Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Rep. Mike Honda supports United We Serve
Rep. Mike Honda supports United We Serve
Having served in the Peace Corps himself, Rep. Honda (who represents San Jose/Milpitas in the US House of Representatives) calls all others to service. In these unprecedented economic times, volunteering just a few hours of your day, can make a huge difference in someone's life. To find a project in your area, visit serve.gov today.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Pittsburgh's Renewal Draws a New Wave of Immigrants
Over the past 50 years, however, heavy industry has been leaving Pittsburgh, the "Steel City", along with tens of thousands of jobs. But over time Pittsburgh essentially "reinvented" itself, and the city is now best known for high-technology enterprises, medical specialties, banks and universities. That transformation has prompted a new wave of immigrants, this time including many from south Asia. Families originally from India now are one of Pittsburgh's largest ethnic communities, and they are thriving.
- Video: Pittsburgh Immigration Download (WM)
- Video: Pittsburgh Immigration Watch (WM)
- Print Version
Monday, September 28, 2009
New York City Celebrates 400th Anniversary
VOANews: New York City Celebrates 400th Anniversary By Martin Phillips 26 September 2009
Four hundred years ago this month, Henry Hudson, looking for a sea route to Asia, sailed into what is now New York Harbor. His arrival is celebrated as the beginning of Dutch settlement in North America. A few years later, Dutch traders established New Amsterdam to trade animal furs with local Indians. Today that settlement is known as New York City.
- Phillips report Download (WM)
- Phillips report Watch (WM)
- Print Version
ELCivics: New York City and Statue of Liberty
Sunday, September 27, 2009
USPS: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage: People, Places and Events on US Stamps
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Sân Khấu Việt Cali: “Dream and Life”
Dream and Life is presented as part of ARTiculate! Expressions of Global Arts and Cultures at Evergreen Valley College, September 21-26. Check their Events Schedule for further details. Teacher Jennifer's note: as an EVC aluumni, I am proud to support this festival.
Dream and Life
Evergreen Valley College Arts Theater
3095 Yerba Buena Road,San Jose, CA 95135
Driving Direction: http://www.evc.edu/maps/index.htm
Saturday, September 26, at 2:30 pm.
Tickets: $10/Student & Senior
$15 General Admission
Friday, September 25, 2009
Videos Created on the Meaning of Democracy
VOAVideo: Videos Created on the Meaning of Democracy
What is democracy? That is the question more than 900 people from 95 countries answered by submitting original, short videos to the first Democracy Video Challenge. The competition was sponsored by several private groups in the United States as well as the U.S. State Department. Six winners were selected from different regions of the world. VOAs Deborah Block has more.
2009 Winning Videos:
- Chansa Tembo, Zambia: Democracy is like a smoothie
- Aissa Peñafiel, Philippines: Long Live The Fearless Man
- Lukasz Szozda, Poland: democracy is... animation
- Tsering Choden, Nepal: Democracy Is....
- Rodin Hamidi, U.A.E.: The Path
- Anna Carolina dos Santos Israel, Brazil: In a democracy, we're all parts of the same body
Thursday, September 24, 2009
National Hispanic Heritage Month
National Hispanic Heritage Month
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.
VOANews: For Hispanics in US, the 'Fierce Urgency of Now'
National Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States began September fifteenth. Events are being held throughout the country to celebrate the history, culture and success of America's Hispanic population. This year's theme is the 'Fierce Urgency of Now' .
San José Mariachi and Mexican Heritage Festival
Now in its 18th year, the San José Mariachi and Mexican Heritage Festival presents a weeklong schedule of music and educational events by internationally renowned mariachis and maestros of ballet folklórico. The Festival closes with an outdoor feria, featuring music, arts, cultural activities and food in a celebration of Mexican heritage and cuisine.
El Grito de Milpitas
Viva Mexico! Viva Milpitas! Viva San Jose! Viva Milpitas Adult School! Happy Mexican Independence Day from Milpitas Adult School!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
The New USCIS Website!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
The Obama Plan in 4 Minutes
The Obama Plan in 4 Minutes
Learn the basic principles of President Obama's health insurance reform plan as presented to Congress on September 9, 2009.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Secret to Avoiding Summer Crowds in Washington: Wait for Fall
Secret to Avoiding Summer Crowds in Washington: Wait for Fall
On THIS IS AMERICA: Some things to see on an autumn visit to the nation's capital and beyond.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
CIA Makes Recruiting Trip to Arab-American Community
VOAVideo: CIA Makes Recruiting Trip to Arab-American Community
CIA* Director Leon Panetta told Arab-American and Muslim leaders this week to join efforts to reduce the threat of terrorism in the U.S. Speaking in the heart of Michigan's large Middle Eastern community, he said the country is safer than it was when it was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, though al-Qaida still remains a threat. The speech is one of the CIA's highest-profile recruiting efforts aimed at Arab-Americans and Muslims, as the agency seeks to boost Arabic and other languages it deems critical to its work. VOA's Jeff Swicord reports.
*CIA: Central Intelligence Agency
For more information, see: CIA Career Opportunities: Language Positions
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Many New American Citizens Are Foreign-Born Members of US Military
VOANews: Many New American Citizens Are Foreign-Born Members of US Military
Since the terrorist attacks on the United States eight years ago, 52,000 foreign-born members of the American military have become naturalized U.S. citizens. According to the Pentagon, more than 100 of these new Americans have been killed in action fighting for the United States.
- Buel Report Download (MP3)
- Buel Report Listen (MP3)
- Print Version
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Presidential Proclamation Constitution Day, Citizenship Day and Constitution Week
WhiteHouse.gov: Presidential Proclamation Constitution Day, Citizenship Day and Constitution Week
The Press Office Presidential Proclamation Constitution Day, Citizenship Day and Constitution Week. The proclamation describes the principles and guarantees of our liberties established by the Constitution as a "beacon of hope for Americans and those who seek new lives in the United States." That’s why today, we also celebrate our citizenship and recognize those who came to our country and are today becoming U.S. Citizens, coming one step closer to the American Dream.
WhiteHouse.gov: Día de la Constitución y la Ciudadanía
La proclama describe los principios y las garantías de nuestras libertades establecidos por la Constitución "como un rayo de esperanza para los estadounidenses y quienes buscan una nueva vida en Estados Unidos". Por eso también celebramos nuestra ciudadanía y reconocemos a aquellos que se han unido a nuestro país y hoy se convierten en ciudadanos estadounidenses, llegando un paso más cerca al sueño Americano.
Twenty-seven Questions about the US Constitution from the new USCIS 100 History and Government Test
01. What is the supreme law of the land? (01)
a) the Constitution
b) the Declaration of Independence
c) the Federalist Papers
02. What does the Constitution do? (02)
a) sets up the banks
b) sets up the government
c) sets up political parties
03. What happened at the Constitutional Convention? (65)
a) The Bill of Rights was written.
b) The Constitution was written.
c) The Federalist Papers were written.
d) The Star Spangled Banner was written
04. When was the Constitution written?
05. The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers.
06. The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words? (03)
a) Freed the slaves
b) We the People
c) Yes, We Can!
BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT
07. Name one branch or part of the government.* (13)
b) The Police
08. What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful? (14)
b) checks and balances
c) the internet
ARTICLE I: THE LEGISTLATIVE BRANCH
09. Who makes federal laws? (16)
b) The President
c) The Supreme Court
10. What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress?*(17)
a) the Senate and House (of Representatives)
b) the Democrats and the Republicans
11. Who does a U.S. Senator represent? (24)
a) all people of the state
b) all citizens of the state
c) all voters of the state
12. Why do some states have more Representatives than other states? (25)
a) They have more land
b) They have more money.
c) They have more people
ARTICLE II: THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH
13. Who is in charge of the executive branch? (15)
a) Speaker of the House
b) the Chief Justice
c) the President
14. If the President can no longer serve, who becomes President? (30)
a) the Chief Justice
b) the Speaker of the House
c) The Vice President
15. Who is the Commander in Chief of the military? (32)
d) the Chief Justice
e) the President
f) The Vice President
16. Who signs bills to become laws? (33)
a) the Chief Justice
b) the President
c) The Vice President
17. What does the President’s Cabinet do? (35)
a) advises the President
b) vetoes the President
c) checks the President
ARTICLE III: THE JUDICIAL BRANCH
18. What does the judicial branch do? (37)
a) explains laws
b) enforces laws
c) makes laws
19. What is the highest court in the United States? (38)
a) The Supreme Court
b) The Superior Court
c) The Traffic Court
ARTICLE IV: STATE POWERS
20. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the states. What is one power of the states? (42)
a) give a driver’s license
b) make treaties
c) print postage stamps
ARTICLE V: THE AMENDMENTS
21. What is an amendment? (04)
a) a change to the Constitution
b) a change to the Pledge of Allegiance
c) a change to USCIS test
ARTICLE VI: FEDERAL POWERS
22. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government? (41)
a) to print money
b) to control the internet
c) to sell stock
23. What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution? (05)
a) the Bill of Rights
b) the Oath of Allegiance
c) the Pledge of Allegiance
24. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?* (6)
25. What are two rights of everyone living in the United States? (51)
a) freedom of speech
b) freedom of assembly
c) freedom of work
26. There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote. Describe one of them. (48)
a) Any citizen can vote.
b) Any permanent resident can vote
c) Anyone can vote.
27. When is the last day you can send in federal income tax forms? (56)*
a) April 15
b) June 30
c) December 31
Twenty-seven Questions about the US Constitution from the new USCIS 100 History and Government Test (.doc)
Creating the Constitution
The NCC: Creating the Constitution via TeacherTube
Clinton Middle School: The Constitution via TeacherTube
Please go to TeacherTube for more videos about the US Constitution.
More games from the National Constitution Center:
Bill of Rights Game
Help restore the Bill of Rights!
Seize the Vote!
Test your knowledge of voting rights and gain the right to participate in the ultimate act of citizenship for your characters!
The U.S. Constitution, including detailed explanations of the text is just a click away.
This online experience highlights some of the key dates and events that mark more than 200 years of U.S. constitutional history.
What would you have done in Abraham Lincoln’s shoes?
Constitution Day and Citizenship Day!!!
USCIS.gov: Constitution Day and Citizenship Day
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will be celebrating Citizenship Day Thursday Sept 17 at special naturalization ceremonies throughout the country. See List of Citizenship Day Ceremonies.
In the San Jose area, 1150 people will take the Oath of Allegiance at Campbell Heritage Theater Campbell, Calif. in three separate ceremonies at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Congratulations!
Prep for Constitution Day #17
17th Amendment says that the people--not the state legislature--can elect US Senators.
US Senate Website
- 100:16. Who makes federal laws?
- 100:17. What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress?*
- 100:18. How many U.S. Senators are there?
- 100:19. We elect a U.S. Senator for how many years?
- 100:20. Who is one of your state’s U.S. Senators?*
- 100:24. Who does a U.S. Senator represent?
- 100:55. What are two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy?
23rd Amendment gave US Citizens in the District of Columbia have the right to vote for President. 1961.
EL Civics: Washington DC Tour
EL Civics: Washington, D.C. Crossword Puzzle Answer Key
EL Civics: Washington, D.C. Quiz
US House of Representatives in the US Capitol
Speaker Nacy Pelosi & Rep Mike Honda (San Jose/Milpitas)
27th Amendment: Congress must limit when and how much its members are paid. 1992.
In January 2009, many elected federal employess got a 2.5% COLA (cost of living) increase. Their last raise was in January 2008.
Congress members annual salaries were raised from $169,300 to $174,000. See Salaries and Benefits of US Congress Members.
US House of Representatives Website
Wiki House of Representatives
- 100:21. The House of Representatives has how many voting members?
- 100:22. We elect a U.S. Representative for how many years?
- 100:23. Name your U.S. Representative.
- 100:25. Why do some states have more Representatives than other states?
- 100:47. What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now?
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Happy Mexican Independence Day!
Viva San Jose!
Viva Milpitas Adult School!
Happy Mexican Independence Day from Milpitas Adult School!
Prep for Constitution Day #16
The 16th amendment says that Congress can tax income. The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) is the government that collects taxes. Every year on April 15th, millions of citizens and non-citizens fill-out the 1040 Federal Income Tax form and send it to the IRS on April 15th. People must send in 540 State Tax forms, too.
Compare the IRS 1040 to the USCIS N400. Both forms ask similar questions: name, address, marital status, etc. Furthermore, the N400 not only asks about job history (Part 6B), but also asks about income tax:
- Part 10 A 5. Do you owe any Federal, state or local taxes that are overdue?
- Part 10 C 13. Have you ever called yourself a ''nonresident'' on a Federal, state or local tax return?
- Part 10 C 14. Have you ever failed to file a Federal, state or local tax return because you considered yourself to be a "nonresident"?
Did you know that the most important use of a social security number is to identity a tax payer? The SSN not only identifies you as a taxpayer on the 1040 & 540, the SSN appears on your other financial papers: W-2, W-4 form, paychecks, and bank statements.
It is very, very important to keep your SSN safe and guard against identity theft. It is very very, very important to pay taxes evey year to support your local, state, and federal government.
ESL Podcast 364 – Filing Taxes
This is the first year I haven’t been exempt or filed an EZ tax return. Ricky: No problem. ... I’d like to get a tax refund, rather than have to pay. ...
VOANews: Tax Time in America
Americans must send their tax documents to the government by April 15th. But most will not have to pay anything. In fact, most Americans get money back from the I.R.S. 14 April 2006
- 56. When is the last day you can send in federal income tax forms?*
The 18th and 21st Amendments
18th Alcohol is illegal. (Prohibition). 1919.
21st Alcohol is legal. Each state can make laws about making, selling, and drinking alcohol. 1933.
The 18th Amendment was passed to protect the health and safety of the American people. Instead of preventing alcoholism, Prohibition contributed to the rise of organized crime. The 21st Amendment made the alcohol legal and controlled by many federal, state, and local laws.
Although a US citizen can vote at the age of 18 years, the legal drinking age can be older. In the State of California, a person must be 21 years old to drink alcohol.
On the N-400, and during the Citizenship interview, you will be asked:
- Part 10 D 22a: Have you ever been a habitual drunkard or alcoholic?
- Follow-up question: What is a habitual drunkard or alcoholic?
The USCIS is not asking: Have you ever been drunk?
- The USCIS is concerned that alcohol abuse prevents citizens from freely exercising the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
- Example: if a person is drunk when they vote, they cannot make a good decision.
- Alcohol abuse can also lead to crimes such as drunk driving or maintaining a safe work place.
Here are some groups that help alcoholics and people affected by alcoholism:
- Alcoholics Anonymous: is an informal meeting for recovering and recovered alcoholics.
- Al-Anon/Alateen: Al-Anon is an informal meeting for friends and family members of alcoholics. Alateen is an informal for young adullts (12-24).
- MADD Mothers Against Drunk Driving: is a group that works to stop drunk driving, supports those affected by drunk driving, and prevents underage drinking.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Prep for Constitution Day #15
After the Civil War, the 15th Amendment gave the right to vote to all male US Citizens.
However, some communities refused to allow certain minorities to vote.
Women could not vote until the 19th Amendment (1920).
The Chinese Exclusion Act which took away the right to vote from US native-born citizens of Asian ancestry was repealed in 1943.
Jim Crow laws in the Southern United States which strongly discouraged African-Americans to vote was repealed by the 24th Amendment, 1964 & the Voting Rights Act 1965.
The Nineteenth Amendment gave suffrage (the right to vote) to women.
VOANews: Susan B. Anthony, 1820-1906: She Led the Fight to Gain Equal Rights for Women, Including the Right to Vote
The nineteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution won final approval in 1920 but she did not live to see it. Transcript of radio broadcast: 14 June 2008
24th Amendment made it illegal to make a citizen pay a voting fee. It is illegal to make a citizen take a reading test to vote. The 24th Amendment (1964) and the Civil Rights Movement led by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. crushed Jim Crow laws which discriminated against African Americans.
VOANews: Civil Rights Movement: In the '60s, a Struggle for Equality in US: Activists marched, held sit-in protests and led "freedom rides" to demand better treatment of black Americans. Martin Luther King Junior lived by the idea of nonviolence, but his murder led to riots in more than 100 cities.
26th Amendment: US citizens who are 18 years old or older have the right to vote. 1971.
VOANews: Nixon Promises to 'Bring the American People Together' After '68 Win
Richard Nixon lost the 1960 election to John Kennedy, but he was known for his ability to fight, to lose, and to keep trying. Those skills would soon be tested.
- 48. There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote. Describe one of them.
- 49. What is one responsibility that is only for United States citizens?*
- 50. Name one right only for United States citizens.
- 54. How old do citizens have to be to vote for President?*
- 55. What are two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy?
- 77. What did Susan B. Anthony do?
- 84. What movement tried to end racial discrimination?
- 85. What did Martin Luther King, Jr. do?*
More activities from USCitzenPod:
- Here is a pdf of Voting Rights.
- Here is a pdf of Voting Cloze Essay.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Prep for Constitution Day #14
The 13th Amendment made slavery illegal in the United States.
VOANews The Complex Story of Abraham Lincoln and How He Saved the Union
The 16th president, born 200 years ago this Thursday, opposed slavery and led a civil war that ended it. Yet he originally thought the slave-holding states should be left alone.
VOANews: Making of the Nation
Every Thursday, Special English broadcasts a fifteen-minute program in a series about American history. There are many episodes about the issue of slavery that led to the Civil War.
- 100:60. What group of people was taken to America and sold as slaves?
- 100:72. Name one war fought by the United States in the 1800s.
- 100:73. Name the U.S. war between the North and the South.
- 100:74. Name one problem that led to the Civil War.
- 100:75. What was one important thing that Abraham Lincoln did?*
- 100:76. What did the Emancipation Proclamation do?
What is the opposite of a slave?
The 14th Amendment defines the requrements for US Citizenship. Every person born in the United States is a citizen. An immigrant can become a naturalized citizen.
September 17th is Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. In preparation, here are some practice interviews for each part of the N-400.
- N400 Intro
- N400 Part 1: Name
- N400 Part 2 & 3: Eligibility and Personal Info
- N400 Part 4 & 5: Address and Criminal Record Info
- N400 Part 6: Residence and Employment History
- N400 Part 6: Employment History (only)
- N400 Part 7: Travel
- N400 Part 8: Marital History
- N400 Part 9: Children
- N400 Part 10A: General Questions
- N400 Part 10BC: Affiliations
- N400 Part 10D: Moral Character
- N400 Part 10EFG: Deportation and Military Service
- N400 Part 10H: Oath Requirements
Officials announce the 100 questions (and answers) about history and government. The newly redesigned naturalization test will be given starting October 2008.
- 49. What is one responsibility that is only for United States citizens?*
- 50. Name one right only for United States citizens.
- 53. What is one promise you make when you become a United States citizen?
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Prep for Constitution Day #13
The President and Vice President!
- 100:28. What is the name of the President of the United States now?*
- 100:29. What is the name of the Vice President of the United States now?
12th amendment: the President and Vice President are elected on the same party ticket. The 12th Amendment was added in 1804.
John Adams was the first vice-president. He served under the first president, George Washington.
In 1796, John Adams was elected president and Thomas Jefferson was vice-president. Adams belonged to the Federalist Party and Jefferson belonged to the Democratic-Republican Party. They could not work together, so Jefferson went home.
During the Election of 1800, Jefferson ran against Adams. Jefferson won.
Learn more: VOANews: Jefferson Is Elected President in 1800, But Only on the 36th Vote Thomas Jefferson defeated Aaron Burr. But it took three days of voting in the House of Representatives to settle on a winner. Transcript of radio broadcast: 21 May 2008
- 100:45. What are the two major political parties in the United States?*
- 110:46. What is the political party of the President now?
20th Amendment: The President used to be inaugurated in March. The inauguration was moved up to January, to stop "lame duck" government. FDR was the last president to be inaugurated in March. The 20th Amendment was added in 1933.
- 96:83. In what month is the new President inaugurated?
- 100:27. In what month do we vote for President?*
22nd Amendment: The President cannot serve for more than two terms. FDR was elected to four terms as president and died in office. The 22nd Amendment was added in 1951.
Learn more: VOANews: 'Happy Days Are Here Again': FDR, One of America's Greatest Presidents
Franklin Delano Roosevelt served longer than any other U.S. president. With his New Deal, he led the nation through its worst economic crisis. And, until his death, he led America through World War Two.
- 96:44. How many full terms can a President serve?
- 100:26. We elect a President for how many years?
- 100:80. Who was President during the Great Depression and World War II?
President John Fitzgerald Kennedy
was suceeded by his Vice-President Lyndon Johnson
- Office of the President
- Office of the Vice-president
- Office of the Speaker of the House
Learn more: VOANew: Making of a Nation: The Presidency of John Kennedy Begins With Great Energy, but Ends in Tragedy
He stood strong against the Soviet Union during the Cuban missile crisis, and proposed a law to guarantee equal treatment of blacks. Then came the gunshots in Dallas in November 22, 1963.
VOANews: Making of a Nation: Johnson Takes Over Presidency After Kennedy's Murder
Lyndon Johnson had a lot of political experience. He had been President Kennedy's vice president, and had served for many years in the Senate and House of Representatives.
- 30. If the President can no longer serve, who becomes President?
- 31. If both the President and the Vice President can no longer serve, who becomes President?
More questions about the Excutive Branch:
- 100:32. Who is the Commander in Chief of the military?
- 100:33. Who signs bills to become laws?
- 100:34. Who vetoes bills?
- 100:35. What does the President’s Cabinet do?
- 100:36. What are two Cabinet-level positions?
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Presidential Weekly Address: Losing Insurance Can Happen to Anybody
Presidential Weekly Address: Losing Insurance Can Happen to Anybody
The President discusses a staggering new report from the Treasury Department indicating that under the status quo around half of all Americans under 65 will lose their health coverage at some point over the next ten years. He pledges not to allow this future to unfold: In the United States of America, no one should have to worry that theyll go without health care not for one year, not for one month, not for one day. And once I sign my health reform plan into law they wont. September 12, 2009. (Public Domain)
Prep for Constitution Day #12
- Everyone in the US has the right to an education. People must know how to read and think so that they can make good decisions when they vote.
- The state, county, and local goverments build and staff schools and libraries. People who study in the schools and libraries are able to particpate in the community to the the best of their ability.
- Citizens who live outside the state of California cannot sue California about CA education laws.They cannot sue Califonia about the UC admissions policy, CAHSEE testing, bi-lingual education, or charter schools.
Friday, September 11, 2009
VOAVideo: September 11th Terrorist Attacks - 8 Years Later
With solemn observances, the United States is marking the eighth anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. Ceremonies were held in many places, as well as at the sites in New York, Washington and in the eastern state of Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 perished in the attacks. VOA's Chris Simkins has more on the story.
VOANews: Ceremonies in New York, Washington Mark September 11 Anniversary
Ceremonies in the U.S. have marked the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks with moments of silence and the reading of victims' names.
Voanoticias.com: Special VOA Series in Spanish Marks September 11 Anniversary
- September 11 attacks - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- September 11 attacks - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Prep for Constitution Day #11
Today's Topic: The 6th, 7th, & 8th Amendments
- 6th Amendment: A person has the right to a fair and speedy trial by a jury.
- 7th Amendment: A person has the right to a jury trial for civil cases.
- 8th Amemdent: The government cannot demand excessive bail or fines, or any cruel and unusual punishment.
Every person has the right to a fair and speedy jury trial for civil cases. In order to protect this civil right, US citizens are called for jury duty.
- Listen to Beyond 'Law & Order': The US Jury System An explanation of how the process works in the country that legal experts say holds 90 percent of the world's jury trials. 30 August 2009
- Listen to ESLPod English Café 73 for more info about jury duty and other topics.
- Read Jeff McQuillan's (the host of ESL Podcast) jury duty blog posts (#1, #2).
- Karin's ESL PartyLand: Jury Duty in the US
- Jurors Played Sudoku During a Trial: Another funny (but serious) story from Simple English News.
8th Amemdent: The government cannot demand excessive bail or fines, or any cruel and unusual punishment.
ESL Podcast 143 - Fighting a Parking Ticket
Eric: I'm going to traffic court. I got a parking ticket and I'm going to fight it. Mindy: How much was the fine?
ESL Podcast 172 - Legal Problems
When he was arraigned in court , the prosecutor said that the charges were very serious felonies and not simple misdemeanors.
- Simple Wiki: Human Rights and Torture
- Amnesty International: The Death Penalty in America (slide show)
- Human Rights Watch: US Law Prohibiting Torture and Torture and Abuse
Thursday, September 10, 2009
President Obama Speaks on Healthcare Reform
- The first video from VOAVideo shows a summary from Obama's speech and some of the controversy surrounding Healthcare reform.
- The second video from WhiteHouse.gov shows Obama's entire speech.
VOAVideo: Obama Addresses Nation on Health Care Debate
U.S. President Barack Obama went before Congress and the nation Wednesday night to urge action on his top domestic priority: health care reform. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports his nationally broadcast address followed a month a setbacks for the reform effort.
WhiteHouse.gov: President Obama: Address to Congress on Health Insurance Reform
The President delivers an address to a joint session of Congress, explaining just how he wants to bring peace of mind to Americans who have insurance, and affordable coverage to those who don't. September 9, 2009. (Public Domain)
Prep for Constitution Day #10
FlexYourRights: Consent = Search
How to avoid being searched by police.
From BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters
(WARNING: BAD LANGUAGE)
Today's Topic: The Fourth and Fifth Amendments
The 4th Amendment protects people from illegal search and seizure. The government cannot arrest a person or search their property unless there is "probable cause."
It important to know your rights if you are stopped by the police. Knowing your rights will help you protect yourself. Knowing your rights will also help the police enforce the correct laws to keep the community safe.
ACLU: Know Your Rights: What to Do If You Are Stopped by the Police
- Know Your Rights Pocket Card (PDF)
- Know Your Rights Pamphlet - English (PDF)
- Know Your Rights Pamphlet - Spanish (PDF)
- Know Your Rights Pamphlet - Farsi (PDF)
- Know Your Rights Pamphlet - Arabic (PDF)
- Know Your Rights Pamphlet - Hindi (PDF)
- Know Your Rights Pamphlet - Punjabi (PDF)
- Know Your Rights Pamphlet - Somali (PDF)
- Know Your Rights Pamphlet - Urdu (PDF)
Listen to ESLPod English Cafe 118 for a discussion about
- The difference between seize, arrest, and detain
- How to become the president of the United States.
- Have you ever committed a crime?
- Have you ever been arrested?
- Have you ever been stopped by the police?
- Have you ever been in jail or prison?
- Have you ever been a habitual drunkard?
- Have you ever sold or smuggle illegal drugs?
- Have you ever gambled illegally?
N-400 Part 10 Section E 25-28 A-G ask questions about commiting deportation. Example:
- Have you ever been deported?
Can a person become a US citizen if they have been deported or committed a serious crime? Yes, but it is strongly advised to work with a good immigration lawyer to prepare the N-400.
The Fifth Amendment:
Right to Fair Legal Treatment:The government must follow the law (due process) before punishing a person.
I Speak Cards: These cards can be used to help an individual obtain interpretive services.
Listen to ESLPOD English Cafe 35 for more details about incriminate and the idiom "to take the Fifth."
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Prep for Constitution Day #9
People interpret the Second Amendment in many ways. For example:
- People can keep guns for personal protection.
- People can keep guns only to protect the community (ex: police, national guard, army).
- People can keep as many guns as they want for any reason.
There are many state and local laws that control the use of guns. For example:
- In some cities or states, people must register their gun.
- In some cities or states, people must have a special license to carry a gun.
- People cannot bring a gun to public places, such as school, work, or government offices.
- If a person uses a gun during a crime, the courts will add more time to the jail sentence.
The Third Amendment says:
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Before the American Revolutionary War, British soldiers took people's houses and lived in them. Because there has been no war since the Civil War in the United States, the government uses the Third Amendment as the constitutional basis for the right to privacy, or to own private property.
Some people think that the Third Amendment should be used as the constitutional basis of what a US soldier can and cannot do. The US Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, have their own rules and procedures which follow the US Constitution.
Protecting the United States is the duty of all US citizens!
Some people become eligible for US Citizenship based on their military service. On the N-400, they would check YES on Part 2 C and Part 10 Section F 29.
If a legal permanent resident is a male between the ages of 18-26, he must register for the Selective Service ("the draft"). If there is a national or international emergence, the goverment can call people to join the Armed Services. For more information, see N-400 Part 10 Section G or go to Selective Service System. Women do not have to register for the Selective Service.
During the USCIS interview, the officer will asks Part 10 Section H 37:
If the law requires it, are you willing to bear arms on behalf of the United States?
Some people are willing to carry a weapon--and possibly kill another person--to protect their country. They can check YES on questions N-400 Part 10 Section H 36, 37, 38, 39.Other people, non-combatants, do not want to carry a weapon, but will support combatants. They can check NO on question 36 & 37, and YES on 38 & 39. During the Oath Ceremony, they will not take the full Oath of Allegiance--they will remain silent during the promise to "bear arms." Non-combatants fulfill their obigation of citizenship by helping to keep the United states safe and secure.
Some people belong to religions that do not let their people carry guns, support the army, or take oaths. They check NO on 36, 37, 38. These people can become citizens because they promise to obey the Constitution. and support the US government.
US Department of Defense: Constitution Day
US Citizenship Podcast: The Military
Happy California Admissions Day!
VOANews: California and Its People
Many people consider California the land of dreams; the state population grew almost five percent between 2000 and 2003. 30 January 2005
Archived audio files take a couple of minutes to load. Please be patient!
Here is handout about the State of California.
Also see EL Civics.com's excellent lessons on the State of California.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
President Obama's Message for America's Students
WhiteHouse.gov: President Obama's Message for America's Students
The President gives a speech directly to Americas students welcoming them back to school. He emphasizes their hope and potential but makes clear they will need to take responsibility for themselves and their education to reach that potential. September 8, 2009. (Public Domain)
VOAVideo: Students Get Encouragement from Obama
When the White House revealed President Obama's plan to give a welcome-back speech to returning school children, along with lesson plans on how students could help the President, some Republicans were irate. They attacked the President for what they said was an attempt trying to indoctrinate children. But Tueday's speech at a high school near Washington, DC stayed clear of politics. VOA's Laurel Bowman has more.
Prep for Constitution Day #8
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is a part of the United States Bill of Rights that protects freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and the right to petition.
Freedom of speech
A person can say or think anything they want.
Freedom of religion
A person can practice any religion or no religion. The government cannot establish a national religion.
Freedom of assembly
People can come together to have peaceful meetings, rallies, marches, or demonstrations.
Freedom of the press
A person can read, write, publish, or broadcast anything they want.
Right to petition
People can ask the government to change the law.
Here is a (.pdf) or (.doc) of this webpage:
The First Amendment.
Monday, September 7, 2009
President Obama's Weekly Address: Labor Day and Fair Rewards for Hard Work
WhiteHouse.gov: President Obama's Weekly Address: Labor Day and Fair Rewards for Hard Work
With Labor Day approaching, the President commits to rebuilding the economy so that a lifetime of hard work leads to a comfortable retirement. September 5, 2009. (Public Domain)
Labor Day Celebrated Across the U.S.A.
VOAVideo: Labor Day Celebrated Across the U.S.A.
It is Labor Day weekend here in the United States -- a national holiday dating back more than 100 years. It is meant to honor the more than 155 million workers in the United States, and for most, it is a day of play. VOA's Paul Sisco tells us about it.
Prep for Constitution Day #7
Today's Topic: the Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights is the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution.
The Bill of Rights guarantees personal rights to all people living in the United States.
During the Constitutional Convention in 1787, some people wanted a strong federal government and some people wanted a weak central government that gave more power to the states. James Madison tried to use the ideas from both "parties" and wrote the US Constitutuon.
Some states did not want to ratify the new US Constitution. They were afraid that a strong federal govenment would try to control people and take away their rights.
In 1789, James Madison wrote the Bill of Rights to "amend" (change) the US Constitution. The must guarantee the personal rights of all people living in the US. The states approved the Bill of Rights on December 15, 1791.
These amendments protect the basic rights of the people.
1st: Freedom of Speech, Press, Assembly, Religion, and the Right to Petition
2nd: Right to Bear Arms
3rd: Protection from Quartering Soldiers
4th: Protection from Search & Seizure
5th: Right to Fair Legal Treatment
6th: Right to a Lawyer
7th: Right to Trial by Jury
8th: Protection from Cruel Punishments
9th: People have more rights not listed in the Constitution
10th: State Rights
Originally, the Bill of Rights had 12 different amendments, but the first two were not passed by enough states.
The first "article" was about the number of a state's representatives in the House of Representatives. This "article" became a part of the US Constitution under Article I (Legislative Branch). In 1910, the number of representatives grew to 435 and in 1941, the Congress voted to limit the House to 435representatives.
The second "article" that was not approved was finally added to the Constitution in 1992. It is now the 27th Amendment to the Constitution, and deals with pay changes for the government.
Visit the Bill of Rights Institute: Constitution Dayfor further education and multimendia resources.
VOANEWS: American History Series: The Heart and Spirit of the Constitution On THE MAKING OF A NATION: When the Constitution was written, a majority of the states already had their own bills of rights. So some delegates questioned the need for a national one.
More interesting resources:
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Prep for Constitution Day #6
Today's Topic: A Quick List of the Twenty-seven Amendments to the US Constitution
- 1st People have freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of petition, and freedom of religion. 1791.
- 2nd People have the right to have a weapon to protect themselves. 1791.
- 3rd Soldiers cannot take or live in a person's house. 1791.
- 4th The government cannot arrest a person or search their property unless there is "probable cause." 1791.
- 5th The government must follow the law (due process) before punishing a person. 1791.
- 6th A person has the right to a fair and speedy trial by a jury. 1791.
- 7th A person has the right to a jury trial for civil cases. 1791.
- 8th The government cannot demand excessive bail or fines, or any cruel and unusual punishment. 1791.
- 9th The Constitution does not include all of the rights of the people and the states. 1791.
- 10th Any powers that the Constitution does not give to the federal government belong to the states. 1791.
- 11th Citizens cannot sue states in federal courts. (There are some exceptions). 1795.
- 12th The President and Vice President are elected on a party ticket. 1804.
- 13th Slavery is illegal in the United States. 1865.
- 14th Every person born in the United States is a citizen. An immigrant can become a a naturalized citizen. 1868.
- 15th All US male citizens have the right to vote. 1870.
- 16th Congress can tax income. 1913.
- 17th The people can elect US Senators. 1913.
- 18th Alcohol is illegal. (Prohibition). 1919.
- 19th All US female citizens have the right to vote. 1920.
- 20th The President is inaugurated in January. Congress begins to meet in January. 1933.
- 21st Alcohol is legal. Each state can make laws about making, selling, and drinking alcohol. 1933.
- 22nd The President cannot serve for more than two terms. 1951.
- 23rd The US Citizens in the District of Columbia have the right to vote for President. 1961.
- 24th It is illegal to make a citizen pay a voting fee. It is illegal to make a citizen take a reading test to vote. 1964.
- 25th If the president dies or cannot serve, the vice-president becomes president. If both die, the Speaker of the House becomes president. 1967.
- 26th US citizens who are 18 years old or older have the right to vote. 1971.
- 27th Congress must limit when and how much its members are paid. 1992.
See one of the coolest multmedia widgets on the web: the NCC Interactive Constitution.
VOANews: American History Series: How the Constitution Came to Life
One cannot truly understand the United States without understanding this document. In the coming weeks we will tell its story. Transcript of radio broadcast: 09 January 2008