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Top 10 Things I'm Thankful For

Aug. 2012, JC

All month long, I have seen my friends and family list the many things they are thankful for on a daily basis. I don't have the time and memory to list what I'm thankful for. So I am just going to list it here. I am thankful for:

 

  1. The life that God has given me. It may not be perfect, it may not be easy, but it is my life and I am free to live as I choose to be. Nothing can be better than that.
  2. My Kansan family where, yes, I was born and bred. You never realize how close you are and how important they are in your life until you move almost 2,000 miles away. They are what made me who I am, they are the ones who understand me the best, and still inspire me to this day. I miss them something fierce, but I know that they will always be there fore me when I need them most and look forward to the day that I can see them again.
  3. My Maryland family, especially the Beau and Changa. My boyfriend has been my rock and sanity and I would not survive the trials that I have gone through without him to talk sense and logical game plans into my brain and to make me laugh...even when I am trying to pout and have my angry moments--he just won't allow me to! (meanie!) He is my best friend and I'm looking forward to another year of life experiences with him. I am also thankful for la Changa for giving me the parental experiences both joyful and trialing. She is the closest thing to a real daughter (with the exception of my sisters) that I've ever had and I love her to death! Lately, my weekend work schedules have not allowed me to spend as much time with her...in fact, I barely get to see her, but hopefully that will change again soon.
  4. The Camui mobile, Lakhi! My vehicular best friend. I am truly blessed to have a car of my own that is there for me when I need it...my boyfriend too, haha! I truly hope that I can give it the things that it needs and I can continue to keep it for a few more years longer.
  5. The many talents God has given me. From dance, to singing, to acting, to speaking many languages....again, these contribute to what makes me who I am and I am grateful for the entertainment that I will even give myself some days. =P
  6. Education Opportunities: I am so thankful for the opportunity to have another year of college. While it is not the major that I ultimately want to put under my belt, it is another subject that I love and look forward to my graduation in 2015!
  7. Old Man George & Sasha Marie Bratdog - the other children of my boyfriend and mine. They are very childlike in nature, but they also give us great entertainment (oftentimes at my expense >.< ) I love how cuddly Sasha is and George's snore (which is happening right against my back at this moment)
  8. My jobs at The American Tap Room and Mem Sahib. Like everyone else, I don't always want to go to work, yet when I get there, I am so excited to be there and love the opportunities to  meet new people and share in the love of music and dance with others.
  9. The Internet! Where I can share my thoughts and life experiences with all of you, stay in touch with my family, and continue my education.
  10. For all of my online friends on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, but most importantly YOU! Thank you for your words of encouragement, advice, and just being there for me. I love you all!

 

Sadly today my boyfriend and I don't have any holiday plans and we aren't going to have much of a Thanksgiving dinner either due to a tight budget, but we are still thankful for the things that we DO have. Wish you all the best this holiday!Thankful

Voter ID Cards

Aug. 2012, JC

There have been many articles regarding various cases of fraudulent voting causing many states to propose new Voter ID laws to better verify who are legal and living US Citizens who are allowed to vote. While there have been many cases of phantom voters and repeaters illegally voting under another person’s name, probably one of the more bigger problems is the fact that minorities are voting illegally.

The pros new Voter ID laws is that they are created with the intention to not only reduce the risk of illegal voting, but to encourage non-registered American citizens to register to vote. Despite the pros, there are many fallbacks to the various proposed solutions, including high governmental expenses to provide free national ID cards to those who cannot afford them, conflicts with those who cannot have their photo taken due to religious beliefs, etc. In fact, author Wendy Underhill pointed out many inconveniences to these new laws, should they be created. “Although all states that require a photo ID to vote provide them for free, voters may find it difficult and costly to obtain the necessary underlying identification, such as a copy of a birth certificate. People with disabilities may be particularly burdened by such laws because of the need to travel to a government office. For some Amish, Mennonites, Muslims, Native Americans, and fundamentalist Christians, posing for photographs is discouraged.” (Underhill, 2011)

Sadly, there also seems to be controversial conflict with the fact that minorities or “non-whites” are going to outnumber the “whites” in the near future when it comes to voting. So therefore the whites try to make it more difficult for the non-whites (or minorities) to vote.  Author Andrew Cohen of The National Journal quoted Brenton Mock regarding the difficulties of Texans trying to obtain rights to vote, “Texas has no driver's license offices in almost a third of the state's counties. Meanwhile, close to 15 percent of Hispanic Texans living in counties without driver's license offices don't have ID. A little less than a quarter of driver's license offices have extended hours, which would make it tough for many working voters to find a place and time to acquire the IDs. Despite this, the Texas legislature struck an amendment that would have reimbursed low-income voters for travel expenses when going to apply for a voter ID, and killed another that would have required offices to remain open until 7:00 p.m. or later on just one weekday, and four or more hours at least two weekends.” (Cohen, 2012)


Share your own experience with the relative difficulty or ease of voting in your locale:
    I am not registered to vote so I have had no experiences with voting in my locale. I have no major interest in politics (aside from this course) or voting. While I appreciate the efforts of those who have fought to give me the rights to vote, it is a topic that is extremely difficult for me to understand and I would rather leave it up to the public that actually know and understand what they are voting for. I was recently approached about my being registered to vote by a customer at work who inquired if I was or not. She seemed unhappy about my choice not to.

The logic for my choice is this (as I posted on my social networking site to my friends on election night): I think that it's great that we have the right to vote; even if our votes may not really count or the vote per state balance is not fairly distributed. I choose to not vote because I really am not interested. I wasn't as a child and I'm not now. Whoever is chosen President will be President and life will go on regardless of who the winner is. Throughout Presidencies we have been to war, we have had economic downfall, we have had prosperity, we have had all kinds of things. I may not agree with what all the Presidents or candidates are campaigning or promising, but then again, the President doesn't have as much power as we think he does. Gotta love them checks and balances! As long as I have a roof over my head, food in my belly, a job and am not being sent to a detainment camp or deported to a foreign country for being of mixed ethnicity, then I am okay with whoever wins.


Draw your own conclusion about the debate over voter ID laws:
    After reading these articles and drawing on my perspective of things, I think that Americans are really backtracking in the topic of racial discrimination when it comes to “whites” and “non-whites” voting. It seems to me that we, the people, are forgetting that America is a “melting pot” so naturally we are going to have non-whites. I am of mixed ethnicity, primarily Mexican and White (with a dash of everything else thrown in), and yet I was born in America. Yet should the olive color of my skin and the almond shape of my eyes, determine if I should be allowed to vote or not? No, because my birthright citizenship lies here in the United States of America. Now I understand that there are many people who are not in the states legally and perhaps this is meant to target them. However, it is inevitable that Mexican-Americans will end up caught in the crossfire as well.I thought that we were past the worst of the racial issues and were all supposed to be equal. These articles and actions of politicians seem to suggest otherwise. I don’t know about you, but it makes me even less inclined to want to register to vote.
    Regarding Voter ID cards, I agree with Kurt Hyde. “Anything man-made can be counterfeited” and I don’t believe forcing everyone to have an ID card is the solution to a happier and more legal America. (Hyde, 2008) Just as kids make fake ID’s to get into clubs and people make fake ID’s and documents to sneak into other countries, so too will American (and non-American citizens alike) create fake Voter ID cards to attain their fraudulent voter goals. It only provides more opportunity for new problems to arise. Hyde’s suggestion for improvements seems like a more logical solution. Sadly, people are motivated by opportunities (or greed) for money and regardless of whatever solution results are for this particular topic, we should clean up and verify our list of registered voters before proceeding any further. Going through the steps and money to get everyone a national ID card will be inconvenient for everyone all around and will only make the voting challenges more difficult in the future.

      While this song really doesn't address this topic in it's entirety, it did come to mind while thinking about the racial setbacks of this country: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iM17qeIIIE4


Works Cited


Underhill, W. (2011, Proof at the polls. State Legislatures, 37, 59. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/883141476?accountid=32521

Andrew Cohen, T. A. (2012, Mar 17). How voter ID laws are being used to disenfranchise minorities and the poor. National Journal, Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview
/961562046?accountid=32521

Hyde, K. (2008, Oct 27). Fraught with fraud. The New American, 24, 19. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/218087860?accountid=32521
Aug. 2012, JC

According to author Oren M. Levin-Waldman, “Political parties are organizations that seek to influence government policy by nominating candidates and trying to get them elected to office.” (Levin-Waldman, 2012) The Framers did not like political parties as they were, and still are to this day, more about self-interest than the overall general public. However they also knew that the parties were inevitable as well.

The issue that I chose to look into was that of Internet Censorship. The Democratic party approves of the censorship of “inconvenient speech” and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy proposed a bill, The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), in 2010 that would have made censorship laws in America very similar to that of how China’s government handles internet censorship. ("Editorial: Democratic internet," 2010) While it seemed that the Republicans were initially siding with the Democrats on the matter of COICA, now rewritten as Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and/or Protect IP Act (PIPA), members of the Republican party are now beginning to have second thoughts. Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Texas Senator John Cornyn both took to their Facebook pages in 2012 to urge members of Senate to reconsider the bill. CBS News quoted Cornyn as saying that It’s "better to get this done right rather than fast and wrong," he wrote. "Stealing content is theft, plain and simple, but concerns about unintended damage to the internet and innovation in the tech sector require a more thoughtful balance, which will take more time." (Condon, 2012)

The Third Party take on Internet Citizenship that I found was that of the Libertarian Party, which is known as “America’s Third Largest Party” and advocates for individual freedoms such as “pro-drug legalization, pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-homeschooling, pro-gun rights, etc.” ("Directory of u.s.," 2012) Libertarians are against internet censorship as they view it as an obstruction of “personal liberties”. They have also participated in past protests at the government's attempts to obstruct freedoms of speech such as in Bill Clinton’s “Communications Decency Act” in 1995. ("Internet: Stop internet," 2012)

In my own political philosophy, I agree with the Libertarian view. The Founding Fathers had no clue of knowing what the internet would be and, even so, they would probably find it a violation of our constitutional freedoms. It definitely would be a violation of our First Amendment rights to remove those freedoms. I believe both the Republicans and the Libertarians were very influential in raising awareness about both SOPA and PIPA by starting online petitions and working with big name online resources to schedule internet website service blackouts, and rallies to voice the public concern and outrage of the bills. The end result to date is that the bills have been shelved indefinitely until more modifications and agreements can be made. (Weisman, 2012)

Based on the facts that these bills created much controversy and backlash from countless people who opposed the bills in one form or another, it is pretty clear to see that the Libertarians (and some Republicans) were very effective in their persuasion and voter support, both online and offline. It is true that regulation is needed on the internet, but it must be done so in a manner that does not take away the freedoms of speech and artistic creativity that many utilize the internet for; not to mention the educational and informative resources that are quite literally at our fingertips. The internet is indeed a powerful thing, but censoring it as is done in China does nothing for the American gain.

My question is: do those that propose and support these bills not see how miserable things are in China as it stands? Personally, I feel that both China and North Korea are poor examples of how governments and countries should be regulated. If you’re going to look to Asia for examples, please look to South Korea or Japan. They might have a stricter government system, but even they do so without accidentally taking away the freedom of the people in its entirety.



Works Cited:

Levin-Waldman, O. M. (2012). American government. (p. 263). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/books/AUPOL201.12.1

Editorial: Democratic internet censorship. (2010, November 22). The washington times. Retrieved from http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/nov/22/democratic-internet-censorship/

Condon, S. (2012, January 18). Sopa, pipa protests spur congress to rethink bills. Cbs news. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57361156-503544/sopa-pipa-protests-spur-congress-to-rethink-bills/
Directory of u.s. political parties. (2012, February 11). Retrieved from http://www.politics1.com/parties.htm

Internet: Stop internet censorship. (2012, November 15). Retrieved from http://www.lp.org/issues/internet

Weisman, J. (2012, January 20). After an online firestorm, congress shelves antipiracy bills. New york times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/21/technology/senate-postpones-piracy-vote.html?_r=0


A Note of Encouragement For Everyone

Aug. 2012, JC
Originally I wrote this blog on my Facebook on February 26, 2010. I had a full schedule and was in the final stages of a big annual dance show with the dance studio I attended. Everyone I knew was having a rough time of things and I felt compelled to share this message. Looking back at it two years later, I still find these words encouraging and offer them up to anybody going through rough times in their lives. As it's said in Korea, "Aja Aja, Hwaiting!"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Life can be a rough bit sometimes, don’t you think? But even so, we must be strong and hang in there; not only for ourselves but for others around us. Whether it’s a bad day at work, a butt-load of homework or a tough night at the dance studio we all have our moments of feeling tired, cranky and frustrated with ourselves or others. Being strong and hanging in there not only helps pull you though, but gives hope to fellow friends, family, etc. to stay strong as well.

I am no exception to this. My plate is just as loaded with all of the above and I’ll be honest my support system isn’t the greatest either. I recently have found myself having many nights where I come home after a day of work, school and dance and just feeling run down, upset, depressed and utterly worthless. I don’t have anybody to come home to or a shoulder to cry on at the end of the day either. However, these thoughts and feelings will get me nowhere in the end. One thing I have to remind myself is that I’m probably not the only one who had it rough that day. Self-pity gets one nowhere, the real world does not revolve around me (even though one feels it should) and in the end, I know that I am probably making a mountain out of a mole hill. Being strong in myself, smiling (even when it’s hard to) and continuing to press on is what helps get me through the hard times (that and a handful of chocolates and a CD from one of my favorite artists).

Perhaps I’m just more talking to myself today, but my point is to say to you, who are reading this, that I am really proud of you and I want you to know that you are appreciated and loved. Life is not easy, but I think that you are doing a great job and keep up the good work! I will continue to be the ear to listen or shoulder to cry on for anyone who needs it. Things in your world may not be peachy right now, but keep your chin up and know that this too will pass. The sky is not really falling and tomorrow can be a better day, but it’s up to you to choose to make it the better. Give a word of encouragement and a hug to others and you just may find yourself feeling better too. In fact, hugs all around on the house! ( /^0^)/

Much Love & Huge Hugs!
~Jade~

Review, GITMO, and Projected Thesis

Aug. 2012, JC

Brian J. Foley discusses Guantanamo in his article, Guantanamo and Beyond: Dangers of Rigging the Rules. In this article Foley argues the negative aspects of prisoner's rights including the rigging of the CSRT rules which loosely define what an “enemy combatant” is, the restriction of appeals and Habeas Corpus, the unfair representation of the detainee and lack thereof, unreliable evidence and testimonies (or, again, lack thereof), and hindrance in cross-examinations due to lack of present witnesses, language barriers, etc. Foley also points out that there is also no protection from Double Jeopardy. “If a prisoner wins at one tribunal, that successful defense may be ignored. He may simple be tried again,until the government wins”. (Foley, 2008, p. 26) There is no fair rights given to the prisoner who may not even be an enemy combatant or terrorist threat at all. Foley also brings to light the threats of national security, the danger risks of ineffective investigations, especially those who are falsely identified as terrorists. Foley concludes with a proposal to rewrite the rules to make interrogations and investigations of prisoner's more accurate and effective. I generally understood the author's points in this article and didn't really have any questions regarding those points. My question to Foley's proposal is: Is rewriting the rules really what is necessary to correcting problems of Guantanamo? I also wonder if Guantanamo is really necessary in the overall spectrum of things.

I believe the thesis of my final paper will be as follows: “The U.S. Constitution needs to be better incorporated into the Guantanamo procedures to give fair rights to prisoners regardless of citizenship and more humane ways of investigating possible “enemy combatants” to fairly determine whether or not they really should be considered terrorist threats.”

Works Cited

Foley, B. (2007). Guantanamo and beyond: Dangers of rigging the rules. Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 97(4), 1009-10069. Document ID: 1466824931. Retrieved from ProQuest Central database, in the Ashford Online Library.


Aug. 2012, JC
  I don’t believe that the Supreme Court’s power of judicial review should be limited by a constitutional amendment. The Founding Father’s created the constitution as the overall ruling law that we all must abide by and the Supreme Court ensures that law is upheld. The Supreme Court is supposed to be “the most powerful judicial body on earth” which is responsible for reviewing arguments of select cases and determining what the President, Congress, and states are allowed to do based upon the founding laws and principles that were created by the Constitution. “Once confirmed, all of us are primarily responsible to the law, to this institution, to your own conscience and the public no longer has a direct ability to influence the decision through the ballot box.”, said says Justice Stephen Breyer in a video interview. ("Scotus video part 1," 2009)

            I believe that having a court of judges well versed in the Constitutional Laws to ensure that court rulings on often controversial cases are properly ruled. Having interference from the public, the President, Congress, or the States undermines that authority and the security of our Constitutional rights in America.  Columbia University professor Jeremy Waldron makes a valid point in his article arguing Mark Tushnet’s proposal article. “With courts, they say, we are never just faced with a bare decision about rights, coercively imposed; we have judicial reasoning, which helps bring constitutional rights into focus for us, and it would be a pity to give that up.”  (Waldron, 2005, p.85)

            Regarding the pro and cons of this topic: I think that it is good to have amendments to the Constitution to help compensate for the modern changes of our country. The Founding Father’s created the Constitution to manage the American laws of that time. They had no way of knowing how the modern America would change things; thus I think it is good that limited amendments are made as needed. However, the fallback to that is that if we stray from the original intent and laws of the Founding Father’s in the Constitution, then we are at risk of losing our way legally, let alone our trust in the judicial system as we will have nothing solid to base our laws upon.

            I don’t believe that it is fair or right for the President to bully the Supreme Court to get his way or for the people to determine how the Supreme Court rules, limiting them to amended constitutions. It is fact that the Supreme Court was created to ensure that Constitutional Law is upheld and its power lies in public faith. Limiting their power shows that we have no faith in them and challenges their purpose for being. It contradicts the Founding Father’s intent for America and clouds the hearts and minds of the people.

 

Works Cited

Scotus video part 1 [Web]. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6Noye3MKkg&feature=relmfu

Waldron, J. (2005). Jeremy Waldron. Dissent (00123846), 52(3), 84.

No Registration

Aug. 2012, JC
Had an interesting customer come into the restaurant yesterday. She stopped just about every employee she could (including myself) to ask if we were registered to vote. She seemed surprised by my response of "I am not even registered to vote".

Lady: But it's your right!
Me: Yes, but it is a right I choose to not exercise.
Lady: Why?
Me: Politics are beyond me and my boyfriend is currently tutoring
me in my government class at an elementary level because I don't get it. Besides, even if I were to WANT to vote, I'm so burned out on campaigns that I'm not even interested in either of the candidates.

I think that it's great that we have the right to vote; even if our votes may not really count or the vote per state balance is not fairly distributed (yes, I've been paying attention to my lessons & discussion posts). I choose to not vote because I really am not interested. I wasn't as a child and I'm not now. Whoever is chosen President will be President and live will go on regardless of who the winner is. Throughout Presidencies we have been to war, we have had economic downfall, we have had prosperity, we have had all kinds of things. I may not agree with what all the Presidents or Candidates are campaigning or promising, but then again, the President doesn't have as much power as we think he does. Gotta love them checks and balances. LOL!

As long as I have a roof over my head, food in my belly, a job and am not being sent to a detainment camp or deported to a foreign country for being of mixed ethnicity, then I am okay with whoever wins.

The Iron Triangle

Aug. 2012, JC

An iron triangle a cycle of three different people (or organizations) pleasing each other to get what they want in the long run, which is generally a mutual goal. The biggest iron triangle is that of Congress’s Armed Services Committee, the Pentagon, and companies that produce military machinery and weapons. Oren M. Levin-Waldman breaks down the triangle processes in our textbook. “The contractors lobby the Armed Services Committee to appropriate money for the specific weapons systems that they build. The contractors also lobby the Pentagon for the contracts to build the systems. The Pentagon lobbies the Armed Services Committee to approve the weapons systems because that will result in a greater appropriation. Members of the Armed Ser­vices Committee want to appropriate money because if the systems get built by interests that happen to have plants in their districts, it will mean jobs for their constituents, which results in votes and campaign contributions. Members of the Armed Services Committee therefore lobby the Pentagon to award contracts to specific interests. Finally, staff mem­bers in the Pentagon seek to please the contractors because they may in the future obtain lucrative jobs with them.” (Levin-Waldman, 2012). The Armed Services Committee and Pentagon gets weaponry and the interest groups that create their military weapons get the funding and contract jobs to create those weapons. Each benefits the other in some way while obtaining their own goals in the end.

                According to author Caitlyn Huey-Burns, Pentagon defense contractor Lockheed Martin, the military and congress have gotten carried away with spending money on weapons and machinery that we, as the United States, really might not need. In her article in U.S. News, Huey-Burns says with regards to the military-industrial complex, “It's really about the conjunction between the military itself, the weapons contractors, and in some degree the Congress. And it deals with how they kind of work in tandem to lobby for perhaps higher levels of military spending than we might otherwise need.” (Huey-Burns, 2011)  In short, we are spending too much money for military resources not really needed. In that sense, it would seem that President Eisenhower was correct in saying that “a "scientific-technological elite" that would dominate public policy, and of a "military-industrial complex" that would claim "our toil, resources, and livelihood." (Newton, 2010)

                While the iron triangle model is a good basis for describing and understanding how the process works, it does not accurately display the process of making the defense spending policy, determining who gets how much money from where, etc. From what I can garner, as I am still new to how this all works, the military calls for new machinery and funding for their creations all the time, however we do not necessarily need them. I believe much of our money could go to more profitable and peaceful things than creating weaponry for wars we are not even involved in or using for that matter. It’s not a very appropriate way to be spending our money, if you ask me.

Works Cited:

Levin-Waldman, O. M. (2012). American government. (p. 188). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/books/AUPOL201.12.1

Caitlin Huey-Burns. (2011, The modern military-industrial complex. U.S.News & World Report, , 1. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/852690642?accountid=32521

Newton, J. (2010, Dec 20). Ike's speech. The New Yorker, 86, 42-42. Retrieved from

http://search.proquest.com/docview/821301027?accountid=32521

The Electoral Collage

Aug. 2012, JC

The Electoral College was created in 1787 “to establish a role for the states in the national election” and prevent the presidents and vice-presidency from being chosen directly by the people. ("Electoral college 101," 2008) It is made up of a group of people from all 50 states and Washington D.C. and created to elect a new president and vice-president. Out of the collective 538 people, 270 majority votes are needed to determine the winner. Each state is limited to however many representatives and senate per state; in short: one vote per seat. In the event that no presidential candidate won the 270 majority vote, then the House would select a President and the Senate would choose a Vice-President, both by voting with one vote per state.

            One of the pros to the Electoral College process is that it allows each of the 50 states to have a say (or vote) in the presidential election process. The people of each state place their votes for whom they feel should be president or vice-president and the representatives of that state generally vote based on the greater numbers of their people. In that sense, everybody has an opportunity to vote. Alexander Keyssar, a Harvard University professor explains his pros to the Electoral College in this aspect, “the Electoral College does enhance federalism in the sense of giving individual states a role that they would not have otherwise. I think that in the early 21st Century when we are in fact, an economically and socially integrated nation and a superpower on the world stage, that that is not necessarily the most important value. It's not really who we are -- we are a nation.” ("The electoral college-pros," 2004)

            However, there does seem to be one major fallback to the Electoral process. As previously stated, each state is allowed one vote per seat in their state. The problem is that some states have more seats than others. Author Nathanial Bates argued a very valid point regarding the cons of the Electoral College process in his article on History News Network explaining the imbalance of tallied votes per state. “Under our admittedly complex and convoluted system, a single vote for president in the State of Wyoming, for instance, counts for more than a single vote in California. Tiny Wyoming has an inflated number of electoral votes--three--because every state is awarded a minimum of three (one for its member of Congress and two for each senator). California, with a population over fifty times as large as Wyoming, has only a little more than eighteen times as many electoral votes. This means that a vote in Wyoming counts about three times more than a vote in California.” (Bates, 2004) This means that the votes cannot fairly be considered equal when one state has more electoral voters than another.

            One of the proposals to change how the Electoral College system works without formally abolishing it is the “National Bonus Plan”. This plan would give extra votes to the popular vote winner while maintaining the current Electoral College system. This idea from historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. was also designed to create compensation for the unfair campaign wins by giving incentive for those in non-competitive states to vote for their preferred party, giving them better chances at winning popular votes.

            While I believe that the Founding Fathers were on the right track for determining the votes for both presidency and vice-presidency, I don’t think their foundation was designed for the America of today. Their rationale was more designed to what was going on at that time, which was the creation of the U.S. Constitution and establishing systems for the new America. The 50 states didn’t come until later and they had no way of knowing that the seat vs. vote favor would be imbalanced as each state size was created.

            I think the Electoral College affects the presidential leadership capacity greatly as it limits their campaigning and will often determine who they campaign to. Swing states are often targeted more than others. If a presidential leader will only focus on one part of the people, then how are they to consider the others in their leadership? Not a very fair deal if you ask me.

             One option I have not seen, without formally abolishing the Electoral College system, would be to give each state “x” amount of votes, period. This would differ in the current amount of votes per seat per state because some states have more Representative/Senate seats than others. In limiting each state to 1 vote alone (for example) would mean that the state must come to an all-out conclusion of “Yes, this guy/No, that one” instead of multiple votes. It would also give a more equal balance to the amount of votes per state for presidencies. Would this not be a better solution to the unfair amount of votes per state while creating fairness in equal campaigning?

Works Cited:

Electoral college 101. (2008, Nov 03). New York Times Upfront, 141, 6-7. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/207594578?accountid=32521

(2004). The electoral college-pros and cons. Journal editorial report, Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wnet/journaleditorialreport/102904/proscons1.html

Bates, N. (2004, October 26). What are the arguments made in favor – and against – the Electoral College? History News Network. Retrieved from http://hnn.us/articles/8163.html

N.C.L.B.....Yeah, Right

Aug. 2012, JC

In 2002, Congress passed the “No Child Left Behind” act, which gave federal funding to schools and set a country-wide standard of required education for children. “The law expanded the federal government’s role in education, which had traditionally been a state function.”, author Oren M. Levin-Waldman explains in our textbook, American Government. (Levin-Waldman, 2012)  States and schools became accountable for the successful education of students and underprivileged children were given opportunity to have a fair education despite financial setbacks of the family. According to the senior students of Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, since it’s 2002 enactment, student test scores began to rise and “the percentage of classes taught by a highly qualified teacher has risen to over 90 percent across the nation.” (Ramsay)

However, despite the good intentions of former President George W. Bush who created this idea, this act does not provide full funds that schools need. School districts are required to report on the academic progress of students, teacher qualifications, annual testing, etc. and states are expected to pay for a bulk of the educational funding. This has resulted in severe underfunding of schools making it difficult for schools to provide their students with the proper education needed for them to pass the tests. Kalman R. Hettleman, a former member of the Baltimore school board explains in his article Expand ‘No Child’ Through Federal Standards, Funding how the act falls short. “Nationwide, the problem lies in vast differences in fiscal wealth and political will among the states. States fail to do more to eliminate disparities in funding because the school districts that would benefit most are politically as well as fiscally downtrodden. States are also under pressure to hold down taxes because of competition with neighboring states to attract industries and taxpayers.” (Hettleman, 2009) Also, because of the required testing many sources such as Education Web, an online resource website for teachers, report that students are only taught to pass tests instead of being taught to learn. (admin)

Due to my graduation from high school occurring just a few months after this act was signed into law, I never had to experience the educational changes within the school. However, having many friends and colleagues who have worked for various school districts since then, I have seen the struggles they have had in trying to provide a decent education to children. I have also heard of the difficulty levels of the tests being cited as “unrealistic” for both both students of standard education and those receiving special education, often holding kids back from moving on to a higher education. Judging by the unanimous information from my researched sites and personal acquaintances, it is apparent to me that this act has been more of an educational setback and the end result has been that children are indeed being “left behind”.

Works Cited:


Levin-Waldman, O. M. (2012). American government. (p. 86). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/books/AUPOL201.12.1

Ramsay, John, ed. "The controversy: Has nclb been successful or has it failed?." CTV 2008. Carleton College, 04 2008. Web. 24 Oct 2012. <http://www.carleton.edu/departments/educ/Vote/pages/Pros_and-Cons.html>.  

Hettleman, K. R. (2009, Dec 24). Expand 'no child' through federal standards, funding. The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/406240163?accountid=32521
http://search.proquest.com/newsstand/printviewfile?accountid=325213

admin, . "Pros and cons of no child left behind." Education Web. N.p., 02 2010. Web. 24 Oct 2012. <http://www.epsaweb.org/pros-and-cons-of-no-child-left-behind.htm>.