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Top 10 Letters

"The Passion," "Lost In Translation," chopped steak, Nasa, really long words, and more.

11:00 PM, Feb 29, 2004
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The United States enjoys a high quality of life and is the technology leader on the planet because of the investments our nation made 40 years ago. The fact that space technology has become so ingrained in our lives that we no longer recognize it when we see it is not necessarily a bad thing. But we do need to consider whether remaining at the leading edge of technology for the next 40 years is important, and perhaps might be worth the paltry less-than-one- percent of the federal budget that we invest in NASA.

--Elliot G. Pulham

President and CEO

The Space Foundation


In Cut and Run, Katherine Mangu-Ward repeats President Bush's recent falsehood when she writes, "For example, in Clinton's last budget, discretionary non-defense spending grew 15 percent. Bush's figures look better."

In fact, discretionary non-defense spending grew 4.7 percent under the FY 2001 budget, the last federal budget proposed by and passed under President Clinton. The U.S. Department of the Treasury, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the American Conservative Union Foundation all agree on this figure.

In his February 8 interview with Tim Russert, President Bush claimed that discretionary spending rose by 15 percent in the FY 2001 budget. This statement was not true, and I have been unable to find any reference to the 15 percent figure that predates February 8. If the president had been misinformed, surely there would be some evidence that he was not the first person to make the 15 percent claim. There is none; the falsehood appears to originate with President Bush. Furthermore, the president claimed that total discretionary spending grew by 15 percent in FY 2001. Yet Mangu-Ward writes that discretionary non-defense spending grew by 15 percent in that year's budget. For both President Bush and Mangu-Ward to be correct, defense spending--which accounts for about half of all discretionary spending--must also have increased by 15 percent in 2001. In fact, discretionary defense spending rose 6.2 percent in FY 2001.

--Scott Rogers


One point of further reflection on "The Passion": God sent Jesus to our world to die for our sins. So the plan was his and the people at hand--who were Jews, as Larry Miller so ably points out--were merely the instruments he used.

For those who truly believe in the teachings of Christ, his life, and God's plan, how can they then blame anyone for what happened? Did the Jews interfere with God's plan, have Christians been deprived of the opportunity for their salvation?

It seems self-evident to me that the people who "blame" anyone, never mind descendants of a group that lived 2000 years ago, are simply acting out on their own bad nature using these ancient events as an excuse.

--Art Keating


Thanks for Larry Miller's column on "The Passion." I don't blame him for being nervous about the movie. There's so much polarity in this world, but I know no Christians who blame Jews for Christ's death. It was supposed to happen, Jesus knew it was supposed to happen, and Christians are taught as much, so I really don't understand the "blaming" part. But, if I was Jewish, with the history of your people in mind, I can't say that I wouldn't be nervous either, especially with the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe.

Stay positive--Christians preach love not hate and I believe Christians need their Jewish brothers now more than ever in this scary world of ours.

--Deborah Durkee


In regards to Victorino Matus's Save Our Steak, I am proud to report that the chop steak is alive and well in the world of real men.

How do I define real men? Those who would consider eating in one of the restaurants Matus described as not worth a day's pay. These are guys that don't go hide under a rock when one cow comes down with BSE. They deal with real risks every day, the things that most inside-the-beltway elitists wouldn't know how to handle.

I have an idea for Matus: Poll Republicans and Democrats inside the beltway on whether they eat chop steaks and burgers and I guarantee you will be able to tell which party will win in the Fall. Unfortunately, I am afraid that the current Republican batch in Washington will give the Dems a run for the title of biggest wimps.

--Aftan Romanczak