RCP Morning Note, 05/25/2017: RNC Concerns; Trump’s Blue Streak; CBO Health Care Numbers; Superdad

05/25/2017
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Carl Cannon’s Morning Note

RNC Concerns; Trump’s Blue Streak; CBO Health Care Numbers; Superdad

By Carl M. Cannon on May 25, 2017 08:33 am
Good morning, it’s Thursday, May 25, 2017. Sixty-six years ago today, a writer named Whitney Ellsworth took his wife, Jane, and their 19-year-old daughter, Patricia, on a road trip. Leaving from their home in Greenwich, Connecticut, the family’s destination was Los Angeles, where Ellsworth had business. They planned to do some sightseeing along the way: The highlight was going to be the Grand Canyon. To be precise, Whit Ellsworth himself wasn’t looking forward to that part. He wasn’t too keen on heights for one thing, which is why he was driving to California instead of flying in the first place — and Ellsworth had extrapolated his phobia of heights to a fear of depths as well. Not that this really mattered. While his wife and daughter were taking in the splendors of the great national park, Ellsworth would be writing away in their room at The Grand Canyon Lodge. And as they began their journey on May 25, 1951, Ellsworth told his wife and daughter about a project he had in mind. While driving across the country, he explained, he was going to “noodle” on an idea for a Superman movie, and he planned to bat out the script while they toured the Grand Canyon. Ellsworth was as good as his word, as I’ll explain more fully in a moment. First, I’ll point you to RealClearPolitics’ front page, which presents our poll averages, videos, breaking news stories, and aggregated opinion pieces spanning the political spectrum. We also offer a rich complement of original material from our own reporters and contributors, including the following: * * * RNC’s McDaniel Urges Party Focus Amid WH ‘Distractions.’ The new Republican National Committee chairwoman finds herself in the eye of the storm with the 2018 midterms on the horizon, Rebecca Berg reports. Rhapsody in Blue: Trump’s Tribute to Fallen Officers. Anneke E. Green lauds the president’s support for police, which marks a contrast to his predecessor’s relationship with law enforcement. Schiff: Intelligence Committee Will Subpoena Flynn. James Arkin has the details. CBO and America’s AHCA Headache. In RealClearHealth, Billy Wynne breaks down yesterday’s scoring numbers for the House-passed legislation. Alternative Medicine Is Not the Answer to the Opioid Epidemic. RealClearScience editor Ross Pomeroy argues that bad science is triggering a bad solution to the problem of drug abuse. Trump Budget Gets One Thing Right: Crop Reinsurance. In RealClearPolicy, Vincent H. Smith praises the administration’s proposal for taking on farm subsidies. Democrats Grill DeVos on School Choice and Budget Cuts. In RealClearEducation, Ford Carson and Christopher Beach report on the key moments from Cabinet secretary’s appearance before Congress on Wednesday. Eliminate Dodd-Frank’s Overrated Escape Hatch. In RealClearMarkets, Hester Peirce writes that the FDIC’s power to unwind troubled banks is creating great uncertainty within banks. Do Budget Deficits Matter? Also in RCM, editor John Tamny reviews Richard Salsman’s new book. “The Political Economy of Public Debt.” Closing the Civilian Awareness Gap. In RealClearDefense, Kathy Roth-Douquet spotlights the need for heightened consideration of the pressures military families face. Congress Should Embrace BRAC. Also in RCD, Dan Caldwell urges lawmakers to support a new round of base realignment and closures in 2021 to trim waste and inefficiency. Gathering Intelligence or Hunting Terrorists? In RealClearBooks, Wes Culp has this Q&A with Thomas Henriksen, author of “Eyes, Ears and Daggers.” ‘War Machine’ Takes Satirical Shot at War in Afghanistan, McChrystal’s Fall. In RealClearLife, the director of Netflix’s new movie discusses the controversial project. Meet the Air Force Officer Behind the Hot New Game of the Summer. Also in RCL, the developer of “Rollors” gives intel on how he runs his thriving games business while on combat tours. * * * The post-World War II years have been called the “golden age of comic books” and Whitney Ellsworth was in the middle of it all. The Brooklyn-born writer had signed on to DC Comics in the mid-1930s and risen through the ranks to the point where he was one of the principal creative forces for the pulp powerhouse. By the 1940s, he had creative control over the Superman comics, wrote the Batman newspaper comic strip himself, and was DC Comics’ liaison to Hollywood on various Superman serials and movie projects. Superman himself was born, so to speak, in Cleveland. The Man of Steel was the brainchild of two Glenville High School students, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. They eventually lost legal control to the superhero — it was hard for teenagers to get decent legal representation in those days — although Siegel kept his creative association with Superman and Clark Kent all his life and is in the Comic Book Hall of Fame. But back to our story about the Ellsworth family’s cross-country journey: The road trip took them through America’s oil patch, and by the time they emerged in the high desert of New Mexico, Whit Ellsworth had a plot in mind, which he shared with his wife and daughter. It seems that an oil well is being sunk near the edge of an unnamed southwestern town. For reasons that Ellsworth hadn’t yet worked out, it’s to be much deeper than any previous well, which attracts national attention. (This means, of course, that the Daily Planet is interested, so Clark Kent is dispatched from Metropolis to cover the story.) “When the well is sunk, nothing unusual happens for a few hours,” Ellsworth told his spellbound wife and daughter. “Then, by night, three or four little creatures from the center of the earth are seen to clamber out from under the well cover, blink their eyes, and tentatively start out to explore the town. These little creatures … are completely innocent, meaning no harm whatever to mankind. The only thing is” — and Ellsworth paused for dramatic effect — “they’re radioactive!” He continued: “Eventually the little creatures encounter a little girl who wants to play ball with them. She even tosses them her ball, and they toss it back. But by touching her ball, they’ve made it radioactive, which we know because of how it glows! Some of the townspeople see the shiny ball and soon find out that there are creatures around from another realm. Well, as you can imagine, at this point all heck breaks loose.” “Do those townspeople try to harm the creatures?” asked Ellsworth’s wife. “You bet they do,” he replied. “They try to kill them.” “But Superman comes to their rescue!” Patricia chirped happily. “Because luckily, Clark Kent is covering the story for the Daily Planet,” added a relieved Jane. “Goodness, you two ought to write these things,” Whit Ellsworth replied with a chuckle. He sounds like a good dad, doesn’t he? Well, that’s right, he was. And the movie that came from this trip, “Superman and the Mole Men,” became a cult classic, with the writing title going to Richard Fielding, a pseudonym used when Ellsworth collaborated with movie producer Robert Maxwell. If it seems ironic that a man who was afraid to fly was dreaming up such bold adventures, it’s really not. You see, daughters, even those much younger than 19, don’t really expect their fathers to be superheroes. They expect them to come through when they’re needed, however, which is exactly what Whit Ellsworth did. Patricia Ellsworth Wilson, whose written account provided the details and dialogue I’ve cited above, suffered from myasthenia gravis, a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease that causes weakness in the skeletal muscles. The following year, 1952, her father used some of the money he made bringing the Superman movie to life to form the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation, which still exists to this day. Carl M. Cannon
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics
@CarlCannon (Twitter)
ccannon@realclearpolitics.com

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