Good Fences Make Fast Players

Good Fences Make Fast Players

Good Fences Make Fast Players

Recent posts from our readers forum.
July 28 2000 3:00 AM

Good Fences Make Fast Players

Subject: The Pentathlon—Inspiring Imperfection
Re:
"{{Sports Nut: Why Too Many Olympic Sports Are Neither#86069}}"
From:
JB
Date: Thu Jul 13  12:37 p.m. PST

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Jonathon Kahn derides "the pentathlon, which includes shooting, fencing, and horse show jumping—important skills for a medieval knight." Medieval knights with target pistols? Please. The modern pentathlon, when introduced at the turn of the century, sought to recreate the challenges of a battlefield messenger. Thus, it tests the athlete's ability to move over terrain on horseback or on foot, to swim rivers and to engage the enemy with pistol or sword. Like its classical forebear the decathlon, also rooted in the military skills of its time, such sports remind us of the value of the "all-around" athlete. In an age where sport, like art, exists to glorify itself, we should preserve at least a little space for those who remind us why we originally valued speed, agility, and determination. And perhaps we ordinary mortals can draw some comfort from an athlete who can combine imperfection in many fields into an inspiring whole.

But let's do get rid of ballroom dancing.

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Subject: Is Voting Strategically a Cop-Out?

Re:
"{{Is Voting for Ralph Nader Rational?#86013}}"

From:
David Alvin Rodman

Date:
Thu Jul 13  6:41 a.m. PST

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Is it actually ironic that no one will vote for Ralph Nader or Pat Buchanan because no one believes either candidate has any chance of winning, or is it just sad and defeatist? Despite all of Ira Carnahan's percentage plays and statistical deferrals, the truth is that Nader or Buchanan could win if enough people voted for them. To encourage voters to choose a candidate out of obligation to the stunted, bought, and non-representative "reality" of the two-party system is not only irresponsible, it's pathetic. The Democrats and Republicans are entities we, as citizens, created, and only we can alter or eliminate their validity. If no one on the planet bought a Coke for a week, the company would go under, or at the very least be brought to its knees. Space travel, telecommunications, genetic engineering, flight: These were once thought just as impossible as electing a third-party president is now. But in human affairs, there's this weird phenomenon called people making history. Whether or not a fatalist like Carnahan can understand this underlying tenet of freedom is still open to interpretation. Personally, I find the idea exhilarating.

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Subject: Gore's Deceptive Social Security Promise

Re:
"{{Ballot Box: The Dow of Politics#31972:Show=7/12/00&idMessage=5671}}"

From:
James N. Markels

Date:
Fri Jul 14  7:09 a.m.

Unfortunately, Jacob Weisberg is wrong to assume that Al Gore's "add-on" Social Security plan does more for those not already in the stock market. Gore's government-matched savings accounts accrue only should the worker invest more money than the 12.4 percent already taken by the Social Security payroll tax (which is the biggest tax the poor wind up paying). People without extra disposable income to sock away for retirement constitute the majority of those not currently invested in the stock market, so it doesn't help them at all to be offered a plan that only helps them if they pony up more money. In short, the poor get left behind. Additionally, Gore's plan does absolutely nothing to solve the problems of the Social Security system, which the poor depend on disproportionately.

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George W. Bush's plan carves out individual savings accounts from their existing payroll tax contributions, meaning the poor do not have to pony up more money to participate. Those who choose to participate will receive less-guaranteed benefits, but this risk will be more than offset by the increased rate of return. While there are many questions yet to be answered about the specifics of Bush's plan, it is clear that Bush's carve-out strategy will be far more useful for the poor than Gore's add-on approach.

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{{ad#87381}}Subject: God and Man in Government

Re:
"{{Chatterbox: The Dickerson Paradox#2606: Show=7/18/00&idMessage=5698}}"

From:
James Dinsdale

Date: Tue Jul 18  12:16 p.m.

Chatterbox wonders how conservative Christians can believe in religious miracles but not in the competency of government. But to a religious person, faith in God is very different from faith in man. For a Christian to believe that the Son of God can perform acts that defy convention, while acknowledging that man is flawed, is absolutely consistent with Christian dogma. Furthermore, no one ever said that conservatives don't believe we can clean up the corner of Fifth and Elm. However, most methods to achieve this involve either a real or perceived diminishing of individuals' rights. Both conservatives and liberals have debated for years whether the cost is worth the benefit. Same with feeding all children. Is it worth the waste and free riders to provide this benefit, and can we verify that those in need are actually receiving it? Liberals say yes, conservatives say no. Liberals believe human nature can be overcome, conservatives say it doesn't change. A far cry from belief in God, don't you think?

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Subject: The Most Exciting Play in Baseball

Re:
"{{Sports Nut: How To Lick The Home Run Glut#86310}}"

From:
John Galt

Date:
Tue Jul 18  10:17 a.m. PST

I would submit that two other plays beat out the over-the-fence home run as the most exciting play in baseball: the in-the-park home run and the play at the plate. What is better than seeing a base runner sliding into home plate, wondering whether the throw will be on time, whether the catcher will drop it? I say, push the fences back to where they used to be, take advantage of the greater speed of today's players to make the game more dynamic. And maybe a spitball or two wouldn't be bad either.

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