Mailbag (In Brief)

by Jay Nordlinger

In Impromptus today, I mention the ex-Google exec who implored President Obama to raise his taxes. Then I suggest there are other ways the man could spend his money.

A reader writes, “A few weeks ago, Warren Buffett invested $5 billion in Bank of America, and by doing so stabilized the stock price . . . and restored public confidence in the bank. He could not have done that had he given that $5 billion to the government, or had the money taxed away . . .”

There’s much more in this thoughtful and knowledgeable letter — but you get the drift.

Also, in my column, I do some sniffing at a recent decision of the Post Office. To close down? No — to lift its rule saying that only the deceased can appear on stamps. The Post Office will now seek living figures to honor. Thus, I fear, will we celebrate the ephemeral, the merely popular, the passions of the moment.

But I like very much what a reader has written me: “Here’s one group of living people who should appear on postage stamps — Medal of Honor recipients. Those who received the award posthumously should be featured, too.”

Finally, I have occasion to mention Parley Baer, a character actor who lived from 1914 to 2002. A reader writes,

“He was nearly always cast as a nervous, irritable, conniving businessman or government official, playing against the protagonist. He was one of the two mayors of Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show, and his character (Mayor Stoner) was meddlesome and egotistical. He was one of those actors we saw in a thousand movies and TV shows, but whose names we never knew. Olan Soule was another of this type.”

The stuff people know and remember . . .

P.S. What if a Republican president made a crack like the one Obama made about Texas fires and “climate change”? What if a Republican president joked about a cold snap and global-warming paranoia? Think the press would be all nice ’n’ quiet?

P.P.S. The president of the United States is now singling out obnoxious members of audiences at Republican debates. Should Republican politicians do likewise — talk about obnoxious members of left-wing audiences? Would there be time for anything else?