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February 21, 2006


Mark Harden

Interesting. In this particular instance, you seem to SUPPORT the outcry of special interests (the Western senators whose constituents live near the forests) who do not care for the greater interests of the country. Yet when industrialists, for example, make similar self-interested statements, you condemn them. That seems either inconsistent or partisan, but I'm sure it's really just "trees good, factories bad".

Mark Harden


The Morrill Act of 1862 was also known as the Land Grant College Act. It was a major boost to higher education in America. The grant was originally set up to establish institutions is each state that would educate people in agriculture, home economics, mechanical arts, and other professions that were practical at the time. The land-grant act was introduced by a congressman from Vermont named Justin Smith Morrill. He envisioned the financing of agricultural and mechanical education. He wanted to assure that education would be available to those in all social classes.

There were several of these grants, but the first passed in 1862. This bill was signed by Abraham Lincoln on July 2. This gave each state 30,000 acres of public land for each Senator and Representative. These numbers were based on the census of 1860. The land was then to be sold and the money from the sale of the land was to be put in an endowment fund which would provide support for the colleges in each of the states.

The Morrill Acts have become a major educational resource for our nation. This program is available to all people who are in search of higher education. Over the years it has proven to be an important part of our educational system. This Act changed the course of higher education. The purpose of education shifted from the classical studies and allowed for more applied studies that would prepare the students for the world that they would face once leaving the classroom. This Act also gave education support directly from the government. The Morrill Act changed the face of education and made room for our growing and ever changing country and ensured that there would always be money to finance educational facilities and that there would be continual government support of these institutions.


The Morrill Act of 1862, while an interesting historical footnote, is completely irrelevant to the current issue.

If you want to fish for something, look up the "Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000."

That is the program whose funding for rural schools Bush is phasing out in order to provide a pseudo-rationale for selling off public lands.

Mark Harden

Peter, the applicability of Morrill is to point out that the public lands belong to the public. Not just to hikers. Not just to greens who worship the mythos of the primeval forest. And certainly not at all to the spotted owl, except insofar as the citizens themselves might desire to maintain the owl's environment. Yet you make this out to be a moral issue, when it is a political one. If the People, through their representatives, decide to sell this land to support schools, then that - by definition - is the right thing to do. Not some evil plot. Not an immoral act. But the Will of the sovereign People of this nation.

In any case, if logging had not been overly restricted on behalf of the spotted owl, the economy of these rural areas would still be capable of supporting the schools on their own. And we would have controlled logging, and usage of this community resource for the benefit of all. Instead, overreach by the environmentalists has put the government in a position of needing to sell off the land altogether. Thanks again, Greens!


The notion that whatever comes out of Congress is automatically "the right thing to do" or "the will of the people" does not fly with me.

Up-or-down vote on a coherent issue? That's arguable. But when controversial items are buried amidst a plethora of other issues, as is the case in the budget process--absolutely not.

But since you apparently do believe this (at least in cases that don't involve logging policy or the Endangered Species Act), once Congress kills this plan, as they did with the similar Pombo-Gibbons plan just last December, we'll be in agreement on at least one thing.


Mark, I don't know you or whether you're a paid shill for extractive industries or simply a sympathizer, but why are you so eager to sell public lands to private interests?

We seem to be dealing with a movement in this country to put every aspect of the commons, those resources we hold in public trust, into the hands of corporations. These are people who ignore the irreplaceable economic benefits of natural habitat, who have no concept of ecology or non-economic costs. People who apparently enjoy paying for companies to clean water rather than allowing nature to do it for free and look forward to the day they'll be purchasing air. What I don't get is why. Unless you're running with the logging crowd (execs, not actual workers), why would you want to diminish the rest of us, including every single subsequent generation, for perpetuity just to provide a handful of people with a short-term gain?

Mark Harden

The notion that whatever comes out of Congress is automatically "the right thing to do" or "the will of the people" does not fly with me.

You may be a Democrat, Peter, but you're no democrat.

why are you so eager to sell public lands to private interests?

I'm not, as my comments in this thread make clear. I would much prefer the controlled logging done for two hundred years or so until Mr. Clinton came sniffling and biting his lower lip about the widdle spotted owls. It's enviro-extremists whose policies have endangered the forests, not mine.

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