December 26, 2007

December 26, 2007 - Appropriations Bill signed into Law

Today President Bush signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 (originally entitled Making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes) into law.


* The original H.R. 2764 Appropriations Bill

* House Amendments to Senate Amendment to H.R. 2764 - State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2008 (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008)

* White House News Release

Of interest to Minnesotans, the law provides funding for rebuilding the I35W Bridge ($195 million) and adding the Central Corridor to the Light Rail system ($10.2 million).


October 31, 2007

October 31, 2007 - Happy Halloween

Looking for an excuse to wile away the hours till you can raid your kids' trick or treat bags? Try some games like Carving your own Pumpkin, Spooky Word Search, ABC Halloween Quiz, grab those crayons for some Halloween Coloring Pages, or try out some jigsaw puzzles. For those looking for a more stimulating endeavor, listen to a couple ghost stories and you might be seeing Lincoln in that dark corner of your bedroom.


October 23, 2007

October 23, 2007 - Cabinet Level Blogs

Looking for a new way to find out what happens at the Cabinet level of Bush's administration? Check out Secretaries Mike Leavitt's (Health & Human Services) and Michael Chertoff's (Homeland Security) blogs. Both focus on current issues within the department as well as discussing comments and criticism in the popular press.

Secretary Mike Leavitt

Recent postings:

* Strategic National Stockpiles
* Gates Malaria Forum
* SCHIP Response

Secretary Michael Chertoff

Recent postings:

* Securing the Border While Protecting the Environment
* Preventing IED Attacks
* The Battle for Our Future

October 8, 2007

October 8, 2007 - Columbus Day

Each year the President of the United States proclaims the second Monday of October Columbus Day which celebrates the October 12, 1492 arrival of Columbus in the Americas. Last week President Bush declared today Columbus Day 2007.


September 10, 2007

2001 - The War on Terror

Many people still remember where they were when news of President Kennedy's assassination reached them. The same is true of the September 11th attacks. In a few short months after President Bush declared a war on terror, the Department of Homeland Security was created to coordinate federal response and protection, the USA PATRIOT Act was passed to deter terrorist attacks and strengthen law enforcement investigation tools, and President Bush signed an executive order allowing military tribunals against any foreigners suspected of connections to US terrorist attacks.

The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission) was created in 2002 and charged with the duty to "prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, including preparedness for and the immediate response to the attacks. The Commission is also mandated to provide recommendations designed to guard against future attacks." Their report was released two years later.


September 9, 2007

2000 - Who really won ?

Only three times in American history has the presidential election been won by the Electoral College and not the popular vote counts. The 2000 Election was one of these cases where George Bush won 271 electoral votes and Al Gore, 266. Yet the popular vote went for Gore with 50,156,783 votes to 49,819,600 for Bush. Ultimately the tight race came down to Florida, with the press first calling for Gore, then for Bush, as the victor. The count on November 8, 2000, had Bush winning by under 2000 votes and receiving Florida's electoral votes.

When Gore called for a manual recount of the votes in four Florida counties, it set off arguments over the constitutionality of the recount based on the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The clause states that no state "shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws". As counties counted the votes differently, was this a violation of the law? The final decision on the constitutionality of the Florida vote count went to the United States Supreme Court with Bush v. Gore. The Supreme Court sided with Bush and the vote count stood with Bush winning the state and the election.

September 7, 2007

1998 - Impeachment of President Clinton

On December 19, 1998 the U.S. House of Representatives issued House Resolution 611 - Articles of Impeachment against President Clinton on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. These charges were related to Independent Council Kenneth Starr's investigations related to Clintons relationships with former staff and an White House intern, Monical Lewinsky. Clinton was acquitted of all charges on February 12, 1999.


September 6, 2007

1997 - Presidential Apology for the Tuskagee Syphilis Study

On May 16, 1997 President Clinton formally apologized to the men and families involved in the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male. From 1932 to 1972, in Macon county, Alabama, the United States Public Health Service treated a group of 600 black men for syphilis. However, the treatment never actually occurred, although the participants were told they were being treated. While information from the study was published throughout the forty years it was in effect, it was an Associated Press story in 1972 that raised national awareness to shut down the study and led to revised federal rules on human subjects research.


Additional information: National Archives - Tuskegee Study

August 27, 2007

1987 - Iran Contra Affair

Little is known about the events surrounding the Iran Contra Affair are unknown (the documents were destroyed by insiders), but general concensus is members of the Reagan administration shold weapons to Iran and used the profits to fund Contra rebels in Nicaragua. The program was coordinated by Oliver North of the National Security Council and circumvented both Administration policy and the Boland Amendment which limited US assistance to rebel contras to overthrow the Nicaraguan government.

The President formed the Tower Commission (see excerpts) to look into the issue and they released their report on February 26, 1987. It criticized several members of the Reagan administration but could not determine the level of President Reagan's knowledge of the affair. It did criticize Reagan's apparent lack of knowledge regarding his staff's actions. Several Congressional hearings have looked into the Iran Contra Affair and can be found in the Government Publications Library.


Other Information:

National Security Archives - Iran-Contra Affair 20 Years On

August 24, 2007

1984 - Reagan re-elected!

He had 58.8 % of the popular vote and by the end of the night Ronald Reagan carried 49 states with a record 525 electoral votes out of 538. One other president, Richard Nixon in 1972, carried as many state in a presidential election. The economic upswing and changing conservative nature of the country helped keep Reagan in the White House for another four years.

The holdout state.....Minnesota, home of the Democractic candidate, Walter Mondale.


August 23, 2007

1983 - The Evil Empire

"So, in your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride -- the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil."

Presidents throughout history have been known for coining a phrase that defines their legacy. With Dwight Eisenhower, it was the "military-industrial complex"; Richard Nixon, "I am not a crook." For President Ronald Reagan, it was in his remarks at the Annual Convention of the National Association of Evangelicals on March 8, 1983 where he described the Soviet Union as the "evil empire." Reagan's terminology brought the complicated issues of the Cold War and nuclear weapons to the easily understood level of good (U.S.) vs. evil (U.S.S.R.).


August 19, 2007

1979 - Crisis of Confidence

"Energy will be the immediate test of our ability to unite this nation, and it can also be the standard around which we rally. On the battlefield of energy we can win for our nation a new confidence, and we can seize control again of our common destiny." President Jimmy Carter spoke these words July 15, 1979 in response to high gas prices and long lines waiting for gasoline. It was not a new problem, but many Americans had reached their personal limits in dealing with it. Carter's speech, coined the "Crisis of Confidence," outlined the steps he saw as the cause for the current energy crisis, steps that would affect energy issues for the future. Most Americans did not agree and Jimmy Carter lost to presidency to Ronald Reagan the next year.


August 18, 2007

1978 - Camp David Accords

In early September 1978, President Jimmy Carter invited Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat, the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, and Menachem Begin, the Prime Minister of Israel to meet at Camp David, Maryland, to discuss peace between the two countries. The outcome of this historic meeting were two documents. The Framework for Peace in the Middle East established an autonomous sel-governing authority in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and oulined principles of negotiation between Israel and its Arab neighbors. The Framework for the Conclusion of a Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel presented plans for Israeli withdrawl from Sinai and and input into the number of military forces Egypt could place in the area. These two documents have helped form Middle Eastern policy ever since.

More information is available at the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum.