Archive for February, 2012

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Reasons for Separation

The Declaration and Pledge

The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


Obama Administration Pushes Higher Educational Institutions to Reveal their Diminishing Value

The Obama administration is pushing for a change in the federal higher education policy. This change poses a new question: What are people getting for their money?

The alarming answers for college students:

  • Graduate, on average, more than $25,000 in debt
  • Graduate or transfer only about 40% at 2-year programs (according to College Measures)
  • Do not graduate about 40% at 4-year schools (according to College Measures)

And college students are not the only ones hurting. According to the American Institutes for Research, college dropouts cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

The federal government contributes $140 billion annually for federal grants and loans. Still, unemployment remains high. And college students’ literacy has declined in the last decade.

A commission during the George W. Bush administration said American higher education has become “increasingly risk-averse, at times self-satisfied, and unduly expensive.”

President Barack Obama agrees. He says post-secondary schools should be more honest about their diminishing value.

The cost of an education and the success of graduates are simply not adding up.

By Stephanie Benda


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8 Minnesota Airports Aided by “Let’s Get Back to Work”

Minnesota airports recently received a huge lift from Congress. 8 Minnesota airports will receive funding to build and improve new and existing airports.

The $564 million plan is part of the government’s “Let’s Get Back to Work” program. “Let’s Get Back to Work” employs laid off workers in construction and engineering.

Critics argue the program, which could cost up to $1 trillion, is just more spending.

But President Obama insists, “This is a small price to pay to help folks out who want to work.”

Local airports benefiting from the funding include:

  • New Ulm Municipal Airport: $3.8 million to build runway extension
  • Blue Earth Municipal Airport: $2.3 million to repair runway
  • Le Sueur Municipal Airport: $96,000 to purchase land
  • Waseca Municipal Airport: $62,000 to build taxiway

Airports in Rushford, Jackson, Faribault and Owatonna will also receive funding.

Time magazine’s 2011 person of the year was the protestor, and rightly so. Protests erupted all across the world in 2011, and a vast majority of these protests emerged from ordinary people mobilizing supporters on the Internet for their cause. It is only the second month of 2012, and I already sense this is going to be another big year for the protestor, especially the Internet protestor. In January, an Internet protest of anti-piracy bills SOPA and PIPA garnered so much attention and support that both bills were shelved. Last week, another massive Internet protest emerged following reports the nonprofit organization Susan G. Komen for the Cure was cutting off hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to another nonprofit organization, Planned Parenthood. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter played a huge role in both protests, thus cementing my belief they are not only here to stay, but they are also some of the most influential channels that exist in the world today.

For the purpose of this analysis, I focused on some of the application tools Twitter offers the everyday user to help me gain insight into the most recent Internet protest against the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization. The 3 tools I found most useful were Twitter Search, Twendz and Twitterfall.

Twitter Search is the application tool from which most other Twitter tools steal their power. It allows the user to search for any user he or she is interested in finding as well as view any tweets directed at the specific user. Additionally, users can search topics and hashtags to find out what users everywhere are talking about with regards to the topic or hashtag. The only downside to the tool is the oldest tweets users can view are only a week old. Still, the simplicity from which this application runs makes it the most user friendly tool on Twitter. Twitter users only need to log into their Twitter account and view their home page to utilize this tool. It is located on the upper-right hand corner of the page, and users simply type in what they are interested in searching and hit enter. For this analysis, I made multiple searches including: Planned Parenthood, Komen for the Cure, Nancy G. Brinker and Karen Handel. I also searched by their respective Twitter user names as well as some hashtags. Overall, each of my searches alerted me to many different people’s feelings regarding the incident, links to informational articles on the incident and a broad idea of the overall perceptions of each of these people or organizations involved in the incident.

Twendz was another tremendously useful tool for me. It uses the power of Twitter Search to monitor, measure and analyze searches. This is a more extensive and complicated version of Twitter Search and a key tool for marketing professionals. Similarly to Twitter Search, Twendz allows the user to search any topic, user or hashtag he or she so desires. The difference is Twendz evaluates the tweets as they come in monitoring, measuring and analyzing not only what people are talking about, but their emotional reactions. Twendz is a fantastic tool to help manage a brand as it determines the brand’s impact and the factors that influence it. One problem I had with it was in order to get more out of the tool a user must subscribe to the WE trendz pro™ service. I definitely would not have a problem with this if I was managing a major brand. In fact, I would suggest large companies and organizations such as Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Planned Parenthood to utilize this tool in order to not only get a comprehensive idea of what people think about their brand, but to manage the brand by connecting with users.

Lastly, Twitterfall was a useful tool in researching this incident because it provided me a geographical filter for what people were saying in my area. It works similarly to the previous tools. The user simply adds a search, or searches. Users can view multiple searches at a time and assign a specific color to distinguish between the searches. The tool allows the user to change settings for the speed, fall size, language, text size and whether the user wishes to view retweets. One of its most useful elements, however, is the geolocation tool which allows users to narrow tweets within a set radius or particular location. This would be especially useful for journalists that wish to report on what people are talking about in a particular area, in my case, I could specify Mankato, Minnesota.

After utilizing these three tools, I identified two specific issues I would emphasize in a news round-up. First, I would detail the tremendous impact this incident had on both Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Planned Parenthood. Amidst both sides of the controversy, everybody agreed that the incident significantly impacted both brands and as a result their support. How it impacted each organization is something readers on both sides of the spectrum are interested in reading. Returning to my beginning statement, the second issue I would address would be the influence of the Internet protest. I would specifically outline how this incident developed and why it is important for businesses and organizations to be consciously aware of the influence social media sites have in today’s world. In short, I would detail why today’s audience is more aware than ever before.