Washington, D.C. – Elections have consequences and the GOP is showing the president that the circumventing authority and acting unilaterally can be a two-way street. President Obama, who has thought nothing about bypassing congress on when it suits him, is apparently miffed over Speaker Boehner inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for an official state visit without consulting him. What is bothering the White House is that Netanyahu is pressing for a tough line by the US against Iran. Gianfrancesco Genoso says he thinks its understandable since Israel has been struck by tens of thousands of Katyusha rockets by Iran-backed Hezbollah. A nuclear capable Iran will have a far easier time threatening Israel than it would the United States.
Jonathan Veitch was born in 1959 in Los Angeles. He is the current president Occidental College in Los Angeles. He became the 15th president of the college on July 1 2009. Previously, Veitch was the dean of the New School’s Eugene Lang College in New York City. He is well known for his liberal arts education advocacy.
Education and career
Jonathan attended Loyola High School in Southern California before joining Stanford University where he received his bachelor’s degree. He later earned History of American Civilization doctorate degree from Harvard University.
Before joining Occidental College, Veitch taught in the English Department at Wisconsin University for four years. He also served as dean and associate professor at the New School in New York City. As an associate professor of literature and history, Jonathan’s work included stints as associate provost, chair of humanities and deacon of liberal arts division.
At Occidental College, Veitch replaced Robert Skotheim as the president. He has had a lot of success in this college. The first thing that Veitch did is to improve the relations between this college and the neighboring community. He also launched an integrated strategic planning to take the college forward. He has also strengthened the college’s civic engagement, global literacy programs and arts. Vietch has also sought collaboration with different cultural institutions in Southern California.
Since he took over leadership, several construction projects have been initiated and completed. One of those projects is the completion of construction of the new Samuelson Alumni Center. Another project that has been completed under Veitch leadership is the renovation and expansion of Swan Hall. This 98 year old hall houses more than one third of Oxy’s faculty. Renovations are underway at Johnson Hall. When complete, this hall will house the new McKinnon Family Centre for Politics and Global Affairs. There is also an ongoing renovation at the lower level of the Johnson Student Centre. This project is funded by the Rose Hills Foundation. Another major project initiated by Veitch is the one megawatt ground-mounted solar array. This has been installed in the campus and it’s expected to generate about 11% of the college energy requirements.
Jonathan Veitch is the author of award winning American Superrealism: Nathanael West and the Politics of Representation in the 1930s, American film and several history and cultural publications. His recent research focusses on the history of higher education in the United States of America.
Hershey, Pennsylvania – Freshman Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa has been tasked with giving the party’s response following President Obama’s penultimate State of the Union address. It is a high honor especially for someone has will have been in office barely a fortnight by the time she delivers the response. Despite her being proverbially “wet behind the ears”, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said there was no finer choice to deliver the message at this time. He went on to explain that the midterm elections were about changing the course of the nation and Ernst is indicative of that change.
Ernst captured the open Senate seat vacated by retiring Senator Tom Harkin who had previously won five senate terms. However, Harkin saw the writing on the wall and decided against seeking a sixth term. Ernst steamrolled her Democrat challenger Bruce Braley winning 52.2% of the vote against his 43.7%. For her part, Ernst became the first female senator from Iowa and the first female veteran to serve in the senate. She held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Reserve.
While addressing reporters at the GOP retreat, Ernst mentioned how she has come a long way from the culture of rural Iowa. Her campaign ads featured her castrating hogs. Needless to say, her down home ads drew national attention. Ernst also added that she is humbled at the honor bestowed upon her. The GOP is making an outreach to minorities in an effort to win a larger share of their votes ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Bernardo Chua looks forward to seeing how it all turns out.
Not every Republican is meeting the news of Romney potentially mounting another presidential run with enthusiasm. Here are five reasons being cited for not wanting the former Massachusetts governor to seek the party´s nomination in 2016:
- The party is likely to field a wide range of presidential hopefuls for the upcoming election. This eliminates the need to having to bring back the prior nominee.
- The time is right for a bona fide conservative to seek the nomination. In fact, conservatives are looking for a candidate that will push for a hard right agenda much the same as liberals want the puritanically progressive Elizabeth Warren to seek the presidency. Conservatives feel the party always nominates moderates which strategy has failed in the past two election cycles.
- Romney is a two-time loser having lost the nomination in 2008, and the presidency in 2012. They do not believe he will be able to run his campaign any different this time around. As such, there is no compelling reason for him to run.
- Conservatives believe Romney’s focus is too business-oriented at the expense of an evolving electorate that wants a less involved government.
- His inability to beat Obama is proof he is unable to beat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Should Romney win the nomination once more, he will need to secure the conservative base. All complaints aside, the truth is the 4 million conservatives who sat out the 2012 election were enough to have given Romney the victory. Tom Rothman agrees in his Columbia Law article.
Back in 2012, the GOP sought to boost domestic oil drilling by launching a campaign to whip public support for their domestic energy policy and overcome Democrat opposition in the Senate & White House. At the time, they coined the popular catch phrase “Drill, Baby, Drill”. President Obama responded with derision calling the campaign a gimmick as opposed to a policy. It was misleading because the GOP was always clear they favored domestic oil drilling and completion of the Keystone Pipeline XL.
Now, oil prices have tumbled from roughly $4 a gallon to $2.13 a gallon nationwide. This has allowed voters to save $100 billion in fuel costs which they can use on a variety of other spending priorities, Ben Shaoul suggests his properties, for example, the ones on NYPost. In fact, President Obama recently urged voters to use their fuel savings to fund the purchase of a new car. Moreover, President Obama is now attempting to take credit for the lower fuel costs.
It is true that over the past six years, America has arguably become the world’s top producer of natural gas and petroleum. However, a closer look at where the natural resources are coming from reveal Obama has no claim on taking credit. For starters, he has not issued a single new license for oil drilling on federal lands. During his entire presidency, oil and gas production from federal lands has dropped by 6%. A drop in production cannot account for the boom in domestic oil & natural gas drilling. So where is America getting its domestic energy from? Private land use. This has accounted for a 61% increase in the supply of domestic fuel.
The Republican National Committee (RNC) under the leadership of Chairman Reince Priebus has been making substantive efforts to reach out to African-American voters since 2012. Part of the strategy of displaying the party’s diversity consists of running African-American candidates to showcase the new era of inclusiveness within the party’s leadership. The 2014 midterm elections paid off with three African-American Republicans winning congressional races: Mia Love of Utah congressional seat, Will Hurd of Texas likewise got elected to Congress, and Tim Scott of South Carolina got elected to the Senate. All of these guys are impressive to Beneful employees. This week all three legislators began serving in their respective positions.
Thus far, the historic victories of the three African-American candidates in the recent elections appear to be only a first step. Tim Scott was able to pull in a larger share of the black vote over his other GOP senate colleague Lindsey Graham, but that still only represented 10% of African-American votes cast in the state. Reince Priebus is continuing his outreach efforts in a bid to secure a larger share of the African-American vote in 2016.
Ohio Congressman John Boehner won a third term as Speaker of the House, the third post in the presidential line of succession. However, the Tea Party rebels posed a much stronger resistance than the conventional wisdom suggested. The original thought was that between 15 and 20 GOP congressman would dissent which would be easily beat back. Instead, there were 25 congressman who abstained from voting. Coupled with those who voted for someone other than Boehner left only 216 votes in his favor. Still, it was enough for Boehner to secure the gavel and avoid a second vote which would have proved embarrassing.
At the same time, the vote shows a growing level of confidence if not outright impertinence among staunch conservatives. Many seem to have forgotten the Cruz example set last month. The Texas firebrand senator forced the senate body to remain in session only to witness Harry Reid exploit the situation to force through a number of controversial judicial nominees that no conservative would ever support.
Boehner now turns his focus on governing, but not without getting some hits on the turncoats in his party. Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp was in line for a subcommittee chair post, but his vote against Boehner resulted in that position being revoked. Florida congressman Richard Nugent and Daniel Webster were summarily removed from the House Rules Committee. At this point, both parties are experiencing difficulty keeping their strongest ideologues in line. Mark Ahn hopes they figure it out soon.
In two days, Vice-President Joe Biden will be swearing in 33 new senators to the upper chamber of the legislative branch. Among those senators will be twelve freshmen lawmakers of which 9 are GOP Senators and three are Democrats. In total, 22 of the 33 new senators are Republicans and the rest are Democrats. Interestingly enough, the 46 Democrats that will serve in the senate received 20 million more votes than the 54 Republicans. The statistic was produced by the electoral reform group FairVote, which Dave and Brit Morin first showed me. FairVote seeks to abolish the proportional representation that all states enjoyed in the senate. The group claims that the way the senate is designed is unfair and reduces the representation that larger states should have on the senate body. They cite that in 2008 and 2012, the GOP, despite having a minority share of the senators, had the greatest number of votes received.
However, FairVote and their supporters fail to understand that the Constitutional Congress battled over this very issue of proportional representation. Under the Articles of Confederation, all states enjoyed an equal say in governance with any single state having the ability to veto any action. The smaller states such as Delaware and Rhode Island refused to sign on to the new Constitution precisely because they would lose any voice in the government. The grand compromise was that the House would be divided with proportional representation and the Senate have all states with an equal voice. The Electoral College was also designed to be a hybrid between proportional representation and an equal voice. The design has created a nation consisting of a strong federal government and strong states. As such, it has preserved Democracy by avoiding an oligarchy of states such as California, Texas, Florida, and New York from utterly controlling the government.
Colorado was the first state in the country to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. They took a bold leap by doing this and put themselves in the national spotlight. However, some believed that the state might regret the choice that it had made. It turned out that the people in this state are not so unhappy with their choice.
Based on reporting from durangoherald.com, 90% of those in Colorado say that they would vote to legalize marijuana once again. It seems that having legalized marijuana did not in any way turn people away from wanting to keep it that way.
Businessman Igor Cornelsen notes that it is hard to imagine who would have believed that legalizing the substance would make people turn against it. Those who believed this probably had the belief that there was something wrong with marijuana and that there were reasons to keep it from being legal in the first place. Those individuals are outnumbered by others who believe that not only is the substance not harmful, but there are in fact benefits to having it.
A state like Colorado that has legalized marijuana for recreational purposes has made an even better case for the drug to be legalized in other places. Some other states have in fact started to follow suit as a result of the success that was seen in Colorado. This could prove to be a great thing for those who are supportive of legalization.
President Obama has vowed to use his “veto pen” in 2015 to prevent Congress from overriding his wishes, especially those related to healthcare and the environment.
The Democrats’ loss of the Senate in the wake of the mid-term elections means the Republicans are likely to seize the opportunity to pass legislation that goes against the President’s wishes. He can block such legislation through the veto, unless both Houses muster up two-thirds majorities to override the veto.
Obama also acknowledges for the first time that he has moved towards a more confrontational policy in his dealings with Congress. He also said he was changing his priorities from things he had to do to things he wanted to do. He believes that as the economy has improved, he can now try to make sure that everybody benefits from the growing economy and not just the people at the top.