One discussion we will have this week concerns the many "hats" a President must wear. Although, the Constitution is fairly concise in detailing the powers and duties of the office, more and more demands have been placed upon "the Leader of the Free World." Some of these roles are obvious and the powers are easy to synthesize; others are implied and the powers that these roles entail have led to the current controversy with the Republican-led Congress. We will study both the powers and the roles this week that the office entails and ask the question, 'How powerful is the President?" So, here is what I would like you to do this week:
1. Click on the link below. Study one week of the President's agenda. To do this, click any week prior to the current one. The link above is from last week, but you may choose any week you want. Start your post with the week you studied.
2. Comment on what a typical day in the life of a President really embodies. What trends do you notice?
3. What roles is he playing throughout the week and what powers do those actions embody? Are these formal or informal roles and powers?
Well, if we ever get back to school and in a normal routine, we will begin our study of the Presidency. I so enjoyed the banter between many of you last week on the topic of war powers. We will rekindle that debate in class eventually. This week we will look at the "bully pulpit" aspect of the President. This unusual phrase was coined by President Teddy Roosevelt when he referred to the White House as a "bully pulpit," by which he meant a terrific platform from which to advocate an agenda. That terrific platform would even amaze ol' Teddy, what with the 24/7 news coverage that we have today. The President's every remark, move, gaff, trip, stumble, etc. is constantly under scrutiny. When the President is attacked personally, it is easy for him to take the high ground, because he IS going to get the last word, or at least his people are. Couple that with the often liberal slant to the mainstream media and no one who attacks the President personally is going to be considered a winner. Here is what I would like you to do this week:
1. Read the article below. If you want to search for more articles on Guiliani's comments, there are TONS out there of every slant.
2. Do you think Guiliani was out of line for questioning Obama's patriotism or is it fair game? Explain your opinion.
3. Do you think this attack is "racially motivated" or do you believe that is an attack of misguided socialism? Explain!
We will wrap up our unit on Congress this week with a test. After that test, we will be starting of our unit on the President. To bridge those units, I wanted to find an article that illustrated the inter-branch workings of the federal government. After an exhaustive search, I settled on one issue with bipartisan criticism and little support from the President's own party. About 6 months ago, the President made the decision to carry out air strikes against ISIS (or ISIL) in Syria without the graces of Congress. Democrats and Republicans in Congress both cried "foul" for different reasons. Now, the President is seeking their permission and financial support but getting the cold shoulder. Seems President Obama can not win either way. So, read the article below. Then come back and respond to the following:
1. Do you think the President needs Congress' permission to carry out strikes against ISIS? Why or why not?
2. What do you see as the biggest criticism of the President by the Republicans? Do you agree? Explain.
3. What do you see as the biggest criticism of the President by the Democrats? Do you agree? Explain.
4. What do you think we should do to stop the spread of the terrorist attacks by ISIS?
This week will study and actively participate in the legislative process. Writing bills is just the start of the arduous process that rarely sees a bill to fruition. I can hardly wait to see the outcomes for our class bills. One factor that often determines success in the legislative process is Presidential support. The Keystone Pipeline XL has been volleyed about now for 5 years, never even making it out of committee...until this year's Republican takeover of Congress. Now, not only is it out of the standing committees, it is through both houses and in conference before heading to President Obama's desk. What will the fate of this controversial bill be? Here is what I would like you to do this week:
1. Read the article below first. Then, look at the graphic below the article and study votes in the Senate.
2. Do you think President Obama will sign or veto this legislation? Explain your answer!
3. Why do you think 9 Senators "defected" and voted for the pipeline? What is their potential benefit; what is their potential cost?
4. Share your opinion on whether or not you think this pipeline should be passed and why you feel that way.
Hopefully we will avoid any bad weather this week and dig into to the legislative process by the end of this week! One of the most difficult part of the unit on Congress is the vocabulary. Filibuster, cloture, gerrymandering, pigeonholing, pork barrel projects, earmarks, logrolling--OH MY! Congressional rules make it easy to slip items in the budget, especially in the Senate, that when scrutinized seem frivolous. This week will will study earmarks and pork barrel projects in the budget. Here is what I would like you to do:
1. Go to the site below and choose a category to study.
2. Read one article under the category you choose.
3. Come back here and "report" what you learned about these wasteful projects:
A. What was the project?
B. Who was responsible for the project? (Name names!)
C. Who did the project help?
D. How much did the project cost?
4. Why do you think these projects pass in the first place?
Do you recognize this guy? Well, hopefully by the end of the week, you will! I want you all to learn about our "safe" Representative, Walter B. Jones, Jr. He is currently serving his 11th term as NC's US District 3 Congressman. Rep. Jones caught some heat for voting against Speaker John Boehner, but has not been formally ostracized as of yet. He remains a staunch Republican in a very red Congress. To familiarize yourself with Representative Jones this week, here is what I would like you to do:
Go to Representative Jones' Website and research who he is, what he does and what his beliefs and values are. Be sure that you do research under at least three tabs. Come back here and explain what three things you learned about your Representative. You may not repeat items, so blog early or be charged with reading what everyone else says before posting.
The last day to post comments for full credit is midnight on Friday, January 30th.
As we begin your final semester of high school, we do so with our most challenging chapter yet. For the next 3-4 weeks we will explore "the first branch" of our government, The Congress. The framers intended this to be the most powerful and dominant branch and in many ways, it still is. The primary function of Congress is to make laws for the US. Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Well, in a year of heated elections like 2014, legislation was not easy nor likely. The divide between the GOP-controlled House and the Democratically-controlled Senate for the last 2 years seemed as wide as the ocean at times. With the new 114th Congress getting to work now, we have a totally Republican-controlled Congress staring down a lame duck President. The two parties seem so polarized that every issue becomes a debate...even an electoral outcome! Here is what I would like you to do this week. Read the article below. Then, respond to each of the following questions:
1. Do you think our government is so polarized that it is "broken?" Why or why not? 2. Which branch of government do you think has the upper hand this year, Congress or the President? Why? 3. How do you think this divided government will impact this session of Congress?
4. Will Congress be more or less successful than last year's session? Explain your answer.
Well, Happy New Year! I know you all are welcoming 2015, the year of your graduation. The coming week is going to be fairly easy to say the least. When this semester ends on Friday, January 9th, we will have covered 12 chapters, completed 22 blogs, finished 4 projects and taken 5 unit tests. Whew! But do not be fooled...the course is about to ramp up--not wind down! Until quarter 3 begins, take next week to relax and have fun. This week's blog requires only your opinion and honesty AND you have no assignments due the week of exams. So, complete this blog and chapter 11 project this coming week then take a well-deserved break. One carrot I will dangle before you is the information on our May DC trip! Details and kick-off come the first day of the second semester. So hang in there and do the following for me this week:
1. What about the course is the most challenging for you? What do you suggest I do to help lessen the challenge without compromising the integrity, rigor, or required content of the course?
2. What has the course taught you about yourself?
3. What has the course taught you about your classmates?
4. Finally, what has the course taught you about your teacher? (Please be kind, but don't suck up!)
The very last day to post a comment for credit is midnight on Friday, January 9th. Next blog posted on January 18th and not due until Friday, January 23rd.
This week we will complete our unit on influencing government by exploring the role of the media. The Media has been called the "fourth branch of government" due to its enormous impact. Today the media is available 24-7 worldwide via the Internet. Even remote, small-town newspapers are still widely read. Americans can be informed on any event at any time nearly anywhere. Well, that is except in what happens at the US Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is hallowed ground and cameras are strictly forbidden. Today, oral arguments are audio recorded and available on the web just hours after a case is heard. But, should the High Court allow cameras to video tape proceedings or would this change the dynamics of the proceedings? Read the article below the come back here and answer the following questions.