Century Marks

Century Marks

Jet-propelled expenses

The Pentagon's development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet has already cost the government $400 billion. The plane, designed to replace nearly all of the tactical fighters used by the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, is now projected to cost over $1 trillion to develop, procure and support through 2050. One reason for the huge expense is that planes are being built even before their development and testing are completed. As plans change, planes already constructed need to be retrofitted. The software needed to make the planes combat ready is "as complex as anything on earth," according to the government (ProPublica, March 23).

Blaming the victim

A new poll shows that more than half of all Canadians distrust Muslims. As many as 52 percent of Canadians feel that Muslims can be trusted "a little" or "not trusted at all." The poll showed that 48 percent of respondents said Muslims can be trusted "a lot" or "somewhat." And 42 percent said discrimination against Muslims is "mainly their fault." Sociologist Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies, concluded that Canadians hold discriminatory views and then say, "If we feel this way about you, it's your fault" (RNS).

Religious vote

The Republican presidential primaries have followed patterns of a religious census. Mitt Romney has won wherever white evangelicals have cast a minority of the votes. Rick Santorum has won in most cases where white evangelicals cast the majority of votes. Mormon voters helped Romney win Nevada, Arizona and Idaho. But ironically, Santorum, a devout Catholic, has consistently lost the Catholic vote to Romney. Columnist E. J. Dionne Jr. thinks this is because Catholic voters tend to be a moderating voice in both parties and Santorum stands to the right of most Catholics who vote Republican. Except among Mormons, Romney doesn't do well with Republican voters who say a candidate's religion matters to them (Washington Post, March 21).

Along for the ride

Imagine someone came up to you on the street and said: "My bus leaves in two minutes. Tell me about the resurrection in the time remaining." Elizabeth Templeton, who posed that challenge to the Church of England's House of Bishops, said her own response would be: "If you really want to hear about the resurrection, be prepared to miss your bus." Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams had another suggestion: "I think I'd have asked the man where he was going, then said that I'd accompany him on the journey" (Benjamin Myers, Christ the Stran­ger: The Theology of Rowan Williams).

Class warfare

The Great Recession did nothing to reverse the gross inequality of wealth and income. The superrich households (the top one-tenth of the top 1 percent) received 37 percent of all the economic gains made during 2010. The rest of the top 10 percent received all the other gains. Last year the richest 1 percent of taxpayers saved more money from the Bush tax cuts than the rest of the 141 million taxpaying Americans made in total income (NationofChange.org).