BEST OF BABBIN
Re: Jed Babbin’s Post-Election SGO:
I don’t know which is better, listening to Jed Babbin on Barbra Simpson’s show on Sunday, or reading his pieces at Spectator.org.
My husband and I are currently reading Inside the Asylum: Why the UN and Old Europe Are Worse Than You Think. Very interesting, and from what I remember from my experience of working with UN-NGO’s — “spot-on!”
— Sandra Dent
TOLERANCE AND TERROR
Re: Happy Feder’s Scary, Scary Night:
I am heartened to be told that the Dutch people are not diminishing the import of the awful murder of Mr. Van Gogh and are taking the terrorists at their word. I applaud their willingness to take quick and radical action, especially their immediate determination to strip Dutch citizenship from those who would use it as a wolf uses the sheep’s clothing.
I hope they stick to their guns, and I hope they realize they have the support of approximately 59 million Americans, simple minded though we may be. It should be plain to anyone not willfully blind that now is not the time for “nuance.”
— Jessica O’Connor
Bayonne, New Jersey
So, by the logic of the NYT, if a red-state gun nut burst into the editorial offices of their sublime publication and dispatched many a scribbler with a recently un-banned assault weapon, Sulzberger himself would be preaching for the need to better understand and accommodate lower class love of the firearm. The moral cowardice argument says yes, but the reflexive lib reaction says no.
Happy Feder’s article was outstanding. The first shot across the bow was the Pym Fortuyn assassination. Mr. Fortuyn had been a target for awhile because of his “views.” The news media did their best to portray him as a racist xenophobe and his party as the Dutch version of Le Pen or the UK National Front. He was nothing of the sort. Mr. Fortuyn was a successful entrepreneur who just happened to be gay. He also was an advocate of Holland’s cannabis laws. He was in effect a Libertarian. His anti-immigration stance was largely misunderstood by the knee-jerk European media. He was not against immigration as much as he was against immigrants who refused to assimilate and become Dutch. In fact many immigrants were part of his political party. Muslims were targeted by Mr. Fortuyn not only because they were the group that refused to integrate but because in many cases Imams made no secret about their desire to convert Holland to Sharia law. Mr. Fortuyn was very direct in his opposition, mostly because if that was to happen he (as a openly gay man) would be an immediate target. The tolerance that he and other’s enjoyed in Holland would cease to exist. Holland is now waking up to the nightmare that Pym’s death was no fluke. The Dutch are realizing that tolerance can only be maintained if some things are not tolerated.
— Ron Pettengill
It is important to explain to this audience the seemingly peculiar meaning of the word “liberal” from the Dutch sense.
“Van Gogh made the film with liberal Dutch Parliament member, Somali refugee Ayaan Hirsi Ali, now an ex-Muslim.”
The VVD, the party to which Ali belongs, is known in the Netherlands as “The Liberals.” Oddly, this party is the most conservative of the standard parties. The word liberal is descriptive in the sense that the party maintains that people are better able to make decisions for themselves and that government regulation and control should be loosened. They believe that the government should be “liberal” in respect to the freedoms the people are allowed.
This definition perfectly contrasts that which is applied in the American political context. The distinction is important, both to eliminate confusions and to understand the initial point at which the lines of right and left are drawn.
— Frank White
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Happy Jack Feder describes the mural painted by a Dutch Artist in memory of murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh as showing “an angel ascending into heaven with the Biblical commandment (which is also part of the Koran, or I am much mistaken) ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ on the exterior of his own wall! Turns out them’s fighting words for the Moroccan youths who crowded to spit on the mural.” Unfortunately for the world, Mr. Feder is “much mistaken.” Neither “Thou shalt not kill” nor any other of the Ten Commandments, the basic foundation of all Judaeo-Christian morality, appears in the Quran. Islam has much less in common with its forebears than we are naively inclined to suppose.
The lack of moral condemnation of present-day atrocities which characterizes the Islamic world is not merely a result of fear of retaliation; many members of this criminal cult consider unbelievers fair game for any Muslim who feels inclined to an act of “struggle” (Arabic “jihad”).
— G.W. McKenna
Happy Feder replies:
Maybe there’s a real expert on the Koran who can set us straight. I thought it included most books of the Old Testament, which would include the Ten Commandments. At the least, I thought Islam considered most of the Old Testament to be holy, revered works. But I’m no expert, and look forward to a knowledgeable reader to educate me and other TAS readers.
THE SWIFTIES TO THE RESCUE
Re: Jacob Laksin’s A Failure to Communicate:
Why is it whenever anyone mentions the Swifties there is a requirement to point out that their story was essentially debunked? I’ve followed the story closely, including all the nitpicking of the naysayers, and find their story essentially correct when allowing for the normal confusion of available facts. If I knew nothing about Kerry except for his service in ‘Nam and his lying, opportunistic, self-serving representation of same I wouldn’t want him in any position of power. If the full record of his service had been made available he would probably be drummed out of the Senate and certainly never considered for president.
— Bob Luckenbach
Re: David Hogberg’s Specter Cornered:
Mr. Hogberg has certainly nailed it in his latest article. The arrogant egoist, Arlen Specter, has to go. Someone desperately needs to save Bush from himself. Sen. Santorum needs to understand that he missed a chance to save Bush from himself during primary season and it well may cost Sen. Santorum his seat come 2006.
It constantly amazes me how we are importuned to listen to the advice of so-called “Conservative Republicans” living and working deep within Blue State America about how we should act and how we should moderate our demands on our own so-called “moderates.” Mr. Hewitt needs to spend more time figuring out why he can not get voters in the upper midwest to break the Democrat habit. I am sure that the so called Republicans in Minn., and Wisc., and Michigan, etc. would hate to see Sen. Specter bypassed for the Judiciary Comm. Chair. After all it just might send a message that it is time for the RINOs to choose sides openly and for real.
It is popular to blame the “abortion debate” for the opposition to Specter. My opposition does NOT start and end with abortion, although I abhor Specter’s active defense of Roe v. Wade. For me there is the Justice Bork affair during the Reagan administration. There is the negative vote on the Jeff Sessions appointment to the federal bench during the Bush 41 administration. There is that insane invoking of “Scottish Law” to avoid the responsibility of voting yea or nay to convict Clinton. There is his constant teaming with Sen. Biden on issue after issue. There is his reputation as one of the most disagreeable Senators in the body. There is his abandonment of two conservative Republican House candidates that were thought to have a chance of winning this election just past in Penn. There is his ingratitude towards Bush for saving his bacon this primary season and his exceedingly limited appearances with Bush this election just past. And these are just the highlights.
I have agreed with Specter exactly twice. Once was when he spearheaded the defense of Justice Thomas against Anita Hill. And he later tacitly implied to Ms. Hill that he regretted his role in that affair. The other time was his work in the investigation of the Ruby Ridge affair and its aftermath.
Sen. Frist has not, in my view, been a good or effective Majority Leader. No one seems to want to talk about the message that Frist could send to the RINOs by bypassing Specter. The GOP now has 55 Senators. We can afford to lose up to a max. of 4 Senators and still control the workings of the Senate. Would Specter switch? I don’t think so. He would gain nothing by doing so. If he did, would Lincoln Chafee go with him? Maybe. Would that be a big loss? Not really. Would Collins and Snowe also switch? Not likely. Remember it would take six switches to the Dems to transfer control of the Senate, due to the Vice President’s vote. It is not likely that a RINO would switch if they knew that they would lose all the perks of being in the majority.
Ah, but what of the benefits of showing that Sen. Frist understands the concept of punishment and rewards, and that he is ready and willing to use this concept. Surely we can agree that admonishment with out the follow through of actual punitive action leads to willful disregard of the admonishment. No good can come from cluck clucking about Sen. Specter and his antics, if no negative affects come Specter’s way due to these antics.
As for Specter promising good behavior, President Reagan said, “Trust but verify.” To trust Sen. Specter on faith, is to turn ones back on a serial murderer with a knife. Bring discipline to the Republican caucus in the Senate now. Stop Specter now. Wishing at some later time that he was not stopped ain’t gonna get it done?
— Ken Shreve
(Deep behind enemy lines in a camouflaged bunker in New England)
I suppose conservatives out here in fly-over country will have to step up and put an unavoidable level of pressure on the Senate Republican leadership to do what is necessary and proper and that is to deny Senator Specter the chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The leadership can tell Arlen they had no choice because that largest “intolerant” segment of the GOP were willing to deny the party future campaign contributions and future votes unless they got their way.
It’s a dirty job, but…
— Ray Watt
AN ALFIE MALE
Re: James Bowman’s review of Alfie:
Some time ago I had an essay printed in the Dubuque paper pointing out how at least the singers in Johnny Cash’s songs “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Delia’s Gone” seemed to have regret about the murders they had committed, thus paying some reverence to community standards. I contrasted this with the Dixie Chicks’ (and the listeners’?) rejoicing in getting away with murdering Earl, sort of like Thelma and Louise. I mentioned the abortion moral recognition scene from Alfie and contrasted it with Michael Caine later playing an abortionist in a pro-abortion movie — Michael Caine said in NCR that he made Alfie because he was anti-abortion. (Ironically, when I published a version of this essay in a college newspaper, one prof wrote in to say that the movie was not pro-abortion and then the director said at the Oscars that the movie was pro-abortion!) Having to replace the abortion moral recognition scene might resemble the fact that French Lieutenant’s Woman had to do similar juggling because the old standards are being rejected. One consolation is that the movie is apparently a flop and that maybe the audience is affirming the old standards more deeply than Bowman thinks. One might also conjecture that males aren’t going to the new version because they don’t want to think that they are that kind of playboy; that females aren’t going because ultimately they don’t find the new Alfie kind of male attractive; and males and females wouldn’t go to the movie together since they hope their relationship is not like the relationships in the movie or at least they don’t want to face that fact together.
— R.L.A. Schaefer
Here is another piece of information on the “Scotch-Irish.” There really aren’t any. In the early years of the Republic, there was considerable immigration of Irish Protestants to this country. They settled mostly in Virginia, and the Carolinas, although not in Georgia, which had a large population of Irish Catholics (because Georgia was originally settled as a British penal colony).
Later, as a result of the Great Hunger, often incorrectly called a “famine,” there was an influx of Irish Catholics to America. The Protestant Irish, and their descendants wished to disassociate themselves from the Catholics coming in, and began to call themselves “Scotch-Irish,” a previously unknown term.
No Scotsman would call himself “Scotch.” I know many people of Scottish birth, or Scottish descent, and they all maintain that “scotch” is something you drink, and not a label for a person. A person with one Scottish and one Irish parent, could call himself “Scots-Irish,” but probably only if that person were in this country.
— W. B. Heffernan, Jr.
(Grandparents from Limerick, Clare, Cork and Kerry)
I assume that Newt Love meant to write “75 miles” for the distance the Jacobites were from London during their last rising, not 7.5. I also seriously doubt that the Jacobites turned back because, as he asserts, the felt they’d proven their point. Actually, they were starving, ill-organized and facing an uncertain future even back across the Scottish border, since the raising of the Stuart colors had hardly been the national event the most fervent Jacobites had desperately hoped for. 1745 was much too late, in that sense. “How very late it was,” to cop from the Scottish novelist James Kelman, how very late indeed.
Also, I’ve spent a lot of time in Scotland, and I’ve never, ever heard the Scots refer to themselves as “Scotch.” That’s James Webb is right, the term is “Scots-Irish.” Although John Kenneth Galbraith did once write a fairly silly book about his ancestors called The Scotch.
Interestingly, too, as I only learned last year when I finally read the novel (neither the movie nor the BBC series version of Tom Jones seems to mention it), the widespread panic of some Britons as the Jacobite army nears Durham (its furthest advance south, I believe) plays an important part in the exposition of Fielding’s novel. Kind of like liberals scattering to such bastions as Boston and Marin County at the approach of George Bush, if you will.
— Richard Szathmary
I don’t know what Chris Mark’s heritage is, but I being of Scots-Irish or Scotch-Irish as it were, prefer Scots and it has been so for a long time. Scotch-Irish was the accepted term at one time, but Scotch quite realistically is something you drink. Scottish is accepted ethnic term, thus the term Scots-Irish is more preferred these days. It is indeed Scots-Irish.