars — same question. Geothermal energy is as old as I am — 75 years old; it has been in use in California, Mexico, the Philippines. The byproducts include radioactive Cesium and Strontium, and enormous quantities of deadly Arsenic — all to be placed under earth just as ordinary garbage. Photovoltaic cells? At $100/kwhr they are good enough to operate space ship computers — but our heating in winter? Our air-conditioners in summer? Our refrigerators and hot water for showers at all times? Solar panels for water heating — it takes 12 years of their intermittent operation to recover the energy spent to produce steel, glass, copper, and carbon black put in those panels. The poor homeowner must climb the roof every couple of days to clean them of dust and bird droppings. And let us not forget all those tax rebates costing us all.
Is there anybody in that Washington cesspool who understands all this? Bravo, Mr. Cordato — keep bringing light into that irresponsible center of ignorance!
— Marc Jeric
Las Vegas, Nevada
Another problem with the conservative side of the energy policy debate is the often claimed goal of lowering gas prices. Gas prices should neither be held artificially low nor should they be held artificially high since either policy requires a distortion of the economy and income transfers from one group to another. Overwhelming security interest should be the only factor that might drive the government to subsidize an inefficient form of energy production. Energy is a commodity like corn or pork bellies.
I live in a part of the country where the inflation adjusted gasoline price in 1980 is almost what it is now. The people in California are never going to get there because of their goofy energy policies. Many states and metropolitan areas are trying to comply with Kyoto but rarely brag about it. I like the idea of states having their own right to be silly. At least it serves as a good bad example for others.
— Danny L. Newton
LIKE A DOCTOR
Re: Anita Crane’s McCain: Still Awful on Stem Cells:
I am a prolife physician and opposed to embryonic stem cell research. I note the recent article by Anita Crane who laments Sen. McCain’s stance re: stem cell research and his belief that “skin cell” research will make the issue go away. Ms. Crane makes the point that Sen. McCain’ s prior support of ESC research undercuts his claim to believe that human life begins at conception, or more precisely that pre-born humans acquire rights from conception. To some extent this is true, but I would not discount Sen. McCain’ s ability to be persuaded on this issue. It is clear from his response that leaving aside the technical issues regarding the many different types, and sources of stem cells, Mr. McCain seems to suggest that if adequate sources of stem cells can be derived to proceed with useful biomedical research he would be content to support these areas. In particular if stem cells with the same pluripotentiality could be developed (i.e., the capacity to differentiate into multiple types of progenitor cells that interests scientists). It seems he would be content to support this research without pushing the need or funding for ESC research. I grant that from the perspective of those opposed to killing human embryos to obtain their stem cells this is not as reassuring as a complete agreement with the pro-life community on this issue, but it shows Sen. McCain is at least sympathetic to pro-life concerns and would not dismiss human embryos as nothing. In fact all forms of stem cell research are many decades away from the kinds of advances in actual clinical practice touted as possible by the proponents of this research. (The scientists are seeking grant money after all, not likely a completely unbiased source of info.) In fact it is by no means obvious that any clinical advance for any disease will be stem cell based, ever. Scientists would like to tinker with these cells in the lab and hopefully learn some useful biologic facts that one day (maybe decades from now) will be lead to actual therapies for real diseases. (The one exception is use of adult hematologic [or blood cell] stem cells which are currently used to treat patients with some kinds of leukemia and similar disorders, but come from adults and are extracted without harm from the donor.) That being clear there are plenty of things for scientists to tinker with using federal dollars (limited dollars that they are, after all) that do not involve killing embryos to get their stem cells. (These range from non embryonic stem cells, to all kinds of disease based research that have nothing to do with stem cells at all. Some of which are a lot closer to yielding useful clinical therapies in humans as opposed to interesting findings in mice.) It sounds like Mr. McCain can be shown this fact much more readily that Obama can. The Senator’s ambivalence on this issue probably is partially the result of believing the fictions put out by both the scientists seeking federal dollars that excessively exaggerate the utility of embryonic stem cells to actually treat any known human disease. (In fact there are plenty of non stem cell approaches to diseases that have are much closer to clinical trials.)
I would think it is clear that McCain is easier to persuade on this issue than Obama. Obama does not think fully developed premature infants who manage to survive an abortion attempt acquire human rights, difficult to picture him thinking human embryos are worth much. Obviously on every other pro-life issue McCain is infinitely superior to Obama who is so pro-abortion that he promised his fan club at Planned Parenthood to sign the Freedom of Choice Act as his first act in the Oval office. First act mind you! No, he would not first deal with the Russian invasion of Georgia, or United States energy independence, or some measure to help the sputtering economy, no it is unlimited unrestricted to abortion for any reason, at any stage of pregnancy with the assist of federal tax dollars that is his very first priority as President. And the left has the chutzpa to call the pro-lifers fanatics!
It is time for the pro-life community to show some political savvy. Unlike the kooks on the left we are not the fanatics. Our choices are between the most radical pro-abortion enthusiasts to run for President ever, in truth a pro-abortion fanatic if you take him at his word versus, in McCain, someone who is mostly sympathetic to us. Well… Perhaps Obama is just a demagogue pandering to the fanatics over at Planned Parenthood if you take him with a grain of salt, nonetheless McCain agrees with us 80% of the time and probably at least will give profilers a hearing on areas were we disagree. Certainly the damage to the pro-life cause is obviously a lot greater with an Obama victory. The mature political response is to help Sen. McCain get elected now, and work with him to accomplish as many of our goals as we can during his term, not to reward his mostly strong supportive statements (and quite frankly a pretty pro-life voting record over the last 25 years) with “this is not good enough.” There will be no working with Obama.
— Michael DePietro MD
ON KERRY’S LOSING STREAK
Re: W. James Antle III’s Beatty the Odds:
I would like to be somewhat optimistic regarding Mr. Beatty handing the arrogant Sen. Kerry a deserved loss in November. Unfortunately, I can not. It is my humble opinion that the Dems of Mass. will elect Sen. Kennedy at least the first time he is up for re-election after he passes on.
The trouble, it seems to me, is that the uber-liberal population of the eastern quarter of Mass. overwhelms the rest of the state. Even the Dems there that are not super liberal are yellow dog Dems. A large portion of these folks don’t even know how to vote for a Repub, they have never done so. I believe that some even believe that it is against the law to vote for a Repub. Are we even sure that the voting machines have lines for the Repub candidates to be listed on? Both houses of the Mass. legislature are about 90% Dem. Yes, I know that the last few Governors before Deval Patrick were Repubs, but that was only so that the Dems would have someone other than themselves to blame the Big Dig and other state boondoggles on. Virtually no law, regulation, or ordinance can be passed into law, or removed from the code books, without the concurrence of the Dem Speaker of the House and/or the President of the Senate in Mass.
If the voting population of Boston and its environs were not enough, there is the voting population of the Cape and Martha’s Vineyard. Then there is the temporary population of all the colleges in Mass. There simply are not enough voters in the rest of Mass. to make up for the overwhelming advantage that the Dems have in the eastern Dem enclaves.
Mr. Beatty seems to have an excellent background, and would seem to be a good candidate. But we are talking about Mass. here. I expect that he will go down in flames, as is the usual fate of Repub candidates for state wide office in Mass. In fact, I personally wish that all the Dems that have moved to New Hampshire would move back to Mass. In time to vote for Kerry. That way we in New Hampshire could have our state back, even though it would increase the vote by which Mr. Beatty loses, we might save Sen. Sununu in New Hampshire.
Now if you really want to do something constructive, why don’t you write an in depth piece on Mr. Russell, who is challenging Haditha Jack Murtha in Penn. He is a great candidate, and actually stands a chance of knocking off that vile old reprobate ex-Marine. (Yes, I know there are only “former” Marines, but there are a handful that are so vile that those of us that have had a connection to the USMC do consider them “ex-Marines.”)
— Ken Shreve
Re: Lawrence Henry’s Old Ironsides Redux:
Please know that there are many out here who are feeling a part what you are suffering these days. We are hoping and praying that your transplant happens soon, and that you are brought back to good health.
Your writing has a powerful simplicity, and when I go to the AmSpec web page I always look for your name first in the list of columns for the week. If I don’t find it, I am disappointed. When I read your work I am always amazed that such simple phrasing can evoke such complex emotions.
I’m sure there are many who would be poorer without what you give to us. So please keep up the fight and remember that we are pulling for you, even if some of that is for selfish reasons.
— Randy Westfall
Re: Nicole Russell’s Green with Hypocrisy:
So you can calculate how many tons of CO2 are in your carbon foot print. Where is the calculator that says how many new trees have to be in your Carbon Offset? Who figures that, the guy selling the offset? That’s a setup ripe for scamming Carbon Offset purchasers. After we pay for the offset, how do we know the trees will be planted or whether they are the correct type of trees? The whole idea of purchasing Carbon Offsets seems very much like purchasing indulgences in atonement for sin.
— John Manguso
San Antonio, Texas
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s Dreams from My Brother:
I am not usually the type to write an editor about an article, but this one posted by R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. contains one of the most ridiculous assertions I have ever read. To actually believe that because Barack Obama’s half brother lives in poverty in Africa that this will somehow make Obama appear more “Green” is not only ridiculous but shows the complete bias towards Obama by the author. In effect, the revelation that he has a half brother living in such destitute, to the point of where George says he is ashamed, can only have negative results for him. Whether or not George asked Barack for help is inconsequential. The people who are not blinded by the Obama persona are going to see that he has a brother living in poverty and with Barack’s situation in life it would appear that he hasn’t helped him because he very easily can. It also throws a shadow over Obama’s quoting of Matthew at the religious forum last Saturday “that whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.”
It is just so obvious of the spin the author is attempting to put on this story.
Re: Various letters in Reader Mail’s Memorable Reunions:
Mr. Dantes, I hope that it in calling the murdered Kent State students of 1970 “martyrs to any cause any left wingnut deems important” that you are not maligning the students themselves. We may or may not agree with what those students did, or why they chose to protest, or the manner of their protest. For the record, I do not. But to have United States soldiers fire into a group of unarmed children was an absolute disgrace, a total abuse of government power, and absolutely made those kids martyrs to this wonderful country. To suggest anything else is to make this country less than what it is.
Mr. Nelson, I have no doubts that things are going to get worse. But there’s a major difference between your average Brit and your average Yank. We Americans are citizens, the British are subjects. The Federal government is a limited, specific government. The British parliament is an unlimited, general government. Sooner are later, Americans will remember this. And things will change. Though, that’s not suggest it might not get bad before then.
Mr. Greene: Oh, ye of little faith. While much of what you say is true, let me reassure. I’m 28, one of those “young” voters. I know a lot people my age and younger who are just as scared of Obama as you um… more experienced voters. Have faith that Americans, on the whole, are a lot smarter than our government thinks we are. And we’re a whole heck of a lot smarter than the liberal elite such as the Obamessiah gives us credit for. We can see through the lies and the PC bull, and we’re coming out of it. Again, things might get bad before they get better, but we’ll survive.
Okay. I’m starting to sound the optimist, time to sign off.
— Charles Campbell
Re: Michael Skaggs’ letter (under “All the Colors”) in Reader Mail’s Memorable Reunions:
Mr. Skaggs: Look closely at my letter. I attended a reunion “of the Army’s famous Rainbow Division, which served with distinction in both world wars, and was made famous by a fanciful Jimmy Cagney movie called The Fighting 69th.”
In my haste, I neglected to explain that the 69th New York Infantry, which included many immigrant Irish, and served heroically during the Civil War, became the 165th New York Infantry during the First World War. At that time it became part of the Rainbow Division. The Cagney Movie, The Fighting 69th, was built around characters who arrived in camp as the 69th New York Irish, and then became part of the Rainbow. In its final form, the Rainbow Division included troops drawn from National Guard Units of 26 states and the District of Columbia.
On November 11, 1918, officers of the Rainbow Division formed the Rainbow Division Veterans Association (RDVA). In 2003, that organization was reformed as the Rainbow Division Veterans Memorial Foundation, Inc. (RDVMF). Veterans from all constituent units, and from all the wars in which they served, reunite as one group. A detailed account of the history and the organization formed to serve its members can be found at rainbowvets.org.
Because I assumed a certain literacy on the part of TAS readers, and because letters are written in haste, and because the substance of the message was the way in which the Ohio vet was treated after the war, I overlooked a spot of rhetorical ambiguity. I never dreamed someone could hear that soldier’s story and have no response beyond an irresistible urge to split hairs.
— Edmund Dantes
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