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Reason Alert: Libya, Air Traffic and Nuclear Power

Air traffic controller asleep on the job and the myths and facts about nuclear power

March 25, 2011

- What Is Our Military's Mission?
- Sing-Along: Fighting And Dying So the TSA Can Touch Your Junk
- Sleeping Air Traffic Controller Shows FAA's Conflict of Interest
- Myths and Facts About Nuclear Power
- The Federal Government's Rosy Fiscal Scenarios
- Will Sen. Rand Paul Run for President?
- Rest In Peace, Lanny Friedlander
- New at Reason
What Is Our Military's Mission?
Reason magazine's Jacob Sullum writes: "Even if Obama had bothered to obey the Constitution by seeking congressional approval, intervening in Libya's civil war would take the U.S. military in the wrong direction at a time when fiscal realities dictate that America retire from its job as global policeman. As Obama conceded on Monday, 'our military is already very stretched and carries large burdens all around the world' — precisely because it is required to do much more than defend the United States. The U.S., with 5 percent of Earth's population and no enemies on its borders, spends about as much on 'defense' as the rest of the world combined. If you want to know why, consider how casually our commanders in chief order American servicemen to risk their lives for purposes that have nothing to do with national security. Obama claims 'we cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people that there will be no mercy.' Yes, we can, and we often do. There is no moral consistency, and little rhyme or reason, to the U.S. government's decisions about which brutal dictators to challenge, which to leave alone, and which to support as allies. The regimes that endorsed the war with Libya—supposedly justified by outrage over 'gross and systematic violation of human rights' —include quite a few, such as Gabon, Syria, and Saudi Arabia,  that are guilty of the same crimes. In any case, American taxpayers have a right to expect that the money they are compelled to contribute to this nation's defense will be used for that purpose. American military personnel have a right to expect that their missions will have something to do with protecting U.S. security, the function they have agreed to serve."
President Obama's Attraction to War
Obama Follows Bush's Lead on Government Power
Sing-Along: Fighting And Dying So the TSA Can Touch Your Junk
As American warplanes strategically attack Libya and American boots win the peace in Afghanistan and Iraq, YouTube sensation Remy sings that it is important to remember that our brave men and women are fighting for our rights to let the TSA take full body scans; place our three-ounce toiletries in plastic baggies; protect 16,000 pages of tax code; and ban energy drinks.
Friday Funnies: Nanny LaHood
Sleeping Air Traffic Controller Shows FAA's Conflict of Interest
"The incident at Reagan National Airport in which two airliners landed after midnight without any assistance from the control tower illustrates a long-standing flaw with the Federal Aviation Administration. That agency combines two incompatible roles in a single body: aviation safety regulator and operator of the air traffic control system. Every other aspect of the aviation system is regulated at arm’s-length by the FAA: airports, airlines, air taxis, business jets, pilots, mechanics, and the producers of planes and engines. Only the air traffic control system is operated by the safety regulator itself, rather than being regulated by it...Every developed country in Europe, as well as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many others, has separated its air traffic control system from its aviation safety regulatory agency over the past decade, in accordance with rules from the International Civil Aviation Organization. Doing so in this country has been recommended by several former FAA Administrators, as well as a number of U.S. aviation safety experts. But Congress has thus far ignored the problem." - Reason Foundation's Robert Poole
Video: Leonard Gilroy and Judge Napolitano Discuss the Sleeping Controller and FAA's Response
Aviation Section of the Annual Privatization Report
Air Traffic Control Research
Myths and Facts About Nuclear Power
In a feature today, Reason magazine Columnist Veronique de Rugy debunks several myths about nuclear power, including:
Myth 1: Nuclear power is a cheap alternative to fossil fuels.
Fact 1: It isn’t.
Myth 2: Risk is the main problem with nuclear power.
Fact 2: Cost is the main problem, not risk.
Myth 3: The spread of nuclear power has stalled in the U.S. due to a hostile regulatory environment.
Fact 3: Nuclear power has stalled because it is simply not profitable.
Myth 4: Nuclear power is the key to energy independence.
Fact 4: More nuclear doesn’t mean less oil.
Shikha Dalmia: Japan's Failed Nuclear Subsidies
The Federal Government's Rosy Fiscal Scenarios
Reason magazine's Peter Suderman: "Even under the rosy scenarios cooked up by the White House economic team, the national debt is projected to rise by more than $7 trillion over the next decade—hardly a model of fiscal responsibility. But should we actually believe the president's projections? Just as it’s worth checking into a manufacturer’s product claims before swiping your credit card, it’s worth verifying what the administration claims about its own budget. That’s where the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) comes in. Think of it as Consumer Reports for economic policy. And according to a report released by the office last week, the president’s proposal doesn’t even meet the measly goals the president claimed. For example, the president’s economic team argues that the White House budget proposal would put the federal government into 'primary balance.' It’s a weasely term to begin with: It means that tax revenues are high enough to cover the current year’s spending on things like staff and programs. But as always, there’s a loophole. A budget that’s in 'primary balance' ignores the money spent paying interest on the ever-rising national debt.That’s sort of like saying that a car is in “primary working order” because all the parts are in good shape aside from the engine. America will spend $207 billion simply paying interest on the federal government’s debt this year alone. By 2021, that figure is projected to rise to $844 billion. At the same time, the CBO projects we'll add almost $9.5 trillion in new debt. Yet somehow this is what passes the president’s test for 'living within our means.' Worse, according to the CBO, the president’s budget fails even that pathetic standard. In 2018, when the government comes closest to achieving balance, the CBO still predicts a budget that’s $177 billion short of the president’s stated goal of 'primary balance.'"
John Stossel: End Corporate Welfare
The Endless Expansion of Government Gov. Kasich's Ohio Budget Is a Fiscal Failure
Will Sen. Rand Paul Run for President?
With speculation mounting that Sen. Rand Paul might run for president, Reason magazine's Brian Doherty says Rand's father is still a better presidential candidate for now: "Ron Paul, as one of the few people ever to win election to Congress as a non-incumbent three different times (I don't know of any others but haven't checked every congressional record on that), is obviously a very good politician indeed. He has gotten very far since 2007 in creating a national movement of donors and activists, skewing young on at least the latter, for a very outre brand of politics. I see no evidence whatever, despite him perhaps looking more conventionally like a 'slick professional politician,' that Rand is a better politician than his dad. (And I think Ron's stumbling earnestness and lack of polish makes him a more successful politician for those very reasons.) In my experience, Ron inspires far more wide-ranging actual admiration and affection from people who don't agree with his whole message than does his son.  Ron's ability to stress that military spending should be first on the budget chopping block before government spending that fills the pockets of the less well off should also help him escape the 'evil Republican' trap if he's reaching out beyond GOP faithful for support. Rand, for whatever reason, has not shown any crossover appeal that I've seen." Interviews Rand Paul
Rest In Peace, Lanny Friedlander
We're saddened to announce the death of Lanny Friedlander, who founded Reason magazine in May of 1968 as a student at Boston University. He was 63.  His burial service is scheduled for Monday in Bourne, Massachusetts. Lanny's immense gift for graphic design and bold, innovative thinking is evident in the early issues of Reason and we extend our condolences to his family and friends. Please check later today for a more extensive notice. Arrangements are being handled by Blake Funeral Home, which has an online guestbook that mourners can post messages at.
New Reason Videos
Los Angeles Food Police Ban Burger Joints Interviews Walter Williams
Peter Suderman Discusses Health Care and Libya on Judge Napolitano's Freedom Watch
Michael Moynihan on Fox's Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld
Anthony Randazzo Talks Home Sales  and the Economy on RT
New Reason Reviews
Kurt Loder Reviews The Book of Mormon
Kurt Loder Reviews Sucker Punch
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