Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What is our direction?

With the way things are progressing in our world, one wonders which direction America is headed.
1. The American people elected a President by a 70% popular vote TO GET THINGS DONE.
2. The American people elected a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress to insure important matters made it through Congress, and the President and into law.
3. The American people did this because eight years of Republican leadership has lead the country almost to bankruptcy, surely very deep into a recession, and Wall Street collapse.
Of course, there are plenty of other matters that needed to be corrected, however, that is enough to discuss correction.
1. Our President has made good and bad decisions in his first year. He has laid out a very impressive plan to be accomplished in his first year. Unfortunately, many of his plans are about to slip through his hands, i.e. Health Care Reform. Even his own Democratic party cannot deliver

Monday, November 30, 2009

#5. Be able to think for himself/herself.

Continuing with "What should an Educated Citizen be Able to do?
#5. Be able to think for himself/herself.
When the Founding Fathers decided upon our form of government, they were looking at the educated, land owners, males, non-slaves, and no women. They wanted the decision-makers and the stake holders who had something to lose if their decisions went wrong. Things have definately changed in today's society, economically, socially, governmentally and decisive decision makers. The vote has been widened to qualified citizens over 18. When a person goes into the balloting stall he must have his decision made up on the people and issues, based on research, discussion, reasoned thought, personal feelings, etc. But, more importantly, the voter needs to think for him/herself.
You know, the ballot didn't used to be taken like it is today. Back at the turn of the 20th Century, voters voted at an open table infront of individuals. It was not a secret ballot. Many/most of the times, your boss, the mob boss, the union boss, the precinct captains were the ones that were on the other side of the table watching you make your marks. If you wanted to keep your job and your job supervisor was on the other side of the table, you had better vote the way he wanted you to vote, or you did not have a job the next day. There was enough abuse to have entire cities run by "Tammany Hall" in New York, or the "Daily Machine" in Chicago. This abuse came to Congress' ears and they changed the way the ballot was marked. The did their research and found what is known as the "Australian Ballot", or the secret ballot as it is done today. A person receives their ballot, goes to a closed stall where his votes can be marked in secret, without intimidation.
So, a person today does not have the fear of earlier ballots and is dependent upon his own research, intuitions, pressure received, feelings, whatever is the makeup in the person's Frame of Reference, and faith. When it comes down to it, you have to think for yourself, make up your own mind, live and defend your particular decision when challenged. You should realize you do not have to explain your vote to anyone. What goes on in the voting booth is completely secret, only you can let the cat out of the bag.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Obama considers Afganistan strategy

President Obama is considering his stategy for Afganistan. Since the retake of the Presidential election resulted in one of the two participants backing out, the country does not appear to have a stable government.
President Obama is correct in taking his time considering whether to move more troops into this country, or start the process of moving out.
Iraq, is different. It has a stable government, that is working towards helping its' citizenry. We have helped to settle down the war-like elements so the Iraqi troops can take over. That option does not appear available in Afganistan.
In the past few weeks, pundits and supporters, have indicated an area that seems to be overlooked. Where is the vital interest in Afganistan? It is very close to anarchy, terrorist filled, and its only major crop is opium poppies, that supply most of the world with heroin, their civilization is still living in the 13th century and it is a theocratic minded state. Where is the value for the United States in becoming involved with this "nation".
Do you have any solutions, comments?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize

President Barack Obama, after only 9 months in office, becomes only the third sitting President to win the prestigeous international award. He was shocked, and unaware that he had even been nominated. The Nobel Committee does not release reasons for the award for fifty years, but the feeling world-wide was because he offered the best chance at peace in the world. His foreign policy trips to other countries seemed to have turned heads.
Another news flash, it appears that the Health Care Reform Plan will be passed and signed before the turn of the new year. The Democrats have given every opportunity to allow the Republicans to help form the plan, however, their best efforts have been directed towards stopping the plan, scare tactics, shout-down tactics towards elected officials trying to gather their constituents input for the plan. The President has decided to move forward and have his majorities in the Congress speak for the 70% popular vote that elected him to get this plan passed and implemented.
War news. It appears that Mr. Obama's view on the Afganistan "war" is perhaps what should have been the first take on any war movement after 9/11. There is talk that our efforts are not going to be directed towards the Taliban, but towards Alquida. The Taliban is a local Afganistan problem, whereas the other group appears to only have approximately 100 members in country. It doesn't look like a complete pull-out, however, our money, time and people can be better directed to our homefront.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Put your viewpoint aside and work for the Greater Good

There has been a great deal of rhetoric going on this past month. Much of it damaging in some way to the health care reform program. President Obama has made a fixture of himself on TV trying to gain more strength to get the legislature passed. Unfortunately, his constant, urging is starting to turn the people and legislators off. One of the legislators made an analogy that fits, "If you throw a single rock in a pond you get many ripples on the pond, but if you throw many rocks in the pond at the same time, all you get is a bunch of waves." People have time to catch the ripples, but not the waves. Perhaps Obama's strategy of allowing Congress to formulate the bills has backfired.
One of the things I learned early in life was how to control a committee, if you are trying to get something passed. You know you have to allow them to make the decision, so they will support it. So, you structure three alternatives for the solution. By you doing this, you eliminate any other items for consideration. The first alternative sounds good, however it leaves out a major item for the solution. The second alternative sounds good and everything seems to work out, however, with investigation, there is a killing flaw. The third alternative sounds good, everything works out and there is nothing wrong, no major flaw, no killing flaw, and oh, by the way that is the alternative you want them to select. 10 out of 10 times the committee will select alternative three. They made the selection of their own free will and will stand behind it upon scrutiny.
Perhaps, if President Obama had followed this way of politicizing he would not be in the situation he is now, looking at a bill that may not pass!!Then what will happen to his Presidency?
A note aside: It seems like everyone in this debate sees the need for change, but they are not willing to give up their particular position --FOR THE GREATER GOOD. Legislators are not remembering what they are supposed to do--vote for items that are for the betterment of the PEOPLE, not themselves or their lobbyists.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Is America's "Democratic Republic" becoming too difficult for it's citizenry?

The Health Care Reform package has 4 bills currently up for consideration in the Congress. One of those bills has 1,038 pages. Does the average citizen have the time to read and comprehend all that material? NO. Part of citizenry is knowing when to allow your elected representative to make the decision. Yes, you can send him your opinion, after reading, discussing, etc., however, you are going to reach a point where you are going to have to allow your representative do the job you sent him to the legislature to accomplish.
That is why you have to establish people/newsgroups/TV news/discussion groups whom you value their opinion, whatever it takes to help you reach your opinion about the item. Remember, our form of government only allows you an opinion that you give your representative/senator and you have to be ready to support his decision and the congressional process after the vote. If you are not happy with the vote, you will get another chance to correct the situation, by working harder for your position!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Citizens come out to speak to Congressmen about Health Care

President Obama's Health Care initiative has sparked the citizenry to come out and fact find with their congressmen. Congressmen are on their summer break and will return in September, so they have been using the time to meet with their constituents and find out what they feel about Government Health Care for the Nation. There have been repeated shouting matches, organized people shouting down the other attendees, rude planned behavior to everyone, it is not a pretty thing. It appears there are many concerns that need to be explained, however, it is become difficult to get a word in edge-wise. To the benefit of congressmen at these meetings, for the most part, they have been courteous, and have tried to answer the questions from the electorate.
There are several areas that need to be touched on:
1. It does not appear most people have really read the documents involved, not even summaries, but some appear to have been coached with aids. There is nothing wrong with this, it is their first amendment right. If you are faced with such a situation, you need to be prepared to respond and learn from your experience.
2. It "appears" that the Republican Party has coached with instructions, handouts, placards, people to vent their emotions towards the congressperson and members of the audience. Tactics such as "Ramsey Clarke and his 'rent-a-mob' is using is staged and organized to disrupt. It is not being positive.
3. People appear to be worried about more than just health care. They are worried about where this country is headed, the lack of leadership, the high debt, it is a ground-swell of people that have always been in existence, but have not had the readily available venue and access to express themselves.
4. There does not seem to be a modicum of energy towards working together!! " It is my way or the highway" Health care for all citizens has been attempted for over 70 years. The lobbyists and the free enterprise system has arranged to win the battles. In the movie "Wall Street", Gordon Gecko, investor tells a board meeting, "Greed is good". This seems to be the theme throughout America's version of free enterprise, however, "Greed is NOT good. The only reason Greed appears to be good is because only a few can participate at the top. No one cares for the remaining population. Now is the time where this equation needs to be changed and people at the top are going to have to adjust.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

4. Be able and willing to regularly engage in questioning

4. Be able and willing to regularly engage in questioning the forces, institutions, and belief systems that shaped not only his or her own values and beliefs, but those of teachers and classmate, the university and the larger community as well.
Questioning during "debate" is a very central portion of such a "debate". Shouldn't you question those entities within our society that helps form and shape daily activities and decisions? Yes, you should, however, you need to have a background in those areas that you question. Perhaps you have taken classes, or spent much discussion with peers, done research, had experiences that bring out those real life items that explain what you are trying to clarify. Experience usually includes, success, failure, partial failure and incomplete success.
To have your opinion counted in a "discussion", you need to make your point offering reasons for or a cause of your case. Usually people that have done prior research in the topic for the evening, say for a town council meeting, will be listened to more than those who do not know what they are talking about. Our democracy demands that people keep abreast of current, statewide, national and international events so we can understand the activities of our government and contact our representatives with information that may help them with the decision making process.
Representatives in a Democratic Republic such as ours are dependent on "public opinion" to help them vote. Citizens do not have a direct vote on these matters, only the representatives which interpretate what the citizenry wills.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

#3. Understand their values and Moral beliefs...

3. Understand their values and moral beliefs and how and why they may differ from those of others. Be able to accept and address criticisms of his/her values and beliefs.
Part of your growth and frame of reference is a development of values and moral beliefs.
VALUE: consider with respect to worth, excellence, usefulness, or importance. What do you value within your makup? What makes you have worth? If your interest is academics, do you "value" a "A" grade, or is a "C" acceptable. The higher your value, the harder you work towards that goal. That is why grades are representative of your efforts. An employer likes to see those kind of values, because it indicates you will be a hard worker, independent, organized, loyal, etc. College recruiters always say that high school grades are the best indicator of success in college. Establishing goals early in life and striving to acheive them makes you work and find out how to acheive things that you may never thought you could.

MORAL BELIEFS: Of or concerned with the principles of right and wrong in conduct and character: teaching of conduct standards of good behavior; conforming to the rules of right conduct: sexually virtuous: judged by one's conscience to be ethical or approved: capable of distinguishing between right and wrong.

Moral beliefs are taught by parents, the village, the government, church, and the friends developed over years. The main portion of moral beliefs is knowing the difference between right and wrong AND ACTING IN THE CORRECT MANNER. Politically speaking, do you vote for a person of proven good character, or someone of lesser character. The church provides morals and ethics that are examples of proper behavior.
Your values and beliefs will not always be the same as others. Do you know why you have your values and beliefs? Can you justify your beliefs in the face of criticism in a "debate" about questioning those beliefs and having people try to change your position? Can you accept others position with their values without making enemies? Remember, if you are entitled to your values/beliefs, so is everyone else . This is an area of political discourse that gets out of hand. Several religious entities become overzealous about their views and attempt to "convert" those that they evangalize. They think if the potential convert does not agree with their position they will go to hell. If you think this is not a big thing, rethink the Iraq war situation. The Muslims think Christians are not a respectful religion because they do not do church-like things everyday like the Muslims do. Christians only go to church once a week. Look at World History, most of the wars through-out history have to do with "religion".

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


An educated person should...
#2. Understand and evaluate their own and other's decisions.
"Understand and evaluate..." To understand beliefs and values that you accept in your life, you call on reserves first. An example would be: Your frame of reference. This has been discussed in earlier blog messages. In your "frame of reference", you have amassed a tremendous amount of "education", that you call on everyday. It depends upon how diligent you have been in your life to accumulate a good "stockpile", of information. It is good information if you have received it, hashed and rehashed it, and accepted it into your existence as a belief or value that you stand behind. For instance, if your parents were/are conservatives, you have been privy to their discussions and beliefs and have accepted many into your "frame". To you, that becomes the way you look at current happenings and reports. After many challenges to those beliefs, you feel comfortable with some and uncomfortable with others. This is now starting into the "evaluate" portion. You need to see how strongly you believe in those comfortable ones, what makes you comfortable, and why you feel uncomfortable with the ones you can't believe in--and why. You are now starting to weigh what you can support and what is needed for that support and why you can't support an item. One of the most polarizing issues is abortion. If your religious beliefs feel that the mother should carry the fetus full term--NO MATTER WHAT, then that is what you would choose. However, if you believe that the mother's rights to free choice, supercedes the rights of the fetus, then you will desire a mother the choice to have an abortion or not.
New evidence:
Once you have established your value system, you then need to keep current on all the latest technological,current events, local, national and worldwide, Congressional events, your federal political subdivisions (House of Representatives) and Senators for your state , State government members and city government representatives. You should be able to read about an event, enter or not enter it into your frame of reference and be able to stand up and voice an opinion on that event. You also need to keep current on world events and be able to support or not support what is going on and be able to get involvled in discussion about the way you feel about what is going on. How does this effect you? The George W. Bush Presidency made so many "errors" that the public rose up and elected a Barak Obama as President. The people were so insensed that they took their "well-formulated opinions" and put them into action by electing a new political party to the Presidency with new ideas, similar to their own. Those original opinions were ideas that people saw didn't work, they accepted new ideas to alter their "frame of reference" and put that new altered opinion into action.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

What should an Educated Citizen Be Able to do? #1

An educated person should be able to do the following:
1. Be able to make conscious, informed decisions in the public sphere and in their private lives and be able to explain their reasons for the decisions.

Be able to make conscious, informed decisons...
A person needs to keep an open enough mind to hear all sides of an issue, make a decision based on his/her frame of reference, plus new evidence that your research has uncovered, and be able to formulate a decision backed up with well-thought out reasoning for your belief. the public sphere...
A person needs to be comfortable enough with that decision to discuss his/her belief so when "threatened" by outside critical opinions, that decision will stand the test of time. That would include being able to talk in public groups, such as a city council meeting, or a planning and zoning meeting. It would be up to you to convince the public entities that you are dealing with that your point of view has: Sound reasoning, the latest available data...that is researchable, and you do it in such a way that people want to be on your side...not against you. When you are talking in the public sphere, you are trying to convince someone to your way of thinking about an issue. their private lives...
Sometimes, there are private entities that need the benefit of your "research", that you need to bring on your side, or just explain, your point of view. All of the above would apply.

...and be able to explain their reasons for the decisions.
When a person "cries Wolf" too many times, people do not listen after being burned. If you tell data in a conversation/debate/ whatever, that is unsubstantiated, people will listen until they find out that it is unsubstantiated. After that, it will take many attempts to gain their "trust" in anything that you say. When you make a statement based on a newspaper/magazine, make sure you remember the date, issue, etc., so people can go back to it and look it up in total. They are entrenched in their own opinion/belief and it will take substantial evidence for them to come to your way of thinking. If you cannot deliver a date of the is the same as being without value.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What should an Educated Citizen Be Able to do?

An educated person should:

1. Be able to make conscious, informed decisions in the public sphere and in their private lives and be able to explain their reasons for the decisions.

2. Understand and evaluate their own and other''s decisions.

3. Understand their values and moral beliefs and how and why they may differ from those of others. Be able to accept and address criticisms of his/her values and beliefs.

4. Be able and willing to regularly engage in questioning the forces, institutions, and belief systems that shaped not only his or her own values and beliefs, but those of teachers and classmates, the university and larger community as well.

5. Be able to think for himself/herself.

6. Be able to engage in discussions about political and economic issues that affect his or her community.

7. Be able to lead.

8. Be open-minded.

9. Be able to communicate and listen effectively.

10. Be able to conceptualize a problem and solve it.

11. Be able to consider ethical issues thoughtfully.

12. Understand that learning is a continuous lifelong process.

13. Be able to think critically, creatively, and independently.

14. Be flexible in order to adapt to changing economic and social conditions, new workforce needs, and the demands of a multicultural society.

15. Be able to explain and use the ideas and principles underlying the major areas of modern knowledge.

16. Be a good citizen based on their knowledge of democracy.

The above items were taken from "Summary of Comments Made on the Educated Citizen List Service, Fall 2003" Some of those items were taken from the California Education Code 66050 and 66070, also from an article in September/October issue of Change: "Teaching students to think."

I will continue the Blog going through each of the above trying to give examples for easier understanding.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Frame of Reference II

In the last blog, it was explained how a persons "frame of reference" was that a person is the sum total of all experiences, mistakes, successes, etc. How does that effect an educated citizen? Example: If you lived in the south all your life, you call the War between the States, just that, but if you are from the North, you call it The Civil War. Even today people are very touchy about where you are from. As a southerner, you have been raised with a certain value and ethic system, that sometimes taints your viewpoint towards people of the North. Ditto for Northern raised people. Your frame of reference helps make you decisions. Similarily, if your parents have always been Republican, because you have been raised in their house, you are probably Republican when you acheive voting age. Similarily for Democrats, etc. The way you look at things!!
Other socially oriented frame of reference "decisions": People define truth for themselves and will rationalize away any failures. Everyone puts a spin on the truth. A perfect example: "Don't ask for permission, ask for forgiveness." You have learned that you can get away with things if you don't ask for permission and if you get caught, ask for forgiveness. "Reality is not as important as perception? What is true is not as important as what people believe to be true." A perfect example: When George W. Bush ran for his second election as President. Europe, the remainder of the world and all thinking Americans could not even phathom him being elected again--but he was elected to a second term. Why? 1) He was a sitting president at a wartime. 2) the average voter really did not follow current events. After the election, newscaster Carolyn Simpson, went around the U.S. on behalf of a major TV network, talked with people and students. The result is better stated in one sentence, "People thought Heusin was still in power in Iraq" In other words, people were too busy, making money, having fun, NOT DOING THEIR CITIZENSHIP DUE DILIGENCE to keep up with current events or reading about their president to make an intelligent decision in the polls.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Frame of reference I

Frame of Reference. A term that is used all the time in conversations. What does it mean? Earlier I mentioned this phrase and explained that it is the total sum of all that you have retained in your mind. That is too small an explanation. So I will expand upon it.
Frame of reference includes all that you experience, whether you physically experience it, read about it, learn from failure about it, learn from success about it, travel, experimentation, everything that goes into your brain.
Why does an educated citizen need to know about frame of reference?
First, you need to know what is in your frame of reference. What you have retained within your experiencial level. The more experiences you accumulate, the wider your frame of reference. That is why people that are only readers and not "doers" are not as qualified in what they are doing. A person that ratchets a bolt and nut together "feels" when to stop, a person that only reads about it doesn't know about the "feel". You need to know what you need to "work" on to make your frame of reference more rounded within your "world". The word compentency comes into play here. People who remain curious until they die are always interested in widening their "frame of reference". A person that is an educated citizen is always searching to benefit the country, government, community, thus will listen to all available sides of a controversary before making a stand. More on the next blog.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Where can you find those items you need to be a citizen?

My last blog discussed morals and ethics needed to be a good citizen. There is a two volume set of books by William J. Bennett. The Book of Virtues and The Moral Compass. These books are not the definitive books on morals and ethics only the books that help explain them so everyone can understand them. They came out in 1995 and 1996, so you should be able to find them in any bookstore or book sales by non-profit agencies.
As I said, they are a very easy read. He explains what he is going to discuss then gives very good examples. He breaks it down in the various areas of society, so you can go to that area and it discusses those standards that are applicable.
In the area within The Moral Compass, chapter six, "Citizenship and Leadership", he starts out by explaining that," we are all members of groups, clubs, churches, school organizations, civic organizations and political parties in order to better ourselves and the condition of others."
"The success of any organization depends on the character of its citizens. Good citizens
are those who know and live up to their duties by exercising virtues such as responsibility,
loyalty, self-discipline, work and friendship."
He also reminds us of other virtues required to hold such positions as team captain, club president, state representative, member of a student council, vestry, or board of directors. Such virtues are: "compassion, courage, perseverance, wisdom and sometimes faith." Leaders are ultimately judged in terms of how well they serve their followers and by the examples they set..... They lead not just by command, but by the force of their good character. Good leaders are also good followers. They know how to help shoulder a load and share hardships. Good leaders are also grateful for the gifts and opportunities given and work hard to preserve and improve them. Gratitude counts, "especially among a people blessed with an inheritance of political freedom and material wealth unmatched in the history of mankind."
Have you ever had a leader that is not cheerful? We all have. Cheerfulness is also a necessity in a good leader.
"They all knew him! He was the man that cannot steer, that cannot splice, that dodges the
work on dark nights, that, aloft, holds on frantically with both arms and legs and swears at
the wind, the sleet, the darkness; the man who curses the sea while others work. The man
who is the last out and the first in when all hands are called. The man who can't do most
things and won't do the rest. The pet of philanthropists and self-seeking landlubbers. The
sympathetic and deserving creature that knows all about his rights, but knows nothing of
courage, of endurance, and of the unexpressed faith, of the unspoken loyalty that knits
together a ship's company." Joseph Conrad
Whiners, grumblers and complainers are not simply unattractive, they are symptoms of selfishness. And an overriding concern with the "self" is not the business of citizenship.
You sometimes wonder what kind of citizens our leaders are. Many are only out for themselves, fortunately for us we also have others who are out for the common good.

Friday, February 20, 2009

What is inside you?

Do you have the items it takes to be a citizen of America? Do you have the desire to be a part of this wonderful experiment?
Morals and ethics, the strength of any society must be passed on by each generation with VALUE/MEANING.
My son and I were taking trash to the dump. He is moving to Hawaii. We were talking about the different cultures. He related a story to me about a buddy that visited Tokyo last year. During his visit, he got off the subway and found that he had lost his wallet, funds and all. Fortunately, he had his passport. He looked everywhere, but could not find it. Finally, he went to the police and asked if someone had turned it in. Their response was, "Have you checked with lost and found at the subway terminal?" He had not thought of doing that, so we went back to the terminal and asked if they had his wallet. Yes, they had his wallet, funds and all. Someone had turned in his wallet. A nice gesture, a daily occurance in Japan. Their upbringing would not allow them to even think of keeping the wallet or its' contents. Their parents instill what is right and wrong and the community backs it up. They could not live with the shame such an event would bring upon them and their family.
America used to be like that. The values of right and wrong were deeply instilled with our heritage, until the past 20-30 years. It is now fashionable to rip people off, take advantage of the weak, use the faith people place in stock brokers to their advantage (The Murdoff scandal $50 Billion) real estate developers, bankers, financiers, the very wealthy, America is becoming the scam capital of the world. We need to become a part of bringing back strong character building. If you know what you are about to do is wrong, don't do it. Would you like it done to you? Our judicial system is being "used" by the bad guys. The good guys have a difficult time receiving a fair hearing/trial. A lawyer isn't worth his salt if he can't get you off of a DWI, SOMEWAY. What ever happened to just pleading guilty and taking your medicine? What about the people that drink and drive, receive multiple-DWI's then end up killing an innocent? THEN instead of throwing the book at this person, the lawyers/court system allows him probation, shortened sentence, whatever. How do the relatives of the dead person feel? THE SYSTEM DOESN'T WORK.
Many people have fought against the system to right the wrongs. Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, or MADD, have valiently won a battle against the establishment and have brought some sanity to the drunk driver issue. Probation, but with a system hooked up to the car, that requires the person to take a breathalizer test before the car will start. This kind of change was brought about by people fed up with the system and diligently working for change. Attending meetings, protests, writing legislation, getting signatures on petitions, contacting those in authority and making pests of themselves, NOT ACCEPTING NO FOR AN ANSWER.
Yes, it takes a lot to be an educated citizen in a democratic republic. What do you think you can do to change things?
There are some who think that the infusion of the diversity of peoples that have immigrated to America over the past 20 years , many from third world countries, used to much less bounty, think it is okay to break our laws, not have loyalty to America, get ahead at any price, including criminal activity. People who accept jobs in our retail stores do not see the need to learn our language and customs, product information to help the customers, be punctual, don't be absent for any "reason" or "blue flu", just because they don't want to come into work, but demand the "pay" they are supposed to receive. Customers still gravitate to those stores that have clerks that know what they are talking about and can help.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hollow adjudication

I attended a court action this morning. It was a matter of a zoning violation. Many people supporting the plantiff were in attendance, fully expecting the matter to be settled so everyone could be done with it. Legal maneuvering occurred that enabled the defendant to have the court move the hearing to an alternative date. This gave the defendant more time to settle the matter outside court.
It also took the wind out of the sails of the plaintiff's support. Will that many people be in attendance for the next court date? Maybe, maybe not. It is an example of how people use the legal system to lean things in their favor, perfectly legal--Hollow adjudication, it looks great--solid on the outside, however, the inside is "Hollow". Amazing. It is something you need to prepare for in our society. Perservance--a necessary item in a democratic republic!!

What it took to get an 8th grade education in 1895...Remember when grandparents and great-grandparents stated that they only had an 8th grade education? Well, check this out. Could any of us have passed the 8th grade in 1895?
This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina , Kansas , USA . It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina , and reprinted by the Salina Journal.

8th Grade Final Exam: Salina , KS - 1895 Grammar (Time, one hour)

1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters.
2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications

3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph

4. What are the principal parts of a verb?

Give principal parts of 'lie,''play,' and 'run.'

5. Define case; illustrate each case.

6 What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.

7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time,1 hour 15 minutes)

1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.

2. A wagon box is 2 ft. Deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. Wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?

3. If a load of wheat weighs 3,942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1,050 lbs. For tare?

4. District No 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?

5. Find the cost of 6,720 lbs. Coal at $6.00 per ton
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.

7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft.. Long at $20 per metre?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.

9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of which is 640 rods?

10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)

1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided

2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.

4. Show the territorial growth of the United States

5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.

6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.

7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton , Bell , Lincoln , Penn, and Howe?

8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849,1865

Orthography (Time, one hour)[Do we even know what this is??]

1. What is meant by the following: alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication?

2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals.

4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u.' (HUH?)

5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule.

6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.

7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis-mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup.

8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane , vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.

10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)

1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas ?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?

4. Describe the mountains of North America
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia , Odessa , Denver , Manitoba , Hecla , Yukon , St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco

6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each.

8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?

9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.

Notice that the exam took FIVE HOURS to complete. Gives the saying 'he only had an 8th grade education' a whole new meaning, doesn't it ?! Also shows you how poor our education system has become and, NO, I don't have the answers!

This was just sent to me via e-mail. I thought you all would get a kick out of it. What are the questions mostly about? Anyone up for the challenge to get the answers? You don't have to take everything, just take a question, or two, or more. After we receive all the answers I will publish the answers for all to have. How did you like the photo of the graduating class of Salina, Kansas, 1895? What career path did they have before them? If most of the questions are concerning that career path, shouldn't our educational system have most of our questions oriented towards the career path's of the day--and how to acheive them?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

How Governmental agencies can help citizens

Becoming an educated citizen in the U.S. society needs assistance. The electorate, registered voters, do not necessarily have time to attend refresher classes about governmental entities. National representation questions by citizens usually entails writing, either using cursive handwriting, typewritten, or e-mail , phone conversations, or personal discussions with representatives or their staff. The web site for the Congressmen is usually helpful in the bills their representative or senator is sponsoring and his reasons. They are staffed with plenty of people who can see to the needs of the constituency (the voters within their specific congressional district or state) and respond with proper responses. Some items actually get to the elected official. Congressmen actually have machines that copy their handwritten signature to make it look like they signed the return letter, usually the answers are within computer data banks and the staff insert the response and the signature is applied via the machine. To attend a Congressional Meeting, you need to send ,many weeks in advance, to your representative or senator for passes to the gallery on the day you desire to attend. The staff members will either mail your passes, if there is enough time, or have them at the Congressman's office for you to pick up.
The state level is less difficult to contact legislators and attend committee and legislative meetings. Each state is different.
Local government is a little more difficult and requires more attention to detail. If you check their web sites you will find licensing requirements, how to pay water bills, how to register for Parks and Recreation classes, how to get a building permit, how to report street maintenance problems, etc. What they don't tell you is such items as How do you get something on the Agenda at a County or City Council meeting? How to initiate,if you can , a rule or regulation. What State ordinances apply and how to get copies? What does it take to speak to the council?
Governmental personel are not very excited about allowing the public to know this information. That is their way of eliminating people who may be opposed to what the council is trying to get passed. People are basically timid. If they have to jump through too many hoops they will just walk away and not try to oppose whatever it was they were opposed to.
I would like to suggest that Local government entities establish checklists on their websites that would walk citizens through these type of items so citizens would not be intimidated as much by all the "red-tape" placed before them to talk to the council., etc. These checklists need to be clear enough and easy enough to follow that a "normal" citizen could follow them. When employees are writing these checklists, they have common terminologies they use in the office all the time, but a normal citizen doesn't. So, the explanations need to be in the most basic format, perhaps defiining words when needed. These check lists need to be present at the front desk, easily seen, for citizens coming into the office. These employees also need to remember that citizens are the ones' paying their salaries and are to be respected at all times.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Political cartoons say it differently

The Stimulus package proposed by President Obama is getting closer to signing and going out into the economy to help stimulate our economy.
The most surprising aspect of the Congressional movement towards passing this bill has been the lack of support by the minority party, Republicans. President Obama has made numerous overatures; visiting Congressional Republicans in Congress, having them over for an informal evening at the White House, discussing various options with them on an individual basis, none has worked. When the House Bill came to a vote, none of the Republicans voted for it: so much for Bipartisanship. When the Senate Bill came up, only 3 Republicans voted for the bill. The Republicans are not aiding the attempt to help the American Citizens.
The Arizona Republic editorial cartoonist, Steve Bensen, put out a cartoon in today's paper that said it all. He had a man named "W" with a chain saw just finished cutting down a tree named "The Economy" with W saying, "There, try to fix this one" The Republicans took 8 years to ruin our economy, and will not aid in getting it back on track, even when asked to help. Obama was only asking them to help, not blaming them, which he could have done for it is true, only asking for them to aid our economy get back on track. Instead they come back with weak responses such as: "Tax and Spend", "They're spending our children's future". I don't think they have looked in a mirror lately. Isn't there something about two wars costing over $1Billion per month, of money that is OFF BUDGET, yet threatening our children's future, or something about at the beginning of the 43rd Presidency he was handed a very large surplus and left with AT LEAST $1 Trillion deficit and continuing to grow--the list can go on and on. All Obama did was extend his hand in fellowship so America could see that everyone is working towards correcting the situation, it just didn't happen. That's okay, Obama already has the votes--and the way things look, the next election in two years there are going to be more Democratic votes in Congress.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Doing the right thing, even though no one is watching.

Doing the right thing, even though no one is watching is at the heart of character building. America has spent 230 years instilling character into it's citizens. For the most part, to receive a planning approval at city hall, you don't have to bribe the official, or two or three others prior to the final person. When we hire people to be in our governmental structure they are to adjudicate the rules and regulations as written, not bend the rules to help someone have an advantage over all others. Fair play for all citizens is the rule, not the exception.
A prime example in today's news is the Wall Street Bailout by Congress. When Wall Street financiers asked for an injection of money to save the financial world of the USA, Congress believed they needed to act quickly to save the U.S. economy from failure. Congress passed a bill in unheard of time and the President immediately signed it. That is what the American people wanted, Congress and President responded quickly and fairly.
It is now coming out, that Wall Street is not putting those funds into saving the financial world by getting the funds back into the economy to save it--they are hoarding it, buying up weaker banks and paying their executives excessive "bonuses". One executive received $11.7 million in bonus funds and stock options. Wall Street has not played "fair", by the rules, nor following the intent of Congress. Their actions have infuriated both the executive and legislative branches and worse than that--you the public. Perhaps, the financial world has a short memory. They have already forgotten that President Obama was put into power by people who were fed up with those in power, both in government and the free enterprise system, who took advantage of the publics' "fairness" and trusting nature.
People keep anger inside. One definition for depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
People get depressed about constantly being taken advantage of by those who should be watching out for them.
People are getting angry by having someone receiving an advantage over them simply because of their ethnicity, the color of their skin, their gender, their religious beliefs, the list goes on and on. Remember my earlier statement, "When Obama was elected, victimocracy, died" Everyone is now at an equal level. You must stand on your own two feet, everywhere. The first place people look, is character. How is yours?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Greatest Danger We Face

In the Parade magazine within the Arizona Republic, July 25, 1993, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, Daniel J. Boorstin, wrote an article "The Greatest Danger We Face". He warns of a menace to our society--the emphasis on what separates us rather than on what brings us together.
Mr. Boorstin, was the Librarian of Congress, the highest intellectual honor the U.S. Government can bestow, he was the editor of the 30-volume "Chicago History of American Civilization, his trilogy "The Americans" (The Colonial Experience, The National Experience and the Democratic Experience. Two hugely successful "The Discoverers" and " The Creators."
Yes, I agree this article is dated, however, what he says in 1993 has become prophetic in 2009.
Mr. Boorstin says: "I am wary of the emphasis on power rather than on a sense of community."
"The separate groups in our country are concerned about their power--whether it be black power or white power, the power of any particular group."
"I think the notion of a hyphenated American is un-American. I believe there are only AMERICANS. Polish-Americans, Italian-Americans or Africian-Americans are an emphasis that is not fertile."
We can see that in today's society. Minorities are vying for political positioning so they can have an edge--an edge on whatever they desire. If you read Mexifornia, by Victor Hanson, you will find that Americans of Mexican heritage are very well organized in an effort to move into the USA without any intention of assimulating into the American culture. Their goal is to retain sovereignty over the entire Mexican Cession that took place after the Mexican-American war. That would include such notable states as California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, just to name a few. The invasion of Mexican nationals into America has bankrupted California once it may happen again in a few months. Working with the Federal Government, who says that a hospital may not turn away anyone, plus the U.S. Constitution granting citizenship to anyone who has been born on American soil, the invading Mexican population uses up the tax payer money, that they have not paid into, to have the child on American soil, thus the child has American status, and must have an accompanying parent to watch out for the rights of the child. Once here, they receive welfare benefits, again, not paying into it. This quickly drains the state budget.
The last school I taught at had a 60+% of Mexican immigrants. When asked why they do this, the response was "because we can, your government isn't making us go back, so why not?
What about one of the Viet Namese tribes that helped American in the mountains. They did not have any written language, nor any technical skills. A church group in Maine decided to foster one family to their small town of approximately 2500. The first family was very happy to leave VietNam and come to the USA. Asian families tend to have many generations within one household, so year after year that one family grew to approximately 500 people. The Federal government mandates that the local school board has to provide interpreters for anyone not speaking English. This school board had to hire someone to come in and write out their verbal language, then make a curriculum based on that as well as have it taught in their langage. It bankrupted the school district. Then to add insult to injury, one of their number was elected to the school board and demanded more curriculum for these immigrants.
I agree with Mr. Boorstin. Assimulation into the community is the key. He says, "There has been so much emphasis recently on the diversity of our peoples..I think it's time that we reaffirmed the fact that what has built our country is community and that community is not dependent on government. It's dependent on the willingness of people to build together."
Today, with the election of Barack Obama, with the rise of multi-cultural /racial relationships
with a trust that is growing amongst old adversaries America is reaching down into it's soul to come up with a new America. All groups are being treated more fairly than ever before, that doesn't mean there still isn't a ways to go, but we are striving in the right direction.
I further agree with him about the hyphenated American. Blacks are called African-Americans, which was a phrase coined by Jesse Jackson back in the day because he didn't like the term Blacks. A more politically correct term would be Americans with African heritage, Italians, would be Americans of Italian heritage, etc. By doing this, the community comes first, which is what he is saying in the above quotes.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

That's why we are the trouble we are in

Yesterday President Obama, realizing there was uneasiness with Republican Representatives over the stimulus package. So, The President of the United States, head of the Executive Branch came to the House of Representatives for a sit down conversation with the Republicans in the House. I made mention in my last blog how neat an idea I thought that was!
Well, today's vote, which passed with 188 nay votes, ALL THE REPUBLICAN Representatives and 11 Democrats voting against the measure. So much for attempting to work together. It shows the collusion within the GOP that has kept the legislative branch at checkmate for the past eight years, except for what they want to pass. In this particular case, President Obama already had the votes, he just wanted a BIPARTISAN vote indicating a joint effort to get the country back on its feet. Instead it shows the real inside of the Republican soul. They want everything for them, nothing for the rest of the country. Well, they better take a second look at this position, the people have already spoken about what they think of what the Republican party has already done to the country, President Obama was trying to allow them to be "Man" enough to dig in and help.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Obama really means what he says

This week, President Obama means what he says. Calling a meeting of Republicans in the House and in Senate with him proves he wants to have his programs on a bi-partisan basis. The Republicans were given something special, a face to face with the President, the head of the Executive Branch, seeking their input on his proposed legislation to help American climb out of the hole we are in. I would venture to say that this will not be the last time this occurs. What a great idea.

Being an educated citizen shows your character

Character, what you are made of. Doing what you know to be right, even though no one is watching. An educated citizen must have strong character. The rules, regulations, obligations, responsibilities within a nation must be intrinsic to a person. When you are driving the streets, your knowledge of and following of the traffic rules shows your character. Your traffic record shows a person whether or not you follow rules. Multiple DWI's shows that you cannot hold your alcohol and you put everyone else on the street at risk. How many defenseless people are killed on the highway because of DWI drivers? Sweden, the beginning of the designated driver era, has such strict DWI laws that no one wants to be arrested for that crime. In our country, people can have multiple DWI's and still drive on the streets. The government is responsible for any deaths these multiple DWI drivers commit. Remember, driving is a privledge not a right, it can be taken away at any time. They are coming up with items for DWI people, such as breathelyzers before the key will work in the car. Ask any DWI person how they like having to pay for such a device and using it for 6 months. It is your obligation as a citizen to stop people that you know have drank too much from driving home. Drive them home, get them a cab, have a designated driver--or have a party where there is no alcohol served. When a drunk gets behiind the wheel of a car he becomes all of our problems.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Burning desire

Today, I want to discuss something that is a must in all people. I speak of a burning desire to do something. A burning desire drives you towards an objective you seek. As an example; When I was in high school, I as a pretty fair baseball player. I never worried about becoming a good ballplayer, because I had a burning desire to acheive that goal. That desire drove me towards that goal. It helped me with decisions--if I was to acheive that goal, I needed to take more batting practice, take more fielding practice, play more games against good competition, that burning desire kept me going. The same with college, I new I was going to acheive a college degree, a new burning desire allowed me to acheive good grades. I never waivered from my goal of acheiving a college degree, and did.
American's need that burning desire to help America be strong. Our citizens need to take the responsibility on their shoulders to accomplish the things citizens are expected to do to such as, being an informed citizen about the various news items, political items, bills being written, voicing your opinion to your representatives in government be it local, state or federal. Taking an active role in rallies, letterwriting, knocking on doors, letting others know how you feel.
Barack Obama's election is a perfect example. The electorate (those registered to vote) became upset at the previous administration for their actions. They made sure others of like feelings were registered and voted. They acheived their desired goal. Their burning desire was the leading element towards winning. Yes, it takes work, citizenship is a work in progress.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Immigration song 1920's

I just had a friend of mine e-mail me a You Tube video-song, with words flashed upon the screen. It seems immigration has had it's problems for a long period of time.
This is a video and song about immigration that was very popular around the late 1920's and early 30's. Remember, this song is from another era when politically correct was not present and prejudice was accepted. The website for this video is:

Monday, January 19, 2009

Civics ed, learning experiences, practice goverance, for adults and new citizens

I have been a part of the educational system, teaching government and U.S.History. Most school systems wait until students are in their junior and senior years for these courses.
I looked through Ms O'Connor's website: Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools -Educating for Democracy. It appears that most of what is there is for students on their way to becoming adults. What I have found in my teaching experience is that students do not really take what they receive in the courses to heart. They are too busy with hormones, testing for college, graduation state testing, working, whatever. Most of the time they do not read the assignments and understand them.
What this blog is about, is the adult population that is out in the world, making a living, raising a family, trying to fit a little of the American Dream into their lives. Voting, elections, candidates, democratic principles, what are these things? The adult population needs to have "renewal" classes, new citizens need more than the naturalization test. They need coursework during the time they must be here to achieve naturalization and beyond.
In The Civic Mission of Schools report, it identifies six promising approaches to civic learning.
(Remember, these are directed towards students)
1. Formal instruction in government, history, law and democracy
2. Guided discussion of current local, national, and international issues and events.
3. Active learning experiences where students perform community service and/or service/learning.
4. Co-Curricular activities to foster engagement with schools and communities.
5. Student participation in school governance.
6. Student participation in simulations of democratic processes.

Why can't we apply these items, if in fact these can apply to the after-school and new citizen crowd, to the existing electorate? This would enhance the electorate in participation in the democratic process. But, does the government/political scene really want the electorate to be better informed/educated?
1. Governmental people know the ins and outs of the governmental process, for the most part unless people have been involved, they do not know correct procedures, when they can speak, where they can speak, etc. These little things stop most people. For instance, people attending a City Council meeting may be upset about a certain item, however, because they did not know that could not do more than request that they be put on the next meeting's agenda about the item, because the rules say the council people can only listen to what new items can say, but they can not speak, or act upon anything not already on the agenda. So these people that were upset and came to the meeting, may not come to the next meeting in any strength, because they aren't going to give anymore time to the item.
2. Elections. Parties control elections. Example: say a bond election comes up for citizen passage so a school can receive more funds to meet demand. The side that wants the election to succeed finds out how many people voted in the last bond election, that is their target number:
a)have their side get absentee ballots. One for each member and have each member give out 5 absentee ballots to people of like thinking. An absentee ballot will be sent to those people. What an easy way to vote, at home! The target number from the last bond election is usually low,,say 10% of the registered voters. The group ensures victory for their bond election in two ways.
b) they get the names and addresses of the registered voters who voted in the last election and they send their literature to ONLY them. They save money in a small mailing, and a more direct mailing to those who voted last time. They will receive a larger percentage from that mailing. At the election eve, there is no surprise that the bond election passed!! If you are not aware of this tactic, shame on you. This group just "burdened" the entire electorate for the new bond money, by using their heads, absentee ballots and voter apathy.
3, Congressmen do not want you to know too much. Watch the movie "Distinguished Gentleman "for a better understanding. Hallow Laws: these laws are like a log laying in the woods for a while. It becomes hollow on the inside, yet stable looking on the outside. Let's say that people live near a river. Upriver from them is a plant that is polluting the water that goes down stream. These downriver people find that many of their population are dying from the pollution. They become very angry, gather together fighting for their rights. They call their Congressman, he is very courteous and understanding. He tells them that he will get right on it. The downriver people are excited that they have their Congressman working for them. In fact the Congressman calls the manager of the plant, who's parent company has spent many dollars in the Congressman's campaign funding. They discuss the issue. The plant manager says he will write up a bill for the Congressman and in fact, does just that. The Congressman swiftly gets the bill passed and signed into law. Wow, the downriver people are elated, they used the system and the system worked for them, and oh, by the way, don't forget to vote for your"helpful" Congressman. Time passes, the downriver people see no depreciation in the number of sick people. They go to the Congressman and ask what is the deal, didn't he pass a bill stopping the plant from polluting. The Congressman comes back saying the upriver plant was exempted from the law. The law said any plant of 50,000 sq ft had to stop polluting, but the plant upriver is only 20,000 square feet, therefore exempt. A HOLLOW LAW, it looks good on the outside, but there is nothing on the inside.
The Congressman quelled the crowd by listening to them, therefore they broke apart and awaited action. When action was received, they THOUGHT their wishes had been put into action by the Congressman, however, because the Congressman was beholden of the parent company's lobby money into his campaign fund, his loyalty was in fact with the parent company, not his electorate.

Sandra Day O'Connor advocate for civics and community service

In a January 19th Arizona Republic editorial, Sandra Day O'Connor asks the question: "But what happens after Tuesday, Jan 20th, when we go back about our busy lives?" Her responses brings about how easy it is for citizens to take democracy for granted and stop keeping our democracy healthy by being an active informed citizenry.
Active citizenry takes constant vigilence of their representatives, economic policies, foreign policies and community issues. The ability to think critically and enter into dialogue on the issues that you may have different perspectives.
O'Connor desires our students to take the next step beyond understanding civics; to actually exercise the responsibilities of citizenship. Examples would be: helping your neighbor, building your community, or making a contribution to the life of your country that leaves it a better place for future generations. Examples would be Teaching Corps, Job Corps, and Habitat for Humanity.
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor served as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and is co-chair of the Campaign for the Civic Misson of Schools. (

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A new President upon us.

Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States January 20, 2009. His election took place because the citizens became involved in the political process and made sure their candidate won the election. Congratulations to everyone. Your views appear to have won the day and the new administration shall try to follow your wishes. Remember, the political process is not an easy road. This new group will attempt to do all that you desire, however, there are still elements of society that do not want what you want. Economic interests, lobbyists, other political parties, various group that are opposed to your wants. President-elect Obama has his hands full, be patient, be helpful with your opinions, your support and let your representatives and senators know what you feel about the issues as they come up. Oh, did I forget to mention, make sure you let them know if you disagree--not just that you disagree, but have a reason for the disagreement and a possible solution. Remember, if you tear down, you must help rebuild.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Handy reference guides to educating citizenry

Becoming an educated citizen requires knowledge of the political system you are working within.
The democratic-republic we have in America is guided by written documents. Everyone thinks our English heritage gave us the idea of a written document for governing, but alas, the English do not have a written document similar to ours. We made our written documents because the English did not have any! The guidance for the government needs to be written down, for people to read, reference, use and understand. We are fortunate to have The Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, and The Federalist Papers. Of course there are many more, however a knowledge of these documents is essential for an educated citizenry. The first two of these documents can be found in a concise 160 page book by Dave Kluge The People's Guide to The United States Constitution, my copy is a 1994 edition, I am sure there is a newer copy. I like the book because it is at the normal citizen's level.
"Nearly anyone can read this easy-to-understand annotated version of America's founding
documents. Every difficult word or phrase is followed by a simple definition; every complex concept or clause is fully explained."(Inside leaf description of book) The third document The Federalist Papers is a handy reference to understanding what was in the mind-sets of the Founding Father's as they wrote the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
The Papers were written to encourage ratification of the new United States Constitution to replace the existing Articles of Confederation. "They appeared in New York newspapers between the end of the Constitutional Convention in September, 1787 and New York's vote to ratify the Constitution the following spring."(The Federalist Papers introduction) There is a very well-done edition of these Papers . It's title is: The Federalist Papers In Modern Language Indexed for Today's Political Issues Edited by Mary E. Webster. "Ms Webster has broken up long sentences and long paragraphs (numbering the original paragraphs), substituted words more commonly used today, titled each Paper and subtitled each original paragraph. The titles and subtitles create an outline of the Papers."( Editor's Preface.)
These reference books help citizens learn who, what, why and where, these documents came from and explanations for their existence. Getting involved in America is a right most other nations do not have. We have everything in writing, so we can always reference it and everyone is on the same plate!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What does it take to become an educated citizen?

An educated citizen follows the happenings of the day. If that means listening to the radio, example, NPR, CNN, Rush Limbaugh, whatever fits for you, but you need to try and listen to:1) the issue involved; 2) both sides of the solution or discussion 3)try to fit your answer into your frame of reference. What you are familiar with in earlier decisions. 4) Does the proposed solution need support? Then, you need to search out that support, from whatever side of the issue--try to keep an open mind--make up your decision that you can comfortably support. Are you able to explain the issue and explain your solution to someone who is opposition and win your "argument". Remember, the other person has his reasons for his decision. Listen with an open mind, see if it alters your decision, if it does, make an alteration, if not stick to your opinion.
If you watch TV, watch at least one national and one local tv station, so you can keep up with national and local events, at least enough to discuss them until you have gathered enough evidence to make a reasoned decision.
Read newspapers. National, like USA TODAY, or CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, or National newspapers like THE L.A.TIMES, OR NEW YORK TIMES, OR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL. Follow Online newspapers, national or local. Follow Blogs.
Remember: before you decide which source you read/watch/listen to, you need to establish that source's bias.
On the whole, most media generate liberal views--keeping an open mind is part of liberal viewpoints, however, many media sources are conservative in their presentation. For example: CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR is generally considered the most neutral of the newspers, Fox News is conservative, USA TODAY is generally neutral, the WALL STREET JOURNAL is somewhat unbiased, however with conservative leanings. Rush Limbaugh is conservative, Larry Elder is a libertarian, Hillary Clinton is a liberal.
Your "frame of reference", or what you have accepted into your brain over your lifetime, will help direct you to accept or reject people's viewpoints.
You need to make decisions on such active issues as: Abortion, racial issues, affirmative action, civil rights, immigration, taxes, etc. You will hear a term: Polorization. Usually a polorized position is one in which there is no middle ground. Abortion is an example. You are either for or against abortion. You can't be a little bit pregnant. You either believe that the woman has the right to abort her fetus, or the state needs to step in and deny her the right to abort the fetus. Of course, there are more to these issues, but you need to study the issue and make a decision. If a candidate supports abortion on demand, and you are against it, will that make your decision against that candidate, just because of that one issue? Watching MEET THE PRESS, LARRY KING LIVE, other talk shows that discuss the pressing issues, helps you see both sides and make up your mind.
As you can see; all of this takes time---but remember, a democratic republic gives it's citizens the right to help make decisions. An autocracy, or a one ruler government does not. The ruler makes the decisions for the people and they have to live with that decision. Do you want to allow someone to make these heavy decisions without your imput and discussion? Comment?