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Friday, September 30, 2011

Is it True that No Republican Voted for the Social Security or Medicare Acts?

“I wanted to confirm some information. I have been told on more than one occasion that no Republican voted for the Social Security Act in the 1930s or the Medicare Act under President Lyndon Johnson. Is that correct?” The staff of the Newton Falls Public Library enjoys answering such straightforward questions.

Typing the keywords “republicans voted social security 1930s” in a Google search we found the website for Social Security Online History which includes archival documents. “Final Congressional action on the bill took place when the Conference Report was passed by voice vote on August 8, 1935 in the House and on August 9th in the Senate. On August 14, 1935 President Roosevelt signed the bill into law at a ceremony in the White House Cabinet Room.” Vote tallies by party are:
v  House
Ø  Yes – 284 Democrats, 81 Republicans, 1 Farm Labor, 6 Progressive/Other
Ø  No – 15 Democrats, 15 Republicans, 2 Farm Labor, 1 Progressive/Other
Ø  Not Voting – 20 Democrats, 4 Republicans, 0 Farm Labor, 1 Progressive/Other
Ø  Present - – 0 Democrats, 2 Republicans, 0 Farm Labor, 0 Progressive/Other
v  Senate
Ø  Yes -– 60 Democrats, 16 Republicans, 1 Farm Labor, 0 Progressive/Other
Ø  No  – 1 Democrats, 5 Republicans, 0 Farm Labor, 0 Progressive/Other
Ø  Not Voting – 8 Democrats, 4 Republicans, 0 Farm Labor, 0 Progressive/Other

We did a similar keyword search for medicare resulting in the appropriate information also being found at Social Security Online History. “The reconciled version . . . went to final passage in the House on July 27th and final passage in the Senate the following day. President Johnson signed the bill into law at a special ceremony in Independence, Missouri on July 30, 1965.” Vote tallies by party are:
v  House
Ø  Yes – 237 Democrats, 70 Republicans
Ø  No – 48 Democrats, 68 Republicans
Ø  Not Voting – 8 Democrats, 2 Republicans
v  Senate
Ø  Yes – 57 Democrats, 13 Republicans
Ø  No – 7 Democrats, 17 Republicans
ØNot Voting – 4 Democrats, 2 Republicans

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Does Anyone Pick Up Old Refrigerators?

“I’m assisting a relative in going through some things, and we need to know if anyone picks up old refrigerators?”  The Newton Falls Public Library staff understands the need for finding ways to dispose of old household items. Our patron remembered that an advertisement on television mentioned that the Green Team recycled appliances. Unfortunately, we discovered that the it is part of the Mahoning County Solid Waste Management District and the relative’s home is in Trumbull County.

Geauga-Trumbull Solid Waste Management District is our local recycling agency. It has appliance collection dates and a listing of local scrap metal dealers on their website While their listing did not include Falls Recycling in Newton Falls, we found that this business also accept appliances.

FirstEnergy has an appliance turn-in program for their customers through October 31, 2011. The program accepts empty and working refrigerators and freezers. The same conditions would apply to local charities receiving appliance donations. For patrons wishing to repair their non-working appliances before donating them, the library has a copy of Chilton's Guide to Large Appliance Repair and Maintenance by Gene B. Williams available for borrowing.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Why Do We Use the Term Czar for Someone Involved in American Government?

“Former Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams just went to Washington D.C. as the Auto Czar. Czar seems to be an odd term to use for someone involved in American government; I thought it was a Russian ruler. When did this become used by our presidents?” Recently, _________ czar has been a phrase that seems to have worked itself into our common language. The Newton Falls Public Library staff found the question to be intriguing.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines czar in three ways: the first is a ruler or monarch; the second is an autocrat; the final one is considered an informal usage: “An appointed official having special powers to regulate or supervise an activity: . . . an energy czar.” [p. 455]. This seems to fulfill part of our patron’s request. 

The aforementioned book was published in 2000, so we know that the term was in use in this context prior to that year. Continuing our search online, we found that the Los Angeles Times' article (March 5, 2009) President Obama's czar system concerns some by Tom Hamburger and Christi Parsons. "President Nixon may have named the first 'czar' with his appointment of William E. Simon to handle the 1970s energy crisis."

According to Czar Struck: Sorting Through the Misconceptions and Understanding the Implications of an Expanding ‘Czar’ Phenomenon by Kathryn J. Murphy, United States Military Academy, "President Franklin D. Roosevelt originated the concept of the policy czar in American politics. Under his administration, Roosevelt created a 'brain trust' of advisors whom he relied upon for policy-related advice . . . In 1942, political cartoonist, Clifford Berryman depicted Roosevelt's advisors as czars . . . The Nixon administration was the first to actually use the term 'czar' with specific reference to the appointment of a 'Drug Czar' in 1971. This was subsequently followed by a highly controversial 'Energy Czar.' (pp. 1-2)" Murphy cites 32 Obama czars as of January 2010. We were not able to locate a difinitive czar listing from United States Government websites. Others, such as Wikipedia, did list the numbers of U.S. Executive Branch czars for each president from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama. According to their listing Ronald Reagan had the least, one.



Friday, September 9, 2011

Do You Have to be a Citizen of Canada to Receive Public Health Benefits?

“Do you have to be a citizen of Canada to receive health benefits or can you just be a resident?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff knows that many individuals are unable to afford health insurance. We are sure that many people will find the answer to this question to be interesting.

Searching online, we typed in the question: “Do you need to be a Canadian citizen to have health care?” Eliminating the websites which discussed the pros and cons of socialized medicine, we found the site for Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The page Live in Canada links to About being a permanent resident of Canada. Permanent residents and their dependents are able to receive most of the social benefits that Canadian citizens receive, including health care coverage. There is also information about immigrating and applying for permanent status. If our patron would choose to move there, they would have to live in Canada for at least two years within a five-year period to keep their status as a permanent resident.

The public health insurance in Canada is paid for through taxes. It is different in each province and territory and, depending on your coverage you may also require temporary private health insurance. This will also be necessary while waiting on your permanent resident status to be approved. “You must buy this private insurance within five days of arriving in your province or territory or insurance companies may not provide coverage for you. Refugee claimants who cannot afford private health insurance and refugee claimants living in provinces that have a three-month waiting period can receive emergency and essential health services at no cost”. Some of the public plans do not cover dental expenses, private hospital rooms, prescription drugs, ambulance services and prescription eyeglasses.

We were surprised to find that the Canadian health care system seems to be a combination of public and private coverage. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Do Buttons Have Lead in Them?

“Do buttons have lead in them? I’m concerned about my child chewing on them.” The staff of the Newton Falls Public Library can understand parents worrying about the items little children put in their mouths, especially small items which may also be accidently swallowed.

While browsing through the book, About Buttons: a collector's guide: 150 A.D. to the present by Peggy Ann Osborne, the author describes 18th century buttons made of “embroidered fabrics, assorted metals, mother-of-pearl, glass, porcelain, and pottery”; some with “paintings on ivory, vellum, or paper (pg. 9).” In the chapter there was no mention of the types of metal with the exception of silver and copper. Some materials used in the 19th century were silver, brass, pewter, glass, and pearl. As we continued looking we also noticed buttons made of wood, steel, vegetable ivory, plastic, and nylon. This book is organized by years, styles, and countries but unfortunately, not by materials. Button, Button: identification and price guide by Peggy Ann Osborne has a chapter, Materials from A – Z. Almost 60 different materials are listed as being used in button making. Some of the more unusual are alligator skin, bamboo, linoleum, rubber, snakeskin, and straw. The Collector's Encyclopedia of Buttons: now with values by Sally C. Luscomb is set up alphabetically. There is no listing for lead between Le Chic (a trade name) and League of American Wheelman (Bicycle Buttons).

Our search continued online to  which sells Civil War relics and antiquities. The page on buttons has Civil War era or earlier coat weight buttons made of lead,  “said to have served dual purpose.”  Ian Kelly-Military Insignia site notes “From 1830 onwards, Regular Army infantry regiments that had been wearing silver buttons changed to gilt buttons and thereafter, silver buttons were mainly worn by Militia and Volunteer regiments, and sometimes by pipers of regular regiments. Other Ranks buttons were made of lead or pewter until 1855 when brass was introduced.” It would seem that buttons most likely to be made of lead are military.

Desrues, a French company manufactures “the most precious jewellery and buttons for Chanel, its biggest client, as well as for Louis Vuitton and many others.” Their operations focus on ”Moulding and casting metals, glass enamelling, machining wood, remodelling resins, polishing, soldering, lacquering, varnishing, gilding, silver plating, working with lead glass and threading pearls . . .” Apparently, some buttons for modern high end designers do have lead in them.

If their child continues to chew on buttons and our patron is unable to clearly determine what buttons are presently manufactured to have lead, there are lead testing kits available.