"Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories. And to render them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree."
"Let us dare to read, think, speak and write."
Now you would think that a somewhat civics-minded citizen of the United States of America who is considered to be at least of average intelligence and has reached nearly three-quarters of century of life would at least know the fundamentals of how the U.S. government operates. Wouldn't you?
But I recently realized that there are many of the basic facts I did not know (or had forgotten) until I looked them up on the Internet, mostly from Wikipedia. The next three paragraphs illustrate that point. And all the boldings have been added by me, indicating my items of special interest.
There are 100 Senators in the Senate. The number of Senators per state remains at two and the total number only changes when a new state is admitted into the union. There are 435 Representatives in the House of Representatives.
Elections for the United States Senate will be held on November 4, 2014, with 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate being contested in regular elections whose winners will serve six-year terms from January 3, 2015 to January 3, 2021. The elections to the U.S. House of Representatives, elections for governors in states and territories, and many state and local elections will also be held on this date.
For federal offices (President, Vice President, and United States Congress), Election Day occurs only in even-numbered years. Presidential elections are held every four years, in years divisible by four, in which electors for President and Vice President are chosen according to the method determined by each state. Elections to the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate are held every two years; all Representatives serve two-year terms and are up for election every two years, while Senators serve six-year terms, staggered so that one-third of Senators are elected in any given general election. General elections in which presidential candidates are not on the ballot are referred to as midterm elections.
O.K. Now that I have demonstrated my ignorance of the government and of its elections; now that I have shown myself to be a true April Fool, it is probably best that I now move on.
Did You Know . . .?
Bill Nye the science guy only has a Bachelor of Science degree but has been awarded three honorary doctorate degrees.
In 1969, after the surgeon general of the United States released an official report linking cigarette smoking to low birth weight, Congress yielded to pressure from the public health sector and signed the Cigarette Smoking Act. This act required cigarette manufacturers to place warning labels on their products that stated "Cigarette Smoking May be Hazardous to Your Health."
WORD FOR TODAY
1. An extended, usually heavy discharge of artillery.
2. A harsh verbal or physical attack.
3. To assault with heavy artillery fire.
4. To deliver heavy artillery fire.
(born April 1, 1939)
Ali MacGraw is an American actress. She first gained attention with her role in Goodbye, Columbus in 1969. She reached international fame in 1970's Love Story. In 1972, MacGraw was voted the top female box office star in the world and was honored with a hands and footprints ceremony at Grauman's Chinese Theatre. She went on to star in the hit films The Getaway (1972) and Convoy (1978), and the 1983 television miniseries The Winds of War. In 1991, she published her autobiography, Moving Pictures.
(Apr 1, 1932 - Sept 22, 2003)
Gordon Jump was an American actor best known as the clueless radio station manager Arthur "Big Guy" Carlson in the TV series WKRP in Cincinnati and the incompetent "Chief of Police Tinkler" in the sitcom Soap. He also played the "Maytag Repairman" in commercials for Maytag brand appliances, from 1989 until his retirement from the role in July 2003.
(born April 1, 1973)
Rachel Maddow is an American television host, political commentator, and author. She hosts a nightly television show, The Rachel Maddow Show, on MSNBC. Her syndicated talk radio program of the same name aired on Air America Radio. Maddow is the first openly gay anchor to host a major prime-time news program in the United States. She holds a doctorate in politics from Oxford University.
(born April 1, 1932)
Debbie Reynolds is an American actress, singer, and dancer. Her first leading role, in Singin' in the Rain (1952) with Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor, set her on the path to fame. By the mid-1950s, she was a major star. Other notable successes include Tammy and the Bachelor (1957), a major role opposite Gregory Peck in the Cinerama episodic ensemble Western How the West Was Won (1962); and The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964).
"Democracy in the United States will endure until those in power learn that they can perpetuate themselves through taxation."
--Alexis de Tocqueville