Tag Archives: usa

Episode 62: Impeachment Process



Welcome to Slow American English, the podcast for learners of American English. I’m your host, Karren Tolliver.

This is episode number 62: Impeachment Process

Before we begin, here are three important items:

  1. Buy the fifth Slow American English workbook now! It’s available on Amazon, just like the first four workbooks. You can use all the workbooks either with the podcast or without it. Teachers can use the pre-planned lessons for listening, reading, speaking and writing. Students can use each lesson for self-study. Get yours in print or Kindle version now!
  2. I want to give a big thank-you to my Patreon patrons for pledging a little money every month to keep the podcast going. Your contributions help pay for web hosting and other expenses. Without you, I could not help English learners all over the world. If you are not yet a patron, please visit Patreon.com/SlowAmericanEnglish and become one today!
  3. Become a website subscriber at SlowAmericanEnglish.net. There are free transcripts PLUS links to become a patron and to buy workbooks. Follow me on social media from the website, too.

Now for the podcast:

Transcript:

If you have been following US news for the past few months (2019 and 2020), you might know that the US president was impeached. However, you might not know what that actually means.

It is important to understand that impeachment is not a criminal process. It is a political one. Article II of the Constitution states:

The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Impeachment is a two-step process. Congress is responsible for the actions. First, the House of Representatives brings impeachment charges against a federal official. Then, the Senate has a trial and votes whether to convict.

Here is the procedure:

  1. Members of the House of Representatives must either introduce an impeachment resolution just like they would a regular bill, or they can pass a resolution to start an inquiry. During the inquiry, evidence is gathered and charges are stated. After a few weeks or months of investigation, the representatives vote. If a majority of representatives votes to impeach, there is a trial in the Senate. This should be conducted like a normal trial in a court of law.
  2. Members of the House are appointed to manage the Senate trial, which means they act as prosecutors. The impeached official gathers a legal defense team. Senators act as the jury. After the prosecution and defense teams present their sides of the case, the Senators vote. If two-thirds or more of the senators present vote for conviction, the impeached official is removed from office and possibly prohibited from holding office in the future. There is no other punishment, such as fines or prison time.

Further charges can be brought against the removed official in regular courts, if anyone wants to do that. Additional legal procedures would then follow, including negotiations and even trials, but they aren’t guaranteed, and they don’t involve Congress.

More information about impeachment in the US:

  • The Constitution does not specify what “high crimes and misdemeanors” are. Therefore, the House of Representatives can decide.
  • If the president is convicted by the Senate and removed from office, the Vice President becomes president.
  • Other federal officials besides the president can be impeached by the House.
  • The House has begun 62 impeachment investigations throughout history.
  • Only 20 of those 62 investigations resulted in impeachment: 30 judges, three presidents, one Cabinet secretary and one US senator.
  • The impeached presidents were Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. None were convicted or removed from office.
  • Andrew Johnson was Abraham Lincoln‘s vice president; he became president when Lincoln was assassinated in 1865. He was impeached in 1868.
  • Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998.
  • Donald Trump was impeached in 2020.
  • Impeachment proceedings were started against President Richard Nixon in 1973, but he resigned before he could be tried in the Senate.
  • All states except Oregon can impeach state officials. The procedures are basically the same as federal ones.

### End of Transcript ### 

That’s the podcast for this time. Slow American English is written and produced by Karren Tolliver. Copyright 2020. All rights reserved.

For a free transcript and to subscribe to the podcast, visit SlowAmericanEnglish.net. You can also subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, TuneIn and any other podcast feed reader.

Theme music is written and performed by SW Campbell and used by permission. Find more music by this artist at Soundclick.com/swcampbell.

This has been Slow American English. I’m Karren Tolliver. Thank you for listening.


Episode 58: Higher Education in the USA



Welcome to Slow American English, the podcast for learners of American English. I’m your host, Karren Tolliver.

This is episode number 58: Higher Education in the USA

Before we begin, I have a couple of announcements:

  1. Please take the Slow American English survey. Your answers will help make the podcast better. Visit www.SlowAmericanEnglish.net and click the link to the survey questions. Every answer is valuable! To read some of the survey results so far, visit www.Patreon.com/slowamericanenglish.
  2. Podcast patrons can learn English faster! If you are not a patron, please consider becoming one. Choose from four levels, each with valuable monthly rewards. I recommend Level 2 as the best level for the money, which is $10 a month. But if that’s too much for your budget, Level 1 for English Learners might be right for you. For $5.00 per month, you get
  • a pdf file with three exercises you can use with the recording or the transcript to improve listening and reading comprehension,

  • a free Slow American English workbook,

  • a chance to win private English lessons with me, including a personal learning plan,

  • and a monthly live discussion of each podcast episode via Skype. Practice your English in a real-world conversation! This month’s discussion date: Tuesday, 22 October, 2019, at 09:00am US Mountain Time (GMT-6). Patrons, you MUST notify me via email (info@slowamericanenglish.net) by Monday, 21 October, 2019, at 5:00pm US Mountain Time (GMT-6) to let me know you will attend the live discussion. If you cannot attend because of your time zone, I can schedule an additional session if there are enough participants.

So, please visit Patreon.com/SlowAmericanEnglish and become a patron today. Remember: all your contributions help me continue to bring this podcast to you.

Now for the podcast:

Transcript:

I’ve already told you about the school system for kids in the US in Episode 28. Today I will describe the optional higher education system, also called post-secondary education system, which comes after high school.

This higher education system in the USA isn’t regulated by the federal government. Because of this, there are many types of schools, such as public, private, small, large, religious, secular, urban, suburban, rural and online.

Most Americans use the word “college” to mean “university”, although there is actually a difference. A university is a collection of smaller colleges. Each college focuses on a specific area of study. There can also be standalone colleges that aren’t part of a university. Universities usually also offer masters and doctorate degrees.

Good schools are usually accredited, or approved by an official association, to make sure they meet a minimum standard. Accreditation also means a student’s degree is recognized as valid by other schools and employers.

More vocabulary:

    • major – main area of study for undergraduates; students can change their major multiple times until the third year
    • minor – second area of study for undergraduates requiring fewer classes
    • campus – the physical area of a college
    • dormitory/dorm – housing for students; if a student lives on campus, he or she lives in a dorm
    • ivy league – informal phrase for a group of prestigious colleges such as Harvard
    • tuition – fees paid to the college for classes; does not include dorm expenses, books or meals
    • freshmen – students in their first year of undergraduate study
    • sophomores – students in their second year of undergraduate study
    • juniors – students in their third year of undergraduate study
      • seniors – students in their fourth year of undergraduate study
    • community college – a smaller, local school offering a two-year associate degree

Many colleges require a student to take a standardized test before starting a four-year program. The most well-known such test is the Scholastic Aptitude Test, usually called the SAT.

Levels of post-secondary study:

  1. Undergraduate students work toward a four-year bachelors degree. The first two years are usually general classes like literature, science and history. Each class earns the student course credits. Students can complete these courses at a community college then transfer the credits to a four-year school.
  1. People with bachelors degrees might want to get a masters degree. They need to take the GRE test (Graduate Record Examinations) first. A university usually also has a masters program in addition to the colleges for undergraduate degrees. Masters degrees usually require about two years of courses and a thesis, which is a long research paper.
  1. After a masters, some students want to continue their education and get a doctorate, or Ph.D. This requires three or more years of courses and research, plus a dissertation, which is the doctorate research paper.

College is very expensive. Many students get scholarships, grants or student loans to help pay for it. A scholarship is money from an organization or school given to the student based on academic or sports performance. Grants are government money given based usually on low family income or other factors. Either the government or financial institutions can lend money for education. Scholarships and grants don’t have to be paid back, but student loans do. Many people graduate with heavy student loan debt, which is a big problem.

Some state universities offer free or reduced tuition programs. New York State recently became the first to offer free tuition for a full four-year or two-year program that isn’t based on academic performance. Other states offer similar programs, but they have more requirements.

### End of Transcript ###

That’s the podcast for this time. Slow American English is written and produced by Karren Tolliver. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.

For a free transcript and to subscribe to the podcast, visit www.SlowAmericanEnglish.net. You can also subscribe via any podcast app or feed reader.

Theme music is written and performed by SW Campbell and used by permission. Find more music by this artist at www.Soundclick.com/swcampbell.

This has been Slow American English. I’m Karren Tolliver. Thank you for listening.


Episode 55: The Liberty Bell



Welcome to Slow American English, the podcast for learners of American English. I’m your host, Karren Tolliver.

This is episode number 55: The Liberty Bell

Before we begin, I have some announcements:

  1. I hope you acted on the previous podcast, which describes how to become a patron of the podcast. Please visit the podcast website and click on the top menu bar where it says “Patron Level Details”. The link is www.SlowAmericanEnglish.net/PatronLevels. Your contributions will help me continue to bring this important podcast to the world.

  1. The next live discussion for Level 1 patrons and above will be on Thursday, 18 July, at 10:00am US Mountain Time. You must email me at info@slowamericanenglish.net to let me know you will attend. I realize that, if you are in certain time zones, it might prevent you from participating. If so, please email me and let me know. I will schedule a different time for groups in other time zones.

  1. Don’t forget to buy the fourth Slow American English workbook. It’s available on Amazon, along with the first three workbooks. You can use the workbooks either with the podcast or without it. They are full of ready-made lessons for teachers and students.

  1. Become a website subscriber at www.SlowAmericanEnglish.net. There are free transcripts PLUS links to become a patron and to buy workbooks.

Now for the podcast:

Transcript:

It’s hard to think of a more famous symbol of the United States than the Liberty Bell. In addition to the bald eagle, Statue of Liberty, American flag and Uncle Sam, the Liberty Bell stands for freedom – it’s even in the name!

It stands now in Philadelphia, PA, which used to be the capital city of the USA before Washington, DC. You can visit it at Liberty Bell Center near Independence Hall, where the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

The Liberty Bell has a large crack. Legend says that ringing the bell on the day the Declaration of Independence was signed caused it to crack. Unfortunately that is not true. A magazine writer invented this story.

The bell was made by Philly (short for Philadelphia) metalworkers John Pass and John Stow. They melted down a defective bell to make this one in the early 1750s. It was installed in the State House (capitol) in Philadelphia. It was rung to call legislators and citizens to meetings.

An inscription is written on the bell, which says, “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all inhabitants thereof.” A second inscription says, “By order of the Assembly of the Province of Pensylvania for the State House in Philada.” (‘Philada’ was a short form of ‘Philadelphia’.) A third inscription reads, “Pass and Stow/MDCCLIII.” The last part is the year 1753 in Roman numerals.

Although specific details are unknown, the bell developed a small crack probably around the 1840s. To repair it, a larger crack was created, but the repair failed. A second crack also appeared shortly after that, ruining the bell forever. It could never be rung again.

The bell was called the State House Bell until the mid-1800s. But even before it was called the Liberty Bell, abolitionists, women’s suffragists and Civil Rights leaders were inspired by the first inscription on the bell. In fact, it is said that people fighting for the end of slavery came up with the name ‘Liberty Bell’.

More Liberty Bell facts:

  • It weighs about 2,080 pounds.

  • It is made of bronze.

  • The original musical note of the bell was E-flat.

  • The bell rang to mark the signing of the Constitution.

  • During the Revolutionary War, the bell was taken from Philadelphia and hidden in a church in Allentown, PA. It was moved to prevent the British from finding it and melting it down for weapons.

  • It was rung to mark the deaths of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and other Founding Fathers.

  • It was last rung on Washington’s birthday in 1846.

  • Every Fourth of July, descendants of the signers of the Declaration of Independence gently tap the Liberty Bell 13 times in honor of the patriots from the original 13 states.

  • Every Martin Luther King Day, the bell is gently tapped in honor of this great Civil Rights leader.

  • Every state capitol received a copy of the Liberty Bell in 1950 as part of a fundraiser by the US Treasury Department. These copies don’t have cracks.

  • Normandy, France, also has a copy of the bell. It was created in 2004 for the 60th anniversary of D-Day in WWII, which was in 1944. It was the day Allied forces landed in Normandy to eventually end the war.

### End of Transcript ###

That’s the podcast for this time. Slow American English is written and produced by Karren Tolliver. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.

For a free transcript and to subscribe to the podcast, visit www.SlowAmericanEnglish.net. You can also subscribe via any podcast feed reader.

Theme music for this podcast is written and performed by SW Campbell and used by permission. Find more music by this artist at www.Soundclick.com/swcampbell.

This has been Slow American English. I’m Karren Tolliver. Thank you for listening.


Please become a Patron of the Podcast!



Welcome to Slow American English, the podcast for learners of American English. I’m your host, Karren Tolliver.

This is a special podcast to ask you for help.

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Episode 53: The Great Lakes



Welcome to Slow American English, the podcast for learners of American English. I’m your host, Karren Tolliver.

This is episode number 53: The Great Lakes

Hello Slow American English listeners! Before we begin, here’s some important info:

This week I sent out a question form to the website subscribers. I hope you all answer the survey because the information and opinions you give will help make this podcast better. Check your inboxes! AND, there will be a second question form for listeners who aren’t subscribers soon. Keep listening to this podcast for details.

Follow me on social media! Click the icons for Instagram, Twitter and Facebook on the podcast website at www.SlowAmericanEnglish.net.

Buy all four Slow American English workbooks on Amazon now! You can use the workbooks either with the podcast or without it. Students AND teachers, you can use them for listening, reading, speaking and writing practice.

A million thanks to my Patreon patrons for pledging a small amount every month to keep the podcast going. This month I changed the Patreon benefit levels, so take a look at the changes and rewards at www.Patreon.com/SlowAmericanEnglish.

Become a website subscriber at SlowAmericanEnglish.net. There are free transcripts PLUS links to become a patron and to buy workbooks.

Note: You can visit Patreon.com/SlowAmericanEnglish for FREE bonus material related to this podcast episode. You can download a pdf file containing maps of the Great Lakes. It really helps you understand the Great Lakes when you are listening to the recording.

Now for the podcast:

Transcript:

The Great Lakes are five very large bodies of water in the upper Midwest area of the USA, north of the Mississippi River basin. We think of them as inland seas and call them the nation’s fourth seacoast. They lie on the border with Canada and measure more than 750 miles from east to west. They touch eight states: Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. The Great Lakes, along with their connecting rivers, form the largest fresh surface water system on earth.

The Great Lakes were formed by glaciers thousands of years ago, and they are very deep. They hold about 20% of the world’s fresh surface water supply and 90% of the USA’s. The Great Lakes provide drinking water for about 48 million people. In addition, the lakes are used for transportation, recreation, electricity, fishing and many other economic and ecological functions.

Weather can be very dangerous for ships on the Great Lakes, and there are dangerous reefs, too. Many terrible shipwrecks have happened there. One of the most famous was the wreck of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975. You may have heard the famous song about it by Gordon Lightfoot.

Because of pollution and other problems, the Great Lakes have been damaged. Now, there are lots of federal programs to help clean and restore them. Canada, 40 Native North American tribes and eight US states take part in the programs.

The lakes’ names are Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior. You can remember the names of the Great Lakes by thinking of the word HOMES. Here is a little information about each one. They are listed in order from west to east:

Lake Superior

Lake Superior is the largest in surface area and water volume. The name comes from the French phrase for “upper lake”, lac supérieur, because it is north of Lake Huron.

Lake Michigan

The name of Lake Michigan comes from the Ojibwa Native American tribe’s word mishigami, meaning “large lake”. Lake Michigan is the third largest Great Lake in surface area. It’s the only one that is located entirely within the US. It is connected to Lake Huron by the Straits of Mackinac. Some people consider Lake Michigan and Lake Huron to be two halves of one larger body of water.

Lake Huron

The name comes from the Huron, or Wyandot, Native Americans, who lived there. It’s the second largest Great Lake with the longest shoreline. Manitoulin Island is located in Lake Huron; it’s the largest island in any inland body of water on Earth.

Lake Erie

The name of Lake Erie was taken from the Iroquoi Native Americans’ word for “long tail” (erielhonan), which describes Lake Erie’s shape. It is the fourth largest Great Lake in surface area, but smallest by water volume.

Lake Ontario

The Native American Huron word for “lake of shining water” is ontario. This is the smallest of the Great Lakes by surface area. Water from Lake Erie flows into Lake Ontario by the Niagara River. Lake Ontario is at the base of the famous Niagara Falls. Water flows out of Lake Ontario by the St. Lawrence River, which leads to the Gulf of St. Lawrence and then into the Atlantic Ocean.

### End of Transcript ###

That’s the podcast for this time. Slow American English is written and produced by Karren Tolliver. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.

For a free transcript and to subscribe to the podcast, visit www.SlowAmericanEnglish.net. You can also subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, TuneIn and any other podcast feed reader.

Theme music for this podcast is written and performed by SW Campbell and used by permission. Find more music by this artist at www.Soundclick.com/swcampbell.

This has been Slow American English. I’m Karren Tolliver. Thank you for listening.