Pentagon diary: Life imitates art when it comes to nuclear war

Pentagon diary: Life imitates art when it comes to nuclear war

Generals in this Dr. Stranelove war room scene are asked what happens if Russia retaliates to a surprise nuclear strike, and one of them estimates U.S. deaths at "10 to 20 million, tops!"

In nuclear warfare, life imitates art
In the 1964 classic Stanley Kubrick-directed Dr. Strangelove, an anxious president asks what a Russian retaliation to an American nuclear strike might entail, and a nonplused Air Force general responds: “Mr. President, I’m not saying we won’t get our hair mussed. I do say, not more than 10 to 20 million killed, tops!” Fast forward to a 1971 Joint Chiefs of Staff meeting to hear Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Thomas Ryan intone: “We could lose 200 million people and still have more than we had at the time of the Civil War.” Ryan’s comment was discovered in a diary kept by JCS Chairman Adm. Thomas Moorer, which was recently declassified and posted by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

Court upholds NYC pet sales law
The U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a New York City ordinance that requires pet shops to sell only dogs and cats that have been bred by federally licensed breeders; and, that also requires pet shops to spay or neuter every animal they sell. The New York Pet Welfare Association filed suit to block the ordinance, but the court said it addresses significant problems caused by irresponsible breeding of animals which are sold to unwitting consumers.

Atlanta man arrested for threatening congressman’s staff
Dante Rosser, 42, of Atlanta, Ga., was arrested at his home by U.S. Capitol Police and FBI agents for making threatening telephone calls to staff members in the office of Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).  According to the FBI, Rosser made nearly 50 calls to Lewis’s office on February 22 and 23 to demand that the congressman seek financial reparations on his and his family’s behalf, and issued death threats to Lewis’s aides.

Clinical trial reveals OTC hearing aids are effective
There’s barely a dime’s worth of difference between hearing aids which are sold by audiologists for about $5,000 and an over-the-counter version bought for less than $200, according to researchers at the National Institute on Deafness. A random study of 154 participants, aged 55 to 79 and having mild-to-moderate hearing loss, found that hearing aids in both groups were efficacious; and, participants in the over-the-counter group had “only slightly poorer outcomes” than those in the audiology service delivery group.

Cellphones invade Yellowstone
Driving through the 3,500-square-mile Yellowstone National Park to commune with nature doesn’t necessarily mean your cellphone won’t ring. According to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Yellowstone officials are pressing forward with plans for a massive expansion of cellphone coverage. PEER claims the cellphone coverage will violate the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act, and asked the National Park Service to investigate charges that the cellphone expansion will violate the NPS’s own regulations.

Key elements of democracy enjoy public support
A Pew Research Center poll of 1,503 adults found that 89% of the respondents said a strong democracy depends on fair and open national elections, and 83% voiced support for the government’s “checks and balances” system of shared power between the executive, legislative and judicial branches. The February poll also found 79% of respondents supported the right to nonviolent protest, 74% supported speech rights for people who espouse unpopular views, and 64% supported the right of news organizations to criticize political leaders.

Rip ‘n Read is a daily compilation of press releases found on hundreds of websites that are maintained by the federal government, think tanks, watchdog groups and national advocacy organizations. Press releases selected for this feature are, in the opinion of the editor, exceptionally newsworthy, interesting or just plain curious.

The press releases and documents linked to this report were posted on their websites on Thursday, March 2



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