William Tucker’s reports from Iraq comprise journalism at the highest level — specific, revelatory, eloquent, and persuasive. They leave you with the sense that you’ve actually been there and seen it yourself. A great read.
— Robert Gulack
Fair Lawn, New Jersey
GET READY FOR FRED D.
Re: Washington Prowler’s Thompson & Thompson:
I was brought up in the ’50s and ’60s knowing that all Republicans were stupid and corrupt. Voting in my 1st Presidential election in 1972 I voted for McGovern. I of course avidly watched the Watergate hearing. While watching the Senate hearings I first saw that Republicans might not be as I thought. The man who started me on the road to rethinking all my youthful ideas was Fred Thompson, the Senate Watergate Committee’s chief minority counsel. I didn’t change overnight but his performance during those hearings made a lasting impression, here was a Statesman. In the ’70s I went from a radical leftist to a libertarian and then a Reagan Republican. One thing that hasn’t changed for me is Fred Thompson is still a Statesman.
— Geoff Bowden
Battle Creek, Michigan
Two points, please, about the conservatism, or not, of Fred Thompson. First, about the abortion issue. If my memory serves, Senator Thompson was against a constitutional amendment, not for abortion rights. That is precisely the view that I take. This is NOT because I think that abortion ought to be unfettered, I would be perfectly happy to see it banned except for the LIFE of the mother. I simply do not think that the Constitution addresses any such right, and I do not think that the issue should be one that is incorporated within the Constitution. Let the states deal with it as they see fit. I would be perfectly happy to support a federal statute banning federal funding of any abortions, but let us keep it out of the Constitution itself. That fine document already contains added provisions that ought to be stripped out on the basis of unsuitability to be dealt with within the founding documents of the nation.
Secondly, the campaign reform issue. If the bill before the Congress and President had been a simply limiting, or capping of both soft and hard monies to political candidates, I could have lived with it. I would have preferred a simple transparency bill that would have allowed all to know who gave how much to what campaign and/or issue/candidate advocacy group. What I definitely do not like is the incumbent protection features of the act, especially the narrowing of the First Amendment rights. I would be very happy to hear Senator Thompson expound on his views, and why he voted as he did at the time, and what he now thinks in light of experience with the bill as implemented.
As for the other candidates already zeroing in on Fred, he should internalize the phrase that served St. Ronald of Reagan so well, particularly against the Dems. You know the one, “There you go again.” It was a totally good natured put down that served in all situations and was completely understood by the American voting public, and made his opponent’s carping seem like a toddler throwing a tantrum.
Run, Fred, run.
— Ken Shreve
Fred Thompson should enter the race. The candidates who need to worry are Mrs. Clinton and the left’s favorite “closet Muslim” Barack Hussein Obama. Thompson has an ability to communicate that rivals the best D.C has to offer. It is easy to see him trouncing Mrs. Clinton and Imam Obama in debates. As for his GOP rivals Giuliani or Romney would make excellent vice presidential candidates. They might help the ticket in the Francophile, anti-military, pro-terrorist appeasement Northeast.
The biggest “problems” he might face are raising money and “fair weather” conservatives possibly taking pot shots at him when he doesn’t kowtow to their single issue mindset. Thompson like Reagan and Bush (43) is a man of convictions and will do what he thinks is right not merely what the vocal right wants. The best thing is, unlike President Bush who is hamstrung by ineloquence, Thompson is articulate and thanks to his acting career like Reagan able to use the media effectively.
Run, Fred, run!
— Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina
MASTERS OF DISGUISE
Re: Lawrence Henry’s A Modest Green Proposal:
Along with Nicklaus’s idea to standardize the golf ball, simple adjustments to the agronomy of golf courses would yield some similar results.
Last year in some tournament (can’t remember which) the fairways, for weather-related reasons, were mowed 1/8″ of an inch taller than the usual spec. Result: average drives went down in the low 280s.
Augusta National was overcooked in 2007. Greens too fast. Fairways too fast. Bobby Jones wanted a course where good shots were rewarded and bad shots penalized. In 2007 we had a course where many good shots were penalized and bad shots were tortured.
— Darrell Judd
The “shorter ball” suggestion would be easier to stomach if we hadn’t just finished a Masters masquerading as a U.S. Open.
Historically, the Masters has been about guys charging forward late in the game by playing a series of exceptional shots. It’s Jack Nicklaus shooting 65 — and 30 on the back nine — to win in 1986; Nicklaus, Weiskopf and Miller having a shootout in 1975; Gary Player shooting a final round 64 to win in 1978, etc. “Hanging on” is not what the Masters has traditionally been about.
Granted, the weather (cold & wind) made things very hard for most of the tournament; granted, the course played hard & fast, just the way the membership wanted it to play; and, granted, scores improved on Sunday when the weather improved and the pins were set for scoring (another Masters tradition that’s not commented on much).
Still — 69 was the low score of the day on Sunday and 68 was the lowest round of the week.
Zach Johnson deserves all the credit in the world for winning Sunday — but that wasn’t “The Masters” we’ve come to know and love.
— Brad Bettin
In the 1960s & ’70s many GREAT golfers played and won, (and some didn’t) at Augusta National; among them were Palmer, Nicklaus, Player, Archer. Casper, Watson, many Europeans, and Hogan, Snead.
Modern, HOPPED-UP, SCIENTIFICALLY DESIGNED golf balls have effectively shortened all the Great Courses in the U.S.A. Add the new materials, and designs of golf-clubs to a hopped-up ball, and you have effectively removed any fair comparison of the Greats of yester-year with the Stars of today.
1. Yes, let the masters Committee make all competitors use the same ball approved by the Committee.
2. Make all competitors, use only one set of 1970 state of the art golf clubs that have been committee approved, made to fit each individual golfers size requirements.
3. Play the Masters with the same layout that past Greats have competed on.
This is the only way all pro golfers will have an equal chance to play in the Masters; this is the only way to make a fair comparison with past Great Golfers. Do it at least for this one Great Tournament.
— Jack Brennan
Mr. Henry’s article on the Augusta golf course was right on the mark and I agree with him whole-heartedly. I watched this year’s Masters half-heartedly.
My only very slight criticism of his article is in the fourth paragraph — “players can hit the ball much, much further” — the word should be “farther” which indicates actual distance. I am an 85-year-old widow with no more than a BA (with Honors) from the U of MN in 1943 who remembers my freshman English (required in my junior year as a transfer from a small women’s college that didn’t offer English). As I edit a newsletter for a local environmental park, my practiced eye catches these things.
I subscribe to the monthly Spectator, read the daily Spectator on-line, and love them both. Congratulations on an excellent publication.
— Nancy B. Eckardt
Re: Jennifer Rubin’s Learning the Hard Way:
“Fair” is a noun; “fare” is the verb that Jennifer Rubin was groping for.
I want an apology!
— Alex Makowski
THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE
Re: Tom Bethell’s The Anxious Search: Are We Alone?:
Progress in detecting nearby solar systems suggests there are some hundreds of planets of a vaguely Earthly sort within a radius of as many light years.
Though many physicists may find Tom’s critique of the search for extraterrestrial signals tendentiously dependent on used bookstore Intelligent Design shelves, it must nevertheless be conceded that he enjoys the posthumous prospect of having saved Earth from alien invasion .
Centuries hence, when the WIFi transmission of Tom’s TAS essays reaches those distant spheres, it should inspire their denizens to terminate with prejudice the search for intelligent life on Earth. Providing of course, that Orson Welles’s earlier effort has not already precipitated the dispatch of a fleet to our aid.
— Russell Seitz
Re: Letters (under “Left in the Mainstream”) in Reader Mail’s Hippies in Recovery:
Wow, RET sure stirred up a hornets left in the aging hippy world. He really disturbed their slumber.
I especially like the reply of Mr. Parker. I always enjoy those folks who want to add all sorts of initials after their signature just to add an air of importance to their writings. I might suggest, in this particular case, that Mr. Parker could shorten his list to Blowhard at Large and save a lot of space. And what’s the deal with bringing up RET’s godfathers as the repeat offenders of all time? Who would Mr. Parker denigrate if RET hadn’t been baptized?
To Mr. Conroy, I have to point out that it was the Republicans who got the Civil Rights act of 1964 passed in Congress. The ERA never did get passed even after going back and extending the original period of time for passing. I wonder if Mr. Conroy ever wondered why? Also, has he ever heard of the Killing Fields in Cambodia? The Vietnamese boat people? Dominoes can be such a tricky game. And Ehrlich, of course, has been so correct so often, hasn’t he? Whatever happened to us running out every natural resource and turning the planet into hell before the turn of the century? Did that ever happen? Good thing for Algore it didn’t or he’d really have nothing to do right now. I’m sure Al will be just as successfully prophetic as Paul.
To Mr. Shapiro: a few cites for the international laws broken by Bushitlercheny would be nice. Other than Democrat talking points, that is. And if memory serves, Petraeus never stated we “lost” (past tense) a war we’re currently involved in. He did state we are fighting the wrong war (the last one) and that if we continued we would lose. But that’s why he suggested the new strategy, and therefore he’s the one leading it. And it seems to be working. Except for those of us who consider it already lost. Like you. And if by “international respect” you mean the likes of the eurowienies who wouldn’t even support the British in their request for sanctions against an Iranian act of war, than thank God we don’t have it. I don’t find respect from whores all that gratifying.
Finally, to Ms. McKenna: So you joined the other side? Cool! Keep we rope; we can talk it all out as long as you stay washed.
— Karl F. Auerbach
It continues to be fascinating that what the left regards as the glorious victories they delivered for mankind the right regards as disasters that keep on giving. The left still thinks it earned its morality merit badge by opposing the war in Vietnam. Yes, that bright shining monument the counter culture raised to itself did cause dominoes to fall (a classic case of an opposing force rushing in to fill a vacuum): the catastrophic loss of confidence the world had for American will and resolve, thousands fleeing their “liberators” by land and by sea, mass imprisonment and executions of South Vietnamese who didn’t have their mind right, 3 million put to death in Cambodia, and the little told misery and suffering for those who were in the wrong place at the wrong time as America retreated from the world. Oh! That’s right. None of these consequences were related in any way to the North Vietnamese victory in the war. “Nothing happened. Nothing happened. But if something did happen they deserved it.”
The shame of the environmental movement is that it did not wish to be conservationist (“root word”: conserve). Instead it became preservationist and utopian. Totally ignoring costs to benefits. Prompting increased power of the state. Deaths in the third world from disease because of the ban on DDT and starvation because fertilizers derived from petroleum are priced out of reach as a result of restricted exploration. The most damnable thing about the environmental movement is that much was done not for any measurable benefit but instead so they will feel better.
Civil Rights? Give me a break. By far the most of the work was done before we stopped being afraid of getting cooties from the opposite sex. No. Instead, the left abandoned civil rights for social engineering under its name. Instead of living with the nation and people it gotâ€”letting them work out the meaning of hard won civil rights for themselvesâ€”the left acts to remake the country into the America they wanted it to be using the corrosive power of government without the ballot box.
Yet it is not enough for the left to leave a trail of suffering, misery and death in its wakeâ€”it has to be obnoxious, too. After attaining high office (see the Clinton years), the left believes the state of affairs are better not because of anything they actually have done but simply because they are there. Such preening self-assurance of their own moral superiority rivals anything Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell have said.
The taunt many on the left made in the 1990’s was that: “without the Soviet Union what were conservatives going to do without an enemy?” Naturally, the last place they were going to look was in the mirror. As long as love of country, love of liberty, love of kith and kin, and love of God are undermined so they are removed from getting in the way of what the left wants, Conservativism will suffer no master because the SOB ain’t been born yet.
— Michael Wm. Dooley
Those goofy, angry, sanctimonious letters from Brad Parker, Joseph Conroy, Alan Shapiro, and Karin McKenna demonstrate the juvenile incoherence of so-called “adults,” who never developed, intellectually speaking, beyond what they learned in the Poli Sci 101 course they took in college.
These obtuse people are always ranting about how Bush and Cheney have trampled our “constitutional rights” and broke “international law” without ever providing a single factual instance to back up these furious claims.
If these imbeciles knew the first thing about history or current events (and it’s pretty obvious that they don’t), they wouldn’t be making such hysterical claims about being on the guys like Tyrrell being on the wrong side of the civil rights, equal rights, and anti-war movements.
I seem to recall Mr. Tyrrell describing a number positive attributes in these movements; he has simply noted how they degenerated into the self-absorbed foolishness we see today from a bunch of intellectually immature and morally vain “adults.”
— Nathaniel J. Pomrenze
Well it seems that Bob Tyrrell struck a raw nerve with some of those aging Leftists, “cleverly disguised as annuity millionaires”, as eloquently demonstrated by the haughty arrogance and ignorance of readers McKenna, Conroy, Shapiro and Parker. Yes Bob, when Mr. Parker went straight for the “Jr.” ad hominem, it was game, set and match. As for Ms. McKenna, I’ve got news for you, incognito you folks ain’t. In fact, you’re all too conspicuous. After all, you’re the ones with rather large carbon footprints, easily noticed by the rest of us. Also, your inane Bush-hating bumper stickers are tedious reminders of your presence. And speaking of being on the wrong side of history, the aforementioned readers, like the prophet Al Gore himself, have declared history to be settled, Orwellian style. No further discussion will be tolerated. Sorry folks, but N.Y. Times talking points notwithstanding, your alternative universe is collapsing into itself.
From Vietnam to the current Global War on Terror, to Anthropogenic Global Warming, your decades-old inability to face the world as it really is, is getting, like you folks, very old, very fast. How’s that for a reality
— A. DiPentima
I will be so very glad when this book ad has run its course. I am tired of seeing Clinton’s lying smirking face on every article I read, which is all of them. Please, how much longer does it have to run?
— Elaine Kyle
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