Understanding the Heat - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Understanding the Heat
by

WHERE DO I NOT SIGN?
Re: William Tucker’s Endorse Kyoto:

William Tucker writes, “There are few places where conservatives have come off looking so foolish as their stonewalling on global warming.”

Looking foolish to whom? Environmentalist wacko Left Coasters? Chablis-sniffing, frite-dipping Bruxellians? The last thing conservatives need to do is “mend fences” with Algore’s legions of fantasists. Sorry, Mr. Tucker, but we’ve got more important things to do.
Doug Welty
Arlington, Virginia

Mr. Tucker posits for our fare du jour, a rather unpalatable turkey of an idea that Bush and America endorse the Kyoto Protocol, just to make things right with the rest of the world. Pray tell, from whence does this asinine notion, that we have to mend fences with the rest of the world, come from?

Well, I for one say nuts to all this and will wait until Thursday for mine, thank you very much. How trendy of Mr. Tucker to be so enamored with apocryphal anecdotes of global warming, why it’s enough to make any Euro-American proud. In addition, he yammers on with the standard Leftist ad hominem screed, that conservatives don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to global warming. I’ll be the first to concede that when it comes to hot air, the Left knocks the stuffing out of the rest of us. But not to beat around the bush, when attempting to make mincemeat out of skeptics such as Messrs. Lindzen and Singer, Mr. Tucker conveniently fails to mention how other reputable scientists (more than just a few) have made a complete hash of Michael Mann’s flawed “Hockey Stick Graph” that have Gore and U.N. member nations all atwitter. Lest we squash Mr. Tucker’s hypothesis to a thin gruel, perhaps he can justify his theory in light of the Medieval Climate Optimum of the 9th-14th centuries that had temperatures higher than today’s. O.K. enough of this.

A Happy Thanksgiving to all at TAS, writers and readers alike. You too Mr. Tucker, that is of course, if Thanksgiving isn’t too American a holiday for you.
A. DiPentima

Thank you, William Tucker, for providing the first reasonable article on global warming ever to appear in The American Spectator. No doubt you will be subjected to attacks an ridicule. Perhaps you’ve been given the green light to speak honestly against some of the indefensible special-interest-protecting policies of the failed Bush administration. I hope your readers come to recognize that the White House’s follies extended well beyond Iraq.
Abe Grossman
Pleasantville, New York

Okay. I suppose in order to keep us from going to sleep it’s necessary to throw in an occasional left wing loony article. I won’t even bother to cite all the evidence that has been gathered and published by reputable scientists and climatologists that totally refute the idea that global warming is occurring, or more importantly that the sum total of human activity can affect the climate of the world by more than a miniscule amount.

What is more important from the standpoint of what is supposed to be a conservative publication is an understanding that the Kyoto Protocol is merely a very thinly veiled attempt to cripple the economy of the United States. Further, it would erode our sovereignty by subjecting domestic commercial enterprises to international oversight. Sounds to me like something that all conservatives should embrace enthusiastically.

Could we please try to keep this kind of tripe off the pages of the Spectator?
Keith Kunzler

Probably no harm, maybe even some good, would come from signing up for Kyoto, as William Tucker suggests, but to get an idea of just how unscientific (and how political) the global warming scare really is, one should go to this well-documented article in the Telegraph (London) from May 11. Just a cursory reading, or a mere glance at companion graphs, and one learns that the earth was very much warmer during the three centuries 1100 A.D. to 1400 A.D. than it is at present. To get a perspective of just what utter non-sense the present campaign is based on, one need only divide 125 (the number of years for which we have had modern, recorded weather data) by 4 x 10 to the 8th power (the approximate age of the planet). The data cited by the Inconvenient Truthers is, to say the least, insignificantly tiny (not to mention poorly distributed).
Ty Knoy
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Mr.. William Tucker should be commended for his fight for nuclear power. From an economic standpoint, national security, as well as from an ecological perspective nuclear power is the best alternative to fossil fuels. However, I fear Mr. Tucker has fallen into the trap that many well-meaning people have when considering CO2 and our climate. Kyoto is a byproduct of CO2 science and Paleoclimatology. To sum up the argument concisely, those who favor Kyoto argue that the last two decades of the 20th century were the warmest in 1,000 years, and that 1998 was the warmest year of the Holocene Era. This warming isn’t natural, but anthropogenic. Man caused this warming through the use of massive amounts of fossil fuels. These fossil fuels increased the CO2 count in our atmosphere, and this increased CO2 has over time trapped incoming solar radiation in the lower atmosphere. Hence, Global Warming.

This entire line of argument relies heavily if not exclusively on the now famous Mann-Bradley-Hughes 1998 temperature reconstruction (MBH98) for the last 1,000 years. Before MBH98, most paleoclimatologists believed there were three climate events since AD1000: the Medieval Warm Period (MWP AD850-1350), The Little Ice Age (LIA AD1350-1850), and our current era. Depending on which temperature proxies you used, the MWP was anywhere from 4 to 6 Deg C warmer than the 1000 year mean, the LIA was 5-7 Deg C cooler than the 1000 year mean, and since 1850 the temperatures have significantly warmed. MBH98 “smoothed” out both the LIA and MWP, and since 1990 a dramatic spike in temperatures occurred. Instead of a 1,000-year sine wave type graph, MBH98 shows a long smooth 980-year handle with a very shape 20-year blade — much like a hockey stick, hence the hockey stick graph. The UN’s IPCC as well as most research and scientific organizations bought into this without any major critiques. That is until 2003, when 2 Canadian statisticians (McIntyre and McKitrick) audited MBH98. I won’t go into the details suffice to say that their critiques were met with a stone wall from the authors of MBH98, the peer review boards, and the major scientific journals. M&M found significant errors in MBH98’s methodology (Principle Components Analysis), as well as their selection of temperature proxies (Bristlecone Tree rings). In June of 2006 the NAS published a report which while being polite to MBH98 authors, they called into question the selection of proxies, the accuracy of their temperature reconstructions before 1650, as well as data mining (polite way to say cherry picking the data). The NAS report returned the MWP and LIA back into the lexicon of climatology.

As for the year 1998 being one of the warmest years since 1850, well it was also the year we experienced one of the most intense ENSO(El Nino Southern Oscillation) events ever recorded Since 2003, MBH98 has come under such scrutiny, that its validity as a scientific representation of our climate is called into question. That is, the entire line of argument -that we live in an age of unprecedented man-made global warming is now in serious doubt. While one can point to extreme heat events like the European summer of 2003 (35,000 heat related deaths), one can also point to unprecedented cooling in both East Asia and Siberia, as well as many portions of the Southern Hemisphere.

Also, another obvious item should be noted, we have only taken accurate weather observations since 1945. While proxies can be constructed from everything from the price of wine and grain to tree rings, accurate measurements (both human and satellite) are very new. Paleoclimatologists use proxies because they are the best thing going. Some proxies are sensitive to temperature, some are sensitive to precipitation. Some events appear unprecedented, but in reality are not. Most of the glaciers in the Glacier National Park have only been around since the coldest part of the Little Ice Age (1648); they fact that they are melting shouldn’t surprise anyone. As late as 1912, ships had to be very careful to avoid Icebergs which littered the North Atlantic — that hasn’t been a problem since 1945. However, Norse sailors during the 10th and 11th Century were able to navigate and fish over large portions of the North Atlantic. We also know that despite subsistence farming, there were no major European famines during the periods of 900-1200 (warmest of the MWP), famines became a reality in European life aft the 14th century — that is when it started to cool. Significant global warming also occurred between 200BC and 200AD, but by 400AD-600AD there was significant cooling, especially in Europe and North Africa. To say what we are experiencing now is unprecedented is rather narcissistic (a hallmark of our age), and ignores the evidence to the contrary.

Our Climate tends to oscillate around any given number of teleconnections (ENSO, NAO, PDO to name 3 common ones). Some of these oscillations reoccur every 7-10 years (ENSO); others occur every 30-40 years (PDO). What the climate alarmists have done is take the last 40 years and treated them in vacuo. Cherry picking of data or data mining is now the norm. Most journals and research centers won’t even read or listen to anything contrary to the AGW Gospel. To endorse Kyoto is to endorse at least 20 years of bad, very bad science.
JP
Indiana

I have a BS in meteorology (although not pursuing my passion professionally) and can smell garbage that the global warming nuts have put out over the past decade(s). I believe that the scientists (incredibly intelligent as they are) that are pursuing the HIGW (human induced global warming) angle are doing it for various reasons including:

1) Appeasing their sources of funding (mostly the UN, left leaning political groups, etc.),
2) Arrogance that their brilliant minds are better than everyone else’s and if you question them, you’re a “flat-earth society” member,
3) Their high priced, brilliantly put together climate models are infallible because they designed them,
4) Hate America,
5) etc.
6) etc.
7) etc.
8) etc.
9) Love being rock stars to the MSM and therefore get lots of airtime over everyone else.

I would love to see one of these scientists put out a climate model that accurately takes into account (predicts), over a long period of time, solar output (since we’re at a higher level now, hence greater warming influence), tectonic shifts (earthquake, volcanic activity and resultant chemical/particulate/aerosol output), ocean current shifts (El Nino, La Nina, Gulf Stream, etc.), day-to-day weather of St. Louis (my hometown). The above are scientific holy grails that are currently being worked on by top minds that have specialized knowledge/expertise in each of these unique areas. In and of itself, predicting where and when exactly a thunderstorm will develop on any particular day is next to impossible with our current knowledge and technology, let alone looking at it 100 years from now on a global scale.

If the HIGW climatologists are taking all of the above variables, accurately, into account in their models, then they are far smarter than even they realize! They have thusly learned the physics of not only Earth’s atmosphere and are brilliant synoptic and mesoscale weather forecasters, but its whole system (outer space, under seas, underground) as well! They are brilliant astrophysicists (they figured out how the Sun’s nuclear processes work and predict it), geophysicists (they figured out how the Earth’s geologic processes work and predict it), and oceanographers (they figured out how the oceans work and predict it). I don’t know about you, but I’m impressed! I’m assuming they have a statistical anomaly already built in for 2018-21 when one of the massive volcanoes in Sumatra/Java blows it’s top, releases billions of tons of particulates and aerosols into the stratosphere, and cools Earth’s temperature for a couple of years afterward.

So we’re to believe that these climate “forecasters” have all the above variables accounted for in their big fancy-pants computer models? I don’t think so.
Jason T. Moore
Ellisville, Missouri

Regarding William Tucker’s suggestion to endorse the Kyoto Protocol, he’s missing the point on global warming (fact or fiction). Evidence that something is happening isn’t proof that we understand the problem or the solution. If temperatures are rising, is it a short-term aberration or a long-term trend (on a geologic scale, not as measured by the attention span of the average American)? If long-term, what is the probability of problems (arid, infertile land) versus opportunities (longer growing season in northern climates)? And if whatever is happening is really a long-term trend that will create problems, then can we change the outcome? I can’t answer any of my own questions, but neither can anyone else at this time. Accepting the Kyoto Protocol with so many unanswered questions is not putting the cart before the horse, it’s a cart searching for a horse.

First, it endorses pure scare tactics. As soon as Kyoto becomes “law,” we’ve conceded that the sky is falling. Scaring Americans over agendas to kill old people by eliminating Social Security, kill sick people by eliminating embryonic stem cell research, and kill black people by trapping them in hurricanes zones are methods used by one political party to win votes and increase their power. We don’t need to validate another excuse for why people should be very, very afraid of everything.

Second, it sets America up as a target. In spite of the fact that no developed country has delivered on the Kyoto promises they signed up for, only America’s failure to meet the Kyoto standards (and we will fail) will ever be held up for global scrutiny and criticism. We’ll have given the world yet one more reason to bash every success we produce by instead highlighting any shortfall we encounter.

Third, the first two points set in motion a mandate to spend (a favorite Bush activity) because this problem must be solved at any cost now that the sky is falling and America is failing. With tax increases already on the horizon as a result of the recent elections, an additional round of tax and spend on questionable studies and solutions would be disastrous. The temperature of the planet may not drop one fraction of a degree as a result, but the economy would drop faster than a bird hitting a windmill.

The need to move to nuclear power because it is a clean, reliable, cost effective, domestic alternate to fossil fuels is clear. However, the nuclear power argument can stand on its own merit. It doesn’t need to be intertwined with the global warming debate and related science (or lack thereof). And it most certainly doesn’t need to be preceded by the acceptance of a flawed, unmanageable protocol that will be used only to scare us, bash us, and tax us for global entertainment.
Tom Cook
Raleigh, North Carolina

You can’t be serious. Why would The American Spectator publish this piece of fear-mongering. A “Global Warming” article? Some “Scientists” have been predicting massive warming and cooling (in the same sentence sometimes) since the 1970s and none of that drivel came to pass. A more logical explanation seems to be that this is all cyclical. Where is the proof that it is not? Where is the proof of warming or cooling that is not based on someone’s inference of static data? Before I buy this bill of goods that I need to get rid of my car, pay more for less energy or move to a crowded city to be in walking distance of my job, I need something more than flimsy computer models and raw emotion.
Frank O.
New York

Why are there so many people in this world that are just too (pick one of “stupid”, “obstinate,” “hopelessly naive”) to believe that global warming is a serious problem that requires immediate action? Perhaps it is because we have seen things like this before and there is plenty of scientific evidence to the contrary.

1) Ice caps are melting everywhere!

Not true. Certainly, many are retreating. Then again, the Antarctic ice shelf is thickening and glaciers are advancing in certain portions of the world. It would be more correct to say that a significant portion of the ice caps are melting. You would, of course, also have to note that there is not proof that any of this melting is the product of human activity. For example, many years ago ice caps covered most of the upper Midwest. Those retreated very dramatically long before man had a chance to screw up much of anything.

2) Temperatures are rising! Eight of the ten hottest years on record have occurred in the last decade!

Many climatologists are convinced that this is at least partially due to the urban heat island effect. That is, big expanses of concrete and steel create localized islands of higher temperature. Certainly, we have been going through a pretty warm era but we have seen extreme cold and warm times in the past too (Google “little ice age” for more information on one of the most extreme swings). It just so happens that a majority of our temperature measurements are taken near or in large urban areas. Although scientists do attempt to adjust for this there is credible disagreement on the magnitude of the necessary adjustments.

3) But go back 75 years and there is almost a 1 degree increase in average world temperature.

Funny, but don’t we usually talk about round numbers? Why do global warming supporters like that 75 year number? Could it be because when you go back 100 in the U.S. data the increase is less that .2 degrees. In many of the areas recorded, average temperatures have actually fallen over 100 years. Doesn’t sound quite so dramatic now does it?

4) There will be lots more huge hurricanes! The long term trend will be more and more storms!

Oh really? I guess we’re talking about 2004 and 2005 as pretty bad storm years. I suppose we can dismiss 2006 because it doesn’t fit the global warming view. If we go back a little further, we see abnormally low hurricane activity over a period of 10 – 20 years. We can speculate all we want about the future but all we can say for sure is that there should be more hurricanes than we saw through the 1990s as we return to a more normal pattern.

5) But all the computer models predict global warming.

Do they? Actually, only a little more than half do. In the first place, that doesn’t seem all that compelling. Furthermore, none of these computer models has anything like an established track record of accurate weather predictions going out more than a week or two. How about what we read back in 2005 about all the computer models that predicted another record hurricane year in 2006. Funny how when it didn’t pan out we didn’t get headlines about the computer models getting it wrong (again). As complex as the weather is, it is no surprise that it is difficult to make a computer model that is close to accurate especially when looking out more that a short time. Given this fact, I simply cannot support the idea of global warming based on “evidence” produced by computer models even though I am a Software Engineer myself.

6) But everybody believes global warming is real except for a handful of (idiots) like you and George Bush.

Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it is true. Do you recall the popular idea of the ice age that was getting ready to start in the 1970s? How about the disasters that were going to occur on Jan 1, 2000? If you go back just a bit further, you can find an even better example that was popular with the people, leading politicians of the day, including FDR, and eminent Nobel Prize winning scientists. Unfortunately, Eugenics turned out to be both bad science and bad social policy.

7) And human activity is responsible for global warming.

There is very little evidence of any link between human activity and climate change. Certainly, human activity modifies the environment. The urban heat effect is one example. The problem with global warming is it requires that human activity, mainly the release of various greenhouse gases, is causing a global change in average temperature, and we can’t even get close to proving it. The only “studies” that prove a link utilize computer models that seem to fall down whenever their “results” are compared to actual observations in a systematic way.

As a result, I don’t buy into the “global warming” theory. I think that setting public policy based on it would be a profound mistake even if the end result (less emissions) would undoubtedly be a good thing. I think the scare tactics used by global warming supporters are despicable.

I disagree completely with the notion of signing the Kyoto protocol. It is nothing more than a clever attempt to transfer wealth from the United States to emerging countries such as India and China. Even if I accepted global warming, I would have to oppose Kyoto because, although it would reduce America’s emissions, it would not actually reduce World emissions. Furthermore, the world won’t love us even if we sign it because we are still too rich and too free.

The only thing standing in the way of nuclear power is the same green lobby that so loves Kyoto. Just because we sign it do you really think they will get out of the way? It remains the best solution for electricity but is still burdened by the ugly problem of waste disposal. I support it because I believe the benefits outweigh the risks. The problem, of course, is that scare tactics shaped public perception on nuclear power just like scary “global warming” is shaping public perception on greenhouse gas emissions.
Tom Cabanski

I don’t understand why Kyoto needs endorsing to get nuclear power since the carbon trading schemes may accomplish the same thing by driving up the cost of coal generated electricity. Many states and large cities are implementing Kyoto secretly on a region by region basis. This will be a an interesting experiment to see if the economic stress of conforming to Kyoto will bless or curse those areas that embrace Kyoto.

According to a graph of historic carbon dioxide levels provided in October 2006 issue of Scientific American, p.71, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have exceeded 1000 parts per million for about 180 million out of the last 325 million years. The estimated present value of 385 has only been lower for a brief time about 250 million years ago. I don’t understand the justification for holding carbon dioxide at such a low level when it is clearly natural for it to be higher than it is now.

Signing on to Kyoto to get nuclear power is like signing on to the Holocaust to get population control. This sounds like the latest version of the ends justifying the means.
Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

We can learn much from history, even how to deal with global warming. The early part of the middle ages was characterized by intense climate warming, particularly in the Mediterranean. This gave rise to new economic leaders as local agricultural trends changed, this change affected the next 1000 years of history. That example of global warming surely can’t be traced to human interaction or CFC’s.

Technology is the answer to the energy crisis but we won’t get there by closing smokestacks and spending billions to reduce emissions. We need to do everything we can to support our economy so we can fund the research and accommodate the companies that will lead us in this development. Kyoto was a tree-hugger’s pipe-dream offering no real solutions.

This isn’t about politics, it’s about science.
Adam Jones
Arlington, Texas

One question for Mr. Tucker: do you believe we should also approve and participate in the Carbon Contract Trading scheme? The one where China and India (as developing countries) are exempt from Kyoto rules and are given Carbon Emission contracts to trade (for dollars, Euros, Pounds) to developed countries like the U.S. While I believe we need to invest in alternative and renewable energy sources as part of a comprehensive national security policy, the last thing we need is yet another trillion dollar wealth transfer plan to third world keptocracies.
Ron Pettengill
London, UK

PACKING IT IN
Re: Jed Babbin’s Go Big, Go Long, or Go Home:

Jed Babbin’s “Go Big, Go Long, or Go Home” is great! We accomplished some good things like catching Hussein and his cronies and helping the Iraqis set up a democracy. Bremer created the insurgency with his de-Baathification plan and his dismissal of the Iraqi army. Then he refused to let the US military kill the insurgents while letting Al Qaeda murder Shia civilians, which led to the existing rounds of mass murder. Bremer created such a mess that we can’t fix it; only the Iraqis can. So let’s pack up a go home.
Roger D. McKinney
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Why can we not just follow the model of the Occupation after WWII? Does no one else remember that the German occupation took nine years? Furthermore, there was an “insurgency” in Germany. Former SS men formed into “Wolf” groups and murdered German civilians who cooperated with the occupation. Sound familiar? I’m appalled that none of our “wise men” seem to remember the lessons of a successful occupation.

It seems to me that our biggest mistake in Iraq was giving them sovereignty much too soon. It’s like the old joke about giving car keys and whiskey to a teenager. We didn’t grant Germany and Japan their sovereignty until we were sure they were ready for it. Thus, we don’t really need to replace Maliki; we just need to take back sovereignty for now. Maliki can remain in place and the Iraqi government can function, but we must make clear that we have the final say until we are convinced they are ready for sovereignty.
E.S.

THIRD DEGREE BURNS
Re: Ralph R. Reiland’s True-Blue Spoiler:

As a former “Libertarian,” and Nevada resident, I know full well the consequences of casting a capital “L” libertarian vote. You see, were it not for the Libertarian vote, we in Nevada (indeed, America) would have been rid of Harry Reid 12 years ago!

No matter how noble the motives for running as/voting for a third party candidate may be, invariably, it results in the election of your mortal enemy! Greens elect Republicans; Libertarians elect Democrats!
Jon Lindquist
Las Vegas, Nevada

I am not trying to excuse the spending habits of Republicans but Mr. Reiland talks about increases in the national debt without mentioning one of the major contributors: the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds are growing, currently account for about a quarter of our national debt and that percentage is also growing.

I believe that if we are ever to educate our citizens on the need for OASDI reform, we must get in the habit of speaking more precisely. I would amend the article to read as follows:

“By the time of Bush’s first inauguration in 2001, after six years of Republicans running the spending in Congress, the national debt had climbed to nearly $6 trillion of which approximately $1 trillion was due to the treasury bonds held by Social Security…. On the day of this year’s midterm elections, the debt was up to $8.6 trillion of which approximately $2 trillion was due to the treasury bonds held by Social Security.”

In other words, the non-OASDI debt rose by a third while the OASDI debt doubled in the last six years.

Of course, it would be more precise to add the $.3 trillion in the Medicare trust funds but, as yet, no politician has proposed dealing with that crisis.
Laurence Louden

Poor Montana and those lost votes, right? Dino Rossi might’ve won in Washington State a few years ago if it were not for another pesky Libertarian. And so it goes; some of us don’t want to settle for the “Lesser-of-Evils.”

Hey, those demented Democrats can wail and gnash teeth because of the Greens leaving their fold to vote for their guys ‘n their losses of elections…..

Face it, in Montana, Burns was a bit of a turkey (if you’ll pardon the expression at this time of year) and, generally, the Republicans have done very little or nothing to merit voter loyalty, especially Dubya — he’s done nothing since the bullhorn escapade with the fireman on 9/11 except appoint a few judges and cut some taxes.

The remainder of his terms have been super-blah or worse, the guy’s betrayed a ton of us who voted for him. Then, more recently, the GOP leaderships’ choices for the coming term became yet another sad joke with Trent Lott, et al.

Color me ticked-off. To a faretheewell even! But at least I was able to vote for Ron Paul, as my congressman.
Geoff Brandt
Quintana, Texas

Hey, maybe Conrad Burns should have dropped out of the race and let the Libertarian win. For the life of me, I cannot understand why we only have to have two parties in this country. I personally think three or four would be wonderful. Then maybe I would have a real choice, not the lesser of two evils. I generally vote Republican, but I am so sick and tired of RINO’s that I could upchuck.

The Republicans lost this race. They are the ones that turned the Congress over to the DemocRATS.

I wonder if the Constitution Party would take me in?
M.A.

NO RETURNS
Re: Windsor Mann’s Turning the Timetables:

Windsor Mann paints a bleak but thought provoking picture. Provoked this thought with me — that my silly “learning-to-ride-a-bike” analogy appears to have put me squarely in the camp of the Comb-Over King, Carl Levin, Harry Reid, John Kerry, and sundry other lily-livered libs. And I would sooner ride a bike straight off the rim of the Grand Canyon than share a view with any of them.

However, like everyone else, I have occasional doubts about the collective will of the people of Iraq to fight for what we assume they want. I even entertain the occasional suspicion that they don’t have the collective will to do much of anything, given the treacherous make-up of the various sects — or why would they have lived under the tyranny of Saddam so long? Where was the insurgent spirit then?

Easy for me to say, I have enjoyed a free society all of my life. But where is the point of no return? As in a plane — too low on fuel, can’t go back and can’t go on. General George Casey’s 12-18 month prediction (subtract a month from that!) of when Iraq could provide for their own security seems optimistic.

Here’s a blasphemous comparison. We never knew (or said we didn’t) just how corrupt the local government and how downright shiftless the underclass in New Orleans was until Katrina. (Read a few articles about destroyed FEMA mobile homes. Recall the frivolous use of emergency credit/cash cards.) Is it possible no one foresaw the difficulty in getting the Iraqis to “get it together” once Hussein’s reign of terror was ended? One wonders if they have the saying “Allah helps those who help themselves”? I guess not. If you believe the 72 virgins promise, you are not terribly reality-based.
Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California

WAGNER ACT
Re: Jay D. Homnick’s O.J. Is Good for You:

Having just read Jay Homnick’s piece (entitled “O.J. Is Good For You”), I was appalled to see the name of actor Robert Wagner mentioned, alongside those of OJ Simpson, Robert Blake, and Michael Jackson!

Let’s get one thing clear from the start. Unlike O.J., Blake, and Jackson, Robert Wagner has never been charged with anything! There has never been any evidence (even after a police investigation) to suggest that he was in any way responsible for the death of his wife, Natalie Wood! The autopsy performed on Ms. Wood showed no evidence of foul play and actually backs up Mr. Homnick’s rather tastelessly put comment about Ms. Wood “falling overboard while drunk.”

So why on earth did Mr. Homnick drag Wagner’s name into his piece on O.J. Simpson? He may think he was being clever and witty, but actually it came across as a distasteful and grossly unfair attack on Mr. Wagner, who lost the woman he loved dearly and on top of that has also had to deal with 25 years of media muckraking!

Incidentally, if Mr. Wagner does write his autobiography, I suspect that it would be a cracking read! He is so much more than “Natalie Wood’s Husband,” being a fascinating, intelligent, witty and charming person in his own right!
Joanne Smith

Just as distasteful as Mr. Simpson’s book idea is dragging Mr. Robert Wagner into this article. What gives??? Mr. Homnick really thinks he’s being funny?! What a sad excuse — and misplaced sarcasm.
Maja Rath

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