Tuesday, September 30, 2008

estoy muy cansada

well... you know what? i'm tired. i'm tired of bickering about obama's and palin's experience. yes, palin is inexperienced. yes, obama has less experience than mccain, but more than palin. yes, obama is running for president. no, palin is not running for president. (and don't give me the "heartbeat away from the presidency" line...) so... can we please stop making this campaign about palin and obama? 'cause you know what? i really rather dislike politics. because none of it means anything (the bickering doesn't mean anything at least) and it doesn't get anywhere. maybe that's a good thing. i don't know if i necessarily want any of these people running my life for me. so thank you framers of the constitution, for making it a pain in the ass to accomplish anything in america's political system, 'cause i'd hate to think of the state of our country today if it was actually easy to get anything done in the government.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

by high sell low, you're going really slow. by low sell high, take a piece of the pie.

i know absolutely nothing about the economic situation. i really should know more. i apologize for my ignorance. anyway, i hope it works itself out. i don't really think a bail out is the best idea, but it depends on the bail out. i do think the mortgage and banking industry need to be reworked. and so do people's ideas. debt is not necessarily bad (everyone's in debt), but getting in debt one cannot pay for is extremely bad.

down with the overexpansion of credit. up with moderation.

and please, anyone, tell me what i need to know, if you have the time and motivation. i don't have the motivation (i suppose i have the time) to try and figure it out for myself.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


it doesn't matter who's in the military.

it doesn't matter that palin's family is in a less than desirable situation.

it doesn't matter that palin's a woman or that obama's black. or that palin does have less, although different, experience than obama. hell. palin and obama aren't even running against each other.

what do matter are the facts. the cold hard, unemotional, unbiased, often elusive facts.

so this is my call to arms. to everyone. seek the facts. seek the facts as if you have no opinion and let the facts, all the facts form your opinion. and remember, you can always change your mind... (at least until november 4th).

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bad Call

Darn. I should have gone to see Obama. Not necessarily for the speech, but for the experience. Oh, well, I hope you all had fun. You didn't miss much at school. I think the most people I had in a class was about 15.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Formal and Informal Constitution

The Constitution is a document that, even when written, was meant to change and grow as the fledgling nation it helped establish was changing and growing. Therefore, the Constitution can be changed through more than just the formal amendment process. The amendment process outlined in Article V of the Constitution is the only formal way the Constitution can be changed, but informally the Constitution is constantly changing through judicial interpretation, changing political practices, technology and increasing demands on policymakers.

The formal amendment process includes two steps, proposal and ratification, which can be completed in two different ways each. A constitution amendment can be proposed, as it has been all 27 times, by a two-thirds vote in each house of Congress, or by a national convention called by Congress at the request of two-thirds of the states’ legislatures. The amendment can then be ratified either by the agreement of three-fourths of the states’ legislatures, as has been done for 26 of the 27 amendments, or by special state conventions called in three-fourths of the states, as was done for the 21st amendment. The formal amendments to the Constitution have generally increased liberty and equality in the United States (the only solely economic amendment was the 16th amendment) and have shifted the Constitution from a document mainly focused on economics and logistics to a document focused on establishing and ensuring a government that secures the unalienable rights of its subjects.

The informal processes by which the Constitution is changed are much less defined than the formal amending process. Judicial interpretation is one of the most defined of the informal processes because of the precedent of judicial review established by Chief Justice John Marshall in the Marbury v. Madison case of 1803. In essence, judicial interpretation informally changes the Constitution because the Constitution generally means what the Supreme Court says it means. Changing political practices is important to informally changing the Constitution because of the impact it has on the unwritten constitution. The unwritten constitution includes all the precedents that have been established in government, such as the precedent of judicial review mentioned above and the precedent that electors in the Electoral College will vote for the candidate that the majority of the population in their state votes for. The unwritten constitution is also influenced by political parties, which although not mentioned in the Constitution have come to greatly define American politics. Technology has obviously had a great impact on political life as well as everyday life because the increase in technology means that we now have to deal with issues, such as abortion and nuclear weapons, which the framers of the Constitution couldn’t possibly have imagined. Also, since there are more issues politicians need to deal with in today’s world, such as abortion and nuclear weapons, there are increased demands on policymakers, especially the president. With the United States’ rise in international politics, the president, who is in charge of foreign affairs and foreign affair appointees, has gained much more power than he originally had in the Constitution. None of the informal changes have officially occurred to the Constitution, therefore, they are all part of the unwritten constitution, which although not a formal document greatly affects the way the formal Constitution is interpreted and used.

It is the great flexibility of the Constitution that has been outlined in the above essay and it is the great flexibility of the Constitution that has allowed for the document’s continued survival. In today’s world it seems everything can change in only minutes and it is only fitting that so too must the United States’ Constitution be able to change formally and informally with some ease.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Madison Model of Government (more appropriate length for this assignment perhaps)

Madison's model of government is clearly planned out in the Constitution of the United States of America. Since the Constitution has become the framework for how the American government works now-a-days, it should not be a surprise that much of Madison's ideas are still reflected in America's government today. Madison's model of government established systems for separating power and checks and balances, which have helped to ensure America's government has lasted; however, no government is without problems and simply the streamlined ideas of Madison's government created issues right off the bat.

The systems for separating power that Madison depicted in the Constitution are still there today with little modification. The voters still elect the House of Representatives directly, the President is still elected by the electoral college, and the Supreme Court Justices are still appointed by the President with Senate approval. However, a major change since Madison's time is that people are less afraid of the self-interests of the majority now. In today's government, the senators are directly elected by the people instead of by the state legislatures. Such a change reflects the change in beliefs concerning factions. The preservation of property and wealth is still a big deal as it was in 1787, but today, people are have more trust that the system of the government will work, so interest groups form more readily and can even gin power in federal government to change such things as the election of senators.

After many years under the Constitution with the only main change being the addition of the Bill of Rights since many states found the Constitution too streamlined and would not ratify without some guarantee of rights, the change to the direct election of senators shows that the people had an issue with the separation of powers. The people wanted more power and, unlike in Madison's time, they were actually able to get the power they wanted through the process of constiutional amendments.

The idea of checks and balances in Madison's model government is also still seen today and may have even help up with less issues over the years than did the concept of separation of power. Today, there are still three branches of government and each branch still has a least one power to check another branch and one check on itself. For instance, the President can still veto bills that pass the Senate, but the Senate can still override that veto with a vote of over two-thirds for the bill. Also, the Supreme Court still has the power of judicial review as it was set up in the Marbury v. Madison case of 1803.

Therefore, although there have been 27 constitutional amendments and there are still problems with such things as the interpretation of the Constitution ("strict" or "loose"), the basic ideas of Madison's model government, which he framed in the Constitution are still being upheld today and can be seen in the government everyday.

Madison Model of Government (full length essay)

It was Madison who wrote the Constitution for the United States of America. In that constitution, Madison established the framework for the government of the United States as it was in 1787 and for the United States today, in 2008. It is a tribute to Madison’s ideas that so much of his original framework for government has been left unaltered over more than two hundred years. There have only been twenty-seven constitutional amendments since 1787; therefore, much of the government we see today is simply a reflection of Madison’s model for government. Such ideas as checks and balances and the separation of powers are still important today, but that is not to say there have not been any conflicts over the years. Much of Madison’s model for government may have been able to stand the test of time and is still reflected in how the United States runs its government today, but there are many important differences that have been caused by several issues apparent over the years.

When Madison framed the Constitution in 1787, he was creating a new and much stronger government than the one that existed before, under the Articles of Confederation. However, the government Madison created was still weak compared to the government we see now-a-days. Modern America’s government, like the one Madison framed, still has three branches – the executive, the legislative, and the judicial branches – and those branches are still separate, but with shared powers. Those branches also still employ the principles of checks and balances in order to maintain some sort of equality in government. However, America’s government now-a-days has both more freedom and more government restriction because of the amendments passed to alter Madison’s Constitution and his model government.

Some amendments that provide more power to the people are those that allow black men to vote (15th), allow the direct election of senators (17th), and allow women to vote (19th). All of those amendments are considered triumphs for the common man, but they tend to go against Madison’s basic idea that too much power in the majority is inherently bad. Like the other delegates at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Madison was a rich white man who was scared of the self-interested majority altering his way of life by perhaps upsetting the preservation of property, and needed the Constitution to appeal to a majority of states in order for it to be ratified; therefore, he did not include such rights in the Constitution as universal suffrage. So, although the 15th, 17th and 19th amendments are now seen as triumphs, in Madison’s model government of 1787, they would not have been allowed.

Other amendments to the Constitution since Madison’s day have served the opposite purpose of universal suffrage and have further enlarged the role of the federal government. For instance, the 16th amendment, which established an income tax, greatly increased the powers of the federal government to tax and limited the powers of the people to decide how to spend their hard earned money. The 18th amendment, although repealed, also limited personal freedoms by preventing people from drinking alcohol. Such ideas as income tax and prohibition were not originally mentioned in Madison’s model of government because they would have been seen as the expansion of the government gone too far, so they are examples of how modern America’s government is not a perfect reflection of the government Madison outlined in the Constitution. However, simply the ability for the Constitution to change, as outlined by Madison, reflects the idea of the flexibility of government as related in the Constitution even if the ideas in the amendments do not reflect the general ideas of Madison’s model government as a whole.

The amendments that have been mentioned up to this point are examples of how Madison’s model government is not being perfectly reflected in American Government today, but all of those amendments can also be seen as conflicts arising out of Madison’s blueprint for government. Since Madison left so much power to the states, conflicts often arose, as they did before and during the Civil War, concerning state sovereignty over federal sovereignty. Especially after the 15th amendment passed, it became clear that the federal government and the state governments were no longer equal. Through the issues of nullification and state determination of voters, conflicts had arisen and decisions were made by the three branches of government that made it clear federal government had become supreme. It can be argued that if it were not for Madison’s leaving so much up to the states, such as the determination of suffrage, that conflict never would have come up. As such, the conflict over state’s rights can be seen as a conflict arising from a direct problem with interpretation of the Constitution.

Madison’s model government was by no means perfect. In some ways, it caused conflict; in other areas, the ideas in the Constitution are so well-liked they have lasted the test of time. Nonetheless, it is clear that Madison had a brilliant political mind in devising a model government that allowed for a stronger central government without concentrating the power in one person, or one group of people. In creating a constitutional republic that seemed to give the people, the states, and the three branches of government say, Madison created a government that, despite having some problems, has lasted with relatively few changes for over two hundred years.

Any Good?

It is very interesting that Obama has chosen to come to Grand Junction, Colorado as one of his first stops in Colorado since the DNC. An area without much population compared to the Front Range and notorious for being very conservative, I would not have thought Western Colorado would have been one of Obama's first stops in the swing state of Colorado because I do not think Obama will be able to garner as many votes in this area of the state as he could in the more diverse, and liberal, areas of Eastern Colorado. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how the area responds to him and how much of an impact his visit makes on his standing in Colorado.

The Udall/Schafer debate made it quite clear that Western Colorado is very conservative and even almost unwelcoming to liberals. However, I understand that the portion of the population at the debate was small and the audience was mainly Club 20 members. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how the area welcomes the obviously liberal Obama. I know Obama is very popular among today's youth and perhaps Mesa State College attracted him to Grand Junction; I can only speculate, but I do find his choice odd. I understand that since Colorado is such a swing state, Obama would most likely be visiting Grand Junction at some point this campaign season, but I expected it to be more of a fly by on his way to or from the Front Range. This stop could be just that, I do not know much about it, but I'm assuming from what I've heard through the grape vine, this stop will at least include a speech and probably be a rather substantial pit stop.

As I've said many times in different words this blog, I am intrigued by Obama's choice to come to the generally conservative Western Colorado, and I am very excited to see what kind of impact this makes. It'll definitely be interesting how this campaign season pans out.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

So Much Politicking It's Nearly A Game

There is too much politicking in politics. Politics has turned from what it should be, an arena to voice opinions and propose policies, into a game for the older and supposedly wiser. It is all about [voting] records and advertisements and a big game of he said/she said. Instead, politics should be a forum for the nation's leaders to meet and discuss issues. Politics should be more of a discussion than this nauseating show of people cramming agendas down each other's throats. McCain (or Obama) can say he is going to do all of this and that is great. That is his political agenda and that is important, but what really matters is how he came to the conclusions that those are the things this country needs and how he plans to do those things. I would love to have a political discussion with a candidate so I could truly understand the thinking and reasoning behind his or her actions, but unfortunately, America has no patience for knowledge, they want results. However, I ask America, what good are results if there is no reason behind them? Nothing should be done simply to be done. Everything should be based on discussion and reasoning and not yelling and propaganda-ing.
With all the yelling and advertisements, Politics has really become a game. It is in football stadiums or hockey arenas where much of the actions America has come to associate with political rallies should be seen. The yelling and booing I witnessed at the political events I went to were no different than the yelling and booing I witnessed at the homecoming football game. The advertisements and posters at political rallies look like something that belongs on the boards around the arena at hockey games. I understand people getting involved in politics, but is nearly blind cheering the kind of involvement America really wants? I call to America to get involved in a more meaningful way. I call America to get involved in discussing not necessarily agendas and politicians, but politics at the heart of it. I call America to discuss the theory behind nationalized health care, not just the neighbor who doesn't have health insurance. I call America to get involved not necessarily through cheering or action, but through knowledgable voting. I call America to know politics instead of play politics.


Everyone has an opinion in this election and in this class, which in many ways is a great thing. It is about time America gets riled up about politics and issues, but what really bothers me is when people simply vent. Passion and opinions are just fine, but I believe people should know what they are talking about. Blind passion is dangerous and should be avoided, but passion with grounding and support is to be encouraged. However, people also need to do things. I hate the whiners I see about me everyday who simply complain for the sake of complaining, but never do anything and instead simply hope for everything to be done for them. It is not the governments job to live the lives of the people. Instead, the people need to live their own lives and the government needs to govern while maintaining the most amount of personal freedom possible.

(so are we still turning our 2 or 3 vocab words on Friday, Sept. 12th? also, Mr. Coit, thank you for the new posted syllabus. i'm excited to learn all of it!)