Literary and Historical Notes:
It was on this day in 1944 that President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the GI Bill of Rights. It was one of the most important and influential pieces of legislation ever signed by an American president, but the newspapers barely covered the story at the time. They were too busy reporting on the Allied invasion of Europe.
The law was originally designed as unemployment compensation for returning veterans, in case there weren't a lot of jobs available at the end of the war. A congressional committee threw in the idea that veterans should get money to go to college if they wanted to.
Even the supporters of thebill didn't think very many GIs would really want to go to college. Most of the soldiers came from working-class families, and there was no reason to think they wouldn't go back to those same working-class jobs on farms and in factories. Experts predicted maybe 8 to 12 percent of veterans would actually use the money for higher education.
In fact, about a million veterans applied for the money within the first year after the war, and ultimately 2.2 million veterans used the money to obtain higher education, many of them becoming the first members of their families to receive a college diploma. Before the war, about 10 percent of Americans attended college. After the war, that figure rose to about 50 percent.
And contrary to most expectations, the grade-point averages at most colleges went up with the influx of veterans, and dropout rates went way down. Professors at the time said that the veterans were the most serious and disciplined students they'd ever seen. The cost to taxpayers for the GI Bill was about $5.5 billion, but the result was 450,000 engineers, 240,000 accountants, 238,000 teachers, 91,000 scientists, 67,000 doctors, 22,000 dentists, 17,000 writers and editors, and thousands of other professionals. It helped spur one of the greatest economic booms in American history.
at 6/22/2007 Posted by Andy Rand
With VP Cheney stating that he has dual positions in our government, executive and legislative, and he has the constitutional authority to disavow his membership in either one depending on who is investigating his office at the time. I don't know why this hasn't been tried before, but for the fact that it's not true, still, you would think Agnew might have tried this!
As a member of the executive branch he claimed and won executive privilege for not revealing which oil company CEOs he met with to establish the energy policy for the U.S.
Now he denies his office is part of the executive branch so he has no need to cooperate with record keeping practices that apply to the President or his officers. What testicular fortitude this man has!
He can't have it both ways. Since when do citizens of the U.S. get to pick and choose which part of the constitution apply to them for convenience. So far Cheney and Bush think they are the first in history to have this double standard.
OK, we have the war on terror, the long war or whatever you want to call it. That is not the only war that Bush/Cheney are waging, and to me it's even more vital to my republic than their war on terrorism. It's the war they are waging against the constitution and the American way of life. Of course I'm talking about their perversion of the Bill of Rights. NSA wiretaps. Suspension of Habeas Corpus. Signing statements. Politicizing the DoJ. Establishing 'free speech' zones. Installing Jeff Gannon as a legitimate press representative. Illegal SWIFT bank searches. The outing of a CIA agent. Out right lying to the public. Obstruction of justice. Political hacks and cronies in positions that need professionals( Browne). Funding of faith based organizations. Violation of the Hatch Act. And on and on.
Look, I'm just an average guy who tries to pay attention. If I can think of these offenses off the top of my head, I can't wait for what slime congress will turn up, and I hope it turns up soon!
Other than overnight invasions, I can't think of a democracy that fell to fascism instantly. It seems to me that citizens of such nations gave up their rights in increments and before they could realize what happened they were subjects of a dictator. I know it sounds impossible in America today, but didn't the German citizens of the 1930's think the same thing.
The formula was easy. First tell huge lies to unite the citizens against a common enemy. Use those lies and the unity that came with them to start dissolving rights slowly, not too greedy at first, slowly. Build your political base, ostracize those in the minority to include them in the 'enemy of the state' category. Now renounce governing institutions and grab all power.
at 6/22/2007 Posted by Shopman
An old-time southern, hell fire & brimstone country preacher had a
teenage son, and it was getting time the boy should give some thought
to choosing a profession. Like many young men, the boy didn't really know what he wanted to do, and he didn't seem too concerned about it.
One day, while the boy was away at school, his father decided to try an
experiment. He went into the boy's room and placed on his study table
four objects: a Bible, a silver dollar, a bottle of whisky and and a Playboy magazine.
"I'll just hide behind the door," the old preacher said to himself,
"when he comes home from school this afternoon, I'll see which object
he picks up. If it's the Bible, he's going to be a preacher like me, and what a
blessing that would be! If he picks up the dollar, he's going to be a businessman, and that would be okay,! too.* But if he picks up the bottle, he's going to be a no-good, low down drunkard, and, Lord, help me....what a shame that would be. And worst of all..... if he picks up that magazine he's gonna be a skirt-chasin', no good bum."
The old man waited anxiously, and soon heard his son's footsteps as he entered the house whistling and headed for his room. The boy tossed his books on the bed, and as he turned to leave the room he spotted the objects on the table. With curiosity in his eye, he walked over to inspect them.
Finally, he picked up the Bible and placed it under his arm. He picked up the silver dollar and dropped it into his pocket. He uncorked the bottle and took a big drink while he admired this month's Centerfold.
"Lord have mercy," the old preacher disgustedly whispered, "he's gonna
be a US Congressman!"
at 6/21/2007 Posted by EastWing
Right outside the window was Billy's own Cadillac El Dorado Coupe de Ville. He read the stickers on the bumper, "Visit Ausable Chasm," said one. "Support Your Police Department," said another. There was a third. "Impeach Earl Warren," it said. The stickers about the police and Earl Warren were gifts from Billy's father-in-law, a member of the John Birch Society. The date on the license plate was 1967, which would make Billy Pilgrim forty-four years old. He asked himself this: "Where have all the years gone?"
at 6/21/2007 Posted by Kitty
(2006) broadcast of ABC's 20/20, host John Stossel presented an hour-long "special report" on the purported failures of public schools in the United States. Titled "Stupid in America: How We Cheat Our Kids," the report tilted heavily in favor of those who advocate for expanding such "school choice" initiatives as voucher and charter school programs, ostensibly as the means for increasing academic achievement.
Forced to apologize for lying:
On February 8th, 2000 20/20 broadcast a story by John Stossel claiming that foods sold at organic and health food stores were no more safe to eat than food bought at conventional supermarkets. Stossel claimed that tests commissioned by ABC TV showed that food purchased at organic markets had higher rates of E. Coli contamination and equivalent amounts of pesticides.
Investigation by the Environmental Working Group revealed that the experts cited by ABC's 20/20 for the story had never actually performed the tests ABC claimed in the story.
Despite the embarrassment, Stossel repeated the story on July 7, 2000, informing the EWG through an intermediary that he would not even respond to the allegations. ABC TV, however, embarrassed by the publicity, ordered Stossel to apologize.
Stossel has also been accused is mireporting in his story on Erin Brockovich, the California woman who found Chromium 6 in her town's drinking water.
Through a series of misleading claims, a lack of balance in reporting and interviews, and video clips apparently created primarily for entertainment, Stossel's report failed to offer viewers an accurate picture of the debate over charter schools and voucher programs, and gave significantly greater coverage to the arguments of "school choice" proponents, with Stossel frequently criticizing public schools. At one point, the reporter warned, "Most Americans don't know what stupid schools are doing to American kids."
Economist's View "John Stossel makes a false claim about tax cuts. As we know, tax cuts do not pay for themselves. No credible analyst claims that. But John Stossel does:
The Tax-Cut Myth, by John Stossel, RCP: ...[T]ax cuts stimulated the economy and increased tax revenues. It happens because, as the Laffer Curve illustrates, lower rates mean higher rewards for productive activities. ...
Any decent reporter would know that isn't true. He can't even keep his story straight. After saying it was tax cuts that increased revenues, he then says:
President Bush brags that the deficit is coming down -- and it is. ... But that's largely because your FICA taxes currently exceed Social Security and Medicare payments. ...
He then goes back to the tax cuts increase revenues propaganda and quotes the president pushing the same myth:
Bush boasted last year, "This economy is growing, federal taxes are rising, and we're cutting the federal deficit... Some in Washington say we had to choose between cutting taxes and cutting the deficit. Today's numbers show that that was a false choice. The economic growth fueled by tax relief has helped send our tax revenues soaring."
Remember what Andrew Samwick, who was chief economist of the Council of Economic Advisers from 2003 to 2004, said about statements like this?
Next, Stossel gets himself all tied up in knots. Tax cuts are good. But if tax cuts increase government revenue, then tax cuts are bad because it means government takes more of our money. So tax cuts aren't good after all:
But I don't want tax revenues to soar. That's money you and I could be spending for things we want. I want revenue and spending and government overall to shrink. So I'm not celebrating with the president.
So a higher tax rate is bad, a lower tax rate is bad, and the tax rate we have is unacceptable. It's all the government's fault anyway. Because of politicians, we'll never, ever get to the promised land on the other side of the Laffer curve:
If revenues are pouring in, why don't the politicians return it to the taxpayers instead of spending it? Because politicians love to spend money. They get reelected not by how much they save but by how much they shower on interest groups.
He has a book called Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity. I haven't read it and don't plan to, but from the above, I assume it's autobiographical."
at 6/20/2007 Posted by Andy Rand
"Five Held in Plot to Bug Democratic Offices Here," said the headline at the bottom of page one in the Washington Post on Sunday, June 18, 1972. The story reported that a team of burglars had been arrested inside the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate office complex in Washington.
So began the chain of events that would convulse Washington for two years, lead to the first resignation of a U.S. president and change American politics forever.
at 6/18/2007 Posted by Andy Rand
"At least 250 million children between the ages of five and 14 are working in developing countries. Approximately 120 million of these children work full time, and tens of millions of these work under exploitative and harmful conditions.
Many of the world's working children labor in occupations and industries that are dangerous or hazardous. In agriculture, large numbers of children are exposed to harmful pesticides during their formative years. Others work in occupations and industries--including mining, construction, manufacturing, and services--in which they are exposed to toxic and carcinogenic substances. Working children often perform tasks that are beyond their physical capacity, such as lifting and carrying heavy loads or handling dangerous tools and equipment. Work hazards affect children to a greater degree than adults, in some cases causing irreversible harm to their future development."
"Children suffer many of the same human rights abuses as adults, but may also be targeted simply because they are dependent and vulnerable. Children are tortured and mistreated by state officials; they are detained, lawfully or arbitrarily, often in appalling conditions; in some countries they are subjected to the death penalty. Countless thousands are killed or maimed in armed conflicts; many more have fled their homes to become refugees. Children forced by poverty or abuse to live on the streets are sometimes detained, attacked and even killed in the name of social cleansing. Many millions of children work at exploitative or hazardous jobs, or are the victims of child trafficking and forced prostitution. Because children are "easy targets", they are sometimes threatened, beaten or raped in order to punish family members who are not so accessible."
at 6/17/2007 Posted by Andy Rand
This week, Republican Ron Paul appeared on Stephen Colbert's show in the hopes of getting what Colbert calls "the Colbert bump" and was appropriately described as "an enigma, wrapped in a riddle in a sesame seed bun of mystery." Paul is proudly anti-Bush and is definitely getting some mileage out of opposing the war in Iraq, but he seems like a relic, a true conservative in a race with the likes of Romney and Giuliani. His earnestness is endearing if a bit bizarre. Check out the video to your right to see him face off with Colbert.
at 6/17/2007 Posted by EastWing
"George raised a rifle company, marched away at its head. Noah hired a village idiot to fight in his place, converted the saw factory to the manufacture of swords and bayonets, converted the farm to the raising of hogs. Abraham Lincoln declared that no amount of money was too much to pay for the restoration of the Union, so Noah priced his merchandise is scale with the national tragedy. And made this discovery: Government objections to the price or quality of his wares could be vaporized with bribes that were pitifully small."
On his family history
at 6/17/2007 Posted by Andy Rand