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Family Traditions

Re: Shawn Macomber’s Stolen Oil:

There are two distinct Venezuelans and both deserve their Chavista lives. The great majority of both fell for the promise of getting something (prosperity) for nothing and elected their messiah.

One Venezuelan is the “native” and has lived off government subsidies on every aspect of their lives and are comfortable with protesting when the results are not to their liking. They came out in impressive numbers many years ago when Castro came calling for funds to power his revolution. My Italian father, out of curiosity, attended one of these large rallies. The political culture has not changed much since then.

The other is the transplanted European (mainly Italian and Portuguese) that brought with them a work ethic that was inherited by their children. My uncle (we used to mock him as a Chavista until he wised up) is one of these along with a few remaining friends that never left. Many of them got sucked up in the growing anti-American sentiment promoted by Chavez and the clever “Bolivian revolution” that promised a better life by going after those who have more than themselves without thinking their accumulated wealth could be targeted for redistribution, which they now fear.

In US, those that always fall for the same con (somebody else controls your life) every election day deserve their spoils: higher energy costs, dysfunctional schools, crime, lost economic opportunities, corruption, and cynicism. There are many Chavistas living among us and they are call themselves “Progressives.” As in Venezuela, those that don’t fall for that false hope have to suffer also.
Name and Address withheld

Joseph Kennedy shares more then just a name with his grandfather. He seems to be following the older Joe’s example in his support for dictators over democrats. Just as his grandfather supported Hitler and Mussolini Joe the younger has fallen in love with another fascist dictator.
Jerrold Goldblatt
Arlington, Virginia

Joe Kennedy might be impressed that, “Hugo Chavez can quote Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln by heart,” but of greater insight are the words of an old, dead, and European male writer, “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.” (William Shakespeare The Merchant of Venice, Act I, scene iii, line 99) For Chavez, reciting quotations is vastly different than speaking sincerely and legislating ethically. When one is rich in the pocket but bankrupt in morals, as seems to be the case with Joe Kennedy, stating one of your heroes can quote great American patriots counts more than policy. Ultimately, if a man is to be judged, let it be by his actions since actions reflect the true man more than the greatest of rhetoric.
Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York

Re: The Prowler’s Reaching Out to Cheney:

Come on, Senator McCain, surely you can do better than this! The conservative base, which you so disdain, loves Dick Cheney. A quick reminder…it is still their convention, too.

I can’t decide if John McCain is rude, crude and socially unacceptable or just plain inept and unorganized. For donors it must be really painful to watch this campaign staff waste money, time and talent. More and more I think this election is John McCain’s to lose…and he just might do that if someone in Crystal City, Virginia, doesn’t get organized — NOW.
Judy Beumler

If the McCain camp doesn’t want Cheney around the convention, I’ll get some extra Pabst Blue Ribbon, by a bunch of steaks and have my band over to play for the vice-President. I would love to have myself & the family and a lot of friends come by (yes they would ALL pass a background check!) and pose for pictures with the vice-President.

Havin’ VP Cheney at my house would be COOL! Plus it would piss off all of my ultra-liberal neighbors.
P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan

Re: Sean Higgins’ No Nonsense Novak:

Sean Higgins piece on Bob Novak was well received here and in a lot of places where leftist/socialist/democrats DON’T congregate. I too have my copy of Prince of Darkness and it is a must have textbook on the realities of our political system for the last 50 years. Much could be said and, undoubtedly, will be said about Mr. Novak now that his column will be stilled.

In the summer of 1980 I found myself stationed in the Pentagon and, therefore, living in the D.C. area. Being a newspaper junky I, enjoyed my daily Washington Post despite its leftist bent. The Evans and Novak column helped cushion the propaganda and biased reporting one suffered in the Post‘s pages. For recent proof the daily trashing given Senator Allen in 2006 is all you need. But I digress. To know what was REALLY going on in politics Evans and Novak was it. A classic example of the inside nature of their column came as I reveled in what was D.C. after Jimmy was clobbered. Ripples went even to my little cubicle in the Pentagon. Having completed duty on Air Force budget panels before November, we reconvened after Reagan’s election in light of expected repairs to the starvation budgets of four Carter years.

The Evans and Novak columns after that election dispelled much of my euphoria as they wrote a series of columns exposing the hosing Reagan loyalists were taking in the personnel process that was to fill the key posts in the administration. I found one of those columns recently. It seems that the country club Repubs had lost to Reagan but the great communicator was lax in sticky political details. The Bushies were not. A lot of the gory details would have been buried but for Novak’s digging. Imagine, if one were to wish to write a detailed tome on REAL POLITICS, over the years, an encyclopedia with Evans and Novak and later Novak articles, in chronological order, would be all one needed.

Much has been said and written about Bob’s article about the blond CIA bimbo and her airhead husband. The furor created by this piece was b.s. manufactured by a leftist press aided and abetted by the typically vicious Democrat pols. Conservatives can remember Bob’s writings fondly, for many reasons. One I will select is his forward to a recent reprint of a masterpiece of Conservative literature — Whittaker Chambers’s Witness.
MJ Turkelson
Lebanon, Ohio

Re: David Mark’s After Allard:

Article is right on but most important is the average voter in Colorado actually thinks Udall is middle of the road, not a liberal. All his commercials indicate a middle of the road guy and most voters stop there and don’t look at his record which is very left.
Rick Muldoon

Re: Lawrence Henry’s My Glorious Career:

Please forward my prayers and best wishes to Lawrence Henry as he embarks on the path to a new kidney. I am always happy to read what he has to say…seldom, if ever, disagree with him. He is a great articulator and way too hard on himself.
Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

Please pass on my very best wishes to Lawrence. I read his articles with anticipation of something good happening for his health.

May he be blessed with the desires of his heart. God loves him and wants to continue using him here on earth. We who have been given a new lease on life are to use this second, (or third) chance to glorify God as we were not able to do with the first life.

Colossians 1:18 “…so that in everything he might have the supremacy.”
Sallie Kay Stodghill

Gee, Mr. Henry, I thought you already had a successful career writing for TAS, bird in the hand and all that. Congratulations on the kidney transplant.
Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

I had completely accepted my death from liver cancer in 2006 when the transplant came through on October 31st. The first group of transplant doctors I went to said I didn’t meet the criteria and that there was nothing they could do for me. I decided a second opinion was in order. Eighteen months later I got a transplant from the University of Miami. During recovery, which took me about a year, one of the hardest things to come to grips with was the fact that I had to now go back to the world and start living again. I made the transition and again have a full life.

Funny though accepting the “new beginning” was almost as difficult as accepting the ending.
Cecil Thorpe

Re: Jonathon M. Seidl’s The King Returns… and Departs:

By continuing to play football, regardless of for whom he is playing, Brett Favre is risking what may have been his greatest accomplishment. That is, leaving the game after 17 years with a good chance of being able to walk normally when he’s 50. No amount of additional money is worth the risk of debilitating injury yet those closest to Favre seem to be more interested in riding the Favre financial and fame gravy train. That is the true tragedy.
Tom Vandenberg

Re: Ben Stein’s Porn Star for Obama:

I don’t get it. The pretty Paris Hilton was dismissed as a moron by almost everyone, but when she does a commercial attacking John McCain, she’s the next best thing to Socrates. The fact is, even when Paris is trying to sound smart, she still sounds like a moron.

Note to Lawrence Henry: If you find the key to financial success, please share it with all the rest of us! We don’t all inherit it from wealthy hotel owners.
Vern Crisler
Gilbert, Arizona

Ben Stein is showing precisely the same lack of self-deprecating humor that has gotten the Obama campaign in so much trouble. Personally, I thought the Hilton spoof ad was a hoot, which showed Paris Hilton doesn’t take herself all that seriously and at least has the ability to laugh at herself –unlike Mr. Obama, and, apparently, Mr. Stein. He seems to think the Hilton spoof is a knock on Mr. McCain. If I were the McCain campaign, I would openly embrace the film. Sure, it describes McCain as an “old, white-haired dude” and as “older than dirt.” But the way in which this is done is so light-hearted and over-the-top (flash to the Crypt Keeper, Col. Sanders and Yoda) that in fact it entirely deflates the age issue. Besides, what’s wrong with being compared to Yoda. “Mighty Jedi is he. Look this good you should when you 900 years old are, hmm.” And, of course, Hilton’s energy policy is actually not bad, and much closer to McCain’s than to Obama’s (no mention of tire gauges from Paris). So lighten up, already.

Of course, some people might see this as a pro-Obama ad, but in fact it’s really pro-Paris. It is the way in which the Obama Campaign should have responded to the original McCain ad, but their humorless, heavy-handed whining about it (paying attention, Ben?) now makes it impossible for them to use the Hilton spoof to their benefit. All around, a good job by McCain for raising the issue of empty celebrity, and kudos to Paris Hilton for knowing how to play the game better than the opposition candidate or some old writer/actor/economist dude.
Stuart Koehl
Falls Church, Virginia

Are you kidding? John McCain includes images of Paris Hilton in his attack ad against Barack Obama and Paris Hilton responds — with no endorsement of any candidate, and you are criticizing Barack Obama? The logic is tortured.
Maureen Dearden
Torrance, California

I read your recent essay in The American Spectator and have some comments:

1) The McCain campaign is the one that originally dragged Ms. Hilton into this fray, co-opting her image without compensation in a manner designed to denigrate her and Mr. Obama with some sort of celebrity-label taint. That is a bizarre smear coming from a Hollywood commentator, actor, performer (a celebrity!) like yourself and Mr. McCain, who has appeared in many more Hollywood movies and tv shows than Mr. Obama (none at all). McCain’s website has previously called him a “political celebrity” (a term since removed now that the campaign decided the label is best used as a pejorative), plus he is associated with multiple ghost-written biographies (celebrity pumping).

2) Nowhere do you prove that the Paris Hilton response video came from the Obama Campaign. Using a capital “F” on Friends of Obama is a grammatical assertion with no authority. It’s most likely that Ms. Hilton and friends made it themselves to promote Ms. Hilton, which is her only talent and job. You live in L.A. and must know that promotion is key.

3) You are upset that Ms. Hilton uses her celebrity to poke fun in a follow-up manner at McCain and Obama, but I think you are mostly upset that the campaign’s original juvenile action is hoisted with its own petard.

4) You conveniently forget that as a younger man the married Mr. McCain seduced and eventually married the Paris Hilton of his day, a young, attractive, rich, slender, vapid blond who was clearly slutty in her own way, dallying with a much older married man. It’s a juicy irony that Mr. McCain and his campaign (and you, too) now look to ridicule this type of person. And Mr. McCain’s pimping of his wife’s physical assets at the Bikini Beauty Pageant at the Buffalo Chip show last week is a bizarre continuation of this irony, too.

5) I look forward to the day when you are funny again. I suspect that Mr. DeLay’s corruption trial could use some yuks.
Ted DiSante
Tucson, Arizona

The article on your web page written by Mr. Ben Stein concerning the commercial degrading Obama as a celebrity shows the conservative media’s continued attempt to sway the minds’ of Americans through ignorant commentary. While Mr. Stein clearly does all he can to praise Mr. McCain and degrade Mr. Obama, I would like to point out a few important point that the commentary clearly disregards in order to portray a false viewpoint to your readers:

1) The article clearly ignores the fact that the commercial has insulted the family as well as the person of Ms. Paris Hilton. While I do not approve of her lifestyle, the Hilton family has contributed greatly to Mr. McCain’s campaign and so it should be expected that those that are insulted (aside from his political opponent) may feel the need to respond.

2) The commercial mentioned is not in any way endorsed by Mr. Obama, his campaign or its supporters. No where in the commercial is Obama named and the only referenced to him are “the other guy” so to accuse Obama or his campaign for producing said commercial is not only ignorant, it is a lie and an insult to his readers and conservative this nation over. For you to allow such an article to be published shows a blatant disregard for honest reporting.

3) Lastly, the article completely ignores McCain’s promise to run a clean campaign. While most (admittedly not all) of Mr. Obama’s campaign ads focus on Obama and what he can offer this country, McCain’s ads generally (though not all) spend their time attacking Obama with generally false or poorly stated negative information (see the recent “Is he the One?” internet video). This clearly shows that McCain has not acted in accordance to his word to the American People. The commentary further praises the McCain campaign for finding its footing, specifically in its attacks on Obama. Correct me if I am wrong, but are we not attempting to elect the most capable leader, as opposed to the candidate that most skillfully degrades and insults his opponents? Since the McCain campaign has recently gone so far as to state that McCain himself does not speak for his own campaign, perhaps this is understandable, however as a voting American it is frightening when I am not supposed to listen to the words of one of the two major candidates. How am I supposed to gauge what Mr. McCain will do as president if I can’t take what he or any of the people working for him as references for his plans as our future president?

I understand that you are trying to run a website/publication. However as a fellow American providing the population with information that will help them make the best choice in November I urge you to publish articles that are honest and attempt to not only fully explain the details, but to fully argue each assertion made. This poor attempt by Mr. Stein to write commentary on the current ad bickering by the candidates was insulting to my and other’s intelligence.

Thank you for listening,
Neil N. Puckett
Virginia City, Nevada

Please tell Mr. Stein to write his porn reviews in a more appropriate forum. Thanks to his most recent review re: Paris Hilton poli ad, readers are now faced with the image of Ben sitting in a darkened room, remote in hand, replaying Paris’s debut video ad infinitum.
Harland Harris

Re: Mike Dooley’s letter (under “Lost Cause”) in Reader Mail’s Where’s the Love?:

I must confess that I found Mike Dooley’s letter to be most interesting. While the end result of his surfing was to uncover a political code phrase for abortion and euthanasia, I suspect Mr. Dooley knows in his heart of hearts that those two fine lads, Robertson
and Dobson, would pull the plug on “Stacked and Topless” if they could. In trying to protect Mr. Dooley and Ben Stein from themselves, they would deny Mr. Dooley two hours of “lush depravity” and Mr. Stein the ability to research Paris Hilton for his critique of her abilities as an adult film actress. Concerning Ben Stein letter, Alan Kennedy could not have been more on target. While I suspect Mr. Dooley’s letter is a sly send up, if not, surf on, dude, secure in the knowledge that the First Amendment protects your interest from the pious.
Mike Roush
P.S. Whatever skepticism I had about the situation improving in Iraq evaporated when I read three fairly lengthy letters from Mike Tomlinson who is currently stationed in Habbaniyah, Iraq.

Re: Craig Sarver’s letter (under “Somebody’s Got it Right”) in Reader Mail’s Where’s the Love?:

Mr. Sarver writes: “We could discuss Halliburton as well, you know Clinton’s favorite non-bid contractor but why bother…” What the heck, Craig. Let’s bother. If you think awarding no-bid contracts constitutes bad public administration, then you have to agree that the Clinton and the Bush administrations failed on this count. If you think there is nothing wrong with awarding no-bid contracts, then you would have to agree that neither administration acted improperly on this count. No rocket science here. However, if you are of the opinion (and I have no reason to think that you are, but I have my suspicions about others who write to this forum) that Clinton never did anything right and Bush never did anything wrong, then you have a bit of a problem. But there is a way out of this dilemma. All one has to do is presuppose, as an article of faith, that any action by the man one supports is motivated by the purest of intentions. Conversely, of course, the same actions taken by the other guy are assumed, ipso facto, to be nefariously motivated. Poof! Messy facts and the potential for the cognitive dissonance they create disappear.

I’m left to wonder: Do we agree that both administrations engaged in bad public administration? Do we disagree because I think no-bid contacts are bad and you don’t (no problem here — men of good will can disagree) or…well, let’s not go there.
Mike Roush

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