FRIENDS LIKE THESE
Re: Larry Thornberry’s Red Faces in a Red State:
From what I saw of Harris, she’s not exactly the type to look for a couch to faint upon. I think she’s going to rock the boat a little. She’s taking an opportunity no one else will, so I say help her with some of the lifting, and heave the opportunistic Nelson over.
— M. Scott Horn
I suppose politics is the art of the possible, and I suppose Larry Thornberry is discussing Florida politics in that way. But I find it very dispiriting when public affairs are reduced to only political calculation. What about principles? Katherine Harris is a hero. She stood in the door when the Democratic vote counting and smear machines tried to roll over her. And she stopped them cold. Yes, there were other players who would have come into the game, including the Florida legislature, but the Dems threw everything they had at her — including the ever-helpful Alan Dershowitz calling her a “common criminal” — and she didn’t buckle. That is pretty impressive to me.
It was exactly the lack of that type of character that let the Nazis take over in Germany — the Enabling Act was only the first step; a lot of people had to abandon their civic duty to hand the keys to the country to the Nazis. The Dems tried the same playbook on Katherine Harris to seize the presidency. I cannot think of a more disgraceful episode in our history, let alone in living memory. I believe with this episode alone Al Gore disqualified himself from high office.
The politics of Florida may mean that Katherine Harris is behind now. Does that mean she can’t win? Try telling that to Harry Truman. Or to George Bush I for that matter who was, I believe, 14 points behind Dukakis after the Democratic Convention.
Let’s have a little faith and support our own. And why is it that the evils of self-financed campaigns are only discovered when Republicans are involved? Money never seemed to bother anybody about Ted Kennedy, or Jon Corzine who actually did buy his Senate seat, or John Kerry, or Jay Rockefeller, or Herb Kohl, or Dianne Feinstein who has just bought a palace in San Francisco, or…well, you get the picture.
Katherine Harris is a hero. Let’s support her for that reason alone.
— Greg Richards
I am sure the “mainstream” news media will indeed be sneering about Ms. Harris using her own money in an election campaign. Of course, they have never acted this way toward the Kennedys, the Gores, and the Rockefellers, or Governor (formerly Senator) Corzine of New Jersey.
Oh, wait, those are liberal Democrats — well, that’s all right, then.
— John Lockwood
May I be the first to say: “Why THAT picture?” Why not use a picture of Cruella Deville? So you don’t like her. What ever happened to the eleventh commandment?
Is this article hard-nosed facts? Or just more innuendo and slant. Shame on you; I hoped for better from these pages. You make Ms. Harris sound like Sheila Jackson Lee with a personal fortune. Did you mean to do that?
— Judy Beumler
Mr. Thornberry hit the nail on the head; Florida has trouble fielding strong Republican Senatorial candidates and despite this being a “red” state people down here have an annoying habit of voting for the Democrat candidates. The voters kept that crackpot Bob Graham in office for 18 agonizing years. The best guy we could come up with to run for his open seat was Mel Martinez who despite the fact he has a reputation as a ace trial lawyer seems to have a tendency to run his mouth with his brain in neutral. I like Katherine Harris and think she would do a good job but if someone has a better idea besides Jeb (who will not run), I am listening.
— Mike Gallina
Tarpon Springs, Florida
Larry Thornberry’s article on Katherine Harris says more about the media than it does about Harris. The best thing for the Harris campaign is that the ugly news has come out now, before voters HAVE TO vote. OBVIOUSLY, Harris’s campaign should do what it can to make sure that her side gets heard and she can diffuse the omissions of the Florida media. That is up to her campaign; we can only hope they do it.
Thornberry goes on like many cluckin’ Republicans by suggesting we throw the furniture into the fireplace and have Governor Jeb Bush run against Bill Nelson. The Republican Senate Committee should be relieved at not having to spend copious funds on a 50-50 proposition (at best) in Florida, instead they can now spend the dollars it needs to help Santorum in Pennsylvania, or other Republicans elsewhereâ€¦having let Santorum twist in the wind these many months via the conventional media’s identifying him as: “in trouble.”
Have we forgotten the onerous amounts of capital that Goldman-Sachs executive now Governor John Corzine spent for his U.S. Senate campaign in Democrat friendly New Jersey?! A friendly media did forgive Corzine’s REAL live scandal of pay-offs for a former mistressâ€¦but that’s New Jersey, and that’s the Mainstream Media. Why does Thornberry expect a sympathetic portrayal for Harris there?
One thing for sure, our own media isn’t helping things by being more defeatist than typical wobbly Senate Republican types.
— P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan
Re: The Prowler’s Defiantly Shaky:
While the Democrats currently may be defiantly shaky — and may be trying, opportunistically, to be all things to all voters — at least they’re passionately trying to establish something tenable.
Perhaps the Republicans, who appear to have contracted a severe case of Rip Van Winkle-itis, compounded by acute lack-of-spine-itis, could learn something from the Dems’ zeal and actions?
— C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia
The nice thing about the Democrats is they are on both sides of every issue at the same time. Like I voted for it before I voted against it.
— Elaine Kyle
LIBERTY AND THE CROSS
Re: Christopher Orlet’s Domino’s Effect:
Gee, and I always thought the Constitution allowed us to associate with whom we pleased.
If Mr. Monaghan wants to set up a Catholic town based on Catholic principles, and do it on his own dime and not the government’s what is the problem? If people don’t like it, no one is breaking into their homes at gunpoint to force them to live there.
— Anastasia Mather
Staten Island, New York
Re: Jay D. Homnick’s Shirt Story:
The NYT‘s editorial said, “Israeli Army officials ordered inmates to strip to their underwear, which many did, marching out with clothing on their heads, an embarrassing and completely unnecessary provocation that trampled the dignity of any Palestinian watching that spectacle. Given the humiliations that ordinary Palestinians suffer merely by trying to get through Israeli checkpoints every day, the prison raid just reinforced the already degrading reality of living under foreign occupation.”
I wonder why all prisoners didn’t strip and why the Israelis didn’t force them to do so?
But I also wonder how the Gray Lady’s editorialist would comment on the degrading reality of the Israelis living under the constant threat of some Palestinian terrorist — who carries a bomb with rusty nails, etc., that are guaranteed to cause horrific injuries or death to the victims, if they survive the blast — triggering that bomb after boarding an Israeli bus full of men, women and children; or sitting a table at a crowded Israeli restaurant with the same; or milling around in an Israeli outdoor market?
— C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia
Re: Paul Chesser’s Jettisoning Print:
I was a newspaper junkie. Working in New York I read two papers during my three-hour commute. One conservative, and one liberal. (neither one of them was the Times, even in those days what they wrote had to be vetted).
As papers began to be taken over by chains, such as Gannett, their slanting of news items became more and more blatant, more predictable, and more offensive. Same deal with the old standby news magazines.
Network news had become mostly leftist propaganda. (Gulf War I hit in 1991 and the networks were in full cry against our military and our objectives. We needed train loads of body bags, we were told. Our President was attacked by all layers of the media; all were predicting doom, and seemingly hoping for catastrophe. Just as leftists are doing today. Then the air war started and we were kicking butt big time. At first the media was in denial, then it dawned on them their tacit editorializing was supporting the wrong side. A bit later, I turned to my wife and told her, “Listen to this will you! Dan Rather has switched sides, you won’t believe it but all of a sudden he’s for America.”)
I no longer subscribe to any newspaper. I no longer watch any network news other than Fox. Instead I surf the Internet, and I have found that I can easily spot miss reporting and slanting. No one goes unchallenged on the Internet. But if the NYT were to go digital, it still wouldn’t mean that it would report accurately and without bias. Take what is going on with the MSM at present. There is a blizzard of so called “news” stories that are inaccurate, irrelevant, and prejudicial. Katrina, Monitoring terrorists without getting warrants, the UAE port story. None of them are what the MSM report them to be. The media is in an all out war to shoot Bush down, come hell or high water. They are openly trying to inundate President Bush with their attack!
— G.B. Hall
Re: Eric Peters’s The Real Gas Price Gouger:
Is Eric Peters unaware that energy, policing, and other costs of operating our federal, state, and local roads keep going up, or does he think he’s entitled to reach into the pockets of other taxpayers to keep his driving cheap?
Gas taxes are eminently fair. If you choose to live far from your job, you pay more. If you chose to drive a low mileage vehicle, you pay more. In that sense, gas taxes are exactly as fair as any other consumption-based tax like sales taxes.
So what exactly is the author attacking? Gas taxes are too high I guess and only going higher. Then again I look around Houston and I see morons moving further and further out of town every time one highway or another expands. Land getting too expensive for that McMansion on a wooded lot in Katy, Texas (about 45 miles west of downtown Houston)? Just expand I10 (a couple new lanes) and next thing you know the idiots are moving west of Katy to get nice 2 acre home lots or whatever.
It’s all about choices. I don’t need a big highway so I can live 50 miles or more out of town. I live in town in a small house. I drive a small car. Although I can certainly afford a lot more (after all, I am a big, evil conservative business owner), I make these choices for a variety of reasons including so I can pay less to drive. Even when I made a lot less than I make now I had the ability to make choices about where to live and what to drive.
Believe it or not, oil is not infinite and it carries some interesting social costs. More and more of the oil we use comes from areas that are hostile to us and I wish we would stop supporting them with our dollars. More miles driven equates to more pollution. More highways contribute to hotter temperatures and more flooding in urban areas. More highways cost more to build and maintain every year. Gas taxes are about the fairest way to pay for all of that.
If we cannot cancel stupid highway expansion projects that do nothing but enable fools to move further and further away from their jobs, I think we can at least make those same fools pay for the freight. In the end, it is their choice. I don’t begrudge them those choices. I just refuse to pay for them. That is the essence of a free, democratic society and the conservative movement.
— Tom Cabanski
OSCAR BEN, WEEK THREE
Re: Ben Stein’s Missed Tributes and Reader Mail responders:
Let me be the one to inform Jonathan A. Jones, MA, that Ben Stein paid tribute to our troops on EVERY SINGLE EDITION of Win Ben Stein’s Money. He did so by delivering a snappy, correct salute. Anyone who actually WATCHED the show would know this. However, being a typical, condescending liberal hater, Mr. Jones, MA, makes the accusation in total ignorance of the facts, but no doubt is absolutely certain he is correct. Thanks, Ben, and keep up the good work.
— Faron Hall
Camp Victory, Baghdad
The letters that have attacked Ben Stein are pathetic and abysmal. One actually said, “Nobody in Hollywood is attacking America.” Ha! Two words, Alec Baldwin. Or how about Hollywood actors Billy Zane and Gary Busey in the virulently anti-American, anti-Jewish, pro-Islamic Turkish hit of the year, Valley of the Wolves?
After their ad hominem harangues against Mr. Stein they dutifully recycled the daily Air “Hysteria” America rants: GWB lied, bash the oil companies, Hurricane Katrina, that minorities are singled-out for persecution in America (By the way, did you hear about the latest Muslim sentenced to death for converting to Christianity? Yeah, happens all the time. Oh wait, sorry, that’s in Muslim countries, not the U.S.).
After limousine liberals stop their welfare checks to Air America and Al Franken scavenges his final $2 million (quite Enron-like, wouldn’t you say?) from the bankrupt corpse of the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club, where will these foam-at-the-mouth liberals get their next free lunch of hate-filled diatribes? Taxpayer funded NPR?
Thank you Mr. Stein for braving the incessant, hateful threats from the left.
— Joe Weldon
Juno Beach, Florida
Please send my thanks to Ben Stein for his article of 3/6/06. I just read it, and it affirmed my decision to exchange the Hollywood-themed gifts my little daughter received for her birthday. Hollywood’s influence surrounds us, and I take seriously my charge to buffer her and keep her aware of the truth.
— Sheryl Miller
How comforting it is to realize there is such a mild-mannered, yet profound American as Ben Stein! Ben has been one of my favorite people b/c he can laugh at himself (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) and encourage intelligence (Win Ben Stein’s Money). He captures respect because he is eloquent and humble and grounded in good solid beliefs. God Bless You, Ben Stein. You are one of my “human” heroes!!!
— Diane M. Foster
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
While it is probably certain that no one mentioned the troops in Iraq and their patriotism and sacrifice, neither did anyone say anything about anyone else sacrificing or giving to the American people. The police, the firefighters, the teachers, the poor people in the Gulf States.
I see a number of events on TV and in public where this is true. The participants in the events only talk about the events, not about all of the great things about America and the people who made them possible.
In the case of actors, hardly ever a class of professionals who made any remarkable contributions to our wellbeing in the face of foreign enemies or terrorists, we might want to look back a few years when several of them exercised their constitutional rights to free expression and opinion, using their platform as actors as a vehicle.
I don’t like terrorists. I don’t like murderers. I think that all terrorists and murderers should be swept away by God the Almighty once and forever. But we do not need to set one group against the other in our country do we? Will that make anyone feel safer? Will that save one more soldier’s life? Will we have a country of freedom and security when the day comes that we are judged by how often and where we proffer up thanks to our people or to our own God? Soon it will be, which God or which cause or which war we support and believe in.
Read a little history Ben Stein and ye of like minds. Let ye who is without sin cast the first stone. Let ye who is really concerned about our efforts in Iraq join the armed forces, donate their fortunes, work to help the cause or send a few sets of body armor to the soldiers in Iraq. I will always appreciate these people’s sacrifices, especially those who put action ahead of words. Did Ben Stein ever serve? What did he do that is noteworthy to advance our culture and the incredible freedoms we enjoy? It seems that he, like Tim Robbins and all the “actors” should perhaps just shut up and mind their own business. Support the war, don’t support the war, whatever. Just stop causing hatred and alienation here at home. Let’s protect our freedoms abroad by respecting our rights and freedoms at home.
— Scott Long
Please tell Ben Stein, “Thanks for noticing and providing words of blessing to our troops, even if it comes after the Academy Awards. They deserve every bit!”
I am a human resources specialist and work for Dept. of the Army during the week and am a Sergeant First Class in the Army Reserves. Our folks give so much of their time, effort, and hearts to protect our country, yet the good efforts often go unnoticed. Most soldiers I know are not in the business of soldiering to gain any sort of recognition. They do it because they are proud of who they are and what they do. They appreciate the life we can live in the U.S. and are 100% willing, mentally and physically, to protect our country’s future.
It would be nice though, if even one person, who makes the big bucks, would think about how he/she can continue to live such a place as Hollywood, California. We can start to change the world one person, one day, and one idea at a time…
— Mrs. Dee A. Rasilier
Your article touched me deeply. Having spent nine years, 11 months and eight days of active duty enlisted service with the Air Force, your words were comforting, thought provoking and brought back a rush of painful memories.
I saw many Army folks alive and joking when they arrived at Andersen AFB, Guam. Several months later, their bodies were being carried back home aboard C-141 aircraft. Other flights carried wounded from Clark AFB, Philippines to the Naval Hospital, Guam or onwards to the States for further medical care.
Medical personnel had the look of total “burnout” but were able to keep up the appearances of optimism despite what they had seen and heard. Several patients died en route to Guam and were being transferred to other aircraft bound for Hickham AFB, Hawaii.
Chuck Hammaker, my dear friend, mentor and former boss of bosses, thank you for sharing Ben Stein’s insightful monograph with me.
— Bill Warnock
Thanks for all the GREAT comments that you make and eventually put into words. These words eventually circulate through the Internet and I read them. They are 100 percent “right on!” You did and still do make Col. Dale Denman so very proud!
— J. Tyler Wilson, CPT/AN