A promise will be fulfilled this week with the formal dedication of a memorial for Dwight D. Eisenhower. Mandated by Congress in 1999 and designed by Frank Gehry, the dedication Thursday comes 75 years after Ike accepted the formal surrender of Wehrmacht forces to end the war in Europe and nearly six decades after he retired from serving two successful terms as the nation’s 34th president.
When Eisenhower died in March 1969, leading columnists said he was a poster boy for the American dream — the Kansas farm boy made good. But few contemporary observers much appreciated the degree to which that ordinary fellow from the heart of America, as Ike liked to describe himself, was a sly and effective politician whose prudent stewardship kept the nation prosperous and at peace during the 1950s.
Eisenhower was appreciated by average Americans in his own time for the good reason that he gave them a pause to absorb the steady New Deal/Fair Deal expansion of federal authority, by governing from the middle. Neither reactionary nor left leaning, Eisenhower’s approach can be characterized as pragmatic centrism — forward looking, steady, producing remarkable results in an era of divided government in Washington.
Eisenhower offered sense of security
At different times Ike described himself as a Jeffersonian Republican, a Wilsonian liberal or a “Modern Republican,” the latter being speechwriter Arthur Larson’s concoction. Whatever the brand, Eisenhower fit the temper of the 1950s, when millions of war veterans focused on building families and communities. Above all, they wanted to feel secure in order to pursue their American dreams.
On cusp of the Eisenhower Memorial dedication, it is worth recalling what was distinctive about the 1950s and what lessons from the Eisenhower presidency are relevant in today’s political climate.
The sense of security Eisenhower offered was not based on building ever more expensive weapons or keeping unnecessarily large numbers of Americans in uniform, though it is true Eisenhower expanded rather than contracted the military-industrial complex. He was bent mainly on assuring the economic health of the nation through programs advancing infrastructure, health and education, new technologies, and strong support for STEM education, all tied to budget restraint.
When one tabulates Eisenhower’s legislative successes during his two terms, the list of impressive accomplishments includes the Interstate Highway System, the St. Lawrence Seaway, the creation of NASA, and the National Defense Education Act. Each has had lasting positive impact.
Eisenhower never perceived political opponents or the press as his enemy. He seems genuinely to have enjoyed his private sessions over bourbon and branch water with House Speaker Sam Rayburn and Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson, both Democrats. His relationship with members of the White House press corps tended to be more correct than close, but he also was the first president to hold televised press conferences.
As a leader, Eisenhower was both tough and compassionate. In George Colburn’s 1991 documentary about Eisenhower and the Cold War, “Dangerous Years,” Richard Nixon spoke of deviousness as a regular tool in Ike’s tool kit, and of his backbone of steel. Yet Eisenhower knew how to sustain morale on his White House team by praising those staffers who made good and by showing patience when they erred.
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Rather than fire valued subordinates who stumbled on occasion in performing their duties, oral histories show that Eisenhower assured them he always allowed his associates one mistake a year. When Federal Aviation Administration head Elwood Quesada inadvertently revealed an embargoed plan to the media, and made his way with a resignation letter to the Oval Office, the president clapped him on the back and told him to go back to work. Quesada later described in an oral history interview how the incident reinforced his loyalty to his boss and his commitment to his work.
Legacy of peace and prosp
Eisenhower was a stickler for preparation. He believed that rapidly changing events made rigid adherence to fixed plans impossible, but planning made for needed flexibility. This helps explain Ike’s caution in assisting the French in Indochina in 1954 and his unflappability during the Suez and Hungarian crises in 1956. Both allies and enemies grasped this, which doubtless ratcheted back the potential for a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union.
Washington Post editorial cartoonist Herbert Block (“Herblock”) cast Ike as consistently indecisive, whether the issue was McCarthyism or civil rights. In reality, he was fully capable of taking decisive action (as when he ordered federal troops to Little Rock in 1957 to protect nine black students trying to integrate a school). In 1954 Eisenhower quietly kneecapped the greatest demagogue of his time — Joe McCarthy — without Herblock or virtually anyone noticing his agency.
Eisenhower did not make all the right calls as president, but his percentage of right calls was high. He was the right president for his time. He left office with a budget surplus and the nation at peace. His winning smile and sunny personality reflected his era.
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But he also speaks to the present. Ike’s prescient warning about the “military industrial complex,” based on chastening experience, remains relevant. His emphasis on the importance of economic security as key to military strength, his belief in alliances (most especially so with European democracies), his concern for human dignity, his refusal to denigrate the critical press, mock or demonize political foes — these are qualities that make Eisenhower worth remembering as the nation dedicates a superb monument to his large legacy.
Michael J. Birkner, a professor of history at Gettysburg College, is the author or editor of several books on Eisenhower, including “Eisenhower’s Gettysburg Farm” (co-authored with Carol Hegeman) and “Encounters with Eisenhower: Personal Reminiscences to Mark collected to Mark the 125th Anniversary of the Birth of Dwight D. Eisenhower” (co-edited with Devin McKinney).
You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter. To respond to a column, submit a comment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Eisenhower Memorial: Trump is not like Ike, who was steady and prepared
Hurricane season takes a breather, but activity could ramp up again in October
The fierce 2020 hurricane season appears to be taking a breather.
For the first time in weeks, no tropical storms or hurricanes are spinning anywhere in the Atlantic Basin, which includes the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, according to the National Hurricane Center.
And, as of Thursday, no storms are forecast to develop over at least the next five days.
So far this year, a whopping 23 named storms have formed. This is about double the average for an entire season. The 23 storms have included two Greek-letter named storms (Alpha and Beta), which became necessary when the seasonal list of 21 regular names was exhausted.
The U.S. has already experienced nine landfalls from tropical systems so far this year, which ties 1916 for the most in one season, AccuWeather said.
Very few parts of the eastern and southern coasts have been spared: The only portion of the entire Gulf and East Coasts that has not been under some form of storm surge, tropical storm, or hurricane watch or warning this year is the west coast of Florida, the Weather Channel reported.
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Looking ahead, the weather next week won’t feel very tropical in much of the central, eastern and southern U.S., where an unusual (for October) invasion of Arctic air is forecast.
Some record cold temperatures are possible by the middle to end of the week, especially in the Midwest, where frosts and freezes look to be widespread.
Unfortunately, while the eastern half of the nation shivers, the weather looks to be very hot and dry in the parched West next week. The Western heat will exacerbate the wildfire threat there.
“For many in the West the heat wave that will build next week will only add to what’s already been an arduous wildfire season fraught with widespread drought,” AccuWeather meteorologist Jake Sojda said. Some record highs are possible.
As for hurricanes, the break may only be temporary: “Given the extremely warm Caribbean and the push toward La Niña conditions, I do expect the rest of the season to be quite active,” Colorado State University meteorologist Phil Klotzbach told the Capital Weather Gang.
La Niña, a natural cooling of ocean water in the central Pacific Ocean, tends to increase hurricane activity in the Atlantic Basin.
The Caribbean may be one place to watch in October:
“Computer forecasts continue to show the development of a large counterclockwise wind pattern over Central America, commonly referred to as a gyre, later next week. This could lead to the development of an organized tropical system in the southern Caribbean during early October,” AccuWeather’s lead hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski said.
And we still have over two months to go: The hurricane season won’t come to its merciful end until Nov. 30, although storms have been known to form in December.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Hurricane season takes a breather, but activity could ramp up again in October
Here’s Who Took Over Carl’s Voice From Hank Azaria (EXCLUSIVE)
“The Simpsons” fans might notice at least one long-running character sounds a little different in Sunday’s Season 32 premiere.
In the episode, Carl Carlson — Homer Simpson’s nuclear plant co-worker, and best friend to Lenny Leonard — is now voiced by actor Alex Désert (“Better Things”). Désert replaces Hank Azaria in the role, at least for that episode.
The switch comes as “The Simpsons” producers confirmed earlier this summer that it would no longer have white actors voice non-white characters. Azaria had voiced Carl, who is Black, since the beginning of the show (except for Carl’s first appearance, in the Season 1 episode “Homer’s Night Out,” where he was voiced by Harry Shearer).
It’s unclear whether Désert is Carl’s permanent voice, and if he’ll be voicing other characters as well. Among other recurring characters the edict might impact include Dr. Julius Hibbert, who is seen in the episode, but doesn’t speak.
Désert also voices Swarm on Disney XD’s “Spider-Man: Maximum Venom” and Mr. Bojenkins on Adult Swim’s “Mr. Pickles” and its spinoff, “Momma Named Me Sheriff.” His TV credits also include “The Flash” (both the 1990 and current versions), “Becker” (where he was a regular) and “Better Call Saul.” In film, he appeared in “Freaky Friday,” “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” “High Fidelity” and “Swingers,” among others. He’s also known as a lead singer in the ska band Hepcat.
In the season premiere, “Undercover Burns,” Mr. Burns goes undercover as “Fred” (voiced by David Harbour) at the nuclear power plant, in order to see what Homer and his co-workers — including Carl — really think of him. But when they befriend “Fred,” Burns enjoys the attention and starts improving the plant’s amenities, to the chagrin of Smithers.
“The Simpsons” decision to make sure characters of color are voiced by performers of color came after a long-simmering conversation about white washing in animation. At the center of that controversy was “The Simpsons” character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, who had also been voiced by Azaria.
As addressed by the documentary “The Problem with Apu,” the character, and its stereotype of a South Asian man, has long had a negative impact on that community. “I know Apu is one of the smartest characters on ‘The Simpsons’ — granted the bar isn’t very high — but it’s not why people liked him. They just liked his accent,” filmmaker Hari Kondabolu said in the documentary.
“The Simpsons” had already started to make an effort in recent years to cast more actors of the same ethnicity as their characters. Kevin Michael Richardson (“The Cleveland Show”), is now a regular, and often voices Black male characters on the show.
Azaria, meanwhile, revealed in January that he would no longer voice Apu.
Other shows have also been criticized for casting white actors to play characters of color, including Mike Henry, who created and voices Cleveland Brown, an African-American character on Fox’s “Family Guy” (and the four-season spinoff “The Cleveland Show”); Alison Brie as Diane Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American writer, on Netflix’s “BoJack Horseman”; and Kristen Bell as Molly on Apple TV Plus’ “Central Park.”
In June, as the conversation about representation on TV extended to animation, Henry said he would no longer voice Cleveland, while Bell also stepped down from the character on “Central Park” and Jenny Slate said she wouldn’t continue to play Missy on Netflix’s “Big Mouth.” (“BoJack Horseman” has already ended its run.) Emily Raver-Lampman will now play Molly in Season 2 of “Central Park,” while Ayo Edebiri has been tapped to voice Missy moving forward on “Big Mouth.”
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3 ‘Strong Buy’ Stocks With Over 7% Dividend Yield
Markets are volatile, there can be no doubt. So far this month, the S&P 500 has fallen 9% from its peak. The tech-heavy NASDAQ, which had led the gainers all summer, is now leading the on the fall, having lost 11% since September 2. The three-week tumble has investors worried that we may be on the brink of another bear market.The headwinds are strong. The usual September swoon, the upcoming election, doubts about another round of economic stimulus – all are putting downward pressure on the stock markets.Which doesn’t mean that there are no opportunities. As the old saw goes, “Bulls and bears can both make money, while the pigs get slaughtered.” A falling market may worry investors, but a smart strategy can prevent the portfolio from losing too much long-term value while maintaining a steady income. Dividend stocks, which feed into the income stream, can be a key part of such a strategy.Using the data available in the TipRanks database, we’ve pulled up three stocks with high yields – from 7% to 11%, or up to 6 times the average dividend found on the S&P 500 index. Even better, these stocks are seen as Strong Buys by Wall Street’s analysts. Let’s find out why.Williams Companies (WMB)We start with Williams Companies, an Oklahoma-based energy company. Williams controls pipelines connecting Rocky Mountain natural gas fields with the Pacific Northwest region, and Appalachian and Texan fields with users in the Northeast and transport terminals on the Gulf Coast. The company’s primary operations are the processing and transport of natural gas, with additional ops in crude oil and energy generation. Williams handles nearly one-third of all US commercial and residential natural gas use.The essential nature of Williams’ business – really, modern society simply cannot get along without reliable energy sources – has insulated the company from some of the economic turndown in 1H20. Quarterly revenues slid from $2.1 billion at the end of last year to $1.9 billion in Q1 and $1.7 billion in Q2. EPS in the first half was 26 cents for Q1 and 25 cents for Q2 – but this was consistent with EPS results for the previous three quarters. The generally sound financial base supported the company’s reliable dividend. Williams has been raising that payment for the past four years, and even the corona crisis could not derail it. At 40 cents per common share, the dividend annualizes to $1.60 and yields an impressive 7.7%. The next payment is scheduled for September 28.Truist analyst Tristan Richardson sees Williams as one of the midstream sector’s best positioned companies.“We continue to look to WMB as a defensive component of midstream and favor its 2H prospects as broader midstream grasps at recovery… Beyond 2020 we see the value proposition as a stable footprint with free cash flow generation even in the current environment. We also see room for incremental leverage reduction throughout our forecast period on scaled back capital plans and even with the stable dividend. We look for modestly lower capex in 2021, however unlike more G&P oriented midstream firms, we see a project backlog in downstream that should support very modest growth,” Richardson noted.Accordingly, Richardson rates WMB shares as a Buy, and his $26 price target implies a 30% upside potential from current levels. (To watch Richardson’s track record, click here)Overall, the Strong Buy analyst consensus rating on WMB is based on 11 Buy reviews against just a single Hold. The stock’s current share price is $19.91 and the average price target is $24.58, making the one-year upside potential 23%. (See WMB stock analysis on TipRanks)Magellan Midstream (MMP)The second stock on our list is another midstream energy company, Magellan. This is another Oklahoma-based firm, with a network of assets across much of the US from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi Valley, and into the Southeast. Magellan’s network transports crude oil and refined products, and includes Gulf Coast export shipping terminals.Magellan’s total revenues rose sequentially to $782.8 in Q1, and EPS came in at $1.28, well above the forecast. These numbers turned down drastically in Q2, as revenue fell to $460.4 million and EPS collapsed to 65 cents. The outlook for Q3 predicts a modest recovery, with EPS forecast at 85 cents. The company strengthened its position in the second quarter with an issue of 10-year senior notes, totaling $500 million, at 3.25%. This reduced the company’s debt service payments, and shored up liquidity, making possible the maintenance of the dividend.The dividend was kept steady at $1.0275 per common share quarterly. Annualized, this comes to $4.11, a good absolute return, and gives a yield of 11.1%, giving MMP a far higher return than Treasury bonds or the average S&P-listed stock.Well Fargo analyst Praneeth Satish believes that MMP has strong prospects for recovery. “[We] view near-term weakness in refined products demand as temporary and recovering. In the interim, MMP remains well positioned given its strong balance sheet and liquidity position, and ratable cash flow stream…” Satish goes on to note that the dividend appears secure for the near-term: “The company plans to maintain the current quarterly distribution for the rest of the year.”In line with this generally upbeat outlook, Satish gives MMP an Overweight (i.e. Buy) rating, and a $54 price target that implies 57% growth in the coming year. (To watch Satish’s track record, click here)Net net, MMP shares have a unanimous Strong Buy analyst consensus rating, a show of confidence by Wall Street’s analyst corps. The stock is selling for $33.44, and the average price target of $51.13 implies 53% growth in the year ahead. (See MMP stock analysis on TipRanks)Ready Capital Corporation (RC)The second stock on our list is a real estate investment trust. No surprise finding one of these in a list of strong dividend payers – REITs have long been known for their high dividend payments. Ready Capital, which focuses on the commercial mortgage niche of the REIT sector, has a portfolio of loans in real estate securities and multi-family dwellings. RC has provided more than $3 billion in capital to its loan customers.In the first quarter of this year, when the coronavirus hit, the economy turned south, and business came to a standstill, Ready Capital took a heavy blow. Revenues fell by 58%, and Q1 EPS came in at just one penny. Things turned around in Q2, however, after the company took measures – including increasing liquidity, reducing liabilities, and increasing involvement in government-sponsored lending – to shore up business. Revenues rose to $87 million and EPS rebounded to 70 cents.In the wake of the strong Q2 results, RC also started restoring its dividend. In Q1 the company had slashed the payment from 40 cents to 25 cents; in the most recent declaration, for an October 30 payment, the new dividend is set at 30 cents per share. This annualizes to $1.20 and gives a strong yield of 9.9%.Crispin Love, writing from Piper Sandler, notes the company’s success in getting back on track.“Given low interest rates, Ready Capital had a record $1.2B in residential mortgage originations versus our $1.1B estimate. Gain on sale margins were also at record levels. We are calculating gain on sale margins of 3.7%, up from 2.4% in 1Q20,” Love wrote.In a separate note, written after the dividend declaration, Love added, “We believe that the Board’s actions show an increased confidence for the company to get back to its pre-pandemic $0.40 dividend. In recent earnings calls, management has commented that its goal is to get back to stabilized earnings above $0.40, which would support a dividend more in-line with pre-pandemic levels.”To this end, Love rates RC an Overweight (i.e. Buy) along with a $12 price target, suggesting an upside of 14%. (To watch Love’s track record, click here)All in all, Ready Capital has a unanimous Strong Buy analyst consensus rating, based on 4 recent positive reviews. The stock has an average price target of $11.50, which gives a 9% upside from the current share price of $10.51. (See RC stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for dividend stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
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