Monthly Archives: March 2010

Today We Learn About: Evolution of Presidential Power

Presidential power evolves because our country evolves just as our language, culture, science and technology make progress. The office evolved significantly between 1787 and 1809 as men arrived in office with a particular view of presidential power, only to have this view shift upon taking office. The Constitutional Convention alone saw the presidency change from a vaguely defined office as it was in the Virginia Plan, to specific and powerful as in the Hamilton Plan, which proposed an executive chosen by the electors that would serve for life with the ability to veto all laws passed by the legislature.1 Washington believed himself to be, and acted as, the chief administrative officer of the entire government of the United States.2 John Adams wrote “the other branches are imbecile”, and “the executive power is granted, not the executive power hereinafter enumerated and explained.”3 This view may explain why Adams made some of the decision that he did. Thomas Jefferson arrived in office as a Strict Constructionist, but greatly expanded presidential power through the replacement of federal staffers, carrying out undeclared wars, and committing the nation to the Louisiana Purchase amongst many other expansive uses of power.4 These men had specific views of the presidency that they sought to embody and each executed the responsibilities of the office in a different manner that usually changed over time. Continue reading

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under today we learn about

Today We Learn About: The Development of Copyright Law

There was once a website that gave the user access to nearly every album ever recorded. These albums were available in all file formats, and they were free. The site had over 180,000 users, was easy to search, and housed a thriving community of music lovers. In October 2007 this site went offline. Word of mouth spreads fast on the internet and before too long it became clear that site administrator for Oink.cd, as the site in question was called, had been arrested by an International Federation of the Phonographic Industry task force for suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and infringement of copyright law.1 News of this arrest surprised few since the site allowed users to connect their computers to the computers of other music fans in order to download the files housed on these remote computers. The site acted as Google does, allowing users to search for the music they desired. This activity made copyright infringement easy, and the site’s closure was inevitable. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under today we learn about

Today We Learn About:

Through the years, the nature of light has been a question pondered by some of the greatest minds the world has ever known. With each passing generation of scientists, it seems that some new, seemingly impossible quality is discovered. These breakthroughs have at times come in bunches, but hundreds of years have separated new discoveries. One thing has always been kept constant however, and that is the idea that there will always be something new to learn, and some great mind to shine through the darkness to reveal another unforeseen quality of light. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under today we learn about

Today We Learn About: Hypocrisy in the Quest for Independence

Samuel Johnson said, “How is it that we hear the largest yelps for liberty among the drivers of the negroes?” In this statement a British man remarks on the tendencies of a nation three thousand miles to the west, and this nations thirst for independence from the very land that Johnson himself called home. Spoken in 1775, these remarks came at a time in history when tensions were high and every opportunity was taken to put down, or bring to light inconsistencies or hypocrisies in the practices of other side of the argument. Much like a political campaign, these comments had effects that went beyond merely stating the truth about those who were shouting for revolution. These comments also served to undermine the revolution as a whole, and break down foundations it had been built upon. Given the historical context of this quote, it can be said that there is a fairly decent amount of symbolism behind these words, and much that serves to be considered in the deconstruction of Johnson’s statement. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under today we learn about

Today We Learn About: The Post-American World

In Fareed Zakaria’s The Post-American World the reader is given an insight into the growing global economy in which countries like China and India are gaining ground on the current world superpower, The United States of America. Also given are detailed examples of where the United States has gone wrong, and what improvements can be made in order to better adapt to the changing global power structure. The United States has slowly become a country that focuses on the worst of the world around it, leaving the nation unprepared to actually deal with the problems that arise in a changing landscape. (Zakaria 27) This is a landscape that is marked by the resurgence and return to greatness of two of the pre-industrial worlds great powers, China and India. China’s dictatorship has taken an active role in transforming that nation over the past thirty years, while in India the democratically run government has also seen considerable growth during this time period. In the meantime, the America that once influenced and set the global standard has been slipping away much the same way Britain did at the time of the Boer War. (173) Zakaria makes a case for America returning to this prior policy of “world building” through various means rather than the nations current trend toward bully tactics. All in all, Zakaria’s main points and ideas are well received and interesting. With that said, some of the information certainly leads the reader towards larger questions that, while somewhat addressed in the book, could definitely use some further thought. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under today we learn about

Today We Learn About: Righteous Propagation

Righteous Propagation is a critique of post-reconstruction black culture and examines the race’s various means to regain their pride, self-love, black consciousness, and identity. The book’s author, Michele Mitchell, uses copious primary sources to explain post-reconstruction African-American culture, painting a vivid picture of the many attempts of the race to find their place in America. Finding this place in America was no easy task for many members of the race, and the book’s author details many of these attempts, both successful and failed. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under today we learn about

Today We Learn About: Showdown at Gucci Gulch

Tax Reform in the early 1980’s was a sensitive subject as many keys players had their own idea as to the shape the reform bill should take. These key players included citizens, legislators, corporations, lobbyists, the president, and members of White House staff. Though the process of reform had many ups and downs, an agreement was slowly reached that pleased most parties. How is it possible for so many interests to be accepting of a bill that reformed our country’s entire tax code? The atmosphere was perfect, near everything fell into place in a way that facilitated reform as our legislators cooperated, our president took a definitive stance, our congress made concessions, and everyone involved participated in a bold plan for reform. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under today we learn about