What's past is prologue, so read up

What's past is prologue, so read up

There are 28 comments on the Newsday story from Nov 21, 2008, titled What's past is prologue, so read up. In it, Newsday reports that:

Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services. November 21, 2008 While Congress spends like the proverbial drunken sailor to "bail out" various industries for practices that are largely their fault and ...

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Joe Lammers

United States

#1 Nov 22, 2008
Sobering, but unfortunately not suprising news.
Good for the Gander

Brooklyn, NY

#2 Nov 22, 2008
Sure enough, whenever a Democrat wins, a bunch of right wing commentators pen screeds decrying the lack of knowledge of the public.

Well, Mr. Thomas, let's test you: Go back 50, 60, 70 or 80 years; do you know whether the economy has done better under Democratic Presidents, or Republican Presidents?

Do you know the name of the President in power when crime declined by about 30% in 8 years?

Do you know the name of the President in power when the abortion rate went down 20% in 8 years?

The answers to these questions are Democratic, Clinton and Clinton.
Dave from Texas

Plainview, TX

#3 Nov 22, 2008
I was happy to only miss one question, but as a person with degrees in Political Science and History, I expected no less of myself.

Despite the obfuscation from "Gander" the past is indeed is prolgue.

Here's another question that should be added. Who said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Definitely a sobering and disturbing study.
Missed Two in NJ

Southwick, MA

#4 Nov 22, 2008
What in the world does any of this have to do with the appalling lack of civics knowledge in the U.S? Quoting from the Civic Literacy website: "The test contains 33 questions designed to measure knowledge of America’s founding principles, political history, international relations, and market economy." All of this is basic knowledge our schools should be teaching. How did you score Gander?
Gary

AOL

#5 Nov 22, 2008
Good for the Gander wrote:
Sure enough, whenever a Democrat wins, a bunch of right wing commentators pen screeds decrying the lack of knowledge of the public.
Well, Mr. Thomas, let's test you: Go back 50, 60, 70 or 80 years; do you know whether the economy has done better under Democratic Presidents, or Republican Presidents?
Do you know the name of the President in power when crime declined by about 30% in 8 years?
Do you know the name of the President in power when the abortion rate went down 20% in 8 years?
The answers to these questions are Democratic, Clinton and Clinton.
What you don't mention here is that all those achievements were a direct result, not of anything Clinton pushed for, but the product of the Republican Congress that was installed after Clinton's true colors were revealed and the Dems lost HUGE in the 1994 midterms.
Louis Olivas

Roseburg, OR

#6 Nov 22, 2008
This brings Sarah Palin into the civic literacy issue. When a third grader asked Sarah Palin, what is the job of the Vice-President, she responded by saying that the Vice President is in charge of the Senate. Really? Nowhere does her answer is mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. The Consitution merely states that the Vice-President is part of the Executive branch of government and that the Vice-President presides on the Senate and is a vote tie breaker. No one is in charge of the Senate. Each party has a Senate leader, depending on the majority status. There is the Senate majority leader, senate minority leader and whips. The Vice-President has no control nor influence on the Senate.There are various committees within the Senate who propose legislation. No wonder McCain lost the election by an electoral landslide.
Robert Lee

San Ysidro, CA

#7 Nov 22, 2008
Drop the partisanship for ONE second Louis, and take a look at the bigger picture. Yes, Palin should have a greater grasp on the issues, as well as a better command of simple governmental mechanics... However, this ALSO brings Joe Biden and Barak Obama into the civic literacy issue; neither one of them is any smarter than Palin, given their individual gaffes during this election.

The point is civic literacy as a whole, Louis, not just partisan finger-pointing. I hope you can discern the difference. If not, your kids will most probably end up to be just as dumb as those mentioned in the article.
sub

Jackson Heights, NY

#8 Nov 22, 2008
i do believe that america will sink into second class status in the next century, maybe not in all ways but definitely in terms of intellectual achievement and study. the idiocy of pop entertainment culture is to partly to blame, along with the willingness of the populace to indulge in such stupidity
sub

Jackson Heights, NY

#9 Nov 22, 2008
And yeah, Louis, stop talking about Sarah Palin, as if you know something about her, or what she does or doesn't know. All you apparently know is what you're spoon fed, like a baby duck, by the MSM..... And, I don't need your "lesson" on the Vice Presidency, thank you.....
Robert

Santa Rosa, CA

#10 Nov 22, 2008
How surprising it is that Cal Thomas blames "liberal education." He sounds like a broken record sometimes. But how would "guilt about prosperity" have anything to do with laziness in civics? I think the problem has more to do with our sense of entitlement to prosperity, rather than our feelings of guilt about it. By the way, I'm a liberal, i received a liberal education, and I got two of the questions wrong, but only because I misread them. Its not a liberal / conservative thing Cal, get over your silliness and lets talk about solutions, not blame.
Michael

Tyler, TX

#11 Nov 22, 2008
Please see the following to clarify the role of the VP relative to the congress:

Is Dick Cheney Unconstitutional?(Final Version)

Glenn Harlan Reynolds
University of Tennessee College of Law

Northwestern University Law Review, Vol. 102, 2007

Abstract:
During a recent policy kerfuffle, Vice President Dick Cheney's office briefly argued that the Vice President is really a legislative official, and hence not subject to some obligations of the Executive branch. Though Cheney's office quickly shifted its argument to less controversial statutory grounds, it turns out that the Vice Presidency's legislative character is, in fact, quite significant. To the extent that the Vice President is a legislative official, however, it is likely that extensive delegation of Presidential authority to the Vice President, of the sort that Vice President Cheney has enjoyed, is probably unconstitutional and certainly unwise. This Essay argues for congressional action to limit the Vice President's role in Executive business.
Robert

Santa Rosa, CA

#12 Nov 22, 2008
A quick thought about the test: the question about what we would have if we had our tax income equal our government spending, the "correct" answer according to the test would be that we would have a zero debt. But this isnt true. If we cut our spending to equal the amount we take in from taxes right now, we would still have a debt, but we would have a zero deficit. Small quibble, but this is the "civics literacy test" isnt it?
Robert

Santa Rosa, CA

#13 Nov 22, 2008
wait, i just re-read the test. i was wrong about the answer. my bad.
Mike S

Silver Spring, MD

#14 Nov 22, 2008
Of course Thomas blames "liberals" for this state of ignorance. But how about nonsense like "cutting taxes for the rich doesn't increase the Federal deficit"--which right-wingers have been spouting ever since Reagan--and which has resulted in a $10 trillion National Debt. Now that is DANGEROUS ignorance.
waldob

AOL

#15 Nov 22, 2008
I am delighted to see Obama has enough sense to send his kids to a private school
Mark

United States

#16 Nov 22, 2008
Well, I got a 90% on this. I would blame the low scores on some arguably subjective questions (where the "correct" answer was the more conservative answer), but the statistics showed that people missed a significant number of questions that were objective.
ekrystyna

New York, NY

#17 Nov 22, 2008
Why can't the government purchase a public broadcast channel and call is "Civics 411"....continuous running of civics lesson on television. Put some stars on once in a while to give a lesson--advertise on tax forms... Just having something accessible to all in a format everyone could access (tv) would help raise awareness.
Bill Sanford

Colorado Springs, CO

#18 Nov 22, 2008
Do you know the name of the only President convicted of lying while under oath? And disgracing the United States in doing so?
Good for the Gander wrote:
Sure enough, whenever a Democrat wins, a bunch of right wing commentators pen screeds decrying the lack of knowledge of the public.
Well, Mr. Thomas, let's test you: Go back 50, 60, 70 or 80 years; do you know whether the economy has done better under Democratic Presidents, or Republican Presidents?
Do you know the name of the President in power when crime declined by about 30% in 8 years?
Do you know the name of the President in power when the abortion rate went down 20% in 8 years?
The answers to these questions are Democratic, Clinton and Clinton.
Rich

Howell, NJ

#19 Nov 22, 2008
Sad indeed, even more so for me as I made a career out of civics. How come I'm never contacted for these tests?

Your article would have done well without the finger pointing though. The bickering between liberal and conservative is tedious and laughable at best. At least it is from my perspective.
m p b

Chicago, IL

#20 Nov 22, 2008

The results are astounding because most of the possible answers
we discountable on their face. I managed 33 out of 33 and only
had to read a few questions closely to make sure of the syntax.
If you have to watch tv 10 hours a day America, at least tune in to the History channel on occasion. God help us.

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