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Archive for June, 2013

The Last Great Senate

The Last Great Senate

"The Last Great Senate" – YouTube.

One reason why I like the United States Constitution is how it configures the legislative branch. Meaning the United States Congress with a House of Representatives that represents the people in each state. Based on population with each Representative representing a portion of the state and up for reelection every two years. So their constituents can weigh in on the job that they are doing. And this allows the House to respond to the so-called will of the people whatever is at that time. But the Constitution made Congress Bicameral and created an upper-chamber called the Senate. Made up of Senators two from each state and these Senators have to represent their whole state. Whereas the House was designed to be partisan with members who tend to be pretty partisan and fairly far to Left or Right.

But if you are a Senator, unless you represent a state that’s very far to the Left or Right. Like take the Socialist Republic of Vermont as I call it that Bernie Sanders represents. Or a state that’s very far to the Right like Alabama with a solid religious-right movement in it. That Richard Shelby represents, you have to take a broader or longer view because the people you represent. Are very diverse politically and if you go too far to the Left or Right with your rhetoric and votes. It can cost you reelection because you’ll end up representing a lot of people who disagree with you. So it forces Senators to work together to get anything done and what happens is a lot of extreme bad legislation that was written. With a sharp partisan angle tends to get defeated and the Senate a lot of times is able to defend. Limited government and prevent the Federal Government from going too fast.

I doubt Ira Shapiro would agree with my entire opinion here. But that’s the type of Senate that he was talking about from the 1960s and 70s a Senate where the Senators in both parties. Worked together to get things done knowing that the House would send them legislation. That had a strong partisan tone and perhaps was rushed real fast without a lot of thought put into. It and then it would go to the Senate and the Senate would either clean it up or write a new bill. That’s all gone now as Congress is now all about the next elections in most cases House and Senate. Rather then what can we pass that will clear both the House and Senate and do the job that we need done. To address the issues of the day.

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Washington Gridlock

Washington Gridlock


In a perfect world the United States Congress would be a playing field of ideas. Which is different from a battlefield. On a battlefield two sides try to destroy each other but on a playing field two teams try to beat each other to win the game. And in many cases at the end of the game both teams shake hands and tell each other good game. What we have right now in Congress both in the House and Senate but more in the House where the Senate has been able. To Work together and offer competing plans in this Congress so far. Is a battlefield of attacks with both House Democrats and House Republicans always looking for ways to get the. Upper hand where everything is about the next election to get more power in the House Republicans case. And win back the House in the House Democrats case. Rather than both sides offering policies and ideas to solve the issues that the House is debating. And both sides getting votes on their bills to deal with those issues.

The fact is both the House and Senate need to be reformed. The House needs to look more like the Senate without becoming like the Senate. If that makes any sense and the Senate needs to look more like the House without becoming like the Senate. Again if that makes sense in other words both sides the majority should rule as far as controlling the agenda. But both Congressional chambers need minority rights led by their Minority Leader. To be able to offer relevant alternatives to legislation that the majority offers. Which includes relevant amendments and relevant substitutes to bills. When the majority and minority leaderships decide to go it alone and offer their own bills instead. As well as both the House and Senate need to get back to regular order which both sides are doing more now. Where most of the bill writing and legislating is done in committee and when the bill gets to the floor. The rest of the chamber gets an opportunity to weigh in on it.

Both the House and Senate deserve their own blogs about how to reform those chambers. And reforming the Senate filibuster should be part of that. So its hard to cover both the House and Senate in one blog but to make it simple. The advantage of a two-party system is that its suppose to give voters choice and competition. Here are two parties that have different visions for the country. Lets see what they have to offer and where they can work together and Congress should be a reflection of that.

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Fed Up With The Two Party Duopoly

Fed Up With The Two Party Duopoly

Source: The Washington Post: Opinion-Matt Miller- Top Mitt Romney Adviser Calls For a Third-Party 

There’s this independent political group called No Labels that I’m subscribed to that’s calling for members of Congress. Democrats and Republicans House and Senate to come together to work on issues where they are close ideologically. Rather than looking for the partisan advantage in each issue which is what tends to happen in Congress. The immigration reform debate right now in the Senate would be an exception to that. And hopefully the House will have a similar debate and result as well. But a lot of times partisans in the Democratic and Republican leaderships instead of looking for ways to legislate. And pass laws that could clear both chambers of Congress. They look for ways just to pass a bill out of their chamber and even if they fail at that. They’ll blame the other chamber or the minority party in their chamber for not passing that bill. No Labels has put together a Bipartisan group called Problem Solvers. Made up of House and Senate Democrats and Republicans. Who are close enough on issues to work together and produce Bipartisan legislation.

I think by in large No Labels does a good job but where I think we would disagree as when it comes to partisanship. I believe they see it as a problem in itself that partisanship by definition is a bad thing. The term No Labels reflects that if we just put our political and ideological differences behind. And forget about Democrat and Republican Left and Right. Just come together as Americans. To solve our issues we could fix everything. A two-party system in a Liberal-Democracy like America by definition and nature is partisan. We have these two major parties to represent choice for voters. It’s not partisanship that’s the problem but how what I would call extreme-partisans in both parties. Who spend most of their time looking for ways to attack the other side and to layout differences. That is the problem and because both sides are doing this to each other, not all Democrats and Republicans but too many. We are stuck with gridlock with two parties that do not seem capable of governing.

The reason why I believe there’s a need for a third-party especially if the Republican Party stays on present course. And continues to kiss off young people, minorities and Gays. Even when some of these groups agree with them on economic policy and the Republican Party. Is no longer big enough to compete with Democrats at the Federal level. Is because of all of these voters are becoming and staying Democrats. Is because of the extreme-partisans in both sides and what we could see as a result is the Democratic Party. Getting a little smaller as a result with Blue Dogs joining this third-party an Independence Party if you will. Because they do not like the Republican Party’s big government social agenda. But aren’t comfortable with the Democratic Party having all of the power. Being joined in the Independence Party by a coalition of Northeastern Republicans. People who I call Olympia Snowe Republicans and Libertarians. A long with a good chunk of the forty-percent of voters are aren’t affiliated with any political party.

I could see within ten years this Independence Party with the coalition I just laid out. Taking on the Democratic Party or at least strong enough to the point where they are competing with. Both Democrats and Republicans and even wining some major offices. Because of how fed up voters especially Independents are with Both Democrats and Republicans. But a lot of this will depend on how the Republican Party looks 5-10 years or not. If they move away from the religious-right and Neoconservatives. They’ll be able to bring in the voters to compete with Democrats nationally for years to come. If not bring on the Independence Party.

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Supreme Protest

Supreme Protest

Source: PBS: NewsHour- High Court Strikes Down Key Provision of Voting Rights Act

Under this Supreme Court decision discriminating against Americans and denying them the right to vote based on race. Is still illegal but what’s different now is that voting discrimination won’t be stopped before it happens. Because the Federal Government won’t be able to stop and prevent states and localities from discriminating against voters based on race. What’s going to happen now if someone is or feels they’ve been denied the ability to vote based on race. What they’ll still be able to do is challenge that in court. But voters may still be discriminated based on their race because the Federal Government won’t be able to prevent. That from happening in the future and the reason why this will probably be a problem. Is because we now have what I call Neoconservative as well as Neo-Confederate governments in big. States Republicans states and swing-states who are always looking to build on their power even by denying people who tend. To vote Democratic like racial-minorities from voting with these bogus voter-ID laws that are designed. To prevent Democrats from voting which means Democrats could lose elections in the future. But then the people who were discriminated against will be able to challenge that but their votes will still not count even if they win their cases.

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Chicago PHA

Chicago PHA

In Chicago, Public Housing Experiment Enters New Phase : NPR.

I like the idea of mixed-housing when it comes to public-housing residents. Meaning people of different income levels would live together in the same communities. Rather than having communities making up of nothing but low-income families mostly single-parent families that. Obviously have high poverty levels but also high crime rates and students stuck going to bad low-income skills. Where they are lucky to even finish high school assuming they manage to get much of an education at all. And what Chicago is doing is not just mixing in different income levels but also building shopping centers and office parks and so forth. Where jobs can be created and where people who live in public-housing can find a good job in their own. Community rather than being forced to work in low-income dead-end jobs and being stuck living in. Public-housing which is what we should be doing with people who live in poverty. Offering them a pathway out of poverty through education, job-training and job-placement. Rather then confining them to a life in poverty.

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The Week in Politics

The Week in Politics

Doubleheader LIVE with Shields and Brooks – YouTube.

The week in politics what happened in Washington the week of June 17-21. House Republicans failed to pass their own farm bill and the bill fails with a Bipartisan coalition. Senate Democrats moved a step closer to passing their comprehensive immigration reform bill with a. Bipartisan coalition with its border security amendments. President Barack Obama doing his best impersonation of President George W. Bush when it comes to the War on Terror. Saying he’s not anti-freedom with the new reports on the NSA and it’s spying on Americans. Even though telling the difference between the two presidents on the War on Terror is like telling the. Difference between a ninety-nine degree day and a hundred degree day with the same amount of humidity. Yeah one is technically hotter but who the hell cares since we can’t feel the difference. They both have scary big government leanings on national security and both protected the country well. As far as being safer from terrorists but we’ve paid a heavy price for the lost of our freedom and privacy. The War on Terror and War on Drugs is why I’m not a Barack Obama loyalist even though I voted for him twice.

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FRS Daily Times on Facebookhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkAQykfgZXs

Education Reform

Education Reform

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America’s Growing Inequality in Education.

I do not have a problem with investing more money in. Public education in America depending on what we are investing that. Money in and we reform our education system so yes we are. Spending more money on public education but doing it in a way. That get’s us better result with more high school graduates but. More high school graduates that are college ready and more. College graduates but more college graduates that have the. Skills to be successful in life and do not start life buried. In debt and would like to even see universal higher education in. America where higher education become universally accessible and. Affordable to qualified high school graduates for all Americans. Similar to how K-12 education is accessible and affordable to. All Americans as well and these are things that we can do. Because we can afford to them and we should do them to make us. More competitive with the rest of the developed world. But again as long as we aren’t spending money on the current failing. Education system but we create a better education system that. Gives us the results to be more competitive with the rest of the. Developed world and we do not continue to fall behind or become stagnant in education.

And that means doing several things like moving away from the. Property tax as the main resource to fund public schools. With the Federal Government investing more in public schools K-12. Parents being able to send their kids to the best school for. Them and not the having to go to school base on where they. Live these first two reforms would overwhelmingly benefit low-income. Students because now they would be able to go to schools where. They can get the skills that they need to be successful and go. To college paying teachers based on how well their students are. Learning and not how long they’ve been teaching and paying. Well-performing teachers more than low-performing teachers. Laying off or re-training low-performing teachers and getting. Them out of the system with the current jobs that they are doing. And making college affordable for everyone who has the skills to do well in college.

Yes we do not invest enough in education in America but that is. Only part of the problem but the other side of that is we invest. In things that do not work very well and we also do not do a. Very good job in how we fund schools with the property tax and. How we assign students to school and so continuing to spend more. Money on a system that is not working very well. Would be a bad idea but instead invest more in things that work and give. More economic opportunity to more Americans is what we should be doing instead.

 

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