By Dave Simpson, columnist
Readers respond to recent columns:
– A column I wrote about the death of Rush Limbaugh netted over 140 comments on Facebook, many of them skewering me for having listened to Rush for 32 years. They beat me like a rented mule.
In that column, I asked “…why is it so controversial to want a government that isn’t running up catastrophic debt…?”
To which a critic cited the amount the national debt increased under Donald Trump. (Plenty.)
The assumption was that I only blame Democrats for the debt. Not so. I have written here many times that I blame both parties for spending our grand children into crushing debt.
In fact, I tend to blame Republicans more than Democrats, because Democrats make no bones about spending us into oblivion. Republicans promise to do something about the debt, but never do. At least the Democrats are honest about their determination to outspend drunken sailors.
So it’s a continuous, bipartisan, spendthrift bacchanal, as our world-class porkers from both parties use borrowed dollars to reassure their own re-election.
And shamelessly mortgage the future of our grand kids.
– A month ago, I wrote about a ride I took on a B-52 bomber back in 1981, flying over South Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Idaho. The crew practiced mid-air refueling, then flew at 500 feet (very low) diagonally across Wyoming, simulating bomb drops near the towns of Douglas and Powell.
In that column, I mentioned a Wall Street Journal article, which reported that the aging B-52 will be in use until 2050 – a full 90 years after its design and entry into service. Two B-52 replacements – the B-1B and the B-2 – have not panned out. The B-1B developed problems with it’s movable wings, and the B-2, at $2 billion per plane, was deemed too costly.
That sparked this email from a reader in Palmdale, California:
“Dear Mr. Simpson:
“I enjoyed your story of flying low in a B-52.
“Am writing you to comment on the reason the B-2 bombers became $2B aircraft.
“B-2 production was humming along when the Berlin Wall came down and soon after the fall of the Soviet Union. The Cold War was now over. The requirement for the B-2 in the arsenal re-evaluated.
“The first cut to production was from 132 to 75, then later to 21. The $2B to build each airplane is due to the non-recurring expenses being charged to just 21 aircraft.
“Think of it as if General Motors built the Saturn factory in TN, engineered the product, tooled it up, built up a supplier base, trained workers, produced 21 cars then suddenly ceased production, and shut it down. Those 21 cars would each carry a very heavy price tag.”
Well, that explains it. Thanks to my Palmdale reader.
– In a column last week, I mentioned old retired guys – like me – who have taken over the cooking duties in their homes, giving their wives a break after they cooked for decades. I cited a poem titled “Pot Wrasslers” by the late cowboy poet Curley Fletcher. And that elicited this response from “a Wyoming gal in Colorado:”
“Dear Mr. Simpson:
“I love that you are working at being the at home Pot Wrassler! It sounds like you are getting pretty brave and creative. Cooking is actually fun, I think, and a science.
“Too many people, at least in the cities, don’t bother cooking anymore – prepared deli meals, fast food, or God help us all, UBER Eats. Now that is certainly NOT even close to Pot Wrassling. Those folks wouldn’t last a day on the cowboy trails.
“Thanks for a fun article. Keep Wrassling.”
Years ago, when I ran a newsroom in Nebraska, I noticed that the younger staff members went out to lunch or dinner pretty much every day. Then I would hear them complain that they just never seemed to have enough money. I told them they ought to quit spending money eating in restaurants so often, and buy a Crock Pot. Put a cheap hunk of meat in there with some carrots and potatoes, and there’s your dinner for a couple days.
Nobody ever took my advice.
Dave Simpson can be contacted at email@example.com