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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Opinion on Regulation

Gallup reports:
Less than one quarter of Americans (22%) say there is too little government regulation of business and industry, while about half (49%) say there is too much regulation. An additional 27% say the level of regulation is about right. These attitudes have been consistent over the past five years. Prior to that, the percentage who said there was too much regulation rose between 2008 and 2010.

The latest data are from Gallup's annual Governance survey, conducted Sept. 4-7. The Governance poll this year shows general declines in Americans' trust in all three branches of government, and a dip in Americans' trust in the federal government to handle domestic and international problems.
As is the case with most attitudes about government and government use of power, Republicans and Democrats have sharply differing views on government regulation of business. About three-quarters of Republicans (76%) say there is too much regulation, compared with less than one-quarter (22%) of Democrats.

Monday, September 15, 2014

US Education Spending in Comparative Perspective

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States ranks high among developed nations in per-student education spending:

Secret Senate Handbook

Donovan Slack and Paul Singer report at USA Today:
USA TODAY has obtained and is making available on our website a copy of the 380-page U.S. Senate Handbook, which describes itself as "a compilation of the policies and regulations governing office administration, equipment and services, security and financial management."
U.S. Senate Handbook: The handbook reads something like an employee manual, explaining how new senators and staff members can get ID cards and how many parking passes each senator will be issued. But it also contains detailed rules on how each senator can spend their official, multi-million-dollar, taxpayer-funded budget on things like meals and travel.
Yet, because it has not been released, it's been impossible for the public to know whether a senator has violated the rules — for example by charging taxpayers for an improper charter flight.
The handbook is referenced in rules published by the Senate Ethics Committee, Congressional Research Service reports and history books. But the Rules Committee, which produces the handbook, does not release it. The Library of Congress does not even have a copy.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Atheists and the Military Oath of Service

In our book, we place a good deal of emphasis on religion, military service, and oaths.  Here is a story that involves all three. YouGov reports:
The latest research from YouGov shows that the vast majority of Americans (75%) say that atheists should be allowed to serve in the US military. Only 7% of Americans say that they shouldn't, while 17% aren't sure either way. Even among people who say that religion is 'very important' to them, only 15% say that atheists should not be allowed to serve in the military.

The recent dispute in the Air Force centres on whether or not servicemembers should be allowed to drop 'so help me God' from the oath of service. Asked how the military should handle this, the most popular response (43%) was to say that the phrase should remain a part of the oath, but that if someone enlisting or reenlisting wished they should be allowed to omit it. 11% say that the phrase should be dropped from the oath altogether, while 34% of Americans want all servicemembers to be required to say it, no exceptions.
There is a distinct partisan divide on this issue. Democrats and independents tend to agree, with over 40% of both saying that it is OK to skip saying 'so help me God'. Most Republicans (52%), however, say that all members of the military should be required to say 'so help me God' as part of the oath of service.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Symmetric Polarization?

Some studies have used DW-Nominate scores to blame Republicans for congressional polarization.  At The Washington Post, L.J. Zigerell writes:
However, this pattern of asymmetric polarization is not present in other estimates of ideology. Data from Adam Bonica‘s CFscores (“campaign ļ¬nance” scores), which provide ideology estimates for members of congress based on donations to and from each member, indicate that since 1980 congressional Democrats have moved left slightly more than congressional Republicans have moved right...
And estimates developed by Michael Bailey also do not show that Republicans have polarized more than Democrats.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Constitution and Contemporary Politics

Tenth Annual Constitution Day Conference
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
Simi Valley, California 
September 13, 2014

  • To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
  • To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
  • To provide and maintain a Navy;
  • To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces...
Powers of the President (Article II, section 2):
  •  The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; 
Declared and Undeclared Wars
Executive Power 

  • The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America ...
  • [H]e shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States. 
Uses of Power


Powers of Congress (Article I, sections 2 and 3):
  • The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment. 
  • The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.
  • Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law

The Affordable Care Act

Powers of Congress (Article I, section 8)

Frank Underwood and the Courts