You are browsing the archive for 2019 October 03.

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How Trick-or-Treating Became a Halloween Tradition

October 3, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

Why do children dress in costume and knock on strangers’ doors to ask for treats on Halloween? The practice can be traced to the ancient Celts, early Roman Catholics and 17th-century British politics.

Trick-or-treating—setting off on

…read more

Source: HISTORY

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12 Surprising Facts About the Legislative Branch

October 3, 2019 in History

By Lesley Kennedy

The framers referred to Congress as the “first branch” of government—and they established a wide range of authority for both the House and Senate.

The executive branch enforces laws. The judicial branch interprets laws. But it is in the law-making legislative branch, says Howard Schweber, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin, “that the people deliberate and arrive at an agreement about the common good.”

When writing the U.S. Constitution, the framers built in three branches of federal government to ensure a separation of powers, and, as Article I states, “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”

“The point of the Constitution was to replace a system in which the national government could only make laws that affected states in their relations with one another,” Schweber says. “The new system would be one in which the national government would make laws that applied to everyone—true national legislation.”

The framers referred to Congress as the “first branch,” establishing its structure and authority in Article I.

“Congress has the power to levy taxes, raise and maintain an army and navy, regulate interstate commerce, and pass any law it deems ‘necessary and proper,’ among a host of other powers like confirming judges and executive branch officials,” says Joshua Huder, senior fellow at the Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University.

Beyond these powers, here are 11 things you may not know about the legislative branch.

The Legislative Branch (TV-PG; 4:18)

The Senate was designed to represent the states, while the House was intended to represent the nation.

The House, according to Schweber, was the expression of democracy, while the Senate was the expression of federalism. “The Senate was the place where each state’s interest could be asserted; the House was expected to be populated by virtuous, public-minded individuals who would only care for the national welfare,” he says. “So the House was intended to represent the people—that’s why there are a large number of representatives each attached to a particular number of people. The Senate, by contrast, is driven by the desire to ensure that each state would stand in a relationship of equality with the others.”

The framers looked to the British.

“The American system is modeled quite shamelessly on Britain’s, where a House of Commons and House of Lords each held legislative …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Marcario García becomes first Mexican national to receive U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor

October 3, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

Though he had landed on the beaches of Normandy and been wounded in battle fighting with the U.S. Army, Staff Sergeant Marcario García was not yet a U.S. citizen when President Harry Truman awarded him the Medal of Honor on August 23, 1945. García became the first Mexican national to receive the American military’s highest honor.

García was born in the Mexican state of Coahuila, which borders Texas, in 1920. When he was young, his family moved to Texas to work on a cotton farm, and the work prevented him from progressing beyond a grade-school level of education. At the age of 22, he enlisted in the Army and was deployed to the European Theater of World War II. García was wounded in action during the D-Day landings, spent four months recovering, and then re-joined his unit as it advanced into Germany. On November 27th, 1944, García was acting squad leader when his unit was assigned to clear two German machine gun nests. García single-handedly cleared the first, advancing with little cover and receiving multiple wounds in the process. He returned to his unit, where it was suggested that he seek medical attention, but the second nest opened fire. “Utterly disregarding his own safety,” in the words of his Medal of Honor citation, García charged the second nest, killing three more Germans, taking four prisoners, and achieving his unit’s objective. He was awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star and the Medal of Honor.

Shortly after receiving the Medal of Honor, García was denied service at a restaurant in Richmond, Texas because of his ethnicity. A brawl ensued, during which the restaurant owner beat García with a baseball bat. The assailant even pressed charges against García after the incident, although they were dropped when the national media caught wind of the racist attack against a military hero. The ensuing media attention was one of the earliest instances of the national media acknowledging and condemning racial discrimination, perhaps foreshadowing the nascent Civil Rights Movement.

García later received his high school diploma and went to work in the Veterans’ Administration. Bizarrely, García met President John F. Kennedy on the last night of the latter’s life. When Kennedy visited Houston in November 1963, he made an evening appearance at an event for Civil Rights activists at which García was assigned to greet him. The next day, Kennedy …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Dominican Republic declares independence as a sovereign state

October 3, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

On February 27, 1844, revolutionary fervor boiled over on the eastern side of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. Finally coming into the open after years of covert planning, a group known as La Trinitaria seized the fortress of Puerta del Conde in the city of Santo Domingo, and beginning the Dominican War of Independence.

Much of what is now the Dominican Republic had been de facto autonomous in the early 1800s, with the Spanish occupied by Napoleon’s invasion and the Haitians to the west fighting off their French colonizers. Heavily influenced and encouraged by Haiti, which had achieved independence in 1804, Dominicans declared independence as the Republic of Spanish Haiti in 1821. Despite being nominally free, however, the less-wealthy and less-densely populated half of the island came under the control of Haiti and entered into formal union with its neighbor in 1822.

Though Haiti had been only the second European colony in the Americas to achieve independence, and its revolution constituted one of the largest and most important slave revolts in all of history, Dominica suffered under Haitian rule. Though the two were nominally united, the western half of the island was clearly where the political influence lay, and the crippling debts imposed on Haiti by the French and other powers had a profoundly negative effect on the island’s economy as a whole. In 1838, three educated and “enlightened” Dominicans named Juan Pablo Duarte, Ramón Matías Mella and Francisco del Rosario Sánchez founded a resistance organization. They named the organization La Trinitaria due to their decision to divide it into three smaller cells, each of which would operate with almost no knowledge of what the other cells were doing. In this highly secretive way, La Trinitaria set about gathering support from the general populace, even managing to covertly convert two regiments of the Haitian army.

Finally, on February 27, 1844, they were forced to make a move. Though Duarte was away on the mainland seeking support from the recently-liberated peoples of Colombia and Venezuela, La Trinitaria received a tip that the Haitian government had been made aware of their activities. Seizing the moment, they gathered roughly 100 men and stormed Puerta del Conde, forcing the Haitian army out of Santo Domingo. Sánchez fired a cannon shot from the fort and raised the blue, red, and white flag of the Dominican Republic, which still flies over the country today. …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Why Affirmative Action Should Be Prohibited at Public Colleges, Even Though the Harvard Decision Was Right

October 3, 2019 in Economics

By Neal McCluskey

Neal McCluskey

Many people were likely surprised when the long-awaited decision in the Harvard Asian-discrimination case came down and Federal judge Allison Burroughs ruled in favor of Harvard. It appeared the smart money, after the shroud was removed from the Harvard admissions process, would be on Harvard losing, a seeming perpetrator of discrimination against Asian-Americans.

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Thankfully, the smart money was not so perceptive after all, because diversity may well have value, past discrimination may call for rectification, and allowing maximum freedom is the best way to deal with values-laden problems that have no clear solutions.

The first thing to remember is that Harvard is a private institution, not public.

Basically, private institutions should be free to have affirmative action, but it should be prohibited at public institutions.

A public institution — a government institution — must be held much more strictly to “objective” admissions than private.

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Not only am I against government mandated affirmative action for public colleges, I am against those institutions choosing affirmative action. Of course, since public colleges are government institutions, what they might choose is de facto a government mandate from a state citizen perspective.

Unlike private schools, everyone is forced to fund governments and their institutions — indeed, government is the only entity that can legally jail or execute you — and that makes a public institution denying someone a benefit far more dangerous than when a private institution does. Unequal treatment by government is inescapable.

But why should a private school get to take race or ethnicity into consideration when admitting students?

First there is basic freedom — we should be very hesitant to allow government, with its monopoly on force, to tell private actors how they must run themselves. More to the immediate question at hand, as concerning as decisions based on race are, there is reason to believe, including substantial research largely at the collegiate level, that diversity has educational and other benefits for students.

In light of competing goods — treating everyone without regards to race and the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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China's Anniversary Whitewashes the Terror of Mao

October 3, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Yesterday, leaders of the People’s Republic of China celebrated their regime’s 70th anniversary in grand style. On October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong, chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, officially proclaimed the new government in Tiananmen Square. “We have stood up,” he told the world.

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But his China was a wreck, ravaged by Japanese aggression and civil war. And Mao’s policies exacerbated popular suffering. Cruelty to foes, intolerance toward criticism, ignorant certainty, dogmatic utopianism, and determination to rule or ruin characterized his reign. Although presented as the much beloved leader of the Chinese people, he lacked any empathy for them. To him, they were statistics, replaceable by future births.

His personal whims, dictates, and fantasies dominated the PRC. Barely a year after establishing the new communist state, he decided to intervene in the Korean War, making casualties out of hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers, including his son. A push for land reform resulted in the murder or exile of at least a million and probably many more landlords and better off peasants.

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Shortly after the PRC’s founding, he initiated a campaign against “counter-revolutionaries” and other opponents, especially officials in the previous Nationalist government. He admitted 700,000 deaths, but the real toll reached as high as two million. He dismissed criticism of the human cost, contending that it was necessary to secure power. Subsequently he targeted supposed “capitalist” elements, resulting in hundreds of thousands more deaths. He insisted that “the worst among them should be shot.” Others were criticized and sent to labor camps.

In 1956, he appeared to change course with the Hundred Flowers Campaign, inviting criticism of the government. Tired of the truth, he then targeted those who had attacked him. The Anti-Rightest Movement cost many lives, perhaps in the millions. The Great Leap Forward, begun in 1958, was an even greater catastrophe. An arbitrary shift of rural labor toward industrialization ultimately led to mass famine, with estimates of the number of dead ranging widely, …read more

Source: OP-EDS