Feingold Amendment and Other Fine Tidbits on a Fine Monday Morning

Russ Feingold is going to be introducing a proposed amendment to the US Constitution that will require special elections to fill vacated Senate seats.  Some states already do this by State law – and Feingold’s amendment would require all to do so.  He states:

“The controversies surrounding some of the recent gubernatorial appointments to vacant Senate seats make it painfully clear that such appointments are an anachronism that must end. In 1913, the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution gave the citizens of this country the power to finally elect their senators. They should have the same power in the case of unexpected mid term vacancies, so that the Senate is as responsive as possible to the will of the people. I plan to introduce a constitutional amendment this week to require special elections when a Senate seat is vacant, as the Constitution mandates for the House, and as my own state of Wisconsin already requires by statute. As the Chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee, I will hold a hearing on this important topic soon.”

Given recent messes, it sounds like a good idea to me – although on the face of it, this would be a significant additional expense for some already strapped State budgets.  Still, democracy is not cheap … and is feeling especially worth it these days!  πŸ˜‰

And who knew that it wasn’t ’til 1913 that the popular election of Senators was Constitutionally mandated?!

Back to the Inauguration … check out this photo of President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address by David Bergman.  Absolutely amazing!  See if you can find your friends in the crowd … and how about Cheney’s scowl and black hat?  Nice!  (And here’s a posting from Bergman’s blog – about how he did it.)

I’ve been exploring Global Post with keen personal interest these days in happenings in Africa!  I loved this highly practical and very hopeful story illustrating the transformative and empowering effect of the entrepreneurial spirit coupled with capital in Kenya.

Traditionally, loan payments have been the headache of the privileged, and most African banks have for decades cautiously hewn toward the elite side of the continent’s socio-economic divide. But, on the plots of small-holder farmers across Kenya, there is evidence that all of that is changing.

By catering to the millions of rural Kenyans living on a few dollars a day or less – people long considered too risky and too poor for banks to consider – a bank called Equity Bank has managed to build itself into the third biggest bank in the country, with 3 million customers.

“We are able to know exactly what a potential customer is looking for,” said Esther Muiruri, a manager with Equity. “We are able to reach the un-bankable. We have branches all over the place. We are also using IT – mobile phones and ATMs – so that we are able to reach as many as possible.”

Sounds like some programs of the Equity Bank could be the NH Community Loan Fund transplanted to Africa!

Finally – don’t forget Louisville-UConn women’s basketball tonight at 7:30 PM ET on ESPN2.  (And sorry about inaccuracies  yesterday’s listing … I guess there were some schedule changes.)  Boy – Auburn sure took it to Tennessee, eh?

Here’s Coach Summitt in happier days … dressed as a cheerleader and singing Rocky Top …


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