Sunday, June 9, 2024

Saturday, June 8, 2024

The cost of US elections explained

 
 

The 2020 U.S. presidential and congressional races cost $16.4 billion and experts say the cost of the 2024 races are likely to be much higher.

Friday, June 7, 2024

Report: Hate, extremism on the rise ahead of US election

VOA News: Report: Hate, extremism on the rise ahead of US election 

 A report released Tuesday says hate and extremism in the United States rose in 2023, with record numbers of white nationalists and anti-LGBTQ groups trying to undermine the country’s inclusive democracy. VOA’s Veronica Balderas Iglesias breaks down the researchers’ findings.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

What is an executive order?

VOA News: What is an executive order? 

U.S. citizens elect a president and a Congress to steer the country. But presidents have certain tools enabling them to alter policies on their own. One that’s gotten a lot of recent attention is the executive order.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Biden signs executive order limiting asylum seekers at US-Mexico border


VOA News: Biden signs executive order limiting asylum seekers at US-Mexico border

U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order Tuesday sharply limiting the number of people requesting asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. VOA’s Aline Barros has more. U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order Tuesday sharply limiting the number of people requesting asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. VOA’s Aline Barros has more.

Monday, June 3, 2024

Mexico elects Claudia Sheinbaum as its first female president


VOA News: Mexico elects Claudia Sheinbaum as its first female president

VOA’s Celia Mendoza reports from Mexico City, where supporters celebrated the historic win of Claudia Sheinbaum, who will become the first woman president in Mexico’s 200-year history. 

Sunday, June 2, 2024

The U.S. Presidential Voting Process (2024)


Share America: The U.S. Presidential Voting Process (2024) 

Have you ever wondered how a vote is cast and counted in the U.S. presidential election? This video will show you the steps going from citizens casting their ballot in November to watching the presidential inauguration in January.

Saturday, June 1, 2024

US political coalitions in the 2024 presidential election

 VOA News: US political coalitions in the 2024 presidential election 

Despite George Washington's warning against forming divisive political parties, the United States has been shaped by rivalry between the Democratic and Republican parties, now the only viable national electoral options. However, the parties' core values and constituents have drastically transformed over time. The Democrats went from representing Southern slaveholders to championing labor and civil rights. The Republicans evolved from an abolitionist, modernizing party to one favored by Southern conservatives and rural voters. Today, the shifting demographics within each party coalition signal further changes with significant implications for the country's future.

Friday, May 31, 2024

US political coalitions in the 2020 presidential election

VOA News: US political coalitions in the 2020 presidential election 

Despite George Washington's warning against forming divisive political parties, the United States has been shaped by rivalry between the Democratic and Republican parties, now the only viable national electoral options. However, the parties' core values and constituents have drastically transformed over time. The Democrats went from representing Southern slaveholders to championing labor and civil rights. The Republicans evolved from an abolitionist, modernizing party to one favored by Southern conservatives and rural voters. Today, the shifting demographics within each party coalition signal further changes with significant implications for the country's future.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

US political coalitions in the 2016 presidential election

 


Despite George Washington's warning against forming divisive political parties, the United States has been shaped by rivalry between the Democratic and Republican parties, now the only viable national electoral options. However, the parties' core values and constituents have drastically transformed over time. The Democrats went from representing Southern slaveholders to championing labor and civil rights. The Republicans evolved from an abolitionist, modernizing party to one favored by Southern conservatives and rural voters. Today, the shifting demographics within each party coalition signal further changes with significant implications for the country's future.

Monday, May 27, 2024

U.S. Citizenship Resources for Memorial Day



      Memorial Day Resources from uscitizenpod
      • A 21-Question “Salute” for Memorial Day Quiz based on the USCIS 100qs
      • Memorial Day: Vietnam Time Line (video)
        Ngo Huu Phuc reads "The Vietnam Time Line" essay in honor of Memorial Day. Mr Ngo was a mechanic in the South Vietnam Air Force and studied for US Citizenship at Milpitas Adult School. He became a US Citizen in 2009.  You can find a copy of "The Vietnam Time Line" in HOLIDAYS AND SPECIAL DAYS IN THE USA by Mary Glasgow, Scholastic Inc., 2001, ISBN 1-900702-59-2.
      • The Vietnam War Memorial, Washington DC (photos)
        The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, The Three Soldiers, and The Vietnam Women's Memorial, april 2013.  I took this picture in 2010 near the Vietnam Heritage Garden, San Jose.  May the American and Vietnamese peoples always stand together!
      • uscitizenpod (gagliajn): Sons of San Jose Vietnam War Memorial
        These photos were taken on Memorial Day 2013 at Sons of San Jose Vietnam War Memorial, Guadalupe Park, by Paula Harbor and were uploaded to Facebook. I asked Paula if I could share them. Her comments:

        I hate war. I hate violence. I hate greed. I look at this name etched into granite and wonder ... what if?

        Over the course of the couple hours I was at this memorial today people came and went. Parents, siblings, friends, vets, Vietnamese with bouquets of thanks. Everyone had a story. "Do you have someone on the wall?" The answer was always yes and the story told. A man came and put his hand on my shoulder. After several moments we spoke. He helped with find raising the memorial and talked about his buddies who are on the wall. I shared about Gus.

      Sunday, May 26, 2024

      US presidential candidates follow different practices of faith


      VOA News: US presidential candidates follow different practices of faith 

      If you ask the U.S. presidential candidates who’s the most religious, chances are both would say, “I am.” VOA’s senior Washington correspondent Carolyn Presutti looks at the attitudes and practices of President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump toward matters of faith. POP QUIZ: USCIS 100:10. What is freedom of religion?

      Saturday, May 25, 2024

      Migrant encounters at the US-Mexico border drop



      VOA News: Migrant encounters at the US-Mexico border drop

      The latest numbers show migrant encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border have dropped. Illegal crossings usually increase in the spring, but officials say this April they fell by more than 6% compared with March. VOA’s immigration reporter Aline Barros has more.

      Friday, May 24, 2024

      The history of the US Democratic Party

       
       

      The United States has two majority political parties: Democratic and Republican. Here is a look at the history of the Democratic Party.

      POP QUIZ

      USCIS 100:28.  What is the name of the President of the United States now?*

      USCIS 100:29.  What is the name of the Vice President of the United States now?

      USCIS 100:45.  What are the two major political parties in the United States?*  ▪  

      USCIS 100:46.  What is the political party of the President now? 

      USCIS 100:47.  What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now?  

      Thursday, May 23, 2024

      The History of Republican Party



      The United States has two majority political parties: Democratic and Republican. Here is a look at the history of the Republican Party.

      POP QUIZ

      USCIS 100:28.  What is the name of the President of the United States now?*

      USCIS 100:29.  What is the name of the Vice President of the United States now?

      USCIS 100:45.  What are the two major political parties in the United States?*  

      USCIS 100:46.  What is the political party of the President now? 

      USCIS 100:47.  What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now?  

      Tuesday, May 21, 2024

      Monday, May 20, 2024

      Sunday, May 19, 2024

      An American Pentecost



      American Pentecost: A Citizenship Quiz about Languages in America
      Podcast | Video | PDF





      An American Pentecost:
      We are American Indians, Native Alaskans, Europeans, Latinos, Africans, Arabs, Asians, Pacific Islanders-- yet all of us hear America speaking in our own languages about FREEDOM!

      For more info about languages spoken in America:

      Voting Rights Act Sect 203
      Section 203 targets those language minorities that have suffered a history of exclusion from the political process: Spanish, Asian, Native American, and Alaskan Native. The Census Bureau identifies specific language groups for specific jurisdictions.
      Section 203 says that jurisdictions (cities, counties, states) shall provide election materials in the language of the applicable minority group as well as in the English language.
      Sources:

      Saturday, May 18, 2024

      Why do left and right have political meaning?

       

      VOA News: Why do left and right have political meaning?

      The divide between left and right is one of the most fundamental markers in politics. But have you ever stopped to think about why we use those directional terms to describe ideological camps? This terminology traces back to the seating arrangements of French revolutionaries over 200 years ago.

      Do you view politics from the left?  Or the right? 

      How did directions get connected to political beliefs? 

      In the beginning, it described where you sat. 

      After the Revolution of 1789, the French National Assembly argued over a new constitution. 

      Anti-royalist revolutionaries disagreed with conservative, aristocratic supporters of the monarchy. 

      They arranged themselves in groups inside the assembly chamber -- revolutionaries on the left side of the presiding officer, conservatives on the right. 

      The seating arrangement continued on and off over the years. 

      But by the mid-1800s, journalists were using left and right as shorthand to describe political viewpoints. 

      The practice continues to this day. 

      Far left and far right depict political extremes, while centrists are moderates who take positions in the middle.

      Friday, May 17, 2024

      Thursday, May 16, 2024

      Wednesday, May 15, 2024

      Tuesday, May 14, 2024

      Monday, May 13, 2024

      Sunday, May 12, 2024

      Happy Mother’s Day!


      VOA News: White House garden opens to public on Mother’s Day weekend 
       🌹🌹The White House Garden opened to the public ahead of Mother's Day weekend. VOA's Dora Mekouar has more on this story.

      Ann Reeves Jarvis was a peace activist who took care of wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War. After the war, she hosted Mother's Day Friendship picnics for the women on both sides of the war.  She also created Mother's Day Work Clubs to address public health issues.

      C-SPAN: President Biden Responds to a Reporter's Question About Mother's Day May 12, 2024 
      As President Biden exited church with his granddaughter, he responded to a reporters' question about how he spent Mother’s Day. The president replied, “I prayed for you all. You need help.” He then added, “To those of you who are mothers, Happy Mother’s Day

      Saturday, May 11, 2024

      What is a ‘third-party’ candidate?

      VOA News: What is a ‘third-party’ candidate? 

      The United States has two main political parties – Democrat and Republican. A third-party candidate is a term used for someone who runs as a candidate for a party that forms outside of the two main political parties. A third party is most often discussed during a presidential campaign. 

      USCIS 100:45. What are the two major political parties in the United States?* 

      USCIS 100:46. What is the political party of the President now?

      Thursday, May 9, 2024

      Wednesday, May 8, 2024

      Tuesday, May 7, 2024

      Monday, May 6, 2024

      Sunday, May 5, 2024

      Threats to democracy top concern for US voters, poll finds


      VOA News: Threats to democracy top concern for US voters, poll finds 

      "Threats to democracy" have overtaken the economy and immigration as the chief concern of U.S. voters ahead of the 2024 presidential election, according to a recent Ipsos poll. VOA's Veronica Balderas Iglesias breaks down the results.

      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

      Saturday, May 4, 2024

      What does it mean to be a red state or a blue state?

      VOA News: What does it mean to be a red state or a blue state?

      Here’s a look at how the tradition of calling states that usually favor Republicans “red” and Democrats “blue” came about. 

      In U.S. politics, it’s commonplace to hear about red states and blue states. 

      In red states, most voters choose Republican Party candidates. In blue states, most choose Democratic Party candidates. 

      U.S. television networks get credit for the shades of meaning. 

      As color TV gained popularity in the 1960s and 1970s,  networks started using color-coded maps to show election night results. 

      At first, there was no consensus on which color would represent which political party. 

      But during coverage of the 2000 presidential election, most networks used blue for Democratic states and red for Republican. 

      People then started using red state and blue state as political figures of speech. 

      Purple states, also called swing states, are a blend of red and blue. They’re so evenly divided, they could tip toward either party.

      USCIS 100:45.  What are the two major political parties in the United States?*  
      • Democratic and Republican

      Friday, May 3, 2024

      U.S. Citizenship Lesson 75| 2024

      Kulwinder Singh PASSED his interview, but there were some tense moments: the USCIS officer said there was another person with the same name and case details who had been deported!  Mr. Singh kept his cool and answered all of the officer's questions about deportation.  Most interviews go smoothly, but you still need to prepare how to answer awkward questions.  Good job, Mr. Singh!

      Here are his practice interviews:

      Kulwinder Singh’s 1st Practice Citizenship Interview

      Kulwinder Singh’s 2nd Practice Citizenship Interview

      Kulwinder Singh’s 3rd Practice Citizenship Interview

      Kulwinder Singh’s 4th Practice Citizenship Interview

      Kulwinder Singh’s 5th Practice Citizenship Interview

      Kulwinder Singh’s 6th Practice Citizenship Interview

      Kulwinder Singh Talks about his Citizenship Interview

      N-400
      USA Learns 
      Learn More:
      • U.S. Citizenship Resources for the May page

      Tuesday, April 30, 2024

      U.S. Citizenship Lesson 72 | 2024

      Candy Tran's Citizenship interview is next week, so here is her third practice interview with civics questions and reading/writing test. Note her explanation about the difference between the name on her Legal Permanent residence Card (Green Card) and her Legal Name. Check back soon for updated Closed Captions. Watch all of Candy Tran's Citizenship Interviews: Candy Tran's First Practice Citizenship Video--UPDATED! Candy Tran's Second Practice Citizenship Interview Candy Tran’s Third Practice Citizenship Interview Candy Tran nói về cuộc phỏng vấn thi công dân Hoa Kỳ của cô Candy Tran Talks About Her U.S. Citizenship Interview

      N-400
      USA Learns 
      Learn More:
      • U.S. Citizenship Resources for the April page

      Monday, April 29, 2024

      U.S. Citizenship Lesson 71 | 2024

      Elvia Velázquez is back with Teacher Jennifer got a practice U.S. Citizenship plus dictation and Civics Questions. Closed Captions have been updated. Check Elvia's first interview in Spanish with fellow teacher Ana Mendoza:

      La Entrevista de Ciudadanía en Español con audio mejorado!

      U.S. Citizenship Interview with Elvia Velázquez (2nd interview; cc--updated!)

      Both interview were recorded at #tdls sponsored by OTAN.us Learn more about Gonzales Adult School's Citizenship and Distance Learning Programs at https://ae.gonzalesusd.net/

      N-400
      USA Learns 
      Learn More:
      • U.S. Citizenship Resources for the April page

      Sunday, April 28, 2024

      Pew: Asian Americans fastest growing group of US voters

      VOA News: Pew: Asian Americans fastest growing group of US voters 

      Asian Americans are the fastest growing group of eligible voters in the United States, according to the Pew Research Center. That makes them an important focus for presidential candidates Joe Biden and Donald Trump. VOA correspondent Scott Stearns has our story.

      POP QUIZ:

      USCIS 100:27.  In what month do we vote for President?*

      USCIS 100:48. There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote.  Describe one of them.

      USCIS 100:49.  What is one responsibility that is only for United States citizens?*

      USCIS 100:50.  Name one right only for United States citizens.

      USCIS 100:54.  How old do citizens have to be to vote for President?*

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

      Saturday, April 27, 2024

      What are the roles of the US House and Senate?

      VOA News: What are the roles of the US House and Senate?

      As the legislative branch of the United States government, Congress is responsible for proposing and passing the nation’s laws. But in recent years, fewer and fewer laws have been making their way to the president’s desk to be signed. The 118th U.S. Congress that began its session in 2023 passed only 34 bills in its first year, compared to 197 for the 108th Congress and 221 for the 98th. This deadlock is due not only to increased political polarization, but to the unique structure of two congressional chambers that operate in parallel yet distinct ways. The concept of a bicameral legislature originates with the British Parliament, where the House of Commons was intended to represent the people, while the House of Lords has evolved to be seen as a body of experts to review proposed laws. America’s founders adopted the model with a different idea. Since the nation began as a confederation of sovereign states, there was a conflict between representing each state equally and reflecting the greater contributions of the more populated states. Bicameralism enabled a compromise, where each state is represented proportionally according to population in the House of Representatives, but equally in the Senate. Each state’s total congressional representation also determines the number of votes they are given in presidential elections, giving voters in smaller states more impact. Today, the Senate has 100 members — two for each state — while the House has 435, each representing a district of about 760,000 people. Each of the two chambers introduces and votes on legislation, but only the House may introduce revenue bills. House bills are introduced when they are referred to committee by the House speaker, while Senate bills may be introduced by any senator on the floor. The two chambers also have different roles when it comes to impeachment. The House initiates the process and votes on whether to bring charges. The Senate conducts the trial by voting to convict or acquit. Another important difference is the filibuster, a maneuver allowing any senator to block a vote by drawing out debate indefinitely unless overruled by three-fifths of the Senate. Initially used only as an emergency measure, increasing polarization in recent years has turned the filibuster into a perpetual threat by the minority party to block any legislation favored by the majority. In practice, this means that every Senate bill needs a supermajority of 60 votes to pass.

      The House, which has no filibuster option, only requires a simple majority. Ultimately, any bill must pass both the House and the Senate to be signed into law, which is especially difficult if the two chambers are controlled by opposing parties. The partisan gridlock of recent decades has periodically led to calls for reforming the Senate by removing the filibuster or even abolishing the chamber altogether in favor of a unicameral legislature.

      POP QUIZ:

      USCIS 100:13. Name one branch or part of the government.* USCIS 100:14. What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful? USCIS 100:15. Who is in charge of the executive branch? USCIS 100:16. Who makes federal laws? USCIS 100:17. What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress?* USCIS 100:18. How many U.S. Senators are there? USCIS 100:19. We elect a U.S. Senator for how many years? USCIS 100:20. Who is one of your state's U.S. Senators?* USCIS 100:21. The House of Representatives has how many voting members? USCIS 100:22. We elect a U.S. Representative for how many years? USCIS 100:23. Name your U.S. Representative. USCIS 100:24. Who does a U.S. Senator represent? USCIS 100:25. Why do some states have more Representatives than other states? USCIS 100:45. What are the two major political parties in the United States?* USCIS 100:47. What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now? But as their structure is enshrined in the Constitution, both chambers of Congress will likely persist into the foreseeable future.

      Friday, April 26, 2024

      Thursday, April 25, 2024

      U.S. Citizenship Lesson 69 | 2024

       

      N-400
      Civics:
      USA Learns 
      Learn More:
      • U.S. Citizenship Resources for the April page
      • April 18: Income Tax Day page (postponed because of Passover, Easter, and DC Emancipation Day)