Archive for the ‘U. S. Constitution’ Category

RealWorldGraduation_Question_54_PledgeOfAllegiance   <–  PDF

In 1892, in preparation for the celebration of the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of America, a magazine in Boston called The Youth’s Companion published a “pledge to the flag” to be recited by schoolchildren.  It is believed to have been written either by Francis Bellamy or James Upham.  The pledge has undergone several revisions in the years since; it currently reads:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with justice and liberty for all.”

Although it was originally devised for schoolchildren, it was eventually adopted in 1942 as part of the United States Flag Code (U. S. C. Title 36). What is the purpose of such a pledge?

a) To inspire people to be proud of living in a nation that has liberty and justice for all

b) To emphasize that only people who believe in God can be Americans

c) To remind people that America cannot be divided

d) To confirm that the people are the ultimate sovereign in America

e) A combination of a), c), and d)

(The answer is shown on p. 2 of the PDF.)

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Posted in Benjamin Franklin, Bill of Rights, critical thinking, government powers, Real World Graduation, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »

Real World Graduation, Question 52: Your Rights

RealWorldGraduation_Question_52_Your_Rights   <– PDF

A certain man was a successful politician for many years. He gradually rose through the ranks from a city council member to state Representative to state Senator to federal Congressman to federal Senator.  In all those years, he was a consistent advocate for gun control, including various proposals to ban all guns and ammunition held by private persons.  He himself always lived in places with strict gun control, but he also was always in violation of the existing gun laws: he owned many guns that were banned, he failed to register guns he owned, and he bought and sold guns without the legal reporting requirements.  He was called upon to serve as an under-Secretary of a cabinet-level department by the new presidential administration.  As part of the vetting process, he was asked if he had ever violated any gun laws.  He lied about his guns, and the administration believed him, since he had a “perfect” voting record promoting and enacting gun control.  But once he was confirmed by the Senate, it came to light that he had in fact owned many guns, some of them illegally, and had committed numerous violations of the existing gun laws (some of which he had helped to pass at the state and federal level).  What will happen next?

a) He will be fired by the President.

b) He will resign in disgrace.

c) He will be investigated by the federal authorities.

d) He will be indicted by state and local authorities.

e) Either a) or b), followed by either c) or d).

(The answer is on p. 2 of the PDF.)

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Posted in Bill of Rights, critical thinking, government powers, gun control, habeas corpus, progressive, Real World Graduation, Second Amendment, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »

Real World Graduation #50: The Media

RealWorldGraduation_Question_50_The_Media   <– PDF

Suppose a famous nationally-distributed newspaper publishes a news article. This particular story is about a series of arsons and burglaries committed by specific persons, who are named in the story.  It is based on information provided to the newspaper by the local police department.  This information was provided to the newspaper editors because he is on friendly terms with officials at the police department.     Because this newspaper is regarded as the standard for integrity, its’ story is picked up by other newspapers, and then by various radio and television stations.  The broadcast and cable television networks accurately repeat the story in their broadcasts, with full audio and video “dramatic re-creations” of the events described in the story.

A few days later, the truth came out. The police officers who provided the information to the newspaper had lied under orders from their superiors in the police department.  The officers knew that the subjects in the story were innocent, but obeyed the chief’s order to relay the information to the newspaper.   The persons named in the story were in fact completely innocent; the upper echelon of the police department held a personal grudge against them because they were frequent critics of the department.  The newspaper editors did not know the people in the story were innocent, but did not investigate to verify the information.  They were happy to go ahead and publish it although unverified because the subjects in the story held political views contrary to those of the official position of the newspaper.  This story was also widely distributed on the internet, including all of the “social networking” sites.  The subjects of the article were libeled, slandered, and publicly vilified until they were completely exonerated by the court.  Unfortunately, they experienced considerable loss of income and legal expenses.  The Police Chief who created the false allegations, and the officers who carried out the politically-motivated orders were subsequently fired.  The editors at the newspaper were all subsequently given raises and promotions.  But the public was misled and misinformed all along, and some still believe the people mentioned were guilty, since the initiating newspaper never was required to issue a formal retraction or apology.  What should be done to prevent this kind of attack upon innocent people and the spreading of false information to the public?

a) Implement qualification controls to prevent inaccurate reporting, such as:

1) All journalists, editors, and commentators shall require a journalism license, to be renewed annually;

2) Persons who are not licensed journalists shall be prohibited from publishing in any format (except for works clearly labeled as fiction).

b) Implement reasonable content controls to prevent political bias, such as:

1) All newspaper, magazine, and printed publications shall be reviewed for news relevance and censored if appropriate, including a prohibition on “editorial opinion”;

2) Radio and TV broadcasts shall be subject to the same controls, except for live sporting events (without play-by-play).

c) Implement technological controls in order to reduce the occasions under which this type of crime could occur, such as:

1) Manufacture and possession of high-speed printing presses (above a certain number of pages per hour) shall be prohibited;

2) Manufacture and possession of broadcast equipment, including cameras, microphones, and lighting systems for studios shall be controlled by suitable authorities, to be released to users when required.

3) Social networking sites shall be prohibited from linking to news articles;

4) The internet shall be regulated as a public utility.

d) Implement capacity controls in order to reduce the magnitude of crimes when they do occur, such as:

1) Newspapers shall be restricted to publishing once per month, with a maximum page count based on community population;

2) Magazines shall be published once per year with a page count limit proportional to the number of paid subscribers;

3) Radio and television broadcast talk show hosts shall be restricted to one five-minute segment per month, to make room for greater diversity in broadcasting.

e) Some combination of the above actions.

(The answer is on p. 3 of the PDF.)

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Posted in critical thinking, First Amendment, government powers, Real World Graduation, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »

RealWorldGraduation_Question_47_Presidential_Elections   <– PDF

Suppose, in a U. S. Presidential election, candidate A gets 48% of the popular vote, candidate B gets 46%, and the remaining 6% is divided among various other minor-party candidates as officially reported by the election authorities in all the states.  However, candidate B is declared the winner of the election, and takes the oath of office.  How could this happen?  Between the election and inauguration, neither candidate dies, is convicted of a felony, is found to be ineligible, or refuses the office.  Also, none of the 6% gained by other candidates represented a victory in any given state.

a) Candidate B engaged in large-scale election fraud, and was able to get many of candidate A’s votes to be rejected. Although 48% voted for candidate A, less than 46% were counted.

b) Candidate A was favored by the mainstream media, and they inflated the vote counts for their favorite, even though he was not as popular.

c) The other minor-party candidates gave their votes to candidate B, so he ended up with 52%, and is clearly the winner.

d) Since neither candidate got a 50% + 1 majority, a runoff was held in the U. S. House of Representatives, and candidate B was the winner.

e) A combination of a) and c).

(The answer is on p. 2 of the PDF.)

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Posted in Early American history, Real World Graduation, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »