The Wall Street Journal Friday 22 July OpEd “Time to Take Alaska Out of the Icebox” refers to the Arctic being subject to “increased access from climate change”, now having “melting sea ice and thawing tundra”, and being ”home to... fresh water... increasingly important in a warming world.” These statements are presented without a shred of corroboration or attribution, no different than than saying “the sun rises in the east.”
Such statements are common in current news and commentary, often supported by “mathematical models.” An interesting model here would be projecting the planet's 4.5 billion-year age on to that of an 80-year old human, giving one earth year equivalent to 0.56 seconds of an 80-year-old geezer's lifetime. This would show mankind's first foray to the north pole in 1909 occurring 51 seconds ago. If you took our geezer's blood pressure as 130/70, then took it again 51 seconds later and got 132 of 68. would you start making funeral arrangements?
The article continues citing activities of Russia, Canada, Norway and Iceland to capatilize on the alleged increased relevance of the Arctic, but that “the U.S. has left Alaska in the icebox.”
The article suggests policy initiatives the US might consider if we want to catch up. Oddly enough one of these is “We will also need to revitalize our icebreaker fleet to support Arctic maritime activities.” Arctic ice is melting... and we still need icebreakers?
The Wall Street Journal on Thursday 7 July has a map on the top half of page A6 showing the current distribution of US state legislatures between Democrats and Republicans. It is eye-catching because it uses brite red and blue colors to distinguish between states with Republican and Democrat control of legislatures.
Unfortunately you mimic a convention the left wing press (initially by an aspiring national newspaper best known for its street boxes looking like TV sets) has used since the 1994 takeover of the House of Representatives by the Republicans (after 40 years,) indicating the Democrats as Blue and Republicans as red.
This flew in the face of convention dating back to the birth of modern governments, where the left has always been represented by red (red China, red guards, red Russia, etc.) We have left and right wing parties too, but the left wing party is the Democrats. Blue (the color of the Air Force and the Navy BTW) should be used for the Republicans, red for the left wingers.
As the largest circulation US newspaper, it seems odd that the Wall Street Journal wold fall for this misleading convention. Why not use a convention instantly and naturally recognized by everyone. If that confuses anyone, that's their problem.
NationalReview Magazine's 20 June The Week item “Republicans and Medicare” says of Medicare “The program is popular.” Some background may explain that popularity:
Medicare is paid out of the US general fund. That fund got its biggest boost in history from the ratification of the 17th amendment, which required every citizen to send a check to the Treasury every March 15 to pay a tax on their annual income. This crucial link was broken by the 1943 Current Tax Payment act moving this check writing responsibility from the 90% of individual citizens who are wage earners to employers. If the check doesn't get to the feds, the employer goes to jail, never the wage earner.
But the act also required the employer to give each wage earner a written statemnt with every pay check effectivly saying “You earned, and your employer paid,” so not only are wage earners not sending in any actual dollars, they are continually remindeed that if it wasn't for the feds, the wage earner would have got the money. Dream on.
Even more invidiously, since every employer is required to send in this tax, they have no competitive incentive to do anything other than add it to the price of their product.
This has resulted in the 2011 Statistical Abstract of the United States showing in 2009, 37% of all personal income taxes came from employer bank accounts. Social Security works under the same scam – adding in that 36.1%, you get nearly ¾ of all federal income coming from a silent, painless national sales tax.
Fixing this scam would not need a Constitutional Amendment, only a majority of the House of reps, 60 Senators, and a President with backbone enough to change the US Tax code from "every employer making payment of wages shall deduct and withhold upon such wages a tax..." to "every employer making payment of wages shall pay all of those wages to the employee...." The employer would still calculate the tax, including a note: "Here is how much the feds are expecting you personally to send in within 30 days"
A final assault on credulity: National Review Magazine writes 147 words on Medicare, not a one even a hint of questioning where in The United States Constitution there is justification for it.
I've lived in Detroit, St Louis, Kansas City, Pittsburgh PA, Marblehead MA. Worked as tech rep in Southern CA, Bay area, NYC, I've been to Europe a dozen times (Ireland, UK, Scotland, Sweden, Finland, Belgium.
Favorite restaurants are Gene & Georgetti's in Chicago, Roma Cafe in Detroit, Frankie and Johnie's in NYC, Rigazzi's on the hill in St. Louis (Also Charlie Gitto's, was Angelo's when I went there.)
For about a year I had small offices in Clayton MO, in the Country Club Plaza in KC. I rode a ten-speed bike around Lake Michigan (The bottom half in one week in June 1978, another week for the top half in 1980, used the Badger both times.
Don't get to travel much anymore, but still try to rent a car and go around the Lake in March every year. Sure, there's still snow, and it's not warm, OTOH there are no bugs and no toursts. Greatest little tavern in the world is Sherry's Port Bar in Garden UP MI