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GET OVER IT
I never tire of reading leftist kooks expressing their irrational hatred of President Bush, but when they attempt to romanticize the Clinton administration, I am compelled to state some facts [Jim Washburn's "This Inauguration Doesn't Auger Well," Jan. 21]. Islamo-fascism became ascendant during an era Washburn describes in his diatribe as "quiescent." As an entity, al-Qaeda did not exist when Bill Clinton was sworn in as president in 1993. Eight years later, that organization had built a worldwide network of terror that was operating in more than 50 nations (including the United States). While our people were murdered and maimed and our property and interests were being attacked, Clinton met this terror threat by sodomizing the White House help. Washburn displays a similar cognitive dissonance in his take on the illusory prosperity of the '90s economy. Clinton presided over a dot-com boom that produced insanely overvalued stocks and, as we have come to learn since, some creative accounting practices by criminal CFOs. Washburn says that under Clinton, "we were cruising along under blue skies"? The only thing I remember being blue in that White House was Monica's dress.
Jim Washburn responds:Stupid me. Here I'd thought that Islamo-fascism began its ascendance under Reagan, when the U.S. indiscriminately trained, armed and financed every Allah-holic wacko who hated the Soviet Union slightly more than they hated us; or when they made ultra-secret deals behind American citizens' backs with Islamist regimes to help fund and supply the terrorist contra war against the people of Nicaragua because Reagan was so obsessed with the Soviet threat he couldn't see it was collapsing while others were on the rise; or when the Reagan administration cynically supported corrupt dictators such as the House of Saud and Saddam Hussein who oppressed and tortured their own people. No, I can see now that it was in the 36 days between Clinton's inauguration and the first World Trade Center bombing in February 1993 that the terrorists formed and nurtured their plots.
Years later, the Clinton administration sure didn't follow through on that memo titled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States." That was them, wasn't it? It was pure luck that the attempted bombing of LAX was halted on Clinton's watch. And the dot-com bubble was the only factor responsible for millions more Americans having better-paying jobs—or jobs at all—during his administration. The staggering deficit of the past four years must somehow be his blowjob-addled fault as well. Damn him! Didn't he know that diddling a willing intern was a sin far more rank than, say, the drunken driving of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, who surely must have known that God would help them steer clear of ever killing or maiming any innocent children? Thank you, sir; I stand humbled and corrected.
MUSIC TO HIS EARS
Good God, could James Bunoan be more wrong about a band ["Live Review: The Hives," Jan. 21]? If one actually has to explain to him that having a House of Blues at Disneyland and Disneyworld is funny because it's tragic, then he is in no position to criticize a single thing.
Bunoan worms out from under his newspaper blanket on a bench in Palisades Park to spew:Eskew Reeder hatessss youuuuuu!
Ella Taylor's review of The Sea Insideglorifies an exercise in disability disparagement ["Right of Passage," Jan. 14]. Taylor was impressed by the tedious sequence in which Javier Bardem (playing Ramon Sampedro) imagines walking, then flying over the Galician countryside. The misperception that disabled people seek escape from their miserable existence is a popular one; so is the myth that accidents like Sampedro's transform him "from a burly, vital specimen of young manhood into a leonine head perched incongruously atop a shrunken, lifeless body." Sampedro made similar deprecatory self-characterizations, but if someone made similar comments referring to gender, ethnicity, religion or age, we wouldn't applaud a movie that celebrates them. Taylor criticizes portrayals that make the disabled person "the cookie-cutter plucky saint so beloved of catastrophic-injury moviemaking," but then says Sampedro's "life has lost all dignity." Isn't there a middle ground? Lots of people reject prejudice and bigotry by finding dignity in life with a disability. Taylor's conclusion contains a characterization that we now know to be false, i.e. "quiet passing," the ludicrous reference to the video broadcast as "a kind of tutorial that's as brave and beautiful a document of his death as Amenbar has made of his life." Ramona Maneiro, now that the statute of limitations has passed, acknowledges that her efforts did not lead to an easy death for Sampedro and that she escaped to the bathroom to avoid seeing his agony. Choosing to die, resisting the use of a wheelchair—which enables many people to enjoy productive lives—is neither brave nor beautiful. Nor is the making of a movie glorifying Sampedro's choice or writing a laudatory review. It's simply disability defamation.
Arthur W. Blaser
Professor/Chairman, Dept .of Political Science
Ella Taylor responds: Had Professor Blaser read my review less selectively, he would have noted that I stated very clearlyThe Sea Inside gives a one-sided view of the debate over assisted suicide and gratuitously disparages those (like the priest in the movie) who oppose it. That said, this is one man's story, and I'm sure Professor Blaser will acknowledge that thereIS a debate and those who see the issue differently from the way he does deserve the same respect for their views as he does for his.
OF NICE AND NIPPLE
What a strange society we are! On page 2 of [a recent] issue, the before and after photos of a breast augmentation have the nipples blacked out. On the facing page, there, in all its glory, is a male nipple! No wonder Europeans laugh at us.
Jeffrey S. Lee
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