Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Happy Birthday, Ralph!

Ralph Nader was born 73 years ago today. Had it not been for his actions a little over six years ago, we'd celebrate him as a great American. Briefly:
Nader was born in Winsted, Connecticut, on Feb. 27, 1934 to Lebanese immigrants Nathra and Rose Nader.... Nader graduated magna cum laude from Princeton in 1955 and from Harvard Law School in 1958. As a student at Harvard, Nader first researched the design of automobiles.

After a stint working as a lawyer in Hartford, Connecticut, Nader headed for Washington, where he began his career as a consumer advocate. He worked for Daniel Patrick Moynihan in the Department of Labor and volunteered as an adviser to a Senate subcommittee that was studying automobile safety.

In 1965, he published Unsafe at Any Speed, a best-selling indictment of the auto industry and its poor safety standards. He specifically targeted General Motors' Corvair. Largely because of his influence, Congress passed the 1966 National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. Nader was also influential in the passage of 1967's Wholesome Meat Act, which called for federal inspections of beef and poultry and imposed standards on slaughterhouses, as well as the Clean Air Act and the Freedom of Information Act.

Nader's crusade caught on, and swarms of activists, called "Nader's Raiders," joined his modern consumer movement. They pressed for protections for workers, taxpayers, and the environment and fought to stem the power of large corporations.

In 1969 Nader established the Center for the Study of Responsive Law, which exposed corporate irresponsibility and the federal government's failure to enforce regulation of business. He founded Public Citizen and U.S. Public Interest Research Group in 1971, an umbrella for many other such groups.
For 364 days, we can talk about the last six years; today, let's remember him for the first sixty-seven.


michael ringwood said...

Happy Birthday Ralph. An amazing individual. michael ringwood

Chuck Butcher said...

There's a lot to thank Nader for, but the Corvair isn't one. But that's a very long discussion.