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Mon, 18 Oct 2021
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Free to Die

tea party health care debate
© Unknown
Back in 1980, just as America was making its political turn to the right, Milton Friedman lent his voice to the change with the famous TV series "Free to Choose." In episode after episode, the genial economist identified laissez-faire economics with personal choice and empowerment, an upbeat vision that would be echoed and amplified by Ronald Reagan.

But that was then. Today, "free to choose" has become "free to die."

I'm referring, as you might guess, to what happened during Monday's G.O.P. presidential debate. CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked Representative Ron Paul what we should do if a 30-year-old man who chose not to purchase health insurance suddenly found himself in need of six months of intensive care. Mr. Paul replied, "That's what freedom is all about - taking your own risks." Mr. Blitzer pressed him again, asking whether "society should just let him die."

And the crowd erupted with cheers and shouts of "Yeah!"

The incident highlighted something that I don't think most political commentators have fully absorbed: at this point, American politics is fundamentally about different moral visions.

X

America Today: Heartbreaking Pictures From New Jersey's Homeless 'Tent City'

NJ homeless camp
© Robert Johnson

Doug Hardman wakes up every morning with a song in his head - a vague memory of his days on stage.

Inside his tepee in the woods outside Lakewood, NJ, at the homeless Tent City, the roosters wake early and the mornings are already cooler. A musician who lost his Florida home in the housing crisis, Hardman says he floats in and out of Tent City, that he's proud of his kids, and misses the life he no longer has.

He has a lot of company out here.

Tent City made the news recently and while community leader Steven Brigham says the media attention brought in greater donations, it also brought unwanted attention from the local politicians.

After battling with the city for years to have access to the public land here, Brigham found a New Jersey lawyer to represent his case pro bono.

Ambulance

US: 3 dead, more than 50 injured at Nevada air race; mechanical problems may be to blame

Image
© Unknown
WWII-era plane plunges into grandstands.
A World War II-era fighter plane flown by a veteran Hollywood stunt pilot plunged Friday into the edge of the grandstands during a popular air race, killing three people, injuring more than 50 spectators and creating a horrific scene strewn with smoking debris.

The plane, piloted by 74-year-old Jimmy Leeward, spiraled out of control without warning and appeared to disintegrate upon impact. Bloodied bodies were spread across the area as people tended to the victims and ambulances rushed to the scene.

Authorities were investigating the cause, but an official with the event said there were indications that mechanical problems were to blame.

Maureen Higgins of Alabama, who has been coming to the air races for 16 years, said the pilot was on his third lap of a race when he lost control.

Laptop

Apple Yanks "Jew or Not Jew?" Application From France, Not U.S.

jew,not jew, app
© J Soft
An Apple application that let users guess which French politicians or celebrities are Jewish was pulled from France's App Store, but its American equivalent is still available.

French activist groups said the "Jew or Not Jew?" app violated bans on compiling information on people's religion and revealing that religion without their consent, according to United Press International.

The app, which became available last month, can still be purchased in other countries, the newspaper said. It was developed by a Jew. Johann Levy, 35, a French-British software engineer, told the Journal his intent was to develop a "recreational" tool for people who want to know the religious background of celebrities.

Mail

US: Postal Service faces grim 'new reality'

postal van

The current mail system of the United States is "no longer financially sustainable," and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is looking for billions of dollars in cuts to its services.

The postal service announced Thursday it was considering closing nearly 250 processing facilities, cutting equipment by 50 percent and slowing mail delivery in an extreme cost-cutting effort. It is looking for $3 billion in annual savings.

And as the president and Congress search high and low for ways to boost job creation, up to 35,000 people could be laid off as part of that effort.

Eye 1

Mayor Bloomberg predicts riots in the streets if economy doesn't create more jobs

Mayor Bloomberg
© Spencer Platt/Getty
Mayor Bloomberg is sounding the alarm bell over the nation's struggling economy.

Mayor Bloomberg warned Friday there would be riots in the streets if Washington doesn't get serious about generating jobs.

"We have a lot of kids graduating college, can't find jobs," Bloomberg said on his weekly WOR radio show.

"That's what happened in Cairo. That's what happened in Madrid. You don't want those kinds of riots here."

Newspaper

US: Subway station billboard battle is latest flareup in Israeli-Palestinian conflict

israel, billboard
© Julia Xanthos/News
WESPAC Foundation's subway ad campaign is the first volley in a war of words playing out on billboards. A pro-Israel group plans a counter-campaign.
A subway station billboard war is the latest flareup in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The dispute began with posters urging an end to U.S. military aid for Israel, prompting a City Council member to demand an end to the ads - and spawning an upcoming series of counter-ads.

"This is a highly political campaign with a controversial underlying anti-Israel message," Councilman Lewis Fidler (D-Brooklyn) wrote MTA President Thomas Prendergast.

People

Abbas: Palestinians want full UN membership

UN showdown

Palestinian leader says PA to proceed with UN bid in September because President Obama endorsed Palestinian state; 'I'm going to the UN in order to demand our legitimate rights and secure full membership,' he says

Dramatic speech in Ramallah: The Palestinian Authority will be seeking full United Nations membership in its statehood bid later this month, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas said Friday.

"I'm going to the UN in order to demand our legitimate rights and secure full membership for the state of Palestine," the Palestinian president said in Ramallah. "We hope to secure full membership."

"We are going to the Security Council," Abbas added, but then made it clear that "all options are open" and that a final decision has not been made yet.

Footprints

Mystery Boy Emerges From German Woods

Image
© Getty
An English-speaking boy has emerged from the German woods, baffling authorities.

Says he lived in forest with father for five years

Police in Berlin are baffled over the identity of a boy who emerged from the forest, saying he'd lived there for five years with his father.

The boy, believed to be about 17, showed up at Berlin's City Hall on Sept. 5. He said he had lived in earthen huts and tents with his father until the elder man died. At that point, the boy, who speaks fluent English and little German, used a compass to walk north for two weeks, finally winding up in Berlin carrying a sleeping bag and backpack, according to The Associated Press.

"He said that he had lived for the last five years wandering around with his father," Police spokesman Michael Maass said. "We don't know where."

Mr. Potato

Canada's top military officer spends $1 million on VIP flights, including vacation

Walt Natynczyk
© The Canadian Press
Walt Natynczyk
Canada's Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Walt Natynczyk has spent more than $1 million since 2008 flying on government VIP aircraft as an alternative to commercial flights.

Flight logs obtained by CTV News indicate Natynczyk used a CC-144 Challenger to fly to St. Maarten Island to begin a vacation after he missed a flight for a cruise holiday with his family.

The Caribbean flight cost taxpayers approximately $92,956.80.

The defence documents also show more than $1 million was spent transporting Natynczyk to various "military appreciation nights" at National Hockey League and Canadian Football League games.

The Challenger jets have also taken Natynczyk to military fundraisers throughout Canada over the last two years. Among those, his flight to attend the Support Our Troops Gala in Edmonton in September 2009 cost taxpayers $79,822. It's estimated the gala itself raised only between $200,000 and $250,000.