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The Best Is Yet to Come
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OIL IS NOT WELL
Re: Jed Babbin’s Eurotalk, Oil, and China:

Kudos to Jed Babbin for a consistently insightful and right-on look at our world today!
Dan Jacobs, Chairman/CEO
The Federal Market Group

That Europe is elated at the prospect of a diminished America reveals, yet again, how willfully ignorant its remains. Americans are the most adaptive people on this dusty planet. Give us any obstacle and we’ll not only respond to it, but we’ll overcome it. Every time Euroschemers think they have us safely in a locked box, they find that not only has America smashed the box, but they’ve move on to other challenges. Someday Europeans might understand that it’s impossible for laggards to set a trap for the frontrunner.
David Govett
Davis, California

Let’s go nuclear energy! Remote sites. Government guaranteed insurance National Defense controlled. Lawsuits only in federal courts. Loser pays costs, delays and interest
Carey Pierce

In his 03/01 column, Jed Babbin says the weakening of the dollar vis-a-vis the euro has the following effect: “Because the price of oil is pegged to the dollar, not the euro, the oil price burden on European economies is proportionately higher than it is on ours.”

How in the world did he arrive at that conclusion?

I don’t know what he means by “oil is pegged to the dollar.” International oil sales are priced in dollars. Whereas a euro once fetched a little over 80 cents, it is now worth more than $1.30. Thus, the Europeans now receive 60% more oil per euro than they would have if the exchange rate had remained in the 80-cents range. This, of course, means that the Europeans have been considerably insulated from the more than doubling of the dollar-denominated oil price, while the U.S. has had to pay it in full.
James Loftus
Falls Church, Virginia

Your observations are spot on but your conclusions are misdirected.

– The price of oil is high for the very reason that you state. We have new users of an inelastic supply chain so the price has to go up. But in inflation adjusted dollars, the $1.75 I pay at the pump is cheaper than the $0.79 I paid for the same product in 1972.

-You assume that Bush went to Europe to mend fences. I take the position that Bush went to Europe to console a dying friend. Germany, France, Belgium have double-digit unemployment. Not all signatories to the EU intend to use the euro as their currency. Most of the former East Bloc states in the EU are not going to sit still for protectionism when they are trying to rev up their economies. The EU Constitution reads like a Congressional Omnibus bill. Even the CIA gives the EU 15 years before it cracks. Their population is in freefall such that over the long term the ability of EU states to support the bloated welfare state is in peril.

-Iraq, maybe invaded for the wrong reason, but the right intention. Yes we did not find any WMD. But since the overthrow of Saddam look at what is going on. Eight million Iraqis stated their choices in elections. An elected government is in Afghanistan. The Palestinians held free elections and may just overcome the error that was Arafat. The Lebanese are making noises. Assad surely at this point sees he has only a short time before the status quo is toppled. Mubarak is giving second thoughts to stuffed ballot boxes. Even the Saudis realize that they are at risk.

So I prefer to state that America is engaged not weaker. Like a prize fighter ignoring the crowd, we go for the TKO using the right hook of democracy and left jabs of free elections. The bout may go more rounds and our opponent laid a good early blow but there is a good chance that the crowd may go silent as the challenger lies unconscious on the mat.
John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

Jed Babbin replies:
To Mr. Loftus: By my math, the Euro is overvalued by at least twenty percent. But you are right in saying that the Euro, being worth more, can buy more oil

To: Mr. McGinnis: Your points are mostly right, but for two points. We are weaker economically. The dollar, in free fall, cannot recover while our trade deficit is so high and the cost of the war continues to mount. Our military — engaged is not a better word — is being consumed (in terms of aging equipment, strain on the soldiers, and the diminishing ability to recruit reserves and new soldiers) by the war without the aid we should be receiving from our so-called allies. It’s tempting to think that the President went to Europe to console a dying friend, but that’s not what happened. He’s doing what he needs to, in accordance with his “make them an offer they must refuse” strategy to limit their options on Iran and China, and he isn’t making headway against the European trend. They are active in appeasement and in profiteering, and we cannot ignore their negative influences on our major problems. We are winning the fight, so far. But this war can still be lost, and Europe is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

RACING AGAINST TIME
Re: Ben Stein’s Scared at 60:

I must admit my confusion as to just why Ben Stein is so fearful of the future. Is it because he is afraid his small utopia will soon end resulting in his having to endure life’s little misfortunes as the rest of the populace experiences daily? One lesson missing from his shortlist of life’s lessons is the obvious favor he receives from our justice system as a member of society’s cultural elite. I pause to wonder if average, unrecognized, American, Joe Schmoe and his son would fare so well under similar vehicular circumstances? There is a greater likelihood that Joe would be cited for the infraction of exhibition of speed rather than met with the statement, “We’re just giving him a warning, because we know who you are and we like you.” As for the unrepentant, indignant son, probably worse still in the form of a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving due to his poor attitude.

I recently was cited for failure to bring my vehicle to a complete stop here in California. Despite my calm, courteous admission of guilt to the officer and subsequent request for a warning, I was most rudely treated as the pathetic, unknown scofflaw that I was. My only recourse now is a stint in traffic school to keep the infraction from increasing my insurance rates.

In conclusion, I fail to understand how a self-admission of immeasurable luck, divine providence from above and favored status within the citizenry of this nation can produce such unfounded fears. We all must find the courage to endure life’s unexpected events no matter how great the degree of severity. All that I am left to say is, buck up Ben…things could get worse!
Richard Mursu
Loomis, California

Ben Stein, I am aghast that you would believe what Miss Logan had to say about things in Afghanistan and Iraq. Perhaps you wrote this piece prior to Rush’s visit last week to Afghanistan. His reporting from the area completely defies her version of things. He was being briefed by military commanders in the field. Who was briefing her? Why would you believe her over our military leaders who are perplexed why so little news about Afghanistan is reported unless it is something about death and dying? Pooey on her. Shame, shame on you!
Claudia Morris
Augusta, Georgia

Mr. Stein has much to lose. It’s no wonder he’s scared at 60.
David Govett
Davis, California

I’ve admired your career and your politics, but when it comes to your 17 year old, I’m afraid that you’re not letting him live in the real world. You sound like you never want to say no to him, nor let him bear the consequences of his actions.

When the cop stopped you and your son, you should have insisted that both of you get tickets, and your son pay for his own. When he left your house a mess you should have made him go back and clean it up or such privileges would be revoked.

I should know. I’m 64 and have raised three kids who tested their father in their early years.
Pete Wohlmut
Santa Fe, New Mexico

SCREEN SHOTS
Re: George Neumayr’s Tinseltown Values:

Your article about the Oscars was very much on point. We need more erudite folks like yourself with a command of the English language that leaves no doubt in the mind of the reader as to the main point being addressed. Hollywood and the totality of its membership represent degrees of reality that the average citizen does not comprehend but somehow feels a compelling need with which to associate. I sincerely believe the people I am referring to have an IQ equivalent to that of a cabbage! Before I try to compete with your clever use of our language for which I am inadequately prepped or else resort to the futility of angry retort, I will conclude by saying thank you for your succinct verbal portrait of a pocket of sick people with whom the Country, unfortunately, has no choice but to tolerate.
Ed Hickey

What the Academy Awards have shown once again is that they feel that physical and moral disabilities are key to being recognized for their “craft.” It is clear that if you are an actress who wants to be considered serious, you have to “go ugly” a la Nicole Kidman or Charlize Theron. For an actor, it is great to be retarded, viz. Dustin Hoffman, Sean Penn, Billy Bob Thornton and the great Tom Hanks.
Lee Rodgers

“Tinseltown Values” by George Neumayr exposes the spiritual hollowness at the core of Hollywood’s preening self-importance. But Hollywood remains Hollywood, and despite this year’s embrace of euthanasia as a movie theme, few of its aged stars and has-beens are going to permit their own infirm but ever-worthy persons to be euthanized. Hollywood does though seem to be sensing its self-chosen mortality as the driving force of American popular culture.
Ken Muszynski

“That The Passion of the Christ was almost completely ignored by the Oscars (in its comic superficiality Hollywood did consider the movie in the best makeup category, in which is lost to a Jim Carrey movie) provided perfect symmetry for the evening: a precise rendering of the reality of Christ’s death made the artists of Hollywood look away while the sham pathos of Clint Eastwood’s euthanasia movie drew their most precious gaze. Artists are supposed to choose the real over the fake; Hollywood chooses the fake over the real.”

No, Hollywood chooses the well made over the poorly made. Just because it was a movie about Christ does not make it best picture.

Oh and BTW, Chris Rock was hilarious.
Ron Kleeman

You and Medved on the anti-suicide kick?

Yeah, you bet I’m pro-choice — and that’s what Eastwood offered in Million Dollar Baby — both sides; the priest told him it was wrong — he chose to do it anyway. You chose to use the word “homicide”? Don’t think so — she wanted him to cease the fiasco, as might I if confronted in a similar situation.

I don’t like abortion, but I resent anyone telling my daughter (or any woman) that she can’t have one. She can choose to have the child — many have done so…..

Same goes with the so-called assisted suicide situation — where Ashcroft went to Oregon to chew-out its voters who approved the measure — and now the government is filing suit against it, to overturn it?

Nope, I’m a hands-off Libertarian, not an Impose-My-Wishes-On-Others conservative — and, believe me, you Republicans have become as bad as the Democrats in legislating “control” over peoples’ lives. To me, that’s sick.

And that lack of choice being advocated is going to be problematical for you in future elections; folks don’t like being told what to do/how to think, act and respond.
slg

As a fellow conservative who is pro-life, I am troubled by many comments directed toward Clint Eastwood and his movie Million Dollar Baby. First of all, it’s just a movie. Second, Eastwood is no liberal poster boy. Third, I do not believe the movie is pro-euthanasia. Too often conservatives hurt themselves or their cause when they wrongly attack people like Eastwood and movies like Million Dollar Baby.

Sean Penn, very worthy of attack. Tim Robbins, the same. The fact that Hollywood ignored The Passion of the Christ truly can be brought to light and attacked. Saying SpongeBob Square Pants is gay is a little ridiculous and over the top.

Million Dollar Baby has no political agenda. Please, let’s keep it that and recognize it for what it is: a well-acted, well-written, well-directed movie!
John Dyslin
Streamwood, Illinois

KNIGHT ERRANT
Re: Michael Knight’s letter (“The Devil Himself”) in Reader Mail’s Sinners Unrepentant:

An observation, if I may, about “The Devil Himself”:

“Your Spectator site is PURE BULL. A BLOG for like-minded Ultra RIGHT WING SICKOS to read each other’s crap and get “MOIST” reading it. It’s like a gathering of fat people at a BUFFET. Feeding their faces on the half truths and lies of a corrupt bible thumping, RIGHT WING.”

Memo to Mikey: I was in your fetid burg, a while back, for a convention. The “five-star” hotel on the strip was long on bill-padding, short on service. You probably work there. I doubt that you play chess, but children refer to your namesake piece as “the horse”. Considering the equine scatology you’ve just scattered upon the landscape (and the orifice whence such stuff usually emanates), it seems wholly appropriate.
David Gonzalez
Wheeling, Illinois

I am assuming that Mr. Knight is JF Kerry’s pseudonym. This must be the latest communiqué from the heavily fortified Beacon Hill Bunker by way of a Las Vegas anonymous remailer service? Keep us posted.
Ron Pettengill
London, United Kingdom

Sadly enough, letters such as Michael Knight’s are becoming depressively common. Anger filled rants are becoming the most common form of communication from the left recently. Often, letters such as these grace the op-ed pages of newspapers. Places where reasoned debate over opposing viewpoints were conducted in a civil manner have been overtaken by vitriolic screeds.

But there is hope in even this case. Knight alluded to a time when “FUEL reaches $5.00 a gallon” as a point when the majority would feel that they are paying too much. This means that eventually he will reach a point when he thinks the government requires him to pay too much also.

Maybe he is just in a major case of denial?
Scotty Uhrich
Glyndon, Minnesota

Hey Michael, regarding your comment about “fat people”; pull down your dress, Miss, your tolerance is showing.
Paul Austin
Tempe (Thank God It’s Not Vegas), Arizona

I think we all understand that you disagree with the views expressed on The American Spectator‘s website. However, maybe people would take you more seriously if you did not write a letter filled with such HYPERBOLE. YOU should NOT use so MANY CAPITALIZED WORDS to MAKE your POINT. It just looks SILLY. Doesn’t it? Thanks for the laughs.
D.C. Norman
Durham, North Carolina

Michael Knight demonstrates the leftwing hate speech which ironically illustrates that they are in fact guilty of all that they accuse the right of being, namely, bigoted, fascist hate mongers. And like some high-ranking Democrats, Mr. Knight shows his contempt for the right with his wishful predictions of $5.00 a gallon gasoline prices (as a premise for his imagined revolt). He makes no coherent arguments about any specific facts, and resorts to name calling and personal attacks. After I read it, I imagined a hysterical laughter that would usually accompany such insane utterances. Poor fellow.
John W. Nelson
Hebron, Connecticut

In re the screed from “Michael Knight,” may I presume that if it was submitted on paper, it was written in crayon, as he is not allowed to have access to any sharp instrument, such as a pen or a pencil? Oh, and I wonder if he still drives KITT.
W. B. Heffernan Jr.

I am writing in response to Michael Knight’s hate-filled diatribe against those who think differently than he does, of which I am one. His letter is a perfect example of why Democrats may never again be a majority party, and may soon go the way of the Whigs. Since I am a conservative and vote Republican, Mr. Knight must feel he is talking about me, so I will address his hate speech directly. I am a conservative, I vote Republican. I am not a sicko, I do not get moist reading The American Spectator. I am not very religious, so all the bible-thumping and Christian references you make do not apply too much to me, although I find that Christians are the nicest, most generous people of any group I have encountered. I do not believe the American people are mostly Democratic, I think most are actually libertarian, and want government, for the most part, to do what we hired them to do and otherwise stay out of our lives. I do not hate homos, I have a sibling who is homosexual. I am not hard-hearted; I am one of the most generous people you will ever meet. I am over-taxed, just like most Americans are (most people, including Mr. Knight, have no idea how much taxes they pay in a year, and if they knew, they would revolt in numbers never seen before in our history). And I doubt that gas will ever reach $5.00 a gallon, but if it does, then we will see market forces at work with hybrid cars and renewable energy becoming more dominant in our economy, with American companies leading the way.

What bothers me is that the Michael Knights and the Howard Deans of the world think that by calling other people names that it will make them more popular — while it may cause some other hate-filled people to rejoice — most people are not hate-filled, and do not enjoy hate speech. For Democrats to become a serious party once again, they need to return to being the party of ideas, something they have not been for 20 years. But if they follow Mr. Knight’s example, then they will forever be a minority party, if they even continue to exist.
L.B.
Columbus, Ohio

FOUR OUT OF FIVE SCIENTISTS CONCUR
Re: Gerald and Natalie Sirkin’s DDT, Fraud, and Tragedy:

The DDT article by the Sirkins is outstanding in capturing the scientific skullduggery of Rachel Carson, William Ruckelshaus, EPA, and the witch hunts of the environmentalists in the 70s. Many of us knew Dr. Gordon Edwards and the trials he went through in the defense of sound science in general and DDT in particular.

There were more than 9,000 pages of testimony given at the EPA DDT hearings, much of which exonerated DDT as a major bird or human health problem. As the Sirkins correctly point out, these formed the basis of Law Judge Edmund Sweeney’s statement exonerating DDT. Ruckelshaus ignored all of this, is simply wrong when he says that the science behind the ban was solid. It was no such thing. When I requested a copy of the pages of hearing testimony the EPA could not produce any of them. The several hundreds pages which I did find later came from Edwards himself.

There was plenty of testimony describing the many laboratory attempts to replicate the alleged egg shell thinning in a variety of birds. No such thinning was replicated even at far higher doses than found in the wild birds of that time.

There are many ways to cause such thinning including stress (as from intrusive biologists), oil spills, disease, temperature, and dietary calcium deficiencies. Anyone who has raised farm birds such as chickens knows the full list of such thinning causes without conjuring up the DDT silliness.

Ruckelshaus, Carson, EPA, and their green supporters have the blood of millions on their hands for denying those millions access to life-saving DDT, as it could have prevented the deaths of millions in 3rd world nations from mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, and others. They should be considered as unreliable sources of such environmental information.
Michael R. Fox, Ph.D.
Kaneohe, Hawaii

Would it be too much to ask that articles that cannot be bothered to even be correct about what kind of organism Malaria is not be published? Malaria is not a virus and anybody stupid enough to write that it is a virus is obviously not to be trusted to get any of the facts on DDT right. Your magazine must have very low standards to allow such an obvious error to pass without correction or comment. Or could your political bias favoring right wing nonsense have so blinded you to basic journalistic standards that propaganda gets the stamp of approval uncritically?
Mark Schaffer

The Sirkins reply:
Mr. Schaffer evidently has difficulty reading. Our article does not call malaria a virus. It refers to a virus carried by mosquitoes that spreads malaria. The more technical term for what the mosquitoes transmit is, we believe, a Plasmodium, which, as we understand it, is a virus.

In any event, the interesting question is why has Mr. Shaeffer picked on this quibble to carp about. Evidently his ideological passion has blinded him to the important information in our article.

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