It’s amazing how people are improving major problems in the world.
- Violence: Ronny Edry is a graphic designer who is using Facebook to to spread love between Israel and Iran, but it has now spread to all nations around the world. Just as violence begets more violence, we learn how Love can be spread as well, and multiplied.
- Education: buildOn is teaching kids in the US how to make a difference in the world and building schools in the most remote locations where the lack of education leads to extreme poverty.
- Domestic Violence and Women’s Rights: the book and documentary Half the Sky gives a detailed view if education, violence, and sexual issues women face around the world, but also shows the local programs and support networks being developed by those same people suffering from the abuse.
- Child Abuse: the Children’s Trust Fund in Massachusetts is focused on supporting families and parental development as a means to stop child abuse, we have to stop the cycle.
armed guard (Photo credit: micmol )
So the Executive VP of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre thinks we can stop guy violence with guns? “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
First, this would not prevent killings, but it might reduce then. Of course we must consider the impact this environment would have on children, learning each day in a prison instead of a school. And how do we protect the area around the school where kids play, enter and leave the school, and get onto buses? What about libraries, parks, swimming pools, basketball courts, and shopping malls where kids play and congregate?
I know, he thinks we should build a bubble in each town and arm the 1 entrance to protect the children. Kids can leave only at night to stay with their family.
We need to address the problems because trying to control the impact of problems is an eternal game of cat and mouse.
But if we decide that armed guards will help, I’m all for taxing gun sales to cover the cost of this measure. Violence begets violence. And I would prefer to move away from violent actions and solutions.
Mark Newman at the University of Michigan has created maps of the United States representing the election results in different ways to show the real voice of the people. The featured image shows areas in red that voted strongly republican (70% or more) in the election, blue for democrat, and purple for the middle 40% between republican and democrat.
So many of us do not strongly identify with one party or another. And as long as we have the electoral college, we will have the 2 party system. See description of the pros and cons of the electoral college on see this description by WiseGeek.
Back to the election results, so maps are created showing the variability in the votes, and he also makes cartograms which distort the map image to represent population size and therefor influence on the outcome.
Since the election, many discussions have recognized this moderate voice, that the election was about compromise and middle ground; not one extreme and severe partisanship. I hope the politicians follow through on that idea.
Give your ideas a try on this website game on the Public Insight Network site by American Public Media.
Can you balance the budget in 10 years? Unfortunately, there are not more options for adjusting current spending/taxes in this game.
American Flag (Photo credit: marsmet523)
Wall Street sign on Wall Street (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Just finished watching the PBS Frontline show of that title. Granted it’s 4 hours long, but a good summary of the financial crash, bank and financial risk, the banks bailouts and the government’s role. As an uneducated citizen in these topics, I learned a lot. “We can absolutely reform banks… it was a political will issue and it continues to be. And the question isn’t, are we going to create something perfect. The question is are we going to create something better than this. It’s actually a pretty low bar.”
Makes you wonder if we can ever trust these markets, and any job with this type of financial incentive.
So if you think you have a sure bet for gaining financial profit, make sure you understand the risk associated.
I can’t even imagine what it’s liked to be raped. Whether by stranger or someone I know, my life would be completely changed. To be controlled and violated in such a way would change how I look at people, what I think of men, and my view of life and freedom.
Then the possibility of that rape resulting in a child… I don’t have children. I haven’t decided that I will have children one day. Even if I did have children, the birth of that child and the responsibility of raising that child is a huge responsibility. Does Todd Aiken believe the father should also be responsible for child rearing? Would they share custody, or would he be required to provide child support? This whole arrangement is unthinkable to most women.
English: Lorraine ‘Raine’ Flores, Navy spouse, has snack time after school with her children, Gabriel, 6, and Liliana, 4 (far right), along with a neighbor’s daughter, Sydney Toliver, 6. Like many other military spouses, Flores had to make some child-rearing decisions on her own during deployments. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I’m not surprised that some religious fanatics are trying to ban abortion, even in cases of rape. That’s because these MEN do not have to carry a child for 9 months, give birth to that child, and spend the rest of their LIVES caring for that child. They can have their fun and walk away, such as military personnel fighting in Vietnam and other wars. How many children are abandoned by their fathers around the world and in the US?
We don’t consider murder to be God’s will for the death of that person. How can we consider conception during rape as God’s will? I wonder, how these same fanatics view Capital Punishment and bombing our enemies. Where does God sanction killing for these reasons?
I can’t even imagine…
- Article from Mother Jones on custody battles over children from rape.
One of the TV adds supporting Obama is a nursery rhyme told by the actor Samuel L. Jackson. It warns of the extreme policy changes (likely exaggerated from Romney’s actual suggested policy changes) we might expect if Romney is elected President.
Be careful what you read out there. Few political ads and emails are unbiased. We hear more about what the opposing candidate will do, than actual plans from the candidates themselves. Examples:
- Rumors that Obama has signed over 900 executive orders are not true. And the false rumor suggests that the orders create Marshall law.
- Don’t believe what you heard in the presidential debates either. Plenty of articles point out the misleading statements on both sides, such as the Olympian, the Washington Post has a Pinocchio tracker on the candidates.
How can we know what is true? For now, I like to read several sources of information on the content, hoping it lands somewhere near the truth. Factcheck.org has a lot of analysis on the debates. PolitiFact.com has a Truth-O-Meter for the claims being slung about. Or check FlackCheck.org,
At project votesmart.org you can look up your candidates, federal and state level, and they even have a survey where the candidates can answer their position on the major issues.
As we prepare for another presidential debate here in the US, I wonder “What control and power does the US President actually have?”
People treat the US President as if they have absolute power; power over the economy, power over taxes, power to cure cancer? Our democracy is a shared power, with checks and balances between the Executive (President), Judicial (Courts), and Legislative (Congress) branches of government. So what can the president do in office:
- Appoint heads of state departments, heads of federal agencies, and White House staff
- Manage Foreign Affairs: appoint ambassadors, ministers, and public officials. The President can also offer diplomatic recognize another country. The President can sign treaties on foreign affairs, but they must be ratified by the Congress.
- Nominate Judges: for any of the 9 Federal Judge positions which become vacant during the presidential term, and then the Senate approves each appointment.
- Power of Clemency: to grant pardons and blanket amnesty of criminal punishment.
- Limited power to sends troops abroad for hostile reasons: Congress holds the power to declare war.
Seal of the Executive Office of the President of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
- Propose Legislation: The President can make suggestions to Congress for new legislation, but cannot force the legislation into law.
- Veto Legislation: Laws and policy approved by Congress can be vetoed by the President.
- Taxes: The President makes recommendations and negotiates taxes with the House of Representatives.
- Budgets: Again, it’s a suggestion to Congress and a negotiation of ideals between the groups.
- Change Roe v. Wade: The President cannot change the ruling on rulings made by the Judicial Branch, but may have the opportunity to nominate judges who will.
As we saw under the George W. Bush administration, with expanded powers due to the state of war, if it’s not specifically disallowed, then the President may have the power to do ____. Since the controversy over torture tactics (Boston Globe article) during the George W. Bush administration, Barack Obama created an executive order to define the list of nonabusive interrogation tactics (NYTimes article).
So it appears that the US President is more influential rather than powerful. But it’s easy to blame one person in office, rather than the 100 or 400+ in Congress who can easily blame the resistance of each other for their failures. So what do all those commercials really mean during this election cycle?
Television ads on TV may be entertaining and appeal to our convictions, but are not the best source for information on the candidates.
Vote (Photo credit: Vaguely Artistic)
There are also a lot of email and blog discussions spreading rumors about politicians that can’t be trusted, according to FactCheck.org. Campaigns are run on rhetoric, and we often identify with the candidate or party who’s one liners match our own views. But how many people really know the truth about the candidate they are voting for?
Ignoring the fact that all candidates make idealistic promises, for things their elected position may not even have influence over. Do you really know the position of your favored candidate? Project Vote Smartis great for candidate information that is supposedly independent and non-partisan.
English: Created by User:Rspeer using Inkscape. Modified by Mark. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I like how the website is organized, and you can review the list of candidates on your ballot by typing in your address or zip code. They had ballot issues, and state election candidates. I had to know a little more information about which districts for House Representatives and my zone for state officials.
- Find your House Of Representatives for your location
- or check USA.gov which also has contact information for all elected officials
- Wikipedia has links to each state election list of candidates
- For a list of candidates running for office in MA, check out Politics1.
Does anyone know of an online source for petitions to our elected representatives? To me it looks like they are scattered about based on the group who is organizing the petition.
I couldn’t listen to the Presidential debate between Romney and Obama for longer than 3 minutes before I decided the whole conversation was not going to help me understand what these two candidates really intend to do as President. I was not surprised either.
Seal of the President of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Since I don’t have the keenest political mind either, I wouldn’t trust myself to follow their conversation and know which statements are true, are misleading, or completely wrong. So today I read the rather insightful review on FactCheck.org. I like how the first part of the review gives a quick summary of the main points, and then goes on to explain the detail and background behind each point. Both candidates exaggerated the past statements of the candidate and the view represented. Which also seems to be true of all the TV commercials. I hope people don’t really listen to the candidates to decide who is the better candidate and what each one is really proposing for new policy; better listen to the expert analysts instead.