Thursday, December 20, 2012

Political Song

Tuesday, December 20, 2012

Gov Poem/Song

Working with a partner...

On the subject of government and politics.
Write a Poem/ Song based on real or created song/Poem. Seasonal or Holiday themes are fine, but not required.

Poem/Song must have
4 original verses (repeated chorus' are not individual verses)
Be on topic with an INSTITUTE of Government
Be on topic with a CURRENT EVENT (S).
No profanity, etc.

Type or write neatly. Due at end of Friday. Work with a partner.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

chapter 11 fun and games

For Tuesday
Through Page 334 (question 29 below).

1) While interest groups and political parties each play a significant role in the US political system, they differ in their fundamental goals.
a) identify the fundamental goal of interest groups in the political process
b) identify the fundamental goal of major political parties in the political process
c) describe two different ways by which interest groups support the fundamental goal of political parties in the political process.
d) For one of the forms of support you described in (c), explain two different weays in which that form of support helps interest groups to achieve their fundamental goal in the political process.

2. Public opinion polls are a way to link the public with elected officials. Members of Congress often use polls to understand the views of their constituents, but they must also pay attention to other political considerations.
a. Identify two characteristics of a valid, scientific, public opinion poll.
b. Explain why each of the following enhances the influence of public opinion on the voting decisions of members of Congress.
• Strong public opinion as expressed in polling results
• Competitive re-elections
c. Explain why each of the following limits the influence of public opinion on the voting decisions of members of Congress.

•Legislators’ voting records
•Party leadership

CH 11
Do first Half

1. Paradox about lobbying?
2. Def. interest groups.
3. Def. Pluralist theory
4. Define elite theory
5. Define Hyperpluralist theory
6. Explain what pluralist theorists offer as a Group theory of politics?
7. How do elite theorists criticize pluralism
8. Discuss ‘corporatization’
9. Summarize elitist view (bullets).
10. Discuss / summarize Figure 11.1
11. Define subgovernment
12. Define iron triangle.
13. Who is Theodore Lowi
14. What Is Hyperpluralism
15. Summarize the Hyperpluralist position on group politics;
16. What factors affect the power of an interest group.
17. Why are large groups often ineffective.
18. Review Table 11.1
19. Define Potential group
20. Define actual group
21. Define collective good
22. Define free-rider problem
23. Define Olson’s law of large groups.
24. Define selective benefits.
25. Why is aarp so powerful?
26. Define single interest group.
27. What is a major indictment of the American interest group?
28. Explain the political cartoon on p. 333. P.331 in old book.
29. Disuss increase in interest groups. (page 11.3)
30. Reasons for explosion in number of interest groups
31. Define Lobbying
32. 2 types of lobbyists
33. How are lobbyists beneficial
34. Effectiveness of lobbying?
35. Why is it difficult to nail down the effectiveness of lobbyists?
36. What is electionerring?
37. What is a PAC?
38. How much PAC money to house incumbents in 1999-00/
39. How does litigation help an interest group?
40. What is an amicus curiae brief?
41. What is Regents of the UC v. Bakke?
42. What is a class action lawsuit?
43. How do interest groups market their reputation (ex).
44. List 4 important clusters of interest groups.
45. Def union shop
46. Define right to work law.
47. What is the largest interest group? 2nd largest?
48. Role of business in interest groups?
49. Goals of environmental groups? Their opponents?
50. Equality interests
51. Def. NAACP.
52. Brown v. board
53. Def. NOW.
54. Def ERA
55. PHillis Schlafly
56. De. Public interest Lobby
57. Ralph Nader
58. Which political theory would Madison adhere to?
59. Elite theory and PACS?
60. Hyperpluralists and PACS?
61. Interest groups and scope of government? Give examples.

Monday, December 3, 2012

chapter 8, continued

For tuesdayChapter 8 questions.
Complete Through Thirty.

Friday, November 30, 2012


TEST MONDAY, 6,9,10.
Reminder number whatever.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

chapter 8

For Thursday
Read first 5 pages
Answer questions

1. Define Party Competition
2. Define Political party
3. What do we mean by ‘party in the electorate’
4. Define the party as an organization?
5. Explain the party in government
6. Define Linkage institutions
7. Define Party image.
8. What are the tasks performed by the parties?
9. Define rational choice theory.
10. Discuss figure 8.1
11. What are the perceived differences between parties?
12. Define Party identification
13. Trends in party alliance?
14. Define Ticket splitting
15. Discuss Table 8.1
16. Read and answer the questions on page 244, in coherent unambiguous sentences.
17. How are parties organized?
18. What is a party machine?
19. What is patronage?
20. What is the center of local party organizations now?
21. Contrast PA and CA’s State party system.
22. Define closed primary
23. Define open primary
24. Define blanket primary
25. Define national convention
26. Define national committee
27. Define national chairperson
28. Define coalition
29. Promises by politicians. Discuss.
30. Define party eras.
31. Define critical election
32. Define party realignment. Example(s)
33. Discuss the 5 party eras.
34. Define New deal coalition
35. Define Party dealignment
36. Define party neutrality
37. Define Third parties
38. Define Winner-take-all system
39. Define Proportional representation
40. Define Coalition government
41. Define Responsible party model
42. What are the roles of third parties I npolitics?What are the conditions of parties under the ‘responsible party model?’
43. Role of Party and scope of government
44. Parties today?

Friday, November 16, 2012

chapter 10

Do at a minimum 1-15 for return from break

1) Def legitimacy
2) Def referendum
3) Def initiative petition
a. Give 2 examples.
4) 1800 Election
a. nomination
b. tone
c. focus
d. troubling error
5) 1896 Election
a. Candidates
b. Issues
c. Campaign
6) 2004 What was GW Bush’s ‘great feat’
7) Role of US supreme court in 2000 election
8) What two key choices face every voter?
9) Suffrage? (specific amendments)
10) Enfranchisement and Voting?
11) Why not vote?
12) Rational voting theory
13) Def political efficacy
14) Define Civic duty
15) 3 reasons for low US turnout
16) def voter registration
17) Voter registration differences from state to state.
18) Define Motor Votor Act
19) Who votes? What are the trends?
20) Explain Mandate theory of elections.
21) What are the 3 major elements of voters’ decisions
22) Evaluate table 10.2
23) Most important dimensions of candidate image?
24) What is policy voting?
25) 4 conditions for policy voting?
26) Obstacle to policy voting?
27) Define The electoral College
28) What was founder’s goal of elections?
29) How does each state’s election process work now?
30) Role of small states in elections?
31) Two tasks of elections, according to democratic theory?
32) Elections and policy as 2 way street?
33) How do policy differences affect elections?
34) Explain art of Ambiguity?
35) Explain how elections affect policy?
36) How does policy affect election?
37) Define retrospective voting
38) How has democracy affected the scope of government?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Chapter 9

For Monday.
1-25 (It's about 11 pages)

1) What is the toughest job in the world. Elaborate?
2) What does Anthony King argue of American politicians.
3) What are the 2 facets of campaigning?
4) Define nomination
5) Define campaign strategy
6) Def: national party convention
7) Def: caucus
8) Importance of caucuses (2 ex)
9) Why primaries?
10) What are presidential primaries?
11) What happened in 1968 Chicago?
12) What is the McGovern – Fraser Commission?
13) What is a superdelegate?
14) What is frontloading?
15) How are delegates allocated?
16) Role of money in Campaigns.
17) What is ‘mo’ and how do you get it?
18) 5 criticisms of primary and caucus system
19) What is a national primary
20) What is a regional primary
21) Describe trends in Convention coverage, and why.
22) Describe delegates
23) Define Party platform
24) How has media/tech changed the campaign?
25) What is direct mail
26) What factors determine media coverage?
27) Role of ads in campaigns?
28) How has media coverage changed?
29) Describe the process of organizing a campaign?
30) What is the mother’s milk of politics.
31) When did momentum for campaign finance reform begin?
32) Why did momentum for campaign finance reform begin?
33) What is the Federal Election Campaign Act?
34) What is the Federal Election Commission?
35) What is the Prsidential Election Campaign fund?
36) What is matching funds?
37) What is the role of public funding in the General elections?
38) Evaluate Fig. 9.3
39) What is full disclosure?
40) How are campaign contributions limited?
41) What is Buckley v. Valeo?
42) What is Soft Money?
43) What is McCain Feingold?
44) What are PAC’s?
45) Buckley v. Valeo and PAC’s
46) Why do candidate’s need pacs.
47) Criticism of PAC’s. Is it fair?
48) Criticism of Electyion cost?
49) Is there a correlation between money spent and election victory?
50) Spending enough is key.
51) Evaluate table 9.1
52) What is the Impact of Campaigns
53) Selective perceptions.
54) Evaluate passage dealing with Nominations and Campaigns.
55) Do Campaigns lead to an increase scope of government?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

AP GOV Wed-Mon

Write a 5-7 page description of the Watergate Break in, and aftermath, through the resignation of Nixon.  Must include
-The key events (Timeline)
-Brief Biography of the key players (Nixon administration, Reporters, Congressmen)
-Your opinion of the lasting legacy.
-Sources-- minimum 3.  While you may certainly look at wikipedia, it is not a cite-able reference.

Due Tuesday.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Compare and contrast Romney and Obama based on movie.
-political experience
personal formative experiences
-leadership style

5 paragraphs
neat (handwritten or type)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Chapter 3-2

Finish through 15 for tuesday.
Also, giant pool of money

1. Changes in Federalism over the past 200 years.
2. Define dual federalism
3. Cooperative federalism
4. How is the move from dual to cooperative federalism described (it's a metaphor).
5. What standard operating procedures does cooperative federalism involve.
6. How do highways demonstrate cooperative federalism
7. Explain shared costs
8. What are federal guidelines
9. Explain shared administration.
10. Explain table 3.3
11. Define fiscal federalism
12. Explain figure 3.1
13. Where do most federal grants go? Draw figure 3.2.
14. What are categorical grants.
15. What are project grants
16. What are formula grants
17. What are block grants.
18. (give 2 examples for each of the above).
19. What are the mandate blues (two ways it can be underfunded).
20. Why did the founders establish a federal system?
21. What are the advantages for democracy of federalism?
22. What are the disadvantages of federalism for democracy?
23. How are local interests able to thwart the national majority?
24. Explain figure 3.3
25. Explain 3.4
26. How many US Governments?
27. What is the role of Federalism and the scope of National Governement?
28. Explain figure 3.5

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Assignment for thursday/Friday.

Giant Pool of Money due tuesday.
Chapter two quiz Thursday, Sep. 26 2012
Ok, here are the questions
for Chapter 3 part 1
Answer 1-5 for thursday, Sep 26

1. US VS Lopez
2. Define Federalism
3. Unitary Gov
4. Intergovernmental Relations
5. Why is federalism important
6. Copy Table 3.1
7. Why are more layers important?
8. Role of federalism, and Judicial Power
9. How does state policy affect national policy
10. Copy table 3.2
11. Why was central power impossible in 1787?
12. Def. Supremacy Clause
13. Def. Tenth Amendment
14. US v. Darby
15. National League v. Usery
16. 11th Amendment
17. Why has fed power gained relative to states?
18. McCulluch v. Maryland
19. Implied Powers
20. Enumerated Powers
21. Implied Powers
22. Elastic Clause
23. Gibbons v. Ogden
24. Power over Commerce
25. Civil War
26. Brown v. Board
27. Full faith and Credit
28. (and same sex marriage).
29. Extradition
30. Privileges and imunities

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Giant Pool of Money.

Due By monday, 9/26/11
Listening Guide for "The Giant Pool of Money"
10 points
2 points EXTRA CREDIT if your parent/guardian listens with, and signs a note saying that you have had at the very least, some form of discussion about this event. Parents, I encourage you to drag this conversation out as long as possible, grill your students endlessly, about the details, etc. Or just enjoy it.

Even a POOR job of using this listening guide is superior to just listening to the show. Here is the link to the giant pool of money.

Here is the BEST way to use this guide. Copy it, and print it double spaced. Read it. It won't make full sense, but it will prime you to be ready for the listening. Note that I have time stamped enough of the questions. Click the streaming guide, and a small window will open and play. Simply listen, and note the time on the streaming guide. When you get to a new 'time stamp' listen a little closer, and try to answer a couple questions. When you get to the next time stamp, pause, try to fill in a couple of the questions you missed, read the next few, and proceed. I'm really not concerned if you don't get them all. I don't need you going back and forth trying to find the missing answers, just do the best you can.

The program is 1 hour long. If you can finish the assignment in 1:15, I think that's a good use of your time. I hope you find it informative. If you can talk your parents into listening to the assignment, and collectively write a little blurb, I'll give you 2 extra credit points (that's not much, but hopefully it's worth having your folks write me a one line email, and I hope it doesn't make it unfair to those folks who don't want to sit in front of the computer for an hour).


The Giant Pool Of Money.
1. The Giant Pool Of Money.
2. What is a ‘sub prime crisis’
3. What is a NINA loan? And what happened to Clarence?
4. (6:20)What are the two versions of the story of loans?
5. Define Imprudent Partnership?
6. (8:30)What is the Global Pool of Money?
7. How big?
8. What happened do the pool right around 2000-2006
9. (10:50)How
10. (12:00)How did Alan Greenspan affect investment of the GPM. (Giant Pool of money)
11. (13:45)Why were mortgage loans so attractive
12. What is the chain
13. What is a mortgage backed security.
14. (16:20)Largest Private Mortgage bank in Nevada: Mike Garner: What was his job.
15. What kind of mortgages did he start buying: What happened in 2003
16. Stated Income, Verified Asset. What and why is it.
17. How do you verify the Stated Income?
18. NIVA
19. NINA
20. Why didn’t anyone care about the risk?
21. What happened to house prices, and what was the flaw.
22. (23:00)How much was Glen making:
23. What was he doing.
24. How did he live.
25. How did he make his money.
26. Who designed the computer models, and what was the view.
27. What are possible forclosure rates vs. projections.
28. (29:50)What turned the problem into a Crisis
29. Were CDO’s safe
30. What is the issue of seeing homes as an investment?
31. What happened to income from 2000-2007
32. (35:10)What do we mean by speculative bubble.
33. (39:13)What does it mean to be a highly leveraged bank
34. So what happened to silverstate mortgage.
35. (45:25)What about Richard, the former marine?
36. What about the music: do you like it?
37. (47:15)What was his stated income on his original loan and what was he really making.
38. Why did the mortgage broker falsify info.
39. Was there fraud.
40. (49:45)Who owns the loan?
41. How many individual loans was one office running
42. (51:30) How does the IT guy see lives…
43. What is the value of AAA mortgage back CDO’s worth
44. What is a AAA ranking
45. (54:30) What happened to the Global pool of money.
46. What is the goal of the GPM now.
47. Result?
48. Can Iceland get loans? Explain?
49. Effect on Student lending.
50. Effect on bankruptcy?
51. (56:43) What decade do ‘they’ think it will be like

Monday, September 24, 2012

chapter 2C AND 2D.

FINISH 1-18 for tuesday

1. Copy Figure 2.3
2. What does the Madisonian system encourage?
3. 2 forces about constitution
4. Federalists
5. Anti federalists
6. Federalist papers
7. Copy chart 2.5
8. Bill of rights
9. You are responsible for table 2.6
10. Why was ratification by special convention?
11. How can the constitution b e changed.
12. Copy figure 2.4
13. What has been the process of amendment in almost all cases
14. What is the result of amendments?
15. What is the ERA?
16. How did it fail?
17. How may the Constitution be amended informally?
18. Explain Judicial Review:
19. Marbury vs. Madison
20. Explain Political practice
21. How has the role of the Electoral college changed?
22. How has technology changed the constitution?
23. How has the president’s role changed?
24. Is the Constitution democratic?
25. How has the constitution become more democratic?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Chapter 2, part 2

Chapter 2
I don't care if you renumber.
Answer questions 1-24 on this list.
It's 38 to 44 in the 12th edition.

1. Us constitution
2. Describe the delgates
3. Things they agreed upon
4. What is human nature
5. Causes of political conflict
6. Def factions
7. Goals of gov.
8. Nature of gov
9. 3 issues drawing attention
10. Equality and representation of the states?
11. New jersey plan
12. Virginia plan
13. Connecticut compromise
14. How does conn comp favor small states
15. How was slavery dealt with
16. How was political equality dealt with
17. What economic issues were to be dealt with
18. What did beard claim about the framers
19. What does the best evidence suggest?
20. What were the powers of congress
21. What prohibitions would congress make on states?
22. What about debt?
23. how was individualism views?
24. what protections are clearly spelled out in the constitution? (several)
25. define writ of habeas corpus
26. tyranny of the majority
27. how was the tyranny of the majority prevented?
28. def separation of powers.
29. explain figure 2.2
30. checks and balances
31. how do we have a federal system
32. how do we have a republic

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

currente events assignment.

Read 2 - 3 articles about the current discussion of Romney's statements leaked to press recently.  Find more than one view point, review the articles and be prepared to talk about it tomorrow.  Possible sites to review include,, abc, cbs, msnbc, etc. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chapter 2 Part 1.

Read 29-33 and answer questions 1-14.

Chapter 2, Part One
1. Texas vs. Gregory Lee Johnson
2. US v. Eichman
3. constitution
4. How was life in the 18th century for the colonists?
5. What part of colonial life did the king and parliament affect.
6. Explain figure 2.1
7. How did the Fr. And Indian war affect BR’s relationship with colonists
8. Primary author of declaration of independence
9. What is a polemic, and how is the D.O.I. a polemic?
10. What was the reason for listing grievances?
11. John Locke?
12. Natural rights
13. Consent of the governed
14. Limited government
15. What 2 limits on government are very important to Locke
16. How is the American Revolution a conservative rebellion?
17. Articles of confederation
18. Describe the problems of the AOC
19. Explain table 2.2
20. What was happening in the states?
21. How did power shift in the states?
22. What was happening to America and Americans?
23. What played a key role in shaping public policy?
24. What did depression do to the famers?
25. Shays rebellion?
26. Annapolis meeting

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

how do i get an A?

AP Government has a large clientele.
How do we meet all of your needs, provide relevant coursework, and challenge and encourage you?
You may be destined to be President. Most of us aren't.
But we want to you to feel stimulated and engaged whether you are taking your 9th AP Class or your first.
Whether you are already planning your post doctorate fellowship at Georgetown University's International Relations school, or just feeling out your future.

But the question that always gets asked (along with, can we leave early -- NO) is,
'How do I raise my grade to an 'A''

Here is how we do it.

A: Attend all classes. Complete all reading and assignments before class. Have the ability to take notes efficiently, and possess college freshman level study skills. Have some degree of interest in the material, such that you are engaged, and interested for 180 class days. Try. And, you may need to demonstrate a 'knack' for multiple choice tests. All of these skills will be taught as the year goes on. But the dedication, effort, and attendance are things only you can provide. Bottom line: SHOW UP, PREPARED, EVERY DAY.

Anything less than an 'A'.
Less than outstanding attendance (anything greater than 2-3% absenteeism is less than outstanding). Missing any test without prior discussion is less than outstanding. This takes true focus.  If you miss one day every 2 weeks, it really adds up.  IF you have to be gone for sports and activities, make sure you know the assignment, and keep up in your absence.

Failure to complete readings and notes before class will hurt your grade: Copying others' reading guides is NOT completing your reading and notes.  It may get you a point, but it won't help you on the test.. The reading and note taking load is relatively light by college standards. But it is reasonable to expect 30 minutes per night, on average. If you can't do this EVERY night, your grade MIGHT suffer.

Lack of interest in the material: We all want to have 'fun discussions'. But there are certain nuts and bolts, certain parts we need, certain vocabulary and understanding we must have to have a fruitful discussion. If you aren't at least a bit interested in Government and Politics, you will struggle with learning the nuts and bolts.

Knack for multiple choice tests: With such large numbers of students, Multiple Choice tests are a fair and accurate way to assess knowledge. I do give 'correcting' curve opportunities, but, an understanding of test taking technique, which we will teach, is helpful. They are not trick questions however.  Proper preparation will be rewarded.

Don't hesitate to ask questions, etc.

Welcome to Government


AP US Government and Politics
Instructor: Luke Smith

Luke Smith

Dear Student,

I’m writing to present the material and expectations for the course in AP Government and Politics. I’m looking forward to teaching you, and I hope that the class will be challenging and rewarding for you.

The goal of the class is to give you an equivalence of a College Freshman Class in government and Politics.

The course of Study is listed in the Syllabus.
It is is in another Post, entitled, 'Syllabus'.

Following is a list of class policies and expectations for all students. Your first assignment is to review the ‘syllabus’ and ‘policies and expectations’ with your parents.

Please print, and sign along with your parent/guardian acknowledging that you have reviewed this together.

I’m looking forward to the school year. If either you (the student) or your parents have any questions, please do not hesitate to email.

Thank you,

Luke Smith

Parent / Guardian Name (Print)________________

Parent / Guardian Signature:__________________

Parent Email:______________________________

Student Signature:__________________________

Classroom Policies and Expectations for AP Government and Politics

This is the general list of class expectations. This should be basically the same as all other classes. If you have any questions about any of the specific points, please do not hesitate to call. I’m asking you to sign the list so that everyone involved knows the general expectations.

Attendance. Attendance is required. Students with unexcused absences will not be allowed to make up work.

Tardiness. A student is tardy if they are not in their seat, ready to work, when the bell rings.

Behavior: The classroom is a professional environment. Students are expected to be prompt, to participate, and to be polite and respectful towards each other and towards the teacher.

Class Materials: Just be prepared to read, write, talk.

Late Policy: Late work is not acceptable. Missed tests will be made up as quickly as possible during tutorial period or lunch.

Grading: Grades will be based on the following.
Daily Quizzes
Chapter vocabulary quizzes
Unit tests
Midterm and Final
Essays related to readings
Outside readings: To be assigned.

Cheating and Plagiarism: The penalty for cheating or plagiarism is that the work will be marked as a zero. I will also contact the parent or guardian and request a conference.

Electronics Policy: Per the school’s new policy, mp3 players, cellphones, etc. are banned. Thanks for your support.

Thank you,

Luke Smith

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Watergate, Plus 30
Summarize the events of Watergate
What were the pentagon papers, Daniel Ellsburg, etc., and why were they important.
What was the result of the Watergate investigation.
What is the lasting legacy of Watergate, according to the interviewees.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

4 and 5 review

ESSAY.  Write your answer in the space provided or on a separate sheet of paper.
1)  What is the Supreme Court's current stance on the death penalty? Do you agree with it? Do you think that the death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment? Explain. For what crimes, if any, is the death penalty justified?

2)  Describe the significance of the Supreme Court rulings in Miranda v. Arizona and Gideon v. Wainwright. Do you think the Court was properly enforcing provisions of the Bill of Rights in these cases or overreaching? Explain.

3)  Compare and contrast the civil liberty issues involved in the different types of speech such as obscenity, libel, symbolic speech, commercial speech, and speech over the public airways.

4)  How and why have the provisions of the Bill of Rights been incorporated into state laws? Do you think this is an infringement on the rights of the states, or appropriate to protect national civil liberties in all cases? Explain.

5)  Present the argument that the extension of defendants' rights have hurt the police and benefited criminals. What specific court decisions have extended defendants' rights and how?

6)  How have issues like prayer and Bible reading in public schools been settled by the Supreme Court, and why? How high would you construct the "wall of separation" between church and state, and why?

7)  Describe the specific provisions of the Bill of Rights in regard to those brought before the criminal justice system. Why do you think the Bill of Rights is so explicit in these matters, and do you approve these safeguards? Explain.

8)  Explain how the Bill of Rights was extended to the states. Cite key Supreme Court cases to illustrate your answer.

9)  Describe the Supreme Court's decisions regarding freedom of expression. How have the Court's decisions protected or extended democracy? Limited democracy?

10)  Explain the two facets of the freedom of assembly. What restrictions have been put on the right to assemble?

11)  Why have flag burning and wearing a black armband been protected by the Court? Do you think this is appropriate or not? Explain.

12)  The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press..." Under what circumstances has the Supreme Court decided that it is constitutional to abridge freedom of speech and press? Give examples of specific cases to illustrate your answer.

13)  How would you characterize the first ten amendments to the Constitution? Why, taken together, are these so significant? Do you consider them too narrow, too broad, or about right? Explain.

14)  Describe the significance of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling? Did the Court overstep its authority, or did it properly extend the right of privacy in this case? How have later Court decisions changed Roe? Explain.

15)  One of the greatest debates concerning Americans' civil liberties lies in the area of privacy rights. How does the right to privacy relate to the issue of abortion? Explain how the courts have dealt with this issue.

16)  Should freedom of assembly include the right of groups like the American Nazi party, the Ku Klux Klan, the Communist Brigade, and similar groups to march and hold rallies? Explain your answer and why others might argue otherwise.

17)  How have civil liberties affected democratic government in the United States? What are the basic conflicts between civil liberties and democracy?

18)  How has the Court dealt with obscenity cases and the very definition of obscenity? Should obscenity be protected as freedom of expression, or should local communities be allowed to set standards of what is and is not obscene? Explain.

19)  What is the establishment clause and the free exercise clause? What controversies have arisen in the United States over the issue of freedom of religion, and how have they been resolved?

20)  Describe the various ways in which the Constitution protects the rights of the accused through the stages of the criminal justice system. Give examples of how these protections have been challenged in the courts.

21)  Discuss recent Supreme Court decisions regarding the rights of homosexuals. To what extent have these decisions expanded equality to homosexuals? What social factors limit the likely expansion of equality to homosexuals?

22)  Explain how civil rights laws expand both the scope and power of government, citing specific court decisions and federal laws as evidence.

23)  What was so dramatic about the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education? How did the decision affect schools in its immediate aftermath? Should the Court have been more aggressive, or less? Explain.

24)  Describe the three eras that delineate African-Americans' struggle for equality in America. Explain how the roles of the court and Congress changed through the three eras.

25)  The equal protection clause has been used extensively. Describe its significance, and how courts have used it to rule on matters related to racial and gender equality. Do you approve of this use of the clause? Explain.

26)  What were the views and conceptions of equality during the early years of the American republic? What does the Constitution say about equality and civil rights?

27)  Although the Fifteenth Amendment specifically guaranteed the right to vote for African Americans, what legal devices did southern states use to get around it? How and when were these devices removed? Explain.

28)  Describe the historical development of Supreme Court decisions regarding free press/fair trial, and obscenity, citing specific court cases. What are the main features of the Court's current posture in this area?

29)  Explain why the text concludes that an expansion of individual freedom may require an expansion of the scope of government.

30)  Explain how the freedoms of speech and press have been compromised in the name of public order and the right of a fair trial.

31)  Describe the Supreme Court decision in the Scott v. Sandford case and explain its significance. After the Civil War, what laws were passed to undo the Dred Scott case and provide greater rights for African Americans? Why did these prove insufficient? Explain. 

32)  What is the purpose of affirmative action programs? Analyze arguments for and against the use of affirmative action programs in both the public and private sectors. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Weekend practice exam for students taking test

Take this practice test, and see me monday at lunch with any questions about the test....

Thursday, May 10, 2012

continuing review.

We will discuss these in class today.

Practice Test tomorrow.

1)  How have the Internet and cable television impacted American politics?

2)  Most describe government and election news coverage as superficial, narrow, and limited. Explain what factors contribute to these tendencies in news coverage in the United States. Who do government officials and candidates blame for the nature of news coverage? Who do journalists blame?

3)  How do the news media shape what people believe about the American political system? Give examples from research in this area.

4)  Compare and contrast the two major party platforms on the following issues: abortion, the environment, health care, taxes, defense spending and education.

5)  Present evidence to support the argument that political parties have waning influence on American politics.

7)  Describe what lobbyists do, and how effective they are. Toward whom is most lobbying directed, and why? Explain.

10)  Describe the powers of the Speaker of the House, the majority and minority leaders, and the whips. What limits to their leadership powers exist in their respective parties?

11)  Some founding fathers feared that the president might become a monarch if given too many powers. Comment on the argument that the presidency can be a threat to democracy. What implications might a powerful president have for the size of government in America?

12)  Describe the major strengths and weaknesses of the president in his role as chief legislator. What factors strengthen his ability to pass legislation he prefers? What factors weaken his ability to pass legislation?

15)  Describe the purpose of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. What factors made it a successful case of implementation? Why are laws and regulations seldom this successful? Explain.

16)  What is an independent regulatory agency, and what does it do? Briefly name two or three examples of such agencies. How do they differ from Cabinet departments in terms of presidential control? How do they differ from government corporations? Are these differences appropriate? Explain.

17)  Explain how the courts have affected the policy agenda throughout American history, citing specific court decisions as examples.

18)  Describe the typical participants and types of cases involved in the judicial system.

20)  Describe how Social Security is funded and why the text describes it as "living on borrowed time." Why are the possible scenarios for its future? What do you think will happen, and why?

21)  What role does the government play in providing health care in the United States? What are Medicare and Medicaid, and why are they significant? To what extent is health care rationed in the United States?

22)  Describe the rise of detente in the 1970s, and why President Ronald Reagan initiated a different policy when he took office. How do conservatives and liberals differ on interpreting the legacy of Reagan's policies toward the Soviet Union? What do you think? Explain.

23)  Explain how the media determine what is news, and how it is presented to the public.

24)  Do parties keep their campaign promises? For what purpose is a party platform, and how well does it predict the policies the party attempts to carry out when its candidates win office? In your opinion, are America's two political parties sufficiently different, or too much the same? Explain.

29)  Who are the bureaucrats and how do they become government workers? Compare and contrast the theories on what bureaucrats do and how they behave.

30)  How are court decisions translated into actual policy? What elements of the population are involved in judicial implementation, and how might implementation be hindered or helped? Use examples to illustrate your answer.

32)  Compare and contrast entitlement and means-tested social welfare programs in the United States Which one is more costly? Popular? Why?

33)  Describe the development of health management organizations in the United States. What are the key characteristics of HMOs? What problems did they solve? What problems have they created?

34)  How does the term interdependency explain the nature of the international economy? What are the major features of American international economic policy?

35)  Has the increase in information technologies in society created a more informed citizenry? Why or why not? What claims do the commercial media make regarding why citizens are or are not informed?

36)  Some political scientists talk about a party dealignment in process today. What is meant by this, and what evidence do they give for it? How does party neutrality fit into this argument? Explain.

37)  Explain what factors work to make an interest group successful.

38)  How important is party membership to a senator or member of the House in casting a vote? Are votes on some issues more or less likely to follow party lines? What other factors influence how an individual legislator casts a vote?

39)  List and briefly describe the Constitutional powers of the president. Which are the most important, and why?

40)  Describe the role of incrementalism and uncontrollables in the budget process and what alternatives have been offered for each. Is incrementalism necessary for an efficient bureaucracy? In what sense are uncontrollables "really" uncontrollable? Why, or why not?

Monday, May 7, 2012

unit 2, conclusion

ESSAY.  Write your answer in the space provided or on a separate sheet of paper.
1)  Explain why the family is central to individuals' political socialization. Describe how patterns of party identification across generations are consistent with this, using evidence from the National Election Study. 

2)  How do the American people feel about the scope of the federal government? What does it mean to say that the Americans are ideological conservatives and operational liberals? How have public attitudes on the size of government changed over time, and how does it affect public policy? 

3)  What is the effect of ideology on public opinion in America? Do people really think in ideological terms? Does the liberal-conservative dimension adequately capture how Americans feel about political issues? 

4)  Explain how public opinion is measured. What factors affect the accuracy of public opinion polls? 

5)  Present a critique of public opinion polling. What effect might public opinion polls have on the democratic process in the United States? 

6)  Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the present primary and caucus system of selecting national convention delegates. Would you favor a move to a different system, or prefer to keep the process as is? Be specific, and explain. 

7)  Explain how a political action committee works. How are political action committees regulated? Evaluate the influence of political action committees. 

8)  For what purpose do America's major parties hold national conventions? How have they changed over the last few decades, and why? Are they still worth holding? Why, or why not? Explain. 

9)  Why does the text refer to George W. Bush's first term as polarizing, and how was this reflected in the 2004 election results? 

10)  How does the voter turnout rate in the United States compare to the other industrialized nations of the world? Why is this so? What evidence is there that easing voter registration would increase turnout? Would you take any specific steps to raise voter turnout? Explain. 

11)  Compare and contrast the different agents of political socialization. What effect do they have on political learning? 

12)  Compare and contrast the presidential elections of 1800, 1896, and 2004. What factors made each election unique and important? What were some of the major changes between these elections? 

13)  To what extent does political participation reflect a bias in favor of the privileged? Should this matter? Why? 

14)  Comment on some of the many ways in which elections have changed throughout American history. Give examples to illustrate your answer. 

1. The judicial branch is designed to be more independent of public opinion than are the legislature or the executive. Yet the United States Supreme court rarely deviates too far for too long form prevalent public opinion.
a. Describe two ways in which the United States Supreme Court is insulated from public opinion.
b. Explain how two factors work to keep the United States Supreme Court from deviating too far from public opinion.

2. The power of the federal government relative to the power pf the states has increased since the ratification of the constitution.
a. Describe tow of the following provisions of the Constitution and explain how wach had been used over time to expand federal power.
          - the power to tax and spend
          - the "necessary and proper" or "elastic" clause
          - the commerce clause
b. Explain how one of the following has increased the power of the federal government relative tot he power of state governments.
          - American with Disabilities Act
          - Civil Rights Act of 1964
          - Clean Air Act

3. Initially, the U.S. Constitution did little to protect citizens fro actions of the states. In the twentieth century, the Supreme Court interpreted the Constitution to protect the rights of citizens from state governments in a process referred to as incorporation.
a. Define selective incorporation,
b. For two of the following, explain how each has been incorporated. Each of your explanations must be based on a specific and relevant Supreme Court Decision.
          - Rights of criminal defendants
          - Frist Amendment
          - Privacy rights

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chapters 6,9,10 review, 1 of 3

1) Describe what is meant by the melting pot.  What does minority majority mean and why is it likely to be increasingly significant in American society?  How will it change America? Do you think it will have any effect on the quality of life in the US? Explain.

2) Describe how public opinion polls make our system more democratic.  What are the potential problems with relying on these polls?

3) Define protest and why it is employed in the political process.  What is civil disobedience?  Should it be tolerated in American politics or strictly curtailed?  How can civil disobedience be defended?  Explain.

4) Present a critique of public opinion olling.  What effect might public opinion oplls have on the democratic process in the US?

5) Describe the major influences on one's political socialization, and how this comes about.  From your own perspective, which influences do you thiink contributed most to your political attitude today? Explain.

6) Describe "graying of America"

7)  Explain why the family is central to individuals' political socialization.  Describe how patterns of party identification across generations are consistent with this, using evidence from the National Election Study.

8)  Describe President Rean's view on the scope of government in America.  To what extent are these views reflected in American public opinion.

9) How do the American people feel about the scope of government in America.  To what extent are these views reflected in American public opinion?

10) What is public opinion, and why is so much time and effort spent on measuring it in the US?  What techniques are used to obtain an accurate reading of public opinion? Are public opinion poll results generally accurate?  Explain.

11)  What have public opinion polls tod us about the extent of political information among the American people?  Comment on the implications this holds for democracy in the US.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Unit 1 Review

1 . What are the major functions performed by all governments? Give examples of how these functions are performed in the United States.

2.     Describe the five principles of traditional democratic theory, as identified by Robert Dahl. Under what circumstances would the reality of democratic politics fall short of each of these ideal principles? Provide specific examples in your answer.

3.     Compare and contrast the three leading contemporary theories of how American democracy works. Which do you think most accurately describes the reality today? Explain.

4.     Discuss the political differences between young people and older adults. What might account for these differences? And what are the implications of these differences for democracy in the United States?

5.     Discuss the differences in political involvement between young people and older adults. How might youth involvement be increased in our democracy?

6.     Describe the major elements of the Madisonian model as embodied in the Constitution. Why did the Founding Fathers make this model so fundamental to the document?

7.     Explain how the colonial experience and the ideas of John Locke influenced the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.

8.     Explain what the founders intended the scope of the new United States government to be. Has the structure created by the founders actually limited government-or made it more accessible to citizens?

9.     Evaluate the democratic nature of the original and current Constitution with its amendments. Does the Constitution, with its checks and balances and separation of powers facilitate or impede effective policy making? Use relevant examples.

10. Identify and explain the formal method of amending the Constitution. Give examples of both successful and unsuccessful amendments.

11. What were the personal characteristics of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention? What were their basic philosophical views and how did these views affect the document they ultimately approved?

12. What was the significance of the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution? Were they intended to extend or to limit the power of the central national government? Explain.

13. Summarize the major arguments of the Federalist and Anti-Federalist. What were the major political compromises and manipulations used to ensure ratification of the constitution?

14. Describe the strengths and weaknesses of the national government under the Articles of Confederation. Would you call the Constitution an improvement? Explain.

15. Describe the founders’ attitudes toward democracy. What specific features of the Constitution reflect this sentiment?

16.  What was the economic condition of the country at the time of the Constitutional Convention? What were the major economic issues at the convention and how were they resolved? Why were economic issues so important to the founders?

17. Some argue that the Constitution has been “democratized” over the years. Explain what is meant by “democratization”, and give examples using references to relevant Constitutional amendments.

18. Describe American federalism and contrast federalism to unitary government. For a country like the United States, is federalism an appropriate system? Explain.

19. Define what is meant by “fiscal federalism”. How is it manifested through the federal grant system? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each of the different types of grants?

20. Explain what happened in the Sup0reme Court cases of McCulloch v. Maryland and Gibbons v. Ogden? What is the importance of each case to the distribution of powers between the states and the national government?

21. List some of the powers specifically granted to the state governments by the Constitution. List some of the powers specifically denied the states by the Constitution. Do the powers granted and denied seem wise? Explain

22. How was the issue of slavery resolved at the Constitutional Convention? Was this necessary for national survival? Explain.

23. Describe some of the key checks and balances in the United States government as established by the Constitution. Does this lead to more smooth and efficient government? Why or why not?

24. Describe the major features of the Articles of Confederation and explain why the Articles failed.

25. Describe the federal system as formulated in the original design of the Constitution. Explain how federalism has evolved or changed since the writing of the Constitution, particularly in terms of the establishment of national supremacy.

26. How can the constitution be amended? Is the process meant to encourage or discourage changes? Explain and evaluate.

27.  Discuss how federalism creates a more democratic political system.

28. Describe which groups in society the Federalists and Anti-Federalist represented. How did the political views of the Federalist and Anti-Federalists differ?

29. What are the advantages and disadvantages to democracy under a federal system? If you were drafting the Constitution today, would you opt to continue federalism or try something else? Explain.

April 30

finish Chapter 5
Review Chapter 1-3

Monday, April 23, 2012

essay prompts

2003_3 15.1 p. 469
 Using the data in the graph above and your knowledge of US politics, perform the following tasks.
(a) Identify two trends in the graph
(b) Explain how each of the following contributes to the difference between the federal and the state and local lines in the graph.
      1 Block grants
      2 Federal mandates

 2003_4 Both party leadership and committees in Congress play key roles in the legislative process. a) Define two of the following elements of the congressional committee system and explain how each influences the legislative process.
     1 Specialization
     2 Reciprocity/logrolling
     3 Party representation on committees
b) Identify two ways party leadership in Congress can influence the legislative process, and explain how each way influences the process

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

gov prompts

1. Asignificant feature of the electoral college is that most states have a winner-take-allsystem.
(a) Describe the winner-take-all feature of the electoral college.
(b) Explain one way in which the winner-take-all feature of the electoral college affects how presidential candidates from the two major political parties run their campaigns.
(c) Explain one way in which the winner-take-all feature of the electoral college hinders third-party candidates.
(d) Explain two reasons why the electoral college has not been abolished.

2. The First Amendment includes two clauses relating to the freedom of religion.
(a) Select one of the following cases and identify the First Amendment clause upon which the United States Supreme Court based its decision.
• Engel v. Vitale (school prayer)
• Lemon v. Kurtzman (state funding for private religious schools)
(b) Describe the Supreme Court’s decision in the case that you selected in (a).
(c) Select one of the following cases and identify the First Amendment clause upon which the Supreme Court based its decision.
• Reynolds v. United States (polygamy)
• Oregon v. Smith (drug use in religious ceremonies)
(d) Describe the Supreme Court’s decision in the case that you selected in (c).
(e) Many of these decisions have caused controversy in the United States. Describe two ways in which other political institutions might limit the impact of Supreme Court decisions.

3. Conflicts between Congress and the President over war powers have their origin in the United States Constitution. In 1973 Congress passed the War Powers Resolution in an attempt to clarify the balance of powers between the two branches of government.
(a) Describe the primary constitutional conflict between Congress and the President over the decision to go to war.
(b) Describe two provisions of the War Powers Resolution that were designed to limit the President’s power over war making.
(c) The War Powers Resolution has received mixed reviews, but Congress has other powers over war making. Other than the constitutional power that you described in (a), identify and explain two other formal powers Congress has over war making.

4.The framers of the United States Constitution created a federal system.
(a) Define federalism.
(b) Select two of the following and explain how each has been used to increase the power of the federal government relative to the states.
• Categorical grants
• Federal mandates
• Selective incorporation
(c) Select two of the following and explain how each has been used to increase the power of the states relative to the federal government.
• Welfare Reform Act of 1996
• Block grants
• Tenth Amendment

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

For Thursday.

Next 6-7 pages of Lineberry, Chapter 4.
Make sure that you have all of these questions answered: We'll finish our discussion tomorrow.

1) Explain the role of interest groups in shaping environmental policy in the United States

2) Describe some of the key laws passed by Congress in the past three decades to protect the environment. How effective have these laws been> what is the significance of the environmental impact statement? Explain.

3) Does democracy really have anything to do with the international relations and the foreign policy of the U.S.? In what ways has foreign and defense policymaking affected the scope of the American government?

4) Describe the U.S. foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan. How are these policies similar ad different to previous U.S. Foreign policies?

5) Describe the containment doctrine pursued by the U.S. during the Cold War, where it led the U.S., its cost, and its effect on the American society. In retrospect, what were the strengths and weaknesses of the policy? Explain.

6) Describe the rules of detente in the 1970s, and why President Ronald Regan initiated a different policy when he took office. How do Conservatives and liberals differ the legacy of Reagan's policies toward the Soviet Union? What do you think? Explain.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

essay prompts

2006-1 While interest groups and political parties each play a significant role in the United States political system, they differ in their fundamental goals.
(a) Identify the fundamental goal of interest groups in the political process.
(b) Identify the fundamental goal of major political parties in the political process
(c) Describe two different ways by which interest groups support the fundamental goal of political parties in the political process
(d) For one of the forms of support you described in (c), explain two different ways in which that form of support helps interest groups to achieve their fundamental goal in the political process.

2006-2 In recent decades, entitlement programs have constituted a substantial portion of the United States federal budget. Social Security is the largest entitlement program in the US. From the information in the chart above, and your knowledge of the US government and politics, perform the following tasks.
(a) define entitlement program
(b) What is the primary source of revenue for the Social Security program
(c) Identify one threat to the future of the Social security program should the trends depicted in the chart continue
(d) Describe on demographic trend that threatens the future of the Social Security program and explain how it is responsible for the threat that you identified in (c )
(e) Explain how any one of the trends in the chart above would change if the age of eligibility for social security were raised.

2006-3 The United States congress and the president together have the power to enact federal law. Federal bureaucratic agencies have the responsibility to execute federal law. However, in the carrying out of these laws, federal agencies have policy making discretion.
(d) Explain two reasons why Congress gives federal agencies policy making discretion in executing federal laws.
(e) Choose one of the bureaucratic agencies listed below. Identify the policy area over which it exercises policy-making discretion and give one specific example of how it exercises that discretion.
a. Environmental Protection Agency
b. Federal Communications Commission
c. Federal Reserve board
(f) Describe two ways in which Congress ensures that federal agencies follow legislative intent.

2006-4 The framers of the US Constitution created a legislative system that is bicameral. However, it is not just bicameral; the framers also established two houses of distinctly different character and authority.
(d) Discuss two reasons why the framers created a bicameral legislature.
(e) Identify one power unique to the House of Representatives, and explain why the framers gave the House that power.
(f) Identify one power unique to the Senate and explain why the framers gave the senate that power

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Continuing 18.

Define all terms- through end of chapter

Make a 3 column chart: List 3 types of tax programs, example of what each might look like, what groups benefited / harmed... etc.

Summarize 'welfare as we knew it'
-who benefited, and how it changed.

essay prompts04

Practice outline prompts.

1)Presidents are Generally thought to have advantages over Congress in Conducting foreign policy because of the formal and informal powers of the presidency.
a. Identify two formal powers of the president in making foreign policy.
b. Identify two formal constitutional powers of Congress in making foreign policy.
c. Identify two informal powers of the President that contribute to the President’s advantage over Congress in conducting foreign policy.
d. Explain how each of the informal powers identified in © contributes to the President’s advantage over Congress in conducting foreign policy.

2 Different interest groups will choose different techniques to achieve their objectives based on their resources, characteristics, and goals.
a) describe each of the following techniques and explain why an interest group would choose each technique.
Campaign contributions
Grassroots Lobbying / mass mobilization.

b) Select one of the following groups and identify the primary technique it uses from the list in part (a). Explain why the group you selected would employ that technique over the other two techniques.
American Medical Association
Sierra Club

3. Minor (Third) Parties have been a common feature of US politics.
a) Identify and explain how two rules of the United States electoral college act as obstacles to candidates winning elections.
b) Minor parties make important contributions to the United States political system in spite of the obstacles to their candidates' success. Describe two of these contributions.
c) Is a vote for a third party candidate 'throwing away' a vote?

4) Trust and confidence in government have declined in recent decades.
(a) Explain how divided government has contributed to the decline in trust and confidence in government. Be sure to include a definition of divided government in your response
(b) Explain how the increased cost of election campaigns has contributed to the decline in trust and confidence in government.
(c) Explain two specific consequences of the decline in trust and confidence in government for individual political behavior.

Monday, March 19, 2012

questions for review, 18.

What is the role of society in providing for the poor?
Why do we not guarantee equal wealth for all?
How can we provide social opportunity, but not guarantee equality?

Test corrections,
unit 5 and practice AP.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Review questions for Chapter 17.

1) Frame the debate over the value and harm caused by large multinational corporations. Must include the following terms: Capitalism, mixed economy, multinational, SEC, minimum wage, union, collective bargaining. WTO, L1-B visa

2) Summarize the GENERAL distinctions between the two parties with regard to the economy. Must include following terms in discussion: Unemployment, inflation, consumer price index, laissez-faire.

3) propose a hypothetical plan to modify the economy. Relevant terms are : Laissez-faire, monetarism/monetary policy, federal reserve, fiscal policy, keynesian, supply side economics, Laffer curve.


Listen to this.
Write a response to the audio segments. Use relevant vocabulary in your response, along with outside knowledge. Demonstrate understanding and an opinion.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sell it to the people!

Your are a Wal - mart Lobbyist.
Write a persuasive argument that the minimum wage should be lowered.

Write a persuasive argument that wal - mart should be allowed to hire illegal aliens.

Take the role of a local business owner.
Convince me that your community shouldn't allow wal -mart to open in your town.

Write a persuasive argument that the minimum wage will be raised.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


1999_1) In recent presidential elections, campaigns have become more candidate centered and less focused on issues and party labels. This change has been attributed both to how the media cover presidential campaigns and to how candidates use the media. Identify and explain 2 ways in which the media have contributed to candidate centered presidential campaigns. Identify and explain two ways in which presidential candidates’ use of the media has contributed to candidate centered campaigns.

Do not discuss primaries.

(2001_2)Find the Graph showing reelection rates for incumbents in the House and Senate. From this information and your knowledge of of the US politics, perform the following tasks. (Fig 12.1)
a) identify two patterns displayed in the graph
b) identify 2 factors that contribute to incumbency advantage. Explain how each factor contributes to incumbency advantage.
c) Discuss one consequence of incumbency advantage for the US political process

3) Trust and confidence in government have declined in recent decades.
(a) Explain how divided government has contributed to the decline in trust and confidence in government. Be sure to include a definition of divided government in your response
(b) Explain how the increased cost of election campaigns has contributed to the decline in trust and confidence in government.
(c) Explain two specific consequences of the decline in trust and confidence in government for individual political behavior.

4) The Framers of the United States Constitution created a legislative system that is bicameral. However, it is not just bicameral; the framers also established two houses of distinctly different character and authority.
(a) Discuss two reasons why the framers created a bicameral legislature.
(b) Identify one power unique to the House of Representatives and explain why the framers gave the House that power.
(c) Identify one power unique to the Senate and explain why the framers gave the senate that power.


apply vocab to this

Heavy Medals
February 22, 2012 5:13 PMSo, on the way to oral argument this morning in U.S. v. Alvarez, I was kidnapped by a tribe of angry space aliens. They beamed me up to a ship where they forced me to perform exotic anaerobic dance routines to old Leif Garrett songs. Later, they beamed me back onto the Supreme Court Plaza, but not before stealing my Medal of Honor.*

The preceding statement was a parody. Or it wasn’t. It may or may not have been political. In any event, that last bit about the Medal of Honor could send me to jail for a year.

In 2007, Xavier Alvarez of Pomona, Calif., was elected to the board of the Three Valleys Water District. At a board meeting, Alvarez introduced himself by saying: “I’m a retired Marine of 25 years. I retired in the year 2001. Back in 1987, I was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. I got wounded many times by the same guy. I’m still around.” Alvarez did not just lie about being a war hero; he lied about many things.

His catalog of untruths include playing hockey for the Detroit Red Wings, marrying a Mexican starlet, and rescuing an American ambassador during the Iranian hostage crisis. Xavier Alvarez isn’t just a compulsive liar. He’s a ridiculously bad one.

That’s why within days of his statement at the board meeting he was discovered by community newspapers, who decried him as a “jerk,” “cretinous,” and the “ultimate slime.”

The story would have ended there were it not for a 2006 congressional law called the Stolen Valor Act. This law makes it a misdemeanor to “falsely represent … verbally or in writing, to have been awarded any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the armed forces of the United States.” Conviction can result in a prison term of up to six months. Unless, of course, you lie about having received the Medal of Honor, which can send you to prison for a year. Charged with two counts of violating the act, Alvarez pleaded guilty, challenged the law on First Amendment grounds, and won at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which found the Stolen Valor Act violated the First Amendment because “false factual speech” isn’t a distinct class of speech (unlike, say, defamation or perjury) that gets no constitutional protection. A few months later—after the Supreme Court agreed to hear that appeal—the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law.

Most interesting to me is what judges think people lie about. So, for instance, amid the flurry of opinions written as the 9th Circuit tried to decide whether to review the Stolen Valor decision as a full court came this gem from Judge Alex Kozinski:
So what, exactly, does the dissenters’ ever-truthful utopia look like? In a word: terrifying. If false factual statements are unprotected, then the government can prosecute not only the man who tells tall tales of winning the Congressional Medal of Honor, but also the JDater who falsely claims he’s Jewish or the dentist who assures you it won’t hurt a bit. Phrases such as “I’m working late tonight, hunny [sic],” “I got stuck in traffic” and “I didn’t inhale” could all be made into crimes.

In so doing, Judge Kozinski launched a weird little judicial Rorschach test one might call Lies Federal Judges Worry About. Entries fly fast and furious this morning.
Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. represents the U.S. government, and he has the unenviable task of persuading justices—who have, in recent years, protected vile animal crush videos, violent video games, and the contemptible Phelps family—that people who lie about military medals are worse than they are. He opens by explaining that “military honors play a vital role in inculcating and sustaining the core values of our nation's armed forces” and that the Stolen Valor Act “regulates a carefully limited and narrowly drawn category of calculated factual falsehoods.”
Justice Anthony Kennedy is the first to speak up for false speech, telling Verrilli: “You think there's no value to falsity. But … I think it's a sweeping proposition to say that there's no value to falsity.” He then adds—truthfully I suspect—that “[f]alsity is a way in which we contrast what is false and what is true.”

Meanwhile, Chief Justice John Roberts is worried about protecting other types of lies: “Well, where do you stop?” he asks Verrilli. “High school diploma? It is a crime to state that you have a high school diploma if you know that you don't?” Verrilli says, “Some states do have laws respecting false claims to have received a diploma from a public university,” but Kennedy interrupts him to say, “But that’s fraud.” In this case, there is no clear harm to the victims and no clear benefit to the liars. Congress is trying to fix that very problem by amending the statute to punish only lying done "with intent to obtain anything of value."

Justice Samuel Alito worries about people telling lies about other people, as opposed to themselves. “Suppose the statute also made it a crime to represent falsely that someone else was the recipient of a military medal?” But here, Justice Antonin Scalia proves himself an absolutist: “I believe that there is no First Amendment value in falsehood,” he announces. Absolutely.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg then ponders whether “I deny that the Holocaust ever occurred” isn’t also a false statement of fact. And Justice Elena Kagan is worried about state statutes that “prohibit demonstrable falsehoods by political candidates.” Scalia notes in response that “even in the commercial context we allow a decent amount of lying, don't we? It's called puffing. … You won't buy it cheaper anywhere else. … So maybe we allow a certain amount of puffing in political speech as well. …. Nobody believes all that stuff, right?”

Kennedy tells Verrilli that the government’s best argument is probably a trademark argument protecting military medals, noting that “we could carve out a narrow exception for that.” He says that he hates the idea that “the government is going to have a ministry of truth and then allow breathing space around it” but observes that, “on the other hand, I have to acknowledge that this does diminish the medal in many respects.”

Then, Justice Sonia Sotomayor ups the ante with a TMI—Too Much Information. “Outside of the emotional reaction, where's the harm?” she asks. “And I'm not minimizing it. I too take offense when people make these kinds of claims, but I take offense when someone I'm dating makes a claim that's not true.” Sotomayor’s suitors are lying to her? (Or merely puffing?)

Verrilli replies, saying, “The honor system is about identifying the attributes, the essence of what we want in our service men and women—courage, sacrifice, love of country, willingness to put your life on the line for your comrades. … And for the government to say this is a really big deal and then to stand idly by when one charlatan after another makes a false claim to have won the medal does debase the value of the medal in the eyes of the soldiers.”

And so, at the halftime, we have Kennedy worrying about the truth of falsity, the chief justice fretting about academic liars, Ginsburg anxious about Holocaust deniers, Kagan worrying about lying politicians, and Sotomayor panicked about the passel of deceptive bachelors she keeps meeting on eHarmony.

It falls to Jonathan Libby, the attorney representing Alvarez, to defend the congenital liar. As he begins to speak, the chief justice stops him with this epistemological stumper: “What is the First Amendment value in a pure lie?” Libby replies, “There is the value of personal autonomy."

"The value of what?" asks Roberts.

"Personal autonomy," Libby says.

"What does that mean?" retorts Roberts.

“Well, when we create our own persona, we're often making up things about ourselves that we want people to think about us, and that can be valuable. Samuel Clemens creating Mark Twain.” Roberts says that this was for “literary purposes.” So Libby says, mysteriously, that “the fact that people tell lies allows us to appreciate truth better.”

Alito can’t take much more of this, asking, “Do you really think that there is a First Amendment value in a bald-faced lie about a purely factual statement that a person makes about himself, because that person would like to create a particular persona? Gee, I won the Medal of Honor. I was a Rhodes scholar, I won the Nobel Prize. …”

Justice Breyer: “Obvious example. Are there Jews hiding in the cellar? No.”

Chief Justice Roberts: “That’s not a statement about one's self!”

Justice Breyer: “Are you hiding Jews in the cellar?”

Kennedy and Libby tussle over whether a statute that criminalizes the wearing of false medals also implicates speech. Then Kagan asks Libby what types of truthful speech the Stolen Valor Act might chill. (Libby: None, at which point he has conceded the main argument for his side.) Breyer asks if there are less restrictive ways for the government to protect the integrity of military medals and Libby can’t quite name them. Scalia suggests maybe “giving a Medal of Shame to those who have falsely claimed to have earned the Medal of Valor?”

By the time Verrilli stands to deliver his rebuttal, Justice Kennedy wants to know whether the government can criminalize lying about college degrees and Kagan wonders whether the government can prohibit lies about extramarital affairs.

Sotomayor worries about men who lie about having college degrees in order to induce young women to date them. And by the end of the morning it looks like the court may just find a way to uphold a narrow version of the law by reading into the statute all the constitutional bells and whistles that aren’t in the text. Alvarez’s attorney shouldn’t have been able to lose a case about a law that makes lying about medals a crime. Not in a country where you can constitutionally protest military funerals and burn flags. But he may well have done it anyhow.

Seriously, though. I did win the Medal of Honor.
Disclosure: I am on the boards of both the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, both of whom filed amicus briefs in this case on behalf of Alvarez.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Practice Essays;

The US Constitution has endured for more than 2 centuries as the framework of government. However, the meaning of the Constitution has been changed both by formal and informal methods.
a) identify 2 formal methods for adding amendments to the constitution
b) describe 2 informal methods that have been used to change the meaning of the Constitution. Provide one specific example for each informal method you described.
c) Explain why informal methods are used more often than the formal amendment process.

In the last half of the twentieth century, voter turnout in federal elections has declined. During the same period, voter turnout has been higher in presidential elections than in midterm elections.

(a) Identify two factors that have contributed to the overall decline in turnout in federal elections and explain how each factor has contributed to the overall decline.
(b) Identify and explain two reasons why voter turnout has been higher in presidential elections than in midterm elections.


(ignore the numbers)
How are judges selected?
How are Supreme court justices selected. p. 513
Background of justices?
Role of partisanship?
Are presidents happy with their appointments? Examples

. How many cases submitted to supreme court each year?
. Explain writ of certiorari?
. Explain what court cases are likely to be selected by the courts
. Define solicitor General?
. How many cases heard each year?
. Define Per curiam decision?
. Define amicus curiae briefs?
Define opinion?
Who writes the opinion?
Dissenting opinion?
Concurring opinion?
Stare decisis?
Can the court over rule it’s own decisions. Give example.
Define judicial implementation.
Define original intent
Define the 3 eras of Courts and policies (p. 526)
explain Marbury v. Madison.
Define judicial review?
Explain the ‘9 old men’
What was the role of the warren court?
Explain the character of the Burger Court
Explain US v. Nixon
How do the courts serve as a check on the tyranny of the majority?
Explain judicial restraint?
Explain judicial activism.
What is the doctrine of political questions?
What is statutory construction?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chapter 16, Part 1/3

This is about 16 pages.
Look here for A couple questions over the weekend.

1. How Long are oral arguments in Court?
2. What do justices do?
3. What is the nature of the federal judicial system?
4. What are the two types of court cases? And Explain them?
5. What are Litigants?
6. What is a plaintiff?
7. What is a defendant?
8. What is standing to sue? How has it changed?
9. What are class action suits?
10. What is a justiciable dispute?
11. How do groups involve themselves in the court progress?
12. What is an amicus curiae brief?
13. Growth of Law Profession?
14. Discuss equality of access?
15. What courts are in the Constitution?
16. Judiciary Act of 1789? And explain 16.1.
17. What are Legislative courts?
18. What is original Jurisdiction?
19. What is appellate jurisdiction?
20. What are district courts?
21. Where are most court cases heard?
22. Do most court cases go to trial?
23. What is diversity of Citizenship?
24. Courts of Appeal?
25. Where do they come from?
26. How many appeal courts?
27. What is the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit?
28. Focus of appeals courts?
29. Supreme Court?
30. SC and Mandatory sentencing?
31. Size of courts?
32. How are federal judges selected?
33. What is Senatorial Courtesy?

Monday, February 13, 2012

research nuclear incidents

Compare and contrast
three mile island

nuclear incidents.
causes, key events, consequences.
legacy for future of nuclear power.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Essay Set 3

2003_1 Presidential approval ratings fluctuate over the course of each presidential administration
a. Identify two factors that decrease presidential approval ratings, and explain why each factor has that effect
b. Identify two factors that increase presidential approval ratings, and explain why each factor has that effect.

2003_2 Citizens often choose to participate in the political process in ways other than voting.
c. Identify two forms of participation in the political process other than voting
d. Explain two advantages of each form of participation you identified in (a)

2003_3 Moonbase. Discuss.

2003_4 JK.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chapter 14. Do half of the chapter.

1) Budget
2) Deficit
3) Expenditures
4) Revenues
5) Income tax
6) 16th amendment
7) Explain fig 14.1
8) What is a progressive tax
9) What is a flat tax
10) Federal debt
11) Government bonds
12) Why might our gov have taxes
13) Tax loophole
14) Perot loophole
15) Tax expenditure
16) Tax reduction
17) Put ‘America in perspective’. (Chart)

1. 1. How has federal budget grown?
2. How big is US Gov. relative to western nations.
3. How did
Cold War raise budget?
4. Military industrial complex?
5. How have defense expenditures varied?
6. What are large components of defense budgets?
7. Biggest slice of budget pie?
8. Social Security Act?
9. Medicare?
10. Payer to payee ratio for Social Security?
11. Possible Solutions?
12. Figure 14.5
13. What is incrementalism?
14. Are all budgets incremental?
15. Uncontrollable expenditure?
16. Entitlement?
17. Budget and Lasswell?
18. What are the stakes?
19. What are the strategies?
20. Who are the players?
21. House wasy and means committee
22. Senate Finance Committee?
23. Budget and Accounting Act
24. OMB
25. Power of the Purse
26. Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control act of 1974
27. CBO
28. Budget resolution
29. Reconciliation
30. Authorization Bill
31. Appropriations bill
32. Did the 1974 reforms work
33. Continuing Resolutions
34. Gramm-Rudman-Hollings
35. How does ‘democracy’ affect budget?