David Pham Current Events Scrapbook
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Congress returns to Capitol Hill with full agenda, but limited desire to make big changes in election year

Congress returns to Capitol Hill with full agenda, but limited desire to make big changes in election year | David Pham Current Events Scrapbook | Scoop.it
Members of Congress return to Capitol Hill on Monday following a two-week recess -- ready to resume negotiations on immigration reform, a minimum-wage bill and other key legislation but with little possibility of agreeing on any major changes in an election year.
David Pham's insight:

Quarter 4, Week 5, April 21-27

Members of Congress return to Capitol Hill on Monday following a two-week recess, but with little possibility of agreeing on any major changes in an election year. While members will almost assuredly pass a measure to avoid a government shutdown, and the wrath of voters, bills on increasing the federal minimum wage, reforming immigration laws and fixing the tax code are not expected to get a final vote in either the Republican-controlled House or the Democrat-led Senate. All 435 House seats and 36 Senate seats are up for re-election in November, which has leaders of both parties cautious about holding votes on any legislation that could force members to make a difficult choice.

 

Congress gets back to work Monday after a two-week vacation, and it’s looking like lawmakers will do what they do best: the bare minimum. We pay these folks a lot of money to do the job that they are "hired" to do;  it is not the big, and politically hot items that they cannot seem to address, it is the smaller and necessary things that are foregone.   The Constitution defines the roles of the Senate, the House and of course, the President.  I think that every member of Congress (and the President) should be required to read that document, much shorter than the nonsense coming forth from the Capital, and take a test on it to make sure that they understand what exactly they have been commissioned to (and not to do) by the people.

 

Vocabulary:

GOP - "Grand Old Party" or the Republican party.

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Obama blasts 'least productive Congress in modern history'

Obama blasts 'least productive Congress in modern history' | David Pham Current Events Scrapbook | Scoop.it
The president told supporters last night, "This has become the least productive Congress in modern history." Is that true? Actually, yes.
David Pham's insight:

Quarter 4, Week 3, April 7-13

President Barack Obama sharply criticized what he called the least productive U.S. Congress in modern history on Wednesday in a fund-raising speech that he used to try to energize Democrats to vote in November congressional elections.

Obama blasted Republicans in the U.S. Senate for blocking a Democratic-supported bill earlier in the day aimed at addressing a gap in pay between male and female workers. Republicans argued that pay discrimination is already illegal.

Obama also cited Republicans' refusal to agree to an immigration overhaul and an increase in the minimum wage as examples of what he called obstruction by his political opponents.

 

The really sad thing about the Obama presidency is that he rode into office riding a wave of euphoria where people expected him to uphold his promises of making everything right in Washington DC and restoring America’s trust in our government. He promised to be different -- that his administration would not be “politics as usual”; that his administration would be the most transparent ever; that all legislation would be publicly posted and available for review for at least five days in advance of voting on it; that he would not cater to special interest groups and lobbyists; etc. The reality has been just the opposite. Instead of restoring our trust he has proven himself to simply be a bit irresponsible -- a good speech-maker of the public who uses his charisma without planning  in order to achieve his own political and ideological goals. The end result is that it is unlikely any U.S. citizens will ever be able to truly trust any of our politicians again.

 

Vocabulary:

Congress - the national legislative body of a country. A country is as great as its government.

 

 

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Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will not 'rehash' gay marriage stance, will advise married couples

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will not 'rehash' gay marriage stance, will advise married couples | David Pham Current Events Scrapbook | Scoop.it
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday refused to revisit his personal stance on gay marriage but said the state will provide guidance to couples who married this weekend.
David Pham's insight:

Quarter 4, Week 1, March 24-30

 

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder on Wednesday refused to revisit his personal stance on gay marriage but said the state will provide guidance to couples who married that weekend.

***Update: More than 300 same-sex couples were legally married that weekend in Michigan, according to Governor Rick Snyder, but the state will not recognize those marriages while Attorney General Bill Schuette appealed a federal ruling that struck down a long-standing ban.


All this money is going to be spent on something that will inevitably be allowed. Why not just allow these people to be married? Are people really that concerned about other peoples personal lives? Are there really that many people that their lives are so messed up, they have to make sure others get messed up too? Instead of worrying about this, they should just allow them to get married and the government needs to worry about more important things. Economy, our troops, unemployment rates, etc. Stay out of other peoples' lives and mind your own business.


Vocabulary:
6th Circuit Court of Appeals - Following the judge's ruling lifting the ban on gay marriage, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed an emergency request for stay and appeal of the ruling with 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. 

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Supreme Court Expands Police Power at Expense of 4th Amendment

Supreme Court Expands Police Power at Expense of 4th Amendment | David Pham Current Events Scrapbook | Scoop.it
The Supreme Court ruled that when a person objecting to a search of a residence is arrested, another resident may consent to a warrantless search. by Bob Adelmann
David Pham's insight:

Quarter 3, Week 8, March 10-16

On February 25, the Supreme Court ruled in Fernandez v. California that when a resident who objects to the search of his residence is removed through a lawful arrest, the remaining resident may give police consent to search without first demanding a warrant. Fernandez attacked an innocent on the streets of Los Angeles back in 2009, and then ran back to his apartment to hide. When police arrived at the apartment his wife opened the door. When Fernandez heard the commotion at the door, he shouted: “You don’t have right to come in here! I know my rights!”


The ruling diminishes Fourth Amendment protections from unreasonable searches and seizures. In this case, it was the three dissenting liberal judges on the court who gave the majority a lesson in how the Fourth Amendment is designed to restrain police power. In previous decisions, the court has ruled that anyone objecting to a warrantless search provides sufficient deterrent to such searches. This would apply even in cases where other residents approve such a search. In a word, it just takes one who knows his rights to be able effectively to defend them. In this case, that is not the case now.


Vocabulary:

Fourth Amendment - "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

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Bill to require annual study of federalism passes House

Bill to require annual study of federalism passes House | David Pham Current Events Scrapbook | Scoop.it
Rep. Ken Ivory sought earlier this year to require every lawyer and judge working for state and local governments to take an annual seminar on states’ rights to help them more effectively battle the federal government. The House on Friday passed a watered-down version of the bill that would require all state agencies and cities to appoint a designated person to attend such a seminar, and become what Ivory called ...
David Pham's insight:

Quarter 3, Week 6, February 24-March 2

HB 120 – Continuing Education on Federalism, sponsored by Representative Ken Ivory (Republican – West Jordan) would require any attorney working for the state of Utah undergo refresher courses on the concept of Federalism. 

In his candid and extemporaneous remarks, Gill said that HB 120 requires anybody who is “law-trained” and a government employee to take a class which he calls “re-education,” and which he contends is unwarranted. He feels that the entire states’ rights movement is misguided because the country is a nation united by all 50 states. Gill went on to emphasize that while he supports continuing education for lawyers, it is in the power of the judiciary and the Supreme Court, not the legislative branch, to dictate what should be considered proper training.

The text of HB 120 sets forth several requirements which pertain to those employees of the state and all political subdivisions “whosejob description requires that the employee be a member of the Utah State Bar.

 

During the early, Progressive Period (circa 1900′s) it was decided that States Rights and many other structural aspects of the Constitution were outdated and must be eliminated. To this point the Bar Association exists.

It is absolutely no shocker that attorneys trained to disdain democratic institutions refuse other ideas. For those who would defend Sam Gill’s views, you have long been warned about the risky road you have taken. This is now being manifest by a Progressive President who has gone so far as to open assail Congress, brag that he has a ‘pen and phone’ and will legislate via Executive Order. Who needs a Constitution or other such checks and balances when it gets in the way of enlightened Progressive views of social justice and income equality.

Sam Gill is simply consistent with President Obama. This is the ultimate manifestation of “Progress” for those who espouse such views. Anything to the contrary must be mocked and destroyed.

 

Vocabulary: 

 In general, a Federalist believes in Federalism. Federalism is a political concept in which a group of members are bound together with a governing representative head. Some people just do not know what it means to be one.


checks and balances - each branch must check off that each are using their powers rationally.

 

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Holder’s same-sex marriage move heats up separation of powers debate

Holder’s same-sex marriage move heats up separation of powers debate | David Pham Current Events Scrapbook | Scoop.it
David Pham's insight:

Quarter 3, Week 4, February 10-16

Attorney Eric Holder is making sweeping changes about how the federal government extends rights to legally married same-sex couples, in areas where the Justice Department has jurisdiction. Holder will issue a Justice Department policy memo. The directive will say that same-sex couples, who are legally married under the laws of a state that recognizes such unions, should receive equal benefits and treatment in areas like federal lawsuits and the U.S. court system, as well as in federal prisons.

 

Same sex marriage is a private matter and should be made public if the couple decides to do so. I see so many big heterosexual marriages with hundreds of guests, a devout Catholic clergy, and then the divorce ... such small print as compared to the blaring wedding details. Same sex couples can provide a healthy and loving home for so many children who discarded.

 

Vocabulary:

Separation of Powers- an act of vesting the legislative, executive, and judicial powers of government in separate bodies. What it displays here is the Judicial Branch enforcing its own action with the issue.

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Gabriel Lett's comment, February 23, 2014 9:41 PM
Eric Holder is making the right move doing this, same sex marriage is just as important as any other. The fact that same sex marriage is prohibited in most states is just a repetition of history, this is discrimination. The CONSTITUTION states to treat each other equal, and time and time again this law to live by has been violated over and over again. Same sex marriage is indeed a private matter, but I believe it should kind of be left as that. It's no one else's business. To prohibit same sex marriage just because you believe it's wrong is like canceling a guy's order of bacon cheddar fries because you're on a diet. So, I must say that Eric is making the right move in recognizing the gay community and supporting it.
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Agema lawsuit against Muslim-American group tossed out by federal judge

Agema lawsuit against Muslim-American group tossed out by federal judge | David Pham Current Events Scrapbook | Scoop.it
A federal judge in Michigan dismissed today a lawsuit filed on behalf of Republican leader Dave Agema and others against a Muslim-American group over the cancellation of an event in 2012 that was to highlight the perceived dangers of Islamic law.
David Pham's insight:

Quarter 3, Week 2, January 27-February 2

Dave Agema, a self-proclaimed pro-life Republican, has had his lawsuit dismissed by a federal judge in Michigan. It was an attack on the Islamic law that the Muslim-American group brought up and he wanted to continue this attack from the 2012 Allegan High School to continue. The lawsuit is one of several ways Agema has been at odds with some Muslims.

 

Some politicians always have to have a group to hate and to fear. They cannot run on and win elections based on the policies they support. Most Americans do not support them and acknowledge that - so they try to instill hate and fear of the 'other' (in this melting pot). It has not been working as well as before - I think because most people are tired of them and expect them to act like adults and come to the table to make this a better place. But it seems they have no interest in that. They want what they want when they want it and if they don't get it they will obstruct and call names and act as spoiled as they are instead of going on their civic duty.

 

Vocabulary:

There is an absence of vocabulary used from current or previous units.

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Larry Flynt's Fights for Access Continue Today, More Than 30 Years After U.S. Invasion of Grenada

Larry Flynt's Fights for Access Continue Today, More Than 30 Years After U.S. Invasion of Grenada | David Pham Current Events Scrapbook | Scoop.it
In July, Larry Flynt will toss an invitation-only birthday bash somewhere in the greater Los Angeles area to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his flagship adult publication, Hustler. And if it's anything like the party five years ago, which boasted ...
David Pham's insight:

Quarter 4, Week 4, April 14-20

The 535 members of the US Congress have had an unusual problem for more than three decades. Since 1983, Hustler founder Larry Flynt has provided free subscriptions of his publication to each and every politician, the National Journal reported on Friday. 

The magazine arrives each month in a plain envelope with the rest of the mail, which is then opened by assistants or interns, some of whom are not always prepared to find themselves confronted with a hardcore porn magazine.

Members of Congress tried to block delivery of the magazine in 1984, but federal court ruled that Flynt had a constitutional right to petition the government.

 

I do not think there are many of this generations of Americans that have knowingly sacrificed as much as he has for freedom of press. He will and has knowingly left his mansion to go to prison before backing down to illegal censorship being enforced based on religious beliefs. He is a multi-millionaire that the Government does no;t want to lose another battle to. I bet a lot of em would read Hustler more consistently and with more interest, than they would our Constitution.

For his part, Flynt told the Hill newspaper in 2011: 'Moses freed the Jews, Lincoln freed the slaves, and I just wanted to free all the neurotics,' according to the article.

 

Vocabulary:

-First Amendment- 

The court:

Even with regard to an order confined to Hustler, the interests of Members of Congress still cannot outweigh defendants' First Amendment rights not only to communicate and express their views but also to petition Members of Congress. As we have discussed above, the right to be let alone provides a Member of Congress only limited refuge in the office. Furthermore, receiving Hustler once each month would not unduly burden a Member of Congress. Members are not forced to read the magazine or other of the mail they receive in volume.

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Rep. Jim Moran: 'Members of Congress are underpaid'

Rep. Jim Moran: 'Members of Congress are underpaid' | David Pham Current Events Scrapbook | Scoop.it
Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., told CQ Roll Call that Congress should be paid more because they are the "board of directors for the largest economic entity in the world."
David Pham's insight:

Quarter 4, Week 2, March 31-April 6

Moran says the congressional salary is not enough for some lawmakers, who have to pay for housing in Washington and in their home districts. He notes there are members who sleep in their offices, rent “little” apartments or rooms from others on Capitol Hill or share housing with their colleagues while they go about their business in Washington.

 

Most Americans would probably look at someone making $174,000 a year and imagine how a more lucrative income could change their own lives. Bigger home, nicer car, perhaps another child, private education, some international travel. Endless possibility...

Congressman are grossly overpaid. In addition to salaries that most never had in private life, they have a benefit package including retirement that none in private industry enjoy. Why do you think so many worthless individuals stay there? Cut their pay slash their benefits and get rid of the pension and see how many stay. If anyone makes an argument that many will leave, Bring in new people and do away with career politicians.

 

Vocabulary:
Congress - Like much amendment, they introduce the salary of politicians. Jim Moran is introducing this to try and increase officially the salary. 

 

Amendment - Of course, amendments is a difficult procedure to pass among the three branches.

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Anti-gay church founder Phelps dies

Anti-gay church founder Phelps dies | David Pham Current Events Scrapbook | Scoop.it
Fred Phelps Sr, the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, which was widely known for its inflammatory anti-gay protests, has died, his family say.
David Pham's insight:

Quarter 3, Week 9, March 17-23

The Rev. Fred Phelps Sr., the fiery founder of a small Kansas church who led outrageous and hate-filled protests that blamed almost everything, including the deaths of AIDS victims and U.S. soldiers, on America's tolerance for gay people, has died. He was 84.

Throughout his life, Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church, a small congregation made up almost entirely of his extended family, tested the boundaries of free speech, violating accepted societal standards for decency in their unapologetic assault on gays and lesbians. In the process, some believe he even helped the cause of gay rights by serving as such a provocative symbol of intolerance.


Now is the time to see if Fred's hate will continue. If you are celebrating his death or call for people to protest his funeral, then you are a good student's of Fred and picked up his hate and will carry it on. Let him slip into obscurity. Do not celebrate his death or protest his funeral. Take the moral high road you claim to have. You cannot say you are of love if you practice the same traits as Fred who cheered the death of people and picketed their funerals.


Vocabulary:

First Amendment: The WBC often had the rights to picket at Funerals and any public places. In 2011 the church won a major legal victory when the US Supreme Court ruled it could not be sued for monetary damages for inflicting pain on grieving families.

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Judge Orders Arrest of Man Filing Harassing Debtor Liens | New York Law Journal

Judge Orders Arrest of Man Filing Harassing Debtor Liens | New York Law Journal | David Pham Current Events Scrapbook | Scoop.it

A federal judge has ordered the arrest of a concert promoter accused of filing spurious debtors' liens against lawyers with Loeb & Loeb in New York, his form...

David Pham's insight:

Quarter 3, Week 7, March 3-9

A federal judge has ordered the arrest of a concert promoter accused of filing spurious debtors' liens against several lawyers, a law firm and the William Morris Endeavor Entertainment talent agency.

Southern District Judge Robert Patterson told U.S. Marshals on Friday to track down and take into custody Leonard Rowe of Rowe Entertainment, who has allegedly been filing Uniform Commercial Code financing statements to harass lawyers with Loeb & Loeb in New York and his former lawyers at Dentons. The U.S. Supreme Court then denied Rowe's petition for a writ of certiorari, and Rowe later appealed to Patterson, without success, to reopen the case.

 

I would have not thought that a judge could order the arrest of a citizen besides missing a warrant. They are most often called bench warrants, and are issued mainly for not paying fines and court fees. Many bench warrants do not result arrests right away as they may not be acted upon by the police unless they engage you for another reason.

 

Vocabulary:

writ of certiorari - The primary means to petition the court for review is to ask it to grant a writ of certiorari. This is a request that the Supreme Court order a lower court to send up the record of the case for review. This man did not have enough basis to get himself there.

 

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Arizona lawmakers pass controversial anti-gay bill

Arizona lawmakers pass controversial anti-gay bill | David Pham Current Events Scrapbook | Scoop.it
Arizona's Legislature has passed a controversial bill that would allow business owners, as long as they assert their religious beliefs, to deny service to gays.
David Pham's insight:

Quarter 3, Week 5, February 17-23

The bill, approved by the Republican-controlled Senate on Wednesday and the House on Thursday, is designed to bolster a business owner’s right to refuse service to gays and others if the owner believes doing so violates the practice and observance of his or her religion. The Arizona bill, SB 1062, is similar to proposals in other states, including ones that failed in Kansas and Idaho. Another is under consideration in Utah. The legislation comes as support for same-sex marriage is gaining momentum in the courts, and on the heels of two cases in which state courts sided with gay couples in wedding-related lawsuits. In New Mexico, for example, the state Supreme Court allowed a gay couple to sue a photographer who refused to photograph their commitment ceremony.

 

There is zero chance of this law standing up in a constitutional court of law. It basically gives creedence to blatant discrimination based on religious "morals", and for no other reason - an action that is unauthorized by the constitution of the United States.

 

Vocabulary:

reserved powers - There is no mention of marriage in the Constitution of the United States and as such the Constitution holds that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

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Keeping the Electoral College and Electing the President Who Gets the Most Votes: It's a Simple Matter of Agreement | Alan B. Morrison

Keeping the Electoral College and Electing the President Who Gets the Most Votes: It's a Simple Matter of Agreement | Alan B. Morrison | David Pham Current Events Scrapbook | Scoop.it
In recent years, a new movement -- called National Popular Vote (NPV) -- has figured out another way to democratize our presidential election....
David Pham's insight:

Quarter 3, Week 3, February 3-9

For decades, Americans have been unhappy with the Electoral College as the means of choosing the President. Quite simply, they want the candidate with the most votes to be the winner. Most people think that the only way to fix the problem is by amending the Constitution. But in recent years, a new movement called National Popular Vote has figured out another way to democratize our presidential election, and transform the current process that effectively disenfranchises the voters in most states, and narrowly focuses the attention and spending of the candidates on fewer than a dozen swing states. It is a simple matter of enough states agreeing to change how they cast their electoral votes. The process of change is well underway, if under the radar of most voters. 

 

Federal legislation should resolve the following issues:

• The law must express Congress's consent to the NPV to dispel any uncertainty over its constitutionality under the Compact Clause. 

• The federal law should establish a streamlined clearinghouse for receiving the popular vote counts from each state and transmitting those numbers to the rest of the states.

• There should be a federal recount procedure to push back the safe harbor and elector meeting dates, which would still assure the constitutionally-mandated Inauguration on January 20th and give the President-elect enough time to fill his top offices. 

• Congress should condition its consent to the NPV on giving candidates at least a year in order to develop a campaign strategy before NPV goes into effect.

 

Vocabulary:
Electoral College is on the basis in the article stating "Under the Constitution, each state receives one electoral vote for each Member of the House of Representatives, and one vote for each of its two Senators. With the three votes given to the District of Columbia by the 23rd Amendment, that makes the total 538, with a candidate needing 270 to be elected. Although each State may decide how it will cast its votes, almost all states give the winner of the state popular vote all of its Electoral College votes. "

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Bill Nye the Science Guy to debate evolution with creationist - NBC News.com

Bill Nye the Science Guy to debate evolution with creationist - NBC News.com | David Pham Current Events Scrapbook | Scoop.it
Bill Nye the Science Guy plans to visit Kentucky next month for a creation-vs.-evolution debate with Creation Museum founder Ken Ham. ...
David Pham's insight:

Quarter 3, Week 1, January 20-26

 

Bill Nye, The Science Guy, planned to visit Kentucky next month for a creation versus evolution debate with Creation Museum founder Ken Ham. Ken Ham had responded with a video challenging him to come forth for that debate. This debate will be hosted on the fourth of February. The reason for this issue is the long-time culture war between the traditional custom and newer society. The traditional usually takes side with the religious aspects of creation which is through God, but the science behind the newer society point out the evolution of humanity.

 

In this cultural war, lets face it; As a child influenced by media, much of students my age and below would side with Bill Nye because he is The Science Guy. There are many religious people of different background who would change the view of Bill Nye after this but from the looks of it he is a scientist who he is supposed to believe what he majored in. It is not the common issue that is being fought presently such as the rights for gays or marijuana legalization, but I feel as it is important to me because it questions whether we should allow the education system to teach one of these, both, or neither. This is influential to the media that the students would go through someday in science, as this possibly would be the end of Bill Nye if he does not pull through on his evidence, because even any reasoning could not back down the belief of the creationist.

 

Vocabulary:

In the video that depicts Ken Ham, “Demography perceive that school board has no right to teach this evolution topic.”

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David Pham's comment, January 23, 2014 10:54 AM
Thank you science!
Chris Stevenson's comment, March 19, 2014 11:29 PM
This article was very interesting to read and I love the insight. I feel this article is very important because for so long there has been a war between science and it's beliefs about how evolution took place and that's how we're here and people who believe that everything is here because of God's creation. It's been a debate for a while and I think this article is significant to me because I believe that God created everything and as much as I love Bill Nye and respect him - heck I grew up listening to him - I have to say that I strongly disagree with his beliefs about evolution. This topic is constantly being brought up especially between college students and their professors. They're being challenged and tested.