American Dreams, Golf, Gold-Diggers

Mike Straka’s homage to the American Dream’s importance during a time of looming war, and Matt Hayes’ discussion of illegal aliens receiving social security benefits generated a plethora of response from readers.

Readers also responded to Steve Milloy’s column doubting the extreme risk of mercury poisoning, Eric Burns’ commentary on passing advertisements off as legitimate news, as well as Wendy McElroy’s piece defaming a woman’s struggle for the right to golf at the Masters.

Conscientious Observer, a new column by Robin Wallace, also generated a series of heated responses.

Here is a sample of this week’s mail.

In response to Strakalogue:

Craig Semenza writes:

I read your article, copied it, and placed it in a frame above my 10-year old son's bed.

Corey Freeman writes:

I joined the National Guard five and a half years ago for many of the reasons you outlined in your article. I now prepare to put my business and family on hold as I prepare for possible activation. It saddens me to see how some Americans abuse their freedoms by decrying and demonizing the United States and its stance on Iraq. Yet I am willing to serve the country and protect its freedoms and security.

Kevin Oliver writes:

I am proud to live in a country that gives our citizens the right to publicly disagree with the government. If our "stars" had some logical argument against what may occur in Iraq, I would listen to them. Unfortunately, most of the rhetoric I hear is anti-American and not anti-war. It is shame that too many base their views on what these celebrities think. One day, I pray, Americans will think for themselves and not form opinions based on their favorite stars.

Dominic DeCecco writes:

We comfort ourselves with the notion that our "enemies" hate us "because of our freedom." That may be true of certain individuals, but it is also any overly simplistic assessment. Having spoken with a friend (American) currently residing in England, who in turn comes in contact with various Europeans, those who despise (or resent) America are most often motivated by feelings (however misguided) that America wants to unilaterally impose its cultural values on the rest of the world for its own selfish benefit. Taken to the extreme, we are often viewed as exploitative. Even some that ultimately support us consider us simply the "lesser of two evils."

Monica L. Ward-Keller writes:

Everyone in America has an opinion, everyone in America is given that right. Tolerance does not mean you must embrace another's opinions as your own. Tolerance means politely and with courtesy listening to those opinions. Perhaps we need to review our core values and how this country was formed: principles of honor, dignity, and freedom. With freedom comes responsibility, not stupidity. Logic and critical thinking in America appear to have gone by the wayside.

In response to Behind the Bar:

Garry A. Hansen writes:

I think it's appalling that this kind of stuff still goes on within our system. My father came to the U.S. after WWII from Denmark, worked his entire adult life here, and died at 65. The man never received anything for all that he paid into a system that doesn't even support the very people it was meant to support. Shame on all the attorneys and politicians that support this stuff. These days, you really can't blame people for not wanting to work when we give everything for free.

Rebekah Buba writes:

The solution isn't to provide those immigrants with instant benefits, rather it is to work with those governments to provide those very freedoms and opportunities that they come here for. Mexico itself is experiencing a shortage of manpower and brains. How can Mexico possibly become anything better if all her people leave her behind in search of their dreams?

Joseph Kubiak writes:

Though I find reprehensible the notion of my taxes going to someone here illegally, I can understand many do contribute to the economy and some may even pay taxes. It would seem that we could get some return on our taxes by offsetting the expenditures in some manner. How about making some person (a sponsor?) responsible for the alien's benefits? We could then offset the sponsor's future benefits or make the benefits taxable as sponsor income.

In response to Junk Science:

Brian S. Hooker writes:

I have no doubt that most kids in the U.S. have the mechanism to detoxify low levels of environmental Hg. However, further evidence is mounting that supports a link between mercury and "autism" (which really may be toxic heavy metal poisoning). Most autistics are showing acute deficiencies in sulfur chemistry, responsible for the production of metallothionein and glutathione (both which detox heavy metals). Until sufficient comparative genomics and proteomics are completed for this population and early diagnosis kits are available, I would rather err on the side of safety and take all appropriate precautions to limit environmental heavy metals. We just don't yet know which children will adequately detoxify and which children will not.

Lynn Jordan writes:

The main threat of mercury in the U.S. is from the mercury in childhood vaccinations. The mercury goes directly into the bloodstream and into the brain. It just depends on where it settles in the brain as to whether or not they are mentally retarded. When you breath mercury or eat it in fish, your body has a good chance of filtering it out and getting rid of it. When it is in injected in the bloodstream with vaccinations containing mercury, there is no way to filter it out and it crosses the blood brain barrier. No, we don't need the legislation you speak of for environmental issues. We need to get rid of the mercury filled immunizations!

Daren Kaiser writes:

People are often exposed to great amounts of Mercury due to dental work. Silver amalgam fillings are 50% mercury. Many countries (including Canada, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, etc.) have outlawed the use of Mercury-containing dental fillings. They are, however, still the most common filling used in the US). The biggest exposure actually happens when a dentist cuts or grinds out an old amalgam filling. Then, you sit there and breathe mercury vapor during the procedure. There is a lot of information out there on U.S. Dental procedures and their relationship to Mercury poisoning. It's a much bigger problem than Mercury from power plants or food.

In response to Fox News Watch:

Chris Bittner writes:

Commercials imbedded directly into the "news" is a bigger issue that stretches to places other than Syracuse. It happens all the time now in Los Angeles. On several stations, they daily run "Your Money" segments which are supposed to be financial news and "scam" segments. However, they have become nothing more than commercials for retail stores. They show several products from the store, interview an employee about the products, and then plug the address, phone number, and email while not forgetting to inform us of any current sales and specials. This is unbelievable! These stations have no shame.

Rich writes:

Overall, the news media makes a blatant attempt to manipulate public views of current events. Many of us are aware of this now and looking for it, which makes it easy to spot. I see that a great deal in all news programming turning The Bachelorette, Michael Jackson programming, and American Idol into giant news events that don't deserve more than one or two minutes in real news programming. When that stuff turns into five or ten minute stories, I am off to see some more important news. It just seems like even more commercials than I am already forced to sit through.

Michael Brill writes:

This same tactic happens in talk radio. The morning talk show hosts end a conversation on a topic and then start right into talking about tax problems. They then introduce a tax attorney who comments on what they said then says to call their 800 number. I have not seem the TV stations work so I do not know how "slick" there program is but these radio spots make no disclaimer that this is a commercial. From what I have heard, having talk radio host hock their sponsors wares is common. I would like to see some more effort to let the listener know that these "interviews" are really commercials.

Paul C. Shearer writes:

The purpose of the television station is to make a profit for its owners. (Where there is no margin there is no mission.) Thus, the television station is not a public service. If they overly-commercialize their news broadcasts, viewers will turn to other legitimate sources. If the public gets turned off, stations lose money and market forces will force them to abandon the practice. If the public continues to watch, then apparently you are isolated in your outrage.

Alex B. Pinero writes:

I would be far more interested in a consistent, significant revelation concerning the egregious biases and editorial spin, rather than some local station making a few bucks from advertisers in the entertainment minute during its broadcast.

In response to ifeminisits:

Susan M. Sansenbaugher writes:

This issue is not one of "the right of women to golf" as a game, but the right of women to the tools of the business world. Your comparison of Augusta to the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, or other such organizations is a comparison of apples to oranges - these organizations do not lend themselves to influencing business the way that golf, and golf club memberships, do.

Anthony Melson writes:

Call it a diversion from the Middle East conflict. Call it lighthearted entertainment. Or call it "Calling a spade a spade." I agree with the points you make. Burke's "right to golf" is laughable. You've hit the nail on the head with this story, or perhaps "hit the ball off the tee."

David Heinaman writes:

Problem is, I doubt your accurate description of the situation as "laughable" will not make it "not laughable" in a few years. Augusta will cave.

Steve Clark writes:

I'm curious why I don't more often see the simple argument of freedom of assembly. Was this struck down somewhere, or does it lead to other issues? We used to be free to assemble with whomever we wanted but I guess now that's only for political assemblies because everybody else (especially in commercial enterprises) has to be inclusive.

Now that is interesting -- nobody can choose with whom they associate except those preparing to make our laws.

In response to Conscientious Observer:

Dennis Bates writes:

Money won't help the children to look good, but a beautiful mom will.

Anthony McDowell writes:

The answer is simple: in a divorce the man is not going to get half of her good looks.

Karin McGill writes:

You really made your point about looks vs. income. As an educated and professional woman, I agree that financial success means more than just money in the bank. For me, it means discipline and responsibility. I hope, one day, my daughter pursues a gentleman homely but successful rather than attractive with nothing more to offer.

J. W. Snyder writes:

To compare good looks and money as equally important is to ignore these facts, and more importantly to give money obsessed women a free-pass in their dangerous material obsessed tendencies and backhand men for liking beautiful women. Men who marry and then divorce rich women and take their money are called gigolos; and many go to jail quite rightly. Why shouldn't women be held to the same standards?

Peter Novick writes:

Money will last. A woman’s good looks won’t!