The Daily Dose/January 20, 2018
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy
Notes from around the Human Experience…
USA! USA!: Nothing ever changes in our fractured, partisan, bickering government. In 2013 the Republicans forced a two-week government shutdown by holding a spending bill hostage over the funding of ObamaCare. This year the Democrats, showing that imitation remains the sincerest form of flattery, are holding a spending plan hostage over immigration.
The result is the same. Because an agreement wasn’t reached in the United States Senate before midnight Friday, the government lacks the legal authority to spend money and assorted non-essential government services will be shut down. Exactly what has yet to be announced. During the 2013 shutdown about 40 percent of the federal workforce was furloughed.
We’re In For Some Dry, Technical Matter, Aren’t We?: Officially, the government has shut down 18 times since the Congressional Budget Act was passed in 1974.
Dry, Technical Matter: The Act detailed, for the first time, Congress’ role in the budget process. It was passed by a frisky Congress in the final days of the Nixon Administration and while the Administration didn’t particularly like it, Nixon signed it because he was, of course, knee-deep in Watergate and hardly in a position to further annoy Congress.
Really Dry, Technical Matter: Before the 1974 Act, the government operated under the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, which directed the president to submit a budget to Congress. It was designed to consolidate government spending and was signed by President Warren G Harding in 1921.
The Bottom Line: This is, of course, further manifestation that our government is fractured, partisan and bickering mess that we continue to tolerate every two years at the ballot box. We can blame Congress and the White House only so much because we elected everyone there.
And while it is true Congress and the White House bicker like this regularly, it is another instance of the GOP – in control of both the executive and legislative branches – showing they remain utterly incapable of governing.
IT’S GOOD TO BE THE KING, AT LEAST UNTIL THEY CHOP YOUR HEAD OFF: Charles I, king of England, Scotland and Ireland, goes on trial for treason and other crimes on this date in 1846. Charles had fought the armies of the English and Scottish parliaments from 1642 until his defeat in 1645 in what History refers to the English Civil War.
For his part, Charles I believed in the divine right of kings, which had gotten into this mess in the first place, and claimed that no court had jurisdiction over a monarch. The court trying him begged to differ, found him guilty and on January 26 condemned him to death. He was beheaded on February 2.
It’s Good To Be The King, At Least Until You Abdicate: Edward VIII becomes king of Great Britain on this date 1936, succeeding his father George V, who had died. Edward would serve less than a year, abdicating in December after it became clear he could not marry his love, the soon-to-be twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson and continue on the throne. Edward would be succeeded by his brother Albert, who reigned as George VI, the father of Britain’s current monarch Elizabeth II.
“I Do Solemnly Swear…”: Franklin Delano Roosevelt becomes the first president inaugurated on January 20 on this date in 1937. Roosevelt was being sworn in for his second term, the change coming about as a result of the passage in 1933 of the Twentieth Amendment to the US Constitution.
About Time: 52 Americans, held hostage by Iranians at the US embassy in Tehran, are released from captivity on this date in 1981. The release came immediately after newly-inaugurated President Ronald Reagan finished his inaugural address.
The hostages were not flown immediately home. First, they were paraded around Algeria because Algeria had helped secure their release, then they were flown to an air force hospital in what was then known as West Germany, then they were obliged to spend no small amount of time in New York where the festivities included a ticker-tape parade.
FunFact: The embassy had been overrun on November 4, 1979. It was originally planned as a mere sit-in by some malcontent students, but the crowd kept getting bigger and support from Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini led to them taking the embassy over.
Not every diplomat was taken hostage. Some found refuge in the British, Canadian or Swedish embassies and some were eventually smuggled out using fake Canadian passports and masquerading as a film crew.
Quotebook: It was hard to believe he had evolved through the natural process of conception, birth and growing up. – McKinley Kantor, Andersonville
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Wake Island was named after Captain Samuel Wake, who rediscovered the island in 1796 while commanding the Prince William Henry.
Today’s Stumper: Before the passing of the Twentieth Amendment to the United States Constitution, on what date were presidential inaugurations held? – Answer next time!