Saturday Forum
January 17, 2009, 04:00 AM
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A New York Editor And Vietnam War Vet Wonders If Victor Davis Hanson Is "Bloodthirsty"; etc.

From: Thomas McCarthy (e-mail him)

Re: Patrick Cleburne`s Blog: What Use Is Victor Davis Hanson? The Answer

Are you familiar with Oscar Levant`s wisecrack, "I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin"?

Well, I "knew" Hanson before he became a neocon mouthpiece.

Back in 1995, I copy edited one of his earliest books,  Fields without Dreams: Defending the Agrarian Ideal. It was part Bildungsroman, part family memoir, part sentimental apologia for a dying breed: the virtuous Central California raisin farmer.

Mixed in were Hanson`s reflections on farming in classical Greece, mostly in Athens.

Though his call for commodity subsidies for raisins and other crops lost him points, I admired the individual who rose up from the page.

Hanson wrote in a gracious, personable, often eloquent manner, and the occasional sense that he was wandering off-topic had about it an idiosyncratic appeal. I liked Hanson`s book and I liked him. 

It didn`t take me long to learn that he was a classical scholar with admirers on the paleo right, e.g., the Chronicles crowd).

As it happened, I actually saw Hanson for the first time the night of September 11, 2001 when CSPAN2 broadcast from somewhere in the mid-west his book-flogging event.

I live at the northernmost tip of Manhattan Island and was still rattled twelve hours after the morning`s dramatic events.

But Hanson spoke hardly at all about his book.

Instead, with great composure he spoke of the wars that were about to be waged and the terrible things that Western military would soon be doing to the terrorists—and to their millions of kin and countrymen—just as Alexander and the Roman Legions had done 2,000-plus years ago.

I found it impossible to tell whether Hanson`s remarks were prompted by bloodthirstiness or from a world-weariness born of the inevitability of human misery and suffering.

By the time I turned him off, I was both impressed by and scared of him—and not entirely sure that he was dealing from a full deck.

As an unwilling veteran of the Vietnam conflict, I had seen at first hand how impotent Western military power could be and so I shared neither Hanson`s confidence nor his moral phlegm.

That evening I experienced peripeteia (to use a word familiar to Hanson) in my attitude toward him. The vector has been all down ever since.

McCarthy is recently retired from his senior editor position at a publishing house respected for its scholastic reference materials. Encyclopedias edited by McCarthy have earned critical acclaim and won industry awards. His previous letter about foreign-born labor on Cape Cod is here.

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A Kansas Reader Challenges The FBI On Its Hate Crime Statistics

From: Sheila Young (e-mail her)

Re: James Fulford`s Blog: Raza`s Attempt To Stifle Debate Failing

Below is an excerpt from a fully prepared letter ready for anyone online to sign and mail it in.

"Hate speech takes a toll on Hispanics in the U.S., including hardworking American citizens and legal residents.  The U.S. Department of Justice reports that hate crimes against Latinos are up 23 percent this year nationwide and have doubled in California.  The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have documented dozens of physical assaults on Latinos, most of whom are U.S. citizens, by people spouting anti-immigrant rhetoric.  Many more such crimes go unreported."

La Raza, working through its "We Can Stop the Hate" site sent it to executives at the major broadcasting networks.

The letter`s message is that leaders of "anti-immigrant" groups should never be allowed to speak on television networks because, so says La Raza, they espouse vigilantism, white supremacy and violence toward Hispanics.

According to La Raza, statistics on the FBI hate crimes database supports its claim. 

My math based on that data, however, indicated that crimes against Hispanics, compared with all races and ethnicity, showed only a one percent increase over the last four years.

Considering the surge in gang violence in Los Angeles and throughout California where Hispanics are murdering each other, I doubt if "hate speech" plays any role even in the tiny spike in crimes. 

I wrote to the FBI communications center for clarification of its statistics.

According to a FBI spokesman, Latinos/Hispanics are never listed as offenders. They are categorized by ethnicity and not race. In cases involving them, arresting officers must use their discretion when assigning them to a racial group.

Furthermore, the FBI does not collect data on crimes by foreign nationals

It does not differentiate between hate crimes committed by gangs from that of the American public in general. 

We will never know, for example, how many crimes Latino foreign nationals and possible MS-13 gang members committed. They might be tallied by police officers as if American Caucasians committed them.

Politicians and advocacy groups for foreign nationals constantly harp on the rise in violent hate crimes against Hispanics, referring to the FBI database as their source. 

It is simply not true that Americans are instigating a violent surge in hate crimes against Latinos.

The so-called proof pointed to in order to perpetuate that lie is skewed and misleading. 

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A Nevada Reader Says USC Quarterback Mark Sanchez Is Less Than What He Appears To Be

From: John Taldone (e-mail him)

Re: Joe Guzzardi`s Column: USC Quarterback Mark Sanchez: An American Success Story

In his column, Guzzardi referred to Mark Sanchez as a "clean cut, altogether decent young man."

Is Guzzardi aware that in 2006, Sanchez was arrested for sexual assault on a Trojan co-ed? [USC QB Arrested for Alleged Sexual Assault, NBCSports.com. April 27, 2006]

The national champion Florida Gator`s quarterback Tim Tebow is a much better role model for young people than Sanchez.

Taldone, a Bronx-born second-generation Italian American, is a teacher.

Joe Guzzardi responds: I was aware of the charge against Sanchez when I wrote my column. But prosecutors dropped the case almost immediately saying it was "essentially a one-on-one allegation that cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt" and that "medical exams proved inconclusive on the issue of force." [USC Quarterback Won`t Face Sexual Assault Charges, Associated Press, June 3, 2006]

As for Tebow, by all accounts he`s a great guy. But my column`s focus was on Mexican assimilation into American society, an issue that doesn`t apply to the Tebow family.

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