On October 26 a new American cartoon strip made its debut in the United States. Doonesbury, written and drawn by Garry Trudeau, appeared initially in about two dozen newspapers. The following spring a Sunday strip was added. It became instantly known for not only its humor but its biting political commentary, usually from a liberal point of view. Two of its main characters, B. D. and Mike Doonesbury, initiated the strip as college roommates, with the first strip published depicting them meeting at the fictional Walden College, though the school was not identified by name until subsequent strips.
Trudeau won the Pulitzer Prize for the strip in 1975. It was the first comic strip ever so honored, winning the Editorial Cartoon category. Throughout its existence the strip provided commentary on current events and storylines reflected social issues, political debates, and relationships. The strip frequently generated controversy. Many newspapers chose not to run individual strips, or demanded they be altered before they would run. The strip, and the reaction to it, was another measure of the divisiveness present in the United States, much of it centered on America’s role in Vietnam.
25. The Occupational Safety and Health Act was signed at the end of 1970
On December 29 President Nixon signed into law the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The new law made it a requirement for employers to ensure working conditions were free of known hazards, or that proper procedures and equipment were provided to minimize them. More than 2 million workers were injured on the job in each of the two years preceding OSHA’s passage. 14,000 were killed in work accidents per year. Some progressive states, including New York and California, produced workplace safety acts on their own, but OSHA was the first sweeping federal effort to address the issue.
Not surprisingly business leaders strongly resisted the act. Both the United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers led the resistance, as they had with earlier attempts to enact similar legislation. Labor unions generally supported the measure. The act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration within the Department of Labor. It was assigned the authority to establish and enforce regulations for enforcement of the provisions the act, beginning on April 28, 1971. The law specifically excluded the United States under the definition of an employer, but it covered its agencies, Amtrak, and the United States Postal Service.
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