America Needs More Congressmen..

Banner- Looney Bin I am feeling better today so I thought I would tackle a “Crayon Marks” post about one of your favorite topics, Congress.. 🙂 

America needs more congressmen. Hundreds and hundreds more congressmen.  I love my friends over at The Week for regularly looking over the sides of our nationalist boxes for new solutions and this is one of them a few weeks ago.  Gerrymandering has skewed the representation of our country so that it is no longer about who gets the majority of votes and that takes power away from the people. It seems without the court skewing the vote will never get solved so we need to look at other solutions.

The first thing you must realize is that everything that happens inside the Beltway Loony Bin is about posturing. It’s primarily about getting and holding power for as long as possible and getting re-elected. So, how do you reduce the power struggles?  Right now we have one representative for every 700,000 people. That’s not mandated by the constitution or anything so we can change it. What would happen if we reduced that to 50,000? Crazy you might say but hear me out.

That would result in about 6,000 representatives in DC. Of course, we couldn’t put all of them in a room at the same time so many would have to telecommute. But they go home at least three days a week now anyway so that is not much of a change. That alone will keep the posturing to a minimum. Secondly, it would also be nearly impossible to draw up all those crazy maps that they make for who has the privilege of voting for them. With only 50,000 citizens keeping an eye on a representative it would allow us to see just what they are really doing for us and not for those other folks.

Let’s go one step further and make a “virtual” House of Representatives instead of a brick and mortar one. Amazon has shown that there is vast efficiency in that process and that is exactly what our government needs, efficiency.  I know I haven’t worked out all the details yet, my brain is still a little fuzzy, but this idea could have some interesting consequences.

What do you think??

I Need A Smart TV…

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I need a smart TV, no I am not talking about one that connects to the Internet and has streaming features for Netflix and Amazon, I have that but not the bandwidth needed to use them from my snail’s pace Internet from AT&T. I am talking about a smart TV with facial recognition. I need one that whenever it sees the face of our soon-to-be president the screen blocks out the image and mutes the volume.  Another feature is whenever the words “Oval Office” or  the”T” word is spoken the same muting happens. I kind of figure that is about the only way I will be able to watch any form of TV newscasts without losing my mind. Even the PBS Newshour is almost beyond my tolerance lately and his time in office hasn’t even started!

I have already promised here that I will restrain from talking about executive branch stuff as soon as this new guy takes over the Oval Office which is just a few days off. But I do plan on keeping track of all those yahoos in Congress and try my best to prevent them from destroying our country.  I figure with the concept of balance of power they, if they do their jobs and that is a BIG if, they can reign in a stampeding executive branch. How do I keep track of one branch of government without being exposed to the other?  A SMART TV… and if I can’t get that maybe the “Off” button is the next best thing?

Perhaps They Never Will..

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I have to put out a quick post here following Pope Francis’ speech before our congress. To me it was very inspiring but obviously there were those there that simply refused to listen to anything he said. Instead they sat stoically on their hands while those around them frequently stood and applauded.

This reminded me of the last words in the final verse of one of my favorite songs which is entitled “Vincent” by Don McClean. It goes like this…

They would not listen,

They are not listening still

Perhaps they never will

I just cannot believe that the current GOP leadership really represent all those who claim allegiance to that party.  Are all those millions who make up the GOP base so close minded that they will not even consider listening to anything that might threaten their current views?  I certain hope not.  The Bible calls that “hardened hearts”.  Perhaps its time to look elsewhere for your leaders?

Pope Francis has an unsettling message for corporate America

On Sept. 24, Francis will be the first pontiff ever to speak before a joint session of Congress. He’ll speak in English rather than his native Spanish. And he’ll most likely say a lot of things objectionable to the Republicans who hold majorities in both branches of Congress, and to many champions of American-style capitalism.

Source: Pope Francis has an unsettling message for corporate America – Yahoo Finance

Catholic or not (I am not) should listen in on what this man says.  He is a man as close to the teachings of Jesus Christ as I have ever seen in my lifetime.  You might just be inspired by his words….

The 550 States of America…

2015-09-12_09-39-57I think one of my favorite hobbies is playing around with reformatting the States that make up the U.S. with the goal of obtaining more equal representation.  It just seems that the present setup is so much out of skew with our times.  When 10% of the country’s population can control the other 90% simply due to having an vastly over proportionate number of representatives in our national congress things need to change.

  • I’ve made posts in the past explaining how the low population States became States mainly because of 200+ year old transportation methods or simply because of regional differences.
  • I have also had posts about given the fact that the Senate makeup is near to the bedrock of our constitution it is very unlikely to be able to change that.
  • So, here is another idea to get away from giving some of our citizens ten times the power of the rest of us.

Here goes….

Lets start with the State of Wyoming as the template. I seem to pick on them  a lot but since they are the smallest State by population per square mile it seems appropriate. I know some of you will tell me that Wyoming has 6 people/square mile and Alaska has only 1.3 so they are the smallest.  But, as I have said before Alaska is not really a State in my mind, they are more like a holding tank for our oil while Wyoming is in the center of the country.  Anyway I am using Wyoming as the standard for this post.

Wyoming has a population of about 580,000 people.  If we can’t force them to incorporate with their surrounding States then let’s join them.  Lets make a State by definition having no more than 600,000 people. Each of those 0.6 million citizens would have two Senators and one Congressperson as Wyoming presently does and is mandated by our current constitution.

My home State of Indiana would be split into 10 different States.  Just for fun I will try to name them. Of course there would be the States of North Indianapolis and South Indianapolis. Joining them would the States of Ft. Wayne, Gary, South Bend, Evansville and Marion, along with a couple of others yet to be determined.

The biggie would be California which would be broken down into 79 separate States.  I won’t even attempt to name all those.  As a total the United States would be 550 strong.  The tiny island of Manhattan would have to be broken up into three States. I’ll leave it up to them to figure out how to do that.

The overall result would mean 1100 Senators and 550 House representatives.  Having more Senators than Congressmen might just prove to be a good thing.  At least they would not have to be in a constant mode of re-election since they hold office for six years instead of two.  Maybe money would not be so prominent in national politics.

I don’t see anything in our constitution that says a State can’t split into more than one so it would not require a constitutional amendment to happen.  Having 550 States can’t be any worse than the 50 we now have.  Maybe we could even add a anti-gerrymandering provision to the new State makeup? Who know, as Martha Stewart used to say,  “it might be a good thing”.

But then again that would mean even more of those yahoos in DC to constantly be bickering with each other….

The War Slush Fund….

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Take Action: Urge your member of Congress to close the Pentagon’s Overseas Contingency Operations account and to require all funds spent by the Pentagon to be part of its regular budget. Since 2011, almost the whole federal government has been operating under tight spending limits. Pentagon contractors (weapons manufacturers) were concerned about how these limits might affect their profits. Then their trade association leaders reminded them that the OCO account provides them a “cushion.” The Pentagon can use the OCO account to get around budget caps — and military contractors are pushing for even more money in this account. According to the Constitution, Congress controls military spending. Tell your member of Congress to take control of this slush fund, and require that the Pentagon be accountable for all of its spending through its regular budget.

The above notice came to me recently from my friends over at FCNL (Friends Committee on National Legislation) which is a Quaker organization promoting peacemakers instead of our never-ending rushes to war. It seems that the outrageous military budgets are still not enough for some so they created a slush fund to tide them over from any budget cuts.  We seem to always have more than enough money to spend more than the rest of the world combined on our war machine but never enough to try to promote peace.