Educating the U.S. Senate

Official government photograph of the 111th U.S. Senate

Official government photograph of the 111th U.S. Senate

What, if anything, can we learn from examining the colleges attended by the 100 men and women of the U.S. Senate? Quite a lot, actually.

Last week, I decided to start an interesting experiment in which I would research which institutions of higher learning the current members of the U.S. Senate attended, which degrees they earned, and what  (if any) difference exists between members of the two major parties. No long introduction is needed here, so I’ll just jump right in to the numbers and analysis. Continue reading

Fixing American Government in 2014

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The White House, October 2013

As we begin the year 2014, I find myself reflecting on the political situation in the United States, and I must say that it is a bit depressing.  Our political parties cannot seem to agree on much of anything, our bureaucracy is a model of inefficiency, and there does not seem to be much positive change on the horizon.  Is there anything that could really fix this situation?

Well, with a new year, hope springs eternal, and though I have no expectation that any of the following suggestions will be implemented this year (or any other year), I am going to go ahead and make them anyway in the hope that it might spur some positive discussion.  Love them or hate them, here are five things that I think would help to improve our federal government. Continue reading

America is the New Egypt

Wiki kallerna

Photo by Wikipedia user Kallerna

America’s politicians are not much better than Egypt’s these days, squabbling and refusing to deal with big issues.  What must be done to fix the situation?

Apparently, when Americans think about Egypt, the first word that comes to mind is “pyramids”; at least, that’s what I heard at one of the many D.C. think tank events I attended during my time working on Egypt.  I get it: the pyramids are pretty awesome.  However, when I think of Egypt, I am sad to say that one of the first words that pops into my head is “dysfunctional”.

When I say dysfunctional, I am referring to the government, which since the 2011 revolution has gone from an interim military regime, to a mostly democratic one dominated by Islamists, and then back to an interim military regime.  If you like lots of plot twists, then Egypt is the place for you these days.  What the country really needs is a unity government full of technocrats who can put it back on track politically and economically, but that is easier said than done. Continue reading

Socialism Under the Microscope: Part One – The Socialists Among Us

Flickr Socialist Party November 2011

Current French President Francois Hollande at a Socialist Party rally back in 2011. Flickr photo by the Socialist Party (Parti socialiste)

I’m just going to come right out and say it: the President is a socialist.

While some of us may wish to avoid talking about it, facts are facts.  The President’s policy positions, his background, and most of all his own affirmative statements prove beyond a doubt that the land which once fought so hard for liberty is now being governed by a socialist.  Sacré bleu! Continue reading

Why I Am Not Writing about the Potential Government Shutdown

Wiki Martin Falbisoner

Photo by Wikipedia user Martin Falbisoner

The political news in Washington this week has been all about the possibility of a federal government shutdown next week, provided that Congress fails to pass a continuing resolution needed to fund government operations.  Normally, such a major news story might prompt me to analyze the situation here, but I have decided not to, and the reason is simple: I’m not bothered.

In the United States, the usual phrase for such an emotion would be, “I don’t care,” or less artfully, “I don’t give a crap”, or a similar phrase that adds in words I typically don’t use in my writing. (I am trying to keep Church & State at least somewhat family friendly.) Yet, none of these American phrases has quite the same meaning as, “I’m not bothered.” Continue reading

The Russians are Coming

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Photo courtesy of www.kremlin.ru

As President Obama spends the day at the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, trying desperately not to get caught dissing Vladimir Putin on an open mic, it appears that the Russians are planning to send their own delegation in the opposite direction. Moscow is naturally quite interested in the current congressional debate over the possible use of military force in Syria.  The Atlantic has an article up today by Abby Ohlheiser that details reports of lobbying efforts by the Russians on Capitol Hill.

Russian president Vladimir Putin suggested a plan to directly lobby Congress was in the works on Monday, after meeting with Valentina Matvienko and Sergei Naryshkin, speakers for the upper and lower houses of Russian parliament. They apparently proposed the idea to Putin, arguing that they could work U.S. lawmakers towards a more “balanced” stance on Syria.  Continue reading