12 November 2016

Cranky old man: Electoral College or Popular Vote

Cranky old man: Electoral College or Popular Vote

What I used to teach my 8th - 12th graders:

The Founding Fathers created the Electoral College for several reasons. First, they realized that the popular vote is a direct democracy, and they never intended the United States to be a direct democracy due to direct democracy's high failure rate--inability to accomplish governing, minimal majorities could tyrannyize those opposing them. The United States is a Constitutional Republic with failsafes to single dominance built in regardless the situation or the era, the Electoral College being one of the Constitutionally written failsafes. Another example, each state, regardless the population or lack thereof, possesses equal representation in the Senate. Population size is taken in to consideration in the House of Representatives. The Founding Fathers understood that not everyone or every state was equal, discounting a state's size in both landmass and population, was counterproductive and harkened back to governing with a lack of representation; they were really afraid of tyranny. They understood that some elections were going to be wildly popular, think Ronald Reagan's landslide 1984 win, and wildly unpopular, think Tuesday, so they did not take the Electoral College lightly, especially since to eliminate the Electoral College means there must be BOTH a supermajority of both houses AND the approval of 38 states.

The Presidential Election is a two-part process--November is the first part and is purely democratic and December is the second part where the 538 Electoral College electors cast their votes.

The Electoral College ensures that many types of voters, campaigning, AND coalition building, i.e. different groups coming together as one, have a voice. Literally, without the Electoral College, California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania, because they have eight of the ten largest cities in the U.S., could elect the president. Therefore, Montana, Maine, Maryland, and Nevada become unimportant to the candidates. However, city dwellers are just one type of voter and don't represent the country, just as if a candidate were to win the South, the Northeast, or win the Midwest. Those areas reflect a region, and a candidate cannot become president because they won a region, thanks to the Electoral College.

Swing States, because they change from election to election, also are important, but again, not the only focus, because of the Electoral College. They are a failsafe to voter fraud, as a candidate has to predict which states will be the key states to manipulate votes. As we have seen, predicting is not easy to do. Swing States keep political parties from ignoring states, for example, George W. Bush's flipping West Virginia, from a traditionally Democrat state to a Republican state, is what ultimately won him the election against Al Gore.

While George Washington saw no political parties and implored the country to avoid them, out of respect, politicians, who had already become divisive prior to Washington's presidency, chose to not align themselves with one party or another during Washington's presidency. They agreed that Britain's tyranny of the colonies needed to end; how to keep that tyranny in-check and at bay was not a single-thought process but a divisive one. The Electoral College ensures there is diverse representation and a checks-and-balances in the election.

The Electoral College is chosen in a two-part process with the first phase occurring prior to the November, General Election. The political parties control the first part, with each party selecting their allotted number of electorates--California has 55, so the Democrats select 55 electorates and the Republicans select 55 electorates--and the rules governing the state's choosing process is a State's right issue. The second phase occurs on the November Election Day. If the popular vote went to the Democrats, then the state's Electoral College electorates are those chosen by the Democrats. California's 55 votes go to the Democrat, i.e. Hillary Clinton. Maine and Nebraska split their electorate votes whereas the other 48 are an all-or-nothing entity, because that is how the individual states chose to write their rules governing their electoral college.

25 November 2014

Surgery

Dad has had his surgery. He did quite well, and Dr. Vasquez was able to insert Dad's stents through his femural arteries!

My brother and his family came up for the surgery; two gentlemen from Mom and Dad's church spent the morning with us. The waiting room at the Jack and Jane Hamilton Vascular Surgery Center at Baylor Hospital was absolutely wonderful. My brother is staying with Dad tonight, and Dad should be able to come home Thanksgiving or the day after.

Dad had been adamant that his surgery not interfere with my college, so I began taking Historical Methods last week, but I must say, I am not liking this class as much as last class. The first six weeks seem to be a repeat of what we already learned in Historiography. Discussion Board is still around and looks like it always will. The book, What is History Now? edited by David Cannadine is not my friend. Another long paper is due at the course's end, but there are some interesting activities along the way--searching archives, finding grants, so we will see what Dr. Charles Reed has in store for us.

11 November 2014

Aortic Aneurysm

We saw the vascular surgeon, Jay Vasquez of Surgical Associates of Dallas, and we really liked him. Dr. Vasquez explained that Dad's aneurysm is 4.7 cm, but it is one that is growing on the side of the aorta, a saccular aneurysm, so it has to be operated on and removed. The stent is mesh, made to order fitting Dad's heart exactly, and hopefully will be inserted going up both of Dad's femural arteries instead of opening up his chest. We will learn more from a second, pre-op visit.

04 November 2014

An "A," but...

My final paper was an A, but a low A, because I just never could quite grasp a few principles of how one analyzes historiography. Nonetheless, it is finished, submitted, graded, and I just registered my first A.

Dad is ill, though. His heart has an aneurysm in its aorta, and so we do not know what kind of surgery, if operable at all, this entails. In spring 1995, Dad had open-heart surgery with a quadruple by-pass. The healing was a long process, and we are hoping and praying Dad does not have to have a second open-heart surgery at 79. His actual heart muscle is strong and 25 years younger than its actual age. Dad exercises, but not now for a bit, eats well, and enjoys his life--all good things.

I am enrolled for my second class, Historical Methods, but as we have this one week break between classes, I'll see if I'm actually taking the course or not after we visit the vascular surgeon.

13 October 2014

Study, Study, Study

Well, I am halfway through this first course, and we are already registering for the second course, Historical Methods. I can honestly say, my spare time, i.e., non-working hours, is consumed with reading and studying, but it is paying off, as I have an A. I don't understand how exactly to write this final paper, but I'm working on it. Dr. Gledhill is helpful, and I'm thinking on-line will work but still not a fan of Discussion Board. Trudging onward...

15 September 2014

Historiography

Historiography is the history of writing history. It is not as complicated as it sounds, right now, any way, but it is difficult to muster my thoughts about how history has been written. I like the professor, Dr. Michael Gledhill, but I do not care for the Discussion Board. It's how on-line students foster a sense of classroom; however, the thing is, not everyone can write or use grammar correctly, so I find it difficult to read a poorly constructed post, as is required. We write each week about a topic, reply to two topics, and some weeks we write additional short papers preparing us for the final paper--ugh! My advisor, Matthew, stays in contact quite frequently, too, and has been most helpful. All-in-all, I am pleased with my decisions, but I am worried about only 10 weeks in which to accomplish so much.

15 August 2014

Making Good on a New Year's Resolution

I have always wanted to go back to college, but I have always been too busy...or so I thought. I would wind the evening down by playing Candy Crush, and after wasting many, many hours on that game, which does require the use of reason and spatial logic, I realized instead of trying to get to level 467, why not use this same time and keep your last resolution of 2014. So, I applied to Southern New Hampshire University.

I chose this school after first seeing their "bus" t.v. advertisement. I really had investigated it and others for about a month, but just did not do anything until yesterday afternoon. Now, I have, and I am a college student once-again, almost 30 years to the date I was last a college student. I guess better late than never. I am not sure how being an on-line student will work, but I am willing to give it a shot.

I will be earning a Masters in Public History, and my first course will be 501-Historiography, whatever that means. I have ordered the two books: Historiography: Ancient, Medieval, Modern by Ernst Breisach and The Modern Historiographer Reader: Western Sources edited by Adam Budd.

So we shall see...

03 August 2012

Savin' the Ta-Tas!

It has been a long week!

I can not stress enough that you are your biggest health advocate.  2 1/2 months after my 29th birthday, I had breast cancer.  We did not know it at the time; we only knew something was wrong.  I was physically fit, playing indoor and outdoor soccer several nights a week and coaching high school athletes; I ate well-balanced meals; I weighed appropriately for my height; I have never taken an illegal drug, nor grown up in a smoking home, and with the exception of one puff of a cigarette the night before I graduated college, I do not smoke.  Even with all this goodness, I was not immune from a rotten disease.

I am a 17 year breast cancer survivor, and I have a most important recommendation for every girl.  Once-a-month, same date each month, give yourself a breast self-exam.  Even if you are very dedicated in visiting your Ob/Gyn annually, that is a one-time exam every twelve months.  A breast self-exam is twelve exams in twelve months.  Why is this important?  The first of each month is my BS-E date.  1 July 2012, everything was fine according to my BS-E.  On Saturday 28 July I accidentally noticed a lump.   On Monday, I had a mammogram scheduled for Tuesday, Ob/Gyn scheduled for Thursday, and my Primary Care Physician scheduled for Friday.  At the mammogram, I knew the radiologist would read the scans as soon as they were taken, but I was surprised when I was told there were multiple lumps.  I then was taken to have sonograms, which showed a 1cm, side-by-side 2cm and 3cm lumps in the left breast, and a 6cm lump in the right breast, which is the one I'd discovered.

For whatever reason, I wasn't worried; in fact, the novel I was reading was at a really good part, so I just continued to read while waiting.  In November, I'm walking in the Susan G. Komen 3-day/60-mile Walk and following their training schedule, which has us at 24 miles this week (13 weeks until The Walk), so I know I'm getting an appropriate amount of healthy exercise. Eventually, the radiologist came in and talked to me, after reading the sonograms and mammograms.  All the lumps are cysts--benign cysts.  After talking a bit, the radiologist who has a good sense of humor, said the 6cm lump was like a free breast enhancement.  Ob/Gyn visit showed no other cysts elsewhere and a good, healthy body.  PCP took lots of blood with results due Monday.

My annual woman's health exam is usually in November.  Never doing a breast self-exam, depending upon the physician to do it for me, means that in the time frame that I will have these cysts treated, the cysts would have continued to grow for four more months.  Cancer is rotten.  Advocate for yourself, your family, your friends, and your life.  Save the Ta-Tas with a MONTHLY breast self-exam.  Period!


22 July 2011

...from Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop

10 of My Absolute Worst Pet Peeves...

Pet Peeves, the things that really, really bother the OCD side of our personalities because we can not fix these traits in someone else even though we would really, really love to do so!

10)  Being trashy--not picking up after yourself in public, because [wherever] has a janitorial staff and it's their job, or just because you are plain lazy and don't want to deal with it.  (Trash accumulates and is really, really nasty.)

9)  People talking loudly, especially on their mobile phones, in a public place.  Yes, everyone wants to have a good time with friends, and everyone has a mobile nowadays, but I do not want to be a part of your conversation.  It is just downright rude!

8)  Line jumping.  You are not more important than the other people ahead of you in line, and poor planning on your part, does not make it an emergency on mine.  Plan accordingly and wait your turn.

7)  Failure to use your turn signal while driving.  Let folks know what you are going to do with your car; it could be really important.

6)  People who won't yield to a fire truck, an ambulance, or a funeral procession, because they think that what they have to do is more important than a fire truck or ambulance's lights and sirens or paying last respects.

5)  Using the last of an item and putting the box back on the shelf as if it still had some contents remaining.

4)  People who try to drive and talk/text on their mobile.  They wreak havoc on everyone around them.  There are those who can do it well--carry on, but to those who can not, pull over and talk or hang up and drive.

3)  Hypocrisy.

2)  Screaming babies in public.  I love children, but I do not go out to eat, to the movie, to shop, or board a plane to hear someone else's child scream because a parent chooses not to do their job.  On the rare occassion that my brother or I threw a tantrum in public, Mom stopped what she was doing, scooped us up, took us out of there--either to the restroom or packed us in the car and home we went.  It's not convenient for the parent, but you don't have to do it but once or twice.  Instead, everyone has to suffer the screams, and everyone has to be inconvenienced.  I do say something, even as my husband hides under the table.

1)  Mean people.


21 July 2011

Google Overhaul


I love to write.  I love reading, and for me, blogging has provided an outlet for those two passions.  I find I don't talk to myself as much as I used to because I blog.  I found I read what other people had to say about the thoughts they had on any chosen topic, so I decided I would return to writing.  I ended up creating two blogs--one about fly fishing, and one about everything else besides fly fishing.

I have been a teacher for 22 years, and my students have taught me a thing or two.  The kids who have lived with technology all their lives are called Digital Natives; everyone else is a Digital Immigrant.  Digital Natives despise the "how-to" manuals and just play.  They make mistakes, learn from those mistakes, and play and create, wonderfully imaginative creations.  So, I copied the kids.  I chose Google's Blogger over Wordpress after dabbling with each provider's blogging features.  I like being able to use my own pictures for my backdrop (FishOn! the Fly was taken in the Seychelles, and Musings was taken at sunset in Islamorada, Florida).  I like how easy Blogger's templates are to navigate.  I like that I can write and then manipulate the html coding to create a wanted effect.  I like being able to chose a layout from a template.  The template has already been thought about as to what is pleasing to see and read, so I just pick the one I like best.  I like adding third party Java Script and manipulating the Favicon to make my site even more personal is pleasing.  I liked a lot about Google, and I already had a Google Mail account, so maybe the choice had already been made.

However, will all these things that I like create a problem with Google's reinvention of itself?  Will a name change be mandatory for all Blogspots?  Will links still work?  I don't receive many visitors other than close friends and family on my personal thoughts blog, so it won't be difficult to manipulate the changes.  However, my fly fishing blog will be a nightmare to re-link and re-post and may not even be worth it.  Google hasn't posted any details, yet, but the changes have been in place for a couple of weeks and should be occurring for about four more.  Two good articles as to what is happening with Google and their move to Google +.

Blogger & Picasa Renamed

Google +
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