Snap Judgments - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Snap Judgments

Re: Enemy Central’s Hitting Too Close to Home:

You crack me up.
Marc Zimmerman
Vancouver, Washington

I do have to agree that Mr. Tyrrell is the enemy of the week. It is clear that he points out Democrat radicals’ shortcomings. He writes the unvarnished truth about the collectivists and their running dogs. (This is so much fun! I am looking for a way to use “lackeys” here too.)

I truly believe that in the very near future he will go so far as to pen a piece about the lackluster performance of the radical leftist Congress’s failure. Failure to pass even a watered down version of those wondrous reforms that were last fall “required to end the Republican culture of corruption.”

It is even possible that Mr. Tyrrell will viciously posit that those “honest” high-minded Democrat radicals, who we all know hate capitalism and freedom in all their manifested forms, just want a chance to, as the godfather said “dip their beaks” in the corruption.

Mr. Tyrrell, you should be ashamed!!!
Jay Molyneaux
Denver. North Carolina

In Friday’s “Enemy of the Week” column there is the statement “There are going to be times when we get nauseous.” I’m sure that what “we” meant to say was that there are going to be times when we get “nauseated.”

I don’t have many cringe-inducing pet peeves but this is surely one of them. Nauseous means sickening.
Nauseated means sick. Live your lives accordingly.
Bryan Frymire
Louisville Kentucky.

My God! What’s going on at CBS (or what’s in the water?). Mike Wallace must be approaching 100 years old (only exaggerating slightly)and he is still preoccupied with sex. Please tell Chris Wallace to hide the Viagra and start immediately searching for single sex retirement homes or better yet send him off to Texas to live with Dan Rather and let them dream of better days or at least their glory years when there was no alternative media to note their whoppers.
Jack Wheatley
Royal Oak, Michigan

About the second paragraph’s “Are you a Christian?” she asks us to ask him. “If so, what would Jesus say about ‘Judge not that thou shall be judged'”?

The scripture itself is from Matthew 1: Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you use, it shall be measured unto you.

In a nutshell, this means judge fairly and know the facts, for so will God judge you. The best reply when someone quotes “that” verse would be to say “read the next verse.” Liberals especially want no one to judge them, so that verse is their first line of protection, no matter how thin.

We as Christians are commanded to judge correctly….
Kevin W.
Morgantown, West Virginia

OOPS! Paris Clinton? Que?

I think you were imagining Paris Hilton dressed in a Freudian slip; I hope it wasn’t Hillary Clinton!

Glen Leinbach
Ft. Collins, Colorado

Re: Mark Tooley’s “Lessons From Vietnam”:

Conspicuously absent from most articles concerning what might have been if only the United States had stayed in Vietnam is any attempt to assess how long we would have had to remain and at what cost in human lives and national treasure. Monday morning quarterbacking is always a gratifying activity. We are confident that our alternative scenario would have led to a more desirable conclusion. Of course, we have the luxury of never having our alternative tested.

One lesson from Vietnam and Iraq that is rarely, if ever, discussed is that the American public quickly becomes wary and restive when the administration lies, obfuscates or misrepresents about the reasons for war and/or the progress of the war. Both political parties have proven to be adept at lying, obfuscating and misrepresenting.

During Vietnam, the draft and taxes were two of the many reasons why public support for the war waned, but neither applies today. Perhaps this will be a subject for future generations to think about when they contemplate the “lessons from Iraq.”

Also, why so much concern for the people in Southeast Asia who fell under the tyranny of communism and the people of Iraq who lived under the tyranny of Saddam Hussein and so little for the people of Darfur? I guess it’s more gratifying to castigate our political enemies than it is to develop and pursue a consistent moral philosophy.
Mike Roush
North Carolina

Re: Richard Kirk’s Hewitt’s Mitt:

One way to avoid the difficulties of a Mormon in the White House, or in a Presidential campaign, is to not vote for Mitt Romney in the primaries and thus avoid the problem altogether. He’s not necessary — Tommy Thompson, Fred Thompson, Gingrich, Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo — there are plenty of true conservatives that are running or want to run. Then again, since Romney may be a liberal, there are plenty of liberals that are running, such as Giuliani and McCain, with more cross-over appeal. What do we need or want Romney for? And as a Christian I think a revival of Christ in the United States is far more important than four years of any Presidency. In fact, I think a single soul won or lost for Christ is more important than the Presidency. I won’t support or vote for a Mormon for President because I believe it would interfere with a Christian revival, that I see happening, and in fact it will help a Mormon revival when the growth in their church has finally stagnated.
Greg F
Delray Beach Florida

Re: Lawrence Henry’s Darned Right, Damn This Traffic Jam:

I have never understood people who insist that government subsidizes highways. I view a subsidy as a potential parasite on legitimate functions of government. Highways are not parasitic until they are mismanaged by humans. A deeper appreciation of the complexity of highway finance could be gained by noticing that highways subsidize highways. The economic winners help pay for the economic losers.

Before the gas tax, highways were financed mostly from property taxes. This resulted in the cities having the good roads and the country having the bad roads. The gas tax let the farm and the market be connected in the least painful example of socialism in history. As long as the rich roads outnumbered the poor roads, it seemed like everyone was a winner. The economic assault on a piece of pavement seemed so much more civilized than the rabid rape the rich mentality of real socialist.

Karl Marx predicted that eventually, the government would “wither away.” Socialist highway construction has been so perfect that some of the government did wither away. The first casualties were the accountants. They often made the mistake of noticing that some roads were too expensive. After the accountants were dismissed, their accounting procedures were modified so that exact calculations were replaced by intangible proxies instead of the actual cost of land, asphalt and bridges. Then, the economist were brought in with their wonderful multipliers that made calculations unnecessary except for convincing people that they needed to have more roads. The only problem now is that no one dares to try and tell the difference between a rich road and a poor road because it sends the message that there is a limit on freedom, entitlement and upon the ability to transfer wealth to produce more wealth.

Our rich roads have fallen on hard times. Their income is falling because of CAFE standards. They are carrying too many low utility roads. Many states are seeing less traffic because of high gas prices. Population increases can not overcome cost increases. Gas tax income is showing a drop in inflation adjusted amounts. Inflation has dropped federal gas taxes to below the level experienced in 1957. Earmarks divert money to low utility projects and some no utility projects like museums. Most states have provisions in the law to perpetuate the policy of exporting resources from urban to rural areas.

The cost of urban area congestion is manageable within the current supply of money but not if we keep spending it on low utility roads that are conceived to provide economic development rather than mobility. Economic development is the natural consequence of building a system of roads that respects economic limitations. The rise in interest in toll roads is a logical consequence to years of asphalt socialism. Toll roads do occasionally lose money but, for the most part, they are not conceived as charity roads.

Ironically, it is the economic development that follows roads that creates an economic barrier to fixing the congested urban areas. The Sierra Club and the Eco-Freaks would have us believe that there is a natural law against building more highways. That is silly. More lanes will convey more traffic just as more pipes will convey more water in a city water system. We are not smothering the planet with asphalt. We need better and objective means of selecting highway projects. Income transfers back to the urban areas could save our real mass transit system, the car.
Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

Mr. Henry fails to mention the ubiquity of “diamond lanes,” commonly called high occupancy vehicle lanes. The ostensible purpose of the lanes is to encourage car pooling. The result is the same as Carter’s even-odd day gasoline sales. In that case people went from an average of half a tank of gas in their cars to filling up at every opportunity, thus placing an inordinate demand on supply. Similarly, the incentive for car pooling assumes that the cost in time and money for finding people in your neighborhood who are going to work in relatively close proximity and have the same work schedule has proven to be, shall we say, less than successful. The result is a reduction in highway capacity of from 20-40%, increased travel time, increased pollution and increased law enforcement. Does anybody here know how to play this game?
Roy Lofquist

Re: Paul Beston’s Rail Quiet:

I think there’s a mandate out there waiting to be exercised, for Quiet Please franchised hotels, restaurants, libraries, lounges and airlines. The last time I went to a public library, there were four children playing video games on the library computers and they were shouting at each other although they were sitting side by side. Borders is quieter than that library as nobody seems to bring their children there.

I taught my kids “seen and not heard” when they were young and they are capable of amusing themselves without making a sound, now that they are adults. The trick is teaching people that they’re not living in the World of One. There are ways to do this.

There’s nothing that will teach a blabberjabber with a cell phone how conspicuous he is like a three year old in the next seat loudly repeating everything he says. “Mommy, that man said his boss is a *&^%head!” in piercing childlike tones is an encouragement to get up and move or tune up his language that nobody can resist.
Kate Shaw
Toronto, Ontario

Re: Doug Bandow’s Assessing the Chinese Threat:

Amazing. Doug Bandow writes an entire article about our economic relationship with China without even a passing reference to the Chinese economy’s poisoning of Americans. China’s food exports to us are rejected for adulteration, harmful additives, etc. more than all other countries combined — and our watchguards at the border are only checking one per-cent of those imports! Melamine, anyone? That Chinese additive poisoning and killing U.S. pets, now sneaking into the human food supply, is being treated as just an unfortunate mistake. However, it seems worth notice that melamine will give an increased protein measurement to a product without the protein being there. This saves the manufacturer money, folks. China sent the melamine-adulterated food products to the U.S. marked “industrial use only” — even though they were shipped to food manufacturers. Nothing suspicious there. The melamine has begun infiltrating our human food supply. The FDA announces that human food is totally safe — even as they send a warning to their own staff (involved in checking for melamine) to wear gloves and face masks because melamine is an extremely potent carcinogen. Our own government is downplaying the larger and continuing overall additive and adulteration threat because there’s just too darn much money and there are too many U.S. businesses involved. Clever people, those Chinese.
Lawrence Chisholm
West Virginia

Doug Bandow: “First, China is no longer communist in the traditional sense.”

No, but if you don’t think the way the authoritarian government wants you to think, the leadership tells someone to fire a rifle bullet into your brain. And then the profit-loving government charges your family for the funeral AND the bullet.

So yes, let’s not automatically assume China is an enemy or even Communist. But it’s far from a democratic place. And it’s the democracies that have proven to be our best friends. Even if we have to force them to accept Democracy.
Lloyd Daub
Greenfield, Wisconsin

Re: Christopher Orlet’s An About-Face on Guns:

What your story and the New York Times article that inspired it both left out is the fact that this “about-face” on the meaning of the Second Amendment is not legal scholars taking a new direction — as implied in both articles — but rather legal scholars returning to the long-held, traditional position on this issue. The idea of the Second Amendment being a “collective” right, applying only to the National Guard, is a fairly recent development.

Judges and scholars only began espousing this position in the mid 20th century as a way around an amendment which interfered with their mistrust of an armed populace. Indeed, the shift began with concerns about freed blacks being able to exercise a right to arms as expressed in the Dred Scott decision and later in Cruickshank.

An honest reading of Miller v. US, the case that is often used as the basis of the collective right argument, reveals that such an interpretation can only be found by using the most outrageous of mental contortions and dishonesty.

If the ACLU and so-called “liberal” jurists were to apply the same liberal interpretation to the Second Amendment that they apply to the rest of the Bill of Rights, every citizen would be required to own and carry arms and we’d be able to keep unregistered Howitzers in the back yard.
Jeff Knox
Director of Operations
The Firearms Coalition

Re: Jay D. Homnick’sThe Bushed Presidency:

I believe that the most egregious of the Bush failures is his failure to prosecute the war in Iraq with the requisite amount of ruthlessness. This has cost him a great deal of support and good will, and rightfully so. It is a broken article of faith and it has cost the military lives.

A second and only marginally less important failure is Mr. Bush’s “new tone.” Trying to launch a tone of civil discourse with the rabidly partisan Democrats and their media is like drilling a second hole in the bottom of a sinking boat. The water running in from the first hole will not run out through the second hole. Even if we grant Mr. Bush kudos for a valiant try, we must find his judgment lacking when he fails to change his methodology in the face of incessant, brutal, dishonest attacks, not only on his policies, but also on his person.

A third virtually unforgivable gaffe by the President is his failure to veto the McCain/Feingold attack on the First Amendment. This piece of legislation is not just flawed, it is flagrantly unconstitutional. Its authors know it, most voters know it, and President Bush must know it.

I believe George Bush to be a man of rectitude and good character. I can suffer his poor communication skills as I suffer my own lack of abilities in a myriad of areas. What I cannot tolerate is the consistent refusal to answer critics and defend himself in the face of the withering fire from the liberals and their lackeys in the media. Convictions and beliefs are only of value if one is willing to fight for them. A president has a bully pulpit that is only as effective as his will to use it, and President Bush has missed many opportunities to put the truth and the facts before the American people. While it is true that Bush Derangement Syndrome has rendered many incapable of receiving the truth and the facts, there are others out there who just might rethink certain things if given proper information. It has been the President’s obligation to give them this information and he has not done so.
Joseph Baum

Kindly pass on to Mr. Homnick my heartfelt thanks for his rallying cry to President Bush’s side. As I pointed out to you a few weeks past, 30 to 40% of Americans have stood stoutly with Mr. Bush, good news or bad, agree or disagree, win or lose, thick and thin, from the beginning. We know we’ve a brave, honest man to deal with, striving for the best for all Americans. Please ask Mr. Homnick to remember the Lord’s gentle whisper in the Book of the Kings. “By the way, Elijah, there are 7000 men yet in Israel who have never bent their knee to Baal nor kissed him.” Today it’s about 110 million men, women and children, Americans all.

The Democrats are terrified the “surge,” actually the pacification of Baghdad, will succeed. Reid, Pelosi and Co., with the full aid of the main media outlets, are conducting their own “surge.” Their aim is to prevent any chance of success. They are squarely allied with al Qaeda, as gratefully acknowledged by al-Zawahiri, fighting the battle for Baghdad in Washington on al Qaeda’s behalf. President Bush and our military, with steadfast fortitude, have the enemy on the ropes “over there,” while the Democrats have Mr. Bush on the ropes “over here.” Why are we surprised? Would-be tyrants always understand one another. Democrat and al Qaeda leadership are natural allies.

Here is the question. How do we effectively make our support for the President known? Here in Maryland, it is useless to call or write our Senators and my representative, supposedly a Republican. Is it time for the 110 million American patriots who stand on the same side of the room with Mr. Bush to down tools and march on Washington?

Thanks again,
W. G. Wheatley

Re: Lee H.’s letter (under “Testing Diversity”) in Reader Mail’s What Conservatives Want:

Thank you for the very intelligent questions. Here are the answers:

1) When researchers give these tests, they randomly alternate the order. I happened to get the test that asked me to pair “white” with “good” first. While it affects the degree of the results, it does not affect the nature of the results; either way, the average white has a harder time pairing “black” with “good.” See this website if you’re interested in learning more.

2) I covered a presentation on these tests when I was in college. While doing so I saw a graph of black test takers’ results: The average black performs equally well pairing “white” with “good” and “bad,” but some blacks have a pro-black or even pro-white bias.
Robert VerBruggen

Re: Dave Mills’s letter (under “The Crack-Up Continues”) in Reader Mail’s What Conservatives Want:

Dave Mills and self-described conservatives disaffected with the President make the assumption that all conservatives agree with them or are uninformed
— wrong. The two most prominent conservatives of the latter half of the 20th century, Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, based on their records and speeches would back President Bush’s comprehensive immigration reform plan and not Tom Tancredo.

The President’s Middle East policy rejects the traditional American policy of appeasing terrorist and has successfully removed the Taliban, deposed Saddam Hussein, disarmed Libya of WMD and forced al Qaeda’s leadership into hiding. As for meeting with our enemies that is sometimes necessary to conduct foreign policy. Nixon and Reagan had conservative critics for meeting with the Chinese and Soviets too. As far as the Palestinian problem in the 80’s the White House should have allowed Israel to destroy the PLO rather than evacuating them from Lebanon.

Regarding the British hostage crisis President Bush’s response was to send 2 Carrier Battle Groups to the Persian Gulf and put a third on standby. This led Iran to free the hostages. Sometimes it is better to “speak softly and carry a big stick” than instigate a war the American people will only choose to lose.

On taxes, abortion, free trade, Social Security reform, the Supreme Court, Second Amendment issues, social values and a host of issues this administration is to the right of the Reagan administration, but that’s unimportant since the real Ronald Reagan is just a handy prop to bash Republicans and empower liberals. No wonder pseudo-conservative Bruce Bartlett feels emboldened to encourage conservatives to vote for Democrats and Know-Nothing Pat Buchanan has the gall to describe Mrs. Bill Clinton as sounding Reaganesque there are “conservatives” ready to swallow their bilge.
Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

Re: Eric Peters’s Why Toyota’s Number One:

Sorry to come late to the party, but may I add my two cents’ worth?

I graduated from college with a degree in marketing in 1970, and finished my Master’s in December, 1971. One of the earliest examples (circa 1968?) of failed marketing programs that we studied was General Motors.

One of my marketing Professors took a poll of the class, and asked, “When you’ve graduated and garnered that high paying job, what kind of car are you going to buy? What’s your dream car?” Jaguar, Mercedes, BMW and Porsche
were tabulated on the blackboard.

Then he asked, “What’s missing?” Nobody in the class saw anything wrong, until he said… “Where’s Cadillac?” Even that long ago, and well before the Japanese made a car worth owning, in a classroom full of educated, hopeful, up-and-comers, not one person was interested enough in buying GM that they even noticed the absence. The Professor pointed out that GM and Cadillac were certainly well aware of this sort of response from young buyers, and yet chose to build bulbous, brocade wrapped land-yachts that none of us wanted.

We still don’t want them.
Steve Junor
Bellevue, Washington

Re: Reader Mail’s What Conservatives Want:

I like the Spectator, but many of your writers would do well to listen to the wisdom of the great Charlie Munger. Incredibly smart, and he could buy us all…

From the recent Wesco shareholder meeting, Munger stated that many smart people handicapped themselves with “nuttiness.” One example is being an “extreme ideologue,” which is the equivalent of “having taken your brain and started pounding it with a hammer.”
Jason Davis

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