Wednesday, February 12, 2014

An Educational Interlude

Happy New Year, Madisonians!  It's been entirely too long since my last entry.  Perhaps this severe winter weather has sapped my motivation, but it's time to crank it back up.  My last post was an introduction to the Constitutional Amendments, and I'll get to that next, but first, a pitch for further education.

I hope you've found this blog at least somewhat interesting and thought-provoking, but I also hope it's been educational.  Still, I'm no world-class expert on the Constitution, so I thought I'd bring some in to help you deepen your knowledge and appreciation of the Constitution.

I was the fortunate recipient of a couple of great gifts recently that I'd like to pass on to you.  My parents took an educational trip to Virginia a couple months ago and one of the stops was, of course, Montpelier, Madison's home.  The magazine they brought home for me included information on the Montpelier web site, which has a fantastic educational section.  They have free online courses you can take to further your Constitutional education (and why not learn from the master, right?).  For any of you who are teachers, these courses can earn you continuing education credits (a small fee is required to get the certificate).  You can access it here:

They also underwrite an excellent weekly radio show called "Your Weekly Constitutional" that you can access here:

I listen to it on podcast religiously and strongly recommend it.

Another fantastic online program is offered by Hillsdale College.  Their free online offerings include two courses on the Constitution, two History courses and a new one on Economics.  I've done the two Constitution courses and can recommend them with the greatest enthusiasm.  Their courses generally consist of around ten lectures by their professors (each about an hour or so video), lots of links for further study and quizzes to test your retention and comprehension.  Again, these courses are free (they will ask for a donation, but it isn't mandatory) and you can find them here:

Finally, my wonderful wife gave me an excellent book, "The Liberty Amendments", by Mark Levin.  Many of you may know Mr. Levin for his talk radio show.  He is also a lawyer who graduate summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Temple University and is President of the Landmark Legal Foundation.  His book deals with the out-of-control growth of the federal government - far beyond what the Framers could have imagined, or feared.  Whether you identify as Left, Right, or Center, I think the evidence for a far-too-large federal government is beyond question.  Levin proposes amendments to the Constitution to remedy much of what he identifies as the worst of the problems.  Again, you may agree or disagree with him, but his proposals are worth hearing and definitely worth discussing.  The Number One question I guess I would ask is: "If the government is so big and out of control and far exceeding its Constitutional mandates (that is to say, if the people who are supposedly representing us are far exceeding their Constitutional authority), how would more amendments really help?"  Normally, I'd say this kind of book isn't a "beach read", but I in fact read this while soaking up some sun on a Hawaii beach, so there you go...  I thought this book would be an appropriate recommendation as we begin to discuss the Amendments, starting in the next blog entry.  The web page for his book is here:

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