Virtual Front Page, Monday, February 28, 2011

OK, here we go again, y’all:

  1. U.S. Readies Military Options on Libya (NYT) — Nobody else is leading with this at this hour, but they should be. And we, as in the United States, should be doing this as well — getting our forces into position. Meanwhile, “U.S. freezes $30 billion in Libya government assets.” Basically, we’re getting set to drop a DIME on ol’ Looney Tunes.
  2. Pro-Gadhafi Forces Attempt Raids on East (WSJ) — Pro-Gadhafi forces? You mean, there are still… Oh, yeah — well, good thing for Moammar there’s such a thing as mercenaries, huh? Meanwhile, the BBC reports that Gaddafi says ‘all my people love me’. They do? Oh, well, then… never mind. I was thinking he was in trouble…
  3. Obama makes concession on health law (WashPost) — At first, it sounds like the worst possible concession: “Obama said he would approve of allowing states to opt out of the Affordable Care Act by 2014…,” but then I read the rest of the sentence: “… if they could offer health-care coverage for as many people as they would under the law and not increase the deficit.” No chance of South Carolina even thinking about doing anything like that, so whew.
  4. Fluor, Savannah River Nuclear invest $1.5M in USC (CRBR) — Apparently, Big Bidness believes in South Carolina’s endowed chairs, even though the Legislature doesn’t these days.
  5. BCBS renews contract, saves 900+ jobs ( — And what, pray tell, is saving those private-sector jobs in our area. Why, it’s a gummint-run health plan. You know, the thing that we keep hearing will be the ruination of America…
  6. Last American WWI veteran dies at 110 (WashPost) — Thus does an era end. Actually, that era ended before I was born. I suppose Mr. Buckles’ passing is, in the historical sense, a long-delayed postscript to an era.

11 thoughts on “Virtual Front Page, Monday, February 28, 2011

  1. bud

    I’ve been following the dwindling number of WW I vets for a couple of years now. We’re down to 2, both Brits. One is 109 year old Claude Choules. He witnessed the scuttling of the German High Seas Fleet shortly after the Armistice. The other is a 110 year old waitress, Florence Green, who worked in a mess hall in England. I remember as a kid knowing many WW I vets including one of my grandfathers.

    As for Buckles, I think we should honor his wishes and restore and possibly expand the WW I monument that sits in a dilapidated state in an out-of-the way location on the DC mall. That would be a fitting tribute to the men who fought the war to end all wars.

  2. Doug Ross

    “BCBS renews contract, saves 900+ jobs ”

    And that’s the model we should strive for – letting private businesses who do the job well compete for the access to the subscribers. In other words, the opposite of single payer.

  3. Karen McLeod

    I would sincerely hope that we’re not planning any military intervention in Libya. We have enough problems in that neck of the woods without adding any more.

  4. bud

    And we, as in the United States, should be doing this as well — getting our forces into position.

    For what? Other than evacuating our people and providing humanitarian assistance the US has not role in this fight. It’s a civil war that’s likely to get ugly. Any strident military moves would only make things worse.

  5. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    and today’s The State above-the-fold headline about “Commody” prices makes me truly sad.

  6. Rose

    Oh my God, Kathryn, I had to go find a paper after I read your comment. There are these wonderful things called “dictionaries” and “spell check” – too bad they no longer have those at The State. And no copy editor, either, I suppose.

  7. bud

    I was hoping more people would comment on the incredible life of Frank Buckles, especially his wish to restore the WW I memorial. I’ve never been a huge fan of war memorials but WW I is something that has long been ignored in this country. It’s a war that offsets all the pro-war talk that is justified by our involvement in WW II, based on the need to defeat Hitler, etc. But WW II is the execption whereas WW I is more typical of wars. It shows how folks can be dragged into a catastrophic war for utterly ridiculous reasons. And once again we’re at the precipice of yet another dumb military entaglement. Gates certainly has it right with his “head examined” comment. Hopefully his warning will be heeded. The tragedy of WW I should serve as a warning for situations such as this.

  8. Brad

    Anyone who is surprised we’re getting ready for military action in the area needs to pay closer attention.

    And Phillip, I had several thoughts about Gates’ remark (which, for those who missed it, was “In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it.”):

    — First, my facetious reaction — Asia? Africa? Middle East? So that leaves what? Europe? Australia? South America? Antarctica? Quite a sweeping set of eliminations. Golly, I wonder if the world will cooperate with us on that, and make sure, out of sympathy to our wishes, that the next crisis demanding a deployment of U.S. ground troops happens in, say, Sydney. MayBE, but it seems unlikely.
    — I like Robert Gates (here’s a column I did about him in 2006), have liked him ever since he became CIA director in the 80s (and especially liked him when he delivered us from the disaster of Rumsfeld), so he has my sympathy. And I fully understand why someone who’s had the challenges he’s had as SecDef.
    — From a pragmatic standpoint, what he says makes all the sense in the world. That’s why the option we’re looking at in Libya is a no-fly zone — you know, the mode we were in in Iraq for 12 years during the “cease-fire” in that war against Saddam that started in 1990 and ended in 2003. It’s manageable, we can do it easily enough (we and the Brits are the only ones with the demonstrated ability to provide this service to the people of Libya and the world). Air superiority is something we know how to assert, and use.
    — Ground forces are a huge commitment — a commitment that the United States in the 21st century appears politically unwilling to make. If you’re a pragmatist like Gates — and he is, the consummate professional — you consider that when you’re considering whether the goals are achievable. We’ve demonstrated back here on the home front that we’re unable to commit FULLY to a nation-building enterprise the way we did in 1945. It takes such a single-minded dedication on every level — military, economic, diplomatic — and that takes sustained commitment. One is tempted to say that there’s something particular about Americans today that prevents such a consensus — our 50-50, bitter political division, for instance — but really, this is the norm in U.S. history. The anomaly was 1945. It took two world wars for us to bring us to the point that we could make that kind of commitment.

    I could go on (and it seems like I had another bullet point on the tips of my fingers, but I got interrupted there for a moment, and it’s gone), but that should do for a start. Maybe I’ll start a separate post…

  9. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    Yeah, Rose– John Monk told me a week ago about more staff cuts @ The State. Fortunately he’s still on staff, but….

    and I guess spelling checkers don’t work in the headlines?

  10. Matt Bohn

    I’ve been following the number of WWI vets also. I remember when I first started in the mid nineties there were 10,000 according to the World Almanac. My grandfather was in the war and it blows my mind that someone who fought in it is still alive. At least I have the stuff he brought back from France as a reminder of what he and his generation did.

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