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None of the Above

Re: Doug Bandow’s Stop the Martyrdoms:

Thanks for printing Doug Bandow’s excellent article, “Stop the Martyrdoms.” Mr. Bandow does a great job in describing the persecution that occurs in Islamic countries, particularly to Christians.

Having said that, I must take exception to Mr. Bandow on one point. He says,”…[P]ersecution is an affront to any faith which claims to speak out on behalf of a loving God.” In point of fact, Allah is not conceptualized in the Koran as a loving God. Indeed, Allah is an utterly transcendent and unknowable God who will only be revealed in the last days when the world has been converted or subjugated to Islam. In the meantime, the Koran is quite specific about the way that non-believers or, as Moslems call them, “infidels,” are to be treated: They are to either (a) convert, (b) submit to Sharia, or (c) die. Persecution is entirely consistent with the transcendence of Allah because it discourages converts to Christianity and demoralizes those who practice the faith. If we assume that Islam shares a compatible world-view with Christianity (a loving God who cares for His creation and has sent His only Son to redeem it from sin), we miss a very real foundational difference between the two faiths and we risk encouraging Christians to overlook a clear danger not only to their faith but to the persons.

Thanks again for a great article.
(The Rev.) Robert T. Jones IV, Psy.D.
Conyers, Georgia

Re: Jeffrey Lord’s Doubting Thomas:

Jeffrey Lord’s article on being a member of the UCC reminded me of what the difference is between tolerant and radical churches and the damage a bad minister can cause to the former.

I grew up in Jamestown, New York and due to the fact that my family was heavily involved in the First Baptist Church (my great-grandfather had helped get the then current church built in 1915) became a member in 1960. Note that this was an American Baptist Convention church, not a Southern Baptist one, and more conservative and reserved.

I went into the Army in 1968 but kept my faith (still do) and thus missed some key changes. My father became a church deacon and as a result had to sit on the board to select a new minister. The one they selected was a somewhat unknown quantity who had been a Southern Baptist from Indiana and (unfortunately for us) was blessed with an activist wife who was a “joiner,” and soon after they were accepted in 1970 got herself voted onto the Jamestown School Board.

Fast forward to Mothers’ Day 1971. This was always a big day for the church, as nearly everyone showed up (the membership was around 1200, big for Jamestown) and it was a good time for all. Except this particular year the minister’s sermon was on the faithlessness of women and Sodom and Gomorrah with “so-and-so went down into Sodom and committed 12 whoredoms and so-and-so went down into Gomorrah and committed 17 whoredoms…” Within one week membership had dropped to 700 and within a month to 350. Note that these people voted with their feet and pocketbooks when they had a totally irresponsible and vitriolic minister.

But due to the tick-like engorgement of his wife and her burrowing into the local government it took several years to get rid of this man and start to restore the church. The replacement was unfortunately worse, as he was a liberal (!) activist and not happy the membership (only back up to about 500 or so) was not behind him. As a result the church was destroyed one night in a mysterious fire (something the FBI later noted had happened to a previous church where the new minister had been pastor.)

When I came back to bury my father in 1985 the church was rebuilt but tiny with less than 200 apparent members. But they had a good minister by then, neither a screamer or a radical.

I know there are still good ministers out there who understand they must minister to the soul and the spirit and not politics or counter-religious issues. The pastor of the First Methodist Church in Lone Oak, Georgia, was one of those when I attended services in his church in 2002.

But the fact that the UCC stands behind someone as nearly sacreligious as the alleged Reverend Wright and over 20,000 members see nothing wrong with this type of behavior tells me more about the specific church and the denomination. I feel for Mr. Lord being stuck with such people.
Cookie Sewell
Socialist Republic of Maryland

I have greatly enjoyed and appreciated Jeffrey Lord’s articles regarding the UCC, Hypocrisy is common to the human condition and Christians unfortunately suffer from it as well. However, it is important, in the interest of the truth, that where it is done in the name of Christ that it be pointed out and shown for what it is.

I have to mention that Lord improperly, or at least incompletely, attributes the “city on a hill” reference to John Winthrop. Winthrop may get credit for applying the reference to America but the image is from Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of Matthew, Christ said, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matt. 5:14 NIV). Winthrop was obviously applying the words of Jesus to America and, therefore, Jesus should get credit for the quote.
R. Thomas Avery
St. Louis, Missouri

What a bunch of crap. Instead of talking about the Pastor, why do you not write about a real issue like the Bosnia affair which was memorized by Hillary and repeated on three different occasions. It is important because it showed how easy it was for her in front of a live audience to lie to the public. She has become a pathetic figure to say the least. By the way, I am a white man from Canada who cares about what the Americans have gone through during the past eight years of Bush-Cheney lies. Do you want this for another four years, or vote for someone who will bring back respectability throughout the world?

The only person or thing responsible for getting Barack Hussein Obama into hot water? C’mon. It’s the same fellow whose face he washes and shaves daily.

In some way, he must be beside himself because of the UCC’s intentions, which just keep public what he desires to conceal.

After all, Hillary had just hoisted herself with her Bosnian petard and remains hanging. His devotees in the MSM and a good chunk of the punditocracy had done all they could, and fairly successfully, to bury or ignore this tar baby to which he remains stuck. He’d even gotten another MSM free pass when he downsized the heat and hatefulness of Wright’s remarks by insinuating, as he did recently in Greensboro, N.C., that they were just “stupid remarks.” And there was that performance on ABC, with gushing The View ladies, where, with typical long-windedness, he appeared to be retreating even further away from those very few, so-called denunciations of Wright.

Still, it’s sad and alarming to see the UCC denomination dive headfirst into this mess. You’d think the denominational leaders, regardless of their apparent left-leaning political bent, would see that they’re volunteering for self-inflicted wounds and denomination-wide problems here.

Will this backfire for them and the denomination, just as Obama’s evasiveness, if not outright prevarication, as well as absence of judgment and moral ambivalence and blindness continue to do so for him? How can it not?
C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia

Re: Philip Klein’s Depressed about Paulson:

Rothbard, in his book on the economic history of the U.S., reports that the Federal Reserve actually did substantially inflate the currency during the Depression, but private hoarding was a more powerful effect than Fed currency inflation, with the result that available currency contracted. Friedman’s report about the Fed contracting the currency during the Depression was apparently incorrect.
Will Schueman

While Mr. Klein is sensible to question the sagacity of any appointee of George W. Bush, Mr. Paulson’s advocacy of broadened regulatory authority for the Fed is not without merit. Despite the last two bubbles and the ongoing credit crisis, there has been much greater stability in our regulated financial markets than there was up until the Depression. Similarly, our recessions have become shorter and less severe. Mr. Paulson correctly notes that many recently-invented investment vehicles have become too complex to be understood by buyers and sellers alike. Certainly, if investors and issuers had thoroughly understood the risks attendant to securitized subprime mortgages, the credit crisis would have been much milder than to threaten our financial infrastructure. There still remains a minefield of hedge funds and derivatives that could explode without warning. What institution is better equipped to untangle these thorny technical problems than the Fed, which is staffed by some of the best economic minds in the world? I shudder to think what would happen if Congress took over.

I agree with Mr. Klein to the extent that the Fed has goofed a few times. But their mistakes have sometimes occurred in a vacuum of historical data and economic theory. The unforgivable mistakes they’ve made are the same as any made due to ideological prejudices. Alan Greenspan’s philosophical adherence to the works of Ayn Rand belongs in the same ash heap of history as neoconservatism. At the moment, we need more technocrats and less ideologues.
Paul Dorell
Evanston, Illinois

I wasn’t predisposed to go along with these “financial regulatory” reorganizations, though I was willing to listen for a while. Then a commentator mentioned these “reforms” would reorganize all these governing and regulating bodies, “just like the Department of Homeland Security.” That blew it for me, then and there.
Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida

Perhaps Mr. Klein could do me (and other readers insufficiently educated in the nuances of economics) a favor: explain why reducing leverage ratios are a bad thing. According to the NY Post, “(M)any brokers have been using $32 of leverage for every dollar of capital on their books…” That sounds grossly irresponsible to me. Am I wrong?
Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

In his article, “Depressed About Paulson,” Philip Klein wrote, “Under Greenspan’s leadership, the Fed slashed interest rates 13 times from January 2001 to June 2003, bringing the federal funds rate from 6.5 percent to 1 percent, where it stayed until mid-2004. By keeping rates so low for so long, the Fed helped push mortgage rates to their lowest levels since the Eisenhower era. That spurred stratospheric growth in housing prices and created the easy money environment that allowed banks to issue increasingly risky loans.”

The Fed does not control long term (mortgage) rates. This assumption that many people have (that the Fed Funds rate somehow controls — or even worse — that it is synonymous with — long term mortgage rates, is wrong. Mortgage rates are a product of market supply and demand (mortgage backed securities) and are primarily driven by inflation. If you want to see how mortgage rates are driven, simply watch the leading indictors of inflation such as the CPI.

Here’s a case in point. The last six times that the Fed cut the Fed Fund Rate, there was a temporary drop in long term mortgage rates, but in each of those six cases, the long term rates rose. This flies in Mr. Klein’s assertion that the “Fed helped push mortgage rates to their lowest levels…” through the lowering of the FFR.
Don Layton

Re: Andrew Cline’s American Woman:

May 29, 1953 — Sir Edmund slumped in the snow, his breathing ragged and labored. “I can go no further,” he rasped as the Sherpa guides and porters gathered silently around. With but 200 yards to the summit, Sir Edmund was played out completely and the climb might fail unless I could summon the will to rescue my future namesake. I heaved Sir Edmund and his oxygen tanks to my shoulder and began to climb. The Sherpas couldn’t believe it. When we finally reached the top, I took a drag of my Lucky Strike and laughed sardonically to myself, “Men. Who needs ’em?” I’ve been climbing and looking down on the whole world ever since. Not bad for a six year old, huh guys?
Deane Fish
Altamont, New York

Thank you, Andrew Cline. I never knew those things about Hillary! They’re so darn exciting that they read more like fiction than real life. What humility for her to have kept them quiet all this time!

When they make a movie about her life, those episodes MUST be featured.

I wonder who they’ll get to play her. Sigourney Weaver is my guess. Although she might not have all of the strengths required to do it justice, who else could?

I have the title ready: “Hillary Clinton: Action Hero.”
A. C. Santore

I think she used a 1911 from Les Baer (Thunder Ranch), Ed Brown, or Wilson (Tactical Super Grade).
Maxwell Bricks
Princeton, New Jersey

Re: Letters (under “A Man for All Frogkissers”) in Reader Mail’s It’s the Stupid Economy and William Yeatman’s A Maverick Climate Policy:

This is in response to Adam from Dallas’s letter on McCain and his imploring Republicans not to bicker over McCain’s global warming craziness.

I believe we conservatives better keep up our complaints because if McCain gets elected with Independents and upset Democrats, he won’t listen to our complaints anyway. He has ignored conservatives, and I think he will continue to do so. It would be nice to think that he is saying these things on global warming and has put forth his McCain-Lieberman bill just to attract left of center folks to vote for him, but it’s more than that. He is left of center, and he is like a dog with a bone — once he gets his teeth into an idea, no one can talk him out of it. That’s what I fear is taking place with his global warming crapola.

Like I said a few months back–he has a lot of Democrat friends. I just hope the economy can survive the next four years, because whoever is president is bound to make a shaky economy crumble.
Deborah Durkee
Marietta, Georgia

At this point, I am not overly concerned about the economy not being McCain’s strong suit. Considering the electorate’s pre-occupation with the superficial, I am more worried about his rumpled suit. He doesn’t look like the Straight Talk Express — more like he rode a Trailways bus from Georgia to Amarillo and rolled up his jacket for a pillow. Obama looks like a page out of GQ by comparison and like it or not, clothes make the man. Had I been a Democrat I could have never voted for Al Gore. The vent in his jacket was over-strained by his gluteus maximus (big butt for those in Rio Linda).

Someone should tell Cindy her Barbie Doll days are over. Better do something with her over-long and over blonde tresses. Could she be trying to look really young to offset the really old? She looked quite svelte back in 2000, but alas, has been seized by the notion that more is better. Not when you have a face like a baby barn owl.

Sorry, just thought it was time for some really shallow observation. All of this taking McCain’s measure in various areas of expertise got me to wondering, when have we ever had a president who could keep all the plates in the air unaided? Could the McCain critics name one? At least this guy has already sown all his wild oats. Get Sweet William Clinton back in there and it is Animal House all over again – “pulling all-nighters discussing policy over pizza…”

My Gosh, Jimmeh Cahtah even discussed affairs of state with Amy and valued her opinion. Wife Rosalind sat in on Cabinet meetings. Cindy hasn’t threatened to do that, yet.

Concentrate on a good VP, and for God’s sake, not some unknown who can help us in Ohio and is John Doe to everyone else in the country. It is my suspicion that a lot of elections have gone awry due to a wrong VP selection.

In case I sound like a McCainiac, I swore I would never vote for him. Voted for Fred Thompson in the primary AFTER he had already dropped out. We have a Hobson’s choice before us — which is to say, no choice at all. Tobias Hobson ran a “tight ship” of a livery stable. When a man came to rent a horse, although there were many to choose from he got the one that stood nearest the stable door.

Like it or lump it, Republicans. I’ll vote for McCain.
Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California

Sir: Your author William Yeatman argues against the measures proposed by Senator McCain and that functional moron Al Gore to prevent the coming catastrophic warming caused by human industrial activities. There is a petition on the subject (you can find it on the Internet under “Petition on Global Warming”) signed by some 22,000 scientists and professionals (me included) to the effect that human activities have no effect on the earth’s climate, whether warming or cooling. In the 1970’s we were warned of the coming catastrophic new ice age, by some of the same “scientists” who are now panicked about catastrophic warming. One could argue with the same certainty that a burp of a lonely wolf in Alaska will change the Florida climate from tropical to perpetual ice. Breathing oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide is the principle of life and we are grateful for it; the insects here on earth are also grateful – they produce much more carbon dioxide than all the humanity with all its industry will ever do. The heating influence (thermal absorptivity) of water vapor in the atmosphere is about 1000 times that of carbon dioxide — and where would we all be without water?
Marc Jeric, MS, PhD (Engineering, UCLA)

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