Elaine's blog

Our Democracy Un-Spun! #4 - Money in Politics

Courtesy www.american.edu/media/news/20100907_2010_Primaries_Voter_Turnout.cfm/

Montana, 1890. Copper magnate William Clark runs for the U.S. Senate. He is not elected. In 1899, however, he wins the Senate seat, but opponents expose the financial corruption and bribery behind his election.

The Senate declares his election null and void. (You can read about the Senate process and the evidence in a digital image of the New York Times from April 24, 1900.

Our Democracy Un-Spun! #3 - Check Your Facts!!

Courtesy www.american.edu/media/news/20100907_2010_Primaries_Voter_Turnout.cfm/

It happens a lot during election years - a candidate confidently makes a statement of apparent fact and you wonder, “Can that possibly be true? What’s he or she basing that on?” Later, media pundits enter the fray, asserting or denying the claim’s validity with equal vehemence, muddying the water even more. What’s a conscientious voter to do?

It’s times like these when an on-call investigative journalist would come in handy to shed light on the issue before time and tide leave it behind and unresolved.

Our Democracy Un-Spun! #2 - Beyond the Ballot Box

Democracy depends on informed citizens --- who vote!

What does it mean to you to be an American citizen?

What do you value most in our Democracy?

What issues are critical to you in the 2012 election?

If you want your views to count, you need to get involved and vote! Do you know who votes? Young people have a whole lot at stake, but typically those over 50 (about 70%) turn out in much greater numbers than those between 18-30 (about 50%). (Data from the Current Population Survey, of the U.S. Census Bureau)

Our Democracy Un-Spun! #1 - Register to Vote!

Democracy depends on informed citizens --- who vote!

Democracy - according to Webster: "...a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people .... usually involving periodically held free elections."

Voting is a fundamental right in our democracy, but that wasn’t always the case. It wasn’t even guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution!

Initially the Founding Fathers wanted voting only for wealthy, white landowners, and then only to vote for members of Congress – not for senators, or the president. What a long way we have come from the days of the original Constitution! It took many years of struggle for African Americans (15th Amendment 1870 - Voting Rights Act of 1965) to be able to vote.

Everybody's Doing It!

Kids on Bikes

International Walk (or bike) to School Day is Wednesday, Oct 5th!

In the 1960's about 1/2 of all kids walked or biked to school. Now nearly 90% arrive in cars or buses. Take a walk with your child and cash in on the environmental, safety education and fitness benefits together! Children ages 1-15 years of age typically receive less than $1 in traffic education and the cost of an injury involving a vehicle is staggering.

Safe Travel for the Elementary School Child
Children need adults to teach them how to be safe around vehicles, not to dart between parked cars, to watch for turning cars and not to play behind a parked car, even if it is in their own driveway. Here is a bicycle and pedestrian traffic safety education training course with K-5 curriculum from the Colorado Department of Transportation.

LIBRARIAN ON VACATION? - ONE FOR THE BOOKS!

If you met me at the Reference Desk, you'd be surprised to find that I spent my vacation on the back of a big, red Harley Davidson, touring Colorado and Wyoming for 10 days.  At 64, I'm still a fledgling 'Biker Babe,' and this was my first long-distance trip.  I was a little apprehensive about those wide, open spaces, but with a little 'wild West' research in advance, the scenery really came to life!

The first leg of our trip took us to Estes Park, over Trail Ridge Road.  Roadside History of Colorado was the perfect book to learn about the early days of the Big Thompson Canyon, when Indians called it a trail.  By 1902, developing tourism in Estes demanded a road, and by 1904 the trip between Loveland and Estes could be made in a mere two days!  Northwestern Colorado became ranching country in the late 1800's, but it also became a war zone as cattlemen and sheepmen vied for the grass and water of the open r

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