Why Tennessee Would Benefit From The National Popular Vote Plan

There was a time not too long ago when Tennessee enjoyed an abundance of electoral attention. Presidential candidates and their surrogates cultivated support in the Volunteer State in hopes of swinging the bellwether state into their electoral column. The state selected the winner of the National popular vote every election between 1928 and 2008, save 1960 when Republican Richard M. Nixon defeated John F. Kennedy. In 1980, Ronald Reagan defeated President Jimmy Carter by just 0.29% of the vote. In 1992 Bill Clinton selected the state’s Junior U.S. Senator Al Gore as his running mate. The ticket carried the Volunteer state in 1992 and again in 1996, with Gore making a formidable 16 campaign stops in his home state. The last year the state was contested was in 2000, when Republican George W. Bush defeated Gore in his home state by four percentage points. The state has gradually become a Republican citadel, forcing the Democrats to concede the state years before the Presidential election cycle begins. It was one of only two states (Arkansas being the other) where Democrat Barack Obama performed worse in 2008 than John Kerry did in 2004. This electoral irrelevance is very disadvantageous to Tennesseans.

Presidential candidates spend their time on the hustings in only about 15 showdown states (aside from blue chip fundraisers in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles). They address the concerns of a very select group of voters simply because of their geopolitical location. Candidates are forced to address the trade embargo on Cuba because of the influence of Cuban-American votes in Florida. They must address the foreclosure crisis in Las Vegas because Nevada is a swing state. They must speak to the effects of globalization on the steel industry because of the industry’s electoral muscle in the electoral battlefields of Ohio and Pennsylvania. Unfortunately for Tennessee, candidates see no advantage in addressing the decline of more than 150 thousand manufacturing jobs in Tennessee over the last decade, violent crime in Memphis, and the plight of the state’s tobacco farmers. When they get into office, Presidents are less familiar with these issues and see no electoral incentive to address them. As former Governor Jim Edgar (R-IL) asserts: “People who are in elected office remember what they learned when they were campaigning. Its important that the candidates campaign in all states, not just the swing states.” Despite this rather gloomy picture, there is a way to make Tennessee voters actually matter. The National Popular Vote Plan is an interstate compact, whereby participating states would agree to allocate their electoral votes to the winner of the National Popular Vote, as opposed to the candidate who secures the most votes in their state. The compact would take effect when enough states (constituting the requisite 270 electoral votes required to win the Presidential election) agree to participate.

Currently 8 states and the District of Columbia, constituting 132 Electoral votes, have ratified the compact. Despite contemporary belief, the present winner-take-all system of awarding Presidential electors was not part of the grand design of the Founding Fathers. In fact, the Constitutional Convention was deadlocked as to the method of electing the President. They decided to delegate “plenary authority” to the states in awarding their electors, as reflected in Article ll, Section 1, Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution, which states: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors.” Accordingly, each state has autonomy to select electors in any way that they see fit. This issue has garnered support from across the political aisle. Political Lightening struck when the Chairmen of the states Republican and Democratic Parties, Bob Davis and Randy Button, joined forces in endorsing this effort. In addition, former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) is a co-champion for the National Popular vote movement. A recent poll showed that 83% of Tennessee voters agree that the person who wins the most votes should win the election. The National Popular Vote Plan will bring Tennessee back from the electoral abyss. Presidential Candidates will once again have a reason to cultivate and solidify support in the Volunteer state. A vote in Cleveland, Tennessee will be just as coveted as a vote in Cleveland, Ohio. Every vote will be equal. Every vote will count. Every vote will be meaningful, and Tennessee will have a seat at the electoral table.

Rajiv Gandhi Was Likely to be The Prime Minister Again in 1991.

21 May 1991Sri Perumbudur was rocked by a blast. Suicide attacker had succeeded in their evil motives. They snatched away Rajivji from us and the progressive movement of a developing nation was brought to a screeching halt. This was an international conspiracy, that many top world leaders were afraid about. The then Palestinian President Yasir Arafat had serious concerns about such an attack on Rajiv Gandhi and so he had also warned him.Satish Jacob , Senior JournalistWe had got the information from Election Commission that Rajiv and Sonia would come there to cast their votes. There was an election booth in Nirman bhawan so a lot of journalists were also present there to cast their votes. I saw him coming with a broad smile on his face. I asked him “You look very happy, last year when you were coming out after voting you looked concerned”. He replied, “Why shouldn’t I be happy, we are winning.”During Rajiv Gandhi’s Prime Minister rule , the neighboring country Sri Lanka was burning with isolation and violence. To maintain the regional harmony and the sovereignty of its neighbour Rajiv Gandhi’s government acted promptly.Rajiv Gandhi after signing a treaty with Sri lanka”The agreement holds out the promise of a strong, united, peaceful Sri Lanka which is as much in our interest as it is in is the unity of hearts that guarantees the unity of Nations. India and Sri Lanka have been the joint founders of the non alignment movement.

Our commitment to non-alignment grows out of our traditions and ethos of our freedom struggle. Peace in our region depends crucially on all of remaining non aligned.”No body could’ve imagined that it would be so life threatening for him to desire peace. The ‘Shaanti Sena’ sent by India had destroyed the hopes of LTTE , that was set out to divide Sri Lanka. This was a big jolt for LTTE chief Prabhakaran and he started planning the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. He was also perturbed by the possibility of Rajiv Gandhi returning to power after Indian elections. From the beginning of year 1991, LTTE terrorists had laid the foundation of Rajiv ji’s assassination.After the two dress rehearsals in local rallies , the attackers finally succeeded on 21 May 1991 in Perumbudur.”You know its an irony that Rajiv’s assassin appeared before him in the same way as Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin had appeared before him. to pay respect and to show their devotion to the leadership.”21 May 1991 became a black day in the history of India. The Sun had set even before rising. His dreams also died with him, unfulfilled.Wish his dream had not died, Wish he had not died.Rajiv Gandhi was born in a politically active family yet he was an apolitical person.His entry to politics was circumstantial but when he took over the control, his every move was of a mature statesman

Are You Fed up of Anna Hazare And Team Anna?

Are you fed up of Anna Hazare and Team Anna? I am Mental fatigue has set in because of two reasons. The first is media overkill. Newspapers, having limited space, at least exercise some restraint, but television, which has 24 hours to fill, just drones on and on, showing the self-appointed guardians of civil society enjoying their 15 weeks in the sun. The second reason why many of us have had enough of the Lokpal Bill agitation is that Anna Hazare and his team don’t know when to stop. The role of members of civil society is clearly defined: whatever it may be, it is not to legislate.That is the role of the legislature, which is why it is called that. The role of civil society – which means people like us – is to act as catalysts and pressure groups which force politicians and parliament to act, and to bring in laws which will be for the general we know, the Lokpal Bill has been hanging around in parliamentary recesses for years and years.

For obvious reasons, politicians of all political parties have tried to scuttle it, and done so successfully for a long time (That’s why it is amusing to see the BJP take the moral high ground: why didn’t the NDA government bring in the bill in its two terms?)In that scenario, someone had to take the initiative. When Anna Hazare and company did so, we all applauded. But having forced the government to act, they should have stopped and allowed parliament to fulfill its role of bringing in the new legislation.Obviously, the form the new bill takes will not please everyone. No bill can. But the pulls and pressures of opposing political parties in parliament generally ensures that a reasonable compromise is reached.Should the Prime Minister be under the Lokpal’s preview? There are two valid, but opposing, views on that. Should the Chief Justice and Supreme Court judges be under the purview? Again there are two valid, but opposing, views. Now isn’t it arrogance on the part of Hazare and Co that only their view is correct?Anna Hazare’s threat of a fast is nothing but blackmail.

When Mahatma Gandhi went on his fasts, it was as a part of Satyagraha against an occupying imperial power. The situation changed in 1947; we became a democracy and have been a functional democracy for all this time. That is why a fast of the kind that is now being threatened is nothing short of coercion to get your own members of civil society we need to tell Anna Hazare that. We need to tell him too that the Bhushan duo isn’t necessarily the best legal brains in the country even if they think so: the job of drafting the bill isn’t their business anyway. We also need to convey as gently as possible that Anna Hazare himself is a good man, but a good man of limited vision and intellectual ability. This may sound harsh but you just have to listen to his speeches. Ideally, neither the government, nor Team Hazare should have had a hand in the bill.What Team Hazare should have asked for is to pick a three-member team of the best independent legal experts of impeccable reputation to work on it and then present it to parliament. But then, Anna Hazare and his team wouldn’t be on television all the time, would they?

Obamas Tax Plan to Reduce The Debt And How it Might Affect Small Business

On Monday, President Obama revealed a new tax plan that represents not only a change in his economic policy, but also a shift in how he conducts his political strategy. Whereas Obama has become notorious for a strategy of offering substantial concessions to Republicans when it comes to economic issues, his new tax plan shows that he is less willing to compromise when it comes to taxation and debt reduction. Obama’s plan includes plans to reduce the national deficit by “more than $3 trillion over 10 years” by increasing taxes on the wealthiest fraction of American citizens. The announcement comes days after a speech made by Speaker John Boehner, which essentially stated the opposite: Republicans would not support any economic bill intended to increase taxes on any sect of the population.

However, to demonstrate how serious he was about his approach, Obama claimed that he would use his veto power on any bill that proposed spending cuts without a simultaneous increase in taxes.According to??several analysts, Obama’s statement on reducing the national debt comes at a crucial point in his presidency because it represents a much more combative approach to negotiating with Republicans on economic issues than what he has demonstrated so far. Because Obama has developed a reputation for being too flexible when it comes to negotiating on issues with significant implications for the nation and the economy, his recent move could be interpreted as a way of getting back in touch with his party base before the 2012 election.As for how Obama’s new strategy might affect small businesses, what matters first is to what extent Obama’s ideas will be implemented. With Republicans seemingly unwilling to negotiate about taxation, Obama might not be successful in getting any legislation through that succeeds in increasing taxes on the rich.

Furthermore, a policy of increasing taxation could have the effect of increasing employment through government spending on investment on projects that promote job creation, but these expenditures might not be seen for months or years. While some may argue that cutting taxes on the wealthiest Americans will reduce investments in big businesses and therefore hurt job creation, others may see it as a more fair approach to distributing the tax burden across the American population.What is your take on Obama’s new stance? Do you think it will be successful, and what do you think the repercussions may be? Share your thoughts!

Raebareli on The Path to Progress, Thanking Gandhi Family

Reabareli is witnessing all round development under the guidance of Congress President Sonia Gandhi. It is not limited to roads and educational institutes only. There are numerous projects running in this area, which are making huge impact on the lifestyle of the people here. There has more than 1750 hand pumps been set up during year 2004-09 under Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s MP Local Area Development Fund with a total cost of around 3 crore 78 lakh rupees.Besides funds were allotted for the construction of Dharmshalas, shades, Rainbaseras and graveyards. In year 2005-06, Rs 5 lakh was donated to people affected by Tsunami in Tamil Nadu and Rs 3 lakhs were given to a Leprosy Ashram in Munshiganj. In this year itself around Rs 40 lakhs were spent on different developmental work including the construction of baratghars and auditoriums. When Congress President was not representing Raebareli in Parliament, this district used to get electricity from neighboring Sultanpur but it was not adequate for the requirement of the district even if the electricity was generated in Raebareli itself.

Now, due to the effort of Congress President, Raebareli is getting electricity from NTPC Unchahar and getting relatively more electricity than before. A new power sub-station has been set up in Amawa road with a cost of Rs 75 crore. However, due to the biased policy of UP government, people of Raebareli are still facing rampant power cuts. Besides, a 210 MW unit of NTPC Unchahar has functional with a cost of Rs 3,000 crores and now NTPC Unchahar is producing 1050 MW of electricity. Raebareli has got enormous benefit under NREGS and thousands of poor people have got employment under this scheme. From year 2006 onwards, a total sum of Rs 2150 crores has been allotted to the district and it has checked the migration of poor labourers to a certain extent. There are numerous tourist sites scattered in Raebareli and Congress President has tried to push the development of these places. Many Dharmashalas, parks and shelters have been constructed under MPLADF. The ministry of tourism and culture, government of India has also shown special interest for the development of these sites due to the efforts of Congress President.

Interest of the farmer community has always been a concern for the Congress President and she has always shown interest to solve their problem. After the assassination of Indira Gandhi, the irrigation facilities in this area had deteriorated to the worst and when people talked to Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi in this regard, there was a quick solution on the card. Due the efforts of Congress President and Rahul Gandhi, Sharada Canal Scheme was completed with the help of Central Water Resource Ministry, costing Rs 105 crores and farmers are getting benefit in irrigation. It is really a new down in the history of Raebareli. Raebareli has witnessed huge progress in the field of rail connectivity, banking, information technology revolution, skill development and various industrial activities thanks to the efforts of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi. Now, Raebareli is not deprived of the rail connectivity with rest of the country. It has got good connectivity with Delhi, Mumbai, Jammu and Patna. Intercity trains are running for Lucknow, Allahabad and Banaras from here.Raebareli railway station has been elevated to A grade and all the facilities are available here. Many long distance trains have been started from Raebareli like Lokmanya Tilak Saket Express, Lucknow-Allahabad Intercity Express, Marudhar Express, Padmawat Express and Delhi Garib Rath. Besides many new halts have been made and platforms been widened.

But the biggest project in Raebareli that has been started on behalf of Congress President is Rail Coach Factory. This is a dream project of Congress President, which intends to provide employment to around more than 25,000 people. This factory will provide 10,000 direct employments and 15,000 indirect employments to the local populace. This factory will cost around Rs 18, 00 crore and will manufacture sophisticated rail coaches for the railway. Though, UP government tried its best to create obstacle in for this project but due to the efforts of Congress President and Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, this factory is under construction. Congress President Sonia Gandhi has made tremendous efforts for the betterment of health facilities in Raebareli.A trauma centre has been made in Rana Veni Madhav Singh Memorial Hospital and many health camps were arranged in the rural areas with the under central government scheme. Thousands of patients were given health care facilities through Life Line Express train. There has been good implementation of National Rural Health Mission, and Janani Suraksha Yojana, of central government. Thousands of people were provided free treatment and operation on behalf of Congress President and hundreds of people were helped by Prime Minister’s fund.

The Governor of South Carolina is Trying to Sell The State

It’s a great day in South Carolina, and if you didn’t believe it, asked the governor. On September 27 the governor ordered the 16 directors Cabinet agencies under the direct control to change the way their employees answer the telephone. So now when phoning, save the Department of alcohol and other drug abuse services or Department of employment and workforce, callers are supposed to hear the cheery greeting saying: “It’s a great day in South Carolina. How may I help you?”The governor says the new greeting will boost the morale of state workers and help to sell the State. It is part of the who I am campaign she says. As hokey as some people think it is, it I’m selling South Carolina as is great, new, positive state that everybody needs to look at. The blogosphere has been inundated with people mocking the new salutation and proposing alternative greetings. One suggestion was “It’s still better here than Mississippi. How can I help you?” another was more explicit suggesting that when answering the phone employees should say “Thank you for calling South Carolina where unemployment is high, morale is low and political leaders are very busy wasting resources. How may I direct your call?”The irony is that nothing is particularly great in the Palmetto State at the moment. The unemployment rate stands at 11.1%, the fourth highest in the country.

State workers have not received cost of living increases in four years and no merit-based raises since 2001. Cuts to their pension plans are now being discussed. Health insurance premiums for 410,000 public employees, retirees and family members are going up by 4.5% in January. Medicare payment rates to physicians were cut across the board by 3% in April which is expected to lead to reduced services for the poor and disabled in rural areas.And so it goes on. This year the state’s public schools missed out on more than $144 million in federal stimulus money earmarked the teachers because the Gov and her education chief refused to apply for funds which would mitigate a teacher layoffs. The money was then redistributed to the other 49 states which did want it. The new order has gone out that South Carolina and to do not possess a government issue photo identification card who tend to be black and poor will no longer be able to vote.For a clincher, racial hostility seems to be alive and well.

One employee who recently left Sandy Cooper, a state-owned utility of the largest power providers in South Carolina has filed a complaint with the equal opportunity employment commission alleging that in late 2009 the man supervises sense and employees a text message with an image of a gallows from which from the noose and a sign saying for sale near swing set. The complaint is under investigation. Some state agencies have obediently begun complying with the Gov Sonny directive and others apparently not yet got the message. Or are they perhaps indulging in some daring bureaucratic resistance?