Sunday, March 18, 2012

Joachim Gauck Elected German President

With nearly ninety percent of the vote Joachim Gauck has been elected President of Germany. All of the major political parties supported him for the office. After scandals have led to the resigning or removal of the previous two presidents, there is much hope that Gauck can restore dignity to the office.

Gauck is a former Lutheran pastor from East Germany, and has been known for his human rights activism. He was one of the leaders of the peaceful protests that helped bring about the fall of the Berlin Wall.

There is some worry that he'll use the office as a stage to make the country more religious, but it is doubtful that even if he tried, he would be able to do so. The office of presidency, in Germany, is mostly ceremonial and an advisory position, with all the real power belonging to the Chancellor. And Angela Merkel, the Chancellor, is extremely popular and wields the power well.

Germany, the largest country of the European Union, has been forced into greater leadership, as more and more of the other EU countries are struggling with financial woes. Despite all the down trends around them, Germany has continued to grow economically. Merkel and Gauck will have to work together to maintain a untied German front as they fight off their neighbors troubles.

A Question About Obama's Executive Order, It's Not the Question You Think.

On Saturday President Obama signed the National Defense Resources Preparedness executive order.

Before becoming alarmed, it is important to remember that past Presidents have signed similar executive orders. Obama’s version is not that different. While everyone is aghast and focusing on what is in the order, in my research I have uncovered something that raises an important question.

Before I get to that, here's the previous versions for comparison:
Ronald Reagan signed executive order 12656 -- Assignment of Emergency Preparedness Responsibilities of November 18, 1988

President Clinton’s executive order 12919 National Defense Industrial Resources Preparedness of June 3, 1994.

President George W. Bush did not sign a national defense resources preparedness executive order because he signed the executive order creating the Department of Homeland Security which includes national defense resources preparedness and much more. This is important to note and is what raised some flags to me as to Obama's intention behind the signing of his executive order.

At first glance, Obama's signing of this order does not seem to be anything other than an attempt to update a previous version of an executive order. However, here's the question I raise: Why update the National Defense Resources Preparedness order and not the Homeland Security order which includes National Defense Resources Preparedness?

It seems as though Obama is taking a step backward and is ignoring or attempting to circumvent the Homeland Security order. What does this mean for Homeland Security and the safety of our Country?

It is an important question that needs to be raised.

Remembering: Irving Berlin and Alexander's Ragtime Band

March 18, 1911 Irving Berlin copyrights the sheet music for "Alexander's Ragtime Band" and American pop music begins to conquer the world. The song sold over one and a half million copies within it's first eighteen months.

Simple, yet extremely catchy, it was soon being played on pianos in homes around the world. It wouldn't be much longer that the words were added. Once musical recordings began to be common, it was recorded with and without the vocals. It would even spawn it's own movie in 1938.

The song also helped launch Irving Berlin into the spotlight. He would go on to write many many songs, some of which are extremely famous til this day. Three of which are: "White Christmas", "God Bless America", and "There's No Business Like Show Business".