Sunday, March 29, 2009

Analysis: Assuming 1 point for each task, how many points are possible for the following Free Response Question and for which tasks?

In emphasizing the importance of congressional committees, Woodrow Wilson once said, "Congress in session is Congress on display. Congress in committee is Congress at work." Perform the following tasks regarding congressional committees.
a. Identify a basic function of congressional standing committees.
b. List an example of a congressional standing committee.
c. Describe how congressional standing committees are influenced by each of the following:
Interest groups
Political parties
The bureaucracy

(p.s. this essay will be due at the beginning of the hour Tuesday)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Analysis: Didn't candidate Obama attack candidate McCain for saying the fundamentals of the economy are strong? Perhaps this is a CHANGE in thinking?

“But if we are keeping focused on all the fundamentally sound aspects of our economy,” he added, “all the outstanding companies, workers, all the innovation and dynamism in this economy, then we’re going to get through this. And I’m very confident about that.”

JOHN MCCAIN 9-15-08:
"Our economy, I think, is still -- the fundamentals of our economy are strong, but these are very, very difficult times,'' McCain said.

In the wake of a big stock-market downdraft, Hoover on Thursday, Oct. 24, 1929, proclaimed, "The fundamental business of the country, that is, production and distribution of commodities, is on a sound and prosperous basis."

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Analysis: Constitutional or Unconstitutional? (or does the whole thing just suck "Lemons"!)

Archive for Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Obama calls for more federal faith-based funding to assist poor
In Ohio, the Democratic candidate focuses on religion during a week in which he is discussing values issues. In Indiana, McCain promises to veto ‘every bill with earmarks.’

By Michael Muskal and Robin AbcarianJuly 02, 2008
Zanesville, Ohio – Stepping into the thorny territory of church-state relations, Democrat Barack Obama today called for more federal dollars devoted to faith-based organizations that work with the poor.

Obama, a former community organizer, toured the Eastside Community Ministry, an arm of Central Presbyterian Church, which operates a food bank and provides other services for the poor.

“As I’ve said many times, I believe that change comes not from the top down, but from the bottom up, and few are closer to the people than our churches, synagogues, temples and mosques,” the likely Democratic presidential nominee said.

“The challenges we face today – from saving our planet to ending poverty – are simply too big for government to solve alone,” he said. “We need all hands on deck.”

On Monday, Obama began a week of focusing on values by speaking about patriotism. Today, he explored his relationship to religion, an area that created problems during the primary after his former pastor made disparaging comments about the United States.

“I didn’t grow up in a particularly religious household,” Obama said. “But my experience in Chicago showed me how faith and values could be an anchor in my life.

“And in time, I came to see my faith as being both a personal commitment to Christ and a commitment to my community; that while I could sit in church and pray all I want, I wouldn’t be fulfilling God’s will unless I went out and did the Lord’s work,” he said

Obama’s outlined proposals including a new Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and $500 million a year to fund summer teaching programs. In his speech, Obama cited past efforts by both Democrats and conservative Republicans to combine faith and federal funding.

“Leaders in both parties have recognized the value of a partnership between the White House and faith-based groups,” Obama said. “President Clinton signed legislation that opened the door for faith-based groups to play a role in a number of areas, including helping people move from welfare to work. Al Gore proposed a partnership between Washington and faith-based groups to provide more support for the least of these.

“And President Bush came into office with a promise to ‘rally the armies of compassion,’ establishing a new Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives,” Obama said.

Obama’s proposals would also allow religious charities that receive federal funding to consider religion in employment decisions, and that could create some problems for liberals who support a sharper divide between church and state. The Illinois senator said he was aware of the issues but insisted his plans would satisfy both ends of the political spectrum.

“Make no mistake, as someone who used to teach constitutional law, I believe deeply in the separation of church and state, but I don’t believe this partnership will endanger that idea – so long as we follow a few basic principles,” Obama said.

“First, if you get a federal grant, you can’t use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help and you can’t discriminate against them – or against the people you hire – on the basis of their religion. Second, federal dollars that go directly to churches, temples, and mosques can only be used on secular programs. And we’ll also ensure that taxpayer dollars only go to those programs that actually work.”

The Obama campaign also distributed a statement from John DiIulio, who in 2001 was director of President Bush’s White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, backing Obama’s proposals.

“His plan reminds me of much that was best in both then-Vice President Al Gore’s and then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush’s respective first speeches on the subject in 1999,” DiIulio stated.

“His constitutionally sound and administratively feasible ideas about community-serving partnerships hold special promise for truly disadvantaged children, youth, and families.”
While Obama focused on religion, his likely Republican opponent campaigned on law-and-order issues in Indianapolis before embarking on a trip to Latin America.

John McCain took a tough stand in a speech at the National Sheriffs’ Assn.’s 68th annual conference, where he insisted that his criminal justice policies would also make available resources needed for law enforcement.

“In all of criminal justice policy, we must put the interests of law-abiding citizens first – and above all the rights of victims,” McCain said. “We must give active support to officers of the peace across America, by providing the tools you need to meet new dangers.”

McCain also emphasized the need to appoint judges with “a proven record of excellence in the law, and a proven commitment to judicial restraint. They will be the kind of judges who believe in giving everyone in a criminal court their due: justice for the guilty and the innocent, compassion for the victims, and respect for the men and women of law enforcement.”

McCain also returned to one of his favorite subjects, his crusade against congressional earmarks, calling such appropriations “the broken windows of the federal budget process” – a reference to the theory that small urban problems, unattended, lead to more serious decline.

Lawmakers, he said, too often distribute Justice Department funds “according to their value to the reelection of members of Congress instead of their value to police.”

“And that’s why, as president, I will veto every bill with earmarks,” he said. “It may take a while for Congress to adjust, but sooner or later they’ll figure out that there’s a new sheriff in town.”

McCain also touted his support for legislation to increase penalties for violent felons who commit crimes with guns or on behalf of gangs, improvements to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System for firearms purchases, the increase in fines paid by criminals into the Federal Crime Victims fund, and better communications technology for law enforcement agencies.

He has authored a bill, he said, that would add 10 years to the sentence of anyone convicted of using the Internet in the commission of a crime against a child.

He drew loud applause when he said the federal government “has failed to protect our borders … and this serious dereliction of duty must end.” If elected, he vowed, “we will require that the federal government assume more of the costs to deport and detain criminal aliens – because this is a problem of the federal government’s own making.”
Abcarian reported from the McCain campaign in Indiana and staff writer Peter Nicholas contributed from the Obama campaign in Ohio. Muskal reported from Los Angeles.