Ross Mackenzie

Quips, queries, and quotes about news items high and low. . . .

- As talk proceeds about the future of Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia, and whether to move its jets and personnel first to Jacksonville's Cecil Field and now to a North Carolina site facing environmentalist litigation, the world of military aviation is not alone. Two suburbs and a religious group are suing in federal court over a proposed $15 billion expansion of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

- Speaking of litigation, Wendy's - the hamburger (etc.) chain - has won guilty pleas from a woman and her husband to all charges regarding an extortion plot over a human finger they planted in bowl of chili in March. At sentencing, here's to giving them the works.

- Good news regarding cancer: (1) Stanford doctors may have found a method rendering bone-marrow transplants safer and more effective against cancers such as leukemia and non-Hodgkins lymphoma; (2) Researchers for Merck pharmaceuticals may have produced a vaccine possibly 100-percent effective against cervical cancer - currently a killer of about 300,000 women worldwide per year.

- Dan Rather turned up at Fordham's law school recently to lament, complete with suppressed tears, the "new journalistic order" of "dumbed-down, tarted-up" coverage consisting of, e.g., blogs and 24/7 cable shows. And this without any public apology to President Bush for Rather's own shameless smear coverage last year of Bush's National Guard service.

-How did San Diego move from "America's Finest City" (its longtime booster slogan) to the nation's foremost cheapskate city? Partly, in referendum after referendum, through voter approval of programs and services with no corresponding authorization to pay for them. With currently a $1.4-billion budget deficit, San Diego now may have to file bankruptcy.

- Question: Do colleges such as Harvard (endowment $26 billion), Yale ($15 billion), and Stanford ($12 billion) really need to charge any student any tuition for oh, a generation or three?

- And while we're in the realm of numbers, consider this: A study by the Pew Hispanic Center finds that annual immigration to the U.S., legal and illegal, totals about 1.1 million. Whereas, according to a Pew demographer, a century ago "there really wasn't anything like what we call illegal immigration today," illegal immigration (about 560,000 per year) now exceeds legal immigration (about 455,000 per year).

Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

Be the first to read Ross Mackenzie's column. Sign up today and receive delivered each morning to your inbox.