Snail Races

...where even the winners are slow and slimy. It's all a matter of degrees, really. Reality based since 1692.

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Location: Upper Canada

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Grant's favorite comics

Slate has a slideshow and essay about Toothpaste for Dinner, which Grant has been giggling about for several months now.

highly addictive...

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

On this date

the writer's almanac notes that the G.I. Bill was a powerful force for good in the USA...

The G.I. Bill passed in part because of the tragic experience of veterans of the First World War. Many of them had lost their jobs and become homeless. They had been promised a bonus when they reached retirement age, but many worried they'd never live that long. A group went to Washington, D.C. to demand their bonuses early. They had to be driven out of the city with tanks and tear gas.

Economists in the '40s were predicting a postwar depression, and politicians were terrified of the idea of nine million unemployed veterans wandering the country. So they wrote the G.I. Bill to guarantee unemployment benefits for a year. A congressional committee threw in the idea that veterans should get money to go to college if they wanted to. Many presidents of some of the most prestigious universities thought it was a terrible idea.

Even the supporters of the bill didn't think that many G.I.s would really want to go to college. But about a million veterans applied for the money within the first year after the war. Ultimately, 2.2 million veterans used the money to get a higher education, many of them the first members of their families to go to college.

Before the war, about 10 percent of Americans had gone to college. After the war, that figure rose to about 50 percent. And contrary to most expectations, the grade point averages at most colleges went up with the influx of veterans. Dropout rates went way down. Professors at the time said the veterans were the most serious students they'd ever seen. The cost to the government was about $5 1/2 billion, but the result was to spur one of the great economic booms in American history.

I love Garrison Keillor...

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