Showing posts with label looking back. Show all posts
Showing posts with label looking back. Show all posts

Thursday, September 11, 2014



The first thing I saw this this morning when I opened the blinds, was our flag flying at half-staff at the DPS office across the street.  9/11!!  

 I immediately broke out in chill bumps
 The magnitude of that attack was unbelievable; so was the fact that it was happening as I sat glued to the TV screen.

on piles of rubble
now a peaceful memorial

Until that day heroism was just a word—September 11 was filled with it: firefighters, police, medical personnel, and volunteers, all risking their lives to save the victims. Hundreds of others worked ‘til they dropped in support services.

Then there was a fourth plane—Flight 93.  Its passengers did not sit placidly waiting for death. They chose to fight. They lost their lives, but succeeded in
diverting the terrorists from their goal, and left us with young Todd Beamer’s rallying call: “Let’s roll.”

Todd Beamer

Those words, in modern slang, reflect our nation's attitude 
throughout it's history.  Today  memorials were held for those who lost their lives and to those who saved 
many others. It should also be a day to remember that we were slack in our diligence, waning signs were ignored, and we were not prepared. An old saying comes to mind:
"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

"Never Forget."


Saturday, July 23, 2011

By Necessity


FDR reassuring the people
during Fireside talk. 

I wouldn’t dare inflict history lessons on you would I? Of course, I wouldn’t! I do understand that there is a popular opinion that history is a useless study and that what is over is over and we should focus on moving forward.

Yet there comes a time when you wonder “Wot happened?” Then you may take a moment to look back. That’s what last year’s political turmoil did for me.

We know, or should know, that our nation was founded by hard working people with ambitions of bettering themselves and being free of laws that hindered their rights. When unreasonable restriction followed them to their new world, they fought and died to maintain those rights and upon winning that war, highly intelligent and fair-minded men devised a system of government in our Constitution to assure that the beliefs that had been fought for would continue to rule the nation.

The country grew and with growth came changes. The pre-depression days were far from perfect.  The poverty of many people was severe. The abuses in the workplace, especially of women and children, were terrible. Corruption among the powerful and in the government was commonplace and despite our ancestor’s dreams and skillful framing of our method of government, our society had become a sad reflection of those original dreams.

The stock market crash of ’29 and the following Great Depression capped a period of opportunity for many and misery for some and with at least 13 million workers unemployed it was a  time of desperation for most of the nation. President Hoover’s policies were blamed; his failure to correct the situation was cursed and a new President was duly elected.

As mentioned in a previous blog, FDR’s first 100 days were busy ones as he used his great political skills to create programs to get our country on the move again.  All were created to boost the country out of its deep depression and to remedy many other destructive problems that had developed. These laws and regulations were spoken of as “the first New Deal. At that time, the words, “New Deal,” were often spoken in the same tone of voice as some of the worst of curse words. Some of today’s programs suffer the same fate.

Regardless of opposition, President Roosevelt moved forward with his agenda, In addition to the Civilian Conservation Corp and the Public Work Program, the Emergency Farm Mortgage Act was created and was of great benefit to the large number of farmers who had loss their farms in foreclosures after the stock market crash.  Under the Farm Act, only small down payments were required to purchase a farm, and if the entire bi-annual payment could not be made, the smaller amount of interest due was accepted, postponing the payment on the principal. Under this program many families who had been eking out a living as tenant farmers, were able to make a fresh start with farms of their own, although farm life remained hard and many mortgages were not paid off until WWII.
Besides the previously discussed programs, the Tennessee Valley Authority  (TVA) was created, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) were created, all programs that are beneficial today.

In 1935, after the economy had begun to recover, our beleaguered Social Security program came into being under Roosevelt’s  “Second New Deal “ which covered many areas such as labor, women in the work force, the arts and many others.

Social Security or Old-Age and Survivor’s Insurance (OASI) came into being at this time with a carefully planned system, calculated to make it self-supportive with its trust fund.  According to charts, its fund showed its first deficit in 1975. There are interesting charts and graphs showing the income and outgo of the program over the years and many versions of the outcome, some frightening, some reassuring. It is a political hot topic because it affects everyone.

Over the years, there have been numerous changes in the government’s accounting procedures, giving rise to a few erroneous tales about Social Security. However, it appears that it is true that the government is allowed to borrow from the fund, backing its debt with Treasury notes and bonds. Then, when there is a need, the government honors its bonds and the fund is again viable. I am sure there are a variety of opinions on the feasibility of this arrangement.

There is no denying that the Social Security program has been a great benefit to thousands of elderly parents and grandparents. That also translates in to being beneficial to their offspring who would have otherwise been bearing the burden of their care.

There were numerous other helpful programs for the nation’s suffering citizens Surplus food and subsidies made nutritious school lunches available for five cents each and surplus food was made available for the public. Other practically unknown programs assisted the needy populace. One, for high school students, paid for various jobs, such as janitorial or library duty, within the schools. I had library duty and that small dollar amount on my government check looked rather large in those days.

President Roosevelt had many ambitious plans for helping the country recover. Some were declared unconstitutional, some were discontinued when WWII broke out, and wrangling and jealousies within the administration destroyed some.

CCC history pamphlets state that infighting among a few of Roosevelt’s cabinet members that signaled that program’s end. Another program, the National Recovery Act, or NRA, placed a certain amount of price and wage control over businesses and those participating displayed a NRA symbol of a blue eagle in their windows.  I remember seeing these signs displayed in store windows, for not to show that the store was participating, brought a risk of being boycotted. This law was one that was ruled unconstitutional. Many citizens claimed this symbol signified evil and was a “sign of the devil.”  I seem to remember that some folks felt it had something to do with biblical predictions. That was long ago, early in FDR’s administration and I was rather young.

Other programs that were disliked intensely were created in hope of raising and stabilizing prices for agricultural products. They placed controls over the amount of acreage planted in various crops thus causing many acres to lay barren.  Especially disliked was the slaughtering of cattle and the law that the meat had to be destroyed. With people starving throughout the country, this and the plowing under of crops were contrary to all that farmers and cattlemen believed in but they dutifully obeyed the law.

Undoubtedly, there were long titles and initialed acronyms for dozens of addition acts, but those discussed here are the most memorable and perhaps the most noteworthy and beneficial ones of the FDR administrations.

Roosevelt’s policies are still being debated and the effects of many of them still linger. At the time they were generally extremely helpful for our troubled nation but there is little doubt that this period can be considered the beginning of many, sometimes unwelcome, government controls.

      More to come after we all rest.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

BeenThere Already

I have just now received this little item from a friend, and as an old-timer, I found it both amusing and informative about our changing times and associated problems.

The Green Thing
In the line at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.  

The woman apologized to him and explained, "We didn't have the green thing back in my day."
The clerk responded, "That's our problem today.  Your generation did not care enough to save our environment."

He was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day. 

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over.  So they really were recycled. 

But we didn't have the green thing back in our day. 

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. 

But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day. 

Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throw-away kind.  We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry the clothes.  Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day. 

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. 
In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. 
When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. 
Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power.  We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. 

But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.
We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. 
We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. 

But we didn't have the green thing back then. 

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. 
We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances.  And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint. 
The current philosopy is that generations of the past have been poor custodians of our resoources and I expect that may be partly true, but consider the changes that we are now experiencing to get a better understanding of the scope of  our present day environmental problems.

Thanks, MA for the forwarded piece!