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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The 17th Amendment and The United States Senate

The history of government of the United States of America is quite interesting as it also continues to be an ever-evolving story. The original form of government with its subsequent changes, the creation of the Senate along with the change in how Senators have been chosen coupled with current proposals in the selection of Senators has got me pondering.

It was the Second Continental Congress that approved the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. However, it was not until 1781 that the United States of America adopted its first form of national government under the Articles of Confederation. While each state was granted much independence, the Articles of Confederation did not provide the national government with the authority to make the states work together to solve national problems. Under this early form of federalism, early Americans were not all that happy with the national government and decided a change was needed. Consequently, the call for governmental change resulted in throwing out the government entirely with the adoption of a new form of government under the Constitution of the United States in 1789.

Article 1 of the Constitution is known as the legislative article because it establishes the national legislature for the United States. In compliance with this article of the Constitution, the national legislature is composed of a two-chamber Congress consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate, as stated in Article 1, Section 1: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”

According to the Article 1 Section 1 of the Constitution, members of “the House of Representatives shall be … chosen … by the people of the several states, …” with each state having proportionate representation, i.e. each state having its number of representatives determined proportionately by the size of its population.

In regards to the Senate, the Constitution provided that each state shall have two senators regardless of the population size. Additionally, the Constitution stipulated that those senators were to be chosen by each state legislature. Section 3 of Article 1 states, in part: “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof, ....“

Note that the Constitution as ratified in 1789 provided that each state be allowed two senators with each state legislature choosing those two senators. This is how United States Senators were chosen for the next 124 years.

It was in 1913 that the 17th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified. It is the 17th Amendment, adopted 124 years after the Constitution of the United States was ratified, that changed the manner in which United States Senators are chosen. It is the 17th Amendment that took the responsibility, authority, and power of electing senators from the state legislatures. It is the 17th Amendment that gave the power of electing Senators directly to the people of the states. Amendment 17 to the United States Constitution states, in part: “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two senators from each state, elected by the people thereof … “

Now, 97 years later, there is a group of people, most of whom have aligned themselves with the Tea Party movement, who wish to change the method of choosing Senators by going back to the original method of having Senators chosen by the individual state legislatures.

So, if we are to essentially repeal the 17th Amendment, are we taking a step backwards or are we correcting the error of our ways to go back so that we may move forward?

I have heard some pundits criticize this proposal of having the state legislatures choosing U.S. Senators as taking away the right of people to vote. If we return to that method of selecting Senators, do the people really lose power? In our republican government, our representative democracy, are not the state legislators elected by the people and empowered to act on the behalf of the people? If we do not trust our state legislators, why did we elect them? If it concerns a matter of having a direct vote and a direct voice, why do we have a representative democracy, why not just go to a direct democracy form of government?

Why do we keep going back and forth about how we select members of the United States Senate? I get so confused with the arguments, pro and con. Do we want a representative democracy, a direct democracy, or what?

Friday, October 15, 2010

University of Toledo: More BS, as in BULL

With the University of Toledo being the topic of Roland Hansen Commentary today, a reference to BS might refer to Bachelor of Science; but, that is not the case.

I just read with great interest a story from The Independent Collegian. After having read the article, all I can sputter is "What a bunch of BS!" (Hint: the "B" stands for "bull" and the "S" - well, you can fill that in for yourself.)

Tell you what. Click on over to read Board approves restructuring plan, University to be reorganized into new colleges and schools; implementation process to begin by Hasan Dudar; and then, tell me of your reaction.

Ya know? This is not the first Roland Hansen Commentary about the University of Toledo. I have made several blog entries about the University of Toledo. To get the flavor of my perspective of U.T. under the watch of Lloyd Jacobs, you might click over to read these three previous commentaries of mine:
University of Toledo: A Non-Responsive Bureaucracy
University of Toledo: A Success As A Failure OR A Failure At Success?
University of Toledo: President Dr. Lloyd Jacobs Should Resign Or Be Fired

There are more Roland Hansen Commentary entries about U.T. that you may read; and if you so desire, go ahead and knock your socks off. But, I think you catch my drift.

Postnote: The University of Toledo is a great place to learn, thanks to its excellent faculty and faculty support staff, and no thanks to (or should that be "despite"?) its administration

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Consumer Alert: 760-284-4698 Scam By Telephone

Most people are aware that I have two places that I call home. One is the home of my legal residence in Toledo, Ohio. The other is my little retirement home in Dreamland Villa, a 55 plus community in a Maricopa County island of Arizona surrounded by the municipality of Mesa where I am at the moment.

Well, the other day, I received a telephone call from my brother, who lives in my Toledo house. He was frantic and was quite distraught. He started out with, "I do not know if you are in trouble or not; but there was a telephone call that I answered that, as it turned out, was for you. I took a message and promised the caller that I would give it to you."

He then proceeded to give me the message, as paraphrased and summarized below:

"A fellow using the name Frank Jefferson telephoned. He said his name was 'Frank Jefferson' but he spoke with a really strange accent that sounded like it might be East Indian. He said that a friend of yours (note from Roland: name being withheld to protect the innocent) is involved in some legal matters with American Cash Advance and since you (Roland) are named as a reference that you are equally involved. He aid that it is very important for you to call him back at the telephone number of 1-760-284-4698 or you can be in real trouble."

Wow! That is some heavy stuff, but something just did not seem correct. I, mean, give me a break - How could I be in trouble just by being named as a reference for someone else? I figured no way I will call this 'Frank Jefferson' person until I let my friend know about the call. I had absolutely no clue as to why either my friend or I would be involved in legal matters with American Cash Advance. I thought my friend might be able to shed some light on this.

Meanwhile, Sherlock Roland decided to let his fingers do the walking on the computer keyboard connected to the internet armed with trusty Google. So, into the google search space went the telephone number that was to supposedly be this 'Frank Jefferson' character.

Lo and Behold! Upon seeing the results, I got all kinds of warnings that it is a big scam to get money by fraudulent means. I thought I should share this information with everyone I can and to advise you all:

Here, click on over to the following embedded link to take a look for yourself at the Google search results for the telephone number 760-284-4698.

This is a public service announcement of Roland Hansen Commentary.