Mon, March 29

2003—Newsweek publishes a poll saying 74 percent of Americans think the Bush administration has “a well thought-out military plan.” 1995—Rep. Dan Burton [R-Ind.] says the U.S. “should place an aircraft carrier off the coast of [land-locked] Bolivia and crop dust the coca fields.” 1973—Army Master Sergeant Max Beilke becomes the last U.S. combat soldier to leave Vietnam. He will die at the Pentagon, a civilian, on 9/11/01. 1972—Anticipating a $100,000 “contribution” to the Nixon re-election campaign, the EPA lays off enforcement of a lead smelter in Idaho. 1971—A court martial for 22 murders makes Lt. W. Calley the scapegoat for My Lai; he gets “life …

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Sun, March 28

2007—Phyllis Schlafly explains to Bates students that a married woman “has consented to sex, and I don’t think you can call it rape.” 2003—Two U.S.A.F. A-10 “Warthogs” mistakenly strafe British tanks in Iraq. One soldier is KIA. 2003—“The enemy we’re fighting [in Iraq],” General William S. Wallace admits, “is different from the one we’d war-gamed against.” 1979—After a stuck valve dumps too much coolant, an emergency cooling system kicks in, but it’s overridden by operators who fail to see a hidden indicator light. The nuclear reactor core at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania partially melts, releasing 43K curies. 1967—The RAF bombs the Torrey Canyon to …

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Happy National Vietnam War Veterans Day!

Monday, March 29th will be National Vietnam War Veterans Day, as we all know. “National Vietnam War Veterans Day,” according to Wikipedia,* “is a U.S. holiday observed annually on March 29. It recognizes veterans who served in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. It should not be confused with Veterans Day.” This particular day was chosen because “on March 29, 1973, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) was disbanded and the last U.S. combat troops departed the Republic of Vietnam.” MACV was the successor to MAAG, the Military Assistance Advisory Group, which was sent by Harry Truman, in 1950, to help the French hang onto …

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Ain’t That America?

Since we last went to press—well, since we last published—two apparently deranged men have allegedly gone on separate killing sprees, in Atlanta, Georgia, and Boulder, Colorado. We regret having made that sentence less succinct than it might have been, but the nation’s laws pertaining to libel are more stringent than those on guns. It may be disconcerting, but it cannot be denied: America is getting back to normal. Democratic legislators are calling for a ban on assault weapons, while Republicans are focusing their attention on the Democrats’ choice of words. The Republicans do have a point here. A number of Democrats have called the Boulder …

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Now, Robots are Coming for White-Collar Jobs

In CorporateSpeak, there are no “job cuts.” Instead, firings are blandly referred to as “employment adjustments.” Now, though, corporate wordsmiths will need a whole new thesaurus of euphemisms, for masses of job cuts are coming for employees in the higher echelons of the corporate structure. Don’t look now, but an unanticipated result of the ongoing pandemic is that it has given cover for CEOs to speed up the adoption of highly-advanced RPAs (Robotic Process Automation) to replace employees once assumed to be immune from displacement. As one analyst told a New York Times reporter, “With RPA you can build a bot that costs $10,000 a …

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