“Fighting to prevent this,” still – World War II poster

June 17, 2012

Think American Institute. “We’re Fighting to Prevent This.” Rochester, New York: Kelly Read, 1943. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Think American Institute. “We’re Fighting to Prevent This.” Rochester, New York: Kelly Read, 1943. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Both Republicans and Democrats might make a claim on this poster, today.

Propaganda for patriots, from World War II, from collections now held by the Library of Congress.


Romney’s record on improving employment, holding taxes down

June 16, 2012

George Santayana warned people “who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Don’t forget this history.  Forward to those you care about.


Silent Spring’s 50th anniversary: Birds sing, air is cleaner, water is cleaner

June 16, 2012

Fifty years ago today New Yorker published the first of four parts of Rachel Carson‘s epic research book, Silent Spring.

Cover of New Yorker Magazine, June 16, 1962 -- the issue which carried the first of four parts of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring.

Cover of New Yorker Magazine, June 16, 1962 — the issue which carried the first of four parts of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.

What a difference five decades make!

People outside of it claim claim Carson started the entire environmental movement .  Historians, politicians and people inside the movement don’t forget the contributions of John James Audubon, Henry David Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Moran, John Wesley Powell, Laurance Rockefeller, John Muir, Thomas Meagher, Gifford Pinchot, William H. Jackson, Frederick Law Olmsted, and dozens of others of more or lesser fame and prominence.  Carson’s book still stands tall among the contributions of those giants, for its literary achievement, its voice, and its scientific foundations.

Contrary to the history of history-turning books, the controversy over Silent Spring grows stronger in the last decade.  Upton Sinclair‘s fictional works on Chicago meat packing company misdeeds gets lionized in high school history courses.  Thomas Malthus‘s work on population growth crops up in economics texts.  Adam Smith shows up on ties.  Few read Uncle Tom’s Cabin, but no one defends slavery nor calls Harriet Beecher Stowe‘s book inaccurate even though it was a work of fiction.

In contrast, the attacks on Carson and Silent Spring grow more shrill — today’s Google searches find many more listings for scathing and wildly inaccurate critiques of the book than there are tributes to either.

Carson and her book deserve the praise most often denied, and they deserve little if any of the criticism.  Fifty years on Silent Spring’s influence is almost universally positive.

  1. Carson forced the public, and scientists, to look at the wild as an integrated whole, including the plants and animals and mineral, land and ater resources, and also including the towns speckled among wild lands, and especially the farms sprawling in verdant production across most of America.  Carson, almost as much as Darwin, forced scientists to see their science as part of a larger whole — study of ecosystems became important, perhaps more important that the study of individual species or locations.
  2. Silent Spring alerted humans that all actions in the wild have consequences in the wild, and that the tyranny of numbers affects the entire out-of-doors as much as smaller parcels.  Human effects were seen as world-wide.
  3. Carson’s writing found firm footing in science and showed literary flair, with more than 50 pages of careful and thorough footnotes including precise citations to science research publications.  This demonstrated what Richard Feynman later brilliantly described, that a knowledgeable, scientific view of nature makes it more beautiful, and more charming.  This near-refutation of Mark Twain‘s philosophy of learning from Life on the Mississippi opened a new genre of literature that is non-fictional and floridly descriptive, but readable and persuasive because of its scientific accuracy.
  4. Silent Spring made it clear that local actions can make big environmental effects.  The bird-killing, spring-silencing actions that could cause the silent spring fable in the books introduction was not a massive federal project, but was instead the result of actions of small towns and cities, county governments, and even individual farmers.  Planet-saving action could be started at home, next door, in the block in the neighborhood, in the county — and did not require first approval from a national government.
  5. Silent Spring unabashedly pointed a finger at all of us as the culprit of the damage, and not some “other” as a bad guy.  While this troubles many today, it carries with it the explicit realization that our own actions can start our own salvation.  Personal responsibility becomes real in Silent Spring.
  6. Silent Spring made nature appear accessible to anyone with a yard, or a patch of grass nearby.  This gave rebirth to the parks movement, and it encouraged countless thousands to recreation in the outdoors, and to careers outdoors as farmers, ranchers, scientists, forest and park rangers, land managers and gardeners.
  7. Carson specifically addressed the trade-offs required to stop pollution.  DDT was a key part of the campaign to eradicate malaria from the planet, she noted.  But overuse or abuse of DDT would surely lead to insect resistance to the stuff, she documented with research already a decade old that showed exactly that.  If DDT overuse were allowed to continue, she said, DDT would stop being effective in the fight against malaria.  The book was published in 1962.  In 1965 the World Health Organization stopped its campaign against malaria in Central and Subsaharan Africa that relied on DDT.  Getting support from the not-strong national governments in the region had delayed implementation (80% of all households must be treated with DDT in this program and medical care must be improved to cure malaria in human carriers to make it work).  Worse, in areas yet untouched by the WHO campaign, mosquitoes were already resistant and immune to DDT due to overuse in agriculture and other fields.  Within 18 months after her 1964 death, Rachel Carson had been revealed as a reluctant prophet.
  8. Carson alerted the world to alternatives to technological fixes, especially those that carry high costs.  Carson worried about the effects on the fight against malaria if DDT was to be rendered ineffective by overuse.  Few planned for that eventuality, but it happened.  Happily, she also pointed to other solutions.  At peak DDT use, 500 million malaria infections annually killed 4 million people worldwide.  Today, mostly without DDT but instead with wiser policies of medical treatment and the use of bednets, malaria infections have been cut in half, to about 250 million annually, and malaria deaths have been reduced by 75%, to under 1 million annually.  This is more impressive when one realizes the total world population more than doubled in the same time, and the area where malaria is endemic also increased.  Carson told us it was possible to defeat a disease without poisoning our selves and our environment, and we have done it, to a great degree, with malaria.
  9. Birds still sing in the spring, the bald eagle is off the Endangered Species List, America’s air is cleaner, America’s water is cleaner, and more land is set aside for the regeneration of America’s renewable resources and our national, collective psyche in recreation.  Much of this can be attributed to actions by people inspired by Rachel Carson’s book.
Rachel Carson in New Yorker, 2007, illustration by Tom Bachtell

Rachel Carson in New Yorker, 2007, illustration by Tom Bachtell

Rachel was right.  Careful research, care in writing forged by years of research and writing about research, gave Carson the voice and the research chops to write a readable, scientifically accurate call to action.

That call still sounds today, even if one must strain to hear it over the chorus of ill-informed or ill-intentioned hecklers.

More, resources and related articles:


Bloomsday 2012 – pubs, and copyright. Yes!

June 16, 2012

James Joyce fans, and other literati fans:  Happy Bloomsday, June 16.

It was on that fictional June 16, 1904,  that the fictional Leopold Bloom worked so hard to find his way home in Dublin, lured by the sirens of this pub, hampered by the Scylla and Charybdis of that pub, but finally — Yes! — finding his own doorway, yes, and entering into it, yes, and making literary history, yes.

Bloomsday

James Joyce caressing, or torturing, a guitar. Bloomsday (Photo credit: bluelephant)

Oh, yes! Yes!  Yes!

Is anyone reading Ulysses in your town?  Public performance?

2012 heralds, or laments, the ending of the extended copyright on the novel in the UK.  James Joyce’s son Stephen has been a close and controlling shepherd of the rights to use the words of the book.

In 2004 the threat of disruption from the Joyce estate to the planned Bloomsday centenary was deemed so great – Stephen Joyce warned he would sue for copyright infringement if public readings formed any part of the festival – that the Irish government was forced to pass emergency legislation to protect itself. In 2007, a US court upheld the claim of a Stanford academic that the Joyce estate engaged in abusive conduct in exploiting its copyright.

This year, Dublin’s New Theatre have organized an entire festival dedicated to Joyce’s entry into the public domain, featuring new work only made possible by the expiry of the Joyce copyrights. Scholars from around the world – including a few former targets of legal action from the estate – will gather at Trinity College Dublin for a week-long symposium on the author. Experimental film, cabaret, even an iPhone app, all form part of the city’s program of festivities.

Bloomsday performers outside Davy Byrne's pub

Bloomsday performers outside Davy Byrne’s pub, in Dublin (in 2011?) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s not clear that the copyright is ended in the U.S.  I doubt that will slow any of the scheduled readings.

How will you celebrate Bloomsday? 

Have you read the book?  Of those who show up to readings, or to lift a pint in a Dublin pub, what percentage do you think have actually read Joyce’s book?

Bloomsday, More, and Related Resources:

Leopold Bloom's gorgonzola sandwich

Leopold Bloom’s gorgonzola sandwich (perhaps you need to have read the book . . . ) (Photo credit: Dunechaser)


June 15: Magna Carta anniversary, #797

June 15, 2012

Today, June 15, 2012, is the 797th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta.  The document laid a foundation for freedom, almost 800 years ago, upon which we stand today.

Runnymede, Magna Carta Isle, photo by Wyrdlight, Antony McCallum, 2008 (Wikimedia)

What event critical to western history and the development of the democratic republic in the U.S. happened here in 1215?

A teacher might use some of these photos explaining the steps to the Constitution, in English law and the heritage of U.S. laws. Other than the Magna Carta, all the events of Runnymede get overlooked in American studies of history. Antony McCallum, working under the name Wyrdlight, took these stunning shots of this historic meadow. (He photographs stuff for studies of history, it appears.)

Maybe it’s a geography story.

View of Runnymede Meadow from Engham Village -- Wyrdlight photo through Wikimedia

View of Runnymede Meadow from Engham Village — Wyrdlight photo through Wikimedia

Several monuments to different events of the past millennium populate the site. The American Bar Association dedicated a memorial to the Magna Carta there — a small thing open to the air, but with a beautiful ceiling that is probably worth the trip to see it once you get to England.

Wikipedia explains briefly, with a note that the ABA plans to meet there again in 2015, the 800th anniversary of the Great Charter:

Magna Carta Memorial


The Magna Carta Memorial & view towards the ‘medes’


Engraved stone recalling the 1985 ABA visit

Situated in a grassed enclosure on the lower slopes of Cooper’s Hill, this memorial is of a domed classical style, containing a pillar of English granite on which is inscribed “To commemorate Magna Carta, symbol of Freedom Under Law”. The memorial was created by the American Bar Association to a design by Sir Edward Maufe R.A., and was unveiled on 18 July 1957 at a ceremony attended by American and English lawyers.[5]

Since 1957 representatives of the ABA have visited and rededicated the Memorial renewing pledges to the Great Charter. In 1971 and 1985 commemorative stones were placed on the Memorial plinth. In July 2000 the ABA came:

to celebrate Magna Carta, foundation of the rule of law for ages past and for the new millennium.

In 2007 on its 50th anniversary the ABA again visited Runnymede and during the convention installed as President Charles Rhyne who devised Law Day which seeks in the USA an annual reaffirmation of faith in the forces of law for peace.

The ABA will be meeting at Runnymede in 2015 on the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the original charter.

The Magna Carta Memorial is administered by the Magna Carta Trust, which is chaired by the Master of the Rolls.[10]

In 2008, flood lights were installed to light the memorial at night, but due to vandalism they now lie smashed.

I’ll wager the lights get fixed before 2015.

Detail of the Magna Carta monument at Runnymed...

Detail of ceiling of the Magna Carta Memorial detailing play of light, and star pattern, Runnymede – Wikimedia image

More, resources:

This is mostly an encore post.


Chess games of the rich and famous: Aboard the Endurance, trapped in ice

June 14, 2012

Expedition photographer Frank Hurley and meteorologist Leonard Hussey play chess aboard the ‘Endurance’ trapped in ice in 1915, in the Antarctic. RoyalCollection.org.uk via Pau Pascual Duran.

Trapped by ice, members of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s exploration team aboard the Endurance needed activities to keep themselves sane, do doubt.

Does chess really qualify as one of those activities?

If Hurley, the expedition photographer, was in the picture, who was behind the camera?

Description of the photo at the Royal Collection:

Creator:  Frank Hurley (1885-1962) (photographer)
Creation Date: 1915
Materials: Silver bromide print
Dimensions: 15.4 x 20.5 cm (image)
RCIN 2580072
Acquirer: George V, King of the United Kingdom (1865-1936)
Provenance: Presented to King George V, 1917
Description:  Photograph taken on board Endurance of Frank Hurley (1885-1962) sitting on the left as he is concentrates on a game of chess with Leonard Hussey (1891-1964) while on watch. Beside them lie the remains of a supper of tea, bread and sardines. Leonard Hussey later practised as a doctor, until his retirement in 1957.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Pau Pascual Duran.

Endurance final sinking in Antarctica

Endurance final sinking in Antarctica (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Save

Save


Flag Day poster from 1917

June 14, 2012

140th US Flag Day poster. 1777-1917. The birthday of the stars and stripes, June 14th, 1917. 'Tis the Star Spangled Banner, oh, long may it wave, o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!" Library of Congress description: "Poster showing a man raising the American flag, with a minuteman cheering and an eagle flying above." - Wikipedia

140th US Flag Day poster. 1777-1917. The birthday of the stars and stripes, June 14th, 1917. ‘Tis the Star Spangled Banner, oh, long may it wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!” Library of Congress description: “Poster showing a man raising the American flag, with a Minuteman cheering and an eagle flying above.” – Wikipedia

Details about the poster, from the Library of Congress:


1777-1917: The 140th flag day. The birthday of the stars and stripes, June 14th, 1917. The text continues: ‘Tis the Star Spangled Banner, oh, long may it wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave! President Woodrow Wilson remarked, “this flag, which we honor and under which we serve, is the emblem of our unity, our power, our thought and purpose as a nation. Though silent, it speaks to us of the past, of the men and women who went before us, and of the records they wrote upon it.”

MEDIUM: 1 print (poster) : lithograph, color ; 101 x 65 cm.

CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1917.

NOTES: Forms part of: Willard and Dorothy Straight Collection.

Who was the artist?  Who ordered the printing, and for what specific purpose?  Anyone know?

The Library of Congress sells copies of this poster.


Flag Day 2012 – Fly your flag today!

June 14, 2012

Of course, you’re already flying your Stars and Stripes, right?

I’ve been on the road, mostly without internet access; I’m tardy in my reminder.

June 14th marks the anniversary of the resolution passed by the Second Continental Congress in 1777, adopting the Stars and Stripes as the national flag.

Fly your flag today. This is one of the score of dates upon which Congress suggests we fly our flags.

Flag Day 1916, parade in Washington, D.C. - employees of National Geographic Society march - photo by Gilbert Grosvenor

Flag Day 1916, parade in Washington, D.C. – employees of National Geographic Society march – photo by Gilbert Grosvenor

The photo above drips with history. Here’s the description from the National Geographic Society site:

One hundred and fifty National Geographic Society employees march in the Preparedness Parade on Flag Day, June 14, in 1916. With WWI underway in Europe and increasing tensions along the Mexican border, President Woodrow Wilson marched alongside 60,000 participants in the parade, just one event of many around the country intended to rededicate the American people to the ideals of the nation.

Not only the anniversary of the day the flag was adopted by Congress, Flag Day is also the anniversary of President Dwight Eisenhower’s controversial addition of the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954.

(Text adapted from “:Culture: Allegiance to the Pledge?” June 2006, National Geographic magazine)

The first presidential declaration of Flag Day was 1916, by President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson won re-election the following November with his pledge to keep America out of World War I, but by April of 1917 he would ask for a declaration of war after Germany resumed torpedoing of U.S. ships. The photo shows an America dedicated to peace but closer to war than anyone imagined. Because the suffragettes supported Wilson so strongly, he returned the favor, supporting an amendment to the Constitution to grant women a Constitutional right to vote. The amendment passed Congress with Wilson’s support and was ratified by the states.

The flags of 1916 should have carried 48 stars. New Mexico and Arizona were the 47th and 48th states, Arizona joining the union in 1913. No new states would be added until Alaska and Hawaii in 1959. That 46-year period marked the longest time the U.S. had gone without adding states, until today. No new states have been added since Hawaii, more than 49 years ago. (U.S. history students: Have ever heard of an essay, “Manifest destiny fulfilled?”)

150 employees of the National Geographic Society marched, and as the proud CEO of any organization, Society founder Gilbert H. Grosvenor wanted a photo of his organization’s contribution to the parade. Notice that Grosvenor himself is the photographer.

I wonder if Woodrow Wilson took any photos that day, and where they might be hidden.

History of Flag Day from a larger perspective, from the Library of Congress:

Since 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation establishing a national Flag Day on June 14, Americans have commemorated the adoption of the Stars and Stripes by celebrating June 14 as Flag Day. Prior to 1916, many localities and a few states had been celebrating the day for years. Congressional legislation designating that date as the national Flag Day was signed into law by President Harry Truman in 1949; the legislation also called upon the president to issue a flag day proclamation every year.

According to legend, in 1776, George Washington commissioned Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross to create a flag for the new nation. Scholars debate this legend, but agree that Mrs. Ross most likely knew Washington and sewed flags. To date, there have been twenty-seven official versions of the flag, but the arrangement of the stars varied according to the flag-makers’ preferences until 1912 when President Taft standardized the then-new flag’s forty-eight stars into six rows of eight. The forty-nine-star flag (1959-60), as well as the fifty-star flag, also have standardized star patterns. The current version of the flag dates to July 4, 1960, after Hawaii became the fiftieth state on August 21, 1959.

Fly your flag with pride today.

Elmhurst Flag Day 1939, DuPage County Centennial - Posters From the WPA

Elmhurst flag day, June 18, 1939, Du Page County centennial / Beauparlant.
Chicago, Ill.: WPA Federal Art Project, 1939.
By the People, For the People: Posters from the WPA, 1936-1943

This is an encore post, from June 14, 2009

More, and Other Voices:


A good reason to send a letter on Flag Day

June 14, 2012

Forever Justice, Equality, Freedom, Liberty stamps - photo by Mary Almanza

A trip to the Post Office turned into a patriotic exercise — photo by Mary Almanza.


Update: Romney campaign continues attacks on education, calls for fewer teachers, cops and firefighters

June 12, 2012

Romney campaign chairman John Sununu danced a little bit trying to qualify Mitt Romney’s attack on first responders and teachers — Sununu said some cities have smaller populations than they once did, and they need fewer teachers.

But Sununu continued to attack all teachers, all cops, and all firefighters.

Sununu’s position, opposed to all government workers, remains relatively consistent over the past three decades.  Sununu remains one of the crabbiest people ever to hold high office and great power (U.S. Senator, White House chief of staff).  We probably should take him at his word now.

ThinkProgress.com quotes Sununu:

SUNUNU: Let me respond as a taxpayer, not as a representative of the Romney campaign. There are municipalities, there are states where there is flight of population. And as the population goes down, you need fewer teachers. As technology contributes to community security and dealing with issues that firefighters have to deal with, you would hope that you can, as a taxpayer, see the benefits of the efficiency and personnel that you get out of that.

JANSING: But even if there’s movement to the suburbs, teachers and policemen are needed somewhere.

SUNUNU: But I’m going to tell you there are places where just pumping money in to add to the public payroll is not what the taxpayers of this country want.

JANSING: Do you think that taxpayers of this country want to hear fewer firefighters, fewer teachers, fewer police officers, from a strategic standpoint?

SUNUNU: If there’s fewer kids in the classrooms, the taxpayers really do want to hear there will be fewer teachers. […] You have a lot of places where that is happening. You have a very mobile country now where things are changing. You have cities in this country in which the school population peaked ten, 15 years ago. And, yet the number of teachers that may have maintained has not changed. I think this is a real issue. And people ought to stop jumping on it as a gaffe and understand there’s wisdom in the comment.

Nationwide, the number of students is increasing, and even with the dip for the recent massive Republican recession, population continues to grow.  My school is not representative of the entire nation, but we had a 25% increase in student population, with a 10% decrease in faculty.  Class sizes rose dramatically (I had as many as 36 students in a room designed for 22).

That’s more common than decreasing student populations.

I’m not sure we can accuse Sununu of not being in touch with what goes on in the U.S.  He maintains his anti-government, do-more-with-less positions despite knowing better.

Yes, I think his explanation is dissembling.

But be warned:  The War on American Exceptionalism should not come as a surprise; Romney’s campaign is making it clear that they prefer to do damage to U.S. institutions like law enforcement and education.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Jennsmom.


Quote of the moment: What if D-Day had failed? IKE said, ‘blame me’

June 11, 2012

Eisenhower's unused statement on the failure of D-Day

Eisenhower’s contingency statement, in case D-Day failed – image from the National Archives

This quote actually isn’t a quote. It was never said by the man who wrote it down to say it. It carries a powerful lesson because of what it is.

The Bathtub recently posted Gen. Dwight Eisenhower’s “order of the day” to the troops about to conduct the Allied invasion of Normandy — D-Day — to establish the toehold in Europe the Allies needed to march to Berlin, and to end World War II in Europe. As a charge to the troops, it was okay — Eisenhower-style words, not Churchill-style, but effective enough. One measure of its effectiveness was the success of the invasion, which established the toe-hold from which the assaults on the Third Reich were made.

When Eisenhower wrote his words of encouragement to the troops, and especially after he visited with some of the troops, he worried about the success of the operation. It was a great gamble. Many of the things the Allies needed to go right — like weather — had gone wrong. Victory was not assured. Defeat strode the beaches of Normandy waiting to drive the Allies back into the water, to die. [Photo shows Eisenhower meeting with troops of the 101st Airborne Division, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, on the eve of the invasion. It was these men whose courage he lauded. Update: Someone “took hostage” the photo I linked to — a thumbnail version is appended; I leave the original link in hopes it might be liberated] eisenhower-with-paratrooper-eve-of-d-day.jpg

Eisenhower wrote a second statement, a shorter one. This one was directed to the world. It assumed the assault had failed. In a few short sentences, Eisenhower commended the courage and commitment of the troops who, he wrote, had done all they could. The invasion was a chance, a good chance based on the best intelligence the Allies had, Eisenhower wrote. But it had failed.

The failure, Eisenhower wrote, was not the fault of the troops, but was entirely Eisenhower’s.

He didn’t blame the weather, though he could have. He didn’t blame fatigue of the troops, though they were tired, some simply from drilling, many from war. He didn’t blame the superior field position of the Germans, though the Germans clearly had the upper hand. He didn’t blame the almost-bizarre attempts to use technology that look almost clownish in retrospect — the gliders that carried troops behind the lines, sometimes too far, sometimes killing the pilots when the gliders’ cargo shifted on landing; the flotation devices that were supposed to float tanks to the beaches to provide cover for the troops (but which failed, drowning the tank crews and leaving the foot soldiers on their own); the bombing of the forts and pillboxes on the beaches, which failed because the bombers could not see their targets through the clouds.

There may have been a plan B, but in the event of failure, Eisenhower was prepared to establish who was accountable, whose head should roll if anyone’s should.

Eisenhower took full responsibility.

Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troop, the air [force] and the navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone.

Do you think anyone in the U.S. command would write such a thing today?  I have several candidates.  Who do you think is leader enough to shoulder the blame for such a massive, hypothetical debacle?

  • The message may also be viewed here. Yes, it’s incorrectly dated July 5 — should have been June 5.

This is an encore post.


School reform: 250,000 teachers fired?

June 11, 2012

Is this any way to run education reform?

Plugging his own jobs creation bill, President Obama said that 250,000 teachers lost jobs in state budget cuts in the last few months.  NEA’s news line reported:

Obama Cites Teacher Layoffs In Push For Jobs Bill.

The AP (6/9) reports President Obama “wants Congress to help states rehire teachers and act on a key part of last year’s jobs bill.” In his weekly address, the President said “many states have been squeezed by the economic recession and have been forced to lay off teachers — about 250,000 across the nation.”

The Los Angeles Times (6/10, Reston) reports the President “renewed his push for his stalled jobs bill in his weekly address Saturday, arguing that the legislation could play a critical role in preventing teachers around the country from being pink-slipped in cash-strapped states.” He said, “It should concern everyone that right now — all across America — tens of thousands of teachers are getting laid off. … When there are fewer teachers in our schools, class sizes start climbing up. Our students start falling behind. And our economy takes a hit.” The Times notes that he cited “the shrinking pool of teachers in the swing states of Pennsylvania and Ohio.”

Politico (6/9, Boak) says the President “told voters to send Republicans to the principal’s office,” calling on Congress “to pass a measure to stop teacher layoffs that he first proposed last September. The $30 billion package to fill in the gaps left by slashed state education budgets failed to get a passing grade from Capitol Hill.” The President said, “In Pennsylvania alone, there are 9,000 fewer educators in our schools today than just a year ago. In Ohio, the number is close to 7,000. And nationwide, over the past three years, school districts have lost over 250,000 educators.”

The Hill (6/9, Sink) says his “messaging largely echoed his remarks at an unplanned press conference Friday at the White House. But that effort was overshadowed” by his “remark that ‘the private sector is doing fine’ in terms of job growth, drawing immediate criticism from Republicans.” The Hill (6/9, Sink) also reports the Obama campaign also released a new web video criticizing Mitt Romney “for saying Friday that the federal government shouldn’t move forward with legislation that would give cash-strapped states money for teachers and emergency responders.”

Meanwhile, The Hill (6/9, Pecquet) reports in the Republican address, Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) criticized the Affordable Care Act, saying, “The President’s policies are standing in the way of a stronger economy. His healthcare law well may be the worst offender, driving up costs and making it harder for small businesses to hire workers. It’s making things worse in our economy, and it needs to be fully repealed.”

It’s difficult to find an analogy about just how contrary to wisdom is the idea of laying off teachers in a national economic recession.  Imagine Mitt Romney saying, “We need to keep Americans safe, so I propose we lay off policemen and firefighters.”   It wouldn’t make any sense.  Surely Americans would rise up in protest.

What’s that?


Mitt Romney: ‘Cut teachers, fire cops, layoff firefighters . . .’

June 8, 2012

I don’t remember asking for this, but Romney says you did:  Cut jobs for teachers, cops and firefighters?

It’s not that the majority is silent, it is that the Republican Party is completely deaf.

That whirring noise is Milton Friedman, Friedrich von Hayek, and Ludwig von Mises, all spinning in their graves.


Ike’s orders to the troops for D-Day, June 5, 1944

June 5, 2012

Eisenhower talks to troops of invasion force, June 5 -- before D-Day

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower talks with paratroopers of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division, June 5, 1944; photo credit unclear; from Ohio State University

Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force: You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you.

– Order of the Day, 6 June, 1944 (some sources list this as issued 2 June)

(This is mostly an encore post.)


Health care for women . . .

June 5, 2012

What is the largest cancer screening program for  women in the U.S.?   Anyone know?

Notes from Women are Watching:

Since January of last year, bills targeting women’s health have been introduced in all 50 states. But women will remember who turned their backs on us and who voted to keep us healthy. On Election Day, women will be fighting back. Find out who’s standing up for you, visit: http://www.womenarewatching.org

Transcript:

In 2011, times were tough. Recession. Joblessness. So many of us struggling to make ends meet. But for women, times were about to get a lot tougher.

The newly elected U.S. House of Representatives made it their business to cut women off from the health care they depend on.

The House passed the Pence Amendment, which would bar Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds for any purpose, including preventive and lifesaving services:

Women across America united to defend their access to care.

Champions in Congress stood strong.

And so did President Obama.

The US Senate stood with women and defeated the Pence Amendment.

But sadly that was just the beginning.

Bills targeting women’s health have been introduced in all 50 states since January of last year.

Make no mistake, this is the most relentless attack on women’s health in 40 years.

Politicians have been playing ugly games with women’s lives.

One year after we brought the Pence Amendment down, we remember who turned their backs on us, and who voted to keep us healthy.

November is just around the corner.

Soon it will be our turn to vote.


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