Archive for February, 2009

American Public Diplomacy Envoy Michelle Kwan will travel to Ukraine on February 28th where she will visit Kiev, Yalta, Sevastopol, Bakhchisarai and Odessa. This eight-day trip marks the figure skating champion’s fourth tour as an American Public Diplomacy Envoy for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

As a Public Diplomacy Envoy, Ms. Kwan promotes cross-cultural dialogue with international youth and increases understanding of America by sharing her story and life experiences. Kwan’s activities during her trip will include participating in a roundtable discussion with university students, visiting high schools, conducting skating clinics and meeting with alumni of other Department of State exchange programs.

For more information, please contact Darlene Kirk, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, 202-203-76 16 or kirkdx@state.gov. And see here for more on Michelle Kwan’s Olympic and World Figure Skating History.

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In 1952 Puerto Rico entered the Promised Land as a Commonwealth of the United States with all the hopes and dreams of finally having an organized government and the opportunity to become a full-fledged state of the most powerful country on the planet; and yet, unlike Alaska and Hawaii, Puerto Rico has not completed its path to Statehood. Five decades of uncertainty as a colony of the United States under its flag were made official, but those five uncertain decades were followed by five more of legal uncertainty under a pair of flags that are supposed to represent the liberty and pursuit of happiness for all Puerto Rican citizens. How Puerto Rico has ended up in this pseudo-quagmire somewhere in between a commonwealth of the United States, full statehood, and even an independent nation in its own right is a long story with many twists and turns.

After being invaded and conquered by the American Army in 1898, which ended 400 years of Spanish rule over the island, Puerto Rico became a territory of the United States with political structures yet uncertain, and in many ways, they remain that way today.

Click to continue reading “Puerto Rico Statehood: To Be or Not To Be?”

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In today’s challenging economic times, it can be sometimes hard to realize the great history that exists around simple things like the design, creation and evolution of the U.S. dollar bill. WIKIPEDIA defines the U.S. dollar as : “The unit of currency of the United States and is defined by the Coinage Act of 1792 to be between 371 and 416 grains of silver (depending upon purity).

In the early days of the United States, the term “Dollar” was commonly known as a coin minted by Spain called the Spanish Milled Dollar. These coins were the standard money then in use in the country. On April 2, 1792 Alexander Hamilton, then the Secretary of the Treasury, made a report to Congress that were the result of his task to scientifically determine the amount of silver in the Spanish Milled Dollar coins that were then in current use by the people. As a result of this report, the Dollar was defined as a unit of measure of 371 4/16th grains of pure silver or 416 grains of standard silver (standard silver being defined as 1,485 parts fine silver to 179 parts alloy).

Click to continue reading “The Dollar: History, Myth, & Legend”

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With all of the excitement that surrounded the first “Bailout bill” and now the furor over the new Stimulus bill I looked through our archives and saw that no one had yet discussed what a bill is and how it becomes a law. The point of this post is purely educational. There are no opinions here regarding the current stimulus package or Geithner’s announcement yesterday that he needs $TWO TRILLION MORE. I’m sorry, was I shouting? In keeping with the main premise of Inside Government – to help educate and inform the public – the following is a detailed look at bills. But, first – a blast from the past for those of you who might remember School House Rock:

Pretty cool, huh? Well, that is a very simplified presentation of how bills become law, but, it is on target and most of you probably remember seeing it. Now we move on to greater detail…

Click to continue reading “Just What is a Bill and How Does it Become a Law?”

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Anibal Acevedo Vila, Former Governor of Puerto Rico

Anibal Acevedo Vila, Former Governor of Puerto Rico

Sometimes how the United States Government works may seem a little cumbersome to those of you who live in the fifty states. But if you think some processes are a bit fuzzy on the mainland, they’re even more muddled for disputes between the United States and it’s commonwealths and territories who lack full representation in Congress and the same rights and privileges as the states.

This week, in the Federal Court for the District of Puerto Rico, the matter of United States of America v. Anibal Acevedo Vila, et als, takes center stage. Acevedo Vila is the former Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, who served from 2004 until 2008.

The Case
Anibal Acevedo Vila was the Governor of Puerto Rico from 2004 to 2008, and was the Resident Commissioner from 2000 to 2004.  The Resident Commissioner is the elected official that represents the interests of Puerto Rico in the United States Congress.  For the last three years of his Gubernatorial term, he was the target of a Federal Investigation that included a review of his college transcripts, and the Law Review articles that he wrote.

Click to continue reading “The Pseudo-Republican Form of Government Within Puerto Rico”

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