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Now, Seriously

Re: Enemy Central’s The Mighty Wind:

Please do not use the word “paleoconservative” to describe the mainstream conservatism birthed from the forehead of Frank Meyer and others, when describing ourselves. This word is a rhetorical device invented by big government/national greatness neoconservatives and is designed to marginalize those whose fealty is to the limited government/no foreign entanglements vision of the Founders. Thank you.
Jameson Campaigne
Ottawa, Illinois

Re: David Hogberg’s Hillary’s Clean Plate:

A lot has been written in the last few weeks about the Iowa Jefferson-Jackson dinner, but one thing that unfortunately eludes even the most intelligent conservative thinkers is the hypocrisy inherent in the Democrats’ veneration of Jackson. Doesn’t it seem strange that the party that tries to claim the moral high ground on matters of race relations honors the president who ordered the Trail of Tears, arguably one of the worst cases of genocide ever to occur on this continent? Or maybe that’s why FDR decided to add Jefferson’s name to the event — despite the fact that Jefferson espoused an ideology of small, limited federal government in favor of state’s rights. In light of all this, why do the Democrats seem puzzled when they are accused of having no coherent ideology and no clear heritage or unity?
Nick J
Chicago, Illinois

Re: Brandon Crocker’s Lev el With Us, Please:

Well done, Mr. Crocker. The factual unemployment rate is much lower than that reported by FEDGUV. When employers eliminate positions — not lay employees off (which implies they are subject to recall as is occasionally the case with labor union employees but not the rest of the work force) — many enterprising workers start their own businesses as “off the books” sole proprietorships and do not report their earnings to the government. These individuals have not become “too discouraged” to seek employment by others. They are sufficiently resourceful to employ themselves and haven’t the slightest desire to pay their “fair share” of punitive taxes.

Having owned an employment agency and an executive search firm for some 15 years I know whereof I speak.
Allen Ross Warmington
Olmsted Township, Ohio

Re: Jim Henley’s Muscle Cars:

Jim, your analogy is cute but your logic is flawed. Most of the exigencies you cite can be dealt with perfectly well with a selection of all -wheel-drive passenger cars, such as Audi Quattros or Subarus. They would do as well as or better than SUVs in ferrying emergency workers during a D.C. snowstorm. They handle better, ride better, stop much better, and are much more efficient. They are also much less stressful and tiring to drive and spend time in, as the ergonomics incorporate the latest design features. Throughout Europe, people tow trailers with VW Golfs, and the like. For that minuscule number of people who haul trailers all the time, an SUV is fine, But most usage of these vehicles comes nowhere near the circumstances you speak of. Let’s face it, an SUV is a lifestyle statement and nothing more, usually a statement by posers.
Jeremy Nahum

Sorry, I don’t buy it. Mr. Henley’s justification of suburbia’s SUV obsession is a weak case. The main complaint by SUV critics is that there is too much power in the vehicles, and not enough fuel efficiency. Mr. Henley proceeds to ignore this argument and discuss all-wheel drive and towing capacity. Even these arguments are weak. SUVs aren’t the only vehicles with all-wheel drive, many vehicles are all wheel drive and have engines with 20+ MPG efficiencies (e.g. Subarus, Audis, Volvos). SUV’s are also not the only class of vehicles that can tow large loads (e.g. diesel powered VWs). Plus, towing is a torque-related spec, not horsepower-related spec. Most critics of SUVs ask for emission standards and fuel efficiency requirements to be raised. You can have all the desired features consumers want in an SUV (high torque, all-wheel drive, storage space) and make it a lot more palatable to the greenies/safety conscious (lower bumpers, low emissions, high fuel efficiency). They wouldn’t even know the difference.
Shane Mullen
Staff Engineer

Re: Heather Roscoe’s Killer Deal:

I am against the death penalty but for rigorous punishment. What’s wrong with life imprisonment and daily or weekly floggings? Allow the families of the deceased to wield the whip. Cruel? Unusual? Not in light of the crimes.
Fred Z.

What infuriates me is the “costs more to execute” argument. The left loves that one, except they miss an obvious point: if the ridiculous appeals process were changed it wouldn’t cost more. And if these really guilty, really heinous criminals were put to death, perhaps the death penalty would be a deterrent to violent crimes. I have a feeling, like most of the repeat offenders of all crimes realize, that the system is a joke, and true punishment almost never fits the crime. Why isn’t it a deterrent? Because these really bad guys always get to appeal their way out of the ultimate punishment they deserve.
William H. Stewart
Boston, Massachusetts

In some ways I have come to regard life in prison without parole as worse than Death Penalty Lite (lethal injection). The only hope is that recipients of this sentence get a small cell. No TV, no books, no magazines, no correspondence, no visitors, no variety in their food, no work or activities and no possessions, nothing but day after day spent in crushing boredom and meaninglessness. Some of the compassionate existentialists might call this a death penalty, of sorts.
Robert Gaber

My heart goes out to the families of the victims of Gary Ridgway in Seattle. The justice system has failed the families, the victims and the community in which he terrorized for years. Is it not ironic that we rely on the prison population- the very criminal element that we put behind bars for heinous acts, to set things right with these poor unfortunate victims? Gary Ridgway, like Jeffrey Dahmer will not last long in prison. It leaves a foul taste in my mouth that the dregs of society has to do what should be done by the judicial system in America today.

The Democrats that are currently trying to block the judge appointments (of highly qualified individuals I might add) in Washington are responsible for this. When are Americans going to wake up and take the power from these egomaniacs? While the people are sleeping, the “ins” are slowing eroding the moral fabric of this great nation. Our forefathers are tossing and turning in their graves today. If only they good speak…..
Sandra Taylor Carlson
Taylor Family Vineyards
Napa, California

I thought Ms. Roscoe’s comments were thoughtful and her conclusions right on. I hope to see more of her articles in the future.
Spencer Schwegler

Re: Jed Babbin’s Israel’s Bullfrog and Tripping With TSA:

My friend Stuart W. Settle Jr. (USN ret. Commander) sent me this excellent article by Jed Babbin.

Allow me to point out that the Zeev Almog who was killed with family in Haifa’s Maxim restaurant, by a woman suicide bomber, was a Commander and not a Rear Admiral, as Jed writes. I knew both from the Israeli Navy having been their instructor at the IN Officer’s School.

Commander Almog commanded submarines and as a civilian was the head of the Acre Naval High School for many years. Graduates go on to become officers in the IN and the Israeli merchant marine. Visit TARGET=BLANK>, the IN submarine site, which has a wealth of info.
Abe Carmel

Hello! I just got back from New Orleans Louis Armstrong airport. Unpacking, after removing the TSA tag, I was furious to find my cigar lighter was gone along with a disposable. I went to the TSA website to find an amusing claim form that is for Damage, Injury or Death. None of the questions seem to appear to relate to stolen or lost property. Continuing on I found the TSA’s “Can I take it?” list, it’s a great laugh:

I was not amused to find that all lighters are now forbidden in checked luggage. Wildly confused as to why you can bring 2 disposable or absorbed fuel lighters and 4 books of safety matches ON board! Refillable butane lighters are not allowed anywhere on an aircraft.

The TSA is apparently selective about its enforcement though. My boss left the same airport the day before, had his bag search by TSA and they left his lighter- although they put it on top of his luggage.

I found your article through a google search. Sorry to hear about the loss of you lighter. Fortunately mine had no significance other than monetary.
Erik Sjoberg

Re: George Neumayr’s Arnie Flexes His Liberal Muscles:

Just read Mr. Neumayr’s piece. I think what Arnold is doing in California could have good results and I admire him to a degree for being willing to have advisers from all political persuasions. We will know soon enough if this is a workable mix and can produce sane solutions to California’s many problems. I can understand your skepticism and you are right to speak out and be pessimistic. At the same time, though– give him a chance and offer encouragement when it is warranted. I like your stuff and read it all the time.
Doug McGarity

Re: Reader Mail’s Ben Stein’s Civil Warriors:

In reply to reader “Pat A,” who wrote to ask where he might donate a relative’s Civil War journal, Ben Stein suggested Civil War Times and America’s Civil War.

While the two groups that Mr. Stein mentioned are very worthy. Let me suggest that the individual would do better to contact the state archives in which they live or from which the soldier came from. An alternative solution would be to donate to a historical society. Either the state archives or the historical society will ensure that the item is preserved properly and will make it available to all researchers.

Two such organizations are The Library of Virginia and The Virginia Historical Society
Peter A. Kurilecz CRM, CA
Richmond, Virginia

I suppose it is a bit late to join in the conversation. The secession was over more ignoble issues than the defense of slavery. The truth is that the South seceded over the issues of fugitive slaves and popular sovereignty. Southerners wanted federal interference in northern states to insure the return of their slave property, and did not want the inhabitants of the territories to decide whether slavery would be legal in the territories (Southerners weren’t much into states’ rights in those days). Those were the issues of the 1860 election; only a fringe minority in the North (and certainly not Lincoln) favored forcible interference with slavery in the South. The loss of the election led to the secessions, the firing on Fort Sumter, and the war.
Ed Hagen
Columbia, South Carolina

I too am a great fan of yours, Mr. Stein. That you were writing about the Civil War immediately caught my attention.

For me, your observation about how singular in history was the sacrifice of one race for another in our Civil War was stunning. Never had I thought of this or heard this commentary before. We get so lost in the perspective of our time that basic facts such as this are missed.

For many at the time of the Civil War, I think, too, that preservation of the Union might have been of higher priority than any other, including toleration of our “peculiar” institution.

All the best,
Ellen Lopez
El Paso, Texas

There is no other place where I feel so blessed to be an American than I do on a Civil War battlefield. When I’m at such a place, I feel a sense of belonging to a special people whose shared ideals and commitment to one another in times of need supersede all else. These revered places must be preserved. They serve to confirm to us who we are as Americans. They remind us of our sacred duty to preserve and protect our core beliefs in freedom and justice whatever the cost may be. The soldiers on both sides who sacrificed their lives on Civil War battlefields shared these core beliefs even while they violently clashed to settle political grievances. Life in a nation where there is freedom and justice is the only way of life that we have ever known and could ever accept. I think it’s important to ensure that as many Americans as possible, especially children, will continue to be able to visit Civil War battlefields, because these battlefields are places where Americans can feel connected to one another and to past generations of Americans by our shared beliefs and responsibilities.
Vic Couchoud
Ellicott City, Maryland

re: Re: W.F. Whitelaw’s letter (“Having Pull”) in Reader Mail’s Muscle Bound:

“Good Ole” American ingenuity — I’m betting Mr. Whitelaw’s first name is “Will.” If it isn’t, it should be. Nice job, Mr. Whitelaw, and tell your sisters to stop babying those trucks.
Armando Diaz
Garden Ridge, Texas

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