The Electoral College II

 

Lead: Despite the general disdain with which Americans regard the Electoral College, on balance it has proven to have its good points.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The College tends to decrease, but of course not eliminate, the practice of fraud and corruption by reducing the opportunities for vote swindling to the few states where the vote is very close. The Hayes-Tilden disaster 1876 was utterly corrupt but the fraud was so obvious that it ruined any claim that Hayes had to a mandate and ushered in the long reign of Jim Crow in the South. Fortunately, he turned out to be a better President than the election that gave him the White House might have indicated.

The Electoral College I

 

Lead: It is among America’s least popular constitutional creations, yet the nation cannot rid itself of the cranky, musty way of electing its President, the Electoral College.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The founders never really intended it to be the way the Chief Executive was elected. They expected it to be an elaborate nominating committee. In a largely rural Republic where distances prevented all but a very few candidates from attaining true national stature, the College would elevate several. They would then be referred to the House of Representatives which would choose the President and Vice-President. After the unanimity of the two elections of George Washington, however, the election of the President degenerated into a series of closely contended cat fights highlighted by the growth of what the founders said they hated most, factions and political parties.

Thomas Eagleton

Lead: In the summer of 1972 Senator Thomas Eagleton became the first U.S. Vice-presidential nominee to withdraw from candidacy.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: It was going to be very difficult for George McGovern to win anyway. President Nixon popularity was soaring. The struggle for the nomination had been long and bitter and the liberal Senator from South Dakota had had little time to devote to the selection of a running mate. With the Miami convention vote locked up on July 12th, exhausted McGovern staffers began the search. Senators Kennedy, Mondale, Bayh, and Nelson were asked but most, sensing a doomed candidacy, found a reason to refused. Even CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite was considered and at the last minute Tom Eagleton, the little known junior Senator from Missouri, was added to the short list. In the course of a short check of his background, McGovern’s aids learned Eagleton had been hospitalized for “fatigue and exhaustion” following one of his campaigns but an Eagleton staffer downplayed the treatment as not being serious. Such was not the case.

Read more →

Karl Link

Lead: During the winter of 1933, during the depths of the Great Depression, the action of a Wisconsin farmer led to a great advance in the prevention of blood clots in humans.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Through the 1920s a malady called “sweet clover disease,” a fatal bleeding disorder was devastating herds of cattle and sheep in the northern plains and Canada. Sweet clover was grown as a hay crop in the region. With a spate of wet summers the “bleeding disease” in cattle was traced to sweet clover hay that had spoiled. The treatment protocol was diet change and/or, in advanced cases, blood transfusions.

 

Read more →

Honus Wagner Trading Card

 

Lead: Emerging from the heady days of the alliance between tobacco and baseball, the Honus Wagner Trading Card is an extremely rare piece of memorabilia, fetching in 2007 an anonymous Ebay purchase for a whopping $2.35 million.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Almost from inception the American tobacco industry understood the value of advertising in the rising popularity of the national pastime, baseball. Somehow it all fit together. Tobacco use on and off the field was almost universal with players, managers, and the fans all chewing and puffing away at the pungent weed. One of the earliest forms of baseball advertising was the baseball card, absent the modern statistical or biographical information - just a player’s picture and often in a numbered series which encouraged buyers to repeatedly purchase the company’s products.

Keynes vs Hayek IV

 

Lead: Despite the advocacy of their partisans, the alleged rivalry between John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich August Hayek was more apparent than real. Hayek particularly made his greatest impact in the world of politics.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Keynes’ greatest contribution was in the arena of macroeconomics, particularly the activity of the state in creating orderly capital markets and creation and re-stimulation of demand in time of recession. Even conservative economists and politicians recognized this insight and often insist on stimulation in order to get business activity started back up when it is down. Richard Nixon once significantly opined, “we are all Keynesians now.” Keynes’ theories have largely dominated scholarly and academic economics since the 1930s.

Keynes v. Hayek III

Lead: John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich August Hayek are often arrayed at either end of a vast intellectual divide, but in reality they had virtual agreement on a remarkable range of economic theories.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Despite the near adoration with which Hayek is held in conservative and libertarian circles, he was no lover of laissez-faire economics or advocate of an indolent or passive state, an idea much associated with 19th century classical liberalism. Recognizing that modern economies and societies had irrevocably reached a mixed solution to the marketplace that required state participation and state/private collaboration, he once argued against the idea that the state should be inert. He said, “In no system that could be rationally defended would the state just do nothing.” In fact, he understood that the government would play a role in the economy by providing those services that the free market could not create by itself. Hayek allowed the government to regulate safe working conditions, prevent pollution and fraud, and create a safety net in which citizens receive minimal food, shelter, and clothing.