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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

COACH MIKE SCHATZ:  FROM THE SIDELINES

Things are finally quieting down on the Republican side of the presidential election with Rick Santorum suspending his campaign. Unless something strange happens, Mitt Romney should be the Republican candidate and not a moment too soon for North Dakota.  When President Obama uses his authority to shut down private business, in the form of the Keystone XL pipeline, he (it is estimated) has cost ND people around $573 million since January. In our area, many of the mineral lease offers have evaporated, and that is money that can never be recaptured. All because one guy thinks he knows more than the rest of us. Mitt Romney has said that one of the very first things he will do is to let construction of the pipeline go through, as it should. It is scary how much power the president and the government have.

Our continuing look at the US Constitution takes us to Article 1, Section 5, Clauses 3 and 4: “Each House shall keep a Journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may in their judgment require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the members of either house on any question shall, at the desire of one fifth of those present, be entered on the Journal.” Clause 4: “Neither House, during the session of Congress, shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two houses shall be sitting.”

The Congressional Record is the name of the publication that each house produces about what is said and done on the floor of each house. In the North Dakota legislature, all votes on bills are recorded but in Congress, many are not. We have to vote yes or no on each bill while a congressman may vote present. This is the 112th term of Congress, and after Jan. 3rd began the 1st session. Sessions and terms are easily confused. A Congressman is elected to a two year term while a session is for one year.  Houses of Congress are required to meet at least once each year and they cannot meet officially outside the Capitol

The President of the week is number five, James Monroe whose career paralleled Jefferson’s and Madison’s. He grew up in Virginia and fought in the Revolutionary War with the 3rd Virginia Regiment where he was wounded at the Battle of Trenton. He also fought at the Battles of Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, and endured the winter at Valley Forge. He served as a Minister to France where he secured the release of Thomas Paine from a French prison. Monroe also brokered the deal where we gave France $15 million for the Louisiana Territory.

Monroe became Secretary of State under President James Madison and simultaneously held the office of Sec. of War in the defense of Baltimore in the War of 1812.  He was elected President in 1816, and ushered in the “Era of Good Feeling” where he had no opposition in the 1820 election. He established 49 degrees north as our northern boundary and imitating Washington, made a grand tour of the nation. He helped create a colony of freed slaves in West Africa called Liberia, whose capital is named Monrovia, after him. In 1823, he fashioned a document called the Monroe Doctrine which kept Europeans from colonizing the Western Hemisphere. He was truly a remarkable man.

When I was watching major league baseball on TV there was a bench clearing brawl, well more like a bunch of guys grabbing each other, pushing, and yelling. There weren’t any real punches thrown. I suppose, with a fine of $20,000, one tends to hold back a little bit. I lived in Denver for a brief period and my second job was to referee basketball for the Westminster Park District. I was assigned a city league schedule where an important phone number was that of the police department. These teams would brawl at the drop of a hat. One time I mistakenly tried to break up a fight when the riot broke out. I looked at the other official, and he was out of the way, leaning against the wall, cleaning his finger nails, whistling and looking at his watch. I decided to do the same. Have a good one!

Yours in the Spirit of the Republic,    Coach

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