Friday, June 17, 2016

B is for Butterfly (and Beautiful)

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.
~Nathaniel Hawthorne 

Last summer, the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Connecticut, installed a temporary butterfly exhibit called Flutter Zone, where visitors could walk amongst dozens of beautiful butterflies. The exhibit was such a hit that the aquarium mounted it again this summer.

As I finished with work early yesterday, I decided to go visit the Flutter Zone -- along with a dozen or so mothers of small, awestruck children, including the cutie above, whom the butterflies, and my camera, adored.

If you live in Connecticut, Westchester, or New York City, or are visiting the area this summer, I highly recommend you visit the Maritime Aquarium... even if you don't have children. ;-)

In the meantime, here are some of my favorite photos from yesterday's visit. One of these days, I'll learn the names of these butterflies, and the flowers they like to pollinate. (You can see my photos from last year here.)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Rethinking who can be President of the United States

If this election cycle has taught us anything it's that we need to fix the electoral process -- starting with the qualifications necessary to run for and serve as President of the United States.

Per Article Two, Section 1 of the Constitution of the United States of America:
No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
Clearly, it is time to amend the Constitution (again).

First of all, how many people today were around "at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution"?

Secondly, does it really matter any more where a person was born as long as he -- OR SHE -- is a citizen of the United States and has been a resident within the United States for at least 14 years?

(The correct answer to that question is "no.")

And thirdly, while back in 1787, when most people didn't live past 41, 35 was considered old. Today, with people living into their 80s, not so much. So I say we should raise the minimum age to be president to 40 -- make that 45.

But most importantly, we need to make sure that the person ascending to the highest office of the land is sound in both mind and body -- and able to carry out the duties of President of the United States.

To that end, I propose the following amendment to Section 1 of Article Two of the Constitution, which I call Qualifications to Be President of the United States:

* Must be at least 45 years of age.
* Must be a citizen of the United States and have resided within the United States for at least 14 years.
* Must undergo a complete physical and mental health examination overseen by a board of certified, nonpartisan medical professionals and be considered to be of sound mind and body.
* Must take and pass a four-hour, closed-book examination [similar to the AP exams] covering U.S. History and Government, as well as World History.
* Must produce his or her tax returns for the four years prior to the year of election.

All in favor, say "Aye!"

Of course, even if such qualifications were somehow enacted, you would still get unsavory characters running for president. But at least they would, hopefully, diaqualify the Trumps (and Palins) of the world.