The borders of Washington, D.C.

The borders of Washington, D.C.

Off the radar but inside the corridors of the U.S. Capitol an attempt to give the nation’s capitol city, Washington, D.C., voting representation in Congress has been raging.  Supporters of voting representation in the House of Representatives for the Americans living in D.C. fall into two camps: those who seek full statehood for the District of Columbia with all of the rights statehood would provide, and those who just want a Congressman of their own to represent D.C. interests in the House. The latter group have enlisted the help of a somewhat unlikely ally in the form of the State of Utah.

The challenges of granting statehood for the District of Columbia are tremendous as the U.S. Constitution places some very tough requirements for adding an amendment and there are only four ways that a constitutional amendment can be added:

  • Proposal by convention of states, ratification by state conventions (never used)
  • Proposal by convention of states, ratification by state legislatures (never used)
  • Proposal by Congress, ratification by state conventions (used once)
  • Proposal by Congress, ratification by state legislatures (used all other times)

The Founding Fathers made it difficult to amend the U.S. Constitution because they wanted to ensure that such additions were made only when the greatest numbers of people agreed, thereby safeguarding the Constitution as much as possible from immediate, but short-lived, political concerns.

Click to continue reading “Voting Rights for D.C. Take a Step Forward”

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Happy 90th Anniversary !!!!!!!!!!

January 16th, 2009, marked the 90th anniversary of the 18th Amendment which originally created a federal government one-size-fits-all regulatory regime towards alcohol in the United States. There were 13 years during Prohibition that this Amendment made it illegal to manufacture, purchase, or consume alcohol in the United States. This form of regulation failed to curb alcohol consumption, actually causing an increase in organized crime, black markets and the consumption of counterfeit and poisonous alcohol. “Bath Tub” gin was being produced in homes without any regulatory standards for quality put in place. People were literally drinking themselves to death.

Click to continue reading “18th Amendment Turns 90!”

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Excuse me, please. I went to bed last night believing I lived in the United States of America. The last time I checked, in this country we elect those who represent us in office. Offices are not handed down from father to son or father to daughter as they are in countries ruled by monarchies. So why is our Senate being transformed into a monarchy in which seats in office are being distributed to family members or even the highest bidder?

Since Barack Obama’s election to the White House a number of Senate Seats have become open as Obama has chosen to fill cabinet positions from his former colleagues in the Senate, thus creating the vacancies. Fortunately, the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution provides for the appointment of Senators to fill these vacancies until the senate seat comes up for election in its normal place in the six-year election cycle.

Click to continue reading “American Royalty: United States Senators”

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Church and StateThis is the first part of a multi-part series on the issue of separation of church and state. With this being the holiday season, it just seemed appropriate to bring this issue up here on this blog considering this is the primary time of the year that we start hearing all the arguments for and against “separation of church and state.” Please keep in mind, while this discussion will attempt to remain as non-partisan and not promoting any single religion, the fact is the topic of this discussion is religion and it might appear there may be some encroachment on the non-partisanship promise of this blog. Please be rest assured, that is not the intent here.

The purpose of this discussion is to look at the historical context from which this idea was born and what it has meant to this country and religion over the past two centuries. The first place to start is the United States Constitution – in particular – the First Amendment as it relates to religion:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

This is also known as “The Establishment Clause.”  The interpretation of this particular line of the First Amendment has caused quite a problem over the last 50 years in the United States.  Secular organizations have used this language to have all forms of religion removed from any public establishment including schools, government buildings, court houses, etc. at all levels of government (local, county, state, and federal).  Their premise is that the First Amendment requires an absolute separation of church and state.  But, there is absolutely no mention of this particular phrase in the entire U.S. Constitution.  So – where did this come about?

Click to continue reading “Separation of Church and State — Part I”

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A Presidential Pardon Cover Letter

A Presidential Pardon Cover Letter

Last Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that President Bush had granted pardons to 14 individuals and commuted the prison sentences of two others convicted of misdeeds ranging from drug offenses to tax evasion, from wildlife violations to bank embezzlement.

The new round of White House pardons were Bush’s first since March and come less than two months before he will end his presidency. The crimes committed by those on the list also include offenses involving hazardous waste, food stamps and the theft of government property.

Bush has been relatively stingy in handing out such reprieves. Including these actions, he has granted 171 pardons and eight commutations in nearly eight years. That’s less than half as many as Presidents Clinton or Reagan issued during their 8-year tenures in office.

Click to continue reading “The Presidential Pardon Explained”

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