Trivia 108

Where would folks like me be without people like Dan Quayle? As Mort Sahl once said about Ronald Reagan, "If you quote him verbatim, you're accused of mud-slinging". Danny's latest inroads into the American political scene? When asked about the Republican Party's chances of regaining the presidency in the next election his response was, amazingly, "I am confident that the Republican Party will pick a nominee that will beat Bill Clinton". I'll give you a few seconds to think about that.

When the issue of mutating our Constitution to allow prayer in public places was put to a vote in the House of Representatives in early June, 224 members of Congress voted for it. The three preceding days saw only 18, 8 and 18 of those members show up on the House floor for the opening prayer. Do I smell the odor of hypocrisy here?

In California's gubernatorial contest, losing Democratic candidates Al Checchi spent $59 per vote received ($40 million) and Jane Hartman $24 per vote ($16 million) while Gray Davis, who won, spent $5 per vote ($9 million). Compare that to the total spent in Iowa's gubernatorial contest by three Republicans and two Democrats of $4 million.

When Vermont passed a law meant to equalize public school funding between the richest and poorest districts, author John Irving attacked it saying, "This is Marxism. It's leveling everything by decimating what works". Apparently, according to him, providing the poor with the same educational benefits as the state's wealthiest isn't the American way. What is truly sad is in late twentieth century America, that has become the prevailing opinion of far too many voters.

According to a poll taken by Time/CNN, in 1986 18% of teenagers learned about sex from sex education classes at school. In 1998, only 3% learned in a classroom setting. Also telling is that in 1986 only 11% learned about sex from TV while that number ballooned to 29% in 1998. Think we should revisit the issue of educating our children about sex but without the nonsense that the far right drags into the debate?

Kathie Lee /Wal-Mart Apparel and Liz Claiborne Inc. are at it again. Having moved much of their production out of the Caribbean, they are now using Chinese workers who slave in even worse conditions than their youthful Honduran predecessors. Forcing the sweatshop workers to toil seven days a week and 10 hours a day for wages as low as 13 cents an hour, these poor employees labor in conditions which can't meet international codes of conduct nor even China's laughable labor laws. These workers, mostly young women, have no protection from independent unions, human rights groups, women's or religious organizations since, like the ideals of the Republican Party and Corporate America, these groups are outlawed in China.

In a related issue, Corporate America, who historically has set up organizations to front for them against any legislative remedies and to provide constant misinformation to whatever is left of a free media, has now found it simpler to just purchase consumer groups through massive donations. The National Consumers League, one of the premier and oldest consumer protection organizations, has nearly half of its budget provided by the very businesses it once was entrusted to scrutinize. It has now even honored Liz Claiborne Inc. as one of America's "Best Companies". Want to guess who was one of the three top contributors to the League? You're right, Liz Claiborne, Inc. It most certainly makes you wonder who you can trust, anymore.

The House voted recently to demolish the current tax code at the end of the year 2002 and to dismantle completely the Internal Revenue Service. Just exactly what are they planning to do about designing a new tax code or creating a new agency to collect those taxes? Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott have both, amazingly, admitted that they currently have no idea what they will do. Just another example of the shortsighted and insane policies of the right.

Finally, in an example of pure satire disguised as intelligent thought, the NRA recently honored Jacob Ryker, the boy who tackled the young shooter at the Springfield, Oregon high school. While young Mr. Ryker should be honored by all Americans for his brave and selfless deed, the idea of the NRA, which has spent so many hundreds of millions of dollars to insure that the kid could, in the first place, grab an easily available weapon and kill other children is absurd.

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