Re: Philip Klein's The Other Refugees:
Great news that the Congress has finally discovered the Jewish refugees from Arab countries — I can hardly remember the last time this was even mentioned in the media, much less discussed. I hope they keep up the momentum and point out that Palestinian terrorism against Israel began years before there was a single Israeli soldier or settler in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank — that didn't happen until the June 1967 War. What a breakthrough for realism this would be. Speaking of the Gaza Strip, Congress might also point out that it was part of Egypt prior to the 1967 War and never part of Palestine.
If the Congress can knock down the lies and misrepresentations that make up much of Middle East history and dictate nearly all the debate then perhaps peace might have a chance after all. Middle East peace efforts fail so dismally and so often because they are built much more on lies rather than honesty and simple fact. Like the Bible says — “the truth shall set you free.”
— Christopher Holland
Well, let's see now — the Arabs of former Palestine have been receiving hundreds of millions in UN aid since 1949 and the Jewish refugees have received $0 to date. Isn't it time for those Jewish refugees to file claims with the UN for equal monetary reparations including back payment?
How much will the EU countries cough up? The same hundreds of millions they have given to Fatah and Hamas? Or nothing?
I'm betting Jewish refugees will be receiving even less money than Arab governments chipped in for their own displaced Arab brethren. Which was and is “nothing.”
— Wolf Terner
Fair Lawn, New Jersey
Re: John Tabin's Enforcement Is Not Enough:
Mr. Tabin seems to be saying that the demand for immigrant labor in today's booming economy will induce some problems. Yes, and similarly just because there are laws against murder does not mean there will be no murders. The real argument is about priorities.
A generation ago it was thought that unemployment could go no lower than 6% to 7%. It is 4.5% today. The number of new immigrants to fill job requirements must be balanced against the supply of labor already available from American citizens. But Americans will only take these jobs immigrants take if they pay more and business interests want cheap labor. Yes, but wages for low wage earners should rise just as prices for food, energy and commodities have already risen. And wouldn't it be nice if Republicans could say we want to set quotas for immigration that give Americans first crack at jobs and put legal immigrants on a path of training, self-reliance, assimilation toward citizenship? Wages for low paying jobs will rise because of this policy, pushing consumer prices up. But why shouldn't they; other prices have risen. Properly balancing labor supply and demand will get America to the “sweet spot” and allow the economy to grow in a balanced way.
— Howard Lohmuller
Does America have an actual labor shortage and is immigration the answer? Immigrants basically fall into three categories; a. legal, b. illegal and c. Washington isn't sure yet, but let's focus on legal immigrants, the blessed ones. Have you ever heard a Silicon Valley businessman whine it's impossible to find engineers and we need to import some from India, China or England? I always wonder why the reporter doesn't respond in a skeptical tone with: “You mean there isn't a single, apple pie loving, 'Made in America' engineer anywhere in America, including Alaska and Hawaii?”
What about that unemployed engineer in Atlanta you interviewed over the phone? Well, it costs $30,000 to $50,000 to relocate someone across the country — too expensive. Well, then, what about that sharp gal from down the street you interviewed? She wants $10,000 more a year to jump ship and my folks would all want raises if I hired her. Yep, let's face facts, there really are no engineers anywhere in America, we need to import some.
How bad do you need an engineer? If you were legally required to pay the entire household relocation costs to move someone from Woking in Surrey England to San Jose, would you do it? Now wait a minute, that's not what I meant by there are no engineers in America, maybe that guy in Atlanta might just work out after all.
Even in American universities they still teach that when demand rises, then prices, or in this case salaries, also rise to meet the demand. American kids take the hint and decide to become engineers instead of stockbrokers or fashion models because the money is so good. But, then what's so special about American kids? Aren't kids in India or South Korea just as deserving? And, isn't it better to hold my labor costs down and let American kids compete with the rest of the world? It's good for them.
Why should the market signal the need for more engineers and then watch American kids switch majors when all we need do is issue more visas? When I hear American parents say, “I'd do anything to give my kids a better life,” I always think: “Nah, you won't.”
— Patrick Skurka
San Ramon, California
Frankly, I don't blame any immigrant from Mexico who tries to come here. If I were in their shoes, I probably would do the very same thing. But as an American, it is not as if I do not have my own interests.
Embedded in Mr. Tabin's article is the plea/threat that if we cut off the number of immigrants who are here illegally, crops would remain unpicked. The result would be any number of farms going under and less food on our tables.
The flip side of this argument is the reality that to get this “cheap” labor, all taxpayers are in effect subsidizing the farmers. The farmer gets laborers for lower wages, while other costs are transferred to the public at large. Illegal immigrants are a constant drain on social services and especially on both public and private health care. If the studies from the Heritage Foundation are to be believed, the taxes and fees illegal immigrants pay do not cover these expenses.
The obvious question is: Why should I help any farmer stay in business? Why should more tax dollars be taken from me so his crops can be sold back to me? Nothing against the farmer; but it doesn't appear to be sound economics to me.
It could be argued that the Federal government has already so messed up and distorted the agricultural world after years of intervention that it would be petty to stop here. Maybe. Nevertheless, we should buy our “cheaper” fruits and vegetables with our eyes wide open.
— Mike Dooley
One thing that should be done is any able-bodied person on welfare should be made to get out and work. That should replace all the illegals that are here.
Federal government should start withholding money from these “sanctuary cities”. Hit them in the pocket book and they might decide to start enforcing the law.
The police in every city should start asking for proof of citizenship from EVERYONE they stop, that way no one could cry about it, it would be across
— Elaine Kyle
Was Mr. Tabin calling for comprehensive immigration reform? The recent immigration debate grew to hot and shrill for people to back down. A sensible guest worker program linked to beefing up border security without a pathway to citizenship is still amnesty (according to those in the Tancredo camp) and based on the rhetoric unacceptable. Like Social Security this is an issue that will only be resolved in a moment of crisis or by the Democrats after they have control of Congress and the Presidency in 2009. Unfortunately, the Democrat solutions are worse than the problems.
— Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina
How can we say that enforcement is not enough? I cannot think of a time in my lifetime that it has ever been tried. Do not say we cannot accomplish it. Give me the border patrol and the National Guard troops of the border states and I guarantee that I will stop 99% of it in one month.
— Jeff Seyfert
Re: Christopher Orlet's Defending Islamic Rage Boy:
Thanks for Christopher Orlet's take on Islamic humorlessness. I think Orlet may have touched on a deeper point than he intended, though.
Joseph Epstein once remarked that, so far as he could tell, the main distinction between Left and Right in the American political scene is that the Right is flippant while the Left is humorless. (I pass over the fact that the context for the remark was a contretemps between Epstein and the Spectator's Bob Tyrrell.) Well, I've met a few rightwing grouches in my day, but after more than 40 years rubbing elbows with the dominant Left in academia, I can attest that I have never, ever met a Leftie who exhibited a sense of humor. (Groucho Marx was not a Leftie, but Charlie Chaplin was: think about it.) The stupidity of the breed is characteristically wed to a prodigiously grim self-importance.
And so, despite apparent (and apparently ironic) disagreements between Islam and the western Left regarding such issues as women's rights and artistic license and homosexuality, what David Horowitz calls the “unholy alliance” between the Left and radical Islam is, really, a natural alliance of kindred spirits. I doubt that one could probe the preposterous situation any deeper. As Bertie Wooster would say, there it is.
— John R. Dunlap
San Jose, California
I could not help being struck by the similarities between Christopher Orlet's description of the humor deficit in totalitarian societies such as those in Communist Russia and the Middle East and Travis Sanford's dyspeptic defense of the now doomed Antioch College in Reader Mail today.
Both Islam and Antioch represent what happens when the pursuit of a totalitarian ideology overwhelms humanity and humility. America's left — as portrayed by Antioch — and Islam each suffer from a self-inflicted mania that their way is the only way and will tolerate no nonsense in its pursuit. Not surprisingly, very little or no warmth escapes the pursed lips of Hillary Clinton, Ibrahim Hooper, Al Gore or Osama Bin Laden. Those of us who love life and each other most often worship a loving God who is likely pleased by a sunny outlook and a bit of humor. Hillary and Osama and the rest are consumed with controlling human behavior and our laughter is seen as frivolous disobedience.
I'm sure that most of those impressive Antioch grads so soberly cited by Mr. Sanford can probably laugh and tell a joke. I would wager, however, that most of them begin, “So, Richard Nixon walks into a bar…” Unfortunately for Travis, Antioch College and its quaint, self-important ideas have become a more common punchline than those antique Nixon jokes that still kill them at the campus coffeehouse.
— Deane Fish
Altamont, New York
Christopher Orlet has eloquently distilled a pair of points I've been making for years: 1) piety and laughter are polar-opposite sensibilities; and 2) too much of the former can destroy the basis of a healthy culture. If the Islamic world really did learn how to laugh — or at least tolerate those who do — they just might put down their weapons and end their ridiculous and loathsome war against modernity. The reason why Muslims have never produced anyone analogous to Albert Brooks, Steve Martin or Woody Allen is that comedy among such people is a lethal occupation, at least to its practitioners.
— Carl F. Horowitz
In Australia we take pride in our laid back attitude, cynicism to those in power of all persuasions, and literally, we like to “take the piss.” If anyone's ever met a Muslim or an Arab, this would be a very dangerous thing. Orlet says “Far from being racist or anti-Islamic satire helps us deal with despotism,” and he is absolutely correct. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are prime examples of the success of lampooning political figures, and the joy and laughter it brings to those who watch. While your Ann Coulter or Bill Maher might just take it a bit too far sometimes, to be able to tolerate this is a measure of the maturity of Western society and the adolescent-style immaturity of the effigy-burning Muslims. If you can't laugh at yourself, you can't get the best out of life.
— Nathan Maskiell
TRUTH IN PACKAGE OPENING
Re: Lawrence Henry's Rip Stop:
I read Lawrence Henry's column about the hassle of getting packages to disgorge their tasty treats with a certain level of sympathy. Here's my story — and it goes back a few years.
I broke my right arm in two places and had to have a high-tech metal plate screwed into my shattered bone to fix the damage. After three days in the hospital I was sent on my way with a prescription for some pain pills. I got back to my place — dorm room, actually — with pain pills in (good) hand and decided to try one. Or two. Couldn't get the childproof lid off. I had a broken arm, ya know? Had to wait for my roommate to take the lid off for me. Then I dumped the pills out into a saucer on my desk — and no, it wasn't a childproof saucer. The year? 1977
Point is, good intentions with the childproof cap? Don't mean a thing in the real world. As a matter of fact, child poisoning from prescription and non-prescription drugs didn't decrease as a result of so-called childproof caps. They increased. Thanks Congress!
Where are those pain pills when you need 'em?
— Bryan Frymire
Damn, Larry, I feel your pain. Literally.
When I was younger, I prided myself on the strength of my grip. I could make most men wince in a hand shake. I could open ANY bottle that faced me; from mayo to ketchup, they all were found lacking.
Not anymore. A steak sauce bottle strikes fear in my heart. Sure, we have one of those double circle thingies that are supposed to help open any size bottle, but the small end isn't small enough. And forget about finding a pair of pliers when you need them. No amount of hot water or banging with a knife edge will budge these immovable objects.
Even women can make me cringe today in a hand shake. I just wish they didn't laugh so dang hard about it.
Then there are those stinkin' seals they put on the tops of plastic bottles with the supposed “easy pull tab.” Machiavelli would be proud of that verbal slight of hand. Yes, the easy tabs do pull of easily, sans the part that actually seals the bottle. I don't even bother anymore and use Larry's approach: I carry a knife.
I can open the cardboard box of cereal, but I can't get through the #*$^%$% plastic liner! I understand why they make military hardware out of this stuff. I have these horrible dreams of someday being found starved to death surrounded by unopenable food containers and a fully-wrapped granola bar stuck in my mouth. Weird.
Then there are those cellophane seals that are supposed to have a perforated line to aid in opening. Sure. Just try to FIND the damn thing! My eyes are failing, for crying out loud. And here's where the knife approach can get you in trouble: if the knife slips while you're working it under the cellophane, you're almost guaranteed a few stitches to close the resulting wound. And no one is buying my mugger with a knife line: “he stabbed you in the finger?”
I'm at the point in my life where I'd gladly pay a little extra to a manufacturer who supplies containers without the all the safety features. I'm old enough that I'm willing to face a little more risk just to be able to open a bottle of ibuprofen or vitamins BY MYSELF!
Larry: Have you gotten to the point where your brain and mouth aren't communicating and you're left describing something as “you know, the thing with the thing”? As the listener looks at you not comprehending anything you're saying, you get frustrated and result to further descriptions such as “thingamjig,” “whatsit” and a host of other non-words. And you get frustrated not only with your lack of getting an idea out that quite simple, AND the fact the listener can't interpret your gibberish.
Just curious. I hope it's not just me.
— Karl F. Auerbach
Well, you can only drink the water if you can get the blankety blank tops off the water bottles. Opening a package of deli meat with the seductive zip top to keep it fresh is a waste of time — pulling open the package to get at the delectable food inside requires a bear strength to get at it.
I keep scissors, hammers, screw drivers and the occasional neighbor around. Of course, the kitchen counter edge works wonders on loosening those vacuum seals on the aforesaid water bottles or any other bottles.
Carrying the kitchen counter around though can be a bit of a drudge. (wink)
— Paula Carmen
Oh yes and when you are pulling the potato chip bag so hard to get it open and then it suddenly does surprise you and open the chips fly all over the room. My dog loves when I am trying to open those things.
— Elaine Kyle
Right along with: “I did not have sex with that woman…” is: “…tear along perforated edge”.
— P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Democratic Death Wish:
I don't think the Democrat position is simply a Death Wish but that will ultimately be the result for all of us with regard to the world we have created here if this continues. Given that Liberalism is the demonstrated spineless, guilt trip version of Communism and the central tenets of Communism is state ownership and “control” over every aspect of humanity practical, it would be better served to look at Democrat positions from a mental health prospective. Saying that Liberalism is a disease is certainly not an original thought but responding to it as such would be.
When you look at what Democrats call “freedom” you can naturally add “from” to the end of anything they advocate. Freedom from personal responsibility, accountability, consequences, judgments, personal offense, ranks very high with what Democrats call Freedom. No one or society has ever fought a war for these kinds of Freedoms or to be a sloth. Every government program Democrats have put in place or advocate builds upon their concept of Freedom. Look at their concept of Heroes such as John Kerry and Albert Gore, each in their own way the perfect anti-hero role model given their stellar Vietnam War service. If these two's performance in Vietnam were the norm, we'd still be a British Colony.
Our Nation's death may not come with a bang or even with protracted conflict that we simply won't step up to the plate for but it will surely come in time if we continue to let this disease spread unabated. Many in our elected fellowship are afraid to speak truth to the crazy it seems. The recent political stunt in the Senate was an ideal opportunity to have confronted the diseased mindset that afflicts the Senate currently. Not a whimper in response. Meanwhile the water temperature rose just a bit and the Frog just sets there…
— Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia
The offer renews after one year at the regular price of $10.99 monthly.