Asked Since 1790

"The Census has a profound impact on Minnesota's communities," [Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)] said in a statement. "It's important that every Minnesotan is counted, so we get our fair share of congressional seats and federal funding."

Not everyone worships at the shrine of federal funding; some feel accepting these funds is akin to selling our liberty. Whether or not we agree on the merits of this philosophy aside, can we agree that we allow government control over us to be passed from the local or state legislature, which I would argue is much easier to be part of, to Washington DC.  Was it always this way? Has the US Census always had so many questions.

Download the Census Questions here:   http://2010.census.gov/2010census/pdf/20 10ACSnotebook.pdf

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In Retrospect: Who is Really Un-American??

Crossposted from Hillbilly Report.

You know, one thing I get so sick of hearing from all the right-wing loons is how Progressives like myself and many of you are un-American. We have our patriotism questioned on a daily basis. Right-Wing idiots on the radio rail about how we do not believe in the Constitution and the values this country was founded on. Well, details that have emerged in the last couple of days show that the Bush Administration and their shameless enablers in the Republican Party and the former Republican Congress are the ones who really do not believe in the Constitution, or the freedoms granted by it.

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An American outrage: Bernie, AIG, and Us

SUMMARY: Americans are outraged at what has happened to their money, but they may outraged at the wrong things.

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Guantanamo's Catch-22

(Cross-posted from Think it Through)

Joseph Heller's novel, Catch 22, in 1961, described a world in which government creates a living hell for people because of its arrogance and ineptness. Heller did not go to Guantanamo, but he imagined it almost 50 years ago.

This past week the catch-22 nature of the Guantanamo prison came into sharp focus because of a court decision on the fate of 17 men from western China who belong to a Muslim ethnic minority called the Uighurs. Reportedly at odds with the Chinese government, they face persecution and possible death if they return to China. Unfortunately, they chose Afghanistan as a destination around the same time the CIA was offering cold cash to anyone in Afghanistan with the ability to raise an index finger, point toward another living human, and pronounce the words: TALIBAN, or AL QAEDA.

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A Nation of Laws.

Shortly after he declared our long national nightmare to be over, Gerald Ford asserted that his arrival in the Oval Office, unelected, on the heels of the worst political criminal this country had ever known, was proof that these United States are "a nation of laws, not of men". On its face, the remark seems at best ironic, and at worst downright deceptive. But it turned out to be true. For two years, Mr. Ford functioned, if not brilliantly, then competently, as our chief executive, and then peaceably handed the reins to someone else when he failed to convince the electorate to let him continue. Gerald Ford may not have been our greatest President, but he was an honest one.

As the remainder of the Bush presidency can now be measured in minutes -- 76 of them, as I write -- rather than days, weeks, months, or years, I am put in mind of that moment. The orderly transfer of power is something that we in America are used to; it is about to happen for either the 44th or 26th consecutive time, depending on one's reckoning: at any rate, for nearly 150 years, every time the electors have spoken, one man has given the titanic opportunities and duties of the Presidency to the next, without a shot fired in anger. This has happened when the parties disagreed vehemently, when, perhaps, they hated one another, when their ideologies were massively opposed; even, once, when it seemed that the man who was taking office had effectively stolen that office from the direct deputy of the man who was leaving it.

It's something of a miracle, don't you think? In most places on this Earth, to this very day it is the norm for one person or group of people to seize power and weild it until it is wrested forcibly from their fingers. It is so in the world's largest nation, it is so in some of its smallest, it is so in some of our closest neighbors, it was so for our own ancestors and perhaps some of our relatives. Even in parlimentary monarchies -- notably the British Commonwealth -- the head of state, however neutered his or her powers might have become in recent centuries, gives up power only in death.

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Diaries

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