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May 7, 2013

Wait, Wait ... Don't forget to set your DVR for Constitution USA with Peter Segal

H-PETER-SAGAL-348x516As explained on this PBS webpage, a great new four-part series about the US Constitution is premeiring tonight on many local PBS stations.  Here are the basics via a couple links on the official PBS website:

Does the Constitution have what it takes to keep up with modern America?  Join Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! as he hits the road to find out. Traveling across the country by motorcycle, Sagal is in search of where the U.S. Constitution lives, how it works and how it doesn’t… how it unites us as a nation and how it has nearly torn us apart.

CONSTITUTION USA,... is hosted by Peter Sagal.... Over the course of the four-hour series, Sagal hits the road, travelling cross country on a customized red, white and blue Harley-Davidson, to find out where the Constitution lives, how it works, and how it unites us as a nation. From New York to San Francisco, from Missoula, Montana to Tyler, Texas, Sagal visits dozens of cities and small towns across America introducing viewers to some of today’s major constitutional debates — free speech in the digital age, same-sex marriage, voting rights, separation of church and state, presidential power in the post-9/11 world, to name just a few — and the fascinating stories of the people they affect every day.

And for each contemporary story, Sagal dives into the history behind it and talks to prominent legal scholars, historians and public figures, finding out what the Constitution says, the dramatic historical events and crises that defined the Constitution, and why all this matters.  Each one-hour episode of CONSTITUTION USA vividly illuminates a central theme essential to the Constitution.

A More Perfect Union:  Peter explores the Constitution’s most striking and innovative feature: its resilient brand of federalism.  The framers created a strong national government while at the same time preserving much of the power and independence of the states.  This delicate balance of power, seemingly hard-wired for disagreement and conflict, has served America well for more than two centuries.  But it has also led to tensions throughout American history and still sparks controversy today over medical marijuana, gun control, and Obamacare.

It’s a Free Country:  Ask Americans what the Constitution’s most important feature is, and most will say it’s the guarantees of liberty enshrined in the Bill of Rights.  In this episode, Peter explores the history of the Bill of Rights, and also takes on several stories ripped from the headlines, involving freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and right to privacy.

Created Equal: The high ideals of the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal,” endowed with “unalienable rights,” didn’t make it into the Constitution in 1787.  It took three-quarters of a century, and a bloody civil war, before the Fourteenth Amendment of 1868 made equality a constitutional right, and gave the federal government the power to enforce it.  The far-reaching changes created by that amendment established new notions of citizenship, equal protection, due process, and personal liberty and today those notions are being used to fight for same sex marriage, voting rights, affirmative action, and immigration reform.

Built to Last?: In this last episode, Peter travels to Iceland where a few years after the country’s economic collapse, leaders decided to create a new constitution, turning to the U.S. Constitution for inspiration.  This prompts Peter to consider why our own founding document has been able to last for more than 225 years.  He looks at the systems that have kept the Constitution healthy — amendments, judicial interpretation, checks and balances — and also at the political forces that threaten to undermine the framers’ vision: excessive partisanship leading to gridlock, money in politics, and gerrymandering.

May 7, 2013 at 08:51 PM | Permalink


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Now if we could just figure out how to force the fucktards of our govt to watch it!

Who knows maybe they could learn something

Posted by: rodsmith | May 8, 2013 12:06:24 AM

I anticipate a thinly disguised series of programs promoting the Democratic Party agenda, and talking points, gay marriage, Obamacare, coddling criminals, promoting bastardy, feminism, etc. by a parade of Ivy indoctrinated America haters, family haters, freedom haters except for freedom to take down the country by freaks, traitors, and rent seekers. Please note the prominent sponsorship by big law firms. These are among the hierarchy that must be stopped to save the nation.

I anticipate no tolerance for any alternative views. I anticipate a total cover up of the catastrophic consequences of lawyer policy making, such as the Civil War, 9/11, all social and economic problems of today, including massive criminal victimization and a huge loss in real estate values from crime immunized by the lawyer.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 8, 2013 7:09:38 AM

Here is a bit about some of the real Founding Fathers:

1st half of 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence

John Adams --"I will avow…that those general Principles of Christianity, are as eternal and immutable…”—Jefferson letter, 1813
Samuel Adams --"First of all, I...rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins." {Will}
Josiah Bartlett —M.D. "[t]hat the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ may be made known to all nations”—Governor’s Proclamation, 17Mar1792.
Carter Braxton --Vestryman and lay delegate to the founding convention of the Episcopal Church (VA).
Charles Carroll --"Piety is the only solid foundation of happiness...with the spirit and letter of the Gospel"-- Betsy Caton letter, 22May1817

Samuel Chase --"have faith and dependence upon the merits of the death of Christ"--as Judge, Trial of John Fries, 1800
Abraham Clark --Presbyterian Trustee; "Our fates are in the hands of An Almighty God"--Col Dayton letter, 1776
George Clymer —Quaker/Episcopal; “His were the fruits of primitive Christianity as taught by the Apostles” --Sages and Heroes, 1854
William Ellery -- "There is but one correct system of Divinity, and that is contained in the Scriptures."--Channing letter, 10Jun1806
William Floyd — "Devoted” Trustee of both (Old) South Haven Presbyterian, & Brookhaven churches

Benjamin Franklin — {eclectic} "I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe. That he governs it"-- Ezra Stiles latter, 9 Mar1790
Elbridge Gerry -- pious, faithfully attending 1st Congregational Church (MA)
Button Gwinnett –- Member of Midway Congregational Church of Sunbury
Lyman Hall --M.D./Former Minister; asserted that education, particularly religious education, would result in a more virtuous citizenry. Helped create the U. of Georgia.
John Hancock — “as Men and Christians;” “through the benign religion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”—Governor’s Proclamation, 16Sep1790

Benjamin Harrison — Member of Bruton Parish Church; “He saved us [Quakers] from persecution”—Signers of the Declaration…, 1839
John Hart —“[Hebrews 9:27] . . . I give and recommend my soul into the hands of Almighty God." {Will}
Joseph Hewes — attended & read responses at St. Paul's Church of England (NC); "[Hewes] prevailed upon Philadelphia clergymen"--North Carolina Booklet, 1904
Thomas Heyward, Jr. — Member of St. Helena’s Protestant Episcopal; "O Lord! Thy gifts in store, We pray on Congress pour, To guide our States"—as POW composer of God Save our 13 States, 1780, nps.gov
William Hooper — Pastor, Harvard trained; “the fear of God before his eyes;” “it is recommended by Congress…a day of public humiliation, fasting, & prayer”— Signers…, 1839, {!1st Cont. Congress, 1775}; Signers, 1839

Stephen Hopkins —"Almighty God; by the blessed Gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord: hath by the blessed Spirit taught all"—Bamberg & Hopkins 2012, 28Oct1772
Francis Hopkinson -- Organist at Philadelphia's Christ Church and composed "The Psalms of David, with the Ten Commandments, Creed, Lord's Prayer, &c. in Metre" (1767)
Samuel Huntington —“[W]e may obtain forgiveness through the merits and mediation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”—Governor’s Proclamation, 9Mar1791
Thomas Jefferson—{eclectic} “I am a real Christian; that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus."— 1816
Francis Lightfoot Lee — “Sundays he and they drove to church …His course was purity itself…with arduous and honest diligence”--Francis L. Lee by Mark Twain, 1877

Richard Henry Lee —“[T]hat it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive”-- Signers of the Declaration of Independence, 1848
Francis Lewis —Vestryman of Trinity Episcopal Church (NYC) --nycgovparks.org
Philip Livingston -- Advocate in founding of Columbia, Yale Divinity professorship, Methodist Society in America; “urged them to trust in God for deliverance”—Signers…,1839

Posted by: Adamakis | May 8, 2013 3:32:04 PM

2nd half of 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence

Thomas Lynch, Jr. —Army Captain; Episcopal, nominally of St. James (Santee, SC): ; “strict moral worth…exalted it by maxims…Christian”—Biography of the Signers,1820
Thomas McKean —“Before you launch into eternity, it behooves you…to repent of your evil deeds…to the great and merciful God…upon the merit…of a dear Redeemer”--as Chief Justice, Trial of John Roberts, 1778
Arthur Middleton —“We should carefully avoid debauching the minds…by putting our Trust in the Allmighty…Above all things for God's sake…believe me till Death” ”-- letter to Will. H. Drayton, 24Sep1776
Lewis Morris — “active churchman…vestryman of Trinity Church…member of Society for the Propagation of the Gospel…missionary enterprises." --Papers of Lewis Morris, 1852
Robert Morris —Member of Christ Episcopal Church (Philadelphia)

John Morton —“With an awful reverence to the Great Almighty God, Creator of all mankind” {Will}
Thomas Nelson, Jr. —Vestryman of Colonial Grace Church of York-Hampton (VA); “soldier, Christian gentle-man” {epitath}
William Paca --Vestryman at St. Ann's Episcopal Church
Robert Treat Paine -–Army Chaplain, Harvard trained; “[M]y birth in [America] a land of Gospel Light… the written word of God”-- Papers of Robert Treat Paine, 1992
John Penn —"For God's sake"; "one of the most virtuous and benevolent of men,"-T. Jefferson;, "honest & sincere"-J. Adams-- North Carolina Booklet, 1904

George Read --"do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, one God"--as author of Delaware Constitution, 1776
Caesar Rodney –- “an inherent right…derived to them from God and nature”-- !st Cont. Congress, 1774
George Ross –-Episcopalian; “that they fall dead…Pray God forgive”-- letter to James Wilson, 26Nov1776
Benjamin Rush --" I am a Christocrat," “rebublican forms of government…the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible"—Eulogium, 1813; Defence of the Use of the Bible in Schools, 1820.
Edward Rutledge –-“Our Reliance continues therefore to be (under God)...God bless you my dear Sir.”—letter to G. Washington, 11Sep1776

Roger Sherman --"I believe that there is 1 only living and true God, existing in 3 persons . . that God did send His own Son"--The Life of Roger Sherman, 1896
James Smith —""There is none but God alone …exercising an absolute sovereignty… our duty to God, to our country…the scripture itself says…Rom xiii"– as author of An Essay on the Constitutional…, 1774
Richard Stockton --"[R]emember [children] that 'the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.'"--{Will}
Thomas Stone —Attended Christ Church, a member of the Chesapeake Puritan community (MD)
George Taylor —Indent. Servant/later Militia Captain, Trustee of Red Hill Presbyterian Church: “in the hearts of the good people…exciting their sincerest prayers”—Bibliography of the Signers, 1827

Matthew Thornton —M.D. "cultivate that Christian Union, Harmony, and tender affection"--Presidential letter (Congress) 02Jun1775
George Walton --Voted for paid militia chaplain; "being persuaded that the salvation of the rights and liberties of America depend, under God" --Provincial Congress Journal,13July1775
William Whipple —Army General; "This seething of the Kid in its Mother's milk [Deut 14:21], calls for the most exemplary punishment. We pray that you will"--Richard Caswell letter, 11Nov1778
William Williams --"all rightful powers among men are ordained of, and mediately derived from God"--Letter, 11Feb1788
James Wilson —“Man…is the workmanship of his all perfect Creator” “religion and law are twin sisters”— as Justice, Chisholm v. Georgia, 1793; Works of J. Wilson…,1804

John Witherspoon --(Rev. Dr.) Presbyterian minister; “God grant that in America true religion and civil liberty may be inseparable”—17May1776: Works of John Witherspoon, 1815
Oliver Wolcott --"This is a direct appeal to that God who is the avenger"--CT Ratifying Convention, 9Jan1788
George Wythe —Vestryman of Bruton Parish Church, "the only honest lawyer I ever knew."[-- Old Churches, Ministers & Families of Virginia, 1856

Posted by: Adamakis | May 8, 2013 3:38:33 PM

let's not forget Adamakis this as well.

Based on today's rules and laws. 90% of them were as Erika likes to call em "Icky Pervs"!

buch of slave owning perverts!

If you want to get tehnical a buch of perverts run out of europe founded this created this country!

Posted by: rodsmith | May 8, 2013 6:06:58 PM

Adamakis, what's your point? Whatever each of the founders thought personally, each signed on to the following: United States Constitution, Article VI, paragraph 3,

"...no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

Posted by: onlooker13 | May 8, 2013 7:07:28 PM

Adamakis, Jefferson was known as a "howling atheist." He admired the teachings of Jesus, but in his version of the Bible, there was no resurrection. Of course with no resurrection, there is no Christianity.

Posted by: onlooker15 | May 8, 2013 7:20:13 PM

"We repeat and again reaffirm that neither a State nor the Federal Government can constitutionally force a person to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. Neither can constitutionally pass laws or impose requirements which aid all religions as against non-believers, and neither can aid those religions based on a belief in the existence of God as against those religions founded on different beliefs."

Torcaso v. Watkins 367 U.S. 488, 495, 81 S.Ct. 1680, 1683 - 1684 (1961)

Posted by: Dave from Texas | May 8, 2013 7:27:54 PM

T. Jeff was eclectic; not a complete believer in scriptural Christianity. This put him in a very small minority, rivaling only Paine & Franklin.

Beware my friend of cherry-picking from the organic documents, i.e. reference the Articles, the Declaration, the Northwest Ordinance, ••as well as•• the Constitution!

Posted by: Adamakis | May 8, 2013 10:28:18 PM

To describe T. Jeff as a "howling atheist" for his liberal Christianity is as accurate as describing B. Obama as 'black as night' for his African heritage.

[I'm darker than B. O. on a good day, and T.J. wrote this:
"Of all the systems of morality, ancient or modern, which have come under my observation, none appear to me so pure as that of Jesus, &
"..the proofs of the being of a God – the Creator, Preserver, and Supreme Ruler of the Universe – the Author of all the relations of morality and of the laws and obligations these infer.."]
{The religious life of Thomas Jefferson, 1987}

Posted by: Adamakis | May 8, 2013 10:57:04 PM

Do you not know how many proclamations for prayer to the God of the Bible and to fasting and to thanksgiving and to repentance did these Founders make in their PUBLIC capacities whilst Congressmen, Governors, and Presidents?

Personal thoughts only? Good audition line for Comedy Central or the ACLU.

Posted by: Adamakis | May 8, 2013 11:04:39 PM


Jefferson was hardly a traditional b Christian, if a Christian at all as the following quotes attest:

Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity.

-Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

-Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787

Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.

-Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom

I concur with you strictly in your opinion of the comparative merits of atheism and demonism, and really see nothing but the latter in the being worshipped by many who think themselves Christians.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Richard Price, Jan. 8, 1789 (Richard Price had written to TJ on Oct. 26. about the harm done by religion and wrote "Would not Society be better without Such religions? Is Atheism less pernicious than Demonism?")

I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Francis Hopkinson, March 13, 1789

They [the clergy] believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: and enough, too, in their opinion.

-Thomas Jefferson to Dr. Benjamin Rush, Sept. 23, 1800

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT., Jan. 1, 1802

History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.

-Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, Dec. 6, 1813.

The whole history of these books [the Gospels] is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, January 24, 1814

Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Horatio G. Spafford, March 17, 1814

If we did a good act merely from love of God and a belief that it is pleasing to Him, whence arises the morality of the Atheist? ...Their virtue, then, must have had some other foundation than the love of God.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Thomas Law, June 13, 1814

Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus."

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Francis Adrian Van der Kemp, 30 July, 1816

My opinion is that there would never have been an infidel, if there had never been a priest. The artificial structures they have built on the purest of all moral systems, for the purpose of deriving from it pence and power, revolts those who think for themselves, and who read in that system only what is really there.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Mrs. Samuel H. Smith, August, 6, 1816

You say you are a Calvinist. I am not. I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Ezra Stiles Ely, June 25, 1819

As you say of yourself, I too am an Epicurian. I consider the genuine (not the imputed) doctrines of Epicurus as containing everything rational in moral philosophy which Greece and Rome have left us.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Short, Oct. 31, 1819

Priests...dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight and scowl on the fatal harbinger announcing the subversions of the duperies on which they live.

-Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Correa de Serra, April 11, 1820

Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him [Jesus] by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others again of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Short, April 13, 1820

To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, god, are immaterial, is to say they are nothings, or that there is no god, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise: but I believe I am supported in my creed of materialism by Locke, Tracy, and Stewart. At what age of the Christian church this heresy of immaterialism, this masked atheism, crept in, I do not know. But heresy it certainly is.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, Aug. 15, 1820

Man once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind.

-Thomas Jefferson to James Smith, 1822.

And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors.

-Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

It is between fifty and sixty years since I read it [the Apocalypse], and I then considered it merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to General Alexander Smyth, Jan. 17, 1825

Posted by: onlooker12 | May 8, 2013 11:31:19 PM

|| Adamakis, Jefferson was known as a "howling atheist." He admired the teachings of Jesus, but in his version of the Bible, there was no resurrection. Of course with no resurrection, there is no Christianity. Posted by: onlooker15 ||

Coney Island may be known as "Brooklyn's Riviera", but it 'don't make it so'.
Without the resurrection, one is indeed left with a vitiated Christianity, but does not an a-theist make.

Can you not construct a meaningful definition of an atheist?
Can you not distinguish between a liberal, theistic, eclectic, and a "howling atheist"
for yourself, aside from accusations?
4 thoughts:
1.No Jefferson scholar to my knowledge has ever concluded that Jefferson was an ‘atheist,’--Alan Pell Crawford, WSJ, 4/13/12

2."No nation has ever existed or been governed without religion. Nor can be. The Christian religion is the best religion
that has been given to man and I, as Chief Magistrate of this nation, am bound to give it the sanction of my example
--{T. Jefferson}James Hutson, 1998, Library of Congress

3. "Art. 3. Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools
and the means of education shall forever be encouraged"--Northwest Ordinance "drafted [by Jefferson]"; 7/13/1787, legal-dictionary/Thomas+Jefferson; “In 1803, President Jefferson signed a treaty with the Kaskaskia tribe to provide them [government funded] Christian ministry and teaching.”--wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_Bible

4. "And may the Lord preserve you safe from every evil and bring you at last to his Heavenly Kingdom through Jesus Christ our Glorious Mediator." "He was endowed with a sense of right and wrong...The moral sense, or conscience, is as much a part of man as his leg or arm. It is given to all human beings.." "And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure if we have lost the only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?...Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.""--Danbury Letter; Peter Carr Letter; Notes on Virginia

Posted by: Adamakis | May 9, 2013 10:50:51 AM

To more comprehensively understand the philosophy, the cosmology, epistemology, and ethics, &c. of the Revolutionary generation, you ought not myopically focus on the brilliant contradiction of a man known as Thomas Jefferson. I offered
a list of roughly 1/3 of the Founding leaders above.

Jefferson is a curious idiosycracy; unlike the more evangelical Christians of his day who either uncompromisingly fought slavery
or worked toward emancipation, this talented man was ignobly wavering and hypocritical. His brother (or possibly he) had a sexual relationship with a slave!

As has been established, he was among the far weakest Christians--in theory and in practise--of his generation of American
Revolutionary leaders. Philosophy has consequences! [Today, strikingly, he would be one of the more politically conservative in very many ways.]

P.S. Read Jefferson's entire letters to the Danbury Baptists, and to Peter Carr. Check this brief site: http://vftonline.org/EndTheWall/indian_evangelization.htm

Posted by: Adamakis | May 9, 2013 10:53:56 AM

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