Has been nabbed – and not a moment too soon,I might add – the question arises of what will happen to the man who put a halt to Blagojevich’s corrupt ways: Patrick Fitzgerald. Now, some of us were wondering what the hell was taking him so long while Tony Rezko was singing like a canary about his involvement with Blagojevich AND Barack Obama. But, I guess better late than never, especially if the latest gets him off the streets sooner rather than later. The speculation, of course, is that Fitzgerald might find himself out of a job come January 20th, and would people be upset about it. Just to be clear, it is standard practice for US Attorneys to leave at the end of a presidential term, so there is that. But would people know that or be upset that Fitzgerald may not continue (I assume he COULD, at the pleasure of the incoming president)? Given a report I saw recently, I would say not.

There are new findings out from the Civic Literacy Report, and they are not good. In fact, they are disturbing. This is a follow-up survey by one done to test civic knowledge of college students conducted over two years. The best result – the BEST result – was 54.2% on basic civics and self-governance. How do I say this? Oh, here it is – that’s PATHETIC. So, the American Civic Literacy Organization decided to survey adults, and elected officials. Check out some of these findings based on 33 questions asked:

The results reveal that Americans are alarmingly uninformed about our Constitution, the basic functions of our government, the key texts of our national history, and economic principles.

* Less than half can name all three branches of the government.
* Only 21% know that the phrase “government of the people, by the people, for the people” comes from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
* Although Congress has voted twice in the last eight years to approve foreign wars, only 53% know that the power to declare war belongs to Congress. Almost 40% incorrectly believe it belongs to the president.
* Only 55% know that Congress shares authority over U.S. foreign policy with the president. Almost a quarter incorrectly believe Congress shares this power with the United Nations.
* Only 27% know the Bill of Rights expressly prohibits establishing an official religion for the United States.
* Less than one in five know that the phrase “a wall of separation” between church and state comes from a letter by Thomas Jefferson. Almost half incorrectly believe it can be found in the Constitution.

Americans from all age groups, income brackets, and political ideologies fail the test of civic literacy.

* Americans age 25 to 34 score an average of 46% on the exam; Americans age 65 and over score 46%.
* Americans earning an annual income between $30,000 and $50,000 score an average of 46%; Americans earning over $100,000 score 55%.
* Liberals score an average of 49%; conservatives score 48%.
* Americans who go to church once a week score an average of 48%; Americans who never go to church score 50%.

I know – holy crap, right? This sure does explain a lot to me, though, about how/why certain people do not see glaring violations of the Constitution even when it is shoved in their faces. They just do not know.

Wanna guess who it is in part responsible for the “dumbing down of America”? Did you guess the television? Then you would be right:

In order to help isolate the impact a college degree has on civic literacy, ISI examined additional factors that might add to or subtract from an individual’s civic knowledge. The survey results were put through a regression analysis to determine whether various behaviors in a respondent’s life had a unique, statistically significant impact on his or her civic knowledge.

The multiple-regression analysis indicated that a person’s test score drops in proportion to the time he or she spends using certain types of passive electronic media. Talking on the phone, watching owned or rented movies, and even monitoring TV news broadcasts and documentaries diminishes a respondent’s civic literacy.

Actively seeking knowledge through print media and high-quality conversations has the opposite effect. Reading about history and current events in books, magazines, and newspapers—and talking about these subjects with family and friends—increases a respondent’s civic literacy.

In fact, an American who lacks a college degree but has initiative and desire—and who does not spend too much time watching TV and talking on the phone—can acquire more civic knowledge than a couch potato with a college degree.

So there’s at least some hope if people can tear themselves away from CNN and MSNBC and pick up a newspaper and discuss it, they might actually learn something about this country.

Okay, as promised, wait, just WAIT until you see how our elected officials, those who swear to uphold the Constitution fared in basic civics. I’d put down that mug (or glass) if I were you:

The elected officeholders come from the ranks of Democrats (40%), Republicans (31%), Independents (21%), and those who say they belong to no party or indicate no affiliation (8%). None were asked to specify what office they held, so the proportion in which they held local, state, or federal positions is unknown.

Not all officeholders do poorly, of course. Some elected officials rank among the highest scorers. But the failure rate on the test among those who have won public office is higher (74%) than among those who have not (71%). Officeholders scored lower on all sub-themes of the test: political history, cultural institutions, foreign relations, and market economy.

In each of the following areas, for example, officeholders do more poorly than non-officeholders:

* Seventy-nine percent of those who have been elected to government office do not know the Bill of Rights expressly prohibits establishing an official religion for the U.S.
* Thirty percent do not know that “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are the inalienable rights referred to in the Declaration of Independence.
* Twenty-seven percent cannot name even one right or freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment.
* Forty-three percent do not know what the Electoral College does. One in five thinks it either “trains those aspiring for higher political office” or “was established to supervise the first televised presidential debates.”
* Fifty-four percent do not know the Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war. Thirty-nine percent think that power belongs to the president, and 10% think it belongs to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
* Only 32% can properly define the free enterprise system, and only 41% can identify business profit as “revenue minus expenses.”

On some questions, Americans who have held elected office do better than Americans who have not. They are a little more likely, for example, to recognize the language of the Gettysburg Address (23% to 21%) and to know that the question of whether slavery should be allowed to expand into new territories was the main issue in the Lincoln–Douglas debates (25% to 20%).

Officeholders and non-officeholders find it equally difficult to identify the three branches of government. Only 49% of each group can name the legislative, executive, and judicial.

Well, that sure explains a lot, doesn’t it? No wonder we find ourselves screaming at the tv watching our lawmakers say the stupidest things that CLEARLY bear no relation to the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. But for ANYONE in this country – ANYONE – to not know we have three separate branches of government is – wow – staggering. How can any American NOT KNOW THAT???? Clearly, they did not see this enough while growing up:

So, will people be upset of Patrick Fitzgerald doesn’t stay on in his current position? For less than half of the nation who don’t even know the three branches of government, I’d say the percentage of people who wouldn’t even know anything had changed would be at least A GAZILLION percent. Sad. Really, really sad. This is exactly how we end up with people like Obama as the President Elect. People know so little about the government in general, how in the WORLD can we expect them to understand something like caucus fraud?? Wow. Just freakin’ wow. Go check out the site and see some of the other findings. I bet you’ll be be blown away, too. And I bet Thomas Jefferson is rolling over in his grave.

  • Twinkie

    Mr. Blagojevich won [first election to governor, with Obama’s support], but before long, problems surfaced. In 2004, Zalwaynaka Scott, the governor’s inspector general, said his administration’s efforts to evade merit-selection laws exposed “not merely an ignorance of the law, but complete and utter contempt for the law.” Nonetheless, Mr. Obama endorsed Mr. Blagojevich’s re-election in 2006.

  • JozefAL

    From the article:

    The elected officeholders come from the ranks of Democrats (40%), Republicans (31%), Independents (21%), and those who say they belong to no party or indicate no affiliation (8%). None were asked to specify what office they held, so the proportion in which they held local, state, or federal positions is unknown.

    Well, it would be very nice to know what offices are held by these people if 29% can identify themselves as “independents”, “no party” or “no afilliation” since I’d be willing to bet that more than 90% of ALL elected officials in this country attain their posts from having a “D” or an “R” either beside their name or at the top of the ballot on Election Day. We have exactly 435 members of the House (not counting non-voting members) or 100% who have either a “D” or an “R” beside their name and 98 members of the Senate (regardless of the Minnesota outcome) or 98% who have either a “D” or an “R” beside their name, giving us a total of 99.63% of the Congress with either a “D” or an “R”.
    Among state governors, all 50 (or 100%) have either a “D” or an “R” beside their name. And among ALL the states’ legislators* (both State Houses and State Senates), there are 7382 who are (presumably) elected. Of these, there are only 75 who do not identify with either a “D” or an “R” (it should be noted that all 49 of Nebraska’s legislators are officially deemed as “independent” or “non-partisan” and the state is unique in having a unicameral Legislature; also, there are 6 seats that are currently vacant) which means that 7301 are either “D” or “R”. Adding all this into the overall composite, we get 7967 elected officials, of whom 7884 (or 98.958%) are either “D” or “R” and a meager 77 (or 0.966%) are identified as “other” (the 6 vacancies account for a grand total of 0.075% of the total).
    So how in the world it’s possible for this survey to find 29% of “elected officials” who do not identify as either “D” or “R” is something that demands an explanation. It’s one thing for a survey to have so many non-D/R respondents when asked but when you’ve got so many from “elected officials”, that’s just bizarre (unless the survey included a lot of places that don’t elect on a “party affiliation” basis or only a VERY tiny percentage of overall elected officials, most of whom hail from “non-partisan” elections, were included).

    Information gleaned from http://www.ncsl.org/statevote/statevote2008.htm . At the bottom of the “Click on any state for party composition” table, there’s an option to “Compare all 50 states” which is how I found the party designations.

    • Another option is that you could go to the article and see who it is they survey. They did spell it out, and it isn’t just people in Congress. There are lots of other elected positions in the country besides the Congress and governors.

      Just so everyone knows, the portion describing officials surveyed was left out only due to post length. It is readily available at the site above, though, along with much, much more. There are FIVE sections of findings, with the one on politicians under “Additional Findings.” It was a pretty extensive survey, and I recommend people check out the site and see what else is there.

  • Twinkie

    From your earlier post….

    Michelle Obama Is The “Specifically Named Individual” On Page 64 of The Affidavit Submitted by FBI »


    NOTE CAREFULLY – THE WORDING MEANS BLAGOJEVICH WAS PROMISED SOMETHING!!!!!!!!!!!!! (He just had to wait a couple of years for the payola!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

    “ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that the consultants (Advisor B and another consultant are believed to be on the call at that time) are telling him that he has to “suck it up” for two years…”

    • Zeke

      You got it. So often in these things it comes down to wording. “… Suck it up for two years,” has a specificity to it which obviously infers that the proposed payoff to the Gov wouldn’t take place until two years hence. It implies that the Gov would have to trust Obama on some future promised payoff with absolutely no guarantee.
      It just occurred to me that there would be no way that Obama would risk a pardon for Blags until he was leaving office or had at least been re-elected. Since that is more probably true, what would stop Bush from telling Blags that he’d be happy signing a “sing to not swing” sweetheart, one time only pardon if he were to pop the zit.

  • chin333

    Barack Obama appears to have personally benefited from funds originating in Saddam Hussein’s regime. It’s a complicated connection, but one that deserves the consideration of Americans voters.

    Nadhmi Auchi (left) with Illinois’ governor, Rod Blagojevich, in 2004.

    Two similar figures, Nadhmi Auchi and Antoin S. “Tony” Rezko, served as the intermediaries. Both are Middle Eastern males of Catholic Christian heritage who left Baathist dictatorships for Western cities (Auchi from Iraq to London, Rezko from Syria to Chicago). Both became successful businessmen who hobnobbed with politicians and promoted Arab interests. Both have been convicted of taking kickbacks and both stand accused of other shady dealings.


  • Lisabona

    The majority of emigrants,know more American History,the those who were born in this Country. Why? because, in order to became American Citizens, they have to learn American history and Constitution.I always ask , how in the Earth,America accept their schools to be in a bottom fourth. It ‘s not our children’s fault. The American school system stinks. The lack of knowledge of the teachers and many parents has a negative results on children. The schools has to give up the DAMN tests. Teach them things they will use in their life, not how to take a test, like History, Geography, Constitution, Economics, et. Look over India, Japan, Korea, the old communist countires. Our kids are not stupid. The system make them to be. So, it’s time to think about their future and place in the World.

  • CG

    Was Blagojevich’s office under surveillance by the Feds on November 5th? Do the Feds know precisely what Obama and Blagojevich discussed that day? While I’m pleased that this investigation has occurred and complaint filed, I am doubtful it will result in implicating Obama simply because of the result of the Plame outing. Fitzgerald was not able to end the corrupt careers of anyone involved except Libby, for lying under oath, which was tremendously disappointing to me considering the national security consequences. Most of us recognize that Obama had to have played the game of dirty and corrupt politics as it is the only game in Chicago, if you want to advance your career. Michelle Obama was knee deep in it too. For all the things Obama said about the corrupt culture in D.C., how that was the problem, is pretty laughable as he made his way through the sewers of Chicago pay-to-play, to rise to the top.

  • rolling_thunder

    I can’t stand BHO and I have no white guilt over it! Bite it!

  • NCgirl

    Thanks RRR Amy. I read an article not too long ago about how painfully uninformed many people are about the government. It is a crying shame that this is the case. Apparently most of those uninformed people are the ones that voted for BO—snark.

    Fitz should keep his job, period. He’s a guy who actually cares about justice and The Constitution. Wow, what a concept. Up until now, he has been somewhat of a rockstar with the Dems because of Valerie Plame. Fitzgerald is an equal opportunity prosecutor. He doesn’t give a sh.t about if you are a Democrat or Republican. The only think he is interested in is if you broke the law. If BO fires him, I think it will make it look like he has something to fear from him.

    • I appreciate that, NCGirl (I’m one myself – NC girl, that is!).

      Yes, Fitzgerald did a lot right for Valerie Plame, but he also let Karl Rove off the hook. I mean, really – all signs seemed to point to Rove, and Scooter ended up being the fall guy.

      I do hope that just because Fitz went after Blago on THIS that he isn’t going to cut him – and Obama – a break on the whole Rezko thing. I guess time will tell.

  • Buck O’Fama

    In light of the pathetic civic literacy test results, it’s not suprising that SO many people think the President runs the US economy. In light of this, it makes sense that people think an empty suit whose never actually HAD a real job somehow knows how to create them. Got HOPE?

  • oowawa

    The question arises of what will happen to the man who put a halt to Blagojevich’s corrupt ways: Patrick Fitzgerald.

    This will be dilemma for O. If you cut him loose, he will probably start writing. It could be safer to keep him busy in an official government capacity.

  • sowsear
  • pumatiza

    I see edgeofforover was also on the case! Good Good!

    When will the Obots and Fauxgressives wake from their slumber and see the lies for what they are?

    • Pennsylvania Red


      It will always be someone else’s fault:


      The Man


      Larry King

  • AF catfish

    I took the quiz and did not fail, though the questions about the “free market economy” were more opinion-based.

    That so many people do not know there are three branches of government must mean they don’t know there are checks and balances. The schoolhouse rock video you posted reminds me of how much we watched those things when we were kids – they must have played in between cartoons on network tv.

    Bring back the school house rock videos, update them and play them please, America!!

    • NCgirl

      I loved Schoolhouse Rock! Every Saturday morning I remember listening to them. In fact, I learned the Preamble to the Constitution by heart, because they played it so much. Lucky for me it later became an essay question on an American History exam in high school. It is easy to learn if you learn it in song.

  • PGraber

    This survey is no surprise to me – this is the ONLY WAY that BHO got elected – people just don’t have (or do not want) enough information to make a good decision.

  • pumatiza

    sorry for double post. Figuring out the quote thing

  • pumatiza

    from PUMA


    On November 5th KHQA 7 had the following news blurb:

    Now that Barack Obama will be moving to the White House, his seat in the U.S. Senate representing Illinois will have to be filled.

    That’s one of Obama’s first priorities today.

    He’s meeting with Governor Rod Blagojevich this afternoon in Chicago to discuss it.

    Then on November 6th, here is a statement issued by the Office of the Governor:

    After congratulating President-Elect Barack Obama on his decisive victory, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that he will take his time and use a diverse senior staff made up of key members of his administration who will assist him in selecting a suitable replacement for Obama.

  • SLW

    Too bad you missed something; todays his 52nd birthday.

  • it is scary isn’t it? how little people actually know… the schools are what are in need of a bailout!

    • Absolutely. And that is another part of this study: the importance of education, especially civics classes in college. I still cannot get over that more than HALF of the people in this country don’t even know we have three branches of government. How can that possibly BE?!?! I mean, I know we see that level of ignorance with the trolls here who seem to be incapable of reading comprehension, but over HALF of the country?? That is just astonishing. Not to mention completely unacceptable.

      • Zeke

        It is nothing short of a disaster to see the educational system in the toilet. I have been around it and occasionally dipped down into it, (mostly coaching and gifted student stuff) and saw the disease all that time. It was always what drove me away from the business. Many, if not most of my friends are or were in education and they all agreed that I’d never rise or survive in that profession simply because I would find myself in a no-bend situation and be told to bend. Er, um, uh… nope.
        The two main things kids need to learn are never taught.
        1. Every action has a consequence.
        2. The difference between right and wrong. (There is one)
        Since the parents of kids nowadays are the offspring of the Me generation, the Peace, Love and Waterbeds, Unwashed, No shit! I was at Woodstock too, lets name our kid “Moon” generation, there is space available for responsibility. This was my generation too and I really believe that we dropped that ball big time.
        It has taken us too long to realize that basic ethical core beliefs are essential to societal health and we are rapidly reaping the rewards of this oversight.
        The lack of education or knowledge aspects are simply reflections of the missing pieces to the overall puzzle.

  • cathnealon

    Like a petrie dish the pop cultural environment has grown deadly organisms named ignorance, apathy and want. The education system broke down after the implementation of the Great Society in the 60’s otherwise known as the Great Welfare State. No more classical education because it’s discriminatory. Can’t read and write, that’s okay too, it’s not your fault, it’s the society. Now we have wall to wall distractions and no parents hanging around telling us to “turn off the damn TV.” And isn’t this just what the intellectual elites want with their Ivy League degrees, now they get to set any agenda they want and the people are too stupid to figure out what they’re doing.

  • Mr. X

    I am SHOCKED!!! SHOCKED I TELL YOU! Obama throwing Blagojevich under the bus??? I must say I never saw that one coming. This bus must have monster truck wheels.

  • lark

    Which means that when they hear that the deficit for November was 164 billion and that it is set to rise over a trillion this year, they would think it means at the end of December. But no it means June 30th.

    So they don’t have a clue what a deficit of 1 trillion means to them.

    I don’t have a clue myself what it means to me and to us.

    I guess it is good that Obama plans to run for the presidency of the world as soon as he takes office. I hope he wins. We need a world president that can do as he pleases with the rest of the countries of the world, and not just with ours.

    How can we really digest this issue of the deficit? What exactly has to happen for us to agree to stop growing the deficit? What? Famine?

    I think I am going to accept a WalMart credit card the next time I go shopping for my groceries there. Maybe it will be the only card I will need.

    • sowsear

      The only problem with BO as world president is that he wants the American Pie to be shared with the world. Even before he starts we have nothing to share. Our money, our industries, our jobs are mostly gone to Third World countries and we’ll be the ones needing a handout. Hey mister, could you spare a trillion?

  • But will Obama remember that he said that Fitzgerald should stay. That statement was made, by the way, BEFORE Obama was selected and BEFORE Blagojevich was arrested.

    Since Obama doesn’t remember taking to Blagojevich which Axelrod refuted and then was forced onto the sword to protect Obama’s bad memory, he can’t be trusted to keep Fitzgerald in place.

    Get over yourselves, Obots. Obama is in deep political doo-doo.

  • Speaking of woefully ignorant and misinformed…the question of whether Fitzgerald will be kept on has already been answered.

    But hey, don’t let that get in the way of your deranged anti-Obama hatefest.

    • pm317

      Your woeful ignorance is taking his word for it and believing it. Let us if it will not go the way of FISA, IRAQ, campaign finance,.. {the list is too long}.

      • ritamary

        Oh, us bots are sure Obama will stick to his word, just like he always does!

    • did you bother to read the post? did you read what she wrote?

      but hey, don’t let that get in the way of your deranged leg tingling love gest for obama.

    • Benjamin

      Yeah, and we ALL know how good Obama’s word is . . .

    • interested party

      Obama said last June he thought Fitzpatrick was do a good job. Does he still feel that way?

      A little confirmation wouldn’t hurt, now would it?

    • rolling_thunder

      Obama stole the election and people slammed shut their wallets. How’s that for confidence?
      Now we endure a third Bushie term. Fraudbama=no nothing and do nothing and we endure another 4 years of hell.

    • SFIndie

      Until he realizes that he’s in too deep and Fitzgerald isn’t going to give him a free pass, and then says he “mis-spoke” and everyone has to play the WORM game.

    • Steve1

      Tom, you would make Richard Nixon proud. Your total ignorance and blind devotion to Barry Soetoro-Obama is typical of fanatical Soetoro-Obama supporters. Nixson would appoint you his headcheerleader in heart beat! Wake-up, get yourself an analytical mind. Pity our poor country. What has become of critical thinking skills? This blind devotion reminds one of Hitler’s Brown shirts? Scary.

  • pm317

    Amy, not only are these people woefully ignorant, they are also misinformed. Even those who think they know don’t really know. Most Dems are woefully ignorant of what happened during the primary — how the nomination process was hijacked by DNC, the media, and the Obama campaign. They don’t know the questionable ways he raised money; they don’t know how he sucked all the oxygen for down ticket Dems by forcing everybody to go through him and the DNC. He now has a surplus $32 million left after spending a whopping $700 million and part of it is sweat money, life savings from poor people who could not afford to give. They don’t know about his questionable associations. Even now it is laughable that they think that Obama is squeaky clean, in spite of his moneyman Rezko in jail and this latest pay to play thing with the Gov.

    • Pennsylvania Red

      To Philadelphians, this pay to play scandal is depressingly familiar.

      The time-honored tradition of rewarding political contributors with lucrative city contracts, called “Pay-to-Play,” is not unique to Philadelphia. Other cities have similar set-ups.

      Looky here, the wife is also involved:

      Since the discovery of the bug, we’ve learned that White’s wife was judged by the Street administration to be qualified to run two businesses at the Philadelphia International Airport even though she also serves as a medical director of a mental institution situated more than 30 miles from the city. (I would think that her expertise as a psychiatrist and director of a mental institution is a clear plus. One might say that the city is, after all, one large mental institution).

      No pay to play scheme would be complete without a healthy dose of organized crime involvement:

      A mayor’s aide helped the mayor’s brother, Milton Street, by giving him information about the bidding process for a contract at the airport. The FBI was looking at a $13.6 million dollar contract with a company that had ties to the mayor’s brother. The FBI is also looking at contracts awarded to a Street supporter and Muslim Iman named Shamsud-din Ali.

      “Before becoming a soft-spoken, politically connected leader of Philadelphia’s African-American community,” The Philadelphia Daily News reported, “Iman Shamsud-din Ali was a reputed Black Mafia kingpin named Clarence Fowler.”

  • If the media will stay on the story and not paint Obama as a saint, the public may have a chance to become enraged if Fitzgerald leaves in January.

    If the media doesn’t do this, then no one will pay much attention.

    It’s a case of interplay. We all know what happened in the latest presidential election when the media didn’t do it’s job.

    • sowsear
      • andrew191

        That is an interesting result to that poll. First, it indicates and validates the notion that MSMBC attracts Obamunists. Second, it shows how blindly loyal Obamunists are in the face of mounting evidence that he is far from spotless. One would have to toss the axiom of Occam’s Razor in the trash to believe that any creature could crawl out of the pigsty of Illinois politics without having shit all over it.

        However, nature provides an example that might contradict my previous statment. I’ve witnessed dung beetles emerge from steaming piles without a speck on their beatiful blue-green metallic exoskeleton. However, their beauty is in stark contrast to the nature of their diet.

        If none of this sticks to Obama, maybe he should henceforth be known as the “Dung Beetle President”

        • oowawa

          I’ve witnessed dung beetles emerge from steaming piles without a speck on their beatiful blue-green metallic exoskeleton. However, their beauty is in stark contrast to the nature of their diet.

          Thanks Andrew. I knew there must be a scientific explanation for the Radiant One’s teflon sheen.

  • Obama met Blago re: senate seat – first thing after the election

    • ame

      How is Obama going to get out of this one? This isn’t going away.