Friday, December 31, 2010

West Wing Week: "Mailbag Day, New Year's Edition"



West Wing Week: "Mailbag Day, New Year's Edition"

In this special edition of West Wing Week, look back over the last year, watch the President sign a law getting those loud TV ads under control, and find out the answers to a couple burning questions from the mailbag.

308,745,538


Census Director Robert Groves announces results for the 2010 U.S. Census at the National Press Club, Dec. 21, 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sister Cities

http://www.ci.milpitas.ca.gov/citygov/commissions/sistercities/

http://www.sjeconomy.com/sistercities/default.asp

The 2010 Census: A Proud Moment for our Nation



US Census Bureau: The 2010 Census: A Proud Moment for our Nation

The census is a historical milestone that we encounter every ten years. The reveal of the total population count brings with it not only the numbers that help determine the amount of representation for your state but also the amount of federal funding your state will receive over the next ten years. As we come to the end of the 2010 Census, we can take pride in the huge accomplishment we achieved as a nation.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

US Census Results Expected Boost Republicans


VOANews: US Census Results Expected Boost Republicans

2010 census report contains some potentially good news for Republicans, population shifts from Northeast, Midwest to South, West
The 2010 census contained some possibly good news for the Republican Party IN THE NEWS download MP3 (Right-click or option-click and save link)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Numbers Count



US Census Bureau: The Numbers Count!

The 2010 Census was a huge success from which we will determine the total U.S. population and the number of representatives for each state. These numbers also help determine the amount of federal funding that your state will receive for the next 10 years. From this video you will learn why the numbers count!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

US Population Shifting to South and West

US CENSUS WEEK on uscitizenpod!


VOAVideo: US Population Shifting to South and West

Results from the latest census in the United States show that people are moving to the country's South and West where there tends to be more jobs and a lower cost of living. These states also tend to attract large, Hispanic immigrant populations. VOA's Elizabeth Lee looks at the census and what it may mean for the nation's politics.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

USCIS 100:100 Party!

USCIS 100:100. Name two national U.S. holidays.
CHRISTMAS and NEW YEAR!




Citizenship Christmas Party 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Milpitas Adult School Citizenship class and ESL 2. See you Tuesday, January 4, 2011 5:45pm for more English (and fun) in the new year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

West Wing Week: 12/24/10 or "AKA Santa Claus"



WH.go: West Wing Week: 12/24/10 or "AKA Santa Claus"

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Walk step by step with the President as he signs the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell," looks back at an historic lame duck session, reads to kids for the Holiday season, and receives the Census report.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas 2010 in America: Three Stories of Struggle, Tradition and Wonder

VOA Learning English: Christmas 2010 in America: Three Stories of Struggle, Tradition and Wonder

A homeless couple hopes for a special gift. The immigrant experience on Skype. Two retirees on a road trip THIS IS AMERICA download MP3 (Right-click or option-click and save link)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wreaths Honor Troops for Holidays



VOAVideo: Wreaths Honor Troops for Holidays

Thousands of volunteers turned out to decorate some of the graves at Arlington National Cemetery with wreaths trucked from Maine for the ceremony. By the end of the day, 24,000 wreaths are placed on headstones at Arlington. Organizers want to expand to include the entire cemetery next year.

Monday, December 20, 2010

ESL Podcast 643 – Liberal and Conservative News

USCIS 100:55. What are two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy?


ESL Podcast 643 – Liberal and Conservative News

Right, left, or center? Whatever your political opinions, you’ll learn how to talk about them in this episode. Download Podcast

USCIS 100:55. What are two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy?
  • vote
  • join a political party
  • help with a campaign
  • join a civic group
  • join a community group
  • give an elected official your opinion on an issue
  • call Senators and Representatives
  • publicly support or oppose an issue or policy
  • run for office
  • write to a newspaper

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Home of First US President Hosts Historic Christmas



VOAVideo: Home of First US President Hosts Historic Christmas

The Mount Vernon Estate in the southern U.S. state of Virginia is one of the most beloved historical landmarks in the United States. Every year, about one million people visit the home of America's first president, George Washington, who led the country from 1789 to 1797. The house and museum on the grounds are now decorated for Christmas. In addition to enjoying the decorations, visitors can also see a camel and hear stories about what Christmas was like at Mount Vernon in the 18th century. VOAs Deborah Block has more.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

THE NATURALIZED Re-broadcast Sat Dec 18 · 8:00pm - 9:30pm EST

The Naturalized - Trailer from Flicker Flacker on Vimeo.

"The Naturalized" airs on History Channel.

Saturday, December 18 · 8:00pm - 9:30pm EST

Check your local listings.

‎"The Naturalized": Weaving together the lives of different people from different countries who all share a quest for citizenship by choice, not birthright, this documentary travels from a citizenship class in San Jose to a naturalization ceremony in Iraq. Along the way, there's unprecedented access to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, revealing the complex process up-close, including a marriage interview and the one-on-one Citizenship Exam. How many amendments are in the Constitution? To become an American, not knowing is not an option. Contemporary stories of struggle and success are combined with insightful interviews from notable naturalized citizens like Fareed Zakaria, Alan Cumming, David Rakoff and Isabel Allende plus the Milpitas Adult School Citizenship Class!

DREAM ACT fails

DREAM ACT fails. (I am heartbroken)
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DADT repealed!



Don't Ask, Don't Tell repealed.
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VOAVideo: Obama: 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Repeal 'A Historic Milestone'

President Barack Obama is ending the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy that bars homosexuals from serving openly in the US armed forces. The president has signed legislation repealing the 17-year-old policy.

(POST UPDATED 12/23/10)

Friday, December 17, 2010

DREAM ACT Vote on Saturday Dec 18

All we want for the holidays is the DREAM Act. Turn up the heat on wavering Senators: 866-587-6101 Tell them to vote YES. Pls fwd.
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West Wing Week: 12/17/10 or "All These Pens"



VOAVideo: West Wing Week: 12/17/10 or "All These Pens"

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Walk step by step with the President as he signs a landmark childhood nutrition bill, urges passage of the compromise on tax cuts and unemployment insurance, discusses the Afghanistan-Pakistan Annual Review, and more.

Monday, December 13, 2010

THE NATURALIZED airs Wed Dec 15 10am

The Naturalized - Trailer from Flicker Flacker on Vimeo.

"The Naturalized" airs on History Channel.
December 15th @ 10AM & 4PM EST
December 18th @ 8PM EST
Check your local listings.

‎"The Naturalized": contemporary stories of struggle and success are combined with insightful interviews from notable naturalized citizens like Fareed Zakaria, Alan Cumming, David Rakoff and ISABEL ALLENDE, plus the Milpitas Adult School Citizenship class!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

THE NATURALIZED--New Citizenship Documentary!

My Citizenship class appears 44:14 in The Naturalized

THE NATURALIZED (the doc featuring my Citizenship class) makes it History Channel debut 12/15!

Synopsis: The Naturalized (2010 Documentary)

Weaving together the lives of different people from different countries who all share a quest for citizenship by choice, not birthright, this documentary travels from a citizenship class in San Jose to a naturalization ceremony in Iraq. Along the way, there's unprecedented access to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, revealing the complex process up-close, including a marriage interview and the one-on-one Citizenship Exam. How many amendments are in the Constitution? To become an American, not knowing is not an option. Contemporary stories of struggle and success are combined with insightful interviews from notable naturalized citizens like Fareed Zakaria, Alan Cumming, David Rakoff and Isabel Allende.
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Friday, December 10, 2010

West Wing Week: 12/10/10 or "It's Alive!"



WH.gov: West Wing Week: 12/10/10 or "It's Alive!"

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Walk step by step with the President as he visits Afghanistan to celebrate the holidays with our men and women in uniform, announces a free trade agreement with South Korea, attends a series of meetings at the White House and holds a press conference to answer questions about the tax cut compromise, signs the Claims Resolution Act of 2010, and more...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The US Census and the Amazing Apportionment Machine

USCIS 100: 25. Why do some states have more Representatives than other states?



US Census: The US Census and the Amazing Apportionment Machine

Apportionment is the process of dividing the seats in the House of Representatives among the 50 states based on the population figures collected during the decennial census. But how does it actually work? Through animation, the US Census Bureau helps explain how the apportionment formula is used to ensure equal representation for all, just like the Founding Fathers planned.

USCIS 100: 25. Why do some states have more Representatives than other states?

  • (because of) the state’s population
  • (because) they have more people
  • (because) some states have more people

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The House has passed DREAM ACT. The vote was 216-198. On to the Senate!

Thank you House! Call your Senators to pass DREAM ACT.
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Obama Agenda Faces Stiff Opposition in 2011



VOAVideo: Obama Agenda Faces Stiff Opposition in 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama made progress on an ambitious agenda in 2010. But as VOA's Kent Klein reports from the White House, a larger and stronger contingent of Republicans in Congress will present much stiffer opposition in 2011.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Illegal Immigrants in US Push for Passage of Dream Act



VOAVideo: Illegal Immigrants in US Push for Passage of Dream Act

U.S. lawmakers before the end of the year are expected to consider a controversal immigration reform measure that would give tens of thousands of young illegal immigrants a chance to become legal residents by going to college or joining the armed forces. The proposed legislation is known as the Dream Act . VOA's Chris Simkins tells us about it.

Friday, December 3, 2010

West Wing Week: 12/03/10 or "Sharp Elbows"



WH.gov: West Wing Week: 12/03/10 or "Sharp Elbows"

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Walk step by step with the President as he holds a meeting with bipartisan members of the Congressional Leadership at the White House, greets the American 2010 Nobel Laureates in the Oval Office, meets with General Colin Powell, makes a joint statement about the importance of ratifying the START treaty with Russia, and more...

Harsh Life of Washington's Slaves Revisited

USCIS 100:60. What group of people was taken to America and sold as slaves?

USCIS 100:70. Who was the first President?*



VOANews: Harsh Life of Washington's Slaves Revisited

George Washington was born into a world where slavery was an accepted part of life. When his father died in 1743, Washington - at the age of 11 - inherited 10 slaves. When the nation's first president died in 1799, more than 300 slaves lived in quarters on his Mount Vernon estate. This year, those slave quarters, first opened to the public in 1962, went through an extensive archaeological analysis and restoration. These refurbished quarters shed new light on the story of the slaves who lived and worked at Mount Vernon.

USCIS 100:60. What group of people was taken to America and sold as slaves?

  • Africans
  • people from Africa

USCIS 100:70. Who was the first President?*

  • (George) Washington

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Citizen Diplomats Sought for Worldwide Outreach

USCIS 100:55. What are two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy


VOANews: Citizen Diplomats Sought for Worldwide Outreach

The U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy says individual Americans have the right and responsibility to help shape U.S. foreign relations. This month, it hosted a summit in Washington with the goal of getting more Americans to do just that. (download MP3)

55. What are two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy?

  • vote
  • join a political party
  • help with a campaign
  • join a civic group
  • join a community group
  • give an elected official your opinion on an issue
  • call Senators and Representatives
  • publicly support or oppose an issue or policy
  • run for office
  • write to a newspaper

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

President Obama's World AIDS Day Message



WH.gov: President Obama's World AIDS Day Message

President Obama commemorates World AIDS Day 2010 and highlights the ways in which his Administration is combating the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

**NEW** I-912, Request for Fee Waiver


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is funded largely by application fees. However, the USCIS knows that some people cannot pay their application fees.

If you want USCIS to consider waiving the fee for your application, you must complete Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver.

When you request a fee waiver, you must clearly show that you cannot pay the fee.

USCIS officers will look at each case's facts to decide if the fee should be waived. Each case is different and will be judged on the case's facts.

You may use Form I-912 to request a fee waiver for any USCIS services, including Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

For further info, visit:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

White House White Board: Your Healthcare Dollar



Wh.gov: White House White Board: Your Healthcare Dollar

Nancy-Ann DeParle, the Director of the Office of Health Reform at the White House breaks down new rules will make our health care marketplace more transparent and ensure you get the best value for your premium dollars. They are just one of the many parts of the Affordable Care Act that are already making our health care system stronger.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

US Holiday Travelers Face New Security at Nation's Airports



VOAVideo: US Holiday Travelers Face New Security at Nation's Airports

As millions of Americans travel during the country's Thanksgiving holiday, they face new heightened security procedures at the nation's airports. Federal authorities instituted the measures earlier this month and some fliers say the techniques are too intrusive.

For more info, see TSA Holiday Travel Tips.

Friday, November 26, 2010

West Wing Week: 11/26/10 or "The Turkey Behind the Turkey"



wh.gov: West Wing Week: 11/26/10 or "The Turkey Behind the Turkey"

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Walk step by step with the President as he attends the NATO Summit in Portugal, visits Kokomo, Indiana, participates in the traditional turkey pardoning and volunteers alongside the First Family at Martha's Table, a local organization that provides nutrition and other family services to those in need, and more.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Weekly Address: Giving Thanks for Those Who Serve



wh.gov: Weekly Address: Giving Thanks for Those Who Serve

The President expresses gratitude to America's military men and women and their families, and discusses the steps his administration is taking to help create jobs so that next Thanksgiving, Americans can give thanks for a stronger economy.

Americans Express Gratitude on Thanksgiving Holiday



VOAVideo: Americans Express Gratitude on Thanksgiving Holiday

Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day each year on the fourth Thursday in November. It is a time when families and friends gather to count their blessings. The idea began in the 1600s when Pilgrims came to North America from England to start a new life. After their annual harvest, they gave thanks and held a feast. Today, many Americans follow that tradition. VOA's Deborah Block tells us how neighbors in the southern U.S. state of Florida celebrate the day.

VOANews: A Traditional Thanksgiving Meal, With Modern Shortcuts

Thanksgiving Day is America's version of a harvest festival. The holiday is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November download MP3

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

President Obama Pardons Turkey



WH.gov: President Obama Pardons Turkey

President Obama grants a pardon to 'Apple', the National Thanksgiving Turkey. November 24, 2010.

VOANews: Obama Sends Thanksgiving Greetings

President Obama urges Americans to support and help each other in tough times

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Orphans become naturalized U.S. citizens

Great slideshow from Yahoo News:

Eighteen children, originally from Haiti, Ethiopia, China, and other countries, were sworn in as citizens with their American adoptive parents standing by.

For more info about Immigration, Citizenship, and Adoption, see USCIS.gov: Adoption.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

West Wing Week: 11/19/10 or "I Really Like this Guy"



WH.gov: West Wing Week: 11/19/10 or "I Really Like this Guy"

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Walk step by step with the President as he attends the G-20 in Seoul, Korea and the annual APEC meeting in Yokohama, Japan, awards the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta, and the National Medals of Science and Technology, affirms the Administration's commitment to promoting equality in the work place at a meeting of women leaders in the Roosevelt Room, and more...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

**NEW** USCitizenPod Quiz: The Founding Fathers on US Bills, Coins, and Stamps

Practice the USCIS 100:62-70 questions --a new quiz featuring
the Founding Fathers on US dollar bills, coins, and stamps.

62. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?

63. When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?

64. There were 13 original states. Name three.

65. What happened at the Constitutional Convention?

66. When was the Constitution written?

67. The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers.

68. What is one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for?

69. Who is the "Father of Our Country"?

70. Who was the first President?*

Read: Who was the second president of the United States?

Direct download: founders-quiz.pdf

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

**NEW** USCIS 100 Coin Quiz from USCitizenPod


**NEW** Practice Quiz: USCIS 100 questions with US Coins:

30. If the President can no longer serve, who becomes President?

62. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?

64. There were 13 original states. Name three.

69. Who is the “Father of Our Country”?

71. What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803?

75. What was one important thing that Abraham Lincoln did?*

77. What did Susan B. Anthony do?

80. Who was President during the Great Depression and World War II?

82. Before he was President, Eisenhower was a general. What war was he in?

87. Name one American Indian tribe in the United States.

92. Name one state that borders Canada. Remove Formatting from selection

93. Name one state that borders Mexico.

95. Where is the Statue of Liberty?*

Read: How many states are in the United States?

Direct download: coin-quiz.pdf

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Color of Money: America’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing Produces Millions of Dollars a Day

USCIS 100:41. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?

VOA Learning English: The Color of Money: America’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing Produces Millions of Dollars a Day

There are 65 separate steps required to make a dollar bill. But, do not try this at home! THIS IS AMERICA (download MP3)

USCIS 100:41. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?

  • to print money
  • to declare war
  • to create an army
  • to make treaties

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Banknote Knowledge: Who Are the Men on the Money?



Our listener question this week comes from Iraqi Kurdistan. Farman Salih wants to know about the men whose pictures are on American paper money and why they were important. Also: T-Bone Burnett produces two albums with Elvis Costello, others. And the Hope Diamond has to share the spotlight AMERICAN MOSAIC (download MP3)

And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman



penguinUSA: And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman

And the Pursuit of Happiness is beloved artist and author Maira Kalman's yearlong investigation of democracy and how it works. Energized and inspired by the 2008 elections, on inauguration day Kalman traveled to Washington, D.C., launching a national tour that would take her from a town hall meeting in Newfane, Vermont, to the inner chambers of the Supreme Court. Her NYtimes blog posts are collected in her new volume: And the Pursuit of Happiness

Friday, November 12, 2010

West Wing Week: 11/12/10 or "OCONUS"



WH.gov: West Wing Week: 11/12/10 or "OCONUS"

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. On a special edition for the trip to Asia this week, walk step by step with the President as he meets with students, citizens, business leaders, and government officials in India, travels to Indonesia to extend a hand of friendship to the Indonesian people, attends the G-20 in Seoul, South Korea, and much more...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day 2010


WH.gov: Naturalization Ceremony for U.S. Service Members
(reposted from 11/11/07; updated 11/11/10)

Last night, I listened to the VOA's Names Are Read to Mark 25th Anniversary of Vietnam Veterans Wall. All of a sudden I thought, "I wonder what happened to my POW/MIA?".

When I was freshman in high school, the Viet Nam war was coming to the end. A classmate, Molly Olds, who was an "army brat", convinced me, a Catholic "peacenik", to wear a POW/MIA memorial bracelet. The name on my bracelet: Richard R. Perricone. I never knew what happened to this POW, so I "googled" Perricone. There he was on the POW Network--free and alive--living in New York with his wife. Wow! I hope he is in Washington DC this weekend with his fellow vets. I hope he knows peace.

(Update; many people wrote to say Stff Sgt. Richard Perricone is alive and well).

The VOA story also brings to mind one of my students, Nguyen Kiem Long, formerly of the South Viet Nam Air Force and the Milpitas Adult School Senior ESL Class. He is currently in New York attending to family business, and I and his classmates miss him so much. He is a living example of a free and prosperous Viet Nam.

ARVN Veteran Do Ngoc Xuan
proudly displays his US Citizenship Papers

I also honor Do Ngoc Xuan, a farmer forced to flee the South and join the army. After working the night shift, he came to the Senior ESL class every day in preparation for US Citizenship--the ticket to freedom for his relatives still in Viet Nam. His goal is shared not only by the Vietnamese students at our school, but by the immigrant communty at large.

I also remember my father, Gene Gagliardi, who financed his college education via a ROTC scholarsip at the University of Illinois, Champange-Urbana. His service on the USS Hancock qualified him for further education and housing loans via the GI Bill, enabling our large family to realize the American Dream. On a similar quest, many young immigrants choose to join the military in hope of improving the lives of their own families.

Several years ago, I was conducting an English placement testing at Milpitas Adult School. I started chatting with a Latina and her husband. She spoke English quite well, so I asked her why she wanted to attend ESL classes (i.e. "Would GED be a better choice for you?"). She said, "We just took my son to the bus for the Marines. He is going to Iraq. I am so afraid. I have to do something or I will go crazy!" and she burst into tears. Her husband gazed mournfully at her and could only hold her as she wept.

Over the succeeding years, Iraqis and Afghanis have joined Vietnamese, Chinese, and Mexican students community at our school. Despite many problems, the woman has persevered in her GED studies; her son successfully served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and continues to serve in the US Marines. The son recently returned home on leave and his mother had many concerns. I told her to talk to Fr. Michael Hendrickson, our local Catholic pastor and Naval/Marine chaplain, who had just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. She reported that he understood her perfectly--only families who had children "over there" could understand, and was so grateful for his compassion and the sympathy of 'others.'

On Veterans Day, let us remember the US service men and women, their families, and our allied commrade-in-arms, fighting for the freedom of their own country.

More Resources--

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

First Public Memorial to Disabled US Military Veterans Breaks Ground in Washington



VOAVideo: First Public Memorial to Disabled US Military Veterans Breaks Ground in Washington

Thursday marks the observation of Veterans Day in the United States, a day when the nation honors its military veterans. The national holiday falls on the date in 1918 considered the end of World War One. The day is known in Europe and elsewhere as Armistice or Remembrance Day. On Wednesday, here in Washington, there was a ground breaking for a memorial to honor a specific sort of American military veterans -- those injured and permanently disabled as a result of war. VOA's Elizabeth Lee has the story.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Congressional Midterm Elections Over, 2012 Presidential Race Next



VOAVideo: Congressional Midterm Elections Over, 2012 Presidential Race Next

It is often said that the presidential election starts the day after the midterm elections. We are there now, and soon all eyes will be on the 2012 presidential race. President Barack Obama is a good campaigner. So he was much in the political fray in the midterm elections. Two years from now, he will do the same for himself, if he wants to keep his job.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Helping Students from Immigrant Families to Discover an "Emotional Connection" to U.S. History

USCIS 100:52. What do we show loyalty to
when we say the Pledge of Allegiance?



us.ed.gov: Helping Students from Immigrant Families to Discover an "Emotional Connection" to U.S. History

Tim Bailey, 2009 National History Teacher of the Year, now a history teacher at Salt Lake City's Northwest Middle School, in the same feeder system as Escalante Elementary, serves mostly disadvantaged students. Although most of them come from families that recently immigrated from Latin America, Africa, Asia and other parts of the world, the children respond enthusiastically to Tim's creative approach to teaching American history and citizenship.

USCIS 100:52. What do we show loyalty to when we say the Pledge of Allegiance?

  • the United States
  • the flag

Saturday, November 6, 2010

JFK Memorial at The Grotto, Portland, OR

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Hello from Portland, OR! This weekend, I am visiting friends who have brought me to The Grotto for a couple of hours of prayer and refelction. Outside The Grotto, there is a memorial to John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the first Roman Catholic elected as US president. With JFK's election, millions of American Catholics felt fully included in the US political system. An imperfect man, an imperfect president, an imperfect saint: I submit that JFK is the patron of modern American Catholicism. John Fitzgerald Kennedy--ora pro nobis!

Friday, November 5, 2010

West Wing Week: 11/05/10 or "Don't Watch the Plasma Arc"



WH.gov: West Wing Week: 11/05/10 or "Don't Watch the Plasma Arc"

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Walk step by step with the President as he tours Stromberg Sheet Metal, a Maryland company planning to expand its workforce in the coming year, explains the actions taken to disrupt and investigate a potential terrorist attack, welcomes trick-or-treaters to the White House for Halloween, takes questions from the press and speaks about ways to move the country forward and grow our economy, surprises a group of wounded warriors during their White House tour and much more...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Voters React to Republican Gains in Mid-Term Elections



VOAVideo: Voters React to Republican Gains in Mid-Term Elections

In an historic shift, Republicans emerged victorious in the 2010 U.S. mid-term elections. While they made large gains in the House of Representatives, Democrats retained control of the Senate. As VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, many voters hope the shift will bring new legislation that combats high unemployment, falling home prices, and rising government debt.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Voters Head to Polls in Midterm Elections



VOAVideo: Voters Head to Polls in Midterm Elections

On Tuesday, voters will decide who will occupy all 435 seats in the US House of Representatives, as well as 37 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate. Gubernatorial races are also important, as states redraw Congressional districts following a 10-year census. Democrats are hoping for a good turnout so they can deter what many pundits say might be a Republican landslide. VOA headed to the polls today in the Virginia suburbs of Washington DC. Laurel Bowman has the latest.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Muslim Americans Organize Voting Drive For Midterm Elections



VOAVideo: Muslim Americans Organize Voting Drive For Midterm Elections

Representatives Keith Ellison from Minnesota and Andre Carson from Indiana are currently the only Muslim American members of Congress. Beyond their local constituents, they represent a growing segment of the U.S. population that is often in the spotlight. In an effort to seek better representation in Washington, many Muslim American communities across the country have organized get out the vote campaigns to ensure that those who can vote, will actually go to the polls. VOA's Kane Farabaugh has more from Chicago.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hispanic Groups Face Challenge in Getting Out Vote



VOAVideo: Hispanic Groups Face Challenge in Getting Out Vote

More than 19 million Hispanic, or Latino, Americans are eligible to vote in midterm congressional elections in the United States on Tuesday. But a recent study by the Pew Hispanic Center suggests that Hispanics are less motivated to vote than they were two years ago when President Barack Obama ran for office . Mike O'Sullivan looks at some of the issues that concern them.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

VOTE!



VOTE!

My name is Nadejda Iontcheva and I live in Milpitas.

I need to say why it is so important to vote on November 2, 2010.

There are many reasons.

First, voting is one of the most important rights of American citizens.

It is a democratic way to take into account the will of the majority of the population for changing:the governing persons of the cities and of the country and the system of laws and rules governing the life of American citizens.

Second, the country is still under the effect of the recent deep recession.

It needs to choose the best people that are able to make the best decisions for saving and improving the education system of the country.

Education is the most important factor for success in any area of the business, science, etc.

A country that has a highly educated population is a rich country, because this human factor leads to new discoveries, developments, and the future success of young people. They are our future!

Our leaders must take urgent measures for generating new jobs and improving the health system and any other systems (financial, political, business, transportation, etc) that are not in good shape and are harming the development of country.

If the citizens do not vote, they will depend on decisions made by people who are influenced by special interests and groups that are not working for the success of the whole population but just value their private success.

On November 2, 2010, all people should take the responsibility for the future of America and must vote.

They must do their best to find out which candidates are the best and vote for them.

Thank you.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Obama Seeks To Mobilize Young Voters



VOAVideo: Obama Seeks To Mobilize Young Voters

President Obama has held several big rallies on college campuses to try to rekindle the enthusiasm he generated among young people during his bid for the White House two years ago. But high unemployment and other economic woes are putting a damper on election excitement. As VOA Correspondent Cindy Saine reports, this is especially true for Democrats - who now hold the White House and majorities in both houses of Congress.

Monday, October 25, 2010

For Some, Free Citizenship Classes; For Others, a Dream Delayed Again



VOA Learning English Video: For Some, Free Citizenship Classes; For Others, a Dream Delayed Again

Americans talk a lot about illegal immigration but not as much about legal immigration. Legal immigrants who want to become citizens must learn English and show a knowledge of American history and government. They must also pay a fee and meet other requirements. Immigrants may take citizenship classes to help them prepare for the naturalization test.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Latino Immigrants Protest US Deportation Policy



VOAVideo: Latino Immigrants Protest US Deportation Policy

Many Latino immigrants in New York are demanding the city limit the information it provides federal immigration authorities about who is in local jails. They say that information often leads to the deportation of loved ones, and this week hundreds took to the streets to press their case. VOA Correspondent Peter Fedynsky has this report from VOA's New York bureau.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Obama, Hillary Clinton Speak Out Against Anti-Gay Bullying

VOANews: Obama, Hillary Clinton Speak Out Against Anti-Gay Bullying

U.S. teen suicides lead to videos from the president and secretary of state. Also: "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in the courts IN THE NEWS (download MP3)

For more info, see www.itgetsbetterproject.com

Many LGBT youth can't picture what their lives might be like as openly gay adults. They can't imagine a future for themselves. So let's show them what our lives are like, let's show them what the future may hold in store for them.

  • WATCH: President Obama: It Gets Better. As part of the It Gets Better Project, President Obama shares his message of hope and support for LGBT youth who are struggling with being bullied.

  • WATCH: Secretary Clinton: "Tomorrow Will Be Better" U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers a message to the LGBT community that "Tomorrow Will Be Better," at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., October 19, 2010.

  • WATCH: Speaker Nancy Pelosi adds her voice to the chorus of Americans across the country as part of the It Gets Better Project to tell LGBT youth: you are not alone, it gets better.

Hispanic, Vietnamese-American Candidates Compete for California Seat



VOAVideo: Hispanic, Vietnamese-American Candidates Compete for California Seat

One of the most heated Congressional races in the United States pits a Hispanic Democrat, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, against a Vietnamese-American Republican named Van Tran. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, both are working to mobilize supporters in their own ethnic community while reaching out to other voters.

Friday, October 22, 2010

West Wing Week: 10/22/10 or "The White House Science Fair"



WH.gov: West Wing Week: 10/22/10 or "The White House Science Fair"

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Walk step by step with the President as he hosts former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice at the White House, holds the first ever White House Science Fair, signs an Executive Order renewing the Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, then heads out West to speak in Oregon, Washington State, California, Nevada, and Minnesota, and much more...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Political Surrogates Rally Voter Base in the Run-Up to U.S. Elections



VOAVideo: Political Surrogates Rally Voter Base in the Run-Up to U.S. Elections

First Lady Michelle Obama, former Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and former President Bill Clinton have been enlisted by their respective parties to campaign for candidates in trouble in November's midterm elections. Why do these people appeal to American voters, while actual party leaders such as U.S. President Barack Obama are struggling? VOA's Laurel Bowman explains.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

SF USCIS Open House



SF USCIS Open House

Here are my photos from the SF USCIS Open House--don't miss the statements about the chidren's artwork--you may have to SHOW INFO on the upper left-hand of the slide show.

For more info on a USCIS Open House in your area.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Photos of US Civil War Soldiers Donated to Library of Congress

USCIS 100:73. Name the U.S. war between the North and the South.



VOAVideo: Photos of US Civil War Soldiers Donated to Library of Congress

Almost 700 photos of U.S. soldiers who fought in the American Civil War have been donated to the Library of Congress in Washington. Many images show the innocence and idealism of the young men before they went into battle. Next year, the Library of Congress will exhibit the photos to the public, marking the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. VOAs Deborah Block has the story.

USCIS 100:73. Name the U.S. war between the North and the South.
  • the Civil War
  • the War between the States

Sunday, October 17, 2010

California Votes on Whether to Legalize Marijuana

N-400 Part 10 D:22c. (Have you ever) sold or smuggled controlled substances, illegal drugs or narcotics?



VOAVideo: California Votes on Whether to Legalize Marijuana

California could become the first American state to allow people to smoke a joint just because they feel like it. In 1996, California became the first U.S. state to approve the medical use of marijuana. Since then, 13 other states and Washington, D.C., have passed similar laws. Now a measure on the California ballot in November, called Proposition 19, will decide whether to legalize small amounts of marijuana for recreational use, despite a federal law against it.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

US Election Campaign Heats Up

VOANews: US Election Campaign Heats Up

Campaign activity is intensifying in the United States with a little more than two weeks to go until the November 2 midterm congressional elections. Opposition Republicans expect to make gains in the election, but Democrats say some of the key races across the country have tightened up in recent days.

Friday, October 15, 2010

West Wing Week: 10/15/10 or " I Spy"



WH.gov: West Wing Week: 10/15/10 or " I Spy"

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Walk step by step with the President as he comes out strong for investing in infrastructure to boost the economy and create jobs, and meets with students from all levels of education throughout the week. From elementary and middle school students from the documentary 'Waiting for Superman,' to high school and college students who are finalists of the NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, to college students who have benefited from the American Opportunity Tax Credit, it's a reminder why investing in our kids is always worthwhile...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

VOANews: US Judge Orders Military to Stop Banning Open Gays From Military


In this Tuesday, April 16, 2010 picture, from left, Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen, Lt. Dan Choi, Cpl. Evelyn Thomas, Capt. Jim Pietrangelo II, Cadet Mara Boyd and Petty Officer Larry Whitt, stand together after they handcuffed themselves to the fence outside the White House in Washington during a protest for gay rights. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

VOANews: US Judge Orders Military to Stop Banning Open Gays From Military

Order comes after same judge declared last month that US military policy on gays, known as 'don't ask, don't tell,' was unconstitutional

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Words and Debates Change With Time, but First Amendment Stays the Same

For more info, see CBLDF's Liberty Annual 2010

VOANews Learning English: Words and Debates Change With Time, but First Amendment Stays the Same

Law professor Robert Tsai discusses the constitutional right to free expression download MP3

USCIS 100:06. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?*

  • speech
  • religion
  • assembly
  • press
  • petition the government

USCIS 100:51. What are two rights of everyone living in the United States?

  • freedom of expression
  • freedom of speech freedom of assembly
  • freedom to petition the government
  • freedom of worship
  • the right to bear arms

Monday, October 11, 2010

Columbus Day, Observed

100. Name two national U.S. holidays.


VOANews Learning English MAKING OF A NATION: Columbus Sails, Others Follow, and Spain Is on Top of the World

By the 15th century, European countries were ready to explore new parts of the world. Technological improvements helped them succeed.

VOANews Learning English AMERICAN MOSAIC: Why Isn't America Named for Columbus? / Mary J. Blige's New Album - 2003-10-09

Flash mobs spread in the U.S. and around the world / A listener wants to know why America is not named for Christopher Columbus / Music


100. Name two national U.S. holidays.

  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Presidents’ Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Columbus Day
  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Female Marines in Marja

USCIS N-400: 10F-27. Have you ever served in the US Military?



NYTimes: Female Marines in Marja

Full-time "female engagement teams'" deploy alongside all-male infantry patrols in Helmand Province to try to win over rural Afghan women, who are culturally off-limits to outside men.

Friday, October 8, 2010

West Wing Week: "A Farewell to Rahm"



VOAVdeo: West Wing Week: "A Farewell to Rahm"

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Walk step by step with the President as he bids farewell to his outgoing Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, and appoints Pete Rouse the new Interim Chief of Staff, holds the first ever Community College Summit at the White House alongside Dr. Biden, signs the bill granting the Congressional Gold Medal to Japanese-American World War II vets - the Army's 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team, awards the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Robert J. Miller,and much more...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

US Supreme Court, in New Term, Considers Free Speech Case


USCIS 100:06. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?*

USCIS 100:51. What are two rights of everyone living in the United States?




VOAVideo: US Supreme Court, in New Term, Considers Free Speech Case

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a difficult question: Should the father of a deceased Marine win his lawsuit against a fundamentalist Christian church that protested at his son's funeral? Or should the first amendment of the US constitution, which protects free speech, apply to this case even though the protesters were offending mourners at a funeral. Forty-eight states, a bipartisan group of lawmakers and veterans' groups are siding with the father. The church's camp includes advocates for free speech and media organizations. They fear a victory for the dad would erode the right to free speech. VOA's Laurel Bowman has the story. (read more)

USCIS 100:06. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?*

  • speech
  • religion
  • assembly
  • press
  • petition the government
USCIS 100:51. What are two rights of everyone living in the United States?

  • freedom of expression
  • freedom of speech freedom of assembly
  • freedom to petition the government
  • freedom of worship
  • the right to bear arms

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Women's Right to Vote in US Hits 90th Anniversary

USCIS 100: 77. What did Susan B. Anthony do?



VOAVideo: Women's Right to Vote in US Hits 90th Anniversary

This year marks the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women in United States the right to vote. After seven decades of activism, American women cast their first ballots in the Presidential elections of 1920. VOA's Ana Ward takes a look back at the women's suffrage movement, and at the role women play in American politics today. Amy Katz narrates.


USCIS 100: 77. What did Susan B. Anthony do?

  • fought for women’s rights
  • fought for civil rights

Monday, October 4, 2010

Muslim American Congressman Calls for Tolerance



VOAVideo: Muslim American Congressman Calls for Tolerance

Keith Ellison became the first Muslim American to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006. One issue he has promoted strongly while in office has been tolerance about religious differences. In an interview with VOA, Ellison said he is concerned by a slight spike in anti-Islamic sentiment in recent weeks. But he stressed that he believes the United States is still welcoming to Muslims and people of diverse backgrounds. Cindy Saine reports.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The First Lady, The President and The Vice President Serve on 9/11



serve.gov: The First Lady, The President and The Vice President Serve on 9/11

On September 11, 2010, the First Lady, the President and the Vice President engaged in service activities to support our veterans, troops and military families, following remarks. Watch a video that takes you to service projects in McLean, VA, Washington, DC and New York City on the National Day of Service and Remembrance.