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« December 2012 | Main | February 2013 »

Front Page » Monthly Archives » January 2013

By Ken Poland on January 31, 2013

I think the maximum SS deduction for the year was $78. And there were complaints that those my age would never draw a dime of it back. Farm labor, self employed farmers, and, I think other self employed folks were not eligible to be covered by SS. There were very few non union jobs that provided health insurance or retirement benefits. Workers in large manufacturing and production factories had successfully organized and had raised the standard of living for a significant number of laborers, but the small companies and employers were free to hire and fire at will and paid only what they had to to keep help. Union wages were a positive influence, even for those without union representation. And believe it or not, businesses flourished, hard workers were rewarded, and the wealthy continued to do quite well.

I remember very well the sit in at a lunch counter downtown. The blacks couldn't sit at the counter for lunch. Schools were still pretty much 'separate but equal'. What a farce that was. Separate was sure but equality was not even close. Wichita had grown rapidly during WW2 and that meant segregation in housing wasn't as evident as in other towns or communities, but it was noticeable and schools with any significant number of colored children had a definite influence on real estate values and homes in the vicinity. Those economic values, and yes, the moral values in community had an effect on amenities and values in the schools. Bussing may not have been fair for some children but it did much to integrate whole communities. You weren't automatically safe from segregated schools by simply selling at reduced prices and moving to all white communities.

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By Ken Poland on January 31, 2013

Yes, Diane, things have changed, some for the better and some for the worse.

When I moved from NW KS to Wichita, the only 4 lane highway, outside of city limits, was a stretch between Wichita and Newton. The speed limit was 'reasonable and proper' unless otherwise posted. The 2 lane highways had numerous curves and some abrupt corners that had posted speeds that a daring invincible old country boy could navigate well above those posted warnings. Reasonable & Proper ?? Government decided at a later time that to protect society, they had better set those limits for the safety of society. A few years before that (WW2) the federal government had set speed limits of 35 MPH to save fuel and prolong the life of vehicles. The war effort needed the fuel and manufacturing resources. That was for the benefit of society. When those restrictions were no longer needed for the benefit of society, they were lifted. A lot of people didn’t like the speed limit and it was flagrantly ignored. But, it still slowed traffic, some, and had the desired results. Today, we say don’t pass gun legislation unless you can guarantee absolute enforcement and obedience, regardless of whether it will have some deterrence on gun violence. We don’t think we owe allegiance to anyone but our selves and our selfish desires. I’ll control you when I want to but you can’t control me.

The lull between Korea and Vietnam slowed the need for involuntary drafts that allowed some of us to reach the ripe old age of 22-24 years before getting our call. By this time, the Army was fully integrated. But when I applied for work at Boeing Airplane Co. their was a definite bias in departments. I stood in line next to a colored man and the options offered me were quite different than he got. The department I hired into had only 1 colored man. The person interviewing us had no indication that I was better qualified for that department than the colored fellow. The pay grades and ceiling for advancement was much greater in tooling than in maintenance or transportation. When I got out to the plant it was very obvious that tooling was much shorter on needed workers than maintenance or transportation. Was there any evidence that this ole country kid, that didn't know what 'tooling' was, would be better qualified than the other fellow? The coloreds eventually started getting into tooling, but I don't recall there being a single female tool maker in the plant, while I was there. I don't know whether that is still the case or not. There were female (both black & white) employees on the assembly line, transportation and maintenance departments, but none in tooling. They didn't even have a chance to prove equality of skills or workmanship in our department.

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By Ken Poland on January 30, 2013

"then there will be no speaker in all the world say the name: "The People," with any fleck of a sneer in his voice or any far-off smile of derision. The mob—the crowd—the mass—will arrive then."
Angelo, I've agreed with you that poets, musicians, and artists are a better source of history for the common folks in society than the politically and religiously powerful and those who decry 'political correct' (PC) as a weakness.

The majority of those devoted to poetry, music, and art seldom attain great wealth and prestige during their lifetimes. Oh yes, their are some who strike it rich, but their genius is usually only discovered after history and time reveals the inner wisdom they had. And, sad to say, quite often it is discovered that the ones who received the honor and glory were not the real talent behind the works. Those who are purely entertainers or actors are rewarded or denied on the spot.

Is the quote I've selected, from Carl Sandburg, a picture of today's Republican leadership? We see a little evidence of their weakening stance of absolute refusal to accept what appears to be the honest position of 'the people'. The fact that Pres. Obama won the popular vote rather decisively (no landslide) and that the Democrats gained seats in both houses of congress has to be an indication that more people aligned themselves with the campaign rhetoric of the Democrats than the Republicans.

Read more from this post here ...

By Diane Wahto on January 30, 2013

The news that the Supreme Court had decided in favor of Roe in the Roe v. Wade case in Jan. 1973, elicited a gasp from me. I had been somewhat active in the women’s rights movement for a few years, but I was more focused on the anti-Vietnam War movement. After all, I took birth control pills, which meant I didn’t have to worry about an unwanted pregnancy. The three children I had were wanted children.

Even so, I felt great relief at the news. Women and teenage girls who found themselves with unwanted pregnancies had few choices. I remember girls disappearing from my high school class, with no explanation, never to appear again. Some women knew where they would be able to get abortions, but to do so, they had to risk arrest, while putting their fate in the hands of so-called back-alley abortionists. Some of these practitioners were medical doctors, others were people who provided their secret services at a high cost, both in money and risk, to the women they operated on.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on January 30, 2013

Last week I watched a PBS documentary called The Day Carl Sandburg Died and I learned a lot about the life of poet and biographer Carl Sandburg. Previously I knew that Sandburg had written some acclaimed biographies of Abraham Lincoln, but I knew nothing about his poetry or his importance as a music preservationist and a political radical. Carl Sandburg led a very interesting life, and his life is another example of something I have discovered about our American heritage. Most of the great American artists and writers who shaped our American culture were to the left of the political spectrum, and this leftist viewpoint helped shape an egalitarian and populist American viewpoint.

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By Angelo Lopez on January 21, 2013

Last September, when I visited Washington D.C., I encountered a small gathering at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial organized by a group called the National Council of Elders. The National Council of Elders is a group that was founded by Rev. James Lawson, Dr. Vincent Harding and Rev. Phil Lawson that consists of veterans of the civil rights movement, the feminist movement, the environmental movement, the immigrant rights movement and the gay rights movement and their goal is to continue their work in social justice and to impart the wisdom of their experiences to a new generation of social justice activists. The representatives of the National Council of Elders were presenting their Greensborough Declaration, which urged the country to resolve to help the poor and working class in their struggles during this economic recession.

Read more from this post here ...

By Ken Poland on January 19, 2013

Executive Decisions – What is an executive decision? Who makes executive decisions?

If you have the privilege of choosing which shirt or pair of socks you are going to wear today, you will make an executive decision. That’s kind of fundamental and simple isn’t it? Who gave you the privilege of making that decision? Most likely your mother was the first person with the authority to make an executive decision to let you make a decision of your own, based on your level of maturity. The truth is, every human being has some level of executive privilege to make decisions.

Age, race, gender, and wealth have been issues through out the recorded history of mankind. And, I will predict that those classifications, in vary forms, will continue to be issues.

Now, let’s get a little more serious about the perceived problem of our President making executive decisions. Is he the first president to make executive decisions? Our forefathers established a Democratic Republic form of government consisting of three branches. Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. The constitution details how those branches work to protect the people living under the protection of that government. And, to be quite honest, there has always been some disagreement between those branches and the people as to limits and responsibilities. Partisan politics has been with us from the very beginning.

Read more from this post here ...

By Ken Poland on January 13, 2013

The ObamaCare Survival Guide is a detailed and easy-to-understand 229-page book about the new healthcare law. That little book will tell you all about how to deal with health care?

Where is that brilliant author when our congressmen are writing laws? The 'Patriot Act', the Healthcare Act, our IRS laws and regulations, etc. etc. could be condensed to just 229 pages!!! The next thing that I wonder about: How do those people justify the approval of the Patriot Act in just a very few short weeks and automatically reject the ACA that was, in fact, debated in committees and even on the floor of congress for months?

That ACA document is 2.700 pages long and over 27,000 pages of regulations to enact it, and you can get the straight and narrow with just 229 page pamphlet.

The advertisement points out that the ACA document is longer than the Bible. Do you think you can get all you need to know about the Bible with a single pamphlet? If you do, then you are most likely going to get a very narrow and limited opinion based on just a very few texts or verses, taken out of context. And just look at all the wasted resources (paper and printing supplies) that have been made available over the centuries since the first written documents of the Bible were produced.

If you limit your study and research to just one opinion or even a limited source of opinions, will you really understand the Bible? If you limit your resources to an opposing religious sect and their opinions, will you really know what the Bible has to say about humanity and humanity's relationship to God? Some people, after extensive study have come to the conclusion that the Bible is a fairy tale and pure fiction. Others will conclude that it is a story of a Terrible God who demands blood and guts and all kinds of vengeful acts by His followers. Some avowed Atheists have concluded after careful study and research that there is a real God and it is the God of the Scriptures (Holy Bible).

I beleive God created us with a mind and the ability to reason, remember, and plan for our future. How he created us is not the real issue. If it is the result of a snap of His fingers and man (modern man as we know) appeared, then so be it. If it is the result of evolution and gradual perfection, then so be it. How we interpret history and man's relationship with man is determined by our knowledge of history, present conditions, and how we think the future will be. No man or document can declare the absolutes and meet everyone's spiritual or emotional needs. No single health care system is the absolute solution to man's health and neither can we gaurantee utopia with any single plan or program.

By Randy Leer on January 9, 2013

We are in the midst of a very heated conflict over gun control and the random mass murder of innocent souls. Ultimately, I don’t believe in gun control as an absolute. I have a complicated solution for a very complicated problem.

First off, nothing productive is going to come out of this. Why? The Pro-Gun Control group knows so little about guns that they cannot write any legislation that will be relevant. The Anti-Gun Control crowd has guns and knows that they can’t be eliminated.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on January 9, 2013

On the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote a commemoration for the event. He wrote:

May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government... All eyes are opened or opening to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few, booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others; for ourselves, to let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.

Though the Founding Fathers were not perfect, I still admire them for giving us the ideals of freedom and equality that future generations of radicals and reformers expanded upon. The ideals that Thomas Jefferson espoused were the building blocks that later day abolitionists, women's suffragists, civil rights workers, feminists and gay rights activists expanded upon to change society's views on race, gender and sexual orientation. Our Founding Fathers set up this democratic republic that worked only with the participation of an informed and active citizenry, an ideal that the Everyday Citizen blogsite exemplifies. Some activists work to better our society as individuals, some work with other like-minded citizens in groups. One of the groups that has worked to make this country live up to its ideals of freedom and equality are the Gray Panthers.

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