Lots of news items worthy of note, but mostly continuing to suffer from information malnutrition. Need a catchier description of that national malady. Mostly the news is tripe, but sometimes there are important hints revealed, sometimes just by the form of the misdirection.
The latest case in point is the political game playing with "homeland" security, which is supposed to be something we're all in favor of. The story was played for maximum headline coverage about how they were going to cut the number of airline security people. That's just another indirect subsidy where all of the taxpayers provide crucial security services for the airlines, with the primary beneficiaries being the same rich folks who do most of the flying. Can you imagine where ticket prices would be if the airlines actually had to absorb all of those costs, too?
This latest beauty was orchestrated by Dubya's appointee who heads the appropriate agency. The apparent point was to blame Congress for not coming up with more money. Even though the GOP has ostensible control of both houses of Congress, there's still a tiny risk of a couple of GOP defectors, so sometimes they have to compromise a tiny bit, and that's just unacceptable. After all, the airlines donated lots of money to Dubya and deserve to get "fair value" in return. Among the MANY other factors that weren't mentioned in considering the overall financial woes of the airline industry were declining tourism due to worries about SARS and massive federal deficits that are making it harder and harder to come up with money for anything, even though Dubya continues to press for more tax cuts for the wealthy (to make things worse for the rest of us serfs). The entire presentation was so twisted that I was amazed they could print it without putting all of it in italics. And of course they'll revive the story in a major way just as soon as there's another successful terrorist attack.