This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated American freight…
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Happy 40th to the Staggers Rail Act, Which Deregulated and Saved the U.S. Rail Industry

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated American freight rail and saved it from looming oblivion.

At the time of passage, the U.S. economy muddled along amid ongoing malaise, and our rail industry teetered due to decades of overly bureaucratic sclerosis.  Many other domestic U.S. industries had disappeared, and our railroads faced the same fate.  But by passing the Staggers Rail Act, Congress restored a deregulatory approach that in the 1980s allowed other U.S. industries to thrive.  No longer would government determine what services railroads could offer, their rates or their routes, instead restoring greater authority to the railroads themselves based upon cost-efficiency.

Today, U.S. rail flourishes even amid the coronavirus pandemic…[more]

October 13, 2020 • 11:09 PM

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Silence of the Media Lambs Print
By Quin Hillyer
Thursday, November 15 2012
In all, the same press corps the president has evaded for so long acted with the meekness of herded lambs.

Provided the opportunity on Wednesday to assert supposed powers as the “Fourth Estate,” the White House press corps instead acted like a football team on Fourth-and-Eight: It punted.

Faced with the first chance, after more than two months, to grill Barack Obama about the tragedy in Benghazi, Libya, and related setbacks throughout North Africa and the Middle East, the assembled journalist wannabes barely scratched the surface of what should be treated as a major scandal.

Oh, sure, the first question touched on the outer orbit of the Libyan travesty, namely the sex scandal involving newly resigned CIA Director David Petraeus. Yet the words “Libya” and “Benghazi” weren’t even mentioned; instead, the question merely dealt with the possibility of security breaches related to Petraeus’ illicit affair.

Not until the seventh question, from Jonathan Karl of ABC, did Libya itself come up. Even then the question related not to the administration’s actual handling of issues related to the Benghazi consulate before, during and after the deadly assault, but instead to how Obama assessed the political challenges, issued by Republican senators, related to the attack. The follow-up question by Fox News’ Ed Henry did meander to a query about whether Obama “issue[d] any orders to try to protect [the lives of Americans at the consulate].” But after a vague assertion by Obama that he had generally ordered his “national security team [to] do whatever we need to do to make sure they’re safe,” nobody asked a word about specifics. Nada.

This “let him off easy” approach contrasts starkly with the repeated and specific questions the media asked President G.W. Bush, at every opportunity, about supposed “torture” of terrorist detainees.

Herewith, then, the basic and obvious questions that should have been asked, but weren’t:

  • Mr. President, you said generically that you ordered your team to keep the Americans safe. But did you A) entertain any specific proposals to send in a rescue mission; B) remain in direct operational contact during the conflagration with your national security team in order to assess rescue possibilities; C) have any knowledge during those seven hours about any orders for American military or intelligence officers to “stand down”?

  • Mr. President, let’s go back long before September 11 of this year. The Benghazi consulate came under two earlier attacks, and both the Ambassador and other personnel repeatedly asked for more security and/or objected to security being removed. Were you aware of any of those requests and the denials thereto, and, if not, have you yet held anybody accountable either for denying those requests or for failing to send the requests up the chain of command?

  • American news outlets were reporting within two days that the attack in Libya was organized, planned and appeared to have the indices of deliberate terrorism – and in the debate, you claimed on the very next day to have called the attacks an “act of terror.” Considering those facts, why did you or anybody in the administration put forward Ambassador Rice so many days later to tell a completely different story on five Sunday news shows? And did you personally discuss your information with Rice before sending her forward? If not, who briefed her? And if Rice herself was transmitting the “best information” she had, why haven’t those who briefed her been held accountable for sending Rice out to mislead the American public, since by your account you already knew it was an “act of terror”?

  • Once Ambassador Rice spread the mistaken story that Sunday, why did you not direct everybody in your administration to correct the record the very next day?

  • Mr. President, if your overall policy in North Africa and the Middle East is as effective as you say, why were there major demonstrations against the United States not just in Egypt and Libya, but in 20 different countries?

  • Mr. President, have you reviewed records of all of your national intelligence briefings, both those you actually attended in person and those you skipped in person but read reports of, to find out if there were indications that security at Benghazi was less than optimal – and, in light of the news that, as it turns out, there had been repeated requests from Libya for more security, then if those concerns did not reach the level of your daily briefings, have you in two months yet found out why not?

Aside from White House correspondents’ failures to ask searchingly enough regarding Libya, they also failed to ask Obama about the current skirmishes on the Israeli border, among other foreign policy imbroglios. Likewise, most of the questions on domestic issues were similarly perfunctory.

In all, the same press corps the president has evaded for so long acted with the meekness of herded lambs. Whatever happened to the “adversary press”?

Question of the Week   
Which one of the following individuals laid the ‘Golden Spike’ joining the Eastern and Western U.S. railroad lines to create the Transcontinental Railway?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"President Trump's recent executive order laying out his 'America-First Healthcare Plan' makes clear his continued commitment to the long-standing, bipartisan consensus that we should protect people with preexisting conditions. Unfortunately, the previous administration's attempt to make good on that consensus -- Obamacare -- has failed to deliver on its promises.Contrary to the prevailing media narrative…[more]
 
 
—Seema Verma, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator
— Seema Verma, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator
 
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