40,000 GLEAN VEGETABLES FROM COLORADO HARVEST

WJLA – A farm couple got a huge surprise when they opened their fields to anyone who wanted to pick up free vegetables left over after the harvest – 40,000 people showed up. Joe and Chris Miller’s fields were picked so clean that a second day of gleaning – the ancient practice of picking up leftover food in farm fields – was canceled “Overwhelmed is putting it mildly,” Chris Miller said. “People obviously need food.”

She said she expected 5,000 to 10,000 people would show up Saturday to collect free potatoes, carrots and leeks. Instead, an estimated 11,000 vehicles snaked around cornfields and backed up more than two miles. About 30 acres of the 600-acre farm 37 miles north of Denver became a parking lot.

“Everybody is so depressed about the economy,” said Sandra Justice of Greeley, who works at a technology company. “This was a pure party. Everybody having a a great time getting something for free.” Justice and her mother and son picked 10 bags of vegetables.

Miller said they opened the farm to the free public harvest for the first time this year after hearing reports of food being stolen from churches. It was meant as a thank you for customers.

Farm operations manager Dave Patterson said that in previous years the Millers allowed schoolchildren and some church groups to come to the farm during the fall to harvest their own food.

He estimated some 600,000 pounds of produce was harvested Saturday.

Weld County sheriff’s deputies helped direct traffic and the Colorado State Patrol issued citations for cars illegally parked on the side of the road.

IN 1978, JACK NICHOLSON INTRODUCED A CAR THAT RUNS ON HYDROGEN

Apparently in 1978 there was a program on CBC Network that featured Jack Nicholson demonstrating a 1978 Chevy that was modified to run on hydrogen. They show the car being driven around and the media descending with their cameras…

Then they cut to a discussion about how the technology works and how it can clean up the atmosphere…

The remarkable thing about this video is that it is from 1978!

PRINTING MONEY

“And we could do it with government printed money – and not more debt – because it will be public works that creates wealth and employment rather than inflation.”

The reason government printed money does not create inflation is because it does not have to have a compounding interest payment attached to it.

Say my local council borrows say $10 million from a bank over 30 years to build a new swimming pool. We will end up paying back $30 million depending upon the interest rate. We end up paying for it three times and we only have one pool. If government created money was used the local council could just pay the federal government back the $10 million interest free and then could take the money out of existence. We only pay $10 million once and don’t encumber future taxpayers with a debt for a worn out pool in 20 years time.

The interest bearing, debt based money creation system we have now is best equated as a debt spiral. The money supply has to ever keep increasing to enable all the indebted people to pay off their old debts. The problem is the bankers create the credit but do not create the interest payments. The only way to prop up the system is to keep creating more debts to keep money flowing in the system. It is bit like having to keep filling the bucket that has a hole in it. This is best demonstrated in an example:

We are all trying to pull more money out of the economy than is already there. How do we keep the system afloat? Create more debt. What is “growth” but the pretext to create more debt? The money supply has to keep growing so we can all continue pay off our doubling and tripling debts. That it, until our debts get too big for our ability to pay. Our incomes and growth rates are not compounding. Eventually, the interest bearing debt based money system must collapse and reset itself.

Three things become apparent. One, interest makes everything expensive. Two, the doubling or tripling of all the debts in an economy over time is what inflation is. Your dollar today buys so much less today because there is so much more money in the economy than 30 years ago. The debt spiral is inflation.

Three, the banks create the debt from nothing and then charge you a private tax called compounding interest on top. This money creation is a fraud and the interest charged makes it a spectacular rip off. A bank is like no other business like it in our society. Create money out of nothing and charge a private tax on it. The returns are phenomenal. No wonder the bankers want to keep hold of the money creating power. It is absolute power.

So, until we have real money creation reform and put it back in the hands of the population we will be at the mercy of a handful of men who create and issue our money. The bankers have created the world financial crises we are in. We are the one who will pay the price. We should not allow them to do it all again. – Flavian, Adelaide, Australia

STUDY: NON VIOLENCE WORKS BETTER

The Progressive – Nonviolent resistance is not only the morally superior choice. It is also twice as effective as the violent variety. That’s the startling and reassuring discovery by Maria Stephan and Erica Chenoweth, who analyzed an astonishing 323 resistance campaigns from 1900 to 2006.

“Our findings show that major nonviolent campaigns have achieved success 53 percent of the time, compared with 26 percent for violent resistance campaigns,” the authors note in the journal International Security:

“First, a campaign’s commitment to nonviolent methods enhances its domestic and international legitimacy and encourages more broad-based participation in the resistance, which translates into increased pressure being brought to bear on the target,” they state. “Second, whereas governments easily justify violent counterattacks against armed insurgents, regime violence against nonviolent movements is more likely to backfire against the regime.”

In an interesting aside that has relevance for our times, the authors also write that, “Our study does not explicitly compare terrorism to nonviolent resistance, but our argument sheds light on why terrorism has been so unsuccessful.”

To their credit, the authors don’t gloss over nonviolent campaigns that haven’t been successes. They give a clear-eyed assessment of the failure so far of the nonviolent movement in Burma, one of the three detailed case studies in the piece, along with East Timor and the Philippines.

CONSTITUTIONAL DEAD LETTERS: HOW OUR RIGHTS DISAPPEARED

Roger Roots – Historians of Soviet Russia occasionally note that the communist workers paradise was originally intended to adhere to a written constitution that expressly guaranteed freedoms such as speech, press and assembly. In practice, however, none of the freedoms guaranteed in the Soviet constitution were recognized in the country s legal system, and millions of dissenters and suspected dissenters were imprisoned or killed for disagreeing with the commissars of the state.

The United States Constitution, by contrast, is thought to be in good standing. Yet there are numerous provisions of the U.S. Constitution that are never enforced. These provisions, analogous to dead letters in the U.S. Postal System, are either totally ignored by federal judges or given such a narrow construction that they might as well not exist. As columnist and curmudgeon Joseph Sobran has written, the Supreme Court has, in essence, exercised a “line-item veto” over the document, totally ignoring provisions that interfere with the justices national vision or social objectives.

When the Supreme Court switched to discretionary certiorari in 1925 (thus allowing the court to pick and choose its own docket), the Court paved the way for a highly selective treatment of the Constitution. While some constitutional provisions (e.g., the First Amendment and the Fourth Amendment) are routinely accorded Supreme Court consideration, many others are almost completely ignored.

It can hardly be a coincidence that all of the dead letters happen to place limitations on the scope and power of government. In contrast, the few provisions of the Constitution granting powers to government have been interpreted expansively. The clause giving Congress power to regulate interstate commerce, for example, has been interpreted by the courts to allow Congress to imprison people for acts that can be linked to either commerce or interstate activities only by a tenuous series of conceptual inferences.

There are even provisions which were included in the Constitution to limit government but which have now been interpreted to empower government. The Takings Clause, which states that no person shall be deprived of property “without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation,” was recently construed by the Supreme Court to give government at all levels near carte blanche power over all property. In a 2005 decision entitled Kelo v. City of New London, the Court reinterpreted the phrase “for public use” to mean for whatever use any government desires including private use.

Similarly, the Fifth Amendment Grand Jury clause was placed in the Constitution in order to limit government but has now been interpreted in a way that empowers government. As the criminal law grew more complicated during the 1800s, courts began allowing public prosecutors to appear and discuss cases before grand juries (a practice strictly forbidden at the time of the Founding). This became embedded in grand jury practice by the 1900s. Today s Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure state that prosecutors may be present before grand juries at all times and prohibit grand jurors from issuing independent presentments.

There is nothing new about this insidious trend. The Necessary and Proper clause was originally intended to bind Congress to legislating only in ways that were “necessary” to carry out the few limited powers the national government had been granted. By the early nineteenth century, however, the Supreme Court had already interpreted “necessary and proper” to mean only “proper” in the eyes of the government. As Jefferson observed, “[t]he natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”

Courts have increasingly subjected all rights mentioned in the Constitution to balancing tests, meaning that rights have become mere interests to be balanced against the (always pressing) interests of government. Thus, it is asserted that “no rights are absolute” and that courts may deny the application of a right where “the Government s regulatory interest in community safety . . . outweigh[s] an individual s liberty interest.” However, the Supreme Court has abandoned any pretense of balancing tests with regard to governmental powers (such as those found in the Tax Clause or the Spending Clause), for which the Constitution s provisions are described as plenary .

Some rights enshrined in the Constitution are rendered dead by the lack of any remedy to enforce them. For example, in 1974, the Supreme Court held that no taxpayer ever has standing to challenge the secret budget of the CIA (which clearly violates Article 1 s requirement that “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by law; and a regular Statement and Account . . . of all public Money shall be published”).

Finally, there are newly invented “maxims” of law that have crept into modern jurisprudence by means of pronouncements that they are long-recognized. One such so-called maxim originated with Justice Stone s “Footnote Four” in the 1938 case of United States v. Carolene Products Company. Justice Stone proclaimed that most congressional enactments are “presumed constitutional” and will be struck down only if they blatantly contradict explicit constitutional protections. Stone s “presumption of validity” has been cited in dozens if not hundreds of appellate decisions to turn away constitutional challenges. . .

A list of other recently invented “maxims” would include (1) Justice Robert H. Jackson s proclamation in 1949 that the Constitution is not a “suicide pact” (i.e., it should never be interpreted to mean the government is not always in control), and (2) the doctrine of “harmless error” (invented in 1967 in Chapman v. California) by which an appellate court may concede a constitutional violation but uphold a criminal conviction by proclaiming that the defendant would have been convicted even if the Constitution had been followed. There are also insidious doctrines such as “sovereign immunity” (which allows government agents to escape liability for illegal acts on the ground that they are with the government) and the “state secrets” doctrine (which deprives citizens of any redress by the assertion that proof of a constitutional violation would expose intelligence sources or methods), which are found nowhere in the text or the original understanding of the Constitution.

Of course, liberty dies incrementally, and the leviathanic government we see today took generations to bring about. It has been largely forgotten that the prohibition of intrastate liquor sales in the early twentieth century required a constitutional amendment (the Eighteenth) because policymakers and judges recognized that Congress had no constitutional authority to regulate intrastate sales of any commodity. The Supreme Court even wrote in a 1932 decision that “sales of [ ] forbidden drugs qua sales” was “a matter entirely beyond the authority of Congress.” The recent Gonzales v. Raich decision (upholding federal drugs laws as trumping California s medical marijuana protections) highlights the fact that recent generations of Supreme Court justices have amended the Constitution without formal process.

A list of constitutional dead letters follows below. I honestly don t know what weight to give some of the Bush Administration s “unitary executive” practices such as its warrantless domestic eavesdropping and treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, which amount to complete abdications of the procedural rights laid out in the 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th Amendments. (If such matters are considered, it becomes arguable that the entirety of the Bill of Rights is a dead letter even if some of the rights are partially recognized for some people.) The list enumerated below, to paraphrase the dead-lettered Ninth Amendment, should not be considered all-inclusive, and there are, no doubt, other dead-lettered constitutional provisions I have neglected to identify.

– The House origination clause requiring that all “Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives,” has been rendered a dead letter by neglect. As Congressman Ron Paul has pointed out, the 2008 bank bailout bill with all its tax implications was deliberately introduced in the Senate after House members rejected it a plain violation of this clause. Similar practices have gone on for many years.

– The congressional declaration of war clause. No “war” in the constitutional sense has been declared since 1941, although the executive branch has engaged in numerous undeclared wars and military escapades around the globe.

– The public accounting clause. As already discussed, the secret budget of the CIA is in plain conflict with Article I of the Constitution . . .

The Legal Tender Clause, prohibiting states from making “any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts.” The application of the Federal Reserve Act and many other statutes and executive orders are in plain violation of this clause. State and Federal governments demand and provide payment in paper currencies that are unbacked by any precious metals.

The prohibition against bills of attainder, which was supposed to ensure that no one could ever be punished by the legislature has been addressed only four times by the Supreme Court. Congress regularly enacts new laws placing extrajudicial punishments on various groups (felons, convicted sex offenders, disfavored corporations such as Wal-Mart, and even entire industries (e.g., “Big Tobacco”)).

– The Contract Clause, prohibiting states from impairing contractual obligations. Long dead and buried. Today the federal courts uphold wage, work, production, pricing, licensing and advertising regulations of every manner, irrespective of the Contract Clause.

The Second Amendment right to bear arms. Despite the recent Heller decision (which issued a “landmark” ruling that the Amendment protects an individual right), there are still thousands of felons and other persons in federal prison for the mere possession of firearms. No defendant has ever been released from prison or cleared of gun charges in federal court on account of judges recognizing the right to bear arms. The gist of the Heller decision is that the Amendment protects a “reasonable” right to bear government-approved arms so long as you are government-approved. Of course, such a limited and conditional reading of the Second Amendment renders it a dead letter. The leaders of the American Revolution were themselves accused (and some convicted) felons, and several were notorious criminals (e.g., John Hancock, an accused tax evader and smuggler; John Paul Jones, a twice-indicted murderer who adopted his name as an alias to avoid arrest).

The Fifth Amendment Grand Jury clause. While federal grand juries do still exist, they are now wholly subject to the control of federal prosecutors the very persons the Clause was intended to limit. The grand juries known to the Framers were civilian institutions that acted independently of prosecutors, could investigate prosecutors, and could indict prosecutors. Today, prosecutors dispense all evidence, witnesses and testimony to the grand jurors, who then retire to a deliberation room to vote on whether to approve the prosecutors wishes. (A “no” vote will just mean that the prosecutors will coerce another grand jury to vote on the same case.)

The Fifth Amendment Double Jeopardy clause. Today, the federal government commonly charges defendants who have been previously charged with essentially the same offense in state court (and vice versa). This usually happens after an acquittal or a “light” sentence in the first prosecution. Because Congress has federalized almost every state crime over the past four decades (something the Founders could never have imagined), federal and state prosecutors are able to get two bites at the apple despite the double jeopardy clause.

The Sixth Amendment right to jury trial in criminal cases. My inclusion of this one may puzzle some readers, because thousands of jury trials take place in American courtrooms annually. But the right to jury trial has been stripped for the vast majority of criminal prosecutions. Supreme Court rulings beginning in the late 1800s confined this right to cases of “serious” rather than “petty” crimes (i.e., punishable by less than six months imprisonment). This distinction exists nowhere in constitutional text, which explicitly guarantees a jury trial “in all criminal prosecutions ” and for “all crimes.” The change has allowed government to impose its will on the populace with far greater efficiency. Justices Black and Douglas observed in a 1970 concurrence that their colleagues on the Supreme Court had effectively amended the Constitution by applying a balancing test and that “those who wrote and adopted our Constitution and Bill of Rights engaged in all the balancing necessary. They decided that the value of a jury trial far outweighed its costs for ” all crimes” and “in all criminal prosecutions.”

Of course, plea bargains have replaced jury trials in most “serious” cases, allowing government to prosecute and imprison a far higher proportion of the American population than the Framers could have anticipated. And even where defendants take their charges to trial, they are tried before emasculated juries that are ordered to follow the judges interpretations of the Constitution and the laws. The Founders would have condemned this wholesale takeover of juries by modern judges.

The Sixth Amendment vicinage clause (requiring an “impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed”). In practice today, most federal court proceedings have been centralized into the largest urban areas of each federal court district, leaving rural defendants in many cases to face trials before urban juries drawn from jury districts that do not include the scene(s) of the alleged offense(s).

The Seventh Amendment right to jury trial in civil cases where the amount in controversy exceeds twenty dollars ($20). The eternal drive of government officials at every level to collect petty duties, traffic and parking tickets, fees and other tributes has necessitated that they circumvent the plain language of the Seventh Amendment. Today the Seventh Amendment is one of three articles in the Bill of Rights not incorporated into state court practice by the Fourteenth Amendment. Even in federal courts, the civil remedies mandated by the Seventh Amendment are painted into an extremely narrow corner.

The Ninth Amendment protection of other “rights retained by the people.” As already discussed, this important provision, insisted upon by the Anti-Federalists in 1791, has been dead-lettered by a combination of judicial doctrines, maxims and sophistries that in essence leave the people with few or no reserved rights.

The Tenth Amendment. At the heart of the Supreme Court’s dead letter file is the abandonment of federalism in order to create a centralized regime run from Washington. Under the Founders intent, of course, each state was to retain its own sovereignty while the federal government was to act as the states mutual delegate in matters of foreign and interstate affairs. The absence of this rule in the pre-amendment Constitution precipitated massive resistance across the colonies. Yet today the federal courts regard the Tenth Amendment as a quaint “truism” a mere statement that the States get to keep whatever jurisdiction is not overtaken by the federal government.

The Fourteenth Amendment Privileges and Immunities clause, which was intended to require states to recognize legal rights recognized by the federal government and other states, was mostly dead-lettered in 1873 in The Slaughterhouse Cases, in which the Supreme Court held the provision applied primarily to freed slaves. In recent decades, courts have looked to the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process clause to replace the dead-lettered Privileges and Immunities clause.

The Twenty-Seventh Amendment, which requires that “No law varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives shall take effect until an election of Representatives shall have intervened,” has been rendered a dead letter by means of the Supreme Court s “standing” jurisprudence.

Roger Roots, J.D., Ph.D. is an attorney and criminologist from the state of Montana.

Sam Smith on Marriage and the whole Prop 8 issue

Sam Smith, Progressive Review – I’ve long felt that on both the abortion and the gay marriage issue, activists were not strong enough in making the case that negative laws on such matters are irrefutably the result of religious views and regulations and hence government’s involvement represents making  a law “respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” in clear violation of the Constitution.

In other words, instead of considering the issue from the viewpoint of women or gays, look at it from the viewpoint of religions or churches within religions that permit such practices as abortion or gay marriage. They don’t have to be in the majority; they simply have to exist. In effect, the government is placing Catholicism or Mormonism above more liberal faiths.

It can be rightfully argued that the government has some interest in such matters – most significantly from the health standpoint – but it may not ignore the Constitution simply because a prohibition is traditional or favors the religions of the majority of voters.

In 1802, Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptists: “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their ‘legislature’ should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State.”

James Madison’s views were similar: “Congress should not establish a religion and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any manner contrary to their conscience, or that one sect might obtain a preeminence, or two combined together, and establish a religion to which they would compel others to conform.”

Wikipedia –  From the early Christian era, marriage was thought of as primarily a private matter, with no religious or other ceremony being required. Prior to 1545, Christian marriages in Europe were by mutual consent, declaration of intention to marry and upon the subsequent physical union of the parties. The couple would promise verbally to each other that they would be married to each other; the presence of a priest or witnesses was not required. This promise was known as the “verbum.” If made in the present tense (e.g., “I marry you”), it was unquestionably binding; if made in the future tense (“I will marry you”), it would constitute a betrothal. But if the couple proceeded to have sexual relations, the union was a marriage. One of the functions of churches from the Middle Ages was to register marriages, which was not obligatory. There was no state involvement in marriage and personal status, with these issues being adjudicated in ecclesiastical courts.

It was only after the Council of Trent in 1545, as part of the Counter-Reformation, that a Roman Catholic marriage would be recognized only if the marriage ceremony was officiated by a priest with two witnesses. The Council also authorized a Catechism, issued in 1566, which defined marriage as, “The conjugal union of man and woman, contracted between two qualified persons, which obliges them to live together throughout life.”

This change did not extend to the regions affected by the Protestant Reformation, where marriage by consent continued to be the norm. As part of the Reformation, the role of recording marriages and setting the rules for marriage passed to the state; by the 1600s many of the Protestant European countries had a state involvement in marriage.

In the early modern period, John Calvin and his Protestant colleagues reformulated Christian marriage by enacting the Marriage Ordinance of Geneva, which imposed “The dual requirements of state registration and church consecration to constitute marriage” for recognition. That was the first state involvement in marriage.

In England and Wales, Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act 1753 required a formal ceremony of marriage, thereby curtailing the practice of Fleet Marriage. . . The Act required a marriage ceremony to be officiated by an Anglican priest in the Anglican Church with two witnesses and registration. The Act did not apply to Jewish marriages or those of Quakers, whose marriages continued to be governed by their own customs.

THE WAR ON GAY MARRIAGE- Let the BOYCOTT on the MORMONS begin…

Slate – The narrow margin of victory for California’s Proposition 8, an amendment to the state constitution banning gay marriage, may be attributable to millions of dollars in donations from members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The Mormons’ support for the ballot measure is no small irony given the Church’s onetime support of polygamy. The Church disavowed that doctrine in 1890 so that Utah could become a state, but renegade Mormon sects continue to practice polygamy today. . .

LDS leaders expressed support for Proposition 8 in letters to congregations, Web videos, and outreach efforts with the Protect Marriage Coalition. Church elders pressed followers to “support in every way possible the sacred institution of marriage as we know it to be.” That translated into at least $14 million in donations from individual Mormons and Mormon-owned businesses, according to a 25-page spreadsheet posted on the Web site Mormonsfor8.com (excerpts below and on the following two pages).

Stop All Monsters – The Mormons dumped tons of money into California to take away the rights of gay Californians to marry. They won. Now, we fight back. So, first up on the Mormon boycott list is Brent Andrus. Brent runs a few hotels, called the Courtyard Marriott, Fairfield Inn Marriott, Residence Inn Marriott and the Spring Hill Suites Marriott.
Please do not do business with these hotels.

Voters in Michigan and Massachusetts passed MPP’s landmark ballot initiatives to change marijuana policy in their states.

Today, voters in Michigan and Massachusetts passed MPP’s landmark ballot initiatives to change marijuana policy in their states.

Of the 13 marijuana policy statewide initiative victories in the history of the country, we just scored the second and third most important. (The first was California’s medical marijuana law in 1996.)

MPP’s Massachusetts initiative was the first time in history that a decriminalization initiative appeared on any statewide ballot, and voters passed it by what appears to be an overwhelming majority. The measure removes all criminal penalties for possessing an ounce or less of marijuana — replacing it with a $100 fine, which can be paid through the mail without lawyers or court appearances, just like a speeding ticket.

And Michigan voters passed MPP’s medical marijuana initiative, making Michigan the first Midwestern state to permit medical marijuana use by seriously ill patients (and the 13th in the U.S.). Michigan now becomes the second largest medical marijuana state in the country (second only to California). And as a result of tonight’s victory, almost one quarter of the nation now resides in states with medical marijuana laws.

Despite formidable opposition (including lies and dirty tricks from our opponents), common sense won — in large part because of thousands of MPP supporters who donated as generously as they could to both campaign committees.

The majority of these donors don’t even live in Michigan or Massachusetts but donated because this is what the movement for changing marijuana laws is all about — a partnership between people across the country, giving whatever they can afford in order to push change forward. The people of Michigan and Massachusetts owe a debt of gratitude to thousands of people in the other 48 states and Washington, D.C., who donated money for victories that they won’t personally see in their own states. And this is exactly how it works: In the upcoming two-year cycle, we’re going to be choosing a new slate of states, and we’ll all pitch in nationwide to pass those too … which includes passing bills through state legislatures too.

I’ll have more on our upcoming plans for you soon. But for now, please join me in celebrating two incredible victories.

Sincerely,

Rob Kampia
Executive Director
Marijuana Policy Project
Washington, D.C.

Author-radio host-actor-activist and Chicago symbol Louis “Studs” Terkel died today at his Chicago home at age 96. . .


STUDS TERKEL

Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune – Louis Terkel arrived here as a child from New York City and in Chicago found not only a new name but a place that perfectly matched–in its energy, its swagger, its charms, its heart–his own personality. They made a perfect and enduring pair.

Author-radio host-actor-activist and Chicago symbol Louis “Studs” Terkel died today at his Chicago home at age 96. . . A television institution for years, a radio staple for decades, a literary lion since 1967, when he wrote his first best-selling book at the age of 55, Louis Terkel was born in New York City on May 16, 1912. “I came up the year the Titanic went down,” he would often say.

He moved with his family when they purchased the Wells-Grand Hotel, a rooming house catering to a wide and colorful variety of people. He supplemented the life experiences there by visits to Bughouse Square, the park across the street from the Newberry Library that was at the time home to all manner of soap box orators. . .

He attended the University of Chicago, where he obtained a law degree and borrowed his nickname from the character in the ” Studs Lonigan” trilogy by Chicago writer James T. Farrell. He never practiced law. Instead, he took a job in a federally sponsored statistical project with the Federal Emergency Rehabilitation Administration, one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” agencies. Then he found a spot in a writers project with the Works Progress Administration, writing plays and developing his acting skills.

Terkel worked on radio soap operas, in stage plays, as a sportscaster and a disk jockey. His first radio program was called “The Wax Museum,” an eclectic gathering of whatever sort of music struck his fancy, including the first recordings of Mahalia Jackson, who would become a friend.

When television became a force in the American home in the early 1950s, Terkel created and hosted “Studs’ Place,” one of the major jewels in the legendary “Chicago school” of television that also spawned Dave Garroway and Kukla, Fran and Ollie.

It was on “Studs’ Place,” which was set in a tavern, that large numbers of people discovered what Terkel did best–talk and listen. Terkel, arms waving, words exploding in bursts, leaning close to his talking companions, didn’t merely conduct interviews. He engaged in conversations. He was interested in what he was talking about and who he was talking to.

But his TV career did not last. Terkel later complained that the commercialization of television forced his show, and the others in the “Chicago school,” from the air. Also, at that time, McCarthyism was a potent force and Terkel was outspoken politically, with a highly liberal tone. “I was blacklisted because I took certain positions on things and never retracted,” Terkel once said in an interview about those times. “I signed many petitions that were for unfashionable causes and never retracted.”

He had a hard time finding work, subsisting on small speaking fees and even smaller sums for writing book reviews. His wife, Ida, made enough to keep the family afloat.

He found a larger audience when he was hired at a new fine arts station, WFMT, where Terkel’s brand of chatter, jazz, folk music, and good conversation was a perfect fit. His political views were more tolerated on the station, and Terkel began his morning radio show in 1952.

In the mid-1960s, Terkel was in his mid-50s, a time when most people are beginning to plan the end of their careers. Terkel was about to start a new one. . .

“I think of myself as an old-time craftsman,” Terkel said. “I’ve been doing this five days a week, for more than 30 years. When I realize the work is slipping, I’ll quit. But I don’t think I’ve reached that point yet. I still have my enthusiasm. I still love what I do.”

ACLU DETAILS STEPS NEW PRESIDENT SHOULD TAKE TO RESTORE LIBERTIES

The  American Civil Liberties Union has released a set of detailed recommendations on steps that the new president should take to “clean house,” renew freedom, and restore the nation’s reputation. . .

On Day One, the next president should, by executive order, direct all agencies to prohibit the use of torture and abuse; direct the new Attorney General to appoint an outside special counsel to investigate, and, if warranted, prosecute any violations of federal criminal laws; close down Guantanamo and either charge and try detainees in criminal or traditional military courts or transfer them to countries where they won’t be tortured; and end the practice of extraordinary rendition.

In his first 100 days, the president should take actions to end illegal spying and surveillance, to protect Americans from privacy violations and discrimination, to end the federal death penalty, and to increase government transparency.

The ACLU’s 83-page document proposes actions across a wide variety of topics, including national security, human rights, women’s rights, civil rights, drug policy, the rights of LGBT Americans, immigrants and prisoners, privacy and free speech.  REPORT