Archive for bench

There's So Much Right About This Story

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Christian Bucks

Perhaps what makes this particular story so uplifting and full of youth, innocence and promise. It's the antithesis of how our Capitol Hill clowns do things. This isn't a liberal or a conservative politician in this tale, but rather by a regular kid -- a second grader in Pennsylvania, Christian Bucks.

He doesn't care about obstructionist politics or denial of civil responsibilities, or even raising the minimum wage. He thinks about school, recess and friends. His peers. Too bad his Governor doesn't feel the same way as he denies Medicaid coverage in his state. But Christian's just a kid and shouldn't have to worry about partisan politics. And taking sides out of the equation, he shows the importance of just caring to do something good for others.

Though a popular elementary school student himself, Christian's recognized the proliferation of some of those not so fortunate in his school. He thinks about many of his schoolmates who suffered through loneliness, being excluded and just plain not having a friend. During a trip to Germany where he saw something called a buddy bench. The concept stuck with him and he brought the idea back home. He may have shared the wonders of a European vacation with his friends, but with his school principal, Matthew Miller, he shared a more important vision.

And good ideas are hard to keep down. Thus, this week his school, Roundtown Elementary School in York Pennsylvania, unveiled the Christian Bucks Buddy Bench. And like a whisper in the wind, this story caught on, not just in the local area, but in other cities across the country as well. He's gone viral. And his idea of the buddy bench is growing exponentially.

Shunned kids, unpopular students, the shy, the awkward or just different are being given a safe haven on the buddy bench. It's an opportunity to make new friends, a place where they can get sit until they find someone or something to lift their spirits or give them added confidence. Sometimes all a kid needs is someone to play with. And now the students at Roundtown Elementary know where they can go to find that person. Shyness often can be overcome with just a kind word or a simple invitation, "Hey, you wanna play or wanna do somethin'?" from a peer. A new friend can emerge from the crowded void of inclusion.

Watch this uplifting NBC video and make your day a meaningful one. If you have school age kids, think about raising this idea at their playground. And if you don't have kids, or your children are older, consider donating a bench like this to a school. In these days of bullying and youth suicide, this may even be a life saver. It's just a thought, but a good one that should be passed on.

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Republicans Accuse Obama of Court Packing While They're Guilty Of Packing By Unpacking

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Shrinkage

Remember George Castanza in Seinfeld. He was embarrased when Jerry's girlfriend Rachel walks in on him and his naked "manhood?" He tried to explain he just got out of a cold swim and he was experiencing "SHRINKAGE."

Well, this week the Republicans tried to cause the country to feel a cold shrinkage. What they were trying to do was convince the senate that there was no need for filling the three vacancies on the second most important court in the land, The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, aka DC Circuit Court.

Normally 11 members, they've experienced shrinkage, resulting in only 8 justices covering the workload for the full contingency. Despite the Republicans claiming there isn't enough work to keep the 11 judges busy, the court has had to pull in retired justices to keep the courts head above water. So in fact, the GOP argument doesn't hold -- yup, you've got it, water.

Now this is the court that gave us Chief Justice Roberts. Since his promotion to the SCOTUS, his seat on the DC Circuit Court bench has been sitting vacant, collecting dust.

Of the 8 justices currently serving, 5 were appointed by conservative Republican presidents. The other 3 were Democratic appointments. So one could argue this makes this court conservative leaning, 5-3. And that's the way the GOP wants it to stay.

Back in 1937, FDR tried to add 6 additional SCOTUS justices to the bench which had then and still has now, 9 members. That became knows as his attempt at COURT PACKING, changing the conservative court more liberal by adding new seats. Obama only attempts to fill vacant ones. So the argument of court packing is again, a blatant falsehood.

What is true is the Republicans are guilty of COURT UNPACKING, leaving vacant seats unfilled so they have a philosophical majority. If Obama fills those three seats, as he will, the court will swing balance 6-5 favoring  Democratic appointments on that court.

But that's not all that's at stake here with the Republicans. Currently there are an equal number of Republican and Democratic appointed Federal Judges -- 390 apiece. There are 93 openings to be filled. Because the Republicans obstruction and the now approved nuclear option, a simple majority will be all that's required of the Senate to approve the President's nominees. Here's the rest of the story.

Lesson here is Mitch McConnell, don't fool with Mother Nature OR the senior senator from Nevada. You go, Harry!!!

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