Jimmy Wins Again - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Jimmy Wins Again

Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s Carter Wins Second Coogler:

I think it was George Will who stated that while Jimmy Carter might be the worst president, Bill Clinton is the worst person to be president. At one time, I agreed with Will. But today, Carter wins both awards. What a skunk!
Jack Hughes
Chicago, Illinois


Thank you for the excellent denunciation of that self-righteous (yet incompetent) buffoon. I always felt, pardon the language, that if you wanted America to be a nation of groveling p******, well then, Jimmy Carter was your man. He was your go-to guy.

Carter’s only achievements are the backlash he provoked, spurring to victory Governor Reagan, and the dubious accomplishment of the single worst speech in the history of mankind, the so-called “malaise speech.” I am wistfully reminded of the wonderful Reagan summary retort, “I utterly reject that view…”
James Van Alstyne

Yours is an opinion website, but the statement that “Jimmy was the worst president in American history” doesn’t seem to garner much corroboration in the ranking literature. If you look at historical rankings of U.S. presidents, you will see that Carter doesn’t come out all that badly. In an average ranking by scholars, he places 27th out of 42, ahead of recent Presidents Nixon and Ford. In some popular polls he even beats Thomas Jefferson! I know, I know: most college professors are left-wing Maoists and traitors, and the general public has been hoodwinked for decades by the liberal media. Just thought you might be interested.
Paul Dorell
Highland Park, Illinois

Such well-written essays expressing distaste concerning our worst president always entertain me.

My uncle was a classmate of Jimmuh Carter at the Naval Academy. Even then Carter turned people off. He was described by my uncle as aloof and arrogant and roundly disliked by the other cadets. His demeanor shows he views himself far above the rabble in terms of intellect and intelligence. In short, he is a jerk. Maybe he is hoping that history will vindicate his embarrassing presidency. If so, he is just a sociopath.

When the time comes that Carter dies, it will be interesting to see the reaction. The public turned out in unexpected droves when Ronald Reagan died. I doubt that the same feeling will be accorded “the Georgian Snopes.”
Evelyn Leinbach

I seem to remember an old joke in which a guy with a toothache complained about the pain, so his sidekick fixed it by inflicting a much more painful injury elsewhere on the complainant’s anatomy. The freshly smashed toe made the dull ache in the jaw disappear. Likely it was an exchange between Curly, the lovable imbecile, and Moe, the sadistic imbecile.

Speaking of stooges, former President Carter deserves credit for pioneering a novel strategy for reputation rehab, which may be called the Smashed Toe Maneuver. Carter apparently believes that history will minimize his abject performance as president if he will only prove to be the worst ex-president possible. Surpassing his dismal record as chief executive has obviously taken great effort, yet Carter has shown himself to be remarkably dedicated to the task.

Where he was once considered to be a misguided bumbler, Carter will additionally be remembered for being just plain mean. He could have been Curly, but he chose to be Moe.
Jacksonville, Texas

I was a young man when Carter was president and not particularly interested in politics. Then came Reagan. I immediately recognized the difference between great men and merely ambitious men. At any event, I was not inclined to accept the often shrill criticism of Carter. Yes he made mistakes, and Reagan’s presidency and policies showed how bad Carter was. Still Carter was a former president and therefore deserved my respect.

Over the years however, I have come to dislike and really despise Mr. Carter for his outspoken anti-Americanism and ongoing meddling in the affairs of state.

Twenty years ago I would have written a letter to the editor chastising the disrespectful critique of our former president. Today I write to say… Bravo!
Doug Santo
Pasadena, California

I just got through reading your article, “Carter Wins Second Coogler,” and I can honestly say that I agree with every word.

I am from Georgia, just a little south of where “Jimma” lives in Plains. I am ashamed to say that I voted for him. It was the first time that I had ever voted. He was the last Democrat that I ever voted for. I spent 25 years in the Navy and I retired in 1989. I served under many presidents, but he was absolutely the worst president I have ever read about. America is lucky in that President Ronald Reagan was elected and corrected many of Carter’s mistakes. I sincerely hope there is another person of President Reagan’s quality waiting in the wings for 2008.

I read your online magazine everyday and I love it. Keep up the good work.
Buddy Eidson
Bainbridge, Georgia

R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. has nailed Jimmy Carter precisely. Thank you for this public service. Hopefully, conservatives will read this and realize that all Democrats in public office (even more frightening with power) are a threat not only to conservative ideas and traditions, but to America. That’s why it is important that we vote and vote Republican this November. Arlen Specter, despite all his flaws as a legislator, is better than the best Democrat.
Michael Tomlinson
Curtis Bay, Maryland

Gerald Ford’s name should never be written in the same sentence, or uttered in the same breath, with “Carter” (puke). To see what I mean, Google SS Mayaguez and compare what you read with Carter’s performance in the Tehran embassy seizure, five years later. Also, think of LBJ’s dismal hand-wringing seven years earlier with the USS Pueblo. Thanks to Ford, Cambodia has something to remember. And thanks to Johnson and Carter, North Korea and Iran do not.
Ty Knoy
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Congratulations, President Carter, on your selection for the prestigious J. Gordon Coogler Award.

Jane Fonda and Madeleine Albright had books out in 2005, so the competition must have been stiff.

The only regret is that Jeff MacNelly is no longer with us to commemorate the event with a sketch.
Dan Martin
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Regarding Jimmy Carter: his main claim to notoriety may be in living long enough, and speaking out often enough to earn the title as the most pompous, self-righteous jerk to ever hold the office. Thank God for Ronald Reagan.
Joe Phillips
Red River, New Mexico

Just wondering if, in his next scorcher about President Jimmy Carter, the premier Cooglerati, Mr. Tyrrell could less ambiguous about his disdain for the Georgia peanut farmer?
C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

Re: Paul Chesser’s Democrat Deep-Freeze and GOP Brain-Lock:

Yes, again we see the stupidity of politicians thinking they are above the law. Seems Republicans just can’t figure out how the rest of the country live, they have been in Washington to long and seem to think they are in the UN and have diplomatic immunity. They are so clueless it is just amazing.
Elaine Kyle

Of course the Republicans are not able to mount an offensive. They are just as guilty as Rep. Jefferson. Why is it that Sen. Feinstein is not investigated as she votes yes on laws affecting her husband’s economic interests in China?

We need an amendment to the Constitution which subjects bureaucrats and the Supreme Court to a vote every four years. If the voters say yes to firing all federal and state employees by branch without benefits, then all are fired. I know that a 30-year employee will be affected but so what? They went along with the dysfunction.

If the GOP had any brains, they would start making William Jefferson jokes, about “cold hard cash” and “frozen assets.”
John Lockwood
Washington, D.C.

Loved your online column today. I don’t understand why virtually all of the Republicans in Congress are behaving like clowns. I’ve never voted Democratic before and don’t intend to start. But the GOP is giving me very strong incentive not to vote at all. Clowns!

I have been saying the same thing for the last several days.

They don’t call it the “Stupid Party” for nothing.

A perfect opportunity to slam the Democrats and actually get the press working for them and they just throw it in the trash can. The only thing that might save the Republicans is the inherent corruption and hypocrisy of the Democrats, but the Republicans are working hard to give back any advantage they might obtain.
Mark A. Peterson, Ph.D.

The problem is that had the GOP not rolled over and made idiots of themselves, the MSM would have cried, “Evil Republicans Indict Congressman of Color!” and made the whole thing a Racism issue. Of course, they probably will anyway.
Jim Stevenson
San Diego, California

I hate to say it, but Mr. Chesser is spot on (Hi, Diane, the devil made me do it [see “Idiom School,” below — ed.] ) in his article. Not for nothing is the GOP called the “stupid party.” They earned it.
Ken Shreve

Enjoyed the piece in The American Spectator. I have been curious as to why no mention has been made in recent media about another incident. I distinctly remember a story during Hurricane Katrina where Rep. Jefferson demanded rescue troops suspend their rescue duties to deliver him by boat to the front steps of his house in the Garden District, where he retrieved items from his house… there may even have been a report that he removed something from the refrigerator then, but the gist of the story was that he demanded special attention.
Wanda Byars

Well said, Mr. Chesser. The appalling lack of constitutional knowledge by “lawmakers” whose first obligation is knowing and defending the Constitution is enough to make one throw his/her hands up in total despair. Speaker Hastert, in particular, has been a pathetic embarrassment on this, as are some of his fellow Republicans. Their intellectually sophomoric claims of “constitutional” violations as to the search of Jefferson’s office, just goes to show how muddle headed they have become, albeit, with the help of equally clueless law professors teaching in our nation’s Capitol.

The first claimed violation is that of Art. 1, Sec. 6, the Speech and Debate Clause. Section 6 is painfully clear: no member of Congress can be arrested during attendance at chamber sessions, nor can they be arrested going to and from said offices. (A fact even a drunk/drugged Kennedy knew by heart at 2:30 in the a.m.) Nothing the FBI has done remotely violates this section. There has been no arrest by the FBI. In its investigation of alleged criminal behavior by Jefferson, the FBI properly went to a federal judge with a search warrant, which the judge signed upon a showing of probable cause to his satisfaction. This is absolutely routine in every criminal case involving a search.

Here, Hastert misses two significant points. The first being, as I wrote in a previous blog, that a judge (third branch of government) signed the search warrant, hence the claim of Executive breach of separation of powers becomes patently absurd. Second, that Jefferson had refused requests by the FBI for said documents and probably, on the advice of his lawyer, was told to keep them in his congressional office as additional protection from a potential FBI search. Hastert seems oblivious to the idea, (or maybe knows all too well) that members of Congress could conceivably hide indicia of criminal behavior by allowing their congressional offices to be used as “safe houses” for the concealment of inculpatory evidence. In addition, his incredible tone deafness as to how most ordinary folks like you and me view this apparent special treatment to members of Congress, just shows why these guys are in such trouble.

Then there’s the hypocrisy of Congress crying wolf over the use of a search warrant by the Executive branch. Congress routinely gives not a whit about stepping on the Executive and Judicial branches’ Constitutional prerogatives. Congress fires off subpoenas almost daily seeking information it’s not entitled to, most recently, the President’s Constitutional authority as Commander-in Chief. It’s all so sad and so classic an example of the ruling class run amuck. As Mr. Chesser correctly pointed out, Rep. Jefferson (D-Louisiana) was a softball ready to be smacked out of the park by Republicans looking to escape the “culture of corruption” charge; instead, these congressional foul balls whiffed badly.
A. DiPentima

Do they listen to us, these people in Congress
Who seem most often to entirely dismiss
The messages we have attempted to send?
I feel so ignored, and to what end?

So that my senators and congressmen
Can be elected once again
To rise higher and higher to their own acclaim?
I’m getting more than tired of this insidious game.

How much time spent politicking? How much in legislation?
Are they putting their own welfare above that of the nation?
What is it that seems to grab and devour
Them all as they fill the corridors of power?

I write this of both elephants and mules.
These past weeks they’ve all been lead-minded fools.
So many of you I have generally admired,
But I’m thinking today you should all be fired!
Mimi Winship

Re: David Hogberg’s & James Dellinger’s The Price of Republican Gas:

The way we’re heading now, history will likely record that we, as did Nero with Rome, sat around and fiddled as our country burned. And I don’t mean with oil, natural gas or coal — all which we have in extraordinarily abundant supply — but from the physical and economic insecurity we continue to breed nationally through our ignorance and inaction on this issue.
C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

Seems an easier fix would be to drill off the coast of America. I mean if China is going to start drilling close to Key West, and drilling for Cuba at that, we should get on the bandwagon.

Don’t forget the cost of replacing the batteries in the hybrid cars — that is going to cost a bundle.
Elaine Kyle

Mr. Hogberg writes a perfectly logical article. I believe it to be a well-reasoned article. The problem is that his article has a fatal flaw.

Sir, if we can not expect the average American with a high school diploma to ring up a sale and give the customer back the correct change without a modern computer/register, how in heaven’s name to you expect that same American to understand and check the math that you provide in your article. Surely you jest, Sir.

Sir, I remember when I actually had to do such dollar and cents math problems. I remember when I would have had to figure out percentages and miles per gallon and gallons needed for the trip as well. I remember when I would have had points deducted for getting the wrong answer, and could have actually flunked if I got enough of the answers wrong. Today there would be no wrong answer, because the question would be “How do you feel about this?”

Sir, I would posit that a significant part of the problem of convincing the American public to allow drilling in ANWR is that they don’t even grasp the mathematical concepts, much less have the ability to “do the math.”
Ken Shreve

Re: Alex J. Pollock’s Undisclosed Interests:

Unfortunately the SEC has been aware of the impact of announcing an investigation into a company since the beginning of the SEC. These announcements damage the shareholders not help them. The SEC has demonstrated over the years that they really are not working for the investors but for big money. I expect the SEC to do as they have done in the past to stop this and many other abuses. They will do NOTHING!

Re: Jeffrey Lord’s Newsflash for the Dixie Chicks:

Good for you Mr. Lord. Yes, this left leaning mentality did not spring up with the ’60s or ’70s generation, it got its start way back even before VP Wallace. It ebbs and flows with the age. We thought we may have started to beat it back some considering how miserable that ideology has failed but as long as there are naive people around (and ignorant ones) it will always find it’s way back. The trouble we have today is that we are unable to get leaders in office who will soundly trounce it for good. Truman fired Wallace and buried it for a while. We elected Bush and thought we got a good start on getting it put in the background but it’s a narcotic. It’s not easy to get rid of. It makes it’s followers feel good about themselves, like they really are doing something good, all the while it’s destroying them (just like dope) culturally, morally, and intellectually. After all, when the Dixie Chicks make headlines with their mindless babble, we know there is something wrong someplace.

One final note to TAS. Jed Babbin made the comment (as appeared in American Heritage) that conservatives should mend their riff with Bush. It wasn’t conservatives who went off message but Bush. It is not conservatives who should be reconciling. Bush has destroyed the Republican contract with America, why should we trust him anymore? (I speak my opinion here and only my opinion. I may be wrong and I hope I am but that is how I feel.)
Pete Chagnon

Henry Wallace sounds like the sort of imbecile who would have championed Neville Chamberlain’s attempts at appeasing the Third Reich prior to WWII. The naivete of pacifist liberals never ceases to amaze me. I once asked an antiwar activist acquaintance whether using force to stop Adolf Hitler was justifiable. She kept muttering nonsense about seeking negotiated settlements to all disputes until I could not stand it any longer. When I finally asked her if this tyrant should have been stopped, she hesitated for a moment before resuming her mantra of peace at any cost. Apparently in her mind it is more immoral to defend oneself against naked aggression than it is for a brutal dictator to pulverize any and all weaker nations standing in his path to world domination.

After that encounter, I vowed to find answers to my questions about how these folks view the world and the people in it. I don’t have all the answers but I have observed a couple of things. The first problem is their false view of the way people really are. Most of them think all reasonable and sensible people believe as they do once they are enlightened with liberal insight and that all people, no matter how jaded or perverse they are, can be convinced to accept their Pollyannaish solutions to the world’s problems. There is no room in their worldview for anyone who does not see people the way they perceive them. They cannot grasp the concept that some folks are only interested in fulfilling their own selfish desires at the expense of others; therefore, they tend to ignore the fact that people like that actually walk around on this planet and must be dealt with. Secondly, their liberalism does not allow for absolutism of any stripe except, of course, their belief that relativism is absolutely true. Try having a rational discussion with one of them about that hypothesis! Or, maybe their utopian view of man provides them a protective cocoon which insulates them from the harsh reality of the world we live in and they don’t wish to emerge from it. It is astounding what you will accept as true when you fail to believe the obvious.
Rick Arand
Lee’s Summit, Missouri

Re: Paul Dorell’s letter (under “All Sung Out”) in Reader Mail’s The Ditsy Clucks:

I was very amused by Paul Dorell’s observation that the Dixie Chicks are “just regular people who happen to have a podium” (unfortunately) and who (this is the best part) “are willing to risk their careers by voicing their opinions.” Oh, the bravery and “risk “of it all! I hadn’t heard a peep from the brave Dixie Chicks since their last round of Bush-bashing a few years ago at a time when they were releasing a new CD, and, now, in a rather spectacular coincidence, we have a new Dixie Chicks recording, and we are all subjected once again to the political opinions of said Chicks! And, my gosh, imagine the Medal-of-Honor-worthy bravery it takes to be anti-Bush and non-supportive of the U.S. war effort in the entertainment industry of today!
Sheryl DeMille

Re: Lisa Fabrizio’s Speaking Ruth to Power:

Lisa Fabrizio’s article slamming Barry Bonds was puzzling. After insinuating Bonds is racist for saying Ruth’s 714 homers was the record to beat rather than Hank Aaron’s 755, she then lays out her case why Babe Ruth was the epitome of baseball talent. You won’t get disagreement from me on that topic. So wasn’t Bonds right to focus on Ruth?

For a better researched and more balanced analysis of Babe Ruth’s versus Barry Bonds’ accomplishments, one could start with Thomas Sowell. He concludes, unlike Ms. Fabrizio, that one should not denigrate modern home run records by saying the ball has been “juiced.” (Ms. Fabrizio refers to the modern advantage of a “brand new, tightly-wound ball on nearly every pitch.”)

Hitting homers just wasn’t the preferred style until Ruth and a few others showed how important such hits could be. (Ruth should receive more credit for being a pioneer in batting technique.) If one believes the famous 1925 Ty Cobb story of his swinging for the fences in one game and hitting three homers Cobb could have been a slugger.

In addition, the practice of using one baseball for much of a game started being phased out after the Chapman beanball incident in 1920. By the way, anyone who has watched a baseball game more than casually knows baseballs are not replaced “on nearly every pitch.” One-in-five is a closer estimate.

Don’t blame Bonds for not winning more World Series. Baseball is not a one-person sport. Ty Cobb never played on a winning World Series team. The esteemed Walter Johnson played on one World Series winner. Some baseball analysts believe that individual good hitters contribute only marginally to a team’s overall success, much less than a superior pitcher.

There are other extremely important variables a baseball writer would consider comparing Ruth with Bonds. The strike zone is probably smaller today (advantage Ruth) but pitchers are better trained, more specialized (e.g., relievers who pitch only to left-handed batters) and have a bigger arsenal of pitches (such as the split finger fastball and slider). (Note: The spitter was outlawed in 1920, depriving pitchers of an important pitch.)

Fielding abilities have likely improved over time because of equipment. My dad would proudly show us the gloves he and his brothers used in the 1920’s — small, pancake shaped pieces of leather that would make most of today’s leaping catches improbable.

One writer notes that one can see by examining analogous sports records in, e.g., track and field, that athletes now are better than they were 80 years ago. Increased competition because of higher relative salaries also means that better athletes are attracted to the game now. I asked my dad, who was well known where I grew up as a very good baseball player in 1927-29, why he didn’t play pro ball. He pointed out that the salaries were so low that baseball was not considered a good way to make a living then. (Oh, he did hit a 475 foot home run in a 1929 high school game — which might lay to rest the juiced ball argument.)

And while Ruth certainly stood out as a home run hitter at the time, his high batting average is a little less lustrous when one considers that, e.g., Ruth his .359 in 1930, but the last place Phillies as a team hit .315, and 6 of the 8 National League teams had averages over .300.

Okay, no contest. Ruth is the icon. But the comparison is much trickier than Ms. Fabrizio’s analysis.

As to whether Bonds or Ruth is a better model for youths to emulate — ha!
Peter Metrinko
Chantilly, Virginia

Lisa Fabrizio replies:
I had to confine my article for space reasons but here goes. I never used the word “juiced” to refer to modern baseballs. I said that today’s players face a new ball on nearly every pitch. Mr. Mertinko puts his “estimate” at one-in-five. Okay, so that’s about one per at bat. A far cry from the days when nearly every player on the infield had a chance to grease, scuff and cut the balls that remained in play a heck of a lot longer. Also, he should ask himself: why are true knuckleball pitchers disappearing? Because today’s balls are so tightly wound, it’s nearly impossible to grip them knuckle-wise.

And aside from the fact that today’s batters basically have the ball teed-up in their wheelhouse by umpires who refuse to enforce the correct strike zone, pitchers have lost their claim to the inside part of the plate via the idiotic virtual elimination of brush-back pitches; add in the body armor worn by sluggers like Bonds and the picture becomes clearer. Imagine Ruth, (or Ted Williams, Joe D. or Mickey Mantle) digging in and leaning over the plate as today’s ballplayers do with near impunity!

As to some of Mr. Metrinko’s other claims, this “casual” baseball observer has to roll her unbalanced eyes.

“Pitchers are better trained?” They may train more modernly, but that hardly seems to help their conditioning. Let’s consider the number and length of most of the minor-league apprenticeships of today’s pitchers. With the ill-advised expansion of MLB, most of today’s pitchers are called up before their peach fuzz is gone — hardly having a chance to hone their skills at the minor league level the way their predecessors did.

“A bigger arsenal of pitches?” Puh-lease! I advise Mr. Mertinko to read more about the days of Cobb et al., when not only spit balls, but shine balls, grease balls and all manner of substances accompanied the ball on its way to the plate.

His contention that “better athletes are attracted to the game now,” flies in the face of logic when one realizes that few opportunities existed for “professional” athletes in Ruth’s time. The NHL and NFL were in their infancy and the NBA was non-existent. Outside of boxing, only baseball attracted those who were foolish enough to ply the athletic trade.

“Fielding abilities have likely improved over time because of equipment.” Surely the most specious claim of all. The fielding ability of today’s MLB outfielders is on display nightly as being at an all-time low. Not only do “leaping catches” abound, they are necessitated by the lack of proper positioning and an ability to track the flight of a ball; again probably brought on by lack of minor league experience and a general preference to emphasize offense over defense. Throwing by most outfielders is an abomination as well. A close play at the plate — a regular occurrence just a few years ago — is now treated as a miracle, as is merely hitting the cut-off man. The strange and self-defeating proclivity of many of today’s outfielders to leave their feet when throwing is no doubt a major contributor to this travesty.

Lastly, Mr. Mertinko claims, “comparison is much trickier than Ms. Fabrizio’s analysis.” True, but in his attempt at trickery, he tells us that “while Ruth certainly stood out as a home run hitter at the time, his high batting average is a little less lustrous when one considers that, e.g., Ruth his .359 in 1930, but the last place Phillies as a team hit .315, and 6 of the 8 National League teams had averages over .300.” One can indeed cherry-pick stats to make one’s point. Try this one: in 1923, Babe hit .393 when the rest of the AL averaged .283, a mere 100 points lower.

And, by the way, it was Mr. Bonds, not I, who advised us to forget about Ruth; that he had wiped him out. Therefore, World Series stats become part of the Ruth package when comparing the two as Mr. Bonds has so foolishly invited us.

Re: Mike Showalter’s letter (under “All Sung Out”) in Reader Mail’s The Ditsy Clucks:

Mike Showalter’s devastatingly accurate evaluation of the Dixie Chicks, may I add: cipher 3x is still cipher. That they are enjoying some moderate redemption says nothing for them but tells us quite a lot about their fans who not long ago were making a great display of destroying their CDs. That is, unless they have found a coterie of new admirers who never heard of them or their country music before the Maine Chick mouthed off about Bush. The left is always looking for acolytes in the entertainment world. Remember how the “Boss” Bruce Springsteen was going to deliver the vote for Kerry?

We can all take comfort in the fact that chicks come and go. In no time they’ll either be stewing hens or molting. The blonde reminds me of the once curvaceous Sally Struthers — late of Archie Bunker fame. Now all plumped up and her only gig is Save the Children ads.

Finished with my rant, I’d like to belatedly thank Mr. Showalter for his kind words regarding my description of the fruitcake I make. I have to admit anyone who can read and doggedly follow the labor intensive recipe can make it. I would be happy to share the recipe as well as sources for the best quality candied fruits.
Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California

Re: Quin Hillyer’s Hey, Ho, the Battling Blogs:

Perhaps it was not your intention, Quin, but you touched an artery or two near that beating thing in my chest (plus, I was amused by your plug for TAS in the closing).

I grew up in a family who read, books, magazines, the newspaper, etc. My grandfather was a journalist. Frequent trips to the library were eagerly anticipated. And, dare I mention it, I watched Firing Line (William F. Buckley, Jr.) every week, an education all on its own. I didn’t know of Bob Tyrrell, or TAS, at the time. What command I have of the English language, apart from my grandfather, I truly owe to Buckley, rather than the public schools, a non-education all on their own.

Over the years, a yearning to write, though never fully pursued, was never forgotten. But, unlike our narcissistic friends, I cannot seem to indulge myself in blogging. After numerous failed attempts to set up one for me, my wife has capitulated. So, here I am, in the TAS Reader Mail, amazed that my feeble effort as a wordsmith is even occasionally counted worthy to display before a cynical world.

I believe writing is a passion. Knowing you may influence others, with what reason you can muster, to think outside their own box, is life. Lose it, and you are cut off, persona non grata. Those undisciplined bloggers may disappoint in many ways, but their craving for validation is a beginning. If we could only get them to watch reruns of Firing Line, we could instill some appreciation for the English language and a subsequent appreciation for logic, killing two birds with a single stone. Add some remedial political training from old editions of TAS, and they could begin sharing their new raison d’etre in current editions, becoming an inspiration to their generation!

One must have a dream.
Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

Re: Paul Chesser’s Cracks in the Crack-Down:

One can only hope that the House will hold hearings on the Senate bill — every relevant House committee should hold separate hearings on every provision of the bill. If there is any sanity in the nation’s Capitol, that should kill it.
C. Baker

Re: Diane Smith’s letter (“Spot Where?”) in Reader Mail’s The Ditsy Clucks:

Miz Diane, ma’am, may I just say; “Spot on, old chappy.” I have found that such phrases do tend to drive some folks “round the bend.”

Seriously, Diane, I am like with you like on this phenomenon. I often like think that like some people like must be like out to lunch about this stuff.

I plead guilty to the use of the phrase “spot on.” I just think it has a nice ring to it. I, however, must admit to a fondness for the genres of British mysteries (Agatha Christie, P.D. James, Conan Doyle, et al), and British comedies (“Yes, Minister,” “Yes, Prime Minister,” et al.) I also like the way with words exhibited by Tony Blankley, in his columns.

Another thing is that I do very definitely decry the slovenliness and laziness of our modern discourse. I often wonder if the ever present use of obscenities in conversation (oral or written) today isn’t at least partly due to a lack of facility with the English language as to its rhythms, its forms and usages, and its generous vocabulary.

I would just say two more things. First the whole subject of modern conversational phraseology is ripe for a column here, not just a letter. Secondly, “You go girl!”

Have a great day, gentle lady.
Ken Shreve
Someone who once flunked English in high school

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