Category Archive: Body Politicke

Dr. Barry: “Happy Birthday to Us!”

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Here’s Dr. Barry Pascal, ready and willing to celebrate the 237th anniversary of our declared national independence and—fortunately for us—able to clear up a few historical misconceptions about how we got here, and what it’s all about.  Alfie.(You can find Barry‘s comedy books for sale here. Enjoy!—EGF   Happy Birthday to Us! By BARRY PASCAL, …

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Tom Diaz & I—My NRA Experience

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Picking up from Tuesday’s post, Tom Diaz & I—The 94th & 103rd Congresses, and Now By far, the strongest impressions left on me by the whole experience came from our interactions with representatives of the NRA and their allies: This is not your father’s organization.  The chief counsel and I were invited to visit the …

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Tom Diaz & I—The 94th & 103rd Congresses, and Now

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After I’d read, mostly agreed with, and reviewed Tom Diaz’ The Last Gun (see last Friday’s post), I was curious about his background beneath the usual book blurbs, so I scratched a little deeper. Turns out we had similar upbringings and nearly-identical policy experiences at the national level, where the issue of gun violence is …

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“The Last Gun:” Gun Violence, the NRA & Its Allies

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Suppose we approached the problem of gun violence in America in the same manner as other significant public health hazards—such as, say, passenger vehicle fatalities and injuries—by using data analysis, science, and innovation to make a useful but demonstrably dangerous instrumentality safer? After all, data prove beyond dispute that death and injury from firearms are …

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Reconcile & Repair–Natives, Braceros & Plutocrats

Picking up from last Tuesday:  For Native Americans, it’s been complicated—no real apology yet, but their side’s leverage is improving. Native Americans It’s beyond argument, of course, that this continent’s original owners—a Euro-centered, possession-oriented classification they rejected spiritually—have been done wrong.  In early 2000, GQ magazine published the “75 funniest jokes of all time.”  Number …

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Reconcile & Repair–Precedent: Nikkei

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Picking up from last Friday:  We’ve succeeded at reconciliation and reparations before—for Japanese Americans. Korematsu v.United States Forty-one years ago, Chester James Antieu—my Constitutional Law professor and the most unassuming rabble-rouser of the intellect I’ve met, before or since—presented us with a guest lecturer, Lenny Weinglass.  (He did all the heavy lifting defending the Chicago …

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Reconcile & Repair: How?

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Picking up from last Tuesday:  How could we as a Nation reconcile with people of color for our past actions and what could we do to make it right? Kudos to our re-elected President for celebrating the progress we’ve made since his 16th predecessor and his allies freed the slaves, for invoking Dr. King’s contribution …

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Reconciliation?

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Lance Armstrong notwithstanding, it is said confession is good for the soul. I attended a remarkable event last Thursday at the Crest Theatre.  Sponsored by the Leadership Institute California, it coupled a screening of Phillip Rodriguez’ documentary, Race 2012—released last October 16 and described  as a “PBS special that uses the 2012 and past presidential …

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Black Patriots Live!

I have some wonderful news to share. In a previous post, amid several I did on the early history of our federal Constitution, I reproduced a draft op-ed piece my former colleague and old friend, Maurice Barboza, wrote on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of its approval in Philadelphia in 1787.  If you haven’t …

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Is the U.S. Senate Obsolete–II?

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Picking up from last Friday:  Fixing the filibuster: the “Nuclear Option?”   Fun Fact:  One historian believes that the filibuster originated, not as a deliberate and cherished bulwark against runaway majoritarianism, but as a mistake: The House and Senate rulebooks in 1789 were nearly identical. Both rulebooks included what is known as the “previous question” …

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Is the U.S. Senate Obsolete–I?

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Today begins a two-part analysis of our broken United States Senate.   As I pointed out on October 1, the decision of the founders to create a bicameral first branch was the product of a long and contentious debate, and an uneasy compromise. Smaller states agreed to a popularly-elected House of Representatives only on condition …

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Six Years–Once–is Enough

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  A heartfelt “thank you” to the distinguished Senator from Fox News Talking Points for making at once the shortest and indisputably best argument for amending the Constitution’s Article I, Section 2, —and amending or repealing its 22nd Amendment, and tweaking the 20th and 25th, if desired—to award each elected President a single, six-year term.  …

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Electoral College–Time to Drop Out?

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Amid all the presidential debate “performance” hoo-hah this morning—talk about exalting form over substance—was another sober reminder of what we’ve come to: Sixty-plus percent of 13 million voters—that’s roughly eight million souls, 2.6% of the population and 5.3% of registered voters—could decide who your next President is.  Bonus: they’re overwhelmingly White, older, rural, and less-educated …

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Did Our Founders Fail Us?

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Hell, no.  If anything, we have failed them. They were, first, citizens, and fully engaged.  Are we? What I wrote over the past three weeks was forced through the prism of hindsight, the glare of which is harsh and unforgiving.  They, of course, were creatures of their own time and circumstances—which makes what they managed …

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8 Shameful Things Our Founders Believed–VI

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Picking up from last Friday:  The Rest of Shameful Thing 8–Redistricting. Perhaps the most currently contentious legacy of the Philadelphia founders’ decision to leave the States in charge of how its voters select their federal—and, by default, state and local—representatives is periodic redistricting. Because the original Constitution apportions House representation and taxation based on population, …

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8 Shameful Things Our Founders Believed–V

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Picking up from Monday:  Shameful Thing Eight—Voting Rights.   Each State could decide who gets to vote and under what circumstances. When the 55 participating delegates began meeting in Philadelphia in late May 1867, they were already in crisis mode. The intoxication of independence had worn off, the six-year-old confederacy—13 independent States, connected formally only …

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8 Shameful Things Our Founders Believed–IV

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Picking up from Friday:  Shameful Things Six and Seven.   The people couldn’t be trusted to elect their state’s Senators. Article I, Section 3 of the original Constitution created a Senate, consisting of two representatives appointed by each State’s Legislature to six-year terms, each invested with one vote.  Staggered terms were established for initial appointees …

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8 Shameful Things Our Founders Believed–III

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Picking up from Monday:  Shameful Thing Five.   Neither were women equal to men. Other than not being shot at or flogged on an organized and purposeful basis, women as a class weren’t any better off than Native Americans or slaves when the gavel fell in the City of Brotherly Love.  And they still aren’t …

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