The Pledge

The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.



Student loans, federal spending to be part of the discussion

The Obama administration is asking what people are getting for their money since college drop-outs cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars every year. Unemployment remains high, yet high-tech companies are projecting shortages due to a lack of prospects entering the workforce.

Consider the following facts regarding modern higher education and its economic impact:

  • Students with loans are graduating with more than $25,000 in debt.
  • The federal government pours $140 billion annually into federal grants and loans.
  • About 40% of college students at 4 year schools do not graduate.
  • About 20% of full-time students at a community college do not return for a sophomore year.

A commission convened during the George W. Bush administration found literacy rates among college students have declined and higher education has become “increasingly risk-averse, at times self-satisfied, and unduly expensive.”

The president is on record with his belief that post-secondary schools need to be more transparent regarding tuition costs and the success of their graduates.


Local airports will be receiving millions to build and upgrade.

Congress has authorized spending $564 million as part of the government’s “Let’s Get Back to Work” program to both build new airports and fix existing airports. Local projects will be getting a share of the spending, which will be used to create employment opportunities for laid off construction workers and engineers.

The following is breakdown of local awarded funds:

  • $3.8 million to New Ulm Municipal to build a runway extension.
  • $2.3 million to Blue Earth Municipal to repair their runway.
  • $96,000 to Le Seur to buy land.
  • $62,000 to Waseca for a taxiway.

Airports in Rushford, Jackson, Fairbault and Owatonna will also be receiving funding. ìThis is a small price to pay to help folks out who want to work,î President Barack Obama said.

Opponents to the increased spending point out that the “Let’s Get Back to Work” program might end up costing $1 trillion.


How does Twitter, in this day and age, change the way a person is able to get up to speed on a topic they don’t understand or yearn to learn more about? What tools are available out there for people who want to gain knowledge on a current controversy, like the Planned Parenthood and Susan G. Komen kerfuffle that broke out a couple weeks ago and exploded all over social media? I’m going to take some time here to answer those very questions, giving links to sites that will help others streamline their information quests on Twitter.

The first and most obvious tool is the basic Twitter Search, where you can type in a keyword, say “Planned Parenthood”, and the engine will pull up all posts that use that keyword. This is kind of scattershot, because so many people have weighed in on the controversy, and most don’t have any new or unique information to add. If you want to know how Keith Olbermann or Joe Scarborough feel about the entirety of the situation, this is a good tool. If you want to track the progress of the controversy, from start to finish, you might find yourself wasting a lot of time sifting through opinions by people you never heard of. Plus, all the matches on my search seemed to be of celebrities and news media personalities. Apparently, Twitter values there tweets more than yours or mine.

Tweetscan is a simple, easy to use tool that gives us a word cloud, which is beneficial if what you’re researching is a current, hot topic. Even though the news cycle has cooled off on the controversy, “Planned Parenthood” is still relatively large in the cloud, being beat out by only “skiing” and “Topeka”, which I find a bit odd for trending topics. Nevertheless, Tweetscan seems to have the opposite problem of Twitter Search in that it doesn’t discriminate, and thus you are reading tweets from folks all over the globe projecting their opinion, sometimes educated and most times very emotional. Again, there is no real way to track the controversy, from start to finish.

Then there is Twendz, where a person can watch the enormity of a controversy play out in real time, as posts matching a topic of your choosing pop up, one by one, as they are being tweeted. While I’m not sure if there is a filtering device, the tweets I saw pop up when I entered “Planned Parenthood” seemed to be more substantive than those on Tweetscan, even though they were also from regular folks. What’s more, the hashtags that popped up, like #defundPPNNE, #Komen or #PP, where ultimately the best way to track a story from its inception. By clicking on them, I was presented with a wealth of information that I could follow back to nearly a month ago, when the whole thing began.

In the end, it comes down to the hashtag. All of these sites can be very useful in finding the tags most relevant to the topic you are seeking out, but it is important to research more than one tag, because many are used by folks who share an ideology, meaning the whole story is not presented and opinions are often misconstrued as facts.