During his 1948 presidential campaign against underdog Democrat Harry S. Truman, Republican Thomas E. Dewey was on the campaign trail. As a crowd surged toward the back of his train, an irritated Dewey told the crowd, “That’s the first lunatic I’ve had for an engineer. He probably should be shot at sunrise, but we’ll let him off this time since nobody was hurt.” Lee Tindle, the 54-year-old engineer, told a reporter, “I think about as much of Dewey as I did before, and that’s not much.” Democrats chalked “Lunatic Engineers for Truman” on train after train, and hounded the candidate with references to it until the end of Truman’s winning campaign.
Late on the afternoon of Saturday, March 25, 1911, a fire erupted at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company on the top floors of a modern, fire-proof building at the corner of Manhattan’s Washington Place and Greene Street, near Washington Square Park. In the bedlam precipitated by the flames and smoke, more than 200 panicked employees jammed the only open exit; a company policy aimed at eliminating employee theft locked a second exit door. They overwhelmed the one inadequate working elevator, and the single fire escape collapsed. Those trapped inside rushed to the window ledges and, with flames licking at their backs, leapt. They fell to their deaths on the pavement below within sight of thousands of witnesses.
With newly elected Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa making school reform one of his key agenda items, and with education dominating the budget struggle in Sacramento, it's worth examining why the education debate usually centers on an emotional struggle over cash rather than actual reform.
In his speech to the National Education Association (NEA) a few days ago, Villaraigosa said, "Don't think that this effort to make our schools the best that they can be will come cheap. That's ludicrous, that's snake-oil salesmanship."
He's espousing a view long held by unions, including the NEA and the California Teachers Association. But the truth is that dramatically increasing classroom funding in the United States has proved surprisingly irrelevant.
The streamlining continues at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, the city's biggest nonprofit outreach organization. A total of 30 positions were cut; 20 union and 10 nonunion. In the past month, buzz among Federation employees was that anywhere from 30 to 40 positions would be cut from all three local Federation outlets.