In Politics Blog 2018-02-18T10:00:06+00:00

The Oprah Show

During her 40 year career in television, Oprah Winfrey never shied away from a sensational or controversial topic. In fact, from a young age she demonstrated her ability to analyze, provoke, and inform her audience about the social issues that defined America during the second half of the twentieth century. The themes of her talk show, spanning twenty-five years from 1986 to 2011, encompassed dating and relationship advice, including divisive topics such as interracial marriage and the rights of LGBT individuals, to fashion advice and celebrity news. She interviewed convicted felons about their crimes while promoting best-selling authors with her book club. And the guests she honored on her show ranged from historical figures such as Nelson Mandela to the comic genius, Robin Williams.

Oprah talked about the emotions behind extreme weight loss and weight gain, sharing with her audience her own battle with her self-image

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Oprah was born in the rural south in the 1950’s. Her mother was young and unmarried and traveled north to find work while Oprah spent her formative years with her grandmother, Hattie Mae Lee. She recalls a time when Hattie Mae was taking laundry down from the clothesline, assuring Oprah that one day she would be securely employed as a maid to a wealthy white family. But Hattie Mae brought Oprah to church regularly and taught her to read at such a young age that she was continually skipping grades at school. As her personality developed, she began to act up and was sent to live in Tennessee with Vernon Winfrey, the man she knew as her father.

Though Oprah escaped the poverty of the deep-south, she experienced sexual abuse by a cousin and an uncle and she ran away, eventually finding herself pregnant at age 14. When her infant son died, she lived for a while with her mother in Wisconsin before moving back to Tennessee. This time, Vernon encouraged Oprah to focus on her school work, and soon she was an honor student.

Oprah won a full scholarship to Tennessee State University and began working part-time at a radio station. With her down-to-earth personality and the ability to connect with her audience, she soon was hired to work in television, first in Nashville, then Baltimore, and then in Chicago, where she transformed the talk-show AM Chicago into The Oprah Winfrey Show in the mid-1980’s.

With years of determination and hard work, Oprah gained the respect of her male colleagues in the television industry while attracting millions of viewers … and dollars. Living through years of poverty and abuse isn’t unusual for the times that Oprah grew up in (and others have managed to thrive without seven homes and a $300 million-a-year paycheck), and she has said she’s grateful that The Oprah Winfrey Show allowed her to entertain and influence people in a positive way, bringing an awareness to the problems faced by those generations and empowering people to improve their lives. 

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Echoes Through Time

In July 1863, on a battlefield in Southwest Pennsylvania, 28,000 Confederate and 23,000 Union soldiers lost their lives fighting the Battle of Gettysburg. The 3-day war was a decisive victory for the North and the turning point of the Civil War. 

In November of that year, President Lincoln traveled to Pennsylvania to consecrate the soldiers’ resting place in the Gettysburg National Cemetery, delivering the Gettysburg Address to a crowd of 15,000. The President’s two-minute speech was said to have been unremarkable within the events of the day, but his words are some of the most famous in American history. Lincoln’s humility and his devotion to the cause of uniting the northern and southern states have endured long after his death less than two years later.

… But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our power to add or detract …

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Politics blog humorous cartoon image of President Lincoln tweeting.

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Baseball in the Nation's Capital

The invention of baseball is usually credited to Abner Doubleday, said to have organized the first baseball games in Cooperstown, NY in 1839. Baseball grew in popularity during the years of the Civil War where Doubleday achieved the rank of Major General for the Union side.

Referred to then as “townball” or “roundball,” games within the ranks of both Union and Confederate soldiers in the 1860’s were a way to pass the time, boost morale, and keep the men fit.

In 1871, Washington DC hosted its first professional baseball team. From 1871-1900, the team’s name switched from the Olympics to the Nationals, and then to the Senators. In 1901, the newly formed American League was home to the Washington Nationals who became the Minnesota Twins in 1960. The league then created the Washington Senators, a team that moved west in 1971 becoming the Texas Rangers. instrideonline.com baseball clip art humor

In 2005, baseball returned to the nation’s capital when the Montreal Expos became part of the National League as the Washington Nationals. Three years later, the newly built Nationals Field became their official stadium, and they’ll be hosting the MLB All-Star Game on July 17, 2018.

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The Court

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The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such lower Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish

Article III of the Constitution established a Supreme Court and empowered Congress to create a system of lower courts.

The Judicial branch of the US government consists of 94 Federal Courts, 13 Courts of Appeals, and the Supreme Court with a Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices.

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Staying Informed

Politics and the United States image of forefathers talking about the Constitution.

In an age of transparency and social media, it’s difficult to image the challenges faced by 18th-century politicians to keep Americans informed about the workings of the Federal government. The Constitution, for instance, was signed by 39 delegates on September 17, 1787 in Pennsylvania, but the American public wasn’t able to view the document until two days later.

The “Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser” distributed 500 copies of the Constitution so the American public could be informed about the structure of the new federal government and the “law of the land” that was to govern them for the next 200 years.

Though the original signed copy of the Constitution, written on parchment and carefully preserved, is on display at the National Archives in Washington D.C., a rare copy of the printed version can be found at The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

How parchment was made in the 18th century ... ironically a bbc vid

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A Real Vision for America

Politics and the government. Image of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter.

President Jimmy Carter is known to be a deeply religious man and a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. Celebrating his 93rd birthday this year, he continues to focus on the social issues that have preoccupied his time since leaving public office in the early 1980’s.

In 1982, he and his wife, Rosalyn, established the Carter Foundation with the motto: “Waging Peace, Fighting Disease, Building Hope.” The foundation receives funding from governments, corporations, and private citizens to support human rights and healthcare initiatives around the world.

During the 1940’s and 50’s, President Carter completed his education, served in the Navy, and started a family. His political career began after the death of his father, when he returned home to Georgia to manage the family’s farm. Carter was elected to the Georgia Senate in 1962, he became Governor in 1971, and he defeated Gerald Ford in 1976 to become the 39th president.

While in office, President Carter set near-impossible goals for his administration, such as his determination to influence a peace process in the Middle East, and his attempts to negotiate the release of 52 Americans taken hostage when the US embassy in Tehran was attacked.

He supported emerging technologies in energy conservation, adding the Department of Energy and the Department of Education to the executive cabinet. In 1977, he signed over the rights to the Panama Canal to the Panamanians after almost a century of US involvement. And he authorized the use of federal funds in the restoration of the Love Canal site near Niagara Falls, NY.

The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library is in Atlanta, Georgia, just minutes from the offices of the Carter Foundation. President Carter remains active within the Baptist church, and he and his wife Rosalynn celebrate their 71st wedding anniversary this year.

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House and Senate Committees

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Although the House and Senate have their own procedures for passing legislation, the committees in each chamber have similar oversight on various parts of the federal government and play a central role in the creation of new laws. 

A new law is first introduced into the relevant House or Senate committee where it is researched, written, and eventually placed up for a vote.

A list of the committees each representative or senator is assigned to, as well as the specific legislation being worked on within each district, can be found online at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov

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