“…The atmosphere was predominantly gay. Life between sorties was so organised that there was little opportunity to think. Pilots played poker and bridge endlessly and with a furious concentration, while in the background a gramophone wheezed out over and over again a well-worn recording of “Who Paid the Rent for Mrs. Rip Van Winkle?” and the Squadron’s mascot, a young lion cub called Whiskey, prowled amiably about the mess. When there was a party, it often ended in the complete sacking of the local hotel; which simultaneously shocked and impressed the more orderly French pilots.”
Such an excellent example of really poor foresight:
CINC. A geographical commander-in-chief, about whom we’ll gossip lots more in Chapter 8. SecDef Donald Rumsfeld abolished the use of the word “CINC,” arguing that there’s only one commander-in-chief, the President. “CINC” was the word before Rumsfeld, it will be the word after he goes, and don’t look, but lots of people still use it today. SecDefs are transitory; the building rules. So we will use CINC here.
I believe CJCS and CDRUSSOCOM, CDRUSPACOM, et al. would beg to differ.
- Jeff Cateau and Michael Levin, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Pentagon (Indianapolis: Pearson Education, 2003), p. 11.
On the cocaine trade between Mexico and the U.S.:
“They erect this fence,” he said, “only to go out there a few days later and discover that these guys have a catapult, and they’re flinging hundred-pound bales of marijuana over to the other side.” He paused and looked at me for a second. “A catapult,” he repeated. “We’ve got the best fence money can buy, and they counter us with a 2,500-year-old technology.”
Bob Davis and David Wessel compare two families – one that entered the workforce in the 1970s and one that entered the workforce in the 1990s. The stories of these families give you a good feel for how life changed during that period. In some ways it got easier but in many ways it got harder. It got harder to purchase a house, it got harder to purchase an education and there was less economic security overall.
I followed through on their reporting by checking in with the Blentlinger family, who had been interviewed for Prosperity, to see how they were doing now. Davis and Wessel chose the Blentlinger family because they were right at the median in terms of income. I was pleased to discover that the Blentlingers were doing better than the median today – they’ve managed to move up and that’s the good news. The bad news was that the way the Blentlingers were able to achieve this advancement was by absenting themselves completely from the private sector economy. Jim Blentlinger’s wife was a schoolteacher and he went to work for the Tennessee Valley Authority. So today they rely on government jobs to provide the kind of security that you could get from private sector jobs in the 1970s, including a labour union, which is almost impossible to get in the private sector these days. In large part, because of those two features, the Blentlingers are now much better off.
- Timothy Noah on income inequality, discussing Davis and Wessel’sProsperity
Where, outside of large public and semi-public institutions, can you find a decent salary and relatively stable job prospects? Just realizing it’s the same for my parents, who work for the New England Journal of Medicine and the Boston PBS affiliate, respectively. I have two friends with single-parent incomes: one is a professor at Princeton; the other’s father works for the IRS.
There’s a reason that the (quasi)public sector - the onlysector of the economy that still has some semblance of a labor movement - happens to be home to many (most?) of the dwindling number of middle class jobs that still exist.