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Explosive Events

Re: John Tabin’s End of the Beginning and James G. Poulos’s Requiem for a Nightmare:

Zarqawi gets his 70 white raisins in Hell. The Iraq government is complete and functioning. The U.S.S. Cole is repaired and returned to active duty in the Middle East. All at the same time! It’s a bad day for the New York Times.
Craig C. Sarver
Behind Enemy Lines, Seattle, Washington

I looked out a front window and saw that the street was empty. I recalled that dread day almost five years ago, and this struck me as wrong. So, returning the compliment and despite the absence of television cameras, I walked out to the end of my driveway and danced. Next, I think I’ll raise a glass in honor of Zarqawi finally meeting his 72 Virginians.

And what an informative pile of rubble he no doubt left. Carry on! No “agonizing reappraisal” today, Ben.
Stephen Foulard
Houston, Texas

James Poulos does a superb job in evaluating the horror which was the now-late and unlamented Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. This monstrous murderer has now rightfully been exterminated with due and extreme prejudice.

And while I enjoyed the Spectator emblazoning the top of its Web page with this sub-human’s picture and the words “SO LONG, SUCKER!” a more appropriate title could have been, “AND NOW, INTRODUCING THE NEWEST RESIDENT OF HELL!…”
Jim Bjaloncik
Stow, Ohio

The most amazing thing to me about the raid that killed Zarqawi is that the U.S. and Iraqi militaries were able to pull it off before Dana Priest and James Risen could warn him.
Paul Schlick
Maple Grove, Minnesota

Booyah! Woo-hoo! Swoosh!
Mark Stewart
Jacksonville, Florida

Re: Eric Peters’s Intermittenly Explosive Commuting:

The interns at the National Institutes for Mental Health don’t have enough to do, it seems. “Intermittent Explosive Disorder”? I bet it took some brain trust hours to come up with that.

The woman in the car ahead of me the other day who turned her head to speak to her passenger just before the light turned green was treated to a short blast from my horn when she didn’t get off the dime when the light did turn green. She probably felt she was subjected to a manifestation of IED. Fine. It did give me a nice shot of serotonin, though. I got traffic moving. I was at peace. Dare I say that I felt empowered?

Perhaps NMIH is putting the cart before the horse. Maybe we just need a good episode of IED to get our daily dose.
Evelyn Leinbach

Mr. Peters has missed the point completely in his article. It’s a little more involved that living closer to work, satellite radio, or anything else like that. We all know what the real problem in this nation is, why people are so stressed. Road rage is merely a symptom of something a lot more serious. The cure starts with a belief in a Divine Being, an acceptance of a biblical set of rules for living, and an adherence to having morally righteous people as leaders. From there, it becomes easier to cure what is wrong today.
Pete Chagnon

Since 1960, the total length of roads has been doubling every 261 years while the U.S. population has been doubling every 113 years. Yet, the Eco-Freaks would have everyone believe that we are paving over the world. I suspect that the answer to congestion relief is to get rid of traffic engineering advice from the Sierra Club.
Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

Before George Bush once more opens his mouth about immigration, and blithely proposes to allow in tens of millions of immigrants in the next few decades — so-called “guest workers” who, no matter what he says, will not soon or easily be headed back down the trail south once they get here — he would do well one of these workday mornings to skip the exercise routine, bag the Secret Service and the presidential motorcade, jump in a rent-a-car, and spend a couple of hours just tooling around the Washington Beltway during A.M. rush hour.
Chuck Vail

I can’t stand people using the presumption of spokesmanship with the pronoun “we.” I know where my road rage comes from. It comes from stupid drivers. It comes from control freaks who intentionally sit in the left hand lane and back up traffic thirty-six vehicles deep. It comes from twits on multi-lane surface streets who come to a halt in the right hand lane to let people into the roadway from side roads or parking lots when the multi-lane street has a green light (this backs up traffic behind the do-gooder dingbat and invites the people entering the roadway to their doom, because if I’m in the left lanes, I ain’t stopping.) It comes from people throwing their brakes on while driving on limited access highways. It comes from being stuck behind women putting their make up on while driving. It comes from driving behind women who spend their time parenting their children while driving. It comes from driving behind slow, inattentive boneheads yapping on their cell phones. It comes from driving through highway interchanges that were two years over schedule and hundreds of millions over budget in construction that actually make traffic worse when finally completed. It comes from traffic lights that rotate at camera shutter speeds. It comes from dealing with stupid, stupid, stupid people.

Stupid people are allowed to drive (and apparently to run the public agencies that handle traffic signals and road construction). I know why and it’s no consolation: stupid people are allowed to vote.

Where do you think liberal politicians come from?

Traffic is a great example of why mob rule stinks.
Mark Stewart
Jacksonville, Florida

Most of the road rage occurring on U.S. freeways is preventable. Those in the throes of it are so afflicted because of their own bad habits. In full awareness of traffic snarls, hang-ups — knowing what lane they have to be in and how long it takes to change lanes in wall
to wall traffic, they still wait until their off-ramp looms and then curse all those who will not lag back and let them in. For starters, they didn’t leave home in time to get where they are going. Now they would like everyone on the highway get outta the way so they can make it by a sweep of the second hand to a parking lot that will not have a space for them. More road rage. The traffic light is against them getting across the street to their office, where all three elevators are on the top floor never to return to Ground. When the IED sufferer finally arrives at his work place, he is in such foul temper nothing will do but take it out on office underlings.

When commuters have the same “sticks put in their gears” day after grinding day, why does it never occur to them to quit living on Utopian Time and set their clocks a little earlier? Oh, no! And run the risk of getting to work early? But isn’t doing a thing over and over in the same way, expecting a different outcome the definition of insanity? Then why are we calling it intermittent? There is no pill for the procrastinator. The disorder starts at home. Can’t find brief case, striped tie. Stopped by ATM when knew it would make him late. But when he gets on the freeway, it’s the IDIOTS who are detaining him.
Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California

Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell’s, Jr. The Russian Evolution:

Count on it: Whatever the U.S. is for, the Russians and Chinese — like the Democrats — will be against. A smart Republican leader would use this to the general advantage of his nation and his party.
David Govett
Davis, California

Come ON! You know what a patronymic is.

By the way, there’s an editorialist for the Moscow Times who always types “Vladimir Vladimirovich” with a trademark symbol. Funny.

I enjoy your columns.
Cheryl Scott

Re: Tony Perkins’s Restoring Decency:

It may have made sense back in the 1950s to give free spectrum to the three major networks, but this arrangement has passed its expiration date and begun to spoil. With the advent of cable TV and the internet it makes no sense to give major broadcasters free spectrum. They should pay for their communication channel just like all the rest of us must. There’s no valid reason for taxpayers to be subsidizing profitable media conglomerates.
Ian Callum
Roswell, Georgia

Re: Doug Powers’s Bennifer to Brangelina:

Actually, this is nothing new. In the movie, All the Presidents Men, Woodward and Bernstein were called “Woodstein” by their editor. And the shortening of corporate names such as Federal Express to FedEx and International House of Pancakes to IHOP follows in the same trend.
Mark Saleman

Hey, if I remember right, the “right-wing media” (as usual, ahead of the curve) first did it with the Clintons: “Billary.”

I propose the following name merger for Bill and Hillary Clinton: HillBillary.
Eric Waldner

Doug, Doug, Doug! TomKat (old news) and Billary (ancient history). And some names just don’t lend themselves to be shortened, but may be adjusted, as Taranto has knighted: Nancy Reid and Harry Pelosi.
R. Pete Peterson

Did anybody else notice that Intermittent Explosive Disorder = IED??

Or is it just my paranoia showing?
Craig C. Sarver

Re: James Bowman’s The Cult of the Suicide Bomber:

Iraqi youngsters claiming to be “innocent civilians” often detonate bombs and fire automatic rifles from homes. Innocent is not defined by age or sex but actions. Civilians dress like terrorists — soldiers wear uniforms. We must strike back at women and children that kill. Privileged sanctuaries encourage formation of untouchable armies capable of destroying decent civilization without a fight.
Hank Borgman
Farmington, Michigan

Re: Quin Hillyer’s Pence Again:

The Pence plan is just another amnesty plan — 12 million illegal aliens would be legalized as “guest workers.” They would make a round-trip home with a guarantee of readmission in order to pick up their new legalizing documents. Why the mad rush to pass a bill? You can’t compromise with the nutty Senate bill. Let the House hold hearings on the Senate bill. Get the House Democrats on record as supporting it. Campaign on this issue. Pick up Republican seats.

The media spin is that the voters are demanding a bill and will defeat Republicans if “we don’t get a bill.” Not true. If Republicans pass an amnesty bill, they will lose the House.

Illegal immigration is already against the law. We don’t need new laws. If the chief executive can’t enforce the laws as required by the Constitution, he should resign.
C. Baker

Amnesty by any other name is still amnesty. The Pence bill labors under the fallacy that private companies are going to be able to efficiently and honestly administer the processing of applications for a guest worker program. And who may I ask is going to monitor the private corporations/companies processing these applications? Of course these companies will never be tempted to engage in graft or profiteering by providing illegals aliens with false documents for a small or even large remuneration. We all know how reputable and patriotic corporate America is.

No, I am sorry but the Pence plan is amnesty under another name and I am surprised that you think the public is so stupid that they will not see through this Trojan horse. I only hope that the good people of Indiana vote Mr. Pence out of office in the next congressional election. I don’t know how the open borders crowd got to him, but they have obviously done so. Money talks or maybe he just has a skeleton in his closet they have threatened to expose. When will our elected officials finally get it, NO AMNESTY!
Paul M
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Re: Ben Stein’s Let’s Stand for Something:

While all these are good things, I think we’re diluting our selves by standing strongly for many things. I don’t know when, but the modern media have made it “improper” to be “one issue” voters. My history may be a little fuzzy, but I thought the GOP was started, and was most successful when we were a “one issue” party.

In the 1840s the Whigs were conciliatory and wishy-washy on slavery, so some principled people broke off and formed the Republicans. For twenty years we were a one issue party, pushing the evils of slavery into the limelight until it was dealt with. During the 1860s we were into the issue of reuniting the Union, first by the Civil War, and then by the Reconstruction. These didn’t go perfectly, but it was better than what would have been if we had done nothing. During the 1880s we were a one issue party on civil service reform. And we got it reformed. Local party bosses stopped being allowed to decide federal postings in their area.

For a long time after that we were not known for anything. In the 1960s the Democrats were a one-issue party focused on civil rights. And fortunately, they won. Then Reagan got in office during the 1980s and we were a one-issue party toward national security and defeating communism. Under Bush “41” the Berlin Wall came down. Communism finally fell. We lost our focus. We need one galvanizing issue.

I’d pick the issue of abortion myself, I can’t think of anything else as evil as slavery, except maybe the peonage of illegal immigrants and how little we do to prevent the inhumane methods some choose to go through to get here. We don’t have to toss aside our beliefs on the other things, but we do need to put one thing to the front and say “This evil must not be allowed to go on.”
Troy Harmon

I love Ben Stein and have been a fan for years but I’m quickly becoming unenthusiastic. His suggestion of “an agonizing reappraisal of whether we should be in Iraq at all” is nonsense. Reading it, I yelled the observation Festus made about and to St. Paul, “[T]hou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.” The reasons we went to Iraq were and are solid. Even if we didn’t find WMD, we don’t know that he didn’t have them or wasn’t getting them, only that they’re apparently not there now. We know for a fact he had them in 1998 and there is evidence and testimony that they were still there and loved to Syria while we were wasting time consulting the so-called “International Community” at the U.N. What should we reappraise? That we should have adopted the lawyer’s locution to wait until we were persuaded beyond all reasonable doubt?

Nobody wants to stay there as every G.I. is a walking bull’s-eye. We can’t just, as John Kerry often insinuates, up and leave the place to implode back into another third world chamber pot. Left coast kooks and their anything but hip protest signs notwithstanding, our blood is worth Iraqi oil if the sales of it fund Wahhabi extremists who want to buy and detonate a nuclear device here. The only other option is a gradual pullout, which is precisely what we’re doing. If conservatives were to ignore logic and have this agonizing reappraisal, we would be (falsely) discrediting ourselves and turning future foreign policy over to the likes of Michael Moore and Al Franken. Perhaps Ben should reappraise how secure we’d if his Hollywood pals were in control of foreign policy and the United States were just an extension of anti-Semitic, criminally ineffective and doomed Europe.
Steve Slick

Re: Clinton Taylor’s Hard to Digest and Nancy Carothers’s letter (“The Real Digest“) in Reader Mail’s Who We Are:

Kudos to Clinton Taylor for his article on the Reader’s Digest, and I enjoyed reading Nancy Carothers’s interesting reflections. I spent 40 years as a staff writer and roving editor for the Digest, spent a lot of time on the Washington scene and can attest that Bill Schulz and Ralph Kinney Bennett produced a great deal of outstanding work. So did many others. The Digest was deeply engaged in America and the world; if anything important was going on anywhere, or threatening to happen, or had happened, we were there. I believe that we developed the most effective journalistic institution in the world. DeWitt Wallace, the magazine’s founder and longtime editor-in-chief insisted on it, and provided us with all the support we needed to make it so. The day he brought me on staff he said, “You have an air travel card and an expense account; if you have to go to Timbuktu to get a paragraph to make a story right, then you have to go to Timbuktu. You don’t have to ask anyone around here for permission. When you’re putting a story together, you’re the boss. You go where you have to go and do what you have to do.” He said the same thing, in different words, perhaps, to all his writers. How could the magazine not become the influential organ that he made it?

Mr. Taylor proposes that the Digest was a conservative magazine when, other than the Wall Street Journal, the rest national media was not. Perhaps. In fact, liberals occupied some powerful positions in the Digest‘s editorial hierarchy, and a number of writers (myself not included) were convinced liberals; we had our share of donnybrooks. I think that what made the magazine as successful and good as it was that it was devoted in all that it did to the well-being of America and the world, and to a rigid adherence to the truth. Clearly, if your readership wants to know about the important things that are going on in America and the world and knows that it can count on everything you tell it, you are conservative.

Mr. Taylor bets that if Claudia Rosett had the kind of support we had, “we would soon be seeing U.N. bureaucrats by the dozen led from the edifice in shackles.” I can’t help but believe that if DeWitt Wallace were alive and kicking, we would be seeing crowds of people, editors and others, from the “business side,” leaving the Digest‘s offices and grounds with boxes full of their belongings, wondering where to look for work.
John G. Hubbell
Minnetonka, Minnesota

Re: Mark Tooley’s Fellow Methodist Demands Bush Impeachment:

Sad that the Mr. Winkler is so out of touch with the members of United Methodist Church.

Re: Doug Bandow’s “I Just Had to Do It”:

I went and read the original piece in the Post. I sat there thinking, “How can any adult be such a simpering, irresponsible victim?” Then I got to the bottom. Dana L is a trained professional when it comes to diverting responsibility — she’s a lawyer. “Your Honor — It’s never my, or my client’s, fault!” ‘Nuff said.

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