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    More Comments:

    Kim Epton - 1/3/2004

    "But the hole had its dangers; if the pot broke or cracked, the guerrilla could be attacked by poisonous spiders or snakes. Hence, 'spider hole'."

    Spiders and snakes are not poisonous, they are venomous (well, some, anyway). Toadstools are poisonous. There is a difference.

    Susan Karina Dickey, OP - 10/20/2003

    Paul Collins of the Australian Financial Review (10-17-03) did a fine job of summarizing the process for electing a pope in the story posted by HNN on Oct. 20. In the final paragraph he comments, "It is often forgotten that the pope's primary title is bishop of Rome and it could be argued that it is appropriate that he be an Italian, or that at least that he be able to speak excellent, idiomatic Italian, and be completely at home in western European culture."

    True, the pope's primary title is Bishop of Rome, but the primary ministry is the spiritual leadership of the world's Roman Catholics. Furthermore, many non-Catholics--Christian and otherwise--take note of the cultural critique offered by this figure. I speak not only of John Paul II, but of anyone holding this office. Even those who disagree with the pope would concede that the Holy Father helps to shape the international discussion of various cultural, economic, and social issues.

    One could argue that in an increasingly globalized world that the pope should be from a non-western country. As for familiarity with the Italian language and European culture, many of the cardinals around the world were educated in Rome. Most of the "candidates" for the papacy are not strangers to the culture, yet a pope from Latin America or Africa would certainly bring a fresh perspective.

    Finally, the cardinals in their deliberations try to leave room for the influence of the Holy Spirit. Regrettably, some let personal ambition and interests interfere. But remember John XXIII? I daresay there are still a few surprises in store.

    William P. MacKinnon - 10/17/2003

    In your article "How Many Generals Have Been Elected President?" you also list generals who were nominated by their party but were not elected. You missed at least one: Brig. Gen. John W. Phelps (West Point, 1836) of Vermont, who ran in 1880 against another general (Hancock) as the American Party's standard-bearer. Phelps lost with only about 800 votes nation-wide.

    Rachael Focht - 10/14/2003

    Do you know where Massachusetts got its name from?

    Dave Livingston - 9/26/2003

    One of the bests, among many, examples of deceitful anti-war propaganda serrved up as news during the war was the admittedly dramatic photo of Saigon Police General Loan executing a V.C. on the streets of Saigon during Tet 1968.

    The photrojournalist took the photo of Gen. Loan killing a V.C. with his Smith & Wesson revolver, As said, it is a dramatic photo. The only caption to go with the photo was to say that very thing General Loan executing a captured V.C., but the implication was here is this nasty South Viet general brutally killing without benefit of proper legal process some poor perhaps Vietnamese farmer.

    Humbug! What the jerk of a journalist did not trouble to learn or if he did, did not bother to share with the photo was that the implied to be simple, gentle BViet farmer executed was inb fact the commander of a Communist murder squad captured immediastely sfter having murdered General Loan's best buddy. Not only that having murdered also his best buddy's wife AND all nine, 9, of their children, including a babe in arms.

    A Jesuit once told me instead of hating that murderous V.C. whom Loan execur=ted if our faith means anything I must instead pray for his soul. But I have not yet been able to bring myself to do that.

    Another illustratiuon that we were the good guys was brought home to me by the story of Fr. Charles Watters, one of two chaplains, both Catholic piests, to be awarded the Medal of Honor for valor on the field of battle in Viet-Nam, but that is a story for another time.

    Dave Livingston - 9/26/2003

    referring to the Republic of Viet-Nam, but not the People's Democratic (Communist tyranny) of Viet-Nam, i.e., South Viet-Nam, but not North Viet-Nam the estimation that our bombing killed a million Indochinses is spo much horse pucky. Unlike the chair-polishing Leftist America haters relating this propaganda I was in Indochina during the war, Lieutenant, 1st Infantry Division, 1966-7; Captain, 101st Airborne, March, 1969 until 22 January 1970, when WIA during a firefight with Little Brown Brother.

    The only reason I was hit was because LBB brought along too many of his neighbors and cousins from North Viet-Nam than one G.I. could handle.

    If a lot of North Viets were killed, that gave nor pleases me, but colateral damage is a fact of war, particularly modern warfare with its very destructive weapons. Despite what the Bleed'n Heart Left presupposes U.S. military doctine does not sanction the killing of civilians. We avoid it whenever practical, if possible, without risking the completion of the mission, striking a military target, for instance or unduly risking American or allied lives. There is a practical reason in addition to the moral one for our attempting to avoid colateral civilian deaths, generally it is counter-productive because contrary to uninformed opinion, it rather than beating an enemy populace into submission it serves to stiffen enemy resolve--just look at the London Blitz. But of course, if the civilian populace is deliberately targeted to be murdered there aren't enough people left for their resolve to be stiffened.

    But we never, as far is known to me, deliberately attacked cilivians as civilians in 'Nam. Indeed, my second tour I was as much as ordered by a Colonel of the South Vietnamese Army to kill civilians out on the border with Laos because he knew better than I that nearly all of those civilians were supporters, whether willingly or unwillingly, via paying taxes and providing military recruits, to the Communists. But because he wanted them killed and I had the opportunity to do so, doesn't mean it was done. In fact, never once in two tours very frequently engaged with the enemy did ever even consider harming, let alone killing a non-combatant.

    To which i attrubite as perhaps part of the reason our Lord preserved my life when seriously WIA in one last firefight. Satisfied my honor is unbesmiriched and that my hands are clean of murder or of even of intentional harm to a non-combatant in at least that one regard I know I am prepared to face my Lord on Judgement Day. It is beside the point my soul probably will spend a long, very long, time in Purgatory as a consequence of the rest of my sins.

    It is very tiresome to real bleating anti-American propaganda of the supposed terrible things we did in 'Nam, but why is is those among us weeping crocodile tears over out=r sins never, or at least hardly ever, mention the Boat People, the million plus, the approximately 1/8th of the then people of South Viet-Nam fled the country in an extremely risky way, with unknown thousands dying at sea, to escape the Communist dictatorship that was about to be inflected upon them. Then there are the estimated, no-one in the West will ever know the true figures, tens of thoysands who were murdered by the Communists, not only in their concentration-cum-murder camps, but also in the streets of the cities. It is recorded that the Hanoi government had to send special authorities to the South to rein in trheir own murder squads becausse the willful & deliberate murders of South Viets had gotten so out-ofhand it threatened to depopulate the South. Our fat-fannied, limp-wristed critics never bother to mention those uncomfortable facts.

    If you doubt my wrd, it is suggested you go to Westminister, California, where Boat People have established the largest Vietnamese community outside Viet-Nam. Their disdain, to put it mildly, of Communists sand of Pinko fellow-travelers here in the States is illustrated by the bronze statute in a park, a statute bought & paid for by the Viet community of an American G.I. and an ARVN standing together in cvomradeship. Moreover, in the parek are two kiosks, one listing the Americann KIAs, the other ARVN KIAs & missing.

    benjamin r. beede - 9/26/2003

    As usual, the date World War II ended depends upon one's perspective. Legally, for the U.S., World War II ended on December 31, 1946, because President Truman needed more time for economic controls to work in the post-World War II period.
    Moreover, extending World War II extended G.I. benefits, thereby promoting recruitment of new soldiers who wanted the benefits. One could well argue, moreover, that World War II only ended with signing of peace treaties, some of which were negotiated, much less signed, until long after 1945. If one wants to restict the end of World War II to combat operations, then it should be realized that scattered fighting continued for some time. There was significant combat in the Philippines early in 1946, for example.

    John Stobo - 8/19/2003

    Fighting did not end on August 14/15 1945. The Soviets and Japan continued fighting
    until August 31/September 1. In the second half of August 1945 the Red Army completed its
    invasion of Manchuria, retook the southern half of Sakhalin, and occupied the Kuriles.

    David L. Carlton - 8/8/2003

    This item, I must say, flummoxes me. The foundation of the Duke fortune was the American Tobacco Company; from about 1905 forward much of that fortune was funneled into what is now Duke Energy. But does money made in tobacco stop being "tobacco money" if it's invested (laundered?) in another industry? Did the family keep its tobacco money and its utility money scrupulously segregated? Can one tell by the smell if the money is "tobacco money" or "power money"?

    The item makes (some) sense if one considers that the Duke Endowment--an entity that has underwritten Duke University and other institutions in the Carolinas since the 1920s--was funded with securities of what was then called the Southern Power Company. Indeed, many Carolinians at the time regarded the creation of the Endowment as a device to buy political support for the utility--not exactly a universally beloved institution locally. But the fact remains that the foundation of the Duke fortune was tobacco; the family would scarcely have had the means to underwrite a massive regional power generating and transmission company had it not been for its success in monopolizing the American cigarette market for some twenty years.

    Catherine Aitkenhead - 4/29/2003

    Ms. Miller states that Halloween owes much of its trappings to Christianity, as if Christianity were the source of Halloween traditions. In fact, Holloween comes from much older religions than Christianity. What is confusing Ms. Miller is that it was the Catholic Church that incorporated the local pagan customs into its practices in the areas where it spread its doctrine. The fall festival of the northern Europeans became Halloween, which the Catholic Church associated with an All Hallow's Eve. The spring festival of the goddess Estre (a fertility goddess) was changed to Easter, and the Catholic Church associated it with the resurrection of Christ. In fact, if you read the New Testament scriptures, nowhere are Christians told to keep certain days or feasts (except the Lord's Supper), and nowhere is there a date given for any of the events of Christ's life. There is a close correllation to many of the Catholic feast days with local ancient festivals. This was a device of the Catholic Church to bring peoples under its control.