If the Helen Thomas meltdown proves nothing else, it demonstrates that the spectrum from responsible journalist to opinion reporter to advocate to self-important lunacy is infinitely gradated, according to Jonah Goldberg:
If there was a right-winger who’d spouted so much bile, hate, and ideological agenda-driven nonsense in the White House briefing room for half a century it would be . . . oh wait, no such person would have ever been allowed to become a Washington “institution” in the first place. According to the media graybeards, it’s always been a sign of seriousness and unwavering truth-seeking for reporters to attack from the left (c.f. Dan Rather, Daniel Schorr, et al.).
See? She’s not biased she asks Obama and Clinton tough questions too! Yes, from the hard, loony left.
All of these condemnations, equivocations, repudiations, and protestations are all fundamentally silly because they are part of a D.C. Kabuki that treats the last straw as if it was wholly different than the million other straws everyone was happy to carry.
Of course, the alternative explanation is that within the press corps she wasn’t really all that strange until she went off the deep end. One of those “tipping point” kinds of things.
That and a regrettable tendency to stay on stage long past the last curtain call.
In 1981, Ronald Reagan—with bipartisan support—began the first phase in a series of tax cuts passed under the Economic Recovery Tax Act (ERTA), whereby the bulk of the tax cuts didn’t take effect until Jan. 1, 1983. Reagan’s delayed tax cuts were the mirror image of President Barack Obama’s delayed tax rate increases. For 1981 and 1982 people deferred so much economic activity that real GDP was basically flat (i.e., no growth), and the unemployment rate rose to well over 10%.
But at the tax boundary of Jan. 1, 1983 the economy took off like a rocket, with average real growth reaching 7.5% in 1983 and 5.5% in 1984. It has always amazed me how tax cuts don’t work until they take effect. Mr. Obama’s experience with deferred tax rate increases will be the reverse. The economy will collapse in 2011.
I guess the good news is that gap between rich and poor will finally shrink. America will be a remarkably egalitarian country when we are all equally poor, equally dependent.
Graced (!) with a three hour layover in Youston, your correspondent discovers that the tax deduction for mortgage interest – which subsidizes the greatest wealth generating engine in Middle American life – is now on the chopping block:
Although the backers of the mortgage interest tax break defend it as a key incentive for people to own rather than rent their homes, some say that’s not so. A Brookings-Urban Tax Policy Center study found that the mortgage interest tax break costs more than $100 billion annually but does little to encourage the middle class and less wealthy to buy homes. “I’m not sure that we need to subsidize homeownership at all through the tax system,” said Eric Toder, the study’s lead author.
No, certainly not. It enables differing outcomes as privileged classes of people – people who are able to in time and by the dint of unswerving labor and industry which contributes to the overall economy (and the federal coffers) might manage get out from under landlords. Once they are left with an opportunity to improve their own lives and amass for themselves sufficient properties, they might agitate once these things are taken away from them by a beneficent ruling class. Who only want what’s best for you.
For those who have even a modicum of WW2 history knowledge, the first thought that came to your mind was most likely Claus von Stauffenberg.
But there was apparently another some years earlier who, but for some fog, would have been successful.
That’s why I enjoy reading the BBC History Magazine. Many of their articles bring out either a revelation of daily life in the ancient times (for example in this issue, Vol 21, Nbr 13, life in the Roman Army for those who were Centurions (who commanded 80 men) and below), to obscure moments and figures in history.
“I will continue to say what I’ve said before. You hear in this debate, you hear analogies, you hear references to, you see pictures about and depictions of individuals that are truly stunning, and you hear it all the time. People — imagine five years ago somebody comparing health care reform to 9/11. Imagine just a few years ago had somebody walked around with images of Hitler.”
Just another one of those things the Obama administration inherited from its predecessor: A toxic public culture.
I’m watching a wonderfully produced program on YouTube on the Memphis Belle. Beautifully made because it goes from the restoration crew at Wright-Patterson doing the restoration, telling you how they refabricated parts, to voices of the now-gone crew talking about certain missions, to general information on her missions first to France, then Germany.
The Belle was famous – became an iconic piece of American history, for finishing 25 missions and boosting the morale of a war-weary American public.
Among the things I learned during her 6 month combat tour was that 10 engines were replaced, major wing parts, and the vertical stabilizer.
That a flight crew had only a 28% chance of surviving though the magic 25 combat missions and the ticket home.
How A-List Hollywood Director William Wyler, in Europe as an Army Major, picked the Belle as the B-17 he would use to document the war.
How every day in the War, the Pentagon sent 297 telegrams to the families of the 8th AAF crewmen giving them the worst news.
A second, heretofore hidden Iranian nuclear plant, a defiant, nutjob Iranian president and a case of breathtaking naïveté:
“So I think Iran is on notice that when we meet with them on October 1st,” Obama said, “they are going to have to come clean” and make a choice on whether to give up “the acquisition of nuclear weapons” or “continue down a path that is going to lead to confrontation.” He added: “The international community, I think, has spoken. It is now up to Iran to respond.”
Yarynich is talking about Russia’s doomsday machine. That’s right, an actual doomsday device—a real, functioning version of the ultimate weapon, always presumed to exist only as a fantasy of apocalypse-obsessed science fiction writers and paranoid über-hawks. The thing that historian Lewis Mumford called “the central symbol of this scientifically organized nightmare of mass extermination.” Turns out Yarynich, a 30-year veteran of the Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces and Soviet General Staff, helped build one.
The point of the system, he explains, was to guarantee an automatic Soviet response to an American nuclear strike. Even if the US crippled the USSR with a surprise attack, the Soviets could still hit back. It wouldn’t matter if the US blew up the Kremlin, took out the defense ministry, severed the communications network, and killed everyone with stars on their shoulders. Ground-based sensors would detect that a devastating blow had been struck and a counterattack would be launched.
The Sovs kept the program secret, unfortunately. Quite contrary to good game theory.
After all, in the immortal words of Dr. Strangelove, “The whole point of the doomsday machine is lost if you keep it a secret! Why didn’t you tell the world?”
Problems with its steam service turbine generators are delaying Friday’s planned deployment of amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard, Navy officials confirmed late Wednesday.
Maintenance crews were determining the repairs needed so Bonhomme Richard, carrying nearly 3,000 Marines and sailors, can begin its scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific and Persian Gulf regions. The turbine generators convert steam into electricity, which in turn feeds energy into the ship’s power supply.
“The ship received an inspection advisory for the ship’s service turbine generators,” said Cmdr. Greg Hicks, a U.S. 3rd Fleet spokesman in San Diego. “Issues were discovered that are best corrected pierside before commencing deployment.”
I was aboard the USS Independence in 1990 when Cat 3 went down. All alert launches were from the waist catapults, and the embarked F-14s couldn’t launch off Cat 4 with Phoenix missiles aboard. The flag wouldn’t cross the Bear Box without Tomcats, so the ship was delayed about a week undergoing repairs.
A lot of people got very excited at the news.
** 01-27-21 Link gone; no replacement found (was Navy Times)