congressional legislation

For anyone keeping score at home...

Unfilled positions in the Trump administration (Total: 114):

–State Department:

  • Under Secretary for Management
  • Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs
  • Assitant Secretary for European/Eurasian Affairs
  • Under Secretary for Arms Control/International Security Affairs
  • Under Scretary for Political Affairs
  • Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy
  • Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights
  • Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment
  • Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research
  • Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs
  • Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security
  • Assistant Secretary for African Affairs
  • Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
  • Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs
  • Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs
  • Assistant Secretary for International Organizational Affairs
  • Assistant Secretary for International Security and Non-proliferation
  • Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees, and Mirgration
  • Assistant Secretary for Verification and Compliance
  • Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs
  • Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
  • Assistant Secretary for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
  • Assistant Secretary for South Asian Affairs
  • Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs

–Defense:

  • Under Secretary for Intelligence
  • Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
  • Assistant Secretary for Special Ops and Low Intensity Conflict
  • Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs
  • Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness
  • Assitant Secretary for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense
  • Under Secretary for Policy
  • Assitant Secretary for Acquisition
  • Assistant Secretary for Research and Engineering
  • Assistant Secretary for Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities
  • Assistant Secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs
  • Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs
  • Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs

–Commerce:

  • Deputy Secretary
  • Under Secretary for Economic Affairs
  • Under Secretary for International Trade
  • Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs
  • Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information
  • Under Secretary for Industry and Security
  • Assistant Secretary for Export and Administration
  • Assistant Secretary for Global Markets
  • Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere
  • Under Secretary for Standards and Technology
  • Under Secretary for Intellectual Property
  • Assistant Secretary for Administration
  • Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement
  • Assistant Secretary for Economic Development
  • Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance
  • Assistant Secretary for Industry and Analysis
  • Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere
  • Assistant Secretary for Environmental Observation and Prediction

–Treasury:

  • Deputy Secretary
  • Under Secretary for International Affairs
  • Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions
  • Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs
  • Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis
  • Assistant Secretary for International Finance
  • Assistant Secretary for International Markets and Development
  • Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy
  • Under secretary for Domestic Finance
  • Assistant Secretary for Financial Markets
  • Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy
  • Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability

–Justice:

  • Assistant Attorney General for Legal Counsel
  • Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs
  • Assistant Attorney General for General Criminal Division
  • Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy
  • Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust
  • Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights
  • Assistant Attorney General for Environment and Natural Resources
  • Assistant Attorney General for National Security
  • Assistant Attorney General for Civil Division
  • Assistant Attorney General for Tax Division
  • Assistant Attorney General for Justice Programs

–Agriculture:

  • Deputy Secretary
  • Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics
  • Under Secretary for Rural Development
  • Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs
  • Under Secretary for Food Nutrition and Consumer Services
  • Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services
  • Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment
  • Assistant Secretary for Administration
  • Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
  • Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations

–Energy:

  • Deputy Secretary
  • Under Secretary for Management and Performance
  • Under Secretary for Science
  • Under Secretary for Nuclear Security
  • Assistant Secretary for International Affairs
  • Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management
  • Assistant Secretary for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability
  • Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs
  • Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
  • Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy
  • Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy

–Education:

  • Deputy Secretary
  • Assistant Secretary for Legislation and Congressional Affairs
  • Under Secretary
  • Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
  • Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Assistant Secretary for Post-Secondary Education
  • Assistant Secretary for Special Ed. and Rehab. Services
  • Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education
  • Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development
  • Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach

–Labor:

  • Deputy Secretary
  • Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs
  • Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management
  • Assistant Secretary for Policy
  • Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training
  • Assistant Secretary for Employee Benefits Security
  • Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health
  • Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health
  • Assistant Secretary for Veterans Employment and Training
  • Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy

–EPA:

  • Deputy Administrator
  • Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
  • Assistant Administrator for Administration and Resources Management
  • Assistant Administrator for Environment Information
  • Assistant Administrator for International Affairs
  • Assistant Administrator for Water
  • Assistant Administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency Response
  • Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation 
  • Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
  • Assistant Administrator for Research and Development

–Housing and Urban Development:

  • Deputy Secretary
  • Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development
  • Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
  • Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations
  • Assistant Secretary for Administration
  • Assistant Secretary for Housing
  • Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research
  • Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing

–Health and Human Services:

  • Deputy Secretary
  • Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources
  • Assistant Secretary for Aging
  • Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evalutaion
  • Assistant Secretary for Health
  • Assistant Secretary for Children and Families
  • Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
  • Assistant Secretary for Legislation

–Interior:

  • Deputy Secretary
  • Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget
  • Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas
  • Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management
  • Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife, and PArks
  • Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs
  • Assistant Secretary for Water and Science
  • Solicitor

–Homeland Security:

  • Under Secretary for Management
  • Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis
  • Assistant Secretary for Transportation Security Administration
  • Under Secretary for National Protection and Programs Directorate
  • Under Secretary for Science and Technology
  • Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • Assistant Secretary for Policy

–Veterans Affairs:

  • Deputy Secretary
  • Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Lesgilative Affairs
  • Under Secretary for Benefits
  • Under Secretary for Health
  • Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs
  • Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology
  • Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning

–Transportations:

  • Under Secretary for Policy
  • Assistant Secretary for Governmental Affairs
  • Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs
  • Assistant Secretary for Budget and Programs
  • Assistant Secretary for Tranportation Policy
  • Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

–Executive Office of the President:

  • Deputy Director/Office of Management and Budget

–Small Business Administration:

  • Deputy Administrator

–Director of National Intelligence:

  • Principal Deputy Director

Source:

10

TSOCG presents day two of Black History Month 2014: “The Divine Nine”

These are the nine historically Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLOs) that together comprise the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC). The NPHC was created in an era when racial segregation and disenfranchisement plagued African Americans. The establishment of each of these organizations bore witness to the fact that despite hardships African Americans refused to accept a status of inferiority.

The organization’s stated purpose and mission in 1930:

“Unanimity of thought and action as far as possible in the conduct of Greek letter collegiate fraternities and sororities, and to consider problems of mutual interest to its member organizations.”

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.: Founded December 4, 1906 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Its founders are known as the “Seven Jewels” and its principles are “manly deeds, scholarship, and love for all mankind.” Its motto is First of All, Servants of All, We Shall Transcend All.

Alpha Phi Alpha evolved into a primarily service-oriented organization and provided leadership and service during the Great Depression, both World Wars, and during the Civil Rights Movement. The organization addressed (and still addresses) social issues such as apartheid, AIDS, urban housing, and other economic, cultural, and political issues of interest to people of color. The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial and World Policy Council are programs of Alpha Phi Alpha. It also conducts philanthropic programming initiatives with March of Dimes, Head Start, Boy Scouts of America, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

Notable members of Alpha Phi Alpha: Jamaican Prime Minister Norman Manley, Nobel Prize winner Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Olympian Jesse Owens, Justice Thurgood Marshall, United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young, singer Lionel Richie and Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.:Founded January 15, 1908 at Howard University in Washington, D.C. by a group of twenty students, led by Ethel Hedgeman Lyle.  Alpha Kappa Alpha was incorporated on January 29, 1913.

After the organization’s establishment over a century ago, Alpha Kappa Alpha has helped to improve social and economic conditions through community service programs. Members have improved education through independent initiatives, contributed to community-building by creating programs and associations, such as the Mississippi Health Clinic, and influenced federal legislation by Congressional lobbying through the National Non-Partisan Lobby on Civil and Democratic Rights. The sorority works with communities through service initiatives and progressive programs relating to education, family, health, and business.

Notable members of Alpha Kappa Alpha: actress Loretta Devine, actress Phylicia Rashad, author Toni Morrison,  and vocalist Cassandra Wilson.

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.: Founded as Kappa Alpha Nu on the night of January 5, 1911 by ten African-American college students at Indiana University Bloomington.

The motto of the fraternity is, “Achievement in every field of human endeavor”. During this time there were very few African-American students at the majority white campus at Bloomington, Indiana and they were a small minority due to the era of the Jim Crow laws. Many African-American students rarely saw each other on campus and were discouraged or prohibited from attending student functions and extracurricular activities by white college administrators and fellow students. African-American students were denied membership on athletic teams with the exception of track and field. The racial prejudice and discrimination encountered by the founders strengthened their bond of friendship and growing interest in starting a social group.

Some believe the Greek letters Kappa Alpha Nu were chosen as a tribute to Alpha Kappa Nu, but the name became an ethnic slur among racist factions. Founder Elder Watson Diggs, while observing a young initiate compete in a track meet, overheard fans referring to the member as a “kappa alpha nig”, and a campaign to rename the fraternity ensued. The resolution to rename the group was adopted in December 1914, and the fraternity states, “the name acquired a distinctive Greek letter symbol and KAPPA ALPHA PSI thereby became a Greek letter fraternity in every sense of the designation.” Kappa Alpha Psi has been the official name since April 15, 1915.

Notable Members of Kappa Alpha Psi: Gospel musician Byron Cage, comedian Cedric “The Entertainer” Kyles, and Civil Rights leader Ralph D. Abernathy.

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.:  Founded on November 17, 1911 by three Howard University juniors, Edgar Amos Love, Oscar James Cooper and Frank Coleman, and their faculty adviser, Dr. Ernest Everett Just. Omega Psi Phi is the first predominantly African-American fraternity to be founded at a historically black university.

Since its founding, Omega Psi Phi’s stated purpose has been to attract and build a strong and effective force of men dedicated to its Cardinal Principles of manhood, scholarship, perseverance, and uplift.

In 1924, at the urging of fraternity member Carter G. Woodson, the fraternity launched Negro History and Literature Week in an effort to publicize the growing body of scholarship on African-American history. Encouraged by public interest, the event was renamed “Negro Achievement Week” in 1925 and given an expanded national presence in 1926 by Woodson’s Association for the Study of Negro Life as “Negro History Week.” Expanded to the full month of February from 1976, this event continues today as Black History Month.

Since 1945, the fraternity has undertaken a National Social Action Program to meet the needs of African Americans in the areas of health, housing, civil rights, and education. Omega Psi Phi has been a patron of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) since 1955, providing an annual gift of $350,000 to the program.

Notable members of Omega Psi Phi: poet Langston Hughes, comedians Rickey Smiley, Steve Harvey, and Bill Cosby.

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.: Founded on January 13, 1913, by 22 collegiate women at Howard University. These women wanted to use their collective strength to promote academic excellence and to provide assistance to persons in need. The first public act of Delta Sigma Theta was the Women’s Suffrage March in Washington D.C., March 3, 1913. Delta Sigma Theta was incorporated as a perpetual body in 1930. Today, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority is the largest African-American Greek-lettered organization.

Since its founding, Delta Sigma Theta has been at the forefront of creating programming to improve political, education, and social and economic conditions. Delta Sigma Theta has been pivotal in assisting the African American and International communities through education, lobbying, and economic initiatives, including Delta Days at the State and Nation’s Capitol, Delta Days at the United Nations, Summits and various conferences which focus on pertinent issues of the day. In addition to establishing independent programming, The Sorority consistently collaborates with community and corporate organizations Such as Chase (bank), Habitat for Humanity, Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, Lawry’s, and General Electric to further its programming goals.

Notable members of Delta Sigma Theta: actress Keshia Knight Pulliam, singers Natalie Cole and Roberta Flack, and athlete Wilma Rudolph.

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C. on January 9, 1914, by three young African-American male students with nine other Howard students as charter members. The fraternity’s founders (A. Langston Taylor, Leonard F. Morse, and Charles I. Brown) wanted to organize a Greek letter fraternity that would exemplify the ideals of Brotherhood, Scholarship and Service while taking an inclusive perspective to serving the community as opposed to having an exclusive purpose.

The fraternity exceeded the prevailing models of Black Greek-Letter fraternal organizations by being the first to establish alumni chapters, youth mentoring clubs, a federal credit union, chapters in Africa, and a collegiate chapter outside of the United States, and is the only fraternity to hold a constitutional bond with a predominantly African-American sorority, Zeta Phi Beta (ΖΦΒ), which was founded on January 16, 1920, at Howard University in Washington, D.C., through the efforts of members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.

Notable members of Phi Beta Sigma: George Washington Carver, James Weldon Johnson, Kwame Nkrumah, and activist Hosea Williams.

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.:  Founded on January 16, 1920 by five collegiate women (Arizona Cleaver Stemmons, Myrtle Tyler Faithful, Viola Tyler Goings, Fannie Pettie Watts, and Pearl Anna Neal) at Howard University. The organization was founded “on the simple belief that sorority elitism and socializing should not overshadow the real mission for progressive organizations – to address societal mores, ills, prejudices, poverty, and health concerns of the day.”

In 1948, Zeta Phi Beta became the first Greek-letter organization to charter a chapter in Africa (in Monrovia, Liberia). It was also the first organization to establish adult and youth auxiliary groups and centralize its operations in a national headquarters. Today, there are also chapters in U.S. Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Bahamas, Japan, Korea, Barbados, and Haiti.

Zeta Phi Beta is the only NPHC sorority that is constitutionally bound to a fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma. The sorority also maintains connections to several organizations including the NPHC, American Diabetes Association, March of Dimes, American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, National Council of Negro Women, and the United Negro College Fund.

The sorority also holdsZeta Day on the Hill, which provides an opportunity for Zetas to exercise another level of civic responsibility by learning the protocols for interacting with and the knowledge needed to maximize engagement with congressional representatives. As members of a “Community Conscious-Action Oriented” organization, Zetas schedule meetings with their representative or their representative’s designee to discuss, during brief sessions, issues of interest to the local, state and national Zeta membership.

On January 25, 2001, Zeta Phi Beta was granted Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status with the United Nations.

Notable members of Zeta Phi Beta: author Zora Neale Hurston, singer Sarah Vaughan, comedienne Sheryl Underwood, singers Minnie Riperton and Towanda Braxton.

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.:  Founded on November 12, 1922 at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana by seven young educators. It was incorporated within the state of Indiana in December 1922 and became a national collegiate sorority on December 30, 1929, when a charter was granted and the Alpha chapter was established.

The sorority is a non-profit whose aim is to enhance the quality of life within the community. Public service, leadership development and the education of youth are the hallmark of the organization’s programs and activities.

Founded in the midst of segregation, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. is the only sorority of the four historically African-American sororities in the NPHC that was established on a predominantly white campus.

Notable members of Sigma Gamma Rho: singer Kelly Price, rapper MC Lyte, and actress Victoria Rowell.

Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc.: Founded on September 19, 1963 at Morgan State University (then Morgan State College) in Baltimore, Maryland. 

The fraternity was founded in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement even though there were already four other prominent historically Black fraternities at the time. Influences included organizations such as the Black Panthers, SNCC, and figures such as Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael. The Iota founders were distinguished from their peers as they were all non-traditional students. Being anywhere from three to five years older than their peers, many had served in the military, worked full-time while attending classes full-time, and had families with small children. These elements gave the Founders a different perspective than the typical fraternity member.

A key appeal of Iota Phi Theta is that, as an organization, it refuses to have its members bind themselves to a defined fraternal image but celebrates the individuality of its members.

Notable members of Iota Phi Theta: actor T.C. Carson and athlete Calvin Murphy.

The importance of the “Divine Nine”: During the time in which the first BGLO was established, African Americans across the country were faced with the harsh realities of race-related discrimination. As a result of the various situations that stemmed from these discriminatory practices, various organizations established by the African American community began to surface and some of them were Black Greek Letter Organizations. Since 1906—the founding year of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.—nine fraternities and sororities (affectionately known as the Divine Nine) have had the privilege of developing and establishing chapters throughout the United States and the world. The establishment of these brotherhoods and sisterhoods brought together men and women who were passionate about the goals and ideals of their organization and made a commitment to work together to make a difference in the world in which they lived.

More than this, they gave networking opportunities and all of the other benefits of being a member of a Greek-Letter Organization to people who were barred entry from the historically White Greek-Letter Organizations. The NPHC organizations stand apart from all others in that at their core stand scholarship and service to the community.

I am a proud and active member of an NPHC sorority myself, the lovely, alluring, remarkable, and oh SOOOOOO SWEET Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. I love my organization, and I love my fellow black greeks…the history of all of our organizations shine brightly in all of our missions.

laugh.grow.change.[serendipity]

google.com
More Black Women Are Realizing That the Democratic Party Is Full of Shit, New Poll Finds
The Democratic Party has experienced an 11 percent drop in support from black women, while “the percentage of black women who said neither party represents them jumped from 13 percent in 2016 to 21 percent in 2017,” according to the 2017 Power of the Sister Vote poll, conducted by the Black Women’s Roundtable, an intergenerational public policy network, in partnership with Essence magazine.
By Kirsten West Savali

The poll results were revealed Wednesday during the Congressional Black Caucus’ Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. The brilliant Avis Jones-DeWeever made it clear that 53 years after Mississippi freedom fighter Fannie Lou Hamer cried the words, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired,” more black women in the United States are ready to take on the white savior of political parties: the Democrats. The Democratic Party is hell-bent on coddling the so-called white working class—as if these particular poor white folks who voted for Donald Trump aren’t just economically frustrated white supremacists—instead of focusing on and building with disenfranchised and oppressed communities who have remained doggedly loyal despite being taken for granted and advantage of time and time again. 

While this conversation is not new, and even though 94 percent of black women decided to vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, there still seems to be a prevailing train of thought that the shift in allegiance can be attributed to millennial black women who have lost the stars in their eyes. For example: The New Republic quotes Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) as saying that young black women have been jarred by the bigots in the White House because things were “well” under President Barack Obama:

“Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat in the Congressional Black Caucus, addressed the news after the poll’s release at the Washington Convention Center. “I respect independents. I understand independents,” she told the crowd, arguing that her party needs to do more to communicate its values. “I’ve never said I’m in the Democratic Party because I like to party,” she said. “I’m in there because of values.” Speaking to reporters, Jackson Lee attributed the decline in support to younger voters. “Every generation has a different way of looking at life,” she said. Today’s young people came of age under President Barack Obama when “all was well,” so now the Democratic Party needs to “talk values” particularly to younger black women.”

In the case of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, black police officers actively participated in a state-sanctioned lynching that occurred in a city with a black mayor, in a nation with a black president—both of whom had the audacity to call traumatized black people “thugs” for destroying property, while hopscotching around the fact that thugs in blue killed a man. All was not well.

All was not well when Sandra Bland was effectively killed by the state for refusing to bow to a white man in uniform who quivered with rage at her freedom. State Trooper Brian Encinia did not pull the trigger, but Bland’s blood is on his hands. All was not well when Democratic bulldog Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago mayor, pushed for the shutdown of public schools primarily serving black students to balance his budget, while participating in the coverup of the police execution of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

These are the liberals in power who didn’t pay attention—while black women paid in blood—even when it would have cost them nothing. Now, hopefully, it will. If this poll is to serve as any indication, it already has.

What's the post-Trump reform agenda?

Not sure if anyone noticed, but I’ve been neglecting this blog lately. Too many fish in the barrel, not enough bullets. And others doing it much better, which is a good thing. 

But I’m surprised there isn’t much discussion (that I’ve seen) on the post-Trump reform agenda. We could need one sooner than we think - or later than we fear. In any case, here’s my two cents. This list focuses on institutional/structural changes - hopefully these are acceptable to people of all ideological stripes who are interested in strengthening democratic self-government rather than narrow partisan interests. Many will need constitutional amendments, and some are more realistic than others. But we have to start somewhere. 

 Prosecutors and judges 

1. The Attorney General becomes a non-political, non-partisan post. Yeah, you can still have a “Secretary of Justice” or whatever for policy issues, but prosecutions under federal law should be independent from political influence. Have the AG serve one, nonrenewable 10 year term, appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, but cannot be removed except for gross incompetence/malfeasance. FBI reports to the AG. 

2. AG appoints US attorneys for fixed, staggered terms, say 6-8 years. Again, cannot be removed without cause. AG can choose to appoint special prosecutors for special cases. 

3.  All written and verbal communications by officials in the executive or legislative branch with the AG, other federal prosecutors or the FBI are matters of public record. 

4.  Federal district and appellate judges serve for fixed terms, say 12 years. Supreme Court justices maybe 16 years. 

 Campaign finance 

5. Sources and amounts of all donations to political candidates, causes or organizations greater than $1000 in a calendar year are matters of public record. This applies to any donation, in cash or kind, to anyone who seeks public office, and to any person or organization that communicates against others seeking public office, or advocates on an issue that is currently subject to political debate 

 The president 

6. The president becomes fully subject to executive branch ethics rules. 

7. The president must release complete financial info, including tax returns, assets and debts, and eliminate any financial conflicts of interest and all foreign sources of income by the time of his/her inauguration. If s/he fails to do so, this automatically triggers impeachment proceedings. 

8. If the president is impeached and removed from office, the vice president serves in a caretaker role until new elections are held, no later than six months after the president leaves office. 

 The Senate 

9. No more Senate filibuster. However, all matters of substance in the Senate must be approved by a majority of senators and by a majority of population represented by those senators as measured at the most recent census. A bill would become law if it passes the House by a majority, and both tallies in the Senate. Kamala Harris would have 37 million votes, Mike Rounds of South Dakota would have 814,000. Right-wingers will be happy to learn that Ted Cruz gets 25 million votes. 

10. Senate vacancies are filled by prompt special elections, not gubernatorial appointment (this always bothered me). 

 Elections 

11. No more electoral college. President chosen by nationwide popular vote.

12. No more party primaries, at any level. All elections have two rounds: if no one gets more than 50% in the first round, the top two candidates compete in the second. This would be a big culture shock at the presidential level, but I think we could make it work. 

13. Congressional and state-legislative district lines to be set by independent commissions with equal representation of both major parties and representation by minor parties. Agreement of reps of both major parties on these commissions needed for final approval, and districts must meet broad federal guidelines (contiguity, racial balance etc). 

14.  You want voter ID? OK, anyone who shows up at a polling place (which opens two weeks before election day) with a valid photo ID that proves citizenship can vote and is automatically registered for the next eight years. So no chance for voter fraud (which is virtually nonexistent anyway) and no more convoluted requirements for advance registration. You can get a special voter ID based on address-based forms of identification (birth certificate + bank statement etc) from your local DMV or elections office, without a fee, up to two weeks before the election, also valid for 8 years. 

15.  Ballots are mailed to all registered voters four weeks before the election. Completed ballots can be mailed in or dropped off at a polling place at any time thereafter. 

16. For those who wish to vote in person, voting machines must meet strict security and transparency guidelines, including published software and an auditable paper trail. 

17.  Every election will automatically be audited (ie a sample of precincts/counties will have their votes hand-counted); any irregularities will trigger a broader recount. 

18. A county where officials are found to have harassed, intimidated or otherwise restricted voters will have its elections federally administered for the next ten years. A state that has three or more such counties will have all of its elections federally administered for the next ten years. 

 Miscellaneous 

19. No more penny. WTF is worth two cents? 

20. You want to sell health insurance across state lines? OK, health insurance can be sold across state lines, but the health insurance industry is now regulated at the federal rather than the state level. Actually all insurance should be regulated at the federal level. 

21. No more debt limit. Come on, it’s a stupid idea. 

22. If the appropriations bill for an authorized federal agency or department is not passed by the end of the fiscal year, the previous year’s appropriation is automatically renewed, with an inflation adjustment. So no more government shutdowns. 

23. Members of Congress can be prosecuted for insider trading based on knowledge they acquire as part of their legislative activities.

24.  The District of Columbia gets either the senators and representatives it would be entitled to if it were a state, or statehood. 

25. Puerto Rico gets either statehood or (once its finances are straightened out) independence. 

26.  Civics classes made mandatory in all schools, public or private. These will cover how the government works, how citizenship works, how to critically read news coverage, how to judge the reliability of news sources, how to engage in public debate, and how to distinguish facts from opinions.

Anyway, that’s my agenda. What’s yours?

A militarized police and an expensive and well stocked, well-disciplined/well-brainwashed military with a chief who can issue any mandates he wants without congressional and legislative approval are literally the beginnings of a dystopian dictatorship.

Seriously.

Y'all thought we were a brave new world but we’re just straight 1984.

And any other dystopia that involves a couple of elitist jackasses doing what they want without anyone to stop them.

And the police being enforcers, not protectors.

I don’t know why white people are ok with police officers and their toxic macho “im serving the people by beating them when they get out of line” schtick.

Do you not see where this is going?

I feel like Cassandra.

coralscanvas  asked:

how about some Shino NSFW and SFW? Or just headcanons you've got about him?

i’m on a bit of a break from nsfw so you’ll have to bear with me on this

Naruto

Shino Aburame

  • he watches all the mothman movies and documentaries, just to check and see if there might be any factual evidence from time to time…
  • has all of his books in ABC order, according to height and year published. he also hounds you if you borrow a book from him and you don’t return it quickly enough
  • for some reason you told him that you want to go with him on his nature exploration, so now you get up and stay up at the most ridiculous hours for the sake of bugs
  • is going to save the bees
  • keeps a ton of band aids hidden in his jacket pockets, would take congressional legislation to make him share
  • sits with the kids to watch A Bug’s Life
  • may or may not have created 30+ videos of the “bee movie but every time they say bee it…” (psst, it’s his favorite meme)
  • has instilled such a fear into Kiba that he never thinks twice about not recycling 
Speaking in affirmation
npr.org
Partisan Gerrymandering: How Much Is Too Much?
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in a gerrymandering case that could have sweeping political consequences.

From the article:

Chief Justice John Roberts warned Tuesday that the Supreme Court’s “status and integrity” could be jeopardized if a majority of the justices declare that there is a constitutional limit to partisan gerrymandering. At the same time, the court’s four liberal justices warned that failing to act poses a threat to democracy.

With the court apparently split 4-4 along liberal-conservative lines, the man in the middle is Justice Anthony Kennedy, who in a 2004 court opinion left the door open to declaring extreme partisan gerrymandering unconstitutional if “manageable standards” could be developed for identifying which ones are extreme.

Partisan gerrymandering is the practice of drawing legislative and congressional district lines to maximize and perpetuate the power of an incumbent political party.

The test case before the court is from Wisconsin. In 2011 Wisconsin Republicans completely controlled the redistricting process for the first time in four decades. A divided federal court later found that Republicans, using high-speed computer technology along with new voter data, were able to draw new district lines to solidify their control of the Legislature for at least the rest of the decade, if not longer.

Indeed, a year after the redistricting, Republicans captured only a minority of the statewide vote — 48.6 percent — but, as they had privately predicted, they still won 60 of the 99 state legislative seats, while the Democrats, who had won a majority of the vote, captured a mere 39 seats.

[….]

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acorgiirl  asked:

With Donald Trump basically guaranteed to win the nomination, it seems like what the Republican Party wants and what the Republican voters want are two different things. Do you think that the Republican Party should split into two different parties to represent this? Or do you think that the Republican Party as it has been will start to phase out over the next several years?

I also got this question from @twinicegiantorbiters:

I know you prefer facts over speculation, but how might a successful Trump nomination affect the Republican Party? I know parties often will drift ideologically toward popular candidates, but not only is he *very* different ideologically from a ‘typical’ or ‘ideal’ republican, but many in the GOP have very publicly derided him. I can’t imagine that not having any negative effects on the GOP. Or, if you would prefer a more indirect answer, what historical precedents are there, if any?

And from @amischiefofmice

How realistic is this death or least a splitting of the Republican Party I keep hearing about?

I’m warning you all now: We may be taking this question out of the oven too soon. But considering how many folks have been declaring the death of the Republican Party following Donald Trump’s victory in Indiana and subsequent assumption of the mantle of presumptive party nominee, the matter is clearly on everyone’s minds.

The modern Republican party - that is, the Republican party since about 1964 - has always been a fairly contentious coalition of two seemingly contradictory forces: The movers and the shakers of the Republican Party are wealthy, intellectually conservative legislators who favor, among other things, free trade and a hawkish and aggressive foreign policy; in contrast, the Republican base is largely rural, working-class, white, and focused on “traditional” values - Christianity, hard work, the disintegration of the nation’s moral fabric, things like that.

We saw a preview of this race back in 2008, when Sarah Palin - remember her? - offered the Republican base a new brand of anti-establishment, anti-immigrant “aw shucks, isn’t America swell” populism. She got up on TV and said pretty much whatever she wanted, popularity or political correctness or factual correctness be damned. It’s no surprise that Palin has been one of Trump’s biggest supporters; they are, after all, cut largely from the same cloth. But during her Vice Presidential campaign, Palin clung faithfully to the ideal of intellectual conservatism, a trait that Donald Trump lacks, perhaps to his benefit.

Trump has instead embraced populism, tapping into a wellspring of discontent that lay for years at the heart of the Republican Party’s uneasy marriage. His gambit relied on the notion that the working base of the party, in the face of staggering job loss, doesn’t actually care about William F Buckley’s ideological conservatism. Maybe they don’t care about free trade when Rust Belt factories lie dormant. Maybe they don’t even particularly care about gay marriage or abortion anymore, so much as they care more about America being beset on all sides by terrorists and immigrants who just can’t wait to disrupt our way of life. The gambit seems to have paid off - in the perfect storm of this election season, with a Republican candidate pool in the double digits, Trump’s tribalism managed to scrape together a consistent coalition of 30% - 40% of Republican primary voters long enough to secure his party’s nomination, to the horror of the party leadership.

Isn’t it so often the case that the silent majority is neither silent nor a majority?

I don’t mean to eulogize the Republican Party here, because as much as I try to avoid speculation, I’ll give you some here, now: They’re not going anywhere. Congressmen and Senators are already lining up to pledge their allegiance to Trump himself, or to give a strange and contradictory “half-endorsement” in which they say they’ll support the Republican nominee but not endorse Trump himself. (Who knew the Republican party was led by such talented contortionists?)

There are a few notable and high-profile holdouts. House Speaker and nominal head of the party Paul Ryan is “not ready” to endorse; Senator and former Presidential candidate John McCain is waiting for an “apology” from Trump (good luck); the Bush family is neither endorsing nor attending the convention. Conservative columnist and party elder Bill Kristol is reportedly in talks with Mitt Romney to mount a third-party bid, but as I explained in an earlier post, such a bid would likely only end up splitting the ticket in favor of Hillary Clinton. (The ostensible goal would be to win states with such ferocity that no party reaches the 270 electoral vote threshold needed to secure a victory in November, thus sending the decision to the House of Representatives, like in 1824. Good luck with that.)

This conflict will resolve itself one way or another. The face of the Republican party may change a great deal, and maybe a more “intellectual” conservative party will show its head above water, but when all’s said and done, the Grand Old Party will still be around. It survived Roosevelt, it survived Lyndon Johnson and Civil Rights, it survived the Tea Party. This is a sea-change, not Charybdis.

…probably.

See, I could be wrong about all of this. Maybe voters do identify with the intellectual wing of the Republican party over the immigrant-hating yee-haw attitude that folks like Palin and Trump represent. Maybe over the next six months, Trump will do or say enough absolutely nonsensical stuff, will alienate enough people that a third party actually does emerge with enough force and momentum to mount a serious challenge for America’s conservative wing.

We may be in the latter days of the Republican Party. And such events are not without precedent: Just ask the Whigs.

“In support of the Constitution and Laws” is not the catchiest political slogan I’ve ever heard.

The Whig party was once one of America’s most successful political parties, and is now relegated to the history books. Although they were only a political force for twenty or so years, during the early half of the 19th Century they elected governors, won seats in Congress, and even won two Presidential elections.

It’s important to realize that, despite what a lot of modern-day political rhetoric would have you believe, divisions among parties were not always situated on an axis from liberal to conservative. The “small government” vs “big government” dichotomy wasn’t what divided political parties in 1833. Rather, the Whigs were formed in response to what some saw as Presidential overreach by President Andrew Jackson.

Andrew Jackson, the brash, populist hero of the War of 1812 exercised the power of the Presidency more liberally than any executive had before. Jackson and his supporters fostered a deep distrust of the federal government; to that end, Jackson vetoed federal funding for infrastructure improvements like roads and railways and killed the Second Bank of the United States by withdrawing all government money from it and refusing to renew the charter (this is back when the US government was in the business of running central banks, you Hamilton superfans might be familiar with this).

In response, the Whigs formed in 1833, painting the President as “King Andrew” and rallying around the cause of a limiting executive powers, restoring Congressional primacy and improving the nation’s infrastructure (which at the time must have seemed like very sexy, compelling reasons to form a political party). They couldn’t hold a candle to the strong party unity and loyalty exhibited by Jacksonian Democrats, but the Whigs had a secret weapon: The New York Tribune’s Editor-in-Chief, Horace Greeley, was a Whig, and none too shy about using his paper’s record circulation numbers to push the Whigs’ political agenda, to great effect: in 1841, William Henry Harrison was sworn in as the country’s first Whig President, and over the next decade, the Whigs expanded their power base in gubernatorial elections in industrial states.

You’d think they could come up with a less cool nickname than “King Andrew.” I guess it was the “Dangerous Donald of its day.

Ultimately, slavery divided the Whigs about a decade before it would divide the nation. Southern Whig party leaders were all or nearly all slaveowners; Northern Whigs tended to represent industrial interests and favored strong national unity. Additionally, many of the Whigs’ modernization policies led to a robust economy, which discouraged many from seeking public service, including a young Illinois lawyer named Abraham Lincoln, the Whig party leader in Illinois. The Whig party all but disappeared in the South in favor of the Know-Nothings, and in the North, most prominent Whigs jumped ship to the young and growing Republican Party. By 1856, the Whigs were finished.

What can we learn from the Whigs? What lessons are applicable for the Republican Party? First, I would say that the Republicans have already conquered the biggest challenge that faced the Whigs: the modern Republican Party fosters a strong sense of party loyalty and party unity. It’s rare to see a Republican legislator break ranks with their caucus, and even if Trump wins the Presidential nomination, there’s not much evidence that it’s affecting Congressional races. Legislatively speaking, the Republican Party should remain strong at least until the next midterms.

I don’t think “is the Republican Party dying” is the right question to ask. The answer is “almost definitely not.” Instead, the question to ask might be this: Is Trump a one-off, or is he the new normal? Are we seeing a black swan event, or is Trump’s deviation from traditional conservatism what we can start to expect from Republican challengers? And that question is a whole lot harder to answer definitively. Win or lose, Trump has already indelibly altered the political landscape. We need new models for whatever is next.

Thanks for your question! As always, you can ask anything you like right here.


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Let’s Talk About… Gun Ownership in the United States

First of all, I want to get a few things straight. I was born, raised, and still live in Texas, and I was raised by gun loving, deer hunting, redneck rousing, Bible thumping, salt-of-the-earth East Texans who were proud members of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and would look you dead in the eye and tell you that guns don’t kill people; dumb ass sons of a bitches who don’t got a lick of sense kill people.

My grandfather used to say that people he hated weren’t worth the lead in the bullet it’d take to kill them.

TL;DR?

I’m a Texan, y’all.

But even my Ronald Reagan/Ross Perot/George H. W. Bush supporting Republican to the bone grandparents used to say that they never met a deer that required an AK to take it down, and an automatic weapon wasn’t going to do you a damned bit of good if a troop of soldiers decided to knock down your door and shoot your ass with a bazooka.

In other words, there has to be a line of common sense when it comes to gun ownership.

Keep reading

The Unwritten Constitution

Constituion Elaboration

-Congressional Legislation to provide further details not laid out in the constitution

- eg: Impeachment and any vague provision such as the necessary and proper clause.

Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were both impeached.

Nixon Resigned

President Practices

  • Executive orders
  • Executive Priviledge
  • Impoundment

Ratification Politics: The Era

  • Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the US or by any State on account of sex" (this did not pass)
  • Demonstrates the difficulties of amending the constitution.

The Constitution is often based in natural law which implies a universal sense of right and wrong, an idea respected by most of the founders.

The following are notable quotes from James Madison:

“If men were angels, no goverment would be necessary”

“You must first enable the goverment to control the goverment and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

  • The idea that goverment should be able to control itself is a belief Madison expoused in fedralist # 51
  • Madison believed that the accumulation of all powers (legislative, executive, and judicial) was the formula for a tyranny. This was expressed in fderalist #47 (fedralist papers)
  • The theory that each branch should be able to stop some of the acts of the others to ensure that no one branch dominates our goverment is know as the system of CHECKS and BALANCES.