ON THE BEAT
Re: Shawn Macomber’s Get Out of Jail Free:
Mr. Macomber’s recent misadventure while covering an anti-Bush protest reminds me of nothing so much as one of the classic episodes of All in the Family wherein Michael (Meathead) is participating in an anti-war rally in Central Park. Gloria is beside herself with worry and Archie heads downtown to try and find Michael and haul him home. A riot occurs and Mike makes it back unscathed with a lurid tale of tear gas and billy clubs. Archie, it turns out, is inadvertently swept up in a mass arrest and we next find our highly disgruntled hero in a holding cell with the longhairs. Having nowhere to go an hilarious inter-generational debate ensues and some communication is made before the family arrives to bail out our hero. I last saw that episode as a child watching a late-seventies rerun but to the best of my recollection, said hippies did have a more coherent message than the rabble Shawn was locked up with…
— Sanja Ivanchukov
Mr. Macomber’s treatment at the hands of the NYPD speaks to a paradox, a paradox present in South Central L. A. and in Iraq among those complaining about the American military.
Many people residing in South Central L. A. have had bad experiences with police and do not think kindly of police. But by and large many people in South Central have been victimized by some very bad people — what kind of life is it when you cannot let your children out of the house because criminal gangs are shooting their guns, and when you let your children out of the house, they are recruited by those gangs — and are thus in greatest need of the police.
It is American tradition and American law for protesters to express their rights of free expression, but Republicans and those conservatives who support the Republicans are citizens too and have their right of free expression, and if the protesters had their way, the Republicans would not be able to express their views. For example, if I you had a radio talk show, would it be a legitimate, constitutionally-protected form of speech to jam that broadcast and replace the radio signal with my protest message? And while the protesters present themselves as a spontaneous citizen response to Republican misgovernance, they are actually a highly organized group waging a low-intensity war on segments of American society — two centuries ago we called such people anarchists.
The point being is that Republicans were very much in need of the police. I very much wanted the Republicans to get their message out because in my opinion there are some other very, very bad people who would draw comfort from Republicans being voted out. While if Mr. Kerry gets to be President, I am sure he will do everything in his power to fight the terrorists, I still feel safer from terrorists if the Republicans could make their case to voters without unlawful interference and the actions of the NYPD happen to make me feel safer.
Mr. Macomber went on to the streets of New York among the protesters to get special insights into who the protesters are. Perhaps he will write an article confirming my intuition that such a protester is a sort of Bolshevik. When he publishes that article, that will also make me feel safer because it will expose the falsehood that these protesters are everyday Americans groaning under Republican oppression.
But police are police; they are by and large working-class people who are not as finally nuanced as U.S. senators and university deans. I am sorry that the police could not distinguish between when the Bolsheviks were just hanging out on a street corner and when they were doing something illegal, and I am sorry that the police arrested Mr. Macomber and treated him so badly. A lot of police are Democrats and wrongly regard Spectator reporters as a different style of Bolshevik rather than someone on their side.
In my opinion, the protesters are in reality anarchists waging war against American society, and Mr. Macomber should think of himself as a war correspondent who put himself in harm’s way to get some insight into the enemy. I am glad he took his lumps to get this important story, but his editor should let the NYPD do their job without getting Mayor Bloomberg involved. Going after the troops for friendly-fire incidents is bad for morale.
— Paul Milenkovic
“Meanwhile, the kumbaya squad will talk politics nonstop to see if they can make my head explode.”
Macomber’s pretty damn funny today. Tell him I’m buying the first one next time he’s in town.
San Francisco, California
For a man who claims that he has nuanced positions, John Kerry, has proven that he has no judgment.
Exhibit #1 — Totally wasting his opportunity in Boston, at the Democratic Convention, and, again, at the American Legion Convention, to present his political agenda within the context of his life history.
Exhibit #2 — In spite of knowing, for thirty plus years, that the families of Swift Boat Vets, Vietnam Era Vets and the POWs were totally pissed at the exaggerations and untruths in his April 1971 testimony, Kerry regularly passed up opportunities to apologize and acknowledge that some of his 1971 testimony was based on lies told by impostors, and that his unit, Coastal Division 11 was not a hotbed of atrocities. He also passed up a chance to come clean in his book “Tour of Duty,” and repeated all the untrue stories that made him sound like a “war hero.”
Exhibit #3 — Repeating untruths in the Senate and the Boston Convention, about Cambodia, retelling “No Man Left Behind,” and making the salute and saying “Reporting for Duty.” was like putting a stick in the eye of every Vietnam vet. Is this a man who is going to be able conduct nuanced diplomacy with the congress or other rogue nations???
Exhibit #4 — Allowing himself to be shown windsurfing in Nantucket, during the Republican Convention, when most Democrats were hoping that he would be reforming his team and refining his message.
Exhibit #5 — Now that he is behind by 11%, he is blaming his difficulties on his staff, again not taking responsibility for his failures.
Exhibit #6 — His performance, late last Thursday night, after the Republican Convention was bizarre. Kerry came very close to the Howard Dean “primal scream” that night. If the press had not been so tired from their week in NYC, with the Republicans, they might have picked up on some of the very dumb and unfocused things that John Kerry said that night.
As a long term, registered Democrat, and a Vietnam Era Veteran, I am dismayed that the Democratic Party Leadership selected Kerry. The party had many other honorable, articulate leaders to choose from. What were they thinking ?
— A. B. Daunis
Providence, Rhode Island
I agree with the Kerry Campaign: There is something wrong with their candidate.
What’s wrong with Kerry became as clear as the view from his Nantucket cottage when I heard his 1971 Congressional testimony. He said “Jengis Khan.” At that moment I transformed into Woody Allen with his hands clasped to his shaking head saying, “I can’t believe she (Annie Hall) said Van Goghghghgh. She said Van Goghghghgh. Can you believe she said Van Goghghghgh?”
You have to be really out of it to put forth Annie Hall for
President and not think people will notice.
— Mrs. John B. Jackson III (Janet)
The conventions are over and the tallies are in. The Republicans win hands down on style and substance. Not only do we have a leader and team to take us into the 21st Century, we have a wartime leader along the lines of Churchill, and yes, FDR. While the Democrats are stuck in the bushes of the Mekong Delta, our Bush is soaring high. This should be obvious to everyone but the most ardent Bush hater. Never have we seen such accomplishments and optimism as was brought out at the GOP convention. George Bush has harnessed some of the brightest talent in this nation. What a wonderful difference to hear upbeat talk after the gloom and doom of the Kerry people. Democrats thrive on misery, but the American people are tired of being the lapdog for every ill imaginable. So let John Kerry regale us with his “heroics” of the past, the heroes of today were gathered in NYC among the other heroes of 9/11. Onward and Forward.
— Pete Chagnon
Re: Paul Beston’s Remember Me to Herald Square:
Herald Square is the triangle created as Broadway wanders northwest and crosses Sixth Avenue. Broadway crosses Seventh Avenue at Times Square. Details, merely. Paul Beston’s piece is fine, and his judgment is correct that the Republicans were benefited by choosing New York City and dealing with the hostility of those repulsive jackasses.
Oompah of Tympanium
Mr. Beston must be the most geographically challenged person in New York City. No one could possibly remember him to “Herald Square, 34th Street and Seventh Avenue” since Herald Square is at 34th Street and SIXTH avenue, right where it’s been the last 150 years. Aren’t you embarrassed to publish this nonsense? Don’t you have any editors who have ever been to New York? Or ever heard of mapquest.com? Puh-leeze. If this were any lamer it would be in an iron lung.
— C. R. Melton
Re: Lawrence Henry’s Travis McGee Says a Long Goodbye:
Thanks for the great article about John D. MacDonald and Travis McGee. I read all the books each summer for about 10 years, then stopped reading them. Travis seemed like a real person — the writing like real happenings. There is even a monument to the Busted Flush, home of Travis McGee, at slip F18 at the marina at Bahai Mar in Fort Lauderdale. We went there when we were on vacation just to see where the books were set and found the monument. What credit to a really good author who wrote books to entertain people.
— Carole Millsaps
USAF ACCIDENT BOARD FINDINGS
“…Permission had been given by March Air Force Base ATC for the F-4C to perform a ‘maximum climb’ takeoff. The aircraft was seen disappearing into a scattered cloud ceiling at 4,700 feet. Radar contact was lost 9 minutes into the flight.
“The crash site was found on the 3rd day of searching in the San Bernardino Mountains. An investigation revealed the aircraft flew, inverted, into a solid wall of granite between two mountain peaks, at an altitude of 3,750 feet and at an estimated impact speed of 560 mph.
“The aircraft was literally pulverized into the granite. The accident board report ruled that ‘maximum climb’ takeoff, G-forces associated with this type of flight and the dense cloud cover negatively affected the pilot’s ability to know his position and aircraft attitude.”
CASUALTY REPORT — CALIFORNIA AIR GUARD JULY 1987
Captain Dean Paul (“Dino”) Martin, 35, son of entertainer Dean Martin, was killed when the California Air National Guard Phantom jet he was piloting crashed into the San Bernardino Mountains. His “wizzo” WSO (backseater) also killed in the accident was not identified in the excerpt of this report…
“Dino” was married to actress Olivia Hussey.
Dean Martin never recovered from the loss of his son, and retired from show business that same year. In failing health, he passed away in 1995.
THE SMEAR CAMPAIGN CONTINUES
The Democrat Party smear campaign against the Air National Guard service of George W. Bush continues to show contempt for all of us who were or are in any and all branches of military service. John Kerry’s Vietnam service continues to be nothing more than a stage prop for the anti-war, socialist-pacifist Ron Dellums/Teddy Kennedy wing of the Democrat party that came into power in 1972. Such contempt manifested itself during John Kerry’s testimony in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971. We in uniform are not “war criminals” until proven so by General Court Martial, Senator Kerry.
The CONVAIR manufactured F-102A flown by George W. Bush had one of the worst accident and fatality record of any modern jet aircraft. Its altimeter was notorious for being 500 or more feet inaccurate, its windshield brace was a vertical bar — forcing the pilot to look left and right of the bar to see dead ahead. First manufactured in 1954 — the F-102A interceptor was ill-suited for frontline service anywhere in the world — never mind air to air combat in 1968-72 against the MiG-17 or MiG-21 which, in close dogfighting, outperformed even the newest USAF and US Navy F-4 Phantoms in Vietnam.
According to my insurance company (United Services Automobile Association- – which until recently only insured commissioned officers) flying a jet fighter puts you in an exclusive risk category. The Air National Guard and Reserve pilots who perished flying the F-102A, F-4 and all other high performance aircraft are testimony to that insurance rating.
The war on terror will not be won from the bridge of a “Swift” boat or the cockpit of an obsolescent fighter jet. The war on terror will be lost on the front pages of the New York Times, the 15 second sound bites of “ABCNNBS” and the street theaters of New York City. Combat service in Vietnam is not a litmus test for presidential service. John Kerry and the Democrats know better. John Kerry himself — defending Bill Clinton in 1992 — made that statement 12 years before you saw it here!
— Mike Horn
Lieutenant Colonel, Military Intelligence
U.S. Army Reserve, retired
UNE BONNE IDEE
Dear Mr. President: Please appoint Zell Miller as Ambassador to France.