Chill chair

John McCaslin
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Posted: Aug 29, 2003 12:00 AM

Uncle Sam got you stressed out?

If so, give the government's new "stressless" chair a try.

Bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services have been invited by memo to attend a "Stress Reduction Lab (SRL) orientation," to be held Sept. 4 after everybody returns from the beach.

"The SRL is a quiet room with an ergonomic 'stressless' chair and audio and video equipment," explains HHS.

Stressed-out bureaucrats will be able to select from written materials, CDs, audiotapes or videotapes to learn about stress and to practice strategies for relaxation. Also available is a small library with print resources for handling stress.

FLIPPING THE CHANNEL

The Federal Communications Commission recently lifted caps on television station ownership and allowed newspaper cross-ownership. Already groups are lining up on both sides of this issue in anticipation of a vote in the Senate following the August recess.

Organizations like the National Organization for Women, People for the American Way and Common Cause have advocated rolling back the decision and possibly bringing back the Fairness Doctrine, which some see as an effort to silence a "growing demand" for conservative news and views.

Those in favor of less regulation and who are defending conservative media include the American Conservative Union and Americans for Tax Reform, which recently began a new Web site supporting the FCC's decision: www.stopmediaregulation.org.

LIVING MONUMENT

They've rediscovered the Booker T. Washington Tree.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) begins our intriguing tale by recalling the life of Charles Young, born in Kentucky during the Civil War to parents who were slaves. In 1889, he became only the third black American to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy.

In 1903, Capt. Young was in charge of the 9th U.S. Cavalry and was assigned the duty of "acting superintendent" of the Sequoia and Gen. Grant National Parks in California. That early summer, he led his "buffalo soldiers" out of the cold and fog-shrouded Presidio in San Francisco en route to the high Sierra.

"Capt. Young and his troopers arrived 16 days later amongst some of the largest and oldest living things on earth and they began their historic summer working in the second national park ever created in the United States," the congressman educates.

It was while superintendent that Capt. Young discovered and named a majestic giant Sequoia after the person who inspired and influenced his life - Booker T. Washington. Now, some 100 years later, the tree has been located and, this past weekend, rededicated as a monument to both Capt. Young and Washington.

KEN'S CEMETERY

There's good reason Ken Brown of Nevada is being honored as "Mr. Veteran" on Capitol Hill.

As Rep. Jon C. Porter (R-Nev.) observes in a tribute to the World War II Navy veteran, Brown was the driving force behind the creation of a veteran's cemetery in Boulder City, Nev.

"Using his own personal savings," the congressman reveals, "Mr. Brown purchased 83.5 acres of land in Boulder City to be used as a veterans' cemetery site."

Brown's incredible gift is now known as the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

DOLLARS AND INCHES

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) probably wishes he was Treasury secretary.

In recent weeks, he's proposed "abolishing" the Federal Reserve, which Paul says is responsible for the nation's current economic difficulties.

"Since the creation of the Federal Reserve, middle- and working-class Americans have been victimized by a boom-and-bust monetary policy," says Paul. "In addition, most Americans have suffered a steadily eroding purchasing power because of the Federal Reserve's inflationary policies. This represents a real, if hidden, tax imposed on the American people."

In addition, Paul is pushing the Honest Money Act to repeal legal tender laws that compel American citizens to accept irredeemable paper-ticket or electronic money as their unit of account.

"Absent legal tender laws, individuals acting through the markets, rather than government dictates, determine what is to be used as money," Paul observes. "Historically, the free-market choice for money has been some combination of gold and silver."

The congressman says while fiat money is widely accepted thanks to legal tender laws, it does not maintain its purchasing power and works to the disadvantage of ordinary people who lose the purchasing power of their savings, pensions, annuities and other promises of future payment.

"Legal tender laws disadvantage ordinary citizens by forcing them to use money that is vulnerable to vast depreciation," he says. "As Stephen T. Byington wrote in the September 1895 issue of the American Federationist: 'No legal tender law is ever needed to make men take good money; it's only use is to make them take bad money.'"

Which is why the Constitution does not grant legal tender power to the federal government, and the states are empowered to make legal tender only out of gold and silver. Instead, says Paul, Congress was given the power to regulate money against a standard, i.e. the dollar.

"When Alexander Hamilton wrote the Coinage Act of 1792, he simply made into law the market-definition of a dollar as equaling the silver content of the Spanish milled dollar (371.25 grains of silver), which is the dollar referred to in the Constitution," he says. "This historical definition of the dollar has never been changed and cannot be changed - any more than the term 'inch,' as a measure of length, can be changed."