Who’s On First

“Most quarrels amplify a misunderstanding.” — Andre Gide

I have lived in the United States many years since birth, but also have spent about two and a half years living abroad. I watch people, sometimes reporters comment on the outside world and the things that are going on there as they perceive them and I’m reminded how little the people of the world really know of each other. People speak about places they have never been with the ring of authority and so often, in my humble opinion, couldn’t be more wrong about their findings. And how much better off would we be as a country if we would reserve judgment on so many things we see abroad until we really did know more?

I am for some reason reminded of an old “Language and Meaning” course I took many years ago. We here in the West hear the sound of a fly as “buzz.” In Asia though in a moment of onomatopoeia their fly, to them, goes “Tse, Tse.”  Thus the Tsetse fly. But It is not that the acoustics of the actual fly sound is so different, but what that region’s people bring in the way of cultural understanding tells them that is what the fly sounds like. Bring an American fly to them and they will hear the same sound. The same thing occurs when you compare the sounds of dogs, cats, goats, cows ect across different cultures. Ask a person from a different country to aurally reproduce animals sound and they often will mimic a sound we here won’t recognize as representative of the animal in question. We are all humans, but we’re not on the same page. Geographical distance has fractured our understanding of one another.

Even with people who speak our own English language, but just live across the pond in England… We misread and misinterpret each other so often. And it is so detrimental. How many times have you seen two previously neutral people feel some discomfort with one another, perhaps even argue over misunderstandings related to language?

I visited London in 1995. I had been pubbing and on my way home desperately needed to relieve myself of some of the beer. I stopped in a little shop and asked if I could use the bathroom. The man asked with some surprise and a straight face why I wanted to shower there. What kind of place did I think this was, I later thought with a smirk. “Laboratory” was the term I should have substituted for bathroom. And I read an article the British had written about American basketball and I was struck by how a professional publication, a smart one, could get so wrong their analysis of our American game. Now compound the complexity of understanding one another by removing the common language. A common language already woefully inadequate and fraught with imperfection to fully flesh out and represent all the various nuances and utterings that go a long way to making us what we are.

At the root of some of this is the fact that Americans don’t travel. Something like 75% of Americans don’t have passports. American people don’t want to understand other people around the world. Americans increasingly don’t even want to understand each other. And it seems like Americans will travel less in the near future.

All this speaks to the idea that you can’t try to control people you don’t understand as seems to be US foreign policy these days. It’s a flawed notion that has brought us nothing but pain and if you are looking for long term peace, security, profit and cooperation we would be way better off with working together in educational settings with people from abroad. Our results would be much better. And isn’t that what we really want? Shouldn’t we be asking about our foreign policy, how can we get better results?

And that is why living in the US these days is like living in the Bizarro world of the Superman comics. For those who don’t know Bizarro is a disfigured version of Superman who tries to imitate Superman’s heroic behavior. But Bizarro’s interpretation of what to do is often the exact opposite of what the correct action to take would be.  Bizarro is delusional, disconnected from reality. And Bizarro acts, often destructively, on his wrong-headed interpretations to the detriment of those he comes into contact with. We live in a time where our education has done a good job of showing us histories past errors, yet as if to do just the wrong Bizarro world thing we seem to embrace all the wrong questions and get stuck with really bad answers. Why? Because a small group of Bizarros have co-opted from 95% of us what used to belong to all of us. Somewhere the members of the “Greatest Generation” are turning over in their graves. We need blue kryptonite now.

Historical examples of human misunderstanding can be comical. Germans after WWII used to marvel at how strange American comic books were and if you get outside of it… Look at it from the outside, not as someone who grew up in American culture. The Germans were like, why do the Americans feel it is their duty to “save” everyone. They put on these bright colored costumes with capes and go around solving crimes. To some it was entertaining. Personally I think comic book culture is wildly inventive and beautiful, but to more critical minds seeing the genre play out from the outside it might seem like the height of ridiculousness.  Here in the US we seemingly never stop to think about why we created this admittedly strange category of literature. In all the rest of the world there was nothing like this.

Explorer Captain Cook landed in Hawaii and the Hawaiians initially thought he was a God. But when one of Cook’s crew died the Hawaiians saw Cook was just a mortal and perhaps one that had designs on their land, they killed him. Cook misjudged the Hawaiians because he didn’t understand them and lost his life for it.  And here in the 21st Century we are still seeing how these misunderstandings hurt relations between all the world’s people.

In the US we blame Colombia for so many of our drug woes. But Colombians blame their drug woes on  the US for buying so much. In Asian countries they use a toilet hose in place of toilet paper. I think they are correct in a cosmic sense, but the people here in the US still prefer toilet paper and big septic tank cleaning bills along with a chafed butt.  Here in the US we stubbornly cling to our system of measurement while the rest of the world long ago switched to metric.

“Star Trek: The Original Series” got it right. They had the technology. But they used it to physically get out and check out the stars, not to sit in a little cubicle or room staring into the abyss of the computer screen. Not to sit in a tiny room where common ground can’t be found. Their efforts to travel great distances helped them understand the other inhabitants of the universe and as a result the explorers, earth’s important figures, the James T Kirks of the Federation had respect and a seat at the table when it came to interplanetary negotiations.

Maybe one day we’ll all share chips in our minds where we can each see an image clearly as if in a dream. The same image at the same time shared between different minds in efforts to communicate more effectively. Wouldn’t that enhance understanding and get us more on the same page? Yet, even then we will bring all of our different expectations to that one and the same viewing and still produce wholly different conclusions. Will a truly symbiotic, one-in-the-same communication that is error free ever exist?

But for now… In a time when travel is expensive we may not have the money to seek out enlightenment and knowledge of others through travel. But I still think it is exceedingly important that we try. Sadly, I am in the minority on that score.


The cost to get registered is $6960.00 by the deadline of May 2 of 2014. The elections are in November of 2014. I hope to secure funding for registration BEFORE THE DEADLINE OF MAY 2 OF 2014 and need your assistance. I may accept up to $5,000 dollars in campaign funding now. An election campaign account must be set up in a bank according to all US regulations before any actual contribution beyond that may be accepted. I am in the process of doing that now.

Robert Thurston
2025 49th Terrace SW
Naples, FL 34116
rob.thurston1 on Skype


Mi Carta a Tu En Espanol

En Espanol

Hola mi llamo es Robert Thurston. Yo soy escribando a tu hoy porque yo quiero la opportunidad a hablar a tu en su lingua sin embargo el ayuda de trasduccion. Esta carta es mi voz en su lingua y si yo hacer falta o culpa lo siento, pero para mi tu puedes veo donde mi mente es. Me gusta a conseguir un sunreir tambien.

Yo deseo proximo ano a recebir su votar for mi eleccion in el distrito dice nueve en Florida.

Yo empezar a estudiar Espanol en escuela en 1982 a Barron Collier High School con Ernesto Suarez, un maestro de qualidad alto. Yo puedo hablar a tu en Espanol, pero para me el esta aun dificil a escuchar y comprehender. Yo invitar tu a ayuda me con mi Espanola aqui y editar esta carta si tu quieras. Desde yo empazar Espanol yo tiene viajar a mucho differente pais donde el primera lingua es Espanol para ejemplo Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia y Panama.

Proximo ano en Noviembre 2014 nosotros tienemos un eleccion importante que yo quiero todo de tu a venir a.  Mi posiccion en immigracion es nuevo en politicos. Yo quiero a fin todo deportacions ahorita.  Yo quiero a establishar un claro tres anos manera a citizenship. Para tu a siempre tiene un casa aqui en los Estados Unidos si tu quieras. Perro yo necesitar su ayuda para registrario con el commisionario de ellecciones. Yo deber tiene casi 7000.00.

Por favor si tu necesitas mas infomacion en Ingles va a:


Robert Thurston
2025 49th Terrace SW
Naples, FL 34116
rob.thurston1 on Skype


Robert Thurston Political Bio

“I’ve visited Washington D.C, but never lived there.” — Robert Thurston

Hello, my name is Robert Thurston. I am a registered Independent who is interested in getting on the ballot for representative for the 19th Congressional District. The 19thCongressional District is the area that encompasses parts of Lee and Collier Counties, the region I have called home since I moved to Naples in 1970. US Representative is an important position that because of my background experience in education, public speaking, writing, teaching, travel and technology I feel I am uniquely qualified to fill.

I grew up in Naples, Florida. I spent years playing baseball here under the Florida sun and graduated from Barron Collier High School in 1985. I attended Edison Community College in Fort Myers and then finished up my AA in Journalism at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa. I went on to the University of South Florida in Tampa Bay where I received my BA in English in 1998. After that I went to the University of Central Florida in Orlando where I completed my MA in Technical Writing. I graduated amongst the top of my class there in 2008 with a rounded off 3.6 GPA.

I’ve never held a political office, but always have been interested in politics. I’ve been to Washington D.C, but I’ve never lived there. I come in fresh and owing no big interests or lobbyist groups any political favor, instead totally reliant on my own long-developed critical thinking skills to make smart decisions that should have favorable outcomes about the important issues that affect everyone.

I think candidates all should have something that makes them stand out. What is the one thing you have others can’t reproduce? What makes me any different? I’d like to think I am one of the most well-read people you’ll ever meet. Moreover, I’d like to think the thing that separates me from others candidates the most is the travel. From 2006 to 2012 I traveled and worked in more than 20 countries. I didn’t go as a visiting politician, but lived and worked as an English teacher for many months with people in Thailand, Mexico, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Cambodia, South Korea and the US. I tried to learn their languages. I experienced their cultures for extended periods.

I spent other considerable periods of time in Nepal, India, Australia, Panama, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, England, Holland, Ireland, Laos and Bahrain. I saw more clearly the US from the outside looking in. I came to know better how those nations view us here in the US. As a result, I came to understand intrinsically the things we do so well here and the areas also that don’t make much practical sense. And in seeing that I think I’ve gained some creative insights about how to use here the problem-solving approaches I bore witness to in those far-flung locales. I feel like in the US and here in Southwest Florida we can do a lot more with a lot less and get better results.

With this knowledge I think I can do some things to unite different groups of people who aren’t on the same page, but could be under the right guidance. America is a “melting pot”, a country of immigrants. Yet, I still see groups, pockets of people who stay to themselves. When we all aren’t working together for a common cause in unison I see it as not being as productive as we could be.

Through my travels, I get where people are mentally who come here from abroad. And having lived here almost all my life I understand the mentality of the resident locals. I’ve lived in both upscale and lower income neighborhoods for many years at a time. I’ve worked for the rich and the poor. I have a young mind, but an old soul. I feel I understand where we can bridge these gaps. And I do believe we all do better when we work together.

I’ve done a lot of volunteer work in the community. I have around 300 service hours volunteering with H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center. I also have somewhere around 300 hours of volunteer teaching English as Second Language learners here in Collier and Lee Counties through various churches and organizations. Over much of the last year I have devoted myself to self-study programs in IT courses like the A+ and Network +. I see the understanding of technology as the nexus for the leaping off point for a political career that can empathize with a lot of different points of view. In my mind my campaign’s central talking points are the economy, immigration, education, civil liberties, the elderly, housing, food, technology and poverty. Those are the main areas my efforts will lie in first.

I am a writer and a blogger. I value fresh, new ideas. I think were I to get elected I’d be one of the first people in congress to promise daily blogs about the things I saw. I’m the kind of person who would happily spend the length of my days poring over the details of the bills that mean so much to so many. And for the first time the people would be getting real time daily updates about the issues that affect them and I think this hasn’t been done before. I have some other unique ideas too that would create a more honest political atmosphere were they implemented. I’m not someone who is going to jump ship and just become another useless cog in the too big government machine once I get to the other side. Were I given the honor to serve the people, I would stay well-connected to the people who put me in office. I’d like to see impartial civilian panels assembled to give me what might be deemed “interim report cards” to make sure I, and other politicians were staying on course with seeing through the promises we made to get elected in the days, months and years that follow. Politicians don’t seem to be open to that level of accountability these days. I have other ideas too about creating more honesty in politics. I will reveal these ideas when the time is right. I’m predicting mass defections away from the Republican and Democratic parties during the elections of 2014. I feel I am that viable third party choice that will do the right things for the American people.

The cost to get registered is $6960.00 by the deadline of May 2 of 2014. The elections are in November of 2014. I hope to secure funding for registration BEFORE THE DEADLINE OF MAY 2 OF 2014 and need your assistance. I may accept up to $5,000 dollars in campaign funding now. An election campaign account must be set up in a bank according to all US regulations before any actual contribution beyond that may be accepted. I am in the process of doing that now.

Robert Thurston
2025 49th Terrace SW
Naples, FL 34116
rob.thurston1 on Skype

Researching an Immigration Bill

I looked for and found an example of some of the current attempts to write into legislation law that prevent deportations.

Bill Summary & Status
113th Congress (2013 – 2014)
All Information

Item 15 of 239


Back to BSS Back to Bill Summary and Status

Latest Title: To provide discretionary authority to an immigration judge to determine that an alien parent of a United States citizen child should not be ordered removed, deported, or excluded from the United States.
Sponsor: Rep Serrano, Jose E. [NY-15] (introduced 1/23/2013)      Cosponsors (None)
Latest Major Action: 2/28/2013 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration And Border Security.

Jump to: SummaryMajor ActionsAll ActionsTitlesCosponsorsCommitteesRelated Bill DetailsAmendments


Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act, in the case of an alien subject to removal, deportation, or exclusion and who is the parent of a U.S. citizen child, to authorize an immigration judge to decline to order such removal if the judge determines such action to be against the child’s best interests.

States that such discretion shall not apply to an alien when the judge determines that the alien: (1) is excludable or deportable on security grounds, or (2) has engaged in sex trafficking or severe forms of trafficking in persons.




Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.
Referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration And Border Security.

TITLE(S):  (italics indicate a title for a portion of a bill)

    To provide discretionary authority to an immigration judge to determine that an alien parent of a United States citizen child should not be ordered removed, deported, or excluded from the United States.




Committee/Subcommittee: Activity:
House Judiciary Referral, In Committee
Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security Referral





Building a Bill in Congress

I am further researching how a bill gets written into law in congress. 

I have taken the below from the Internet. 

Building a Bill in Congress

As soon as you start working with the United States Congress, you begin hearing about this bill or that bill. It’s as if someone named Bill is everywhere in Washington. In the congressional context, a bill is simply a proposal, an idea, that’s written up in legislation and presented to the Congress.

Starting with an idea

It all starts with an idea, a simple concept. You take that idea to your representative or senator because you see a need, you have a cause, and you want it to become a law.

Remember that only members of Congress can propose resolutions that are considered by the entire body. Your task comes down to convincing a member to actually want to introduce your idea.

Anyone can write up, or draft a bill, but only a member of Congress can introduce it. However, the more work that you do for members, the easier it is for them to work on your behalf. When you have a bill that you want Congress to consider, writing it up in legal language and presenting it to your representative or senator as a draft is a good idea. Lobbyists routinely draft legislative proposals.

Figuring out how to write a bill is easy. Just look up an existing bill on the congressional Web site and follow that format to compose your proposal. Although your representative may make a few changes, he and the staff won’t have to do as much work creating the bill by themselves.

Looking at the types of legislation

Several kinds of bills can be introduced and each one has a special designation.


The bill is the most common form of legislation. It’s an idea, a proposal, and in the House it receives the designation H.R. for House of Representatives (not House Resolution as many people think). In the Senate it gets S. for Senate. A bill becomes law when it’s approved by both the House and Senate and reaches the president’s desk for signature. After it’s signed by the president, it’s no longer called a bill, but becomes an “Act.”


resolution is much the same as a bill, except that it’s usually concerned with the operation of the House or Senate. In other words, it’s about something that concerns only the institution and doesn’t need to be signed by the president. In the House, such a resolution is designated H. Res. and gets a number, and in the Senate, it becomes S. Res.

Joint resolution

joint resolution is virtually identical to a bill. Contrary to what one would expect given the name, it can be proposed in either the House or the Senate and it goes through the same procedures as a bill and must be signed into law by the president.

One slight difference between a bill and a joint resolution is that a joint resolution frequently has a preamble, a paragraph explaining the justification for the bill with all the “Whereas” resolving clauses that are a feature of legislative language. Joint resolutions are also used to amend bills already under consideration. A joint resolution gets the designation H.J.Res. in the House and S.J.Res. in the Senate.

The only time a joint resolution differs in its procedure for consideration is when it’s an amendment to the Constitution. Then it has to be approved by two-thirds of both houses to pass, and it’s also sent to the states for ratification rather than being signed (or not) by the president.

Concurrent resolutions

concurrent resolution can be introduced in either house and doesn’t go to the president for signature. It isn’t a bill and doesn’t create any law. Usually, concurrent resolutions are used to express facts, principles, and opinions of the two houses. After being passed by both houses, concurrent resolutions are transmitted to the U.S. archivist rather than the president. In the House, they are designated H.Con.Res. and in the Senate, S.Con.Res.

Many people dismiss concurrent resolutions as having no teeth because a “sense of resolution” has no power behind it. It’s merely an expression of opinion and usually reflects the lowest common denominator: For example, “It is the sense of the House and Senate that all Americans should support Motherhood and Apple Pie.”

One example in the 107th Congress was S. Con.Res. 44, resolving that, in light of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the House and Senate paid tribute to those who died and those who survived the attack. This resolution didn’t enact a law, but it expressed a congressional sentiment.

However, dismissing the role that concurrent resolutions can play would be a mistake, especially as part of an overall lobbying campaign. When effectively used to show the sentiments of the Congress where a particular cause or measure is concerned, concurrent resolutions can lead to real legislation, can warn opponents of the strength behind a measure, and can encourage supporters inside and outside Congress.

Private bills

While many people look to Congress for help with personal problems, sometimes such assistance must be approved by the entire Congress in the form of a bill. Your representative or lawyer can tell you whether that will be the case with any proposal you may make.

The use of private bills has declined considerably. For example, in the 96th Congress (from 1979-1981), 123 private bills were passed, but by the 104th Congress (from 1995-1997), the number had dropped to only 4.

Members are leery of private bills because they have the potential for creating trouble for the member if it turns out that the beneficiary doesn’t have the cleanest record.

In the past, private bills were mostly used to assist people who had a grievance or demand on the executive branch. Moreover, the need for them has declined because today there are more ways to appeal to executive agencies than there were in the past.

Nonetheless, private bills are an option that usually fall into the following categories and go to the following House committees:

  • Armed services decorations issues are handled by the National Security Committee.
  • Civil service issues go to the Government Reform and Oversight Committee.
  • Claims against the government. Domestic claims go to the Judiciary Committee; foreign claims go to the International Relations Committee.
  • Immigration issues (for example, naturalization, residency status, and visa classification) go to the Judiciary Committee.
  • Medical issues (for example, Food and Drug Administration approvals and health maintenance organization enrollment requirements) go to the Commerce Committee.
  • Patents and copyright questions go to the Judiciary Committee.
  • Public land issues (for example, sales, claims, exchanges, and mineral leases) go to the Resources Committee.
  • Taxation issues (for example, income tax liabilities and tariff exemptions) go to the Ways and Means Committee.
  • Vessel documentation issues go to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
  • Veterans’ benefit issues go to the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Private bills almost always are introduced only in the House since they deal with individuals and the House is the direct representative of the people (as opposed to the Senate, which represents states). If they get through subcommittee and committee consideration, they then move to the floor where all the private bills are considered together on the first and third Tuesdays of each month (although the House can decide to call them up at any other time when everyone agrees).

Private bills usually go sailing through and routinely are approved by a voice vote. However, whenever two members object to a private bill, it goes back to the committee for reconsideration or is held for further consideration until the next batch of private bills comes up.


Writing an Immigration Bill

I am attempting to get on the ballot here in South Florida’s 19th US Congressional District. Congressmen often write or sponsor bills that lead to the creation of laws we live by collectively as people here in the US. I am a professional writer. I’ve done a lot of different types of writing. But I have never written a bill. So as I progress along in developing ideas for running a campaign as a viable third party alternative I thought it might be a good idea to get a signature piece of writing started. I am campaigning on hopes of getting support from the Hispanic and other immigrating communities for reasons I’ve outlined in other writings of mine. I wish to weave into the narrative of the bill four main ideas.

These include

  • Stop all deportations effective immediately
  • Provide for a clear, inexpensive and unencumbered three year path to citizenship
  • Overturn stand your ground
  • Stop institutional racial profiling

I will be seeking feedback about this bill as I progress. For now what I do here will mostly be learning the structure of a bill. How to put it together. How to research it. How to get it implemented. How long does it take to write a good bill? What are some examples of previous immigration bills I can look at? Things of this nature. Below is an example of something I pulled off the Internet to use as an example.

Nine Steps to Write a Bill

Step 1 Define the Goal

We want to stop the practice of steamboat racing.

Step 2 Research Existing Law

The Tennessee Code Annotated is a multi-volume series of books containing all of the laws of Tennessee. See the right-hand column for information about using the TCA.

A current law, if any, will affect how we draft our bill. If steamboat racing is already illegal, for example, we might want to make the existing law stricter. As it happens, we don’t find an existing law against steamboat racing, so we will draft a bill to make it illegal.

Step 3 Act or Resolution?

An Act creates a new law or modifies an existing law. A Resolution expresses the General Assembly’s opinion and doesn’t create or modify a law.

We are creating a law against steamboat racing, so we’re drafting an Act.

If we wanted to express disapproval of steamboat racing without making it illegal, we would pass a resolution … A Resolution to Condemn Steamboat Racing.

Step 4 Bill Title (or Caption)

This begins with the words “An Act To” or “A Resolution To” and continues with a brief summary of the bill’s contents.

An Act to prohibit steamboat racing on Tennessee rivers and to provide punishment therefor.

Consider the title carefully because it can’t be amended after the bill is introduced. If a bill is broader than its caption, it’s unconstitutional. If changing an existing law, the title must mention the law being amended.

These requirements are based on the Tennessee Constitution: “No bill shall become a law which embraces more than one subject, that subject to be expressed in the title. All acts which repeal, revive or amend former laws, shall recite in their caption, or otherwise, the title or substance of the law repealed, revived or amended.” (Article II, Section 17)

We aren’t changing an existing law in our example, so none is mentioned in the title (also known as a caption). We can refer to an existing law by its Code section. If we were amending an existing law, we would add a phrase like this to the title:

Amends TCA 49-3-2001.

Step 5 Preamble | optional

A preamble is optional, but many people like to include them.

The Preamble is the “Whereas” clauses at the beginning of the bill that establish the rationale or context for the bill. A bill can have more than one, but don’t get carried away. Sometimes less is more.

WHEREAS, the racing of steamboats on Tennessee rivers imperils the peace, safety and dignity of its citizens, and
WHEREAS, dozens of innocent citizens in recent years have been fearful for their lives because of this nefarious sport, therefore

Step 6 Enacting or Resolving Clause

This is standard language that precedes the body of the bill.

We’re writing an act, so the operative word is “Enacted”. If it’s a resolution, substitute the word “Resolved”. It is typed in all capital letters.


Step 7 Body of the Bill

Here is where we get down to business.

The body of the bill is broken into sections, each of which is numbered with Arabic numerals. A section may have more than one paragraph.

A section may have sub-sections, which are lettered. A sub-section may also have more than one paragraph.

Section 1. The captain of any steamboat that engages in a competition with one or more other steamboats to reach a destination shall be guilty of the crime of “Steamboat Racing”.
Section 2. The sheriff of any county passed by the racing steamboats may arrest the captains of said steamboats and incarcerate them in the county jail.
Section 3. Upon conviction in a competent Court of law, the judge shall sentence the captain to one of the following punishments as the Court shall deem appropriate:
(a) For the first offense, a Class C misdemeanor.
(b) For the second and subsequent offenses, a Class B misdemeanor
(c) In the alternative, to pick up litter along the riverbank.

Step 8 Effective Date | Acts only; not Resolutions

The final section of the bill tells when it takes effect.

Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2009.

The phrase “the public welfare requiring it” is added if the law takes effect less than 40 days after it’s adopted, such as a bill that takes effect immediately.

Here is the relevant provision from the Tennessee Constitution: “No law of a general nature shall take effect until forty days after its passage unless the same or the caption thereof shall state that the public welfare requires that it should take effect sooner.” (Article II, Section 20)

Step 9 Sponsors

Each bill must have at least one Senate sponsor and at least one House sponsor. The sponsors may be from different colleges. Multiple sponsors indicate the bill has more support.

Estes Kefauver, Tennessee Wesleyan
Howard Baker, University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Richard Fulton, Middle Tennessee State University
B. Carroll Reece, East Tennessee State University
Harold Ford Sr., Tennessee State University

Final Result Combining the Pieces

Sample Bill

File the Bill Introduce the Bill

Submit the bill to the Secretary of State in electronic form, whether by email, on a CD or on a flash drive.

{Send Email to Secretary of State:SecretaryOfState@TISLonline.org}

The Secretary of State’s office will automatically format your bill, so perfect formatting for the version you introduce isn’t crucial. It’s much more important to get the words right.


“Human nature is like water. It takes the shape of its container.”  ― Wallace Stevens

I watched the movie “Tapped” today. “Tapped” is a documentary about the growing water crisis. We take it for granted here in the US that we will always have access to as much clean water as we want. And people may not know that in our near future we may have a water crisis in this country where people simply can’t get the water they need. Next to air, water is the second most important element for us to live. With near record rainfalls some days here in South Florida imagining a time where there is a deficit of water may be hard to envision. But “Tapped”  highlights how corporations like Swiss Nestle are now coming from abroad to states like water-rich Maine to take the water. They bypass notifying the locals that they are quietly removing millions of gallons and paying next to nothing for the right. They then sell the water for a big profit in other water desperate places around the world. Having traveled to some places where water is a scarce commodity I can see how lack of water here in the US can only lead to more political instability. And I think it is an issue we need to address yesterday.

Generally speaking fresh water supplies flow from North to South through rivers and other smaller waterways. It’s countries or states that are geographically north of other countries that get first crack at the best water supplies. In more modern times where communication is so quick countries have become more aware of seizing water with the idea to hoard it for themselves. I’ve seen this first hand in the way China cuts water off to Thailand and Laos who in turn take even more water themselves at the expense of even further south Cambodia. Here in Florida Governor Scott is on the short end of the stick with upstream Georgia and has filed suit to force Georgia to allow more water to pass through it on the way to Florida. In countries downstream the lack of water is especially damaging as water creates energy for hydroelectric plants that provide electricity to newly built communities. But the key take away for me in “Tapped” is the idea that these seizures of water are starting to compound upon themselves. As the water becomes scarcer there will be an even greater push to consolidate the remaining water supplies.

These are facts that haven’t been lost on big corporations already pushing past the limits of acceptable behavior at the expense of the much larger populace who have been kept in the dark about a resource they are desperately going to need. And so when you have a government for sale, like the one here in the United States in 2013, one of the things you get is the immorality of a relatively few individuals who allow this precious commodity, water to leave. In still other places water has become so fouled up because of pollution diminishing even further our reserves. Water is an issue we should be looking closer at now. We can do without a lot of things. Water is not one of them…

Gross National Happiness

“We thought that we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong.” — Bono

Measure What Matters

I have a philosophy that guides me. I look for ways this country can get leaner and more effective. How we can rid ourselves of waste and produce more livable outcomes using less and getting more? And it seems to me we get in wasteful situations because we have different ways of quantifying value. For so long in this country we have equated happiness to how much money you make. But we can look around and see money does not equal happiness. It is a flawed notion. So we answered the question in the past, “What will make you happy?” With, “How much money can I make?”  And we oversimplified a complex issue in this way. But shouldn’t we have asked if being happy with your co-workers would make you happy? Shouldn’t we have asked if getting adequate medical care would make you happy? Shouldn’t we have asked if enjoying our free time more would make us happy? One of the key takeaways we see in these times is that there is room for improvement everywhere. One benefit I got from traveling was to come upon the philosophy of Gross National Happiness while teaching a “Contemporary Issues” course in South Korea. I have taken the article directly below from the Internet. 

What is GNH? Gross National Happiness (GNH) is an indicator developed in Bhutan in the Himalayas, based on the concept elaborated in 1972 by the then King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. Since then, the kingdom of Bhutan, with the support of UNDP (UN Development Program), began to put this concept into practice, and has attracted the attention of the rest of the world with its new formula to measure the progress of a community or nation. 

GNH is based on the premise that the calculation of “wealth” should consider other aspects besides economic development: the preservation of the environment and the quality of life of the people. The goal of a society should be the integration of material development with psychological, cultural, and spiritual aspects – all in harmony with the Earth. 

The Four Pillars of GNH
• the promotion of equitable and sustainable socio-economic development
• the preservation and promotion of cultural values
• the conservation of the natural environment, and
• the establishment of good governance.

9 Dimensions of GNH envisions a happy and ecologically sustainable future. 
Measure what Matters
1) PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING — Assesses the degree of satisfaction and optimism in individual life. The indicators analyze self-esteem, sense of competence, stress, spiritual activities, and the prevalence of positive and negative emotions.
2) HEALTH —  Measures the effectiveness of health policies, with criteria such as self-rated health, disability, patterns of risk behavior, exercise, sleep, nutrition, etc.
3) USE OF TIME The use of time is one of the most significant factors in quality of life, especially time for recreation and socializing with family and friends. A balanced management of time is evaluated, including time spent in traffic jams, at work, in educational activities, etc.
4) COMMUNITY VITALITY — Focuses on relationships and interactions in communities. Examines the level of confidence, the sense of belonging, the vitality of affectionate relationships, safety at home and in the community, and the practice of giving and volunteering.
5) EDUCATION — Takes into account several factors such as participation in formal and informal education, development of skills and capabilities, involvement in children’s education, values education, environmental education, etc.
6) CULTURE  — Evaluates local traditions, festivals, core values, participation in cultural events, opportunities to develop artistic skills, and discrimination due to religion, race or gender.
7) ENVIRONMENT — Measures the perception of citizens about the quality of their water, air, soil, forest cover, biodiversity, etc. The indicators include access to green areas, system of waste management, etc.
8) GOVERNANCE — Assesses how the population views the government, the media, the judiciary, the electoral system, and the police, in terms of responsibility, honesty and transparency. It also measures involvement of citizens in community decisions and political processes.
9) STANDARD OF LIVING — Evaluates individual and family income, financial security, the level of debt, employment security, the quality of housing, etc. 
10) WORKING LIFE — (Experimental Domain added in the 2012 Happiness Initiative GNH survey)Working life is often important to our identity and how we feel about our time spent at work is strongly connected to our well-being.

Job Creation

I am looking at how we create jobs. Here I will conduct continuing informal polling on my research about the ways to create jobs people. I started with an article I found on the Internet. The idea itself is underlined. The information the Internet provided is in regular font and what people said about the idea itself are in italics. 

Steer more students into technical schools — Although education is more important than ever, there are still a lot of jobs that require some technical training but not a college degree, such as dental hygienists, paralegals, welders, electricians, and a variety of medical technicians. Steering more students into vocational or technical schools at a younger age could generate more workers with skills that employers say they need. Apparently one drawback to this is that students in technical schools often want to go on to college and depending on accreditation and auditing many of technical school credits do not easily transfer.

Enhance the Payoff of a college degree –Too many students earn degrees in arts, literature and social sciences, while there’s a shortage of math, science and engineering grads. And consulting firm McKinsey predicts that by 2020, there will be a shortage of 1.5 million college graduates. Parents and educators could do a much better job of guiding kids into fields where the jobs are, which would raise the payback for getting a college degree and encourage more to attend. Colleges could help by offering more three-year programs and other ways to cut costs.
Help small businesses find foreign customers — Big companies have taken full advantage of globalization, but small businesses have a much harder time finding foreign markets for their products. Cities could help by setting up outreach groups that help promote local businesses abroad, perhaps roping in larger, more global firms headquartered nearby to share connections and resources.
Welcome more immigrants — Foreigners who  want to come to America get an undeserved bad rap. Immigrants create businesses at a higher rate than home-grown Americans and make an important contribution to the economy. To address concerns about low-wage earners, new policies could allow well-educated foreigners to stay in the country after earning a degree, or offer citizenship in exchange for a commitment to start a business or buy a house.

Create “lean” regulatory agencies — In many places, business owners must deal with redundant layers of red tape that cost time and money and generate nothing of value. Beginning with local government, regulatory agencies could operate more like “lean” companies, with streamlined procedures, firm deadlines for completing their work and a mandate to weed out needless rules. Thinning out regulatory agencies could also help trim government rolls, which is happening anyway.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Draw more tourism is big business–and the United States has been losing market share. Even though international travel is booming, the number of overseas visitors to the United States is about the same as it was in 2000. The government could boost tourism here by streamlining the visa process for foreigners and aggressively promoting travel to America. Lure American companies back home — Some U.S. companies that sent jobs overseas 10 or 15 years ago are thinking about bringing them back, since a weak dollar and an oversupply of workers here has made U.S. labor costs more competitive. State and city governments could nudge some of the companies with tax breaks and other incentives to promote “onshoring.” Friendly words from Washington wouldn’t hurt, either.

More… Fund Research and Development, more business friendly infrastructure, maintain fair and open trading policies, encourage adjustment of currencies globally to reflect new realities, combat lack of access to capital, government subsidation for training for engineering jobs, have a stable immigration policy, reduce and reallocate funding from labor and agriculture department to better investments, reduce political infighting, education on the merits of long term planning


On September 17, 2013 I attended the Health Care Summit at the Hyatt Regency in Estero, Florida. Billed in the accompanying literature as “A Regional Community Conversation” the meeting served as a way for the community to help bridge the uncertainty accompanying President Obama’s ever developing health care plan for the American people that is scheduled to roll out on October 1, 2013. After years of parts of this plan seeing implementation this next phase appears to be the most significant installment yet in terms of cost and actual usage by the people it was made for. Many people’s health will be affected by Obamacare, also known as the (ACA) Affordable Care Act. Keynote speakers included some of Southwest Florida’s preeminent health care experts who were there to break things down for the thousand plus crowd in attendance. 
The plan calls for all Americans to sign up and pay for health care coverage by January 1, 2014. Some of the perks for the plan include parents keeping coverage on their children until the age of 26 and tax credits for businesses that enroll. Health care “Navigator” organizations are poised to fulfill their new roles as intermediaries who will presumably help the public interpret exactly what they are entitled to seemingly based on which plans they sign up for. These plans include silver, gold and bronze incarnations that include at the minimum access to 10 central areas of medical services which include ambulance, emergency services and hospitalization coverage. 
While Govenor Scott signed on for Obamacare the Florida legislature did not agree to free up funding for the program. But my interpretation was that since this is federally mandated, that since it is law… I don’t fully understand how the uninsured will get the purse strings loosened with the companies paying for this. My initial opinion of the ACA is that this is a good thing. People should have basic expectations about what they are entitled to as Americans as well as people living here in the US. Decent healthcare irregardless of personal wealth or lack thereof is the right thing to do. I feel there is way too much disparity between the “haves” and the “have nots.” And I think it is wrong for the sick to be put in a position of losing their home, their savings and everything else they worked all their lives for because they were injured or became sick due to forces beyond their control. There is no fairness in that. I will be studying this health bill closely over these coming months. I don’t think the Obama administration has clearly shown how this will be better. Speaking objectively we don’t want something worse. Mr. Rand Paul made a good point about how Obamacare may actually hurt the poor more than help. Big money interests will try  to turn this version of healthcare into a profit for themselves yet again at the expense of the poor who don’t have the money to hire an army of lawyers to pick at key parts they can debate on whether to keep or remove. Another valid concern is that with access suddenly available to everyone we all, each one of us, have to wait longer to get medical care. And time is the enemy for some in need of prompt attention. A 3 or 4 month delay, as happens in some countries with socialized medicine I think, could be long enough for something to progress past the point of no return. Delay in medical care by months can be life-changing or deadly.  Where are the assurances this won’t happen Mr. Obama? We need something in place. I think we all hope Obama’s signature reform will succeed. It needs to be better explained still is my feeling. And I will report back here in these blogs to update my findings as time goes on. 


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