Sunday, November 27, 2011

6th period: Current Event due 12/2

This week in C&E we will continue our study of the Legislative Branch. Find and write about an article that deals with our legislative bodies at either the state (General Assembly) or national (Congress) level. You may write about a piece of legislation, a particular representative or any other article that deals with our legislators. Check out the News&Observer for state level government or any national news site for updates about Congress (click on POLITICS to find out more). Yay, Article I! Have a great week. :)


  1. Natalie Bulik-Sullivan
    Pd. 6, Logan
    Author – Anne Blythe
    News and Observer, 27/11/11

    Several years ago, a controversial piece of new legislation known as the Racial Justice Act was introduced to the state. Previously, death row inmates were permitted to accuse those who participated in their trials (judges, jurors, prosecutors, etc.) of racial bias and claim that that bias led to an unfair application of the death sentence. After the Racial Justice Act was passed in 2009, judges were permitted to use relevant statistics while judging these claims, which could result in the inmate’s sentence being changed from death to a lesser sentence, such as life without parole. The most prevalent statistic used reports that those accused of murdering a Caucasian victim are 2.5 times more likely to be given the death sentence than defendants accused of murdering black victims. Another popular statistic says that black jury pool members were rejected twice as often as white members (cases where the pool member was rejected for a cause such as objection to the death penalty were not counted). 154 of North Carolina’s 157 death row inmates have made claims following the ratification of this act. However, state lawmakers may soon repeal it. There will be a three-day session in Raleigh (starting today) to determine the future of the Racial Justice Act. One of the main objections to the legislation is that it permits inmates to base their claims on statistics from other counties/judicial districts, where conditions could be very different from those in the area where they were tried. House Republicans in particular are in favor of amending or repealing the act, as they believe it is simply a method of ending the use of the death penalty in North Carolina. The state House proposed several major amendments to the law several months ago, but Senate did not address them during their summer session.
    If the Racial Justice Act really is, as some legislators claim, a way of ending the practice of executing prisoners, then I see no problem with that. I believe that the death penalty is an outdated and barbaric method of dealing with criminals and should not be practiced anywhere. Many people (especially prosecutors) speaking out against this law are doing so only because they predict that it will cost them time and money to review inmates’ cases. However, I think that it is more important to keep people from serving sentences of greater magnitudes than their crimes demand than it is to save a few dollars.

  2. Kaitlin Jones, Period 6
    Why Congress Can’t Save the Postal Service
    By: Jennifer Liberto, CNN
    November 29, 2011

    The US Postal Service is in jeopardy of losing many of its offices across the country because they are not in use and are expensive to maintain. This is a big issue for many Americans because the Postal Service provides many jobs; it employs about 557,000 Americans. Many of these Americans are veterans or minorities. Many bills have been going through the Senate and House of Representatives in an effort to save the Postal Service. Many representatives are in favor of cutting some post offices in order to save money, but they are not in favor of cutting the post offices (and therefore jobs) from their home districts. The postal service plans to lose over half of its processing centers by the end of 2013.

    I had no idea that the postal service was in this much trouble with budget cuts and the economy. It makes sense to me that many processing centers are not being used very often because so many people and companies use e-mail and other types of communication instead of actually mailing letters. I hope that Congress can pass some type of bill that can help save the half of a million American’s job that work for the Postal Service.

  3. Carly Narotsky Period 6
    House Democrats use super committee failure in campaign calls
    Author: Kevin Liptak, CNN
    November 30, 2011

    The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is blaming the failure of the Super Committee on the Republicans. They sent out robotic telephone messages explaining to voters in swing states like Florida and Illinois that the Republicans refused to let go of the Bush tax cuts, wanted to end the Medicare guarantee which many seniors rely on, and will not cooperate on legislation about creating jobs. The DCCC is also using live telephone calls, online advertising, and a center where voters can send letters to newspapers. The Super Committee to deal with the national debt was made of equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans, but the Democrats blame the Republicans for refusing to compromise. The National Republican Congressional Committee responded to this with a statement that, unsurprisingly, blamed the Democrats for the Super Committee’s failure and even blamed their “job-killing agenda” for making a bad economy even worse.

    Because the committee was made up of equal numbers of both parties, I wonder if their mini-votes within the committee always ended in a 50/50 split. If the vote was not split squarely down the aisle, then the Democrats may not have needed the Republicans to compromise on issues. This is because only a simple majority is needed to get a bill through committee, as we learned in class. I hope there are still people in Washington that are working on reducing the national debt, but that may not be as high a priority as creating jobs, from what I’ve heard. Plus, when more people have jobs that in itself will help the debt crisis because the government will collect more money in income taxes.

  4. Ryan Castellano
    Period 6
    Obama challenges Republicans on payroll tax cut
    By Tom Cohen, CNN: November 30, 2011

    Over the past few days there have been many talks about the payroll tax cut. The democrats are trying to pass a bill that increases the tax on the wealthy and decreases it for the low income families. The only Americans who do not support this plan are the rich republicans in congress; they think things should stay the same. If the bill is passed middle and low class families will see 1500 dollars more on their paycheck every year. This will help them pay for healthcare and others things that they did not have the chance to possess before. The wealthy have the short end of the stick, they will not have unemployment benefits, and more money going to the government from their paycheck.

    I agree fully with this bill, I think that President Obama did a great job presenting this bill as it will be passed. Living near Carrboro I know some families who only have one car, one bathroom, no TV’s or Computers. I have always felt sorry for these people. Now they will get a chance to pay for healthcare and get all their daily needs. I think that this is for a great cause and everyone should support it.

  5. Crescentia Cho, period 6
    Barney Frank Not Seeking Re-election in 2012
    Alan Silverleib
    November 28, 2011

    Barney Frank, 71 years old, has decided to retire from the House of Representatives in 2012 rather than 2014. He is a Democrat from Massachusetts and he was one of the first to openly gay members in Congress. He was elected in 1980 and is the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee. Since Frank lost his gerrymandered district he wasn’t looking forward to another hard fought campaign. Frank says that he doesn’t want to be torn between the need to reach out to new district residents, serve his existing constituents, and protect his Dodd Frank reform law next year.
    I think that Frank retiring has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages being that he is getting old and at his age a lot of people do retire so it might be beneficial for him. The disadvantage is the fact that a Republican might take his seat when he gives it up. Obama said that Frank represented Massachusetts and people of America with a voice. That is what citizens want and when Frank retires we might lose it. Plus there will be less diversity because Frank is gay and there are a lot of issues concerning gay marriages right now and it would be good to have his opinion on it.

  6. Katie Mimmack pd 6
    House GOP Bill Renews Jobless Benefit by David Espo on December 1, 2011

    As we speak, Republican in the House are drafting a renewal bill to give benefits to the unemployed. With a current jobless rate of nine percent, the cost of doling out generous unemployment benefits could be very expensive, but officials say that the cost of the program will be covered within the measure and that deficits will not arise as a result. In September, Obama urged Congress to renew and expand the payroll tax cut from last year, and encouraged an extension of benefits that can cover up to 99 weeks for the people who are unemployed for the long term. If the extended unemployed assistance were to expire, over six million people would lose benefits that average around $296 per week next year, with 1.8 million people getting cut off completely within a month. To raise the money for benefits, Republicans and Democrats came up with different plans. While Democrats want to levy a 3.5 percent surtax on million-dollar tax filters, Republicans want to freeze federal workers’ pay through 2015 and reduce the government’s bureaucracy by over 200,000 jobs. The bill would also raise medicare premiums for the wealthy and take steps to deny unemployment benefits and food stamps to anyone with a seven-figure income. Republicans said their legislation would cover the cost of the payroll tax cut extension, and generate around $110 billion in additional savings. Both options could go up as soon as next week, but polls reveal that neither option is likely to win the 60 votes needed to advance.

    I definitely believe that unemployment benefits are important in our country’s current job climate. However, I think that the solution that the Republicans have come up with in order to collect the money to give out benefits is completely ridiculous and also somewhat cruel. Cutting jobs in order to gain money to give to the jobless is one of the worst solutions to a problem I have heard of, but I can see how it is practical from the standpoint of someone who will likely never have to live off unemployment in their life. It is far cheaper to pay unemployment to 200,000 citizens than to give them high-paying salaries just looking at the numbers, but that doesn’t make it moral. This article is about legislature in the House of Representatives and renewing bills, and we are talking about legislature and bills in class. One thing I didn’t understand was what a “surtax on million-dollar tax filters” was, and why it wasn’t popular when faced against the Republicans’ option.

  7. Colin Bergey / Period 6
    Senate Republicans Lay Our Payroll Tax Cut Plan by Jeanne Sahadi -

    The Social Security tax cut plan, enacted a year ago, will expire on December 31, 2011. This plan cut Social Security tax from 6.2% to 4.2%, this percentage only applied to the first $106,800 of income. Republicans in Congress want to extend this Social Security tax break for another year. Democrats want to cut it even more from 4.2% to 3.1% for a year. The Republicans plan to pay for this continued cut by not letting millionaires receive unemployment benefits, as well as cutting the federal civilian workforce by 10%. The Republicans are also including a plan that lets wealthy people, like Warren Buffett, voluntarily pay more taxes. Some of the extremely wealthy feel they are not being taxed enough. The Democrats plan to pay for their tax cut by imposing a surtax on millionaires.

    I think that there are benefits and risks to these plans. They are trying to reduce taxes, which will give the average american more money. This might stimulate the economy because people feel they have more money to spend. On the other hand, paying for these tax cuts is a problem. People are getting laid off and not receiving benefits, which I don't think is right.

  8. Gabe Foster 6th
    35 New State Laws Take Effect Today
    Gary D. Robertson
    News and Observer

    Today, December 1, 2011, 35 new state laws take effect. One of these new laws gives the benefit of the doubt to people who shoot at intruders. If someone unlawfully enters your house or property you are now allowed to shoot if you feel threatened. Before this law you had to prove you had a substantial reason to fire. Another new state law says if you shoot a pregnant woman the woman and her unborn child are both victims rather than just the woman. Other laws deal with preventing high speed chases, impaired driving and more.
    These new laws all seem like pretty good ideas. They seem like they will help protect innocent people more especially those that deal with driving and murder. I think it might be a bad idea to automatically assume a person was right to shoot if someone breaks into their house. I think people should think before they shoot even if they are scared. They might end up shooting an innocent person. I think it’s interesting that 35 are all going into effect on the same day. Overall they seem to me to be good laws that should help protect people.

  9. Pd. 6
    No piecemeal voter ID laws
    Craig Jarvis and John Frank
    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    [ NOTE: Please only see section of article noted above ]

    Recently, a new bill was proposed at the North Carolina state level of government. The bill’s purpose was to make the presentation of a photographic identification at voting stations mandatory. The bill was vetoed afterwards. As a result, some proponents of the bill tried to work around the veto and try to make the bill in to law in several local governments. This type of local government manipulation has been deemed unconstitutional due to the local laws having a “cumulative impact...throughout the state.”
    I felt this article was quite interesting because a speaker, Dan Conrad recently had a discussion with CHHS civics and economics classes and in this discussion, mentioned this specific bill. The process which it demonstrates really gives people a feeling that even something they feel worthwhile can be indeed contemplated by legislators and made in to law. I say this because the process is now more clear to me about how, on a local level, a bill is made in to law, and I feel more empowered to make a difference by following the necessary steps which I have recently learned.


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  11. Allie Rives 6th Period
    35 New State Laws Take Effect Today
    Gary D. Robertson
    News&Observer December 1, 2011

    Along with 35 other criminal laws made this year, the fetal protection law will go into action today. This is exciting news, especially for lawmakers who have been waiting and enforcing these laws for over two decades now. An example of one of these laws is a pregnant woman can file charges against one who attacked her. If the unborn baby was killed or born with a severe injury or premature, the defendant can be sentenced to a life in prison. The people who have wanted this law passed are extremely grateful for the fact that something can be done to the people who hurt their loved ones. More laws were passed simply about self protection and rights to the people.
    These passed laws seem very beneficial to the community. As mentioned before, they are going to be helpful for protecting the people. I think it's important for anybody who harmed someone get charged, however it's even more important for them to get punished if their harming effected a baby. In a sense, that person would have harmed two people. The "Homeowner's Rights" law seems a little over dramatic. It's fair to have the right to bear arms, although it seems a little unnecessary to be able to shoot right away if someone illegally enters your property. All in all, these laws seem useful and great to keeping the world safe. I hope that these laws will be used to maintain peoples calmness in situations like these.

  12. Natalie Ragazzo
    6th Period
    House names congressional room after slain aide
    Published: December 1st, 2011

    In January 2011, six people were killed in a shooting. One of these people was Rep. Gabrielle Giffords's aides, Gabriel Zimmerman. Giffords was seriously injured herself but survived the attack. 30-year-old ZImmerman was the first congressional staffer to ever be murdered while performing his public duties. Zimmerman mostly handled community outreach for Giffords. The House named a Capitol meeting room after Zimmerman in his honor. Debbie Wesserman Schultz, a Florida Democrat, suggested naming the room after her close friend, Zimmerman. Schultz was also a victim in a shooting outside a Tucson supermarket.

    I think that it is very respectful for them to name a meeting room after Zimmerman. He was just doing his job and was killed. I do not know why the shooting occurred but if I had to guess it was probably because the person was disagreeing with what they were standing for. It's very unfair that he was shot and at such a young age of only 30. I have seen reports on congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords though and her recovery in amazing. Giffords is coming back from terrible conditions but seems to be getting better every day

  13. Julian Wilson
    6th Period
    35 New State Laws Take Effect Today by Gary D. Robertson
    News and Observer
    December 1, 2011

    This article was about 35 laws that were passed by Congress this year and go into effect today (12/1/11). One of the new laws deals with attacks on pregnant women, allowing for prosecutors to charge the attack on both the mother and unborn child separately to allow for a longer prison sentence. The attacker does not even have to know the woman is pregnant for this law to apply, because it takes effect from any point in the pregnancy after conception. However, the law specifically does not apply to legal abortions. Most of the new laws deal with criminal cases rather than civil ones. Another law allows for police to sell cars of felons involved in police chases. There is also a law that automatically assumes that a homeowner who shoots someone in their home as being justified. This is significant because these laws are specific to North Carolina, which is where we live so these laws affect us and people in our community.
    I thought it was very interesting to find out that these laws were passed and went into effect on the day I read about them. This is related to what we are learning in class because it has to do with the legislative branch passing laws and them going in to effect. I actually think that many of these laws make a lot of sense and I am also very happy that they were passed because it makes me feel like things are actually being done in our government. I also liked that the article included some information about the cases and crimes that led to the proposition and passage of the laws.

  14. Nate Hebert
    6th Period
    Congress Bickers Toward Year-End Compromise

    Republicans and Democrats argued Thursday to what would eventually be a compromise of legislation extending expiring Social Security payroll tax cuts and long term jobless benefits through 2012. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid said the republicans “ insist on helping the very wealthy while turning their back on the middle class,”. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the issue reflected poorly on both Obama and his allies in Congress. In summary, the Democrats were accusing Republicans of siding with the rich, and the Republicans said the Democrats were taxing small business owners who create jobs. House Speaker made it clear that the Republicans are ready to work with the president and Democrats to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment, but they must cut spending elsewhere. If this problem was not to be solved the 2008 benefits for the unemployed would expire, which means that 296$ a week would be lost in 1.8 million households. Another idea the Republicans had was to freeze federal workers pay through 2015.

    I believe that something has to get done soon in order to avoid the expiration of the benefits. The Republicans and Democrats need to come to an agreement or else tons of money would be lost. I personally believe that it would be a good idea to extend the freeze of federal jobs that Obama had already started. This relates to what we are talking about in class because we are studying the legislative branch and congress is a part of the legislative branch.

  15. Alex Walker, 6th Period
    Republican leaders shifting stance on payroll tax cut
    Author: Tom Cohen
    Publishing Date: December 1, 2011

    Issues revolving around the payroll tax cut have been discussed by major politicians recently, and it appears that they all seem to agree on one thing: if the cut expires at the end of the year as planned, the economy will be in even greater trouble. The disagreements arise, though, when the means for extending this tax cut are discussed. Democrats are in favor of placing a tax on incomes over $1 million, while Republicans oppose all forms of tax increase. They propose an alternative which Democrats completely object to. This plan would freeze discretionary government spendings and cut federal jobs, A final proposal will have to be formed eventually, though, and only time will tell what compromises Democrats and Republicans are willing to make in order to extend the payroll tax cut.

    I think that these disagreements between both political parties are ridiculous. If this plan will help the economy, it is most important to pass it though congress. The problem is that nobody is willing to compromise, which makes it difficult to get anything passed. The super committee failed for this reason, and it is also the source of our congress’ abnormally low productivity level. Democrats and Republicans need to work together, or nothing will ever get done. This article is relevant to what we are studying in class this week because it involves a piece of legislature that is being discussed in congress. It is directly linked to our legislative branch of government.

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  17. Tim Bogan – 6th Period
    'Zahra's Law' goes into effect today
    By Cleve R. Wootson Jr. and April Bethea - Staff Writers
    News and Observer - December 1st, 2011

    Two laws, inspired by the deaths of a teenager and 9-year-old, go into effect today in North Carolina. They are included in the 35 laws that go into effect as of December 1st 2011. One piece of legislation reads that it will be a felony to disturb or dismember a corpse, inspired by the death of one Zahra Baker. The Catawba District Attorney’s Office approached State Representative Mark Hilton with the bill as investigators worked on the Zahra Baker case. The 9-year-old girl was murdered and then had her body scattered by her stepmother, Elisa Baker. Another law of interest is one that gives stiffer penalties for repeat DWI offenders whose cases have other aggravating factors. This law, entitled Laura’s Law, was named for Laura Fortenberry, a 17-year-old from Gaston County. She was killed in a vehicle crash in which the other driver was driving while impaired in July 2010.

    I think that, although the stories are tragic, this is good news. It shows how our state legislators respond to the misfortune of the citizens. Creating laws to counter disorder is exactly what the legislation is there to accomplish and they have done their jobs in responding to these two specific cases. I also think that it is wonderful that our state congress is so productive as to have passed 35 laws that go into effect on the same day. This relates to our work in class because it has to do with the legislative branch creating laws.

  18. David Hicks
    6th Period
    Title: New Legislation Threatens Online Music (hopefully less boring than 35 laws and payroll taxes)
    Source: (time to get some scarfs and plaid errthang)
    Date: November 17, 2011

    This article addresses two recent pieces of legislation proposed by the Senate and House of Representatives which deals with the online music piracy that has been occurring since the late 1990s. These two pieces of legislature were titled the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act. These acts, if passed, will eliminate the need for a court trial for the websites which post copy written music without proper permission from the owners of the music. Even YouTube could have it’s domain suspended if this legislation passes. SOPA’s chance for passing is reported as “excellent” by the New York Times due to support and superior lobbyists backing the bill.
    From my own perspective I find this bill to be quite stupid. If you look at the exposure that online music has to offer you begin to wonder how the music industry could afford not to have their music put online. Just look at pop artists views on YouTube, Justin Bieber has 2 billion total video views. It’s ridiculous that record companies would support a bill that was trying to destroy an industry that introduced one of their most famous artists to a third of the world’s population. For this reason I hope this legislature passes. My hope is that true artists will overtake the pop sensations that stole the limelight away from those who made music because they loved music. Artists that would rather be heard than paid, something that is scarce in today’s world. This relates to legislature because it deals with a major piece of legislature (in my mind) that involves the music industry.

  19. Anna Zhang 6th
    Senate approves $662 billion defense bill
    News and Observer
    Published Thu, Dec 01, 2011 08:35 PM

    On Thursday, the Senate passed a $662 billion defense bill. The vote resulted in an overwhelming majority: 93 to 7. This new bill gives money for military personnel, weapons systems, national security programs and the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The cause for this bill is due to Iran’s actions in nuclear weaponry. Though the majority of the senate is agreement with the bill, there is still much controversy over the idea and the effects it’ll have over America. Civil rights groups completely oppose the bill and President Obama has threatened to veto it. There are still many issued that need to be solved in regard of this bill.

    To be honest, I’m not exactly sure I completely understood the article. They talked about how this action would definitely inflate gas money and how it gives the military too much power. One concern is that the military might jail Americans if they were suspected of terrorism without a fair court trial.
    Also, I’m not really aware of the conditions in Iraq at the moment, but $662 billion is a lot of money, even if they say it’s $43 billion less than what Congress paid the Pentagon.

  20. Mikko rich-voorhees 6th
    Senate kills effort to ban indefinite military detentions of U.S. citizens
    Michael McAuliff, the Huffington post, 12/1/11
    This article basically talks about the Bill passed by the senate, which allows the military to indefinitely detain Americans. It also clearly states that the military has the right to enter the home of suspected terrorists. The senate passed the bill but added an amendment to it, which protects the rights of certain people by allowing them court cases. The bill will go back to the house because of this so they can vote on the new bill. However the president could still have any person arrested without trial because of this bill.
    This is exactly what our class is going over right now, the creation of bill and it’s process in becoming a law, it has already gone through the house and the senate and after going through some additions it is being sent back to the house where it will likely be voted through again. Myself I think the bill is unconstitutional in that it is very close to crossing the border of the “innocent until proven guilty” rule. The people aren’t going to be given the trials they probably deserve and ii think that this whole thing’s purpose is to scare middle eastern people away, because they live in fear they might be taken in for their race.

  21. Paul Miller
    Zahra Law goes into effect
    By Cleve Wootson
    December 1, 2011

    Many laws go into effect today and one of the most notable one is the “Zahra Law”. A law that makes disturbing or dismembering a corpse is a felony. This law was inspired by a 9 year old who was killed and body scattered by her step mother. Another law going into effect today is the “Laura Law”. This law calls for stiffer penalties for repeat DWI offenders whose cases have other aggravating factors. It also gives the judge the freedom to make the offenders wear alcohol-monitoring bracelets for much longer than the current 60-day limit. This was reported by State rep Mark Hilton a republican. This will help our state because it will put away repeating offenders for longer hoping they learn and keep people from messing with the dead.

    I think these are both good laws that will be passed today but I want to know what the other 2 dozen that will go into effect today as well. I think both of these laws make sense but it is sad that the reason we came up with the idea for these, is people had to get hurt in some way which makes us crack down on the offender. I wouldn’t think the first one would be a law, I always just assumed no one would do it because they wouldn’t want to and that it’s just wrong. In class we are learning about the bill to law process and this is an example of a finished product that came into law.

  22. Camden Van Ord
    Republican leaders shifting stances on payroll tax cut
    Tim Cohen, CNN
    December 2nd, 2011

    After agreeing that a payroll tax cut would boost the economy, republicans are arguing the way that we should cut taxes. On thursday, republicans and democrats proposed ideas on how to legislate these tax cuts. They were both blocked by the senate. Democrats proposed that there be a 3.25% tax on income more than $1 million. It was denied in the Senate by 9 votes. The republicans continue to attack the middle class. While proposing a plan that would raise medicare costs for the upper class, it would also cut federal spendings, thus cutting federal jobs. President Obama lashed back, saying that "they chose to raise taxes on nearly 160 million hardworking Americans because they refused to ask a few hundred thousand millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share." He says he will avidly work to protect the middle class and small business owners.

    I chose this article because this decision will affect all Americans. I think it's ridiculous that 300,000 millionaires refuse to pay a fair share and would want to take away from the hardworking middle class. Without looking at any sort of income numbers, wouldn't you say it makes sense that if 300,000 could help 160 million Americans that they should? It only makes sense. Most of these people have so much money to spare. If they paid their fair share of taxes, it could severely boost the economy and aid medicare as well as job opportunity. If the democratic plan goes through, middle class income would increase by $1,500 a year. That can be very helpful towards some families that may be struggling in these hard economic times.

  23. Ashley Powell
    Bill filed to prohibit congressional insider trading
    CNN wire staff
    November 15, 2011

    This article is talking about how 60 minutes showed how congress men and women might be using there information about companies to make stock decisions. Massachusetts senator Scott Brown is trying to pass a bill that prohibits this action. He says it is just like when someone is using company information that only they know to make stock decisions. This bill would also prohibit releasing the information for personal gain. The bill is called stop trading on congressional knowledge bill or STOCK.
    I think this is a smart bill that would make it much fairer to everybody else. If this bill were to pass it would make decisions be more made based on what is right rather than what would be best for there stock. I find it unbelievable that some congress members are arguing against this bill.

  24. Catherine Romaine
    6th period
    Plans to Extend Tax Break Fail
    Lori Montgomery & Felicia Sonmez

    This article is about how the Senate rejected the temporary tax break. This tax break would benefit pretty much every worker in America and would make serious negotiations over the cost of the tax cut possible. More Republicans voted against the plan than for it which was a shock. Both parties agree that this tax cut should be extended to keep the economy in good shape. The controversy is how to pay for it. The Democrats think there should be a 3.25% tax on anybody with an income of over $1 million. The Republicans proposed to keep the same tax break but freeze the pay to federal employees until 2015, cut 10% of the federal workforce and deny some government benefits to those with incomes of over $1 million. Neither of these proposals made it through the Senate.
    I chose this article because it has been in the news a lot. It has been a huge controversy. I was surprised that neither the Democrat or Republican proposal made it through the Senate. They both seemed like pretty good ideas except I like the Democrat one better. It seems the most fair out of the two options.

  25. Collin Vilen
    Pd 6
    Senate Passes Defense Bill with detainee policy compromise – 12/2/11
    The Senate passed a major bill on Thursday that deals with how Al Qeada terrorists
    should be tried and put in prision. It passed my a major majority, 93-7, and will cut
    spending in the Pentagon by $43 Billion. Some critics are complaining because it allows
    suspected al Qeada terrorists to be held by the military forever. People believe that these
    suspects should be tried in federal courts, so US citizens suspected of belonging to the al
    Qeada terrorist organization are not wrongly held by the millitary.
    I believe that suspects should be tried in federal courts, because it is unconstitutional
    that US citizens not get the benefit of a fair trial. I think if the suspected terrorists are not
    found in the US, they should not be tried in federal courts because it is not the duty of the
    US to give them a fair trial. We should not take them to the US just to give them a trial
    in the case, feelings are just too high in the US for the trial to go smoothly. There would
    be violence and controversy surrounding the whole case, and we should not provoke that
    out the american people. This relates to the legislative branch because the bill was passed
    be the Senate, part of the legislative branch. The article did not say, but I do not think
    the House of Representatives have voted on it and the president has not signed it yet. Im
    worried that if we don’t try people accused of being part of al Qeada in the US, citizens
    will be wrongly accused of terrorism.

  26. Emma Beck
    Per 6
    Barney Frank Not Seeking Re-election in 2012
    Alan Silverleib
    November 28, 2011ber 28, 2011

    Barney Frank, a Democrat from Massachusetts, has decided not to run for re-election in the 2012 elections. Frank has served 16 terms in congress. Frank has made many enemies and in one interview said that he felt that all those times he was being nice. Frank was one of the first congress members to openly say that he is gay. Frank is going to give up his gerrymandered district. Many republicans are hoping that this will give the republicans on Massachusetts a chance to get into congress. At the moment Massachusetts has no republican representatives in the house.

    I think that it is good for Frank to give up his place in The House and let new people influence their ideas because clearly what we are doing now is not working. I think though that it doesn’t give you enough information about what he did in the house to give a strong option. I also think that it is good for him to openly say that he is gay. I hope that it would influence others to give up their public view to be who they are. Also Frank saying that he is gay might show the other representatives that he is still like everyone else and that gay marriages are not bad.

  27. John Morales, Period 6
    Senate Approves $662B Defense Bill
    By AP/ Donna Cassata
    Source: TimeU.S.
    Publishing Date: 12-1-11,8599,2101270,00.html

    Democratic-controlled Senate ignored a veto threat of the president on Thursday and approved a massive bill of $662 billion dollars. The bill states that all suspected al-Qaida affiliates should be held and even the ones in American soil. The bill was 93-7 and it includes military weapons, military personell, and national security programs in the Energy Department, as well for the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. The senate also had a version of this bill but was less anticipated. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and FBI Director Robert Mueller both said that the bill would cause in argument between the White House and thos whom approved it. As of last Thursday a veto threat still stands and is well discussed for many political reasons. The legislation would give the government authority to hold any if they are suspected in doing terrorism. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; states this can be a bad bill because it can be injustice towards any ones rights especially those of who are illegal. The bill was discussed by the senate as well and had a similar opinion to those of the legislation but loss 55-45 due to the fact that it could be discrimination of ones rights. However the congress brought up the 9/11 terrorist attack and how President Obama has failed to get any terrorist. David Cohen, a senior Treasury Department official, and Wendy Sherman, an undersecretary of state, warned that the amendment could bring a terminated deal with Iran in getting oil. David Cohen And Wendy Sherman both got in the fact of saying that is this bill becomes an amendment it could be a very powerful threat and affect our economy.
    In my opinion this bill could be discrimination and cause people to be unjustified. This bill should be edited and not state that anyone can be held because their suspicions could be wrong. Otherwise the bill could help Americas security and stop terrorism from happening. I think that if the bill was edited saying if anyone is suspected of terrorism they can be questioned and even held if they give contradicted answers or those that don't seem right.

  28. Maddie McNeal – Period 6

    Nancy Pelosi gets nostalgic about retiring Barney Frank

    Author - Kathleen Hennessey

    Los Angeles Times December 1, 2011,0,4740495.story?track=rss

    Rep. Barney Frank announced that he was retiring. His retirement means the loss of a powerful and “colorful” man. Many members of Congress have been reminiscing and past times with Frank. Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader, is no exception. She told stories of her close relationship with Rep. Frank. One of their first interactions was in 1987 when a fellow representative made comments Pelosi saw to be anti-gay and she wanted to discuss these comments with Frank; however, he had no time for it. He simply blew her off; this taught her to talk to him in shorthand. Later on in Pelosi’s career when she was managing a bill in the Foreign Operations Committee, Frank even made fun of her clothing choices. As Pelosi told her stories of Frank it is obvious he will be missed.

    In response to the article I thought it was really interesting to see the relationships Congress forms within itself. These people become friends and form bonds after spending so much time with each other. Even when they are arguing and trying to prove their points they are building relationships and friendships. Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank are two very important people in the House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosi is the former Speaker of the House, she is a perfect display of the Legislative Branch at work.

  29. Grant DeSelm 6th period
    House to vote for slain Giffords staffer
    Deirdre Walsh

    Arizona representative Gabby Giffords is a well known politician but recently something has happened. A thirty year old was slain while on duty for Giffords in a local event. The gunman, Jared Loughner, opened fired in the local Tucson grocery store. Today, the House of Representatives will vote on a resolution to memorialize the aide to Gabby Giffords. They are going to name a meeting complex in the Capitol building after him. It will be called the “Gabriel Zimmerman Meeting Room”. The room that the name will be placed if voted for in favor would have been room HVC 215. They aren’t doing this just because he died in service but because of his attitude and work ethic. Over 400 house members have sponsored this memorial and should pass with an overwhelming majority vote today in congress. President Obama has already signed a bill naming a southern Arizona courthouse after another man shot during the massacre.

    I think this will pass in congress with a very lop-sided vote in favor of having this meeting room named after Gabriel Zimmerman. With 400 of the House of Representatives already in favor of this, it is practically passed already. They should pass it anyway; this man lost his life because he was technically serving his country representing Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords. Giffords was also present and shot in the head and is still recovering in a hospital Houston, Texas. A dedication is planned for the room for the beginning of next year.

  30. Laura Sullivan
    Period 6th
    Date: 11/30/11
    Author: Ted Barrett, Kate Bolduan and Deirdre Walsh
    Source: CNN politics

    This article is about the failure of the congressional “super committee” to forge a defict reduction deal. The blame falls on President Obama and the Congressional leaders. All they needed to do was make an agrreement on cuts before the automatic painful budget cuts come in 2013. The Democrats and Republicans could not come into any agreement on budget cause when all they needed to do was agree on atleast 1.2 million dollars on defict reductions. Obama said the Republicans would not agree to increase taxes on the wealthy. Democrats and President Obama stated that the Republicans are not giving nay effort to compromise or meet halfway. Republicans argued that President Obama was failing to step up and display necessary leadership to forge an agreement. Leaders on both sides do not like the automatic budget that cuts that would come if they did not make an agreement. The cuts would be split evenly between the domestic and defense programs.
    This article relates to what were doing in class because it has to do with the legislative branch coming together and trying to make a decision. It is funny that the “super committee” failed to make an agreement when everyone thought they could do anything. They just need to start fighting with each other and come together to make the agreement.