Re: Bill Croke’s Down the Alleys:
With parents that live in Cody, and not many opportunities to visit, Bill Croke’s description of the alleys and lifestyle of the fair folk of Cody in “Down the Alleys” brought me back there for a brief few minutes. My Dad is a big gardener and every call I get or make to the folks comes with a description of the latest addition to the garden, of how the tomato or sweet corn crop is doing, or of the damage from a “damn” late frost. With daily reports about terrorism, war, and cynical election coverage, this small respite about small-town America is just what my weary soul needed. Hat tip to Bill Croke and The American Spectator.
— Michael J. Kearns
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Thank you, Mr. Croke, for “Down the Alleys.” Thank you for the sweetest minutes of my time in the office today — those minutes I spent transported to Cody, Wyoming’s alleys and the life in those places. My 8th-grade English teacher, Miss Frisch, would give you an A for your descriptive writing. And thanks for passing along the author’s suggestion to surround ourselves with the simple things we love. I just turned 40 and have really been focused lately, but it’s been hard to describe what I am focusing on. Thanks to you I can now succinctly describe it as surrounding myself with the simple things I love. Speaking of which, I can’t wait to get home to my wife and my two sons and my gold Lab with a copy of “Down the Alleys.” Thanks again for touching my life today!
— David Mills
Good to read that Bill Croke is alive and well in his Rocky Mountain Bohemia. Even his column on alleys is a breath of fresh air.
— Kitty Myers
Painted Post, New York
Re: Jay D. Homnick’s W Stands For Winner:
This is the best commentary I’ve seen in years. Jay D. Homnick is welcome at my table anytime.
— Eric Schilke
Re: James Bowman’s The Manchurian Candidate Reconsidered:
Whether one considers it life imitating art or the inverse, the answer to Mr. Bowman’s query is simple. The movie is itself a distillation of the primal political aspiration, that is, it attempts to be all things to all people. Hence, the metamorphosis when viewed differently or by a different person.
“That sounds logical!” (Spoken in the manner of Katnip.)
— Dennis Sevakis
NOT THIS TIME
Re: The Washington Prowler’s Teresa in Turquoise (Command Confidence):
The campaign source said that the book was not considered a “serious” problem for the campaign, because, “the media wouldn’t have the nerve to come at us with this kind of stuff,” says the source. “The senior staff believes the media is committed to seeing us win this thing, and that the convention inoculated us from these kinds of stories. The senior guys really think we don’t have a problem here.” — The Prowler
This wouldn’t be a problem for Kerry — if the year were 1976 and their was no Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Bill Bennett, Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt, Larry Elder, or Michael Savage, to point out Kerry’s propensity to lie. We had a liar in office for 8 years of the ’90s. As President Bush said, “We’ve turned the corner, and we’re not going back!”
— Bill Kearney
Re: Hunter Baker’s An Off-Keyes McCainiac:
Kudos to Hunter Baker for sticking up for Alan Keyes. There is no need to apologize for Alan Keyes — he believes in conservatism and sticks up for it. His willingness to speak directly to the issues and give the Democrats what for will make an interesting race, highlight the issues and who knows…if Mr. Bush wins the election…and by a wider margin than we dare to hope for…and carries Illinois…My my.
— Dave Taylor
You’re dreaming if you think that the bombastic (but brilliant) Mr. Keyes will win in Chicago. Not in a million years! Dream on. Besides, the man’s voice is a total turn-off.
Re: Paul Beston’s Q&A for Bruce Springsteen:
Every so often, I gather with some old friends to watch a 1987 video called “Roy Orbison and Friends — A Black and White Night.” For my part, Springsteen and legendary guitarist James Burton make the show with their guitar work.
As much as I love the video, I always do feel a slight dampening in my enthusiasm because I cannot help but think of Bruce’s hare-brained politics. Circa the 1991-92 election cycle, he said the American Dream was over, which is interesting talk from a guy who really cashed in during the so-called evil 1980s. The Boss and his prosperous lefty pals should, if they are sincere, call their tax accountants, ask them to calculate a cumulative tax liability from 1982 to the present using the pre-1982 Carter tax rates, and then cut a check to the US Treasury for the taxes they did not have to pay from Reagan forward. (I would even allow a credit for Bubba’s 1993 rate increase.)
Until then they should, in the words of the inestimable Laura Ingraham, shut up and sing!
— H. Ziebell
As a devoted music fan, I’ve often wondered at the lock-step leftism of many of my favorite artists (as well as actors and others). Apparently, crisscrossing the country in luxury tour buses (or jets), eating catered food (only green M&M’s please) and sleeping in five star hotels without having to lift a hand to do anything for yourself naturally engenders solidarity with the working man and oppressed Third World peoples. Maybe if you spend enough time talking about the evils of the arrogant, spoiled, self-righteous, capitalist white man people won’t notice that. You get the point! If Bruce Springsteen and Steve Earle were half of what they claim to be they would be riding boxcars from show to show and eating from dumpsters just on principle. Owning a couple of flannel shirts doesn’t make you a proletarian. It is also no secret that many American artistes seem to base their intellectual and artistic legitimacy on the approval of European (sophisticated) audiences. The best way to gain an ovation in Europe these days is to scream, “I hate Bush!” so we hear a lot of it. Of course, sophisticated is relative. Remember, in France Jerry Lewis is a genius and the majority of young adults think the United States attacked itself on 9/11. As long as I’m not preached at when I buy a ticket or asked to get behind “non-partisan” crusades to save us from ourselves, I can separate my musical enjoyment from the musician’s personal views. When those lines are crossed, I exercise my “freedom to choose.” Maybe those Napster-loving anarchists who said these rock stars already have enough money were on to something.
Great article. I have often thought the same thing that you put to words: “When the Vote for Change tour rolls around in October, some of us will watch and wonder: how would our nation’s artists have responded if President Clinton had overthrown two dictatorships, liberated a significant portion of women in the Muslim world, and captured or killed two-thirds of al Qaeda?”
You could have added the prescription drug benefit and the $15 billion approved for African AIDS victims.
Candler, North Carolina
And, of course, there is that old standby, doing something yourself.
Nobody is stopping Bruce from giving his money to “the weakest among us” or, better yet, signing over to them his copyrights.
— Greg Richards
SUDAN AND US
Re: Jed Babbin’s Carterism, Janjaweed, and Lemonade:
Jeb Babbin is correct about our not having an immediate national interest in the Sudanese genocide, but he is wrong about our not having an interest in intervening in the Sudan. The Sudan holds the southern flank of the Jihadists, and this gives us a perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. I agree, we SHOULD bring the U.N. into the picture (or, better yet, NATO) but we should see that regime change occurs, and that the Arab World understands that this is both an action against genocide AND a part of the War on Terror. The Sudanese couldn’t have given us a better chance at a free punch.
The trick is to get in and out quickly. We need to bring the World Community (in the nuanced words of Kerry) in for the occupation. It is about time the U.N. earned the money we have paid them for decades! Maybe we should send Jimmy Carter on a fact-finding mission. We could finally have some use for the old guy! It would be hard for the U.N., or the people from Not In Our Names, to argue against this one.
This is Geopolitics at its finest. Secure the southern front! This is a large part of why we went into Iraq-Mesopotamia is a flat plain bisecting the Arab World. It was the logical spot to attack. A terrorist sponsor with weapons of mass destruction (I know!) and an existing state of war, which is flat, easily invaded terrain right through the middle of Jihadistan! The Sudan is more of the same (without the WMD). The terrorist sponsor in East Africa who gives refuge to our enemies (although they offered Clinton Bin-Laden) We now have a chance to secure the southern rim! I say go for it! This will protect the entire region! It will also be a politically viable way to fight the War on Terror with a minimum of U.S. effort. We couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity!
— Timothy Birdnow
St. Louis, Missouri
Mr. Babbin may be completely correct in his assessment of the situation in the Sudan. He certainly has a large following in matters like this where some poor people we can’t see or have to have contact with are being decimated by some ruthless Islamic fanatics. (By the way, janjaweed means islamofascist in elite media code.) Most people I talk to believe, like Mr. Babbin, that if it doesn’t affect us we should stay out of it.
Still, the idea that we should only prevent genocide whenever it suits our national interests and the prevention is practical to implement, seems elitist and immoral to me. I know it would be immoral to me, at least on a personal level, if I walked by a large bully slapping a small kid around and did nothing to save the kid. I would certainly feel cowardly and ashamed.
I don’t think assuaging my guilt by making the excuse that it was not in my personal economic interest to spend the time and money chasing away the brute would work. One could see a plethora of problems caused by interceding: lawsuits, loss of work time, possible injury, and even death.
I also abhor the excuse always used by the peaceniks and some isolationist conservatives-especially the current ones who feel that getting rid of Saddam was no big deal-that if we help that poor bastard then we’d have to help everyone and we can’t be the world’s policemen. I think we are whether we like it or not.
And as for being practical, or convenient, I can’t think of anytime
where it would be completely convenient or solely in our national
interest to engage in a war with an aggressive nation.
It also seems to me that history has consistently shown that whenever we, or the rest of the civilized world, ignore the aggressive behavior of some dictator or group of fanatics, we always end up fighting them later on, when they have become big enough and aggressive enough to threaten us and then it is in our national interest to get rid of them. The trouble is that by then the cost of getting rid of them is a lot higher.
It is all very sad because we are talking about precious human lives being terrorized and destroyed daily. They have been terrorized daily for the last two decades while we in the west have done nothing to help them. Could this lack of action on our part have emboldened them to plan and execute other acts of terrorism?
— Charles Sampson
What countries profit from genocide by supplying helicopters and munitions to the Sudanese government?
— Richard Mann
Re: Hunter Baker’s Keyes In:
Good article on Alan Keyes by Mr. Baker. I, too, heard Mr. Keyes speak up here in Vermont and I also saw the way he was treated by the state GOP. Why? Alan Keyes flew into Vermont from the campaign trail to speak out against homosexual marriage (Civil Unions) which was then being “debated” in our legislature. The sad fact about that issue was that it was a RINO who wrote the legislation and was the key sponsor. When Mr. Keyes arrived, he stood on the statehouse steps and gave an impassioned speech about the morality of this country and the sanctity of marriage. He was immediately attacked by the opposition by shouts of “Uncle Tom” etc. and was almost accosted physically by them but he kept his head, all the while very calmly stating his points (talk about grace under fire). He than gave a rousing speech to members of legislature, the public, and anyone else who wanted to hear in a packed auditorium. (I have a tape of that speech.)The man is articulate, knowledgeable, and forthright. He is a Christian in the true sense of the word. This man would have made an excellent President but as you say sir, that is not to be yet. I hope he wins his race because Alan Keyes is the type of person this country needs. God Bless him.
— Pete Chagnon
Hunter Baker’s points on having Alan Keyes in the Illinois Senate race are on target. Keyes is probably the conservative’s best orator around.
I can already see how the left will scream “carpetbagger” even though they conveniently ignored that charge with Hillary (many thought she’d go back to her home state of Illinois also but it’s not power brokerage state like New York). The so-called mainstream press will make fun of the GOP and call Keyes nothing but a weak attempt at affirmative action. The TV talking heads and comedians will have a heyday making fun of him.
But to no avail. Alan Keyes has made up his mind and he always gives 200% on any effort. He won’t talk in soundbites, won’t play the “2 minute, 1 minute response” debate game, and won’t let Obama get away with pretending to be a moderate or even to the right as the press did (and some pinhead conservative commentators) during his DNC keynote speech which sounded like it was written by Bill Cosby.
No, Keyes knows Barack Obama (sounds Klingon to me) has a record and a left-wing one at that. And Keyes is going to hit it hard with no apologies. And beyond Chicago and the urban areas Illinois is more conservative.
Alan Keyes is going to play in Peoria!
— Greg Barnard
(Mr. Obama might want to know that “qaStaH nug?” is Klingon for “what’s happening?”)
As a lifelong conservative — I joust continually with my spouses family — a misguided group of Minnesota Farmers-Workers Party card carrying Hubert H. Humphrey ward healers. It was my great pleasure to announce to them my casting of a California primary ballot in 2000 for an African-American for President of the United States. The look of consternation and disbelief was priceless on these faces of faux pious diversity. What put them over the edge was my challenge to them to match my color blind choice for President of the United States — if they could find a legitimate candidate among the Democrat contenders. They couldn’t, wouldn’t and we never discuss race issues related to Conservatism to this day!
Ambassador Keyes is a great, ringing, passionate unforgettable orator; outstanding Conservative and an outspoken defender of Christian values in a society sorely in need of such beacons. The 2000 California Primary was too late to have any effect on the Republican nominee, and as much as I like “W”, his liberal ways on domestic policy leave me hungry after having voted for him in the 2000 general election.
Alan Keyes as a Presidential candidate? Oh well. I remember him being removed from some forgettable Republican campaign meeting kicking and screaming. Such passion among Republicans really couldn’t hurt in this election cycle. Alan Keyes as a Senator? YES! Give this man and his intellect a Senatorial public forum — and I’d be glued to C-SPAN in a New York minute!
Go Alan GO!
— Mike Horn
“He speaks so well. He’s so well spoken.” Per Chris Rock, these are not compliments to the black community.
“Of course he speaks well you m*********er, he’s an educated man. What did you expect him to say? … I gonna drop me a bomb today. I gonna be pres-o-dent.” Also Chris Rock, same context, re Colin Powell.
— Fred Z
MENACE TO SOCIETY
Re: John McGinnis’s letters in Reader Mail’s Boat People:
After reading The American Spectator and particularly the “Reader Mail” section for quite a while, I believe that I have detected a truism. Mr. McGinnis truly a dangerous person. I have concluded that he is trying to destroy government as we know it.
In letter after letter, Mr. McGinnis suggests and recommends simple, straightforward, logical reactions and policies to solve governmental and social problems and situations. If that kind of analysis were to ever become the norm, probably 90% of all state, local, and federal bureaucrats would have to be fired. The system has systematically weeded out folks with Mr. McGinnis’s mindset for decades. As a result, the bureaucracy is simply incapable of such simple logic, much less actually doing something that effective.
My Lord, man, are you aware of the persistent unemployment problem that would engender? The unemployed bureaucrats are, after all, virtually unemployable by any private sector business that must produce a profit and/or engender customer good will. Think of the governmental lay offs at all levels that would occur if we simply controlled our borders and refused to allow illegal aliens access to our schools, medicine, driver’s licenses etc. Think what would happen to teachers unions if we were to insist on most of the administrators and curriculum specialists actually going back in the classroom and teaching. I mean, I could go on but you get the point, I am sure.
Yes, Mr. McGinnis, you are in fact a mean and dangerous man. Your kind of simple, effective logic would result in total chaos within our modern society. We would be forced to go back to the time of our ascendancy as a nation. We simply can allow that sir.
— Ken Shreve
TAKE YOUR PICK
While I have serious doubts about John Kerry’s version of his exploits in Vietnam, it does not matter to me in comparison to what he did after the war. Let’s stipulate (to use a legal term) that he was a true-blue war hero. Following the war, he was a traitor, a liar, a womanizer, and an unabashedly anti-American liberal in the worst possible way. Whatever he did in the war pales in comparison to that.
— Michael C. Phillips
Fort Hood, Texas