Counting the Days to VH-Day
A post Turkey Day short takes catch up, as we count down the final days to VH Day: Victory Over Hyman!
Mark Hyman recently repeated the canard about Kerry calling U.S. troops “stupid” in the context of an attack on Charles Pinning, a novelist and author of an essay that Hyman misidentifies as an “editorial” for a Rhode Island newspaper. In the piece, Pinning says many enlistees in today’s Army, as they were in Vietnam, are young people with few options because of the lack of financial and scholastic options.
Hyman predictably accuses him of hating the troops and patriotism, and says the high school graduation rates in the Army are higher than the national average and that “66% come from middle or upper” income homes.
Now, I think Pinning’s rhetoric is overheated and goes too far, but Hyman is simply dishonest when he suggests that lack of options doesn’t play a role in recruiting. No, our soldiers are certainly no dummies. Despite the recent relaxing of recruitment standards, a high school degree has long been a baseline educational level for recruits, so certainly a higher percentage of soldiers have degrees than the general population. But that doesn’t mean that the general educational level in the military is at or above the national average.
Not that this is a slam on the IQ of soldiers. You can’t be Rainman and drive an M1 Abrams tank. But a large percentage of soldiers *do* join because they don’t have the finances to pursue higher education on their own. Heck, that’s been one of the major recruiting carrots held out to potential recruits: money for college. That 66% figure? It sounds good, until you realize two things: saying that 2/3 of our troops come from middle OR upper income families doesn’t say anything about how many sons and daughters of the wealthy are serving. By combining these categories, Hyman distorts the numbers. Secondly, we still have a full third of our troops coming from lower income families.
Mark, it’s not a slam on our troops to say that their numbers are not representative of the entire socio-economic spectrum. It’s a slam on the policies that send a disproportionate number of working class kids to fight wars dreamt up by wealthy men.
In another editorial, Hyman mentions that in the recent “hubbub” (one of Hyman’s favorite words) about the election, the investigation into four member of the voter registration group ACORN in Missouri went unnoticed. They are suspected of filing false voter registration forms. He labels ACORN as a union-friendly group.
What he *doesn’t* tell you is that ACORN’s raison d’etre is registering poor and/or minority voters. He also doesn’t tell you that ACORN itself identified the fishy registrations and has supported the FBI investigation. He also doesn’t mention that the GOP in Missouri sent intimidating letters to those first time voters signed up by ACORN to try to keep them from voting.
He also doesn’t have anything to say about the shenanigans perpetrated in Maryland by his former boss, the defeated incumbent governor Bob Ehrlich, who along with GOP Senate candidate Michael Steele bussed in unemployed African Americans from around the D.C. area, put them in Ehrlich T-shirts, and had them pass around misleading sample ballots in Maryland that suggested that Ehrlich and Steele were Democrats and had been endorsed by prominent African Americans.
Speaking of the elections, in his Thanksgiving Day commentary, Hyman lamely tries to spin the Blue Wave that swept the country by saying that voters simply expressed “their unhappiness with about three dozen incumbents in Congress.”
Right. And the American Revolution was just an expression of unhappiness about the price of tea.
We have a farewell edition of the Mailbag segment, in which Hyman predictably quoted widely from letters that praised him, and quoted only a few contrary emails, all of which were picked and edited to make the writers seem unhinged or unfair (e.g., including a letter in which an expletive had to be deleted).
And finally, Hyman uses the “c” word about himself. In a commentary praising legislation putting limits on Congressional earmarks, Hyman labels himself a conservative.
Thanks for the news flash, Mark.
And those are the catch-up Counterpoints.