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Keen Insights

Re: Bill Croke’s Don’t Go Hiking With Captain Pain:

I have spent most of the past 12 years teaching in the Middle East, in universities in Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey, and now Amman, Jordan. Bill Croke’s article nearly brought me to tears, with the beauty of not only his prose, but of the place names themselves: “Copper Lakes near Sunlight Basin,” “Painter Creek,” and his final description of Grinnell Meadows. I was filled with a wave of nostalgia and longing for my own nation, and my own country, South Carolina, and the Congaree Swamp, Lake Jocassee, and the Foothills Trails. I can only say thank you, and ask for more of the same, for it will be at least three years before I will see those places again.
Michael Jasper

Please pass on my appreciation to Bill for his wonderful articles about the real west, i.e., Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Having grown up in Montana I really appreciate his keen insights to people and their surroundings.
Tom Bullock
West Covina, California

Re: Barron Thomas’s The Coming Hedge-Fund Earthquake:

He is one of the few writers that “get it” about what’s going on right now in the economy.

There are few occupations where you get paid incredibly well no matter what the outcome is to the client (the legal profession and casinos come to mind). Too much money in the hands of too many that don’t know what they’re doing except rolling the dice.

What are the early warning signs? What should we expect next? Please tell us more.
Dick Rogers
Miami, Florida

I agree with Mr. Thomas’s story about the Hedge Funds and Wall Street. I remember reading his story a couple of years ago about the coming housing bubble. It made sense to me, so I sold my two rentals in San Diego. My friends thought I was crazy. Now, the same units are being sold in foreclosures at an asking price $150,000 each less than what I sold them for. I am sleeping well and my money is safely in T-Bills thanks to you guys.
H. Levine

Re: Andrew Cline’s Frog Marcher of the Week:

The nation’s media outlets will no doubt have their hands full trying to pooh-pooh Andrew Cline’s sarcastic take on their reaction to the resignation of Karl Rove. But I believe that he has judged the media too harshly here. According to the latest edition of the “WEB-ster’s Internet Dictionary and Eclectic Guide to Astute Politics” (WIDE GAP) compiled by dispassionate contributors to the Daily Kos and edited by the unbiased columnists from the New York Times editorial page, the definition of the word “impartial” is: (1) An opinion rendered by someone who sufficiently hates all things conservative or Republican. (2) Any statement that comports to the notion that all things done or said by political enemies of liberalism are inherently evil.

Using this indisputably non-partisan definition, it should be abundantly clear that no commentary appearing in MSM publications about the aforementioned Mr. Rove violates anyone’s idea of sound journalistic standards or practices. Nor is there a shred of evidence to suggest that their characterization of him was unfair. Mr. Cline’s veiled implication of some sort of media bias is therefore without merit. The problem is that all you right-wing neocons, paleocons and other assorted knuckle-dragging Neanderthals deny the fundamental truth as outlined in this, the secular progressive bible. You all need to learn to be more objective and stop trying to cram your pernicious ideology and your harmful religion down our throats. Ours is better and you know it. You people do not deserve freedom of speech and must be stopped!
Rick Arand
Lee’s Summit, Missouri

Re: Peter Hannaford’s Mike Deaver, RIP:

My most favorite Deaver spectacular was the “Wow!” photo of Ronald Reagan on the cover of Parade magazine, pumping iron. Just astounding — a collector’s item, if you can find it.
Jameson Campaigne
Ottawa, Illinois

Re: Mark Tooley’s Christians and Capitalism:

The firing of Professor Andrew Paquin has to be the best “man bites dog” story of the year. The irony of a college professor being non-renewed because he is too politically liberal is a chortle bringer of the first magnitude. Someone should alert the people at Ripley’s. After the liberal media have ridden, like Don Quixote, to the rescue of Professor Paquin, perhaps they can turn their sights on the thousands of center-right professors and instructors who CAN’T GET HIRED at any university, public or private, because they don’t burn with the blue flame of righteous liberalism. Most of the colleges and universities in the U.S. have given new meaning to the old term “liberal education.” It is about time that the public recognized this.
Joseph Baum
Garrettsville, Ohio

Re: Philip Klein’s Rudy’s War on Terror 2.0:

It occurs to me that if the upcoming election for POTUS was to be waged strictly on the basis of foreign policy and national security, I would probably be solidly in his corner. I would have to temper my enthusiasm due to his unsatisfactory views on our illegal immigration invasion problem, which I view as first and foremost a national security problem.

Unfortunately for Rudy, Presidential elections always involve a myriad of issues in need of attention besides national security. It is on those domestic issues and liberty issues that I must part company with Rudy.

Yes, I disagree with Rudy on the issue of abortion, but that is well down my list of objections to him. Issue number 1 is the illegal immigration problem. His stance seems to differ hardly at all, or only marginally, from that of George Bush, and that is totally unacceptable to me.

Issue 1A is Rudy’s stand on the Second Amendment. His views are quite simply unacceptable. He maintains a collectivist view of the right, while the founders, and I, have an individualist view of the right. Nuf’ said.

Rudy wants us to believe that he would appoint originalists/strict constructionists to the courts. Men like Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Thomas. Trouble is, in New York City he had the opportunity to do that and he appointed liberals and moderates instead. I guess you could say that I don’t trust him. Of course he showed his first two wives that he wasn’t especially trustworthy, didn’t he?

I do think that he would go toe to toe with the Dems, and that is a good thing. Chucky Schumer couldn’t cause him to cower in the corner like many in the GOP do. I would pay money to see Schumer and a president Rudy going at it, one on one.

I believe that we would find that the comfortable majority of the American electorate is more tired of the way that Bush has waged the war, then the objective to be achieved. I still maintain that a good communicator would not have lost the public in the first place like Bush did. Somehow I do not see Rudy waging the PC war that George Bush has opted for.
Ken Shreve
New Hampshire

So far, it appears that, for all of his warts, Giuliani is the only candidate who seems to “get it” regarding the war declared on us by a gang of Islamist terrorists, and more importantly, by Iran since 1979. However, when I hear or read references about a “war-weary” nation, I get thoroughly disgusted with reporters and commentators who should know better. The only part of this country which SHOULD be war weary is that made up of our troops and their families, who have had to bear with multiple deployments in hostile conditions under stupid rules of engagement. The rest of this country is still out to the mall, a result of our commander in chief’s stupid call to live life as normal immediately after 9/11, instead of taking the opportunity to mobilize the country and REALLY fight back. This has long been an indication to me and others in uniform that we as a country have never really been serious about fighting this conflict to win.

I commend Lt. Col. Ralph Peters’ book, Fighting for the Future, Will America Triumph? where he lays out the challenges we as a country, and specifically our armed forces, face and how we should face these challenges. He pulls no punches, particularly with regard to our beloved armed forces. He is prophetic as to the cluelessness of our military and political leadership in the current effort in Iraq, and lays out the current uselessness of our whole government apparatus in dealing with asymmetrical threats — how the latter continues to play by antiquated rules while our adversaries either are unaware of the “rule book” or have canned it altogether, or to put it in military terms, how our adversaries are way inside our O-O-D-A loop (observe-orient-decide-act), so that they quickly react to changes in tactics and strategy, while we vet ours through a ponderous and unresponsive bureaucracy. As a former Joint Staff officer, I was able to observe up close this as well as an ideologue civilian leadership demonstrating the classic definition of insanity — continually doing the same thing and more of it, and expecting different outcomes. I certainly do not fault our magnificent troops, primarily soldiers and Marines who bear the brunt of this, but also sailors and airmen who are also contributing to the fight, but I do fault our isolated political and senior military leadership who have foisted insane rules of engagement and other tactics and restrictions on our troops.

If one could build a case for any weariness at all on the part of the population, it is perhaps with the incompetent conduct of the Iraq campaign after major combat operations ceased in April 2003 up through the appointments of SECDEF Gates and Gen. Petraeus. (Congressional Democrats, take notice! It’s not about cutting and running.) What the good general is doing today is what we should have been doing 4 years ago. Perhaps it’s not too late; in fact, the indicators of success are heartening. However, despite the personal baggage Rudy is carrying, I believe he is the only one so far who seems to be drawing the correct lessons from our recent conduct of this war against us by the terrorists, which is how he correctly refers to this conflict. We are in an existential struggle against people who hate us and will willingly and enthusiastically die to kill us, or at least take as many of us as they can with them. Questions about abortion or gay marriage are moot if our country and way of life are destroyed. And we need a government, starting from the President on down, which can competently articulate this, mobilize the American people and fight this conflict in the same way we did the Cold War.
D. A. Moroco, Colonel, USMCR (Ret.)
Quantico, Virginia

Re: Tom Bethell’s Darwinism at AEI:

Tom Bethell nails down a lot of crucial points in the argument about Darwinism. And while Karl Popper, best described as an agnostic I believe, didn’t challenge Evolution directly, he certainly exposed its soft underbelly from his perspective as the philosopher of science who in Conjectures and Refutations showed us that falsification is the means whereby science actually progresses. So he never said it, but since Evolution is not falsifiable within the naturalistic presuppositions established by the scientific elite and by U.S. courts, it simply is not science.

But Bethell doesn’t correctly describe even the Young Earth Creationists of the Creation Research Institute, who in fact do scientific experiments they interpret in terms of their reading of Genesis (just as Evolutionists interpret their data in terms of naturalistic presuppositions). And Old Earth Creationist Hugh Ross ( has staked his position on building up a paradigm based on falsifiable predictions about both organic life and cosmology (being an astronomer). His purpose is to make predictions based on the presupposition of design in the cosmos and in living things and then to compare those predictions with scientific data gathered by his team and any other scientists with relevant data. He challenges evolutionists to make predictions based on their paradigm to be compared with those based on his paradigm — and may the best paradigm win.
David Haddon
Redding, California

No one has ever accused Discovery Institute guru George Gilder of being a molecular biologist. As Tom Bethell notes:

“He has been studying information theory for years, and one of his conclusions is that the information carried by a channel must be distinct and separate from the channel itself. DNA — a string of nucleotides — does not explain how the information (needed to construct proteins) got into that DNA in the first place. That, we know nothing about.”

Really? The last sentence may apply in Gilder and Bethell’s case, but the hypothesis that it applies to molecular biologists is an eminently falsifiable one. Reading “Darwinism At AEI,” heavy hitters in Molecular Bio who applaud Gilder’s free market instincts will be gobstopped by Bethell’s invocation of the immaterial example of Freud’s unfalsifiable hypothesis, and discount his citation of Behe’s apologetics as an appeal to bad biology and sophomoric philosophy of science

Psychology is not physics — Popper’s pique with Freud’s gedanken experiments arose because no physical experiments exist to contradict them. Nor does physics need metaphysics to proceed — the physical basis of molecular evolution is indeed atomistic, thermodynamic and quantum mechanical.

If you need an existence proof of the risibility of Intelligent Design, just look to the record of billions years of molecular evolution preserved in gene sequences. The cumulation of biologically “fit” information sequences despite the extinction of the vast majority of molecular lineages arising from random mutation speaks plain. Behe’s embarrassing failure to grasp the statistical ramifications of parallel replication has earned his latest book unanimously negative reviews. Yet, to hope Bethell will get around to reading them, as he continues to read it, may be as metaphysical as imagining AEI inviting A-list molecular biologists to add gravitas to its next revival meeting.

It ought to. Forget the Culture Wars — so close run a thing as the late Cold one should remind us that materialism is too important to be left to the Marxists.
Russell Seitz
Cambridge, Massachusetts

About 100 years ago a French scientist (whose name escapes me now but who was a convinced materialist) performed the following calculation. He assumed the following simplifications:

1) The entire known world, all 10 to the power of 79 molecules, are together in an uninterrupted “primordial soup,” suitable for a creation of a living cell;

2) That living cell, instead of consisting of many thousands of different molecules, has only two kinds of molecules, say, white and black, and has only 2000 of them;

3) The entire cosmos in that primordial soup consists entirely of only white and black molecules to the exclusion of any other kind;

4) That first living cell should have an order in the arrangement of those white and black molecules — it cannot be just any king of a jumble;

5) Let us assume the most primitive arrangement, say one white followed by one black, and so on for 1000 white and 1000 black molecules.

The question now is to calculate the probability of such spontaneous arrangement happening by chance, assuming that various arrangements will occur every second of time.

That French scientist then calculated that for a world consisting of 10 to the power of 79 of such molecules, all of them in that “primordial soup” at a convenient temperature, it would take some 16 billion years to produce this over-simplified first living cell. In other words, longer than the presently agreed upon existence of the universe since the big boom.

In other word, he proved by this incontrovertible mathematical proof that the Darwinist “theory” of chance existence of a first living cell is utterly impossible, especially so when one considers that a simplest living cell consists of several millions of hundreds of different kinds of molecules arranged in an extremely complicated manner.
Marc Jeric
Las Vegas, Nevada
(Ph.D., Engineering, UCLA 1968)

Re: Lars Walker’s The Race and the Not-So-Swift:

With respect to Mr. Walker’s dilemma when it came to the listing of the “ethnicity” of each member of the congregation, I suggest that he, and everyone, adopt the practice that I have followed for as long as I can remember. When I have to fill up a form that asks my “race,” and gives me a list from which to choose, I always check off “Other” and write in “Human.” So far, no one has had the nerve to tell me that I am not a member of the Human race.
W. B. Heffernan, Jr.

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