Green Estate

Green Estate

Green Estate

Recent posts from our readers forum.
Oct. 28 1999 3:30 AM

Green Estate

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From: Joe Klein

Date: Tue Oct 26

Yes, I had some nice things to say about Bradley's campaign, especially the bold and clear speeches he's made on a variety of issues (particularly health care), but I've also had some nice things to say in the past year about Gore, Bush and McCain. I think they're all running suprisingly substantive campaigns and deserve some credit for that. But I haven't "endorsed" anyone, or come close. (In fact, I have no idea whom I'll be voting for).

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[Joe Klein is Washington editor of The New Yorker.]

Subject: My Own Father's Estate

From: John B.

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Date: Tue Oct 26

My own father died less than a year after I was born; I never really knew him. A career military officer, he left my mother and his four children little in an economic sense, but the mementos of his life, including photographs, his military decorations and the memories of those whose lives he touched, are cherished to this day. Even in the midst of his loss, Mr. Stein should be grateful to have enjoyed the company of his parents into their old age; even if we don't realize it at the time, each and every moment that we have with our loved ones should be considered, and treated as, a blessing.

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Subject: Class Warfare? Try Progress



Re: "My Father's Estate"

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From: R. Dupont



Date: Tue Oct 26

I enjoy Ben Stein's TV show, but the essay is troubling. The tribute to his father is touching and well-deserved, but his views on the estate tax are appalling.

At no point does he tell the reader the size of the initial exemption. In fact, estates must exceed at least $600,00 before ANY tax is applied. It is my impression that only 1 percent to 2 percent of all estates are subject to any tax. This is not class warfare. This is sensible economic and public policy. Many of the wealthy realized the benefits of disbursing wealth at death (A. Carnegie, e.g.). Ben Stein should know better than to make the occasion of his father's death into a political complaint.

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Subject: Estates and the Public Good



Re: "My Father's Estate"

Date: Tue Oct 26

I am in the business of estate tax planning. With a modicum of planning, Mr. Stein's father could have seriously reduced or eliminated the amount of taxes that were payable by his estate. It is also true that while Ben's mother certainly deserved to share in his father's largess, Ben and any other siblings were merely members of the "lucky sperm club."

We all take something out of society. We all should put something back into society. Mr. Stein's father, whom I disagreed with on a good many things, did put something into society, besides taxes. But assume he had not; should he or anyone else be allowed to accumulate substantial wealth or should it be filtered back into the society from whence it came and from whence it might do more public good? I will leave that question for the philosophers and politicians.

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To read a "Dialogue" on estate taxes between former Sen. Bob Packwood and economic journalist James Glassman, click here.

Subject: Irish as Cultural Badge



Re: "The Breakfast Table: Jessie Sheidlower and Dennis Baron"

Date: Tue Oct 19

Dennis Baron writes with reference to another minority language that "[c]ultural-loyalty movements like the class in Navajo tend to spring up when cultural preservation is in danger, and their record of success is not impressive."

I would add that it depends on who starts the class. Irish is a minority language closely associated with Irish culture and sometimes with Irish nationalism. Some of the most positive Irish-speakers are those who have acquired what they call "prison Irish." Not necessarily studied in prisons in Northern Ireland, this is Irish learned on a need-to-know basis, but a cultural need to know. If these speakers don't fashion this connection to Irishness they feel otherwise culturally deprived, to a greater or lesser degree. The most enthusiastic speakers I have ever met are not native speakers who grow up in comfortable government-subsidized Irish-only neighborhoods in Galway, but those who have clawed their way to a brand of cultural Irishness that they choose to mark by the use of language.

So I wonder if there isn't a proviso that cultural-loyalty movements of language revival may be likely to fail if they are instituted by the government, but perhaps more likely to succeed if they are instituted in spite of the government. Because state-supported Irish in the Republic of Ireland has a much more temperamental success rate. Most Irish people there seem to feel that their culture is plenty intact without this old-fashioned language dragging them further back behind the rest of Europe. Is Irish a special language case?

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Subject: Ebonics and the Techno Babble



Re: "The Breakfast Table: Jessie Sheidlower and Dennis Baron"

From: Keter Tzadik

Date: Tue Oct 19

I and my co-workers happen to be Ebonics speakers. We are all young, urban "heads" (heads is "ebonics" for "people") who run a multimedia company. We speak our own urbanized form of computer tech-speak a lot of the time because we find that terms like "information superhighway" and "surf the web" are just not compatible with an urban lifestyle. How many kids from Harlem have been surfing? Naw'meen?

I myself speak Ebonics, so-called Proper English, some Hebrew, some Spanish, some Arabic, and media techno-babble. I've blended all of these together into my own urban Renaissance language. I think that people need to communicate so there should be a shared mode of communication, but, acting like so-called proper American English is more than a "slang dialect" itself is just wrong. I mean, we do NOT speak the Queen's English, nor would we want to. Further, English itself is just a bastardized version of other languages like French, German, Latin, and eventually Sanskrit.

So before the next time one of these language elitists rolls up into a 7-11 and talks trash about the Indian guy behind the counter speaking broken English, he should instead thank the Indian guy because his precious English language was "invented" by the Indians' ancestors.

Shalom.

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Subject: Martha: Architectural Digest for the Masses



Re: "Assessment: Martha Stewart"

From: Kathryn Ryder



Date: Fri Oct 22

Martha, and her many imitators, have taught us how to make our houses into homes. Before Martha, the many domestic arts and sciences were divided between "homey" but provincial cooking and Sears-style decorating, on the one hand, and the haute cuisine of Julia Child and decorating by Architectural Digest on the other. Martha taught the new, educated and traveled middle class how to find a middle ground for decorating and cooking. Her style remains essentially that.

If you disagree--then compare Martha Stewart Living with Architectural Digest. If the great unwashed wish to serve beer in bottles and an open bag of chips and Velveeta on triskits on the picnic table out back, as opposed to Martha-inspired delicacies-crudités and margaritas, so what? Why does she need to be so vociferously criticized? Why do the hoi polloi feel so threatened by her and her style? She never feels threatened by THEM and she has NEVER, despite what the many parodies say, preached AGAINST a more casual style of entertaining or said her way was the ONLY way.

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Subject: What Martha Said to Jesus



Re: "Assessment: Martha Stewart"

From: JoelBrian

Date: Sat Oct 23

I'm sure your readers know that the very name "Martha" is no accident. "Martha" has represented domesticity for almost two millennia, when she complained to their guest Jesus that her sister Mary was spending all her time listening at the feet of Jesus, while she, Martha, had to work serving. Jesus' answer is classic: "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things. But one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her" [Luke 10:38-42]. Thus "Mary" represents intellect and devotion, which trumps domestic chores. But nowadays "Mary" won't get very far with an IPO.

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