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Serving America

Re: Paul Beston’s A Pat Tillman for Wall Street:

I just would like to thank you for your column and story of Lance Corporal Dimitri Gavriel, it was really heartfelt and extremely meaningful. I for one salute all the Service People who have and are giving their lives for all of the U.S., and for the true heroism they really represent to all of U.S.

Your words are not just of his sacrifice, but all those who gave there final all. Thank You.
Peter J. Mazon

Great article by Paul Beston. I read about Lance Corporal Gavriel last week and was greatly inspired.

Imagine the courage it took to make that decision? Sadly, I have seen very little coverage about Lance Corporal Gavriel on any of the so-called news channels. Rather, the typical blow-hards talking about partisan politics and foolish celebrities and criminal athletes.

It is truly pathetic that the lives of our brave soldiers and Marines are not chronicled more frequently.

I hope Mr. Beston’s wishes come true in regard to Lance Corporal Gavriel being remembered. Who could possibly stand taller on Wall Street than Lance Corporal Gavriel?
New York

My son attends an all-boys day school in San Francisco. When Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan, I wrote the headmaster to suggest that he cite Tillman as a role model for the boys. I will write to him in a similar vein about Corporal Gavriel.

Sadly, I have no reason to think that my second letter will meet with any more success than my first.
J. Edward Foley, III
Sausalito, California

Re: The Washington Prowler’s Treasury This Moment:

I have never understood the President’s picks at Treasury. Both Snow and what’s his name (so memorable — wrote a book, right?), both seemed like characters out of a 1930s captains of industry movie. Phil Gramm would be a good choice. A great choice would be T.J. Rogers, CEO of Cypress Semiconductor, smart, no-nonsense, running a 21st century company. Someone who understands how to start and run billion dollar businesses and is not apologetic about it. Mr. Rogers would not be caught dead traveling with Bono whilst wearing a dashiki.
Ron Pettengill

I want to bottle today’s Prowler (11/29/04). It just doesn’t get much better than this: Gramm in at Treasury, Mineta out at Transportation, and a 56th GOP senator — all on the same page. Sweet!
Stephen Foulard
Houston, Texas

Osborne is running for Governor. This is the worst kept secret in Nebraska. Nelson will face Johanns. Close. Don’t count Nelson out. He was a fairly popular Governor and the same in the Senate.
Pete Kortum

Re: Shawn Macomber’s Sporting Chance:

I think you have missed the boat when it comes to the fact that Americans go ballistic when punch-ups happen in sporting events (and I include NA$CAR races where these things also happen) and Europeans do not: Americans think this kind of behavior is wrong, and ought to be stopped immediately. Europeans think it is just part of human nature, “boys will be boys” and a local spanking on an individual basis will do the job. That is, the Europeans see it as a law-and-order, police action and the Americans see it as Good v. Evil.

And to put it in monetary terms, the Americans see Major Lawsuit if they don’t stamp out this kind of stuff, and the Europeans see … well, higher ratings maybe, or more people coming to games.

All in all, there are plenty of good reasons for Americans to stop public brawling by overpaid babies and drunken fans with delusions of grandeur — and apparently no reason at all for the Europeans to stop it or at least tone it down.
Kate Shaw
Toronto, Canada

Re: Peter Hannaford’s Thanks Be to the Great Pumpkin:

After reading your recent article, the one thing that stands out in my mind is that not only is God being black listed from American history, but leaders are teaching kids that the Pilgrims were PURITANS! Just for the record, there were two groups of people against the Church of England, those who wanted complete separation from the COE, the separatists (Pilgrims), and those who wanted it left intact, but “purified”, the Puritans. It was the Pilgrims in 1621 who celebrated the first Thanksgiving. The Puritans didn’t come until later at the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Noel Pixley
Exton, Pennsylvania

I liked Peter Hannaford’s article about Thanksgiving in Maryland’s public morass (schools). My son just moved to the Eastern Shore of that state this year and we spent his first Thanksgiving there in his new house. My daughter-in-law had turkey with all the trimmings and this ol’ boy ate more than he should have. Aside from that, though, that part of the state has a heavy Christian presence and it was wonderful to see the examples of faith being expressed publicly down there, which brings out Peter’s point and the Governor’s concern. The public school system is out of touch with America. It’s not a fear of the ACLU because you can always fight those people and win. No, it’s the fact that public schools no longer consider themselves as part of America’s heritage, instead they fancy themselves as our masters. From the arrogance of the NEA and their homosexual agenda to the administrators “reluctance” to mention GOD even during religious holidays (Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas), the public school system has become a separate entity within this nation, sucking up tax dollars to push their radical agenda on our children, while expecting the parents to silently stand by. Gov. Ehrlich is correct in his statements but he also has to go further than speaking out, as we all should do.
Pete Chagnon

Re: John Carlisle’s Less Was More:

One additional point about the money flowing into the campaigns that the Republicans never fail to NOT draw to anyone’s attention — is the overwhelming number of small donations made to the Republicans versus the few but very large donations that dominate Democrat donor lists.

I’m just an amateur but it would seem to me that there is a point waiting to be made about which party has more seriously committed, small-pocket donors willing to support their candidates with something more than hate-filled and irrational name-calling.
Rich Ptak

Re: Ben Stein’s The Land of $800 Haircuts and Reader Mail’s For the Boys:

I just read Ben Stein’s piece about the disparity between life for America’s service men and women and civilians.

Please tell Mr. Stein “Thank you.” And don’t worry about the haircuts.

As a member of the USAF (and I can only speak for myself) I didn’t sign up for a ticker tap parade. I joined to serve. Don’t get me wrong, this is a job that allows me to pay my mortgage and make a decent life for myself and family, and I never get tired of the “atta boy.”

In the end, though, the purpose is to keep the country safe, secure and as unaffected as possible. That way the country can produce, create and lead the world forward. If that means some big shot GETS to spend $800 on a haircut, well so be it. You can still walk into a barber shop on a base and get trimmed for 6 bucks.

This is not the same country that fought the Vietnam War, thank God. All I can ask is that people continue to let us do our job, so that these precious lives serve the cause of freedom. A big step in that goal was done November 2nd.

The country just needs to remember and support the goal.

Thank you for your time.
Greg Evans, TSgt, NVANG
Reno, Nevada

Thanks, Mr. Stein. I agree, it’s almost a willful turning away from we can’t bear in our daily routines to support something, or even someone for very long. I’m afraid, terribly afraid what is going to happen is another attack. Question is, how will that be perceived? As a failure on Bush’s part? Probably so. How will we react? As scalded children? God forbid, but like children, so far, we (most Americans) have gone right back to doing what we were doing prior to the last attack, being selfish, overindulgent, complaining, all the while crying to “mother government.”
George Knight
Richmond, Virginia

Instead of laying your concerns off on the President, why don’t you think of something to do and make a positive recommendation. Your article is a well-written admiration of the problem, but you offer no solution or, better yet, a short list of possible solutions. Nice job shouting at the darkness. How about at least striking a match to see if you can find a candle to light.

But then, I guess, a speech writer’s job is not to supply the substance just the prose.

Thomas H. Deaton, Ph.D.
Coppell, Texas

Bill Buckley nearly had your answer twenty-five years ago in his book Gratitude, where he suggested that eighteen-year-olds should be encouraged to volunteer to perform two years of some kind of civil service. Too wishy-washy for me. I would go farther and recommend two years’ compulsory service, either military or nonmilitary. Most Americans feel no connection to their nation. Feel no debt and no gratitude. And why should they? They are asked to do nothing. It is as though being an American meant nothing more than earning as much money as one can. Would it kill the young, coke-snorting bond traders of Manhattan to give two years to their country? I served two years in the Peace Corps. I learned a lot and saw the world. Two of the best years of my life.
Christopher Orlet
St. Louis, Missouri

I just read Mr. Stein’s $800 haircut article and I agree that our soldiers are worth so much more than they are paid. But then again, so are policemen, and firemen, nuns, and missionaries. Surely Mr. Stein sees the fallacy of his lament. Pat Tillman was the very example of the differences in life — of differences of grander scales — of differences in the love of treasures that can’t be bought with silver or gold: namely honor, courage, pride, sacrifice.

What our American soldiers fight for, the boobs on Rodeo Drive will never own, nor understand. I would agree if a pay raise for the military is what Mr. Stein seeks. But lets not get duped into some kind of socialist thinking because he’s angered at the self-obsessed fat-free celebs in Hollywood while he’s touched at the generosity of our soldiers. And believe me, it is their generosity that causes any of them to serve–and I love them for it.

Mrs. Terry Frank
Clinton, Tennessee
(Clinton was previously named Burrville until Burr shot Hamilton –then changed to Clinton after the Clintons in New York. Perhaps a name change is in order again!)

Re: Hunter Baker’s Intellectuals Who Doubt Darwin :

Thanks to Spectator and Mr. Baker for very good, informative article on very fundamental issue. Like Prof. Johnson, I’m a Christian with a law degree who doesn’t buy evolution. The evolutionists accept that a wristwatch is made by intelligent design; why do they resist so much the notion that human beings and animals were created, when, if my understanding is correct, they agree that even a single cell in the human body is way more complex than a watch? Wish Mr. Baker success in pursuing
Rob Kirkman

A word of dissent from an agnostic conservative who entirely respects America’s religious heritage and decries attempts to eradicate religion and its positive contribution to society. There is common ground. Morality and compassion can be arrived at through logic as well as other means. But a small downside from my perspective of attributing the recent election victory to religious conservatives is seemingly a new greenlight to gain acceptance of Creationism in the Science curriculum. I think this is a mistake to try to verify that which is taken on faith by scientific logic. I think both spirituality and science can co-exist, but what’s the point of using one to try to disprove the other? I think it does a disservice to both. One shouldn’t lose his faith simply because some tenet cannot be proven, nor should science be warped to otherwise avoid conflict with religious allegory. Frankly, this misguided attempt to “prove” fundamentalist religion is one that cannot be logically won. But much illogical damage can be done to the confidence in established science along the way.

I think there is no verifiable explanation of how simple life began and I think it is sometimes a mistake for science to hazard guesses at it without clearly identifying it as such. But evolution is the best model available to take the process from there. Creationism is not so much an argument for another process, as it is a refutation of any process at all. One has the Scientific Method behind it, the other has faith. The argument that life is just too complicated to evolve as it has or that God would use similar building blocks (that mimic evolution perfectly) are no arguments at all in a scientific sense. The rest are spurious attacks on widely accepted and tested knowledge. There is more of an incremental/minutiae strategy now on the Creationist side, since Biblical text had little academic acceptance. But beyond that obfuscation, it still boils down to the scientific method (with its experimentation, observation, repeatability, consistency between fields of study, and most importantly… its ability to change) vs. religion. Clearly both can be widely held points of view, but only one should be taught in Science class.
Bob Boutiere
Fairfield, Ohio

Darwin’s Origin of Species is most useful in the observations he provided in supporting a thesis that changes occur in populations. He was less sanguine about the trigger but postulated environmental factors favoring one physical attribute over another. Sufficient evidence in the fossil record indicates that evolution is a given process. But I would hazard that most scientists still don’t understand the “how” of the process. But that is the nature of a Theory, is it not?

Give Darwin his due for the given restrictions of the science of the period. Darwin lacked the tools we have today. No DNA research. No electron microscope. No CAT scanning equipment to examine a live specimen. Maybe soon we might actually understand the how.

Then we will wonder of the Why and ask ourselves is this handwork of the Almighty? And we will have come full circle in asking the question.
John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

Do we find the least irony in the passage from John “and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”?
Kent Steen

Re: Trent England & Paul Rosenzweig’s Horsing Around in Congress and Tiffany O’Connell’s letter (under “A Little Off”) in Reader Mail’s Courtside Seats and Horsemeat:

Three cheers for Trent England and Paul Rosenzweig of the Heritage Foundation (“Horsing Around”, November 22, 2004)! It is telling that any member of Congress thinks it worth taxpayer time and money to pursue new criminal laws to punish the slaughter of horses for human consumption. And what it tells us is that Capitol Hill is awash in Pander Bears, who deserve much less protection that horses. Is this really a problem in need of new legislation? Is it a problem for the federal Congress? Is this why we have a federal government of limited and enumerated powers so carefully laid out in the U.S. Constitution? No, but it is why we have more than 4000 different federal crimes, countless agency regulations backed up by criminal sanctions, and increasing criminalization in the states. The sponsors of this bill should be ashamed of themselves and embarrassed to call themselves public servants. Instead, they are menaces to the rule of law and violators of their oaths of office.

My grandparents had horses years ago, and I fondly remember learning to ride as a child. My brother and his family have horses, and my fourteen year old niece has become quite the equestrian. We have a wonderful picture of her jumping a six foot gate. Horses are noble creatures whose beauty, speed, and grace is a source of wonder and awe. Frankly, I cannot imagine carving one up and serving it for Thanksgiving or any other meal. But is that sufficient reason to make it a crime? And a federal crime at that?

There was time when “making a federal case out it” meant something because federal action was seen as appropriate for problems that could be solved only at the federal level: foreign affairs, national defense, air traffic control, interstate commerce, and the like. But that was a time when we understood the proper, limited role of federal power. These days — and even in a Republican administration headed by a former governor — such understanding has been lost or discarded as quaint. If most states refuse to administer the death penalty to 16- and 17-year olds, then let’s declare it unconstitutional and ban it across the board. If domestic violence is a national wide problem, let’s make it a federal crime event though it has nothing to do with the powers given to the Congress by the Constitution. If medical malpractice insurance premiums are rising throughout the country, let’s have Congress step in an usurp the power of state legislatures and state courts and impose a one-size-fits all solution even though doctors and patients can vote with their feet, as they are doing in Philadelphia and other jurisdictions that refuse to reform their malpractice regimes.

But at least these are examples of real problems, albeit ones where Congress has no legitimate role. Horse slaughtering for human consumption? If Congress sees fit to address this issue, how can we be surprised that than cannot pass appropriation bills to fund the federal government, reform our broken intelligence services, and pass much needed federal reform of class action lawsuits.

It looks like the horses and the pander bears are conspiring to undermine what’s left of the Constitution. George Orwell, author of the political fable Animal Farm, would be amused.
Kelly R. Young
Arlington, Virginia

What Tiffany O’Connell and her ilk don’t get and never will get is that conservatives must sometimes take action, pass laws, and, yes, criminalize actions, when developments, movements, and liberalizing legislation favoring those on the margin of society threaten precisely to make society much less livable for the mainstream.

Conservatives would not have to “legislate morals” if the shrill, virulent left weren’t doing all they can to erode the traditional moral structure of this society.
Jeffrey S. Erickson
Davidson, North Carolina

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