Reader: The world is a darker place without the likes of Charles Krauthammer and his contemporary, Christopher Hitchens. A sad day for engaged conversation.
Reader: Truly heartbroken. He wasn't biased. He spoke the truth. His writing made my writing improve. He didn't confuse and was clear in what he was saying. So admire him. Will dearly miss this intelligent, truthful and compassionate man/writer. You will be missed, Krauthammer.
Price: Charles Krauthammer, longtime conservative columnist/commentator for The Washington Post and Fox News, will be remembered as one of the most insightful and civil voices of the right this country has seen. He debated the issues with dignity and unfailing respect for other views. And, something of a rarity amid today's polarized noise, he had respect for objective truth.
Krauthammer, who we added to The Californian's Opinion section about three years ago, announced Friday that he is confronting an aggressive form of cancer and has only a few weeks left to live. He had been on medical leave for 10 months fighting what he had assumed was a successful battle with another cancer.
"I leave this life with no regrets," he wrote in a farewell message Friday. "It was a wonderful life — full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended."
His full, brief message is published in Saturday's Opinion section.
Reader: With the growing Hispanic population here in Kern County don’t you think it’s about time that we had a comic strip with a Latin slant? I recommend Lalo Alcaraz and his strip, “La Cucaracha.”
— Elizabeth Keranen
Reader: Monday through Saturday The Californian’s comics pages include "Bizarro" and "Bound and Gagged," always guaranteed for at least a smile. Why are these comics not run in the Sunday paper? I go to another newspaper’s website to read them but it's more fun to share hard copy amongst the family than passing around an iPad.
— Alex Wiyninger
Price: Those are all good suggestions — I'm especially with you on "Bizarro" and "Bound and Gagged," Alex — and we'll take it under advisement. But having been here at The Californian for previous comics page adjustments, I have to tell you it's not something to take lightly. Adding or expanding a strip is painless enough, but Newton's third law always come into play: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. We've got to take something away to make space, and even that dull, repetitive strip you always ignore has a faithful set of fans. I still remember the outcry when we yanked "Fred Basset."
By the way, Elizabeth: We do have one strip with a Latino slant: "Baldo," by Hector Cantú and Carlos Castellanos. But it appears Sundays only.
Reader: As I have mentioned before, I look forward to the movie reviews in the Friday editions. They are a joy to read, with carefully sculpted word candy like “fastidiously recreated tableau” and “a fierce performance with a human pulse ...” They also challenge me with at least one Google search for the definition of an unfamiliar word (polemical: relating to or involving strongly critical, controversial, or disputatious writing or speech). And I love the reviewers’ closing comments, such as “made on a low budget, but it wasn’t cheaply made,” and “now I think I need to pet my dog, or listen to some Gershwin, or something.”
Please keep them coming.
— Pamela Wildermuth
Price: I agree, and I get a special joy from reading a reviewer's thorough trashing of a really bad movie. Here's a classic, from the late, great Roger Ebert: "'Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo' makes a living prostituting himself. How much he charges I'm not sure, but the price is worth it if it keeps him off the streets and out of another movie."
Our Dennis Wynne selects the movie reviews that run on Fridays and I'll guess it's one of his favorite duties.
Reader: Once again, The Californian publishes a letter without checking the facts. A frequent, liberal letter writer pillories President Trump for not acknowledging the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ("Of course he ignored the royal wedding," May 25). He does not mention the fact that the Trumps were not invited to the wedding despite the fact that an American citizen was marrying British royalty.
We do not know if the Obamas were invited but then decided not to attend. And there was no mention of Obama twittering congratulations. It was reported that the Trumps did send the couple a wedding gift in the name of one of the number of charities they support.
— Greg Laskowski
Reader: One of your letter writers went on a rant about President Trump ignoring the royal wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. President Trump is listed in Daily Mail (U.K.), Us Weekly, Washington Examiner and others as having contributed to the royal couple's charities.
How many dollars did you donate to their charities, Mr. Letter Writer?
— Gary L. Williams
Price: President Trump did not ignore the Royal Wedding, at least not officially. The president and wife Melania made a donation to one of the seven charities that Harry, 33, and Meghan, 36, suggested to guests and well-wishers. Which charity it was hasn't been disclosed, to my knowledge.
It's been widely reported that Prince Harry made the decision to not invite any political leaders to the wedding — not Trump, not British Prime Minister Theresa May and not Barack Obama, even though Harry is said to have a warm relationship with the former U.S. president.
Harry and his bride reportedly received another gift from the Trumps as well: a bowl, in keeping with the tradition of U.S. heads of state giving bowls to royal family members as wedding presents. Ronald Reagan did so, and so did Harry Truman.
That all sounds fairly perfunctory and staff-managed, but then presidents are supposed to have better things to do than pore over Tiffany's catalogs.
What Trump might have done, but apparently didn't, is tweet his congratulations. He sometimes tweets several times a day, as the world well knows, so it wouldn't have been a difficult chore. Neither did he make a public statement about the nuptials. So I suppose one could say he did not personally acknowledge the wedding. (Someone, please, correct me if I'm wrong.)
Obama tweeted his good wishes: "Michelle and I are delighted to congratulate Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on their engagement. We wish you a lifetime of joy and happiness together."
Trump has tweeted about the royals before, however.
In 2012, paparazzi used a powerful zoom lens to snag photos of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, sunbathing topless in the south of France with her husband, Prince William. The photos were sold to a French magazine. The broad consensus was that it represented a galling invasion of the duchess' privacy. But not to the U.S. president-to-be.
"Kate Middleton is great — but she shouldn't be sunbathing in the nude — only herself to blame. Who wouldn't take Kate's picture and make lots of money if she does the nude sunbathing thing. Come on Kate!"
I think it's fair to say a lot of people would have refrained from taking those pictures. But maybe that's just me.
Reader: June 6, 2018, was the 74th anniversary of D-Day, when the Allies stormed the beaches of Normandy to begin the liberation of Europe from the iron fist of Nazi Germany. It was one of the most momentous days in history. The only mention of this event in The Californian was in a vintage edition of "Peanuts" on the comics page and four brief lines in "Today in History." How sad.
— Wilbur W. Wells
Reader: I was very astounded that there was no coverage of such an important day as D-Day in The Californian. There is a whole generation that probably never even heard of D-Day, and that is my point. This day should never be forgotten — those who don’t know about it need to learn about it because it was part of the great price paid for their freedom. Thousands of our very finest young men lost their lives that day on the beaches of Normandy, France.
— Jennie Henden
Price: Four days after I defended our coverage of military-related holidays like Memorial Day and Veterans Day here in Sound Off, we dropped the ball on D-Day. It's not like it snuck upon us: Editors talked in advance about what sort of attention we might give the occasion. We simply failed to follow through.
We were consumed by Tuesday's election — that's the only excuse I can come up with. Coverage of the June 5 primary, and its second-day aftermath, occupied most of our space and most of our staff. But we certainly could've found the space to acknowledge D-Day.
Jennie, you express the importance of D-Day acknowledgment well.
Reader: I so enjoyed the article about the Burton quadruplets ("Burton quadruplets 'born best friends,' making college plans as sisters graduate," June 1). I wish them and their mother the best and congratulations to all.
— Katharien Talamantez
Price: That was one of homegrown reporter Dakota Allen's first assignments for us. Nicely done, Dakota.
Reader: In the recent graduation photos, I see TBC has a new photographer, someone named Robert Price. I’m not sure where the paper found him, but I think he has potential. With tips from photographer extraordinaire Felix Adamo and a few decades of taking photos every day, Price could be put on full time.
— Mark Smith
Price: Thanks, but the tip Felix would be most likely to give me is "Quit trying to be a photographer."