Why Knot? - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Why Knot?
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HONORING HEROES
Re: Quin Hillyer’s Injured Troops Need Support:

Thank you for printing this article. I want to observe that if each person who read it donated $50.00 much good could be done. I’d also like to suggest since (except for the raving liberals from time to time, who, like Bill Clinton, “abhor” our military) our readers are patriotic, a permanent link somewhere on your page would be good to keep this wonderful organization in front of the folks who linger here.
Jay W. Molyneaux
Wellington, Florida

AUSSIE SPINE
Re: Hal G.P. Colebatch’s Muslims and Assimilation:

Is there any way that we can initiate a referendum that would change the Constitution and allow Australian Prime Minister John Howard to run for President in 2008? Alone among Western leaders, he appears to have the clearest vision of what is expected of immigrants by their new country, especially Muslim immigrants, and he isn’t afraid to say so.

I have been waiting in vain for our President, whom I support in many, many ways, to say similar words for several years, but all I keep hearing is the tired refrain about “a religion of peace.”

What could entice Mr. Howard to run in ’08? Moving the White House to the beach? Done. Australian Rules football Monday Nights on ESPN? Done. Anything to bring sanity to the immigration debate in this country would be welcome.

Good on ya’, Mr. PM.
Gavin Valle
Peapack, New Jersey

I wish to thank Mr. Colebatch for bringing forward his latest missive. While it was both enjoyable and instructive to learn of some of Australia’s former eccentrics and their deeds (misdeeds), I am particularly grateful for Mr. Colebatch’s reminder of Prime Minister John Howard and former Treasury Secretary John Stone’s outspoken stance regarding the imperative for Muslims in Australia to assimilate into Australian society or simple move on to someplace more congenial to their preferred way of life. Oh how I wish that our current President or any of our currently prominent political class really, would dare to

We are constantly told that our diversity is our strength. That is unmitigated bovine excrement. Whether it be Muslims, or the 10 percent of Mexico that is here now, or the ACLU and its Socialist revolutionaries, you need to assimilate to the society that you found here when you either arrived here or otherwise became aware of it. Our society should NOT have to accept Sharia law, or exclude God from the public forum, or speak Spanish, or whatever. We should be perfectly free to be who we always have been. If you don’t like that, move on dot org. Oh, and don’t let the door hit you in your ample butts on the way out.
Ken Shreve

Oh my, what I wouldn’t give to have President Bush tell anyone that does not want to become part of America, by learning English and believing in our values, to get on the next boat out. Someone needs the backbone to say “love it or leave it.” Don’t let the door hit you in the butt on the way out.
Elaine Kyle

KNOT SO
Re: Larry Thornberry’s The Ties That Choke:

I can commiserate a bit with Larry and his dread for ties. I went through 12 years of tie indoctrination at St. Bernard’s grade school and Notre Dame High School back in PA. It didn’t matter what time of year it was, if you were in school, you wore a tie. The only relief came in hot weather when we could wear short sleeve shirts. But it was even worse for the girls with those funky uniforms AND completely buttoned up long sleeve shirts. Talk about suffering.

But I learned to love the tie when I had to work as a welder/fitter in Idaho. What an ugly job. Sure, you could go to work in blues jeans and whatever shirt you wanted, and if you wore the proper protective leather clothes, maybe they wouldn’t get burned up with you in them. I learned about the real dangers of smoking when I was welding deep inside a large metal structure (part of a drag line crane we were building) and the matches in my shirt pocket caught fire due to a rather determined spark. Never moved so fast in my life…

But the job was very dirty. You came home every stinking day filthy dirty, to the point that you couldn’t scrub the dirt out of your pores with a brush. After a few years, I got to thinking fondly of a job that required a tie.

I’m an engineer now, and the office rules (if any exist), are to dress casually but professionally. Only engineers can make sense of a requirement like that, and even some of them fail. So I only wear ties with long sleeve shirts during cold periods. I can compromise.

I still think there’s something weird about the power of ties. Depending on how expensive a tie is, it can actually cause something spilled to go on either the tie (expensive tie, cheap shirt) or the shirt (expensive shirt, cheap tie). Maybe Larry can do a follow up…
Karl Auerbach
Eden, Utah

In the 1890s, Gauguin in Tahiti painted a classic dream-field, “The Spirit of the Dead, Watching.” In this, the master’s rather olive-drab palette shows a sudden burst of red. Asked to explain the symbolism, Gauguin merely shrugged and said, “Oh, I just needed a dash of color there.”

Just so. Since the 1830s, men’s clothing styles have consisted of a basic block: Black, blue, gray or tan, with single- or double-breasted lapels that rhythmically contract or expand on scales approximating fifteen years (Charles de Gaulle in 1950 vs. the Beatles in 1965). As fashionistas careering from bustles to 1920s milkweed, from distressed dungarees to cheerful little flounces, Greer and her ilk malign the only interesting accessory in male attire — the cravat, a.k.a. necktie. In the spirit of Gauguin, these add a dash of color to an otherwise overtly humble, utilitarian covering, designed explicitly to foster bourgeois notions of classless camouflage, and incidentally to spare male workaholics from sartorial competition.

“Tying a noose”? Does Mde. Greer’s ensemble not include spike-heels worthy of foot-fetishists? Does she forever waft about, “clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful”? We say: Bring back watered-silk waistcoats, flowing neck-cloths, white stockings and silver-buckled shoes. The coat over your good bourgeois’ lace shirt, embroidered with fatuous cargo-pockets, sleeve-cuffs, collar high and stiff, at least was not a condign tradesman’s smock.

Femmers like Greer have much to answer for. Absent hypocrisy in wearables, we expect to see them touting sunflower appliques on gift-bag draperies, ever so oo-la-la. Or maybe basic black, the nihilist non-color of feminists’ disease, would be appropriate. Mourning in context of self-inflicted burkas suits feminism well.
J. Blake

You can blame the ubiquitous tie on the Croatians. It was a sweat scarf around the neck, called a “cravat” — that is “Croatian-style.” Of course now it has all sorts of other meanings as the article notes. And in hot enough weather we use a “handkerchief” to do the “anti-sweat” duty. Often times however, the tie is the one touch of color and individuality on an otherwise dull and drab outfit.
Philip Sandstrom

I suspect that Larry Thornberry’s latest sartorial role model could be Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But then perhaps Teheran and Tampa have similar climates? (Although Tehran probably can’t match Tampa’s humidity.) Having just moved from the hellish summer days of Bedford, Texas for the (relatively) temperate climes of Spokane, Washington, I suggest that Larry consider a similar move, not that he should — perish the thought — start wearing neckties again!
Bob Johnson
Spokane, Washington

I wear a necktie and suit to work every day, even though it’s not required by my employer. I am a forty-seven-year-old professional and I think it’s important for me to dress like a man of my own age who has a job in an office — not like some fairly well-groomed teenager on his first day of public school. But that’s not the only reason that my wardrobe includes a fairly extensive neckwear collection.

Where I grew up (Minnesota), children tend to inherit from their parents a leftist/populist attitude which (among other things) perpetuates the outdated notion that the true salt-of-the-earth-man-of-the-people wears jeans a tee-shirt most of the time; and perhaps a pair of corduroy trousers with a golf shirt if he’s “dressed up.” Most proponents of this notion also appear to believe that a real he-man is simply too restrained and made too uncomfortable by the tight restrictiveness of traditional business clothing. Worst of all, they tend to share the opinion that anyone who wears a suit and tie is at best stuffy and pretentious, and at worst, an elitist member of the oppressor class.

I rail against all such slob-appeal foolishness — and almost as a form of protest I dress like a traditional adult male on each workday. And although it’s not my number-one pet peeve, I wish others would do the same. It would be nice to see grown people in business situations (and even — gasp — at Christmas Mass) dress as though they recognize and have some respect for where they are and what they’re doing.

And by the way — summers are generally pretty warm here in Indiana, and I can personally attest to the fact that while an open-necked shirt is somewhat more comfortable than a button-down with necktie, dressing like an adult doesn’t really make that much difference once the weather gets hot and humid enough. You’re going to start sweating either way.

Finally, I don’t think that the parking lot attendant or the kid who wipes down your tires at the car wash should wear a tie (except when attending Christmas Mass, see above). I just wish more people would realize that you gotta grow up some time, and that learning to dress like a grown man (at least in formal situations/environments) should be part of that process.
Mike
Indianapolis, Indiana

With a career change from corporate accounting to construction accounting some ten years ago, I may not be the most credible source weighing in on this issue. Every day is casual Friday around my office. In my experience, it is the collar of an ill-fitting shirt that is so irritating. The neck tie is the “accessory” that adds a splash of color and personality to the otherwise generic apparel of navy blue suit and white shirt.
Bob Staggs
Goshen, Kentucky

Actually, high heels are right up there with neckties; probably ahead in terms of torture.  Â
Mary

RUMMY’S RIGHT
Re: Jed Babbin’s Reagan’s Vision, Rumsfeld’s Legacy:

With the well deserved accolades given to Mr. Rumsfeld in Jed Babbin’s recent article, I couldn’t help but stop for a minute and think of what a President Mr. Rumsfeld would make. Wow. For just a fleeting moment in time, I put aside the current, dismal state of politics, along with the unrealistic idea that Secretary Rumsfeld could gain the party’s nomination, and relished the thought of him leading our country in a no-nonsense fashion, while making sport of the nothing-but-nonsense White House Press reporters.
Donald Rumsfeld has all the backbone, conviction and integrity we admire in President Bush, but somehow, I can’t imagine him asking Ted Kennedy to help with an education bill. Can you imagine how the campaign debates would go? Can you imagine Rudy Giuliani or John McCain measuring up to Rummy? What a laughing stock he would make of Bayh, Biden, Feingold, Kucinich, et al., especially Hillary and Kerry.

But alas, I had to return to reality. I don’t know if there’s any chance of Rumsfeld running in ’08, but there’s probably only a slim chance that the now, seemingly spineless Republicans would brave the media backlash and support him. But it was a nice thought.
Mark H.
Austin, Texas

Missile defense is something that we should absolutely pursue, and for which there are many good reasons, but it alone is not enough to make us secure. No one ever won a war simply through defense (as I think Mr. Babbin would agree). Even within the context for which it is appropriate, ballistic missile defense alone would not suffice, counterattacks and war fighting would be required i.e. a shield without a sword makes no sense. This, not the merits of the technology is the true lesson of the Maginot line. In WW II and before, France did not want to really fight or kill. So long as it held that attitude, no level of defense would ultimately be effective. That is why, once their defenses were breached/outmaneuvered, they collapsed mentally and physically. This is not true of us, yet. But, we are kidding ourselves if we think that the key to dealing with either North Korea or Iran is missile defense alone.
Anthony Mirvish
Toronto, Ontario

WOLFMEN
Re: James Bowman’s 10th & Wolf:

James Bowman’s review of 10th & Wolf says much. These pacifist/intellectual filmmakers, steeped in “peace” and “tolerance,” make bland, microwave movies based in everything they claim to despise… violence, profanity, anger and mediocrity. Guns, guns everywhere. Like all institutions that leftists have commandeered (corporations, foundations, the judiciary, the churches etc.), the arts, popular and otherwise, have become yet another place where we can see them plainly revealing their true selves.
Steve Nikitas
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

TURNING UP THE HEAT
Re: William Tucker’s Mandating Physics:

While I applaud Mr.. Tucker’s wish for more nuclear power -especially for California (they seem to have rolling blackouts every time the thermometer registers 90)- like others, I question Mr.. Tucker’s assertion concerning Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). This year in general, and this summer in particular have not been good to the Global Warming Crowd. What has occurred in the science realm – not the PR realm- is almost a complete refutation of some of the most alarmist claims concerning AGW. The National Academy of Science assessment of the now famous Mann, Bradley, Hughes (MBH98) climate reconstructions was devastating. MBH98, which featured the famous hockey stick temperature graph was essentially labeled “bad science”. The NAS Panel questioned not only the choice of proxies, but also the mathematics that underwrote the entire reconstruction. They also called into question the social networking (having sympathetic scientists review their study) of the peer review process. Not one major science figure, university, or scientific institution reviewed or asked to audit the revolutionary information contained in MBH98. It took Einstein 13 years to get his assumptions “peer reviewed”; MBH98 was considered “science” overnight. If it were not for two Canadians (a mining engineer Steve McIntyre, and a statistician Ross McKitrick), the deep flaws of the Hockey Stick reconstruction would have never come to light. It took 3 years for McIntyre and McKitrick to get the data released, and to get the major figures in Climate Science to admit their errors. The only review or audit of the famous study was done by these 2 Canadians who were not even climate scientists. In the end, it took an act of Congress (it was Congress that empanelled the NAS to get to the bottom of the mess) to get a proper review completed.

It is now obvious temperature and climate reconstructions, like other fields where advanced statistics are used, can be twisted to fit a person’s political agenda. These reconstructions rely on processes and algorithms that are beyond the understanding of most people – that is unless one wants to delve into the mysteries of Principle Component Analysis. The NAS admitted that the Hockey Stick’s famous blade that showed the late 80s and 90s to be the hottest period in the last 1000 years to be wrong. They also reinserted the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age back into the lexicon of climate history — something MBH98 said never occurred on a global scale.

Since June, another event occurred which has gotten little or no notice. NOAA’s John Lyman last month published a startling study which showed that the world’s ocean had a net heat loss equal to the last 13 years of stored heat energy. Lyman has offered several explanations, but none of them could be fitted into the AGW model. This was a totally unforecasted event. Also published last month was a study done by Russian Physicist Khabibullo Abdusamatov. Abdusamatov’s colleagues at the Russian Academy of Sciences endorse his claim that the sun reached its maximum in solar output, and that beginning in the next decade to earth will begin to cool. Finally, just last week, the IPCC (the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change) lowered its forecast on the projected mean temperature for the globe in 2100 by 1.5 deg C. While their forecasts are still high (about 4.5 deg C of future warming), it is a total about face from what they were saying just 6 months ago. Look for future adjustments (i.e. lowering) of their forecasts.

The science of AGW is far from settled. For over a decade the entire mess known as Climate Science has been one giant echo chamber. It appears every time there is some new weather record being set, AGW is to be blamed. Scientists are human, and there is peer recognition, grant money, and face time on TV if you sing to the right tune. Unfortunately, science was given a giant black eye. Before we spend billions on alternative energy (something by the way I fully endorse but for different reasons), we should get the facts correct. This is something becoming increasingly difficult in our hyper-partisan society.
JP
Indiana

The September issue of Scientific America gives a pretty good rundown on the technologies available to reduce CO2 emissions and even gives a Reality Factor on each one of them that takes into consideration the technical feasibility of each technology. A 40 percent increase in production costs at the coal power plant are predicted for the collection and disposal of CO2. That is like gas going from $2.14 per gallon to $3.00 per gallon. What is the political Reality Factor for that? Will a democracy vote to impose a 40 percent increase in electricity prices? The follow-up bureaucracy to mitigate the impact of such a wealth transfer would be enormous. I used to think that “Jack and the Beanstalk” was a fairy tale but, it seems that the Eco-freaks are selling the cow for magic beans.
Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

SEVE’S CALL
Re: Lawrence Henry’s The Right Man:

I write to take exception with Mr. Henry’s reference to Seve Ballesteros and Tom Lehman’s supposed forbearance. In the first place, as R.T. Jones, Jr. made clear, no violation of the rules of golf should be considered “silly.” Beyond that, the incident in question is one in which Ballesteros was absolutely correct. In match play, the player whose ball is farther from the hole must always play his stroke first unless he concedes a putt, or the hole, to his opponent. Lehman was away and putted very close to the hole. Ordinarily the putt would have been conceded but Ballesteros asked Lehman to mark his ball so that he could use his coin as an aiming aid for his own putt. This is entirely proper. Instead, Lehman ignored at least two requests and putted out, thus playing out of turn, and Ballesteros rightly called him on it. There is no penalty, as Ballesteros also knew. Lehman was simply required to replace his ball and mark it. Ballesteros then putted, missed, and conceded Lehman’s short putt. Lehman’s ignorance of the rule, of course, made Ballesteros out to be the bad guy, and Mr. Henry perpetuates the canard.

In my judgment, Ballesteros has always been the victim of a double standard. What is “gamesmanship” in him, is “fiery competitiveness” in Raymond Floyd, Hale Irwin, Lanny Wadkins, and Paul Azinger, about all of whom the Europeans have many stories. Gamesmanship, properly understood as knowing the rules and how to use them to your advantage, is an integral part of match play and every other head to head competition. Ballesteros may have been a difficult personality, but he was a great champion and the Americans resented him and called him lucky. Is it any wonder he gave them nothing? International players never spoke of him the way Americans did. To them, he was their hero, and everyone who enjoys the Ryder Cup owes him a measure of gratitude.
Arthur Landry
New Orleans, Louisiana

READER MAIL IN ALL COLORS
Re: Various letters in Reader Mail’s Thank You, Mr. Secretary and Only Yesterday:

I agree with W. B. Heffernan, Jr. in that blond, blue eyed “African-Americans” are not the oxymoron one might think! Many parts of Africa, particularly in South Africa, were settled by Europeans Research the Dutch and the Boer Wars, Rhodesia, and such colonies/countries. One must remember that the PC police hyphenate Americans with reference to countries, not continents. Hence…
C.D. Lueders
Melbourne, Florida

Concerning Mike Stamper’s letter (“Neoconspiracy!”) in Reader Mail. I found his take on history to be stuck on the spin cycle. He seems to establish a cause and effect for going to war. “In 1942, we went to war against a state (Japan) that explicitly attacked us”. But his point is significantly blunted by not explaining why we also went to war against those who did not “explicitly attack us”, namely Germany and Italy. Also, he boldly states with respect to WWII, “There is no comparison. The former war was fought in self-defense”

OK, all together now “9-11 HAPPENED.” We can argue Iraq or no Iraq on a number of levels.

For me, it is a part of a much larger global war on terror.

Mike, you started your letter with the “whine from the left” (I’ll have the brie, thank you) about stifling free speech, “how dare anyone disagree with this phony “war on terror””. I, for one, will always defend your right to disagree but not a right to go unchallenged.
Marc O’Dell
Alpharetta, Georgia

People like Mr. Stamper who promote the preposterous notion that some sort of moral equivalence exists between terrorist groups that wantonly slaughter innocent women and children and the actions taken by nations trying to prevent them from doing so, are either blinded by their own self-righteousness or they are completely obtuse. This blame America first mentality is growing wearisome and dangerous. For those of us who have been paying attention, it is obvious that the tactics used today by Islamo-fascists do not follow the rules of engagement Mr. Stamper believes must be employed to in order for us to have a “civilized” war.

As for knowing when this war will be won, I’d say that will occur when the leaders of these terrorist organizations and the rogue states that support them renounce their oft-repeated intentions to wipe Israel and the West off the face of the earth and cease recruiting surrogates to kill and maim innocent people on their behalf. Another sign might be a demonstration of their willingness to live in peace with their neighbors for an extended period of time, one long enough to prove their intentions are genuine. Absent such assurances, those nations who remain the targets of this irrational hatred must respond preemptively to protect themselves from a reoccurrence of what took place on 9-11. If this requires a global effort to eradicate this blight on humanity, then so be it. If this means enduring a protracted conflict with forces bent on our total annihilation, so be it. Appeasement and cowardice on our part merely reinforces the sense of moral superiority held by these fanatics and foments their desire to impose their radical version of Islam on the rest of the world.
Rick Arand
Lee’s Summit, Missouri

I just want to add one more thought to John McGinnis’s letter regarding global warming. Greenland was once green — which is how it got its name — because the planet was once so warm grass could grow there. Now it’s the color of a block of ice. If we’re warm now, it’s nothing compared what we were some 500 to 1000 years ago.
Frank Mauran
Providence, Rhode Island

This is possibly the first time I’ve had occasion to disagree with the eloquent Mr. Shreve — simply because of the infamous “containment” policy where our guys weren’t allowed to actually WIN.

Our U.S. troops in Fallujah had a mosque surrounded and the terrorist types were taking potshots and knocking ’em off, one by one, sniper style? Our Marines did little or nothing; they apparently weren’t allowed to, and I find that very, very offensive!

In fact, with the resources we have, the fact that we didn’t have that place totally mopped up a couple years ago is appalling. So, no, in all due respect (as they say), it might’ve been done a whole bunch better, and Rummy should not be a candidate for future canonization.

And, again, I continue to be so impressed with the calibre of your audience/letter respondents. Dynamite group!
Frost

The main reason our Civil War was so bloody and costly in human lives was that the Generals on BOTH SIDES of that conflict fought a Napoleonic style of warfare, incongruent with the capacity for warfare and medicines of the day. It appears that some of those who have written letters to the editor (Mike Stamper and Thomas Lindquist) are fighting the same style of warfare as our fathers did in World War II. This current war is fought in with the same fervor that the GI of WWII fought — to kill the enemy before he kills you or those whom you love no matter where they live or what the cost.

There is no “blank check” on this war, but a deep understanding of those who chosen to harm us and what it will cost to protect this country, our allies, and our families. This is not a cultural war as some have said for those who wish us harm have no culture. They are savages of the first sort. Being the cowards, they hide behind the skirts of women and children, and somehow those who are against the war on terrorism are aghast that innocent women and children die. Such are the brutal facts of life. Civilization is a very thin venire and easily breached.

Those who oppose do not understand that, as no mid-eastern country can or will stand up to the direct military might of the United States, our current enemy has chosen guerilla warfare. Therefore, the enemy, fascist of the Islamic persuasion, has taken to fighting in our streets, airports, and most importantly — our minds and hearts.

We did not start this conflict, but by God’s help we shall surely end it with the least loss of human life possible.
John McCubbin

In reference to the comments of Tom Renick:

Good lord man! From what planet did you spring? First, get your facts straight — Vietnam became a fiasco because of micro-management by the Democrats — both president and congress. JFK got us into the war, congress then insured that we would lose it. We proudly won the majority of the battles, but lost the war to politics.

As to Powell — if you’re looking for leadership, he ain’t it! From the time he was appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, through the ignominy of his term as Secretary of State, he was anti-republican in general (no pun intended), and virulently anti-Bush in particular, blocking the president’s policies at every turn. With friends like Powell, one does not need many enemies. Powell is a Republican WISH — similar to a RINO but, a Republican only When It Suits Him. This is also true of the majority of the Republican members of the congressional delegation from New England (both the house and senate). For the PC crowd, I am old enough to remember that, when gender was not known the masculine pronoun was used. If “Suits Her” feels better, use it.
C.D. Lueders
Melbourne, Florida

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