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Top 10 Letters

Maryland, Newt, the Saudis, and more.

12:00 AM, Jul 22, 2004
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THE DAILY STANDARD welcomes letters to the editor. Letters will be edited for length and clarity and must include the writer's name, city, and state.

*1*

I would like to thank Katherine Mangu-Ward for her article The Secret Life of Newt Gingrich. I was not aware that the Newt Gingrich who shared Reviewer Position 488 with me was the Newt Gingrich.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank her for being so polite. While I realize it was done as a humorous notation, which I do not mind, Mangu-Ward did it without the usual words that some attach to who I am.

Once again, thanks for noticing me. It's fun to find yourself sharing the spotlight with one so well known and respected as Mr. Gingrich.

--Boudica

Reviews Editor, TWPT.com

Owner, Zodiac Bistro.com

*2*

One way to put the fear of Allah into the Saudi royals (Stephen Schwartz, Push the Princes) would be to circulate the following rumors: In the event of the fall of the House of Saud, Western governments are considering seizing Saudi assets, including the personal riches of all the princes. As compensation, they would receive quick immigration processing, eligibility for welfare benefits, job retraining assistance, and a small stipend from the proceeds of the sale of their assets. Most of the money would be made available to a friendly and democratic successor regime, which no doubt the West would be doing everything in its power to bring into existence.

--Lawrence Young

*3*

William J. Walsh is wise to advocate that the United States should prioritize Turkey among our Eurasian allies. (Americans in Turkey) In addition, we should encourage Turkey, Iraq, Israel, and at some point Jordan, to form a Middle East Democratic Free Trade Area, in eventual association with Afghanistan and the other democratizing -Stans. This will provide Turkey with a realistic and potent alternative to the European Union, which fundamentally doesn't want Turkey as a member, and will provide an organized economic future and regional incentive for the democratizing Middle East.

--Eric Field

*4*

Time out. Gingrich is small potatoes compared to Harriet Klausner. Harriet has written 7,107 reviews. Harriet, a former librarian, claims she reads two books a day. Good for her.

Of course Harriet has some catching up to do to equal Lawrance Bernabo, who's reviewed 8,157 books. Lawrance, more verbose than Harriett, probably has his own dedicated server at Amazon just to hold this stuff.

Jeez people, get a life.

--J. Stephen Clayton

*5*

I an experience similar to Jonathan V. Last's with Maryland's tax dept (Oh, Maryland!). I moved from Virginia in January of 1996 and mailed my 1995 Federal Tax forms from my Maryland home, but of course the only state taxes I paid were to Virginia. A couple years later, Maryland was saying I owed the state 1995 taxes--it seems they get a list from the feds of Maryland residents who sent in Federal taxes and use that as the basis for who owes them (regardless of where the residents lived the previous year). Eventually I had a collection agency calling me. I had to send Maryland a copy of my 1995 W-2 from my former employer, showing what my address was in 1995.

--Richard Hunter

*6*

In Learning the Hard Way, Irwin M. Stelzer gives a pretty good overview of the current dilemma. Yes, the war in Iraq wasn't or isn't directly about oil, but it does position the United States on land next door to Saudi Arabia.

As to refineries, there is a reluctance to build more sweet crude refineries in the United States if the transition to heavy crude is about to be made. Heavy oil "upgraders" will most likely be sited nearer the wellhead for a number of reasons, and the price differential between light sweet and heavy sour will widen inevitably. It is understandable that the large concerns capable of building new refineries are reluctant to do so; thus, there is as much of a price hike due to refinery shortage as feedstock shortage. The happy days of glut in both feedstock and processing capacity are now history. That is not to say that there won't be price drops, but the risk premium is here to stay for both political and technical reasons.

--John Park

*7*