Re: Bill Croke’s Buffalo Bill’s Wild West:
Thanks to Bill Croke for the portrait of one of America’s most colorful characters, Wm. Frederick Cody, whose partially Buntline-conjured story I loved as a child (there was some authentic heroism in Cody’s early years as well). I sometimes think of Buffalo Bill’s 1917 death in Denver as a sort of historical marker: My father was born only five months later in Kansas. My maternal grandmother lived in a North Platte, Nebraska, house rented from the Plainsman himself; she remembered him riding horseback into town with his long yellow mane billowing from under his hat. (For that matter, my paternal grandmother remembered an on-the-run Frank James staying overnight at her house in Kansas.) Just another reminder of what an astonishing, breathtaking span the last century was.
— K. E. Grubbs Jr.
re: The Washington Prowler’s McAuliffe Frisks Frist:
Is there any sentient voter left in the U.S. who actually believes the Democrat Party has remaining any heart or soul, much less a message — or that they give two hoots about the health, welfare, and security of this country?
Rather than constructively using the Lott fiasco to bring Americans together, lacking any direction or message they’ve become divisive, destructive, infantile muck hunters. To wit, the Democrat National Committee staffer saying of Sen. Frist, “… we’re certain there is stuff in his past we’ll be able to dig up.”
The December 24 New York Times says it even more bluntly on a page 1 lead: “Democrats around the country say the replacement of Trent Lott with Bill Frist as Senate Republican leader greatly complicates their task of taking advantage of the racial furor sparked by Mr. Lott as they try to reassert themselves in a town dominated by Republicans.”
When will more voters really throw the bums out?
— C. Kenna Amos Jr.
I would appreciate some clarity. According to Sen. Frist and other sources he had no part of “running” HCA. No doubt he had a financial stake (I’m guessing that he helped finance it, although it was started before he was out of Medical School). We need to have clarity to protect him (if he deserves it). You know that you will be quoted.
— Nancy Heil
State College, PA
The Prowler replies: It’s true that Frist did not found HCA, but he has played a role in it over the years. His brother is a founding partner. For obvious reasons, given Frist’s work at Vanderbilt and elsewhere, he could not have direct ties to the company. But the reality is that Frist will be tied to HCA no matter what. You saw it occurring just this past week with the settlement between HCA and the federal government. Whether one likes it or not, Democrats will find a way to tie the two together.
Re: Jed Babbin’s Who Is John Kerry?
Don’t sweat Kerry…Hillary’s gonna whisper in his ear: “Get lost, you putz, I’m running.” She’s too power happy and greedy to wait until 2008.
— Pete Brittain
Fine. But will the Republicans drum that message, quote Kerry’s un-American Senate testimony and actually call him an unfit military leader? No, I think not. As we have seen repeatedly, Republicans neither defend themselves against lies nor do they expose their opponents as un-American and left-wing liberals. The only time they attack opponents and defend themselves is against other Republicans in the primaries.
— Peter Gualtieri
Whenever I read anything about John F. Kerry, I can’t help but think about another genuine American Hero who shed his blood for our country. General Benedict Arnold, opportunist extraordinaire….
— Dick Lambert
Jed Babbin replies: Yes, the protesters did help the enemy in Vietnam, but I still don’t classify Kerry as a traitor. Those — like Hanoi Jane then, and Baghdad Jim McDermott today — are indeed traitors who should be treated as such. Kerry, for all his foolishness, didn’t sink to that level.
Re: Michael Craig’s Coke’s Newest Flavor:
Just another example of executives in large corporations doing whatever it takes to save their own skins and keep their huge salaries. Michael Craig got it exactly right, Coke is not a go-go company anymore, and hasn’t been for a while. and someone should write an entire column on Warren Buffett. Again, Craig got it right, Buffett is definitely not a friend.
— Mike Webster
My problem with the issue of “Earnings Guidance” has little to do with Coca-Cola’s disclosures and more to do with how this information is used by the market manipulators on Wall Street and how the various reporting companies are forced to react to it.
The brokerage industry (market manipulator) hypes the information and the companies either “manage” their earnings guidance or outright “fudge” the numbers top cover their butts.
The brokerage industry has somehow pre-ordained earnings guidance as the “Be all to end all” to support stock valuations. The resulting frenzy that occurs when targets are missed or exceeded causes great volatility and usually has little to do with the fundamental values. This, in turn, gives the stock market the aura of a casino and is very unnerving to so-called “buy and hold” investors, who are conservative by nature.
I think that is the crux of the whole problem and why people like me stay out of the market altogether.
— Jerome J. Brick
Beaver Dam, AZ
Michael Craig replies:
I support the decision of any investor who stays out of the market for any reason, especially if they think it’s a rigged game. (My problem is with the whiners who complain about the crooked markets and continue to invest.) Mr. Brick’s fears, whether founded or not, are what’s making it tougher for me and the other 50 million or so Americans who are in the market. Every buck on the sidelines means that much less liquidity, that much less efficiency.
That’s why, as much as I believe in the market working these things out on its own, the government has to step up to the plate here. We need someone telling us not that the market’s safe — if McDonald’s can lose money, then any company can — but that we can take the information out there at face value.
I don’t even think the Feds have to do very much. The way to win the hearts and minds of American voters on financial issues is to convince them of this and do those few things to give investors a fair shot at making money.
Most important, investors have to be smarter themselves. Just because Merrill Lynch tells us Cisco is going to the moon doesn’t mean we have to believe it, especially because not 1 in 1,000 of us actually reads what Merrill Lynch’s analyst wrote and 1,000 of 1,000 should know without Eliot Spitzer telling them that the analyst’s opinion was the grease to get Cisco to do business with Merrill. In fact, once the Cokes of the world stop giving guidance, investors should do more than rely on those actual earnings numbers. The earnings number is manipulated incredibly easily.
I believe, in most cases, the accurate information is available, right from the horse’s mouth. Most investors have been, unfortunately, getting it from another source or from the wrong end of the animal.
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s Byrd Most Foul:
I assume this column is a response in kind for what happened to Lott. Funny thing is that, with few exceptions, Democrats just sat on the sidelines and watched the fun. At first, the press largely ignored the birthday party good old boy platitude . The issue went ballistic when the insufferably moralistically pure Neocons and Blogocons stampeded for the windows and doors. Even now they are in a cat fight over who has senior bragging rights as the first to throw Lott’s head to the race war lords. Democrats have trained us so very well. Ring the pavlovian race bell and watch us cannibalize each other. Well, we are all racists now, thank you.
Poor Senator Frist (aka The Cat Killer). Daschle and all the usual suspects are going to have a lot of fun with him. You wouldn’t expect a pro sports team to make a greenhorn coach the head coach. Apparently even the senior Republican senators want to get in on the fun of having their way with the newbie!
As a southern I’m embarrassed by the picture of Senator Byrd as one of our Confederate generals. He looks more like Roy Rogers’ side kick Gabby Hayes than one of our brilliant generals who fought in the War of Northern Aggression. Of course, if the South had won the war, we would have all — whoops! Never mind. Someone in the DOJ or DOD might be monitoring your subversive website and report me to the PC thought police.
— P.T. Garrett
Great article about Sen. Byrd. I don’t think we’re going to see Rather, Russert, Couric, Clintons etc. getting too upset about this. They know they need this egomaniac to keep the margin close in the Senate. Translation: he (Byrd) may be a racist — but he’s our racist.
— Don Smith
Now that Senator Bob Byrd’s membership in the KKK is on the front burner it might be worth finding out exactly when he was a member of the organization and determine if there were any lynchings in his state during that time. If so, maybe the question ought to be raised if he was present at any lynchings.
— Dick Melville
Ozone Park, NY
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s Born to Lose:
R. Emmett Tyrrell’s recent column mentioned Christian Science as a somewhat more salutory doctrine than liberalism today. May I note Mary Baker Eddy: Christian Healer, Yvonne von Fettweis, has some excellent, documented healings by the founder of Christian Science. It would very likely be beneficial for Mr. Tyrrell to look into it.
— Jim Smith