Tag Archives: government
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Tell your senators to support immigration reform.

28 Jan

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The following is from an email:

——

Have you heard the news?

Today, a bipartisan group of Senators just released their principles for an immigration reform plan to create a roadmap to citizenship for Americans without papers. [1] And tomorrow, President Obama will outline his vision for immigration reform.

For the first time in years, politicians from BOTH parties are working together on serious immigration reform plans.

Anti-immigrant extremists are in a panic and have begun flooding Congress with messages to try to kill this momentum. We can’t let this loud, anti-immigrant fringe shape the debate.

Please tell your Members of Congress: the time is NOW to create a roadmap to citizenship for all 11 million Americans without papers. Our community demands that they don’t stop until immigration reform is signed into law.

It is critical that we keep the momentum going and remind leaders that our community demands action now.

The Senate principles include a roadmap to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. without papers – this core element would protect this community from deportation and lead to full equality.

The fight is far from over. It’s up to us to keep fighting for every family, pushing for an end to the excessive and senseless enforcement practices and making sure that this roadmap to citizenship is clear, direct, and straightforward. Any proposal that makes citizenship nearly impossible or requires waiting in a generations-long line will be a non-starter.

Please tell Congress: the time for a straightforward roadmap to citizenship is now — and we demand that you deliver.

Thanks for all you do,

Adam Luna
America’s Voice Education Fund

—- Footnotes —-

[1]: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/28/us/politics/senators-agree-on-blueprint-for-immigration.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

In Report, Texas University History Departments Face Scrutiny

10 Jan

In Report, University History Departments Face Scrutiny
by Reeve Hamilton, The Texas Tribune, http://texastribune.org/

At a press conference on Thursday afternoon, three conservative groups — the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the National Association of Scholars and the Texas Association of Scholars — will release a sure-to-be controversial report alleging that the University of Texas and Texas A&M University offer students “a less-than-comprehensive picture of history.”

The report’s rollout is part of a three-day policy orientation by the TPPF, an Austin-based think tank that has been tied to some of the state’s most hotly-debated proposed higher education reforms. It signals a renewed push to reconsider the course offerings in the history departments of the state’s public universities, and particularly to boost the number of courses dedicated to the study Western Civilization.

Jeremi Suri, a prominent historian at UT who has already read the report, called it disappointing.

“I have a lot of respect for the National Association of Scholars. They spend a lot of time defending free speech, and I’m a big believer in free speech, but this report is just so off base. It’s just not accurate.”

Written by Richard Fonte, the former director of the We the People program at the National Endowment for the Humanities, the study examined the background of professors and the syllabi for 85 courses offered in the fall of 2010 that could have counted toward the state’s requirement that students at public institutions take two American history classes.

“We found that all too often the course readings gave strong emphasis to race, class and gender social history, an emphasis so strong that it diminished the attention given to other subjects in American history (such as military, diplomatic, religious, intellectual history),” Fonte wrote.

He contended that the prevalence of so-called “RCG” — race, class and gender — assignments was more of an issue at UT than at A&M. He determined that too many courses were highly specialized, and also noted that major historical figures were being overlooked at both universities, with only rare mentions of “Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Dewey, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas A. Edison, the Wright brothers or the scientists of the Manhattan Project.”

Thomas Lindsay, the director of the TPPF’s Center for Higher Education, said in a statement that his organization “is pleased to be a part of launching this study, which will help universities and administrators to return to teaching American history in its fullness.”

“Strengthening the teaching of American history, government, and Western Civilization is at the very core of our recommendations for reform,” he added.

In December, Lindsay was among the authors of a TPPF report that suggested that “university regents and other administrators should be encouraged to institute reforms that place more focus on teaching students basic American history, government, economics, and Western Civilization, whether through a standardized test or more course options/requirements.”

This new report recommends that the universities have their curriculum reviewed, hire new faculty members with broader interests, make sure survey courses remain broad in scope and “depoliticize history.” The report will be given to the leadership at the universities.

“We hope that they will read it and consider it instead of judging it without reading it,” said Ashley Thorne, director for the study of the curriculum at the National Association of Scholars.

She acknowledged that the group is accustomed to taking controversial stances, including a strong opposition to affirmative action, which UT recently defended before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Suri said the UT history program has a strong emphasis in military, political and diplomatic history; some on the left argue it’s too strong, he added.

Suri, author of Liberty’s Surest Guardian: American Nation-Building from the Founders to Obama, said that departmental focus was one of the primary reasons he came to UT. He said the report makes no mention of a new university center focused on diplomacy and national security, or of the Normandy Scholars program, which offers students an intense focus on World War II and is one of UT’s signature offerings.

“There is political correctness in the academic world, and academics — like people in any field — tend to follow fashions and trends. And sometimes that’s a problem,” he said. “But that’s not a problem with the teaching of history in this department. They just chose the wrong thing.”

Fonte said he anticipated that the university would defend itself against his findings and acknowledged that the report makes assumptions about courses based on their assigned readings. Suri argues that an accurate understanding of the nature of a course requires more involvement than merely a review of the syllabus from a single semester.

“Come sit in, come engage us, if you really care,” Suri said, extending the same invitation to curious legislators.

Anxiety about the history curriculum at Texas public universities is nothing new for state legislators. One of the most memorable debates on the House floor during the 82nd legislative session occurred when state Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, proposed an amendment requiring that universities dedicate 10 percent of their courses to instruction in “Western Civilization.”

The amendment failed, in part because of his inability to articulate his motivation for offering it.

When Rep. Borris Miles, D-Houston, pressed him on what he meant by “Western Civilization,” Christian provided the following response:

Similarly frustrated with Christian’s responses to questions about whether the abolitionist movement or Native American studies would be included in the requirement, state Rep. Raphael Anchia, D-Dallas, publicly speculated that the motivation behind the amendment was “very political and potentially insulting,” and argued that UT and other universities should be “free from this type of manipulation and political statement on the House floor.”

Christian will not be returning this session; he lost his bid for re-election. But Thursday’s press conference is a strong indication that his proposal — or something resembling it — might.

Lindsay told the Tribune that he did not think the discussion should be as contentious as it was in the previous session. “This transcends any party differences,” he said. “Democracy is not a gift. It’s something that each generation has to earn, and the current generation must teach to the up and coming generation.”

As for race, class, and gender, both Lindsay and Fonte said those topics should be taught, but with less of an emphasis than they believe currently exists.

“Those are all aspects of American history,” Lindsay said. “Students should be introduced to all of them, because you want students to have a broad understanding of American history.”

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://trib.it/VU1Cql.

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The Seven Things You Need to Know About the Tax Deal

2 Jan

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Last night, Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives joined the Senate in passing the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. That means middle-class families won’t see an increase in their income tax rates. We’ve avoided the fiscal cliff.

President Obama will sign the legislation soon. Last night, he described the agreement as, “one step in the broader effort to strengthen our economy and broaden opportunity for everybody.

Watch this video that President Obama recorded about the “fiscal cliff” agreement: http://OFA.BO/UpngYM

My Voting Guide for Hidalgo

14 May

Symbol keep vote

Symbol keep vote (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Early voting starts TODAY, Monday the 14th on to the 25th.

You may vote from 7am to 7pm at any one of the 25 polling places.

Information voting location is here for Hidalgo is here, http://bit.ly/JzPy9t

You should vote because you should care about the issue(s) health, education, economy, environment, immigration, religion, privacy, war, etc.

Who we vote for makes decision on these issues that affect us all.

Do you like paying taxes? Either way, the government spends you tax money, whether it be a little or a lot, the people who get elected help decide how it should spent?

You determines who gets elected to congress, which is in charge of coming up with the yearly budget and apportionment of state money. 

More information about voting in the RGV is here http://aactnow.org/

 

If you don’t know who to vote for, here are my selections for your consideration.

Some of the races apply only to the district I live on.

(Share it with people who don’t know who to vote for or just need information)

 

US Senator

Paul Sadler

The only candidate  who has held public office, Sadler experience consists of hist time in the Texas House from 1991 to 2003

Sadler, said in a political forum that he’d “taken the arrows” in office — even received death threats over his efforts to reform the state tax code.

 “I have more experience with tax codes than any other person in the U.S. Senate,” he said.

 http://www.texastribune.org/directory/paul-sadler/

 

Member of Congress District 15

 Ruben Hinojosa

He is an incumbent who supports education and has experience.

He has worked for the betterment of our district. When the administration was prepared to compromise on the budget by cutting funding for college loans, he rallied others in Congress to refuse the deal and protected low-income students from losing an opportunity to get an education.

 

State Representative District 40

Agustin Hernandez

The best candidate is Agustin Hernandez, his reasoning for running and his proposals on his website are very convincing and well thought out.

http://hdztx.com/

As I was doing research for this I am looking these people up. I have met most of them, Mr Betancourt doesn’t even have a website or it is hard to find. Terry Canalez is an attorney with no real experience or valuable convincing reason being elected. Robert Pena has the experience,  he was in a school district and has been part of several business organizations, he would be the candidate that would most likely care for business interest most of all.

 

Referendum #1 – FOR

Reads:

Any graduate of a Texas high school, who has lived in the state for at least three years and lived here continuously for the last year, should be eligible for in-state tuition at state supported colleges and universities and given the opportunity to earn legal status through a higher education or military service.

 

If these students did the work, made the grades, and have lived in Texas for a long time they should be able to go to college. When they graduate, they would become great additions to our state. If they are going to college they are not criminals. Education should be a universal right

 

Referendum #2 – FOR

Reads:

Because a college education is increasingly necessary for jobs that allow our citizens to achieve middle class lifestyles and become the entrepreneurs who create the jobs that our economy relies on, we call on the Texas Legislature to fund colleges and universities such that tuition and fees can be affordable to all Texans.

 

Education is a social equalizer and helps people greatly increase their ability to progress. Students are graduating with greater amounts of debt.

The Texas legislature cut a lot of money to education last year in the 2011 congressional session.  Colleges have been affected; they have had to cut down the number of teacher and other areas of school which affects students.

We need to invest in our education to have better inventors, teachers, doctors, scientists, etc. That will bring progress to our state and country.

 

 

Referendum #3 – FOR

 Reads

 Should the Texas Legislature allow the people of Texas to vote to legalize casino gambling with all funds generated being used only for education?

 

We need to keep the money in Texas, people gamble when they do they have to go spend all that money in Las Vegas or other locations, we should keep the money here.

The money needed to support our education system needs to come from somewhere and since corporations don’t want to pay taxes some institution must.

It absence of the Legislature’s willingness to provide needed income to the State, this is an alternative that should be acceptable.

RELATED LINKS


Turnout and voter registration in Texas (by the numbers)

 http://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/historical/70-92.shtml

 

4 days to save our children from cluster bombs

10 Nov

In days, the US could push through a new law to allow the use of cluster bombs — a banned lethal weapon that kills children in playgrounds years after wars have ended. But if we build a massive campaign now, we can persuade other governments to stop the US and stop these weapons being used. Sign the urgent petition to save our children now!

Ahmad picked up a bright metal object in a park in Lebanon where he was celebrating his 5th birthday. It was an unexploded cluster bomblet, which blew up in his face, killing him slowly in front of his family.

 

Three years ago, public pressure pushed through a ban of these cruel bombs. But now the US is lobbying nations to quietly sign a new law that allows their use — signing the death warrant for thousands of other children. Most countries are still on the fence on how to vote. Only if we raise the alarm across the world can we shame our governments to block this deadly decision.

 

Positions are being drawn up now. We only have four days until countries meet to send our leaders a clear message: stand up for the cluster bombs ban and keep our children safe. Click below to sign the petition— it will be delivered directly to delegates at the Geneva conference:

 

http://www.avaaz.org/en/cluster_bombs_ii_b/?vl

 

Thousands of people — mainly children — have been maimed or killed by these bombs. When they are fired, they spray small “bomblets” over a wide area, many of which fail to explode. Years later, people disturb them in their fields or school playgrounds not knowing what they are, and they explode.

 

In 2008, over half of the world’s governments outlawed these weapons by signing the Convention on Cluster Munitions. But now, shockingly, countries like France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the UK, who all signed the Convention, are under pressure from the US, China and Russia to run rings round the ban by signing a separate agreement that would allow them to use cluster munitions. Only Norway, Mexico, Austria and a few others are fighting this horror.

 

Negotiators at the Convention on Conventional Weapons meet in Geneva next week. Most governments don’t really want this protocol and have not said which way they will vote, but they are under severe pressure from the US to comply and will only object if the global public persuades them.

 

There’s no time to lose — the conference starts on Monday. Let’s call on our governments to reject this deadly and cynical US campaign to legalize cluster killing. Click below to sign the petitionand forward this email widely — we’ve done it before, let’s do it again:

 

http://www.avaaz.org/en/cluster_bombs_ii_b/?vl

 

Cluster bombs and land mines were banned because citizens raised the alarm across the world — with victims and survivors leading the way. For their sakes and to ensure no more lives are lost, let’s not allow these cruel weapons back and join together now to demand a more peaceful world.

 

With hope,

 

Alex, Stephanie, Alice, Ricken, Laura, Nicholas, Wissam, and the whole Avaaz team

 

More information:

 

UK backs bid to overturn ban on cluster bombs (The Independent):
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/uk-backs-bid-to-overturn-ban-on-cluster-bombs-6259139.html

 

ICRC chief says proposed cluster bomb pact is weak (Reuters)
http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL5E7M328S20111109

 

Fourth Review Conference of the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Weapons:
http://www.unog.ch/80256EE600585943/%28httpPages%29/43FD798E7707CE5AC12578B20032B630?OpenDocument

 

Weapons law to cause humanitarian harm (Stop Cluster Munitions.org):
http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/ccw/

 

The Past and Future of the CCW (Arms Control.org):
http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2011_03/LookingBack

 

No backsliding on cluster bombs (The Indepedent):
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-no-backsliding-on-cluster-bombs-6259009.html

 

Raed Mokaled and the story of Ahmad (Handicap International):
http://www.handicapinternational.be/en/raed-mokaled

 

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