You are browsing the archive for 2019 May 30.

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7 of History's Most Fearless Female Daredevils

May 30, 2019 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

Whether on wheels or in the air, these thrill seekers achieved feats few others would attempt.

From the first-ever Hollywood stuntwoman to the first lady of drag racing, these seven intrepid women stunned audiences with their death-defying feats. With their gutsy performances in traditionally male-dominated fields like aviation and extreme sports, they’re known for breaking barriers, setting records—and getting our adrenaline pumping.

READ MORE: 7 Death-Defying Historic American Daredevils

Bessie Coleman: Pioneering Black Aviatrix

Bessie Coleman, circa 1920.

While working as a beautician in Chicago, Texas-born Bessie Coleman was inspired to become a pilot by the daring exploits of World War I aviators. U.S. flight schools turned her down due to her gender and race, but Coleman headed to France, where in 1921 she received her international pilot’s license. The first black American woman to perform publicly in the United States, “Queen Bess” wowed crowds at air shows around the country with stunts like “loop-the-loops” and figure-eights, as well as parachute jumps. Tragically, she was killed in 1926 when her plane malfunctioned during a test flight before a Florida air show, and she was thrown from an open cockpit to the ground, several hundred feet below.

Helen Gibson: Rodeo Performer & Hollywood’s First Stuntwoman

Helen Gibson in the 1916 movie, “To Save the Road.”

Born Rose Wenger in Cleveland, Ohio, Gibson joined a Wild West show in 1910, at the age of 18, learning to pick up a handkerchief from the ground while riding a galloping horse. In the show’s off-season, she started working in silent films and rode in Los Angeles rodeos, where she met and married cowboy Hoot Gibson. At the time, men in drag typically performed stunts for female actors, but Gibson became the first-ever professional Hollywood stuntwoman when she doubled (and later replaced) Helen Holmes in the long-running serial Hazards of Helen, performing such feats as leaping from the roof of a building onto the top of a moving train car (a stunt she would call her most dangerous). Her star power had dimmed by the 1920s, but Gibson did bit parts and stunt-double work in Hollywood for three more decades, appearing in her last film, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, in 1962.

Lillian La France: Motorcycle Stunt Racer

The Wall of Death Motor Drome, similar to where Lillian La France would perform her stunts.

Around 1916, young Agnes Micek fled …read more


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Trump Is Wrong to Be 'Tough' on Trade with China

May 30, 2019 in Economics

By Simon Lester

Simon Lester

President Trump seems to think he is in the midst of a
hard-nosed negotiating battle with China, and talking tough is a
big part of that. His morning Twitter rants often include barbs
aimed at China. And he has a bipartisan batch of legislators
cheering him on.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has urged Trump to
“hang tough on China,” as “strength is the only way to win.”

And Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has told the president,
“We’re behind you!”

Reform in China will not
happen with a trade policy that slaps tariffs on all U.S. trading
partners and turns our allies into foes.

Toughness has its merits, but it also has its limits. Butch
Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were certainly tough when they emerged
from their hideout and began shooting at the Bolivian soldiers who
had surrounded them. But sometimes it is better to look for smart
strategies rather than tough ones.

Unfortunately, Trump’s approach to the China trade issue is
tough but unlikely to be effective. It relies exclusively on
unilateral tariffs, and as a result, any deal that is reached will
not be the best one possible. Instead of pushing him to come out
with guns blazing, members of Congress should argue for a strategy
that would work much better: Cooperating with allies to put more
pressure on China.

There is widespread agreement around the world that China
engages in protectionist and other problematic trade practices:
failure to protect intellectual property adequately; high tariffs;
restrictions on foreign investment; forcing foreign investors to
transfer technology to their joint venture partners; industrial
subsidies; state-owned enterprises that compete unfairly; and
opaque regulatory practices that can be used to discriminate
against foreign companies.

The only debate is about what to do about this. The Trump
administration has chosen to go it alone, by imposing tariffs on
China in a way that violates the rules of the World Trade
Organization (WTO). In the view of the Trump administration, these
tariffs have “forced China to the negotiating table,” but that is a
misconception, as the Obama administration was already in the midst
of its own negotiations on investment with China (which the Trump
administration seems to have abandoned).

Regardless, so far the only outcome from Trump’s tariffs has
been economic pain on both sides, as China has retaliated with
tariffs of its own: consumers in both countries pay higher prices,
and many producers in both countries suffer as their exports are
suddenly at a disadvantage.

The administration has convinced many people in Washington that
tariffs were the last resort, because nothing else has worked with
China. But this talking …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Time a Bachelorette Picked a Serial Killer on TV

May 30, 2019 in History

By Becky Little

Before The Bachelorette pitted 30 men against each other to win one woman’s heart, Americans watched a different show about random strangers competing for a mate: The Dating Game. Starting in 1965, the ). “This creep comes up and he puts his face practically in my face, and he says: ‘I always get the girl.’”

Alcala was very upset by Bradshaw’s rejection, and authorities believe it motivated him to increase his murder spree between then and his arrest in July 1979. Right before his arrest he met a 16-year-old girl named Cynthia Libby and told her, “I could do anything I want to you, and no one would know.” Libby, not taking him seriously, agreed to go out with him again. But he stood her up, and when she told her mom his name, her mother informed her that he’d just been arrested for murder.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Libby told People three decades later. “I still have a hard time believing it. I could have been one of the dead girls.” So too could Bradshaw if she hadn’t turned him down.

Timeline of Alcala’s murder spree shown in the courtroom during his trial in 2010.

Alcala is now in prison for the murder of several women and a 12-year-old girl, although investigators believe the real number of murders he committed could be in the dozens. Alcala used photography to get close to his victims, and police have not yet identified all of the people they found in his photo collection.

It’s not clear if the producers of The Dating Game knew about his conviction in 1978, but modern dating shows continue to struggle with male contestants who are violent toward women. In 2017, viewers criticized Bachelor in Paradise for treating an alleged sexual assault on set as a cliffhanger. The next year, a Bachelorette contestant was convicted of indecent assault and battery just days before the season premiered. And only three episodes into Hannah Brown’s 2019 Bachelorette season, the producers removed a contestant without explanation amid allegations about his past treatment of women.

…read more


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Is America Prodding Taiwan Towards Conflict with China?

May 30, 2019 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

For decades, U.S. policy toward Taiwan has reflected a desire to
perpetuate the island’s de facto independence while not
unduly agitating the People’s Republic of China.

Under these conditions, Washington depends on the Chinese
government (PRC) to refrain from adopting coercive measures
(especially military actions) aimed at forcing the island to
reunify with the mainland. In return, Taiwanese authorities are
expected not to push for formal, internationally recognized

For its part, the United States has tried to balance two
difficult objectives—reassuring Taipei of its own protection
while at the same time not antagonizing Beijing. Joseph Nye, an
assistant secretary of defense during Bill Clinton’s
administration, described the approach as one of “strategic ambiguity.” Although Washington has an
implied commitment in the 1999 Taiwan Relations Act to defend
Taiwan against aggression, Nye and other officials have indicated
that the commitment is not unconditional, especially if Taiwanese
leaders provoke Beijing by pursuing formal independence.

Tensions are building as
Beijing cracks down on the island’s hopes for independence. But
should Washington be choosing sides?

The U.S. approach has worked reasonably well, despite some
occasional tense moments. But there are now multiple signs of
trouble in China, Taiwan, and the United States.

Xi Jinping’s government is adopting an increasingly
aggressive strategy toward Taiwan, both diplomatically and
militarily. And the victory of the pro-independence Democratic
Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan’s 2016 elections dashed
Chinese hopes that proliferating economic ties with the mainland
might gradually condition the Taiwanese people to accept political

Angry at the apparent failure of that strategy, Beijing
increased Taiwan’s diplomatic isolation by luring away the
handful of small nations that still maintain formal relations with
Taipei. The PRC’s saber rattling has also increased. Both the
number and size of Chinese military exercises in and around the
Taiwan Strait have soared over the past two years. The U.S. Defense
Intelligence Agency’s 2019 report to Congress concludes that
Beijing is building up its ground, air, and naval forces to achieve
a more robust capability to invade Taiwan.
Taiwanese officials and outside experts see signs that Beijing may
be preparing for an invasion as early as 2020 or 2021. Taipei also contends
that Chinese intelligence infiltration attempts have markedly

Under President Tsai Ing-wen, the Taiwanese government has
firmly rebuffed Beijing’s bullying behavior. It has also
sought to assert its own separate international identity, pursuing
territorial claims in the South China Sea and maximizing its
influence as a significant player in the global economic system.
The government has sought and received new weapons shipments from
the United States. Nevertheless, Tsai has proceeded more cautiously
on the independence issue than did …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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A Common Defense Could Make the European Union Great Again

May 30, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

The European people have voted and left political devastation in
their wake. The established ruling order continues to collapse. To
do more than simply survive, the European Union needs to reconsider
its geopolitical ambitions.

European leaders need to abandon their attempts to create an
ever more intrusive continental government and instead emphasize
tasks that only international cooperation can achieve. The most
obvious EU responsibility should be sustaining a free European
market. The most transformational would be developing a serious
European security system.

The EU began in 1951 as an organization limited in function and
membership. It was designed to help reconstruct the continent after
World War II and reconcile long-time enemies France and Germany.
Six years later came the European Economic Community, or Common
Market, which freed trade among the organization’s members.
Still, old antagonisms refused to die: French President Charles de
Gaulle blocked membership for his wartime allies in London.

The supranational giant
has assumed unnecessary powers-but protecting the continent should
be its responsibility.

In 1993, the Maastricht Treaty transformed the so-called
European Project, setting the objective of an “ever-closer
union among the peoples of Europe.” The EU’s
institutions came to resemble those of an actual government,
including a parliament and various executive bodies and agencies.
The EU also expanded its legal and regulatory supremacy over
national policy.

The organization still was not a real state, but more than a few
European leaders envisioned creating a United States of Europe. A
growing gaggle of bureaucrats, politicians, lobbyists, and
journalists filled Brussels. A new Eurocratic elite continued to
expand EU authority and even created a common currency, the Euro.
When tying together economies with substantially different fiscal
and monetary policies resulted in crisis, Eurocrats pressed for
further political integration, including oversight by Brussels of
national budgets, the core responsibility of any sovereign

Still, even Euro-friendly Germans were not willing to turn
control of their economy over to the fiscal wastrels in Rome,
Athens, and elsewhere. And the EU is no country. It has a flag that
no one salutes and three squabbling presidents whom people mock. No
one roots for a European football (soccer) team: fan enthusiasms
are strictly national.

The greatest gulf between theory and reality is the EU’s
pretension to be a Weltmacht even though it has no military. And
despite decades of proposals to develop a formal European defense
and security policy, little of substance has occurred.

EU members remain deeply divided on many international issues.
Much more separates European countries than American states, which
had independent identities but shared cultures and histories; the
colonies also fought together to win independence and forge a
nation. Despite the Civil War, they did not …read more

Source: OP-EDS