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U.S. Surgeon General announces definitive link between smoking and cancer

September 18, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

United States Surgeon General Luther Terry knew his report was a bombshell. He intentionally chose to release it on January 11, 1964, a Saturday, so as to limit its immediate effects on the stock market. It was on this date that, on behalf of the U.S. Government, Terry announced a definitive link between smoking and cancer.

The link had long been suspected. Anecdotal evidence had always pointed to negative health effects from smoking, and by the 1930s physicians were noticing an increase in lung cancer cases. The first medical studies that raised serious concerns were published in Great Britain in the late 1940s. American cigarette companies spent much of the next decade lobbying the government to keep smoking legal and advertising reduced levels of tar and nicotine in their products. 44 percent of Americans already believed smoking caused cancer by 1958, and a number of medical associations warned that tobacco use was linked with both lung and heart disease. Despite all this, nearly half of Americans smoked, and smoking was common in restaurants, bars, offices, and homes across the country.

Dr. Terry commissioned the report in 1962, and two years later he released the findings, titled Smoking and Health, which stated a conclusive link between smoking and heart and lung cancer in men. The report also stated the same link was likely true for women, although women smoked at lower rates and therefore not enough data was available.

The news was major, but hardly surprising—the New York Times reported the findings saying “it could hardly have been otherwise.” Still, the Surgeon General’s report was a major step in health officials’ crusade against smoking. Though tobacco companies spent millions and millions and were largely successful in fending off anti-smoking laws until the 1990s, studies have shown that the report increased the percentage of Americans who believed in the cancer link to 70 percent, and that smoking decreased by roughly 11 percent between 1965 and 1985. California became the first state to ban smoking in enclosed public spaces in 1995. 25 more states have now passed similar laws, including 50 of the 60 largest cities in America. In 2019, the Surgeon General announced a link between serious disease and e-cigarettes, an alternative to smoking in which traditional tobacco companies have invested heavily.

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Source: HISTORY

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The Mendez Family Fought School Segregation 8 Years Before Brown v. Board of Ed

September 18, 2019 in History

By Dave Roos

Mexican American families in California secured an early legal victory in the push against school segregation.

in 2016. “This is theirs, not mine. They stood up against the establishment.”

…read more

Source: HISTORY

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"Wheel of Fortune" premieres

September 18, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

Wheel of Fortune, the longest-running syndicated game show in American television, premieres on NBC on January 6, 1975. Created by television legend Merv Griffin and hosted since the early 1980s by Pat Sajak and Vanna White, Wheel is one of the most popular television shows in the world.

Griffin, who had already created another iconic game show, Jeopardy!, conceived of Wheel as a combination between Hangman and roulette. Contestants guess letters as they attempt to solve a Hangman-like puzzle, spinning the wheel to determine how much money they will earn for a correct guess, with the ultimate goal being to solve the puzzle and accumulate as much money as possible. Since the show’s inception, the price of a vowel has stood at $250 and has not been adjusted for inflation. The phrases “I’d like to buy a vowel” and “I’d like to solve the puzzle” have entered the American cultural lexicon.

Sajak and White, who joined in 1981 and 82, respectively, have become some of the most famous hosts in game show history. White, who operates the board and reveals letters as they are guessed, often contributes her own puzzles to the show. In over 6,5000 episodes, she has never worn the same gown twice. The show’s producers claim that over 1 million people have auditioned to be contestants and the show has paid out a total of more than $200 million. Painfully awkward or incorrect guesses by contestants have also been comedic fodder for generations of Americans.

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Source: HISTORY

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Pope Clement VII forbids King Henry VIII from remarrying

September 18, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

On January 5, 1531, Pope Clement VII sends a letter to King Henry VIII of England forbidding him to remarry under penalty of excommunication. Henry, who was looking for a way out of his marriage to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, ignored the pope’s warning. He went on to marry Anne Boleyn (and five subsequent wives), leading to his excommunication and one of the most significant schisms in the history of Christianity.

Catherine was the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain and the aunt of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, in addition to being the widow of Henry’s brother, Arthur. Increasingly concerned by his failure to produce a legitimate heir—although he publicly acknowledged an illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy—Henry searched for a way to end his marriage in a manner consistent with his Catholic faith. This was necessary for political reasons, as a monarch violating Catholic doctrine risked disgrace and condemnation by the pope. Henry was also by all accounts a fairly devout Catholic. He was a known opponent of the Protestant Reformation that was taking shape on the continent, earning the title of Defender of the Faith from Pope Leo X for a treatise he wrote attacking Martin Luther.

Henry sent emissaries to the pope in hopes of having his marriage annulled, and even prevailed upon Clement to establish an ecclesiastical court in England to rule on the matter. Clement, however, had no intention of nullifying the marriage. In addition to his doctrinal objections, he was more or less a prisoner of Charles V at the time, and he was powerless to stand in the way of Charles’ insistence that the marriage stand. Already infatuated with Anne Boleyn, who was known to have taken a keen interest in Luther and the Reformation, Henry had exhausted his options for remarrying within the church and decided excommunication was a fair price to pay for independence from the pope and the potential of fathering an heir.

Henry banished Catherine from his court and married Anne (secretly in 1532, and publicly the following year). In doing so, he fundamentally altered the course of Christian and European history. Subsequent to his remarriage, Henry issued a string of decrees that removed his kingdom from papal rule, ending the supremacy of the Catholic Church and creating the Church of England. Although the new church was, at first, extremely similar to Roman …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Marian Anderson becomes first African American to perform at the Met Opera

September 18, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

On the evening of January 7, 1955, the curtain at the Metropolitan Opera in New York rises to reveal Marian Anderson, the first African American to perform with the Met.

By then, Anderson was in the twilight of a career that was equal parts acclaimed and hamstrung by racism. First noticed by an aunt, who convinced her to join a church choir and helped her put on her first professional shows, Anderson spent her early career in the eastern United States. She was successful but consistently thwarted from mainstream stardom by racism and segregation, and she eventually decided to continue her career in Europe. She became a sensation there, particularly in Scandinavia, and major figures such as composer Jean Sibelius and conductor Arturo Toscanini praised her as a singular vocal talent.

Upon returning to the United States, Anderson performed regularly, but continued to be denied bookings, hotel rooms, and other basic opportunities that were afforded to whites. In 1939 the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to let her perform at Constitution Hall on account of her race. A group of supporters that included President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor, who resigned from the DAR in protest, helped her instead put on a concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Attended by 75,000 people, including prominent members of Roosevelt’s cabinet, and broadcast across the nation, the concert not only bolstered her fame but also thrust Anderson into the nascent struggle for civil rights.

Rudolf Bing became director of the Met in 1950 and was intent on signing Anderson to perform there from the outset. Though she had been courted by companies foreign and domestic, Anderson had shied away from opera in the past, feeling her voice was not right for it and deterred by the lack of roles for black singers. When Bing finally convinced her to sign with him, he did not tell the board of the Met until after the fact. He cast Anderson as Ulrica in Verdi’s Un ballo en maschera. The role, a witch-like figure often portrayed by white women wearing dark makeup, was not the lead, and it was freighted with racial stereotypes connecting primitive and “backwards” traditions with people of color. Nonetheless, her debut at the Met was a major moment in the history of integration of the arts, and the New York Times reported that Anderson’s performance left many audience members …read more

Source: HISTORY

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To Help Grow Prosperity, Let's Focus on People and Not Places — Such as Towns

September 18, 2019 in Economics

By Ryan Bourne

Ryan Bourne

Stian Westlake describes it as the “Strange Death of Tory Economic Thinking”. Conservatives have ceased telling an economic story about why they should govern, and how. Sure, there’s still the odd infrastructure announcement, or tax change. But, since Theresa May became leader, the governing party has shirked articulating a grand economic narrative for its actions.

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This is striking and problematic. From Macmillan to Thatcherism to deficit reduction, the party’s success has coincided with having clear economic agendas, gaining credibility for taking tough decisions in delivering a shared goal. But, arguably, deficit reduction masked a secular decline in interest in economics. David Cameron and George Osborne, remember, wanted to move on to social and environmental issues until the financial crisis and its aftermath slapped them in the face.

Now, with the deficit down, economics is in the back seat. Fiscal events are low key and economic advisors back room. To the extent the dismal science is discussed, it’s as a means to other ends, or a genuflect to “Karaoke Thatcherism.”

In short, I think Westlake is right: the Tories do not have an economic story and, post-Brexit, it would be desirable if they did. So we should thank both him and Sam Bowman (formerly of the Adam Smith Institute), who have attempted to fill the vacuum. In a rich and interesting new paper, the pair set out to diagnose our key economic ailments and develop a Conservative-friendly narrative and policy platform to ameliorate them, even suggesting reform of the Right’s institutions and think-tanks in pursuit of the goals.

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Such an effort deserves to be taken seriously, though not everyone will agree with their starting premises. It is assumed, for example, that Conservatives believe in markets and want to maintain fiscal discipline, which bridles against recent musings from Onward or thinkers such as David Skelton.

But, again, the key economic problem they identify is incontrovertible: poor economic growth. Weak productivity improvements since the crash have been both politically and …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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What's Really Undermining NATO? Europe's Yearning for Neutrality.

September 18, 2019 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

Most members of the United States’ foreign policy establishment continue to regard NATO and the broader transatlantic relationship as the linchpin of Washington’s global foreign policy. They have greeted President Trump’s periodic demands for more burden-sharing from European allies and his dark hints that NATO might be obsolete with hostility bordering on hysteria. But Trump is not the main threat to transatlantic solidarity. A shift in European public opinion toward neutrality is sounding the real death knell.

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new report from the European Council on Foreign Relations contains a number of startling findings. The survey, covering 60,000 people in 14 European Union countries, suggests that the reasons for a sharp divergence in European and American perspectives on an array of foreign policy issues are wider and deeper than annoyance with Trump. That is evident even with regard to NATO’s mission of standing up to Russia. When asked “Whose side should your country take in a conflict between the United States and Russia?” the majority of respondents in all 14 E.U. countries said “neither.”

response to the report by Annabelle Timsit, a French American journalist, typifies the simplistic reaction from NATO partisans in both Europe and the United States. “Donald Trump has damaged America’s standing in the world in his three years as president, and nowhere is this more apparent than in Europe,” she writes. Timsit emphasizes the report’s finding that Europeans “no longer believe that the US can serve as the guarantor of their security.”

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Yet she glosses over the breathtaking extent of neutralist sentiment among Washington’s supposed security partners. In France, only 18 percent would back the United States, while 63 percent opt for neutrality; in Italy, it’s 17 percent vs. 65 percent, and in Germany, 12 percent to 70 percent.

The results were similar even in NATO’s newer East European members, despite their greater exposure to Russian pressure and potential aggression. Hungarian respondents selected neutrality …read more

Source: OP-EDS