Media

Reader Mail, 12/23

Reason welcomes all responses. If you do not want your message published, please put "Not for publication" in the subject line or body of your message.

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Re: Lock Step (12/23)

Guns don't plink beer cans, people do

Excellent article re: New Jersey and its "gun ban" which effectively is what their new law does. Their will be no advantages to "personalized weapons" only drawbacks which will make them unpopular. If you want to stop children from committing suicide not only with guns, but any other means, raise them correctly. Short of that, if you are concerned about children and guns, do the smart thing—in addition to locking your guns up, educate your children about guns. My wife and I have raised two children and I own several guns, which have never been locked up. There has never been a need to do so. My children were educated at a young age as to what guns are and the danger they present when handled incorrectly. I must have been successful, my 15 year old son who likes to hunt and "plink beer cans" with me is more conscious of gun safety than me. In the final analysis, the New Jersey law has nothing to do with gun safety, and everything to do with contravening the United States Constitution. They seem to be getting pretty good at that as the recent election there shows, by my reckoning.

Lee Floyd

Shot down in the marketplace

Mr. Sullum,

I probably won't be the only one, but I have to point out a flaw in your article "Lock Step". You cite a number of smart gun technologies not ready for the marketplace, including magnetic rings. A company called Tarnhelm www.tarnhelm.com has been converting revolvers into smart guns, which require the presence of magnetic rings, for several years. I have never had the opportunity to try one, but I understand they were popular at one time for law enforcement officials involved in the transport of high risk prisoners. I think it is safe to say that smart guns of this sort occupy a very small niche in the marketplace.

The present availability of this smart gun technology opens an interesting line of argument. Smart gun technology is not all Buck Rogers nonsense, but is already available and has been largely rejected by the marketplace. The system I refer to here is similar in cost to the high-tech proposal from Colt and probably infinitely more reliable, yet it has never caught on to any great extent.

Jarrod Lemire

Re: Reason Express (12/17)

Gosh, golly

Let's see now. Kissinger is not willing to volunteer without pay for a political shit detail if it means that he must name his clients and thus expose them to the tender scrutiny of the "loyal opposition." Sounds reasonable to me. The real problem is that there does not seem to be a way for legitimate questions, such as conflict of interest, to be handled without making stuff public that is not the public's business.

Secrecy about anything? Gosh, golly. Must be doing something bad.

Don Beeth

Re: Unreel Claims (12/16)

Blaming Vancouver

Don't discount cost as a reason for choosing bad guys. First of all, a Serb can be played by just about anybody. Arabic and Arab-looking actors are fewer on the ground. Second, "the former Yugoslavia" looks an awful lot like Vancouver, as far as most Americans are concerned. Third, the 90's saw a lessening of Middle Eastern violence against the West and an increase of violence in Eastern Europe (at least as far as the major media were concerned). This meant that "Serb" became a good shorthand symbol for "bad guy that must be stopped at all cost" which saved all that pesky plot work and left more screen time for nifty explosions.

Warren Way

Everybody's a cartoon

In the article titled "Unreel Claims" you write:

"You don't need an encyclopedia to demonstrate that Hollywood presents cartoonish and hostile images of Arabs, but the book's 900 entries make the point in the starkest possible terms."

Is there one minority, from Arabs to Zulus, including Jews, Italians, Irish, blacks, conservatives and (oddly enough) liberals (although probably less than the other groups) that Hollywood *doesn't* present at best a cartoonish image of?

Petro

Re: Left, Right, Left (12/13)

We couldn't even make Taki's bottom drawer

Can it be that your rather bitchy whine fest about the American Conservative is fueled by jealousy? The American Conservative has gotten a lot of attention, while Reason continues to wallow in well deserved obscurity.

Kenneth Robinson

Re: Hazy Reasoning (12/13)

Your arms too short to box with Bloomberg

Please do not give me that loss of freedom argument on banning smoking. My husband's college professor defined rights in a basic way. Hold out your arms and make a complete circle, and you will know where your rights begin and end without encroaching on someone else's. The professions you mention harm only the individuals who choose (the key word choose) to practice them. Smokers are like people who urinate in a swimming pool. It affects everyone who swims in the pool. Freedom and rights come with responsibility. That seems to be a word that has no meaning in this country starting with the very top of government. PS: I have asthma and allergies. I will not frequent anywhere smoking is allowed. Have you heard that Italy is thinking of banning smoking in public places?

Roselyn Crewse

Frank vs. Joe

RE: NY City smoking ban. What happened to property rights? If I own a bar and want to allow smoking, shouldn't the government just butt out? (no pun intended) Private property rights seems to have disappeared from the debate on smoking bans. In America, the free market should drive consumer choices. If Frank's Bar allows smoking and Joe's Bar doesn't I can choose to patronize whichever one matches my lifestyle. I am fed up with the government acting as nanny for me.

Stephen A. Mallison

Ludacris

You got this one right!! I don't smoke, but the very idea of the government telling a businessman/woman that they can't have smoking in their place of business, is ludicrous, (I had to look that word up for spelling). How have we come to this place where a few malcontents control the rest of us? I know this wasn't what the founders intended. We are losing on a daily basis. Here in California, the no smoking ban hasn't caused people to stop going to bars. It has caused them to congregate outside the front/back door of the bar for most of their time at the establishment. Decreasing their purchase time inside. As I said, I don't smoke, but the frightening future this sets up is unbelievable. What next? You can't cook those pork chops outside on your bbq grill because it offends your neighbor who doesn't eat pork? I'm scared Jacob. Really scared of what's happening.

V/R,

Rob

Re: Filter Tips (12/6)

Honi soit qui mal y pense

Your witty, sarcastic piece on France's effort to filter web-hate was brilliant as well as informative. I enjoyed your sarcastic repartee. France, my own ethnic homeland, ought be ashamed of its blatant assault on free thinking.

Alfred Ducharme
Alexandria, Virginia

Re: Hold the Lard! (12/5)

Recommends Atkins

What a load of rubbish. I tried the Atkins Diet for 30 days and lost 30 pounds. Contrary to Mr. Fumento's article, my caloric intake did not decrease. Even Mr. Fumento agrees that those on the atkins diet lost more weight than the low fat dieters. He also acknowledges the healthy fats increased in the blood and unhealthy ones decreased.

So how on earth does he come up with a title for his article that says the atkins diet doesn't work?

People lost weight and didn't have their cholestorol go up. Sounds like it works to me.

Dave Antonacci

Unbalanced

The excoriation of the "Atkin's" diet in Mr. Fumento's article revealed the sorry extent of the media's understanding of this subject and was unbalanced besides.

He attributes all the blood fat results of the low-carb diet simply to weight loss. Yet he fails to account for the high-carb diet's inability to produce similar results. In fact, when a high-carb diet is successful in reducing weight, it often fails to produce blood fat result comparable to the low-carb diet.

Note my use of "low-carb" and "high-carb" as diet specifiers. These are the relevant parameters, not fat. Fat does serve to satiate our appetites(a benefit denied the dieting serial snackers of fat-free high-carb snacks), but the carbs are the key to the insulin cycle, hyperinsulemia related blood fat build up and diabetes.

I would recommend Mr. Fumento read "Protein Power" by the Drs. Eades and avoid media whores like Dr. Atkins.

Michael Klapp

Re: Rebellion Against the Drug Czar (12/3)

Patients of the world, unite

It was a good way to start out the day, reading Brian Doherty's article, Rebellion Against the Drug Czar. John Walters offends my wife every time he states that medical marijuana is a hoax and patients are being used as part of that hoax. Cheryl has spent the last ten years trying to help people see that marijuana is good medicine for some of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Cheryl is in the end stages of MS and doesn't appear to have much time left. She is having more and more pain and spasticity that is not adequately controlled by her legal prescriptions. Still Czar Walters calls her a hoax for saying marijuana is her most effective medicine.

Now it seems that Mr. Walters has been using his literal bully pulpit to tell about the few big money supporters of marijuana law reform and end up saying "I'm here, where are you?" He says that like he is available for public discussion of this subject and they are not. This brings to mind something that could be done to expose his baseless rhetoric.

Where ever he is speaking there are undoubtedly medical marijuana patients in that area that would be willing to confront him. The problem is sick people often have a hard time getting anywhere without help. The sicker they are the harder it is to go anywhere without assistance but conversely the easier it is to be heard and believed.

Don't wait for a medical marijuana patient to ask for help. Take the initiative to offer help if you know someone that is a patient that would like to see if Czar Johnny could call him (or her) a hoax to their face.

Cheryl and I have been to Washington, DC nine times in the past five years. She must use a reclining wheelchair to get around. She can only move her head after 30 years of MS. We are going to go back a tenth time in early April if Cheryl is alive and able to travel. I hope we are not alone when we confront Czar Walters. We hope to be joined by other patients for our week of lobbying congress for Rep. Barney Franks new State's Rights to Medical Marijuana bill. John Walters is going to be a pleasant addition to our trip. Others that want to take part may be needing various kinds of help to tell John Walters "We're here, where are YOU!" Details will be on cherylheart.org and immly.org soon.

Jim Miller
Toms River, NJ

Perpetual drug war for perpetual peas

Truth to tell, the drug warrior politicians, officials, media and civilians (*secretly*) don't list victory as an objective in their expensive and oppressive trillion dollar war. When they do spout their "zero tolerance/total victory" rhetoric, how many of your readers actually believe them? How many actually believe that this year's multi billion dollar drug war budget will be the one that will achieve total victory after decades of billion dollar budgets have totally failed?

Just remember that the drug czars' and warriors' jobs depend on the perpetual prosecution of, but NEVER a victory in, the drug war. Also, remember that the politicians depend on the drug war and its rhetoric to scare up votes (by scaring voters). The politicians also rely on the drug war to sustain their constituent industries that depend on the economics of prohibition in order to make generous profits and campaign contributions that keep the drug warrior politicians in power and, therefore, keep themselves in business.

Remember what H.L. Mencken said: "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

Cannabis has no lethal dose and its pharmacological effects have never caused a single death in over 5,000 years of recorded history.

The (unseen) driving force against medical (or unrestricted adult) legalization of cannabis is the fact that cannabis can't be patented. This precludes the need for big business to be involved and that fact makes cannabis commercially unattractive to the pharmaceutical, tobacco and alcohol industries (lobbies). It seems that if it can't be profitized successfully the government can't justify legalization even for the sick and dying.

Furthermore, the war on cannabis drives the war on drugs. Without cannabis prohibition, the drug war would be reduced to a pillow fight. This is the politics and the economics of cannabis prohibition.

Maybe the corrupt politicians and media are required to adhere to the party line of cannabis prohibition because law enforcement, customs, the prison and military industrial complex, the drug testing industry, the "drug treatment" industry, the INS, the CIA, the FBI, the DEA, the politicians themselves et al can't live without the budget justification, not to mention the invisible profits, bribery, corruption and forfeiture benefits that prohibition affords them. The drug war also promotes, justifies and perpetuates racist enforcement policies and is diminishing many freedoms and liberties that are supposed to be inalienable according to the constitution and bill of rights.

Myron Von Hollingsworth

Ad hominem

Brian Doherty was much to kind in his diatribe against that Human Cockroach, the inveterate lying, Scuttling Grotesque known as the "Drug Czar". This individual has never uttered one word of truth regarding marijuana. I.e. "60 percent of those in drug treatment are there for marijuana addiction, a drug worse than heroin or cocaine". Uh, Bozo, your minions force them there–treatment or jail, your "choice". Worse than heroin? Where does he come up with this bilge? 3, 4, 6 times stronger(his scare numbers) than your "father's"–(me)– marijuana. I'm sorry, your Czarness, it was not tested in the 60's, and is only marginally stronger than in the day. I, and most others, had no trouble finding excellent smoke way back. Besides, you smoke only what you need, it's not "cocaine", dude. This lying sack of Bush bamboozled the easily manipulated in the latest voting, which unfortunately, is a majority of Americans. Walters, Witchcraft, Assa Hutchinson, and George II will ultimately fail–the Barbarian IS at the gate!

John McKee
Columbia Falls, Mt

Re: The Accidental Conservative (12/2)

Heavy sarcasm

Sir,

I have to commend you for the best phrase I have read this week, where you wrote, "… of the meretricious Clinton era (a dark age when America howled under the twin lashes of peace and prosperity), "

Thank you for the great sarcasm.

Andrew T Brunette

Horse hockey

Read your article on Bush and I'm curious how a person with you're lack of reasoning ability works for a mag that cals itself "Reason". What a pile of horse hockey.

John W Dendy
Atlanta, GA

Moderation in all things

President Bush ran as a moderate. His objection to ending earned income credit; "Balancing the budget on the backs of the poor." comes immediately to mind. While being a moderate he is also a Republican moderate who wants to trim 1% from raises while giving billions to defense contractors, farmers, airlines, insurances companies and a tax cut to the very wealthy; welfare for rich white guys. You should be careful who you endorse, Liberals are stuck with Clinton as conservative are with Bush. Would not the label shrewd political opportunist describe either of them?

regards, joe mahoney

False prosperity

Peace and prosperity under Clinton? Where were you? As a military pilot who entered service right before Desert Storm, I can say that I still spent more time away in combat under the "oh so glorious" Clinton regime and his efforts at maintaining peace and justice than I have since 911. I guess you forget the first WTC bombing, the attacks on my fellow airmen in Saudi at Khobar towers (I was lucky enough to be home that month), Mogadishu, Kosovo (been there done that), Yemen and the USS Cole, Desert Fox(I was there). I am still on active duty and flying a combat aircraft and do disagree with some of the economic and social issues President W. Bush has initiated and/or gone along with. Enron, Worldcom, etc. did their criminal acts while under the false prosperity of the Clinton era. I think you are way off mark with this article Tim.

Dean W. Maud

Re: Beyond the Text (11/29)

Robertson Reformation

Dear Mr. Sullum: Thank you for your column: "Does the Koran prove Muslims are violent?" Until Islam passes through a Reformation, as the Jews did after the fall of the second temple, and the Catholic Church did after the rise of Martin Luther, Pat Robertson's Casssandraic warnings must be taken seriously. Best,

Fred J. Fisher
Jacksonville, Oregon

Sorry, we nodded off when we saw the word "equivalency"

Mr. Sullum: I read your columns regurlarly and always enyoy them. I never had the urge to respond to a column until today. I agree that taking religious texts out of context is tricky business, I have been a Pastor and Bible teacher for over 20 years. However, you criticise Robertson's exegesis and then you go and do the same to bring a "religious equivalency" between what the Israelites did over 3,000 years ago and what the Muslims are doing today. While the Judeo-Christian taditions have committed crimes in the past, there has always been a move towards tolerance and respect for human life. The same movement towards human rights is not apparent in the Muslim world. The reason you, and I know you know this, that you can write what you write is because you have the priviledge of living in the "great Satan's" bosom. I find that Islam, in their religious psychological development, is where Judaism was at abou the time King David was King of Israel. The difference between the three religions is more than just how they worship. I believe the biggest difference lies in the slow religious psychological development and the refusal of Islamic leaders to recognize the "sanctity of human life" beyond Muslim life.

Sincerely,

Luis Scott

Has all the answers

Mr. Sullum, As a prelude to my comments on your editorial, I'd like to say that I'm an avid reader and fan of Reason. I often confound my friends by claiming to be a Libertarian Christian. Many of my friends believe that the Libertarian view of life is incompatible with Christianity. My position is that one can believe a behavior or action is inherently morally wrong, and still believe it doesn't require governmental regulation. I believe this position is consistent with biblical teachings.

In response to the question posed in the subtitle of your editorial (Does the Koran prove Muslims are violent?), I believe there are several issues that should be considered.

I believe the title question is misleading. The question should rightly be—"Does Islam (in its orthodox form) inspire a worldview that is dangerous to western society?" The answer to this question is yes. As proof of this consider the deafening silence of Islamic leaders. If the religious views held by the terrorist were extreme, you would expect to see remorse and sorrow by the various Islamic nations. Where is the parade of Arab leaders from Islamic countries publicly repudiating these beliefs as extreme? The answer is there very few willing to take the risk of alienating their populations. This implies that these beliefs are more widely held there than we would prefer to believe. The videos on CNN depicting the recently liberated people of Afghanistan reverently visiting the graves of the Taliban, and praising these men as martyrs for Allah, should give anyone pause.

Your comparison of the Old Testament to the Koran is incomplete. You are right in saying that context must be considered. To this point, Moses ordering his army to wipe out a particular enemy at a particular point in Jewish history does not equal a general edict in the Koran to all Muslim believers to wipe out the Infidels henceforth and forevermore. One is specific and one is general. The general edict to kill the infidel is forever dangerous to all infidels.

Most people would respond that the Christianity has its own examples of violence and savagery, while citing the crusades as an example. In response I would say that the crusades were an aberration since there is no basis in Christian theology or the bible justifying it. More to the point, true Christians are ashamed of crusades and do not hesitate to say so. We openly acknowledge that the bible does not justify them. The same cannot be said of the Koran. The Koran in multiple passages exhorts hostility toward unbelievers.

It is time for America to own up to an uncomfortable truth. The orthodox Muslim worldview is dangerous to western society. It does not subscribe to our "live and let live" philosophy. It is inherently hostile to democracy, free thought, free expression, and the right to be wrong. Christians in traditionally Muslim countries suffer horrible atrocities for no other reason than not being Muslim.

I'm not advocating that Americans engage in mistreatment of Muslims, but we must stop pretending that the Islamic worldview is friendly to our western worldview. To do otherwise is foolish. I believe that the criteria for assessing the threat of any worldview, whether religious, political, or philosophical, should be based upon its ability to tolerate and live peaceably with dissenting voices. In this sense Islam fails badly. Can anyone reasonably doubt that if the population of America were overnight transformed into a majority of devout Muslims, that we would soon cease to be a democracy? In short order, America would be transformed into a nightmare of religious tyranny. Orthodox Islam does not tolerate other voices. Our policies on everything from immigration to national defense must be informed by this knowledge. In the interim, we can be thankful that many American Muslims don't take their religious texts as seriously as their critics do.

The final and most compelling evidence of the incompatibility of Islam and western society is the complete absence of any truly free Islamic states. Most so called Islamic nations that make a pretense at democracy teeter on the brink of revolution in exact proportion to the number of Muslim faithful. The Islamic worldview is openly hostile to the very values that Reason so often champions.

Warren Griffith

No moral equivalency between killing specifically and inspecifically

The recent column in which you quoted from the Koran and the Bible was interesting. However, what I notice in the quotes is that the Jews were ordered to kill specific groups by name. However, the Muslims were ordered to kill 'unbelievers'. The term 'unbelievers' is much more broad, and could supply at least part of the answer as to why some Muslims consider it their duty to kill non-Muslims, whereas the Jews have shown an ability to live in peace with other religions.

Christopher Rangle

Speaks for peaceful Muslims everywhere

Mr. Sullivan, Thank you for being reasonable and applying logic to Pat Robertson's call for bigotry of those of my faith. With Allah's permission, I think I can speak for non violent Muslims everywhere when I say we appreciate your bringing reason to this matter with your writing.

Peace,

Abdur Rahman

Secular dehumanism is bad too

I wholeheartedly agree with your comments in "Does the Koran prove Muslims are violent? You could easily extend the argument beyond the Koran and the Bible to the founding texts of the secular faith of socialism and social democracy. They too are filled with calls to violence against, and extermination of, their enemies. And they are less than two hundred years old.

Frank van Dun

Re: E Pluribus Umbrage (11/18)

A Northern European speaks up for Northern Europeans

Tim,

You write, One thing you can say for anti-discrimination groups: By their very existence, they negate the idea of America as a homogeneous, or even harmonious, society.

1. Tell me Tim, did your family: brothers, sisters, father, mother, cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents never argue? And argue hotly? Still, I'd say my family is very harmonious and loving. And America too, all 200 plus million of it.

2. Notice you don't mention the Scandinavian, German, Dutch (and by the way the Pennsylvania Dutch were German, the Dutch just Dutch), Belgian, Luxembourgeois, French, Swiss, Czech and Hungarian anti-defamation fights. Their origin countries are at relative peace. PEACE. They're not involved in WARS.

All the nations of which you spoke: Indian, Irish, Pakistani?, Israeli and Arab are countries engaged in overt war. WAR! As for the Polish and the Italians? The Polish massacred the Jews (last massacre of 46 AFTER World War II on July 4, 1946 in Kielce. And some Italians (should I specify Sicilians?) did thrive for a while killing each other and other Americans (war). The Sopranos and Godfather and Goodfellas are not all fiction. And who made or directed much of them. Italians.

Clint Van Dusen
Pittsbourgeois English-Dutch-French American
E PLURIBUS UNUM

Why Macedonian jokes never caught on

Unlike members of ultra-sensitive ethnic groups, as a Macedonian Canadian, I am promoting the concept of a "Macedonian Joke" section for Reason Online. Here are two examples:

1. Macedonian Priest and the Jewish Tailor

A long time ago in Macedonia, a Jewish tailor moved into a village and opened a shop but was disappointed when he received no customers. He talked to the local Orthodox Priest who told him that it was a very religious village and he would get no customers because he was a Jew.

Sensing a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity, the Priest said that if he converted to Christianity, then his business would flourish since the villagers had to travel far to go to a tailor. The tailor learned what was involved and agreed.

The tailor became very wealthy because, not only did he get all the business from the village, but curious people from all around came to see him and do business.

The Priest became very famous for converting a Jew to Christianity and was promoted to a Bishop.

One Friday when, the newly promoted Bishop visited the village, he passed the tailor's house and noticed the smell of lamb being cooked, which at that time was still prohibited. He knocked on the door and explained that it was not allowed eat meat on Friday and that Christians should eat fish. The tailor assured the priest that he knew the rule and that he was cooking fish. The frustrated Bishop said that he could smell the lamb. The tailor took the Bishop to the stove and opened the roasting and said "See, its a fish". The Bishop was furious and screamed, "I can see with my own eyes that it is a lamb".

The tailor then responded that it used to be a lamb, however, he prayed and made a cross three times over the lamb and it became a fish.

2. War in Ancient Macedonia

In ancient Macedonia, before the time of Alexander the Great, a civil war erupted.

Society was divided evenly between those who were "reckless spenders" and the "cautious savers".

The battle between the two sides was short, but fierce.

The "reckless spenders" lost and left their mountainous land and were condemned to wander Europe in search of a homeland. The wandered for a long-time looking for a rugged land that reminded them of their homeland. They found it and settled down.

That country today is known as Scotland!

3. I Lied to my Son about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. (non-Macedonian true story)

James came in the door, a fuming five year old. He boldly interrupted my quality reading time with Emily, his seven-year-old sister.

Screaming and teary-eyed, he pointed his finger at me with his face red and veins bulging on his skinny neck and he said, "Now don't lie to me. I don't want you to lie to me". "What are you talking about?" I said. The fury of his demeanor suggested that I wait to hear him out before sending him to his room for some time-out. Like all dads, I felt it was inappropriate for a five-year-old to yell at his father

"WHEN, you lose a TOOTH. and you put it under the PILLOW, do YOU put the dollar under the pillow or does the TOOTH Fairy?", he said.

I maintained my composure and calmly said, "I do."

He closed his eyes, raised his clenched fists over his head, and with his face towards the heavens, he said in a soft voice, "I knew it". Regaining the lost fury, he continued to yell, "Why did you lie to me? I told Robert that my dad told me that the Tooth Fairy puts the dollar under my pillow and now Robert thinks that I am a baby!"

James hates being teased. When he showed Robert, his five year old friend, neighbor and classmate, his new found dollar and the gap where his tooth used to be, Robert mocked James' belief in the Tooth Fairy with missionary zeal (his parents were missionaries).

Before I could answer, James continued his interrogation.

"Well, what about the Easter Bunny? Yah right, a giant bunny hiding candy Easter Eggs. Dah……!" He said with a voice dripping with sarcasm.

"Mommy and I hide the Easter Eggs." I said sheepishly.

James was now on a roll, he thought for a minute and said, "Well, what about Santa Claus? ….. Yah right, how could anyone live at the North Pole?"

Sadly I said, "Santa Claus does not exist. Mommy and I buy you the presents".

My daughter Emily who was quietly observing this exchange looked into my eyes and in a whispered voiced asked "For real"?

"Santa Claus doesn't really exist", I repeated softly.

Emily jumped from my lap, rushed to her bedroom and returned with a letter from Santa Claus that she received the previous year. "Then how did I get this letter?" she said triumphantly, trying desperately to maintain her grip on Santa.

I slowly explained her that the Post Office responds to children's letters on Santa Claus stationary that they print. She struggled to try to understand why the federal government, using taxpayers money, would conspire to delude children into believing that kids can get something for free from a chubby elf for being nice, not naughty.

The anger grew in her quickly as she cast he gaze on her hapless little brother. "You idiot", she screamed, "Why did you have ask these stupid questions? Who cares if Robert thinks you're a baby. It was fun waiting for Santa to bring presents. Now we won't have any fun at Christmas."

Visibly shaken by the logic and the force of her argument, James took a step back. He reluctantly agreed that believing in Santa Claus was fun. We all reminisced about past Christmas mornings when we saw the half-eaten cookie and the empty class of milk in front of the fireplace (caught on videotape).

"Look Santa was here" James said last Christmas. "How can you tell?", I asked "He ate the cookie and drank the milk" James responded logically, never suspecting, in his naiveté, that his parents would shamelessly deceive him.

We all agreed that it was fun to believe in Santa Claus and we would not ruin Christmas for any kids who still believed in Santa.

However, James had one last question, "What about God?

I was feeling cornered and unprepared. Our missionary friends had given Emily a picture book of the Bible that she quickly put aside. She said it did not make any sense since there was no mention Tyrannosaurus Rex, Stegosaurus or any other dinosaur. She now seemed to be steeling herself to the news that even God did not exist.

I explained carefully that I thought there was a God, but that no one living today has ever seen or talked to God. However, if we have a shoe, we have to have a shoemaker to make the shoe. If we have a table, we have to have a carpenter to make the table. Finally, if we have the Sun, the Earth and the Moon, someone has to make them and that is God.

They both seemed to be happy with that explanation and went out to play.

Peter Stajov

The lonesome death of Irv Rubin

Tim:

I enjoyed your cover piece in the latest edition of reason. Between your article and the interview with Smith, I'm going to re-subscribe.

It's indisputable that people who choose professions in anti-defamation could never succeed in a wealth-generating industries like Marketing or Tourism. Take the quote from the guy who views Mercedes ownership in Ireland as an idicator of individual economic success. Practically every road in Europe is teeming with the V-class–the Mercedes of choice for Taxi operators. Judging from websites, Limo operators still prefer the S-class.

I don't know how you would have fit it into your article, but the suicide of JDL principal Irv Rubin has been of interest to me because it dealt with the planned bombing of a Mosque not far from my house. But "planned" bombings don't photograph well and the story was given as much ink as it could get. I expected his suicide to generate some news given the circumstances around his death–he slit his own throat and then jumped from a second story inside a prison–but not too many people miss him. Grim.

Looking forward to future articles,

-Mark Jordan

Getting your Irish up

very good article tim. And by the way the Irish Famine was an attempted genocide. read european history.

steve wade

Words speak louder than actions

Tim Cavanaugh's E Pluribus Umbrage (Dec. 2002) makes a gross error in characterization by stating that the Catholic Church is "unable to take a strong stand against raping children." The pope has consistently called sexual abuse of minors an "abomination" and has only recently obtained the public support of American bishops to rid the church of homosexuals and pedophiles. I believe that Mr. Cavanaugh has made the popular media mistake of confusing official Church policy and teachings, which source solely from the pope, with the actions of certain renegade U.S. bishops.

In direct violation of Vatican policy, many U.S. bishops and religious orders have allowed seminaries to admit homosexuals and pedophiles over the past 40 years. In certain seminaries, professors openly dissent from Catholic teaching on homosexuality, and homosexual behavior has been protected while orthodox, morally-straight seminarians have been persecuted or forced out altogether.

Not surprisingly then, 90 to 98% of the publicized cases of priestly pedophilia committed by U.S. Catholic priests involve boys (whether prepubescent or postpubescent). Not all "gays" are pedophiles, but pedophilia—called "intergenerational love" by homosexuals—is part and parcel of the homosexual subculture, whose publications commonly carry themes of adult-child sex.

Apparently the U.S. bishops have now finally begun to take a strong stand against "sexual abuse of minors" and have begun to purge the Church of homosexual priests. While the Catholic Church very publicly and painfully begins to purge its ranks of sodomites and child abusers, one can only hope that other large organizations will follow suit.

There's much work to be done. Here in Illinois, for example, the State Child Sex Abuse Hotline received over 10,000 calls for help this year with not one call involving a Catholic priest. Sadly, most of the calls involved abuse by close family members.

Robert Bland
Darien, IL

MISCELLANEOUS

Double space dilemma

I fiind your articles enjoyable and stimulating, but the double spaced layout is so annoying that I often don't finish the article. It is really hard to read. I suggest you look at some of the better professional sites like the Wall Street Journal and rework your format and font selection.

Gerry Palo
Denver, Colorado