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Web Letter

Coming from someone who finds the possibility of Sarah Palin in the White House deeply disturbing, you would sound much more intelligent and be more persuasive if you could analyze her objectively and stick to the facts. It is unfair to say that she has suggested that God approves of the war in Iraq. If you look at her statement in its entirety, this is clear. The tone of the entire article sounds like an attempt to slander Palin out of rage with unsubstantiated charges and below-the-belt implications with no reasoning to show where its coming from. Not to actually think or look into anything deeper than the surface level. How does anyone take this seriously? She tries to make Palin look like she hates women and polar bears but is a rapist sympathizer; Palin is dead-bent on causing as much pain and suffering as possible! While Palin's ignorance may be undeniable, you should still give her positions a fair report. You don't need to make things up in order to portray Palin as incompetent, the truth shall set you free!

Matthew Cooper

Los Angeles, CA

Sep 15 2008 - 6:54am

Web Letter

Hey, G.W. Bush's main claim to foreign policy experience was living near Mexico. That worked out pretty well, didn't it? What's the problem here?

All this high-minded talk about issues and competence is entirely beside the point. That's not what Palin is about. Her calling is more primordial. She has come to save the Traditional Tribe of Old White Guys in their dark hour of direst need by infusing new energy into its collective rotting corpse.

The burst of energy Palin released is nothing less than the apotheosis of the Evangelical Mother Goddess liberated from the prison of eons of repression. All that feminine energy bound up beneath the respectable Republican girdles and mascara has now been set loose to reinvigorate the Free World. It hardly matters whether the lady knows what the "Bush doctrine" is about.

To be sure, the unlikely initial manifestation of this newly emerged Goddess consciousness is riddled with absurdities. But over time more useful forms will surely evolve. The big question is whether the planet can survive long enough for this nasty stuff to work itself out. For now the important fact is that, finally, the lid is off the pot and the psychic pressures that have been driving these people crazy can begin to equalize.

Stafford Smith

Seattle, WA

Sep 15 2008 - 1:06am

Web Letter

You ask of Sarah Palin, What is the EU and how does it work?

I live in it and I'd love to know the answer to both questions.

Thomas Gibbs

Port Talbot, UK

Sep 13 2008 - 6:22pm

Web Letter

As another resident of "those pesky states between the mountains," in fact the same great state that Mr. Hanson [see below] hails from, I don't find the questions Pollitt raised to be "insulting." I want to know their answers. "Liberal snobs" don't get to decide what is or is not science. Scientists use the scientific process, and their findings are peer-edited and reviewed. I can't speak to whether or not scientists are "liberal snobs." My understanding is that they are devoted professionals with years of education and training. As a resident of Missouri, this is an issue that became particularly important when our neighboring state of Kansas recently attempted to integrate the teaching of intelligent design into its curriculum--a scary prospect to those who ascribe to the scientific method and to those who hold to the doctrine of separation of church and state.

Mr. Hanson writes that "faith is offensive because it doesn't fit into the Platonic Republic ruled by liberal elitist philosopher kings so desired by the snobs." As a person raised in "faith," I would posit that "faith" is offensive because it often sees only its own ends and aims. Certainly Palin and all other politicians are entitled to their faith. The concern with faith in American politics is the extent to which our elected representatives base their practices and policies on the interests of their "faith," rather than using the broad American spectrum of beliefs and faiths, or lack thereof, as their litmus test for what Americans consider to be valuable in a multi-faith society. Consider Pollitt's question to Palin: "Approximately how old is the earth? Five thousand years? 10,000? 5 billion?" Palin's answer to this question and other scientifically based questions reveals how this candidate will approach policies that affect human beings' place on this planet. How old one considers the earth to be directly relates to how we understand biological processes on this planet, which relates to how we handle climate change on this planet. And how we handle climate change on this planet directly affects all of the inhabitants here, not just those of "faith." Perhaps this is a more pressing issue for those without "faith," as we see this planet as our home for all the foreseeable future.

I agree with Mr. Hanson, there are two Americas. However, I see these two Americas inhabited by those who have power and those who do not. I see hard-working Americans: Americans without healthcare, Americans unable to save for their retirement and certainly unable to rely on Social Security as a safety net, Americans who are defaulting on student loans because they do not earn enough to pay back their loans, Americans who have no hope because they feel that the system is stacked against them. The other America is a corporate world where CEOs are rewarded for keeping stock prices up even while the company is collapsing. The other America is a place where health care is denied because a cost-benefits analysis carries more weight than human compassion. The other American is more concerned with corporate profits than equal pay for equal work--the only answer I can come up with when our Senate refused to extend the timeline for bringing action against employers who won't pay women an equal wage. The other America says "pull yourself up by your bootstraps," even when every avenue to advancement is blocked because a body can only work so many hours in a week.

I don't know anything about "these snobs sipping over-priced wine in New England" that Mr. Hanson refers to. I'd like to know Governor Palin's stance on many of the questions raised by Pollitt, but I have a feeling her answer wouldn't make a difference to me. I'm going to vote for Barack Obama because his tax plan seems to lay more of the tax burden on the other America--the America who cares more about profit than people. Maybe that America is drinking over-priced wine. I wouldn't know.

Polly Hawk

Saint Joseph, MO

Sep 13 2008 - 4:27pm

Web Letter

Perhaps Rachal Maddow summed up the questions best for us all: Who is "competent" to be President? In the competency test, Palin fails. Her answers to the proposed questions would only enbolden the already stoked extreme right. Honest analysis of those answers would only inflame the already pumped left. What the centrists--I am one--want to know is how Palin's view of governing impacts us. She is only one mole away from the presidency if elected. I appreciate this article. I would like more depth, however. Please continue the good work but also, please, look for some more depth, just like you want to see from Palin.

R.L. Bridges

Denver, CO

Sep 13 2008 - 11:03am

Web Letter

Forty-seven million Americans lack health insurance. John Goodman, who has advised McCain on healthcare, has proposed redefining them as covered because, he says, anyone can get care at an ER. Do you agree with him?

I was one of those 47 million ininsured when I rolled my car three times at 65 mph.

I was cut from the wreckage--and the Democratic administration of Columbus, Ohio, immediately sent me a $900 ambulance bill.

$800 for the ER trauma team (paid in cash).
$2500 for radiology (X-rays/MRI) (paid cash).
$4,100 for my surgeon (paid cash).
$950 for the anaesthesiologist (paid cash).
$3,900 for "rehab therapy" (paid cash).
$38,450 for forty-eight hrs in a hospital bed with an antibiotic IV (negotiated down to $11,500--and I paid cash!)

Explain to me why this one-time outlay of $50k means I would have been better off paying $5k/yr for the last twenty years?

Scott F. Fletcher

Altoona , PA

Sep 13 2008 - 2:41am

Web Letter

There's one additional question that could be asked of Sarah Palin: does she think that rape victims are responsible for the crime committed against them? Here's a fully sourced account via the conservative Boston Herald, of all places, putting Palin completely outside of the feminist camp and showing a total lack of compassion.

Eight years ago, complaints about charging rape victims for medical exams in Wasilla prompted the Alaska Legislature to pass a bill--signed into law by [Governor] Knowles--that banned the practice statewide. "There was one town in Alaska that was charging victims for this, and that was Wasilla," Knowles said. A May 23, 2000, article in Wasilla's newspaper, The Frontiersman, noted that Alaska State Troopers and most municipal police agencies regularly pay for such exams, which cost between $300 and $1,200 apiece. "(But) the Wasilla police department does charge the victims of sexual assault for the tests," the newspaper reported. It also quoted Wasilla Police Chief Charlie Fannon objecting to the law. Fannon was appointed to his position by Palin after her dismissal of the previous police chief. He said it would cost Wasilla $5,000 to $14,000 a year if the city had to foot the bill for rape exams.

...And this in the town that receives the highest per-capita federal earmarks (pork) in Alaska! The cruel policy is way beyond even her opposition to abortion under any circumstances, which pollitt has noted.

I know a victim of rape, and as I read her the story this morning, her reaction was visceral. Her body leaned forward, her eyes widened, and her jaw dropped open.

I am passing the story on to my e-mail list, and she'll pass it on, too.

peter desmond

Cambridge, MA

Sep 12 2008 - 6:27pm

Web Letter

As a reader who enjoys deriding Katha Pollitt from time to time, I applaud her efforts to show us what Sarah Palin looks like before the lipstick goes on. It's bad enough that a former third-rate Navy pilot thinks he has what it takes to run the free world. That the aforementioned would attempt pander to those who would have a woman President at any cost would be risible if the stakes weren't so high.

If anything, some of Pollitt's questions were incomplete. I'd ask Palin if she's prepared to have every religion's creation story debated in science class (any fool can see Palin wouldn't). If not, then perhaps Palin can explain what's so damn special about the Christian creation myth that it alone deserves to square off against Darwin in the public square.

Douglas Presler

Minneapolis, MN

Sep 12 2008 - 9:20am

Web Letter

The female issue that is being kept "under the rug"--as usual--is the fact that all females of our species undergo the emotional upheaval of the change of life, i.e., menopause. We all have to deal with this. If we just let the process unroll, we suffer emotional and physical upheavals for at least several years and sometimes longer. If we decide to forgo those upheavals, we must use supplemental estrogen. Sarah Palin is aging; this is obvious from both her mid-40s age and the birth of a Down Syndrome baby. Obviously she has not used supplemental estrogen to prevent births. It is a very legitimate question to ask if she intends to use it for menopausal symptoms. If she does not, for at least a few years during her potential presidency she will be functioning at a lesser level. It is also legitimate to ask if/how she plans to avoid the birth of another Down Syndrome baby--possibly during a presidency--or at least on "our payroll" as Vice President.

Alice Wahl

Silver Spring, MD

Sep 12 2008 - 8:16am

Web Letter

I think there are many women who have tried to have it all--career, marriage, children--in no particular order and have worked hard to balance all of that. Then along comes a woman who can have her fifth child who is handicapped in her 40s and delay the birth so she can give a speech and fly from Texas to Alaska. Many of us would consider that irresponsible, yet she is embraced by supporters who vilified other accomplished women.

We worked hard for FMLA so we could have time with family in the event of an illness. We educate our daughters (and sons) to make good choices about becoming sexually active and to not be reckless about it. We want our daughters to be able to support themselves before they consider motherhood, but this woman celebrates a tragic teenage pregnancy.

Palin comes along after we have seen Hillary, who represents getting to the top with intelligence, hard work and playing by the rules, get knocked out of the race. Of course, we all know Sarah Palin is no presidential candidate, but we seem to expect so little of our leaders. They no longer have to be statesmen (or stateswomen) committed to doing the right thing for our country. I fear we will pay for our own reckless choices as an electorate. Ms. Pollitt's column expressed views I have heard over the last week from my friends and colleague, none of whom watch The View or care much about watching Barbara Walters cheapen her illustrious career with confessions about her sexual exploits. This is a presidential election. Let us hope that we can get back to the real issues of the election and select the best candidate to lead our country.

Kathy Benedetto

Johnson City, TN

Sep 11 2008 - 11:25pm

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