Re: Ben Stein’s Terribly Exciting:
I’m a Ben Stein fan. But he is incorrect about lower American wages and 40 million uninsured. It is true that the wage statistics time series show them lower than 1972. But that series is not an accurate reflection just as the negative savings rate statistic does not reflect the real savings rate. Americans have more personal wealth than ever before in history.
As for 40 million uninsured, many argue that this figure is 10 million too high. Also many uninsured are young and choose not to buy insurance. Finally our health system allows anyone to get treatment that needs it. And even that emergency room route is better than universal government pay systems where people can and do die waiting in line for care.
— Howard Lohmuller
The thought occurs to me: Ben Stein is supposed to be a really smart chap, an economist, lawyer, etc, etc. Wonder if he has ever read the famous educator, Dale Carnegie, who once said “any fool can criticize, and most do.” Ben should spend some time reading the Constitution rather than complain about the unfortunate situation of the populace. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are the only rights granted by the Constitution. Only a socialist can see into the penumbras. Why doesn’t Ben propose a National GOYA month for people who expect someone else to take care of them? There is an idea he could develop into something effective.
— Paul Bunker
La Moille, Illinois
What the hell happened to Ben Stein? Was he kidnapped and brain washed by Paul Krugman and Lou Dobbs?
— Anthony Mastroserio
Skillman, New Jersey
Ben, like so many others, is incorrect with that 40 million uninsured figure. When you back out the in-transit job figures the amount goes down to about 10-15 million. Take out the young people who choose not to have insurance and the figure is somewhere under 10 million. And don’t forget the homeless. However, everyone is covered for emergency hospital care. Just asked the illegals in this country and people who worked for insurance companies like I did.
— Joseph D’Ambrosia
I don’t get Ben’s point in “Terribly Exciting.” Has he joined the chorus of the left singing dirges about income inequality?
— Roger D. McKinney
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
It is too bad, and certainly sad, that Ben Stein is still apparently embarrassed by his success, if not his riches. Even though he is not as regular on TAS anymore I no longer look forward to reading him. Perhaps it is just me but that is the way it is.
William Tucker, THANK YOU.
— Roger Ross
MATCH MADE IN DETROIT
Re: Eric Peters’s A Big Divorce — and a Splashy Wedding?:
I have always appreciated the humor the writers bring along with their ideas on the Spectator pages. But Eric Peters’s proposal of a GM and Chrysler merger is probably one of the biggest pants-wetters of all time. I especially laughed at Chrysler bringing economies of scale. Yeah, let’s loose money on more cars! The Borg wouldn’t assimilate any American car company. Eat it and spit it out perhaps, but not assimilate. Cadillac is hip? Again? It was never hip (except for the gangsta rappers who drive the Escalade). A catchy Led Zeppelin song clip in their commercials does not make for hip. Cadillac is only popular with the repair mechanics for which it provides jobs.
Eric’s “simple logic” is undone by his own words. Why would GM, struggling to ramp down its American production capacity and dealerships, want to take on more liabilities and capacity except to spend more money bribing people into retirement? Why would a company want another carcass when it’s looking pretty gaunt itself? American auto manufacturers are in a death spiral because their management is ossified. Yeah, let’s bring in Ford too! We can design a new catch phrase for the new car company: Generally Made for Repairs Daily. We can bring in generations of the same people who screw up car designs but in a totally different way! American car quality is better than in the past but has not kept up. Take any American car that competes with the Accord or Camry and you find it doesn’t. They still have recalls for components that have long ago been design matured. You have generations upon generations of the same people making the same decisions. Eric somehow thinks it matters that the existence of an American automaker makes a difference. It doesn’t. Corporations move capital around the world without regard to where it happens to park its corporate seat.
A merger of the incredible shrinking big three would have one benefit: it would make it easier to avoid one brand and not three. I wonder what make vehicle Eric drives? Is it made from one of the manufacturers whose cars you love to hate? Many foreign car brands are American made with a lot of American content and their employees at least do not subsidize the Democrat Party. And we don’t hate their cars or trucks.
— Diamon Sforza
I would like to see you comment on what I think is the main reason the American cars, especially Chrysler’s exciting ones, are not selling…poor advertising. Compared to the TV and radio ads for Lexus, Honda, and Toyota, the American car ads don’t speak to quality at all compared to the others.
— John P.
If there was just some way for GM, Ford, and Chrysler to get out from under the death spell of the union, they might turn things around. Of course they need to honor the commitments to retirees, but let the union strike and hire other workers and get out from under the yoke. Move to a RIGHT TO WORK state. Unions are what is sending jobs overseas.
Of course Democrats are trying to stop secret ballots in bringing in a union. The only way a union can be approved is if the company is REALLY lousy to employees or get rid of the secret ballot and use intimidation.
— Elaine Kyle
If you think the recent crop of Chrysler and Dodge cars (the Magnum, 300 etc.) are “appealing,” I have a butt-ugly female cousin who is desperately seeking a husband — would you be available?
— William James
Reidsville, North Carolina
Re: W. James Antle III’s Are Pro-Lifers Ready for Rudy?:
I am a 52-year-old conservative who has never been polled in any survey on any subject and I have only written to express my opinion on issues maybe once or twice before. But today is different.
I just held in my arms my first born grandson and stared into the face of life at its purest. And after sitting in the hospital waiting room for four days with other expectant and jubilant grandparents and aunts and uncles, I realized again what a miracle of hope and joy a baby brings with him or her when they enter into this world.
As a result, I have made my decision. I refuse to vote for any candidate of any party who does not oppose the insanity of abortion. This is a blight on our society and not a right of it.
Thanks for asking.
— M. Blue
Mr. Antle seems to be a bit of a one trick pony on the subject of Mayor Rudy. Either that or he thinks that pro-lifers are the only folks that may vote against Rudy because of an actual stance and/or belief of the candidate’s.
I seriously doubt if many of the folks that insist on controlling our borders and stopping the invasion of our country from Mexico are going to favor Mayor Rudy with their votes when he stands four square with Bush, McCain, Kennedy, et al for open borders and amnesty for illegals.
I suspect that the voters that object to homosexual marriage, or civil unions, or whatever, will NOT be just dying to get to the polls to vote for Rudy.
Then there are the pro-Second Amendment folks. I guarantee that they are not going to vote for Rudy, a dedicated gun controller.
Then there are the people like myself that disagree with Rudy on abortion, immigration, civil unions, AND gun control. Guess who I ain’t gonna vote for in the primaries. I strongly suspect that Rudy’s idea of “originalist” judges and mine would seriously diverge. I am still trying to figure out how someone that will not enforce our borders and wants to give amnesty to 12 million illegal aliens can be deemed strong on defense of the country and terrorism issues.
— Ken Shreve
I ask Mr. Antle and those others who make the abortion issue the central litmus test of a candidate: when another 9/11 is upon us, this time with a tactical nuke detonated in New York or Chicago, with a million of our citizens killed, what will it matter that the oooooo issue of 2008 was abortion and whether or not Rudy in the past, AS A PERSONAL MATTER, was in favor of its legality.
Really, does anyone’s personal perspective on this divisive issue really matter, since the Supreme Court will be the only final arbiter of this issue? I suggest that people avert their eyes from this issue and remember that the most important function of government is the defense of the homeland and its people. Yes, the unborn are defenseless, but electing a true enemy of not only the unborn, but of all of our rights and freedoms, is not going to do us a whit of good.
I don’t want to fly the flag into the hellfire of lost causes. I suggest that Mr. Antle and others read the excellent article in National Review by John Derbyshire entitled “The SOB Factor” and then put your heads on straight and do the right thing and elect the ONLY candidate with a chance to win: Rudy Giuliani. Anthing less is a fanciful dream, never to be realized.
— Steve Heafey
It isn’t surprising that Antle concludes in his essay that “So far there is little evidence that Giuliani’s pro-choice position is hurting him….”
Maybe so, but I, Catholic & conservative, won’t vote for the [fellow]. Nor will I vote for Romney, should he win the nomination. Nor am I at all happy with fellow Vietnam veteran & Leftist, McCain.
Perhaps the Republicans think that social conservatives must vote for the Republican nominee regardless his positions on issues important to us, but I have news for them. As of now I anticipate voting 3rd party next year.
In recent years secular conservatives dominant in the Republican Party establishment have exhibited increasingly strident hostility toward us social conservatives. In their resentment of us they apparently have concluded that they can win elections without our support. It is beginning to look like we’ll have the opportunity to see if they are correct come next November.
— Dave Livingston
El Paso County, Colorado
At a time when the Democratic front-runner is being criticized for always wearing pantsuits, the Republican front-runner is being condemned for wearing a dress in gay-pride parades…
O tempora, O mores.
— C. Baker
REPUBLICAN TV STARS
Re: The Washington Prowler’s The Real Deal:
Question: As with most Senators with an (R) behind their behinds: What has Fred Thompson ever done?
Or, more pointedly, what has he ever done that is worthy of my support as a conservative?
Okay, let me lower my standard: What has he ever done that is worthy of my support as a Republican?
As a Senator, he was great actor.
In the words of another great actor (Jack Nicholson): “Please tell me you’ve got something more…Please tell me there’s an ace up your sleeve… ” (A Few Good Men)
— Donald Morrissey
Sen. Fred Thompson for President?
— Tamy L. Shaw
Wait a minute!!! You mean Alberto Gonzales actually did something?
I thought all he could do was blink implacably at a TV camera and then return to his office to resume doing nothing — or resume taking orders from Clinton Administration holdovers.
— Judy Beumler
Re: Mark Tooley’s Apologizing for Iran:
The so-called ecumenical delegation did not represent the body of Christ in America. Nor was it authorized to do so.
Following the delegation’s visit, their darling — the anti-Semite who calls regularly for the destruction of Israel and Jews, but a man Shanta Premawardhana said “comes across as a very religious man” — said in his visit to Sudan that “the Zionists are the true manifestation of Satan” and that Sudan was “a great stronghold for authentic pure Islam.”
So, once again, under the guise of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their own political brand of Christianity, the religious leftists have given yet more public support for an enemy of Christ Jesus and His followers. After all, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inferred that “authentic pure Islam” includes genocide of Christians in Sudan by Muslims.
The delegation’s actions also undermined America’s long-standing relationship with Israel and injured Christian-Jewish interactions. And they wittingly gave credence to an enemy of the very country that affords them the freedom to give such support.
This is outrageous!
— C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia
STRAIGHT TALK EXPRESS
Re: Lisa Fabrizio’s War on Words:
I understand the angst of the more cultured and gentle Ben’s in the conservative movement regarding the various things Ann Coulter says every now and then. I too long for a more civilized public debate, like that found in a college debate class 40 years ago but I believe there is a larger point here that Ann has tried to make numerous times but that just does not rise above all the noise that passes for journalism today. I look for someone that can articulate the core conservative principles and lead when things get hot in the kitchen but I don’t see that in the three front-runners trying to win the Republican nomination 19 months out from a general elections. I see a beauty contest, not a contest of ideas.
I read many of the name brand conservative writers, Buckley, Will, Noonan, Novak, Cal Thomas and others often times. Some of the aforementioned writers are so very good at what they do that their central point is sometimes above my pay grade and I have a college degree in a real science involving logic and such. I understand wit and the effective use of sarcasm as an instrument for changing minds but I also understand such lofty word-smithing is lost on the average Democrat. The message of those above sometimes appears more as an insult to those that just have a GED or High school diploma. Logic and reason does not always carry the day when the MOB is at the gates. It didn’t carry the water last November.
I’m reminded by a famous German to paraphrase that, War is politics by other means. Said another way, all politics is war. You win or lose; it is not about how you play that game that matters in the end. This past weekend, the remake of the 1962 film, The 300 Spartans, made its entry into film history as the 300 and the highest grossing March film on record and I’ll stretch a bit and say the largest net profiting film since The Blair Witch Project. Many film critics and I suspect many TAS readers will be turned off by the graphic nature of the film but I have to wonder, just what do you think real warfare is like with spears, swords and arrows? Close Quarter combat with such weapons is always brutal, up close and very personal. What do you think the 300 Spartans felt like standing up to what is conservatively estimated of over 200,000 Persians? For three days no less. The Spartans didn’t go to the Hot Gates to debate with the Persians even though it seems they would have won that all else equal.
Even if you haven’t seen either the 1962 movie or this remake you should know something about the battle and why it took place. The message from the Movie(s) and a little history lesson are just as relevant today as then. The message is universal throughout time. There are a lot of parallels with our current worldly endeavors not the least of which is we are depending on our own 300 Spartans to keep the Hordes beyond the gates while we have gentle debates about whether we are going to war or submit to the latest nemesis from the East. The usual political villains and traitors are in the story of the Spartan stand at Thermopylae. You would recognize them right off the bat. You see and hear from them everyday in the halls of Congress and elsewhere. If you are looking for logic and reason to win out, don’t go see the 300. The Spartans were if anything passionate about their concept of Freedom and willing to pay the price to keep it. Conservatives need to find their passion for what they believe or stay at home while the 300 get slaughtered yet again. That’s just as true on the battlefield as in the political arena.
— Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia