This week we will continue our study of the institution of the bureaucracy. With the unit on the Presidency under your belts, you hopefully can see that the executive powers of the President are only as good as the agencies that carry out the laws day-to-day. This week's blog is a study of one of the most feared part of the bureaucrcy there is...the TSA. This agency can strike fear into the hearts of even the most law-abiding traveler. The agency has been blasted by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress. Now, I do not think the TSA is going to be abolished any time soon, but it sure does sell nicely back home to grill those that make us feel so uneasy at the airports. As a slave to both branches, the TSA is a tough place to work right now. So, here is what I would like you to do this week.
So, you have all survived the two toughest units when you officially make it to Friday. I hope it has been educational, interesting, and a little bit scary at times. This week, I want you to reflect upon what you have learned about the Congress and the President. Explain in detail each of the following:
1. What do you think is the most important power that Congress possesses?
2. What do you think is the most important power that the President possesses?
3. What misconception you may have had about either branch has been cleared up?
4. Finally, who do you feel is the most powerful: The Congress or the President? Explain!
The last day to post comments for full credit is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 17th.
As we wind down the week, we will wind down our study of the Presidency. We have studied the requirements, the duties and the roles of the President. This week, we will look at the honeymoon period and the second term slump. A quick study of President Obama's last 4 years in office highlights the trends that Wilson points out in his textbook about the second term blues. Furthermore, President Trump is also victim of another trend that President Obama suffered from, too: party polarization. Trump's honeymoon period has really been non-existent. This week, here is what I would like you to do:
1. Watch the video in the first link.
2. Click on the second link and study the trends.
3. Analyze both Presidents Trump and Obama's job performances by using the information and the trends.
a. What trends are the most telling to you about their Presidencies?
b. Do you agree with these overall performance assessments? Explain why or why not.
c. What do you perceive will be Obama's legacy? What do you think Trump's biggest achievement might be?
This week, we will explore the 13 powers delegated to the President by the Constitution and its amendments. We will also explore the expansion of his powers through the "Take care" clause and other interpretations of the vague language of the Constitution. That Americans believe the President governs as an autocrat frightens and baffles me.
Another 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 media, the Democrats, and many Americans. 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:
Click on the link below. Study two different days from different weeks of the President's daily agenda. To do this, click on any day's link. The link below is from February 24th, but you may choose any days you want. You may click on the "Next" button below the list to go to previous weeks. Start your post with the 2 days you studied.
Comment on what a typical day in the life of a President really embodies. What trends do you notice?
What roles is he playing throughout those days and what powers do those actions embody? Are these formal or informal roles and powers?
As we wrap up our intensive study of Congress this week, we will jump right into the second branch of government, the executive branch. We will look at the "bully pulpit" aspect of the President as one of the most important tools he possesses. 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, statement, etc. is constantly under scrutiny. When the President takes controversial actions, he can often "sell it" to the public via his use of the media and "wait out" the judicial challenges. Our current President's preferred media use seems to be Twitter, though. America is uncertain how to respond to this new bully pulpit usage and the media is treading on unfamiliar ground. Trump has bypassed the media to sell his policies on immigration, healthcare, and other initiatives that he promised to act upon during the campaign. So, does this mean the traditional media is now out of the loop? Here is what I would like you to do this week:
Read the articles below.
What do you make of the President's unusual relationship with the news media?
Is President Trump's use of Twitter a sign of how the media has changed or is it a political way to subvert the press to make them play nice with President Trump? Explain how you feel about the Press and the President.
What predictions can you make about the future of the relationship with President Trump and the press corps?
This week will study and continue to 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 of all of the class bills. The divided government under President Obama's last term of office stopped the most controversial bill from being enacted courtesy of the President's veto tool. I am very excited about the site you are examining this week. I have spent WAY TOO MUCH time today scouring the site. So, here is what I would like you to do this week:
Study the legislative productivity chart in the first link below. Then, come back here and note at least one trend you noticed or conclusion you made.
Next, click on the second link below (or you can click the hyperlink in the chart under laws enacted). Study one of the bills that passed and was enacted. This link is for the 114th Congress. If you want (and no one else has reviewed them, you may use the drop down box and look at the 3 that have passed the 115th Congress, too).
Come back here and explain ALL of the following for the law you studied:
What was the Name & GIST of the law enacted?
In which house did it originate?
Who was the sponsor?
Name at least 1 committee or subcommittee that studied it.
Which house had the closer vote?
Once a classmate "reports" on a bill, it is off-limits for the rest of the class. Since there are 329, I do not worry you will find a bill to study.
This week we will build on our discussions about delegate representation and dig into to the legislative process by the end of this week! One of the most difficult parts 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 topic you chose? What was the project? Describe it!
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?
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 hot political divides and protests, legislation is not easy, or likely. The divide between the GOP-controlled White House and the minority Democrats in Congress couldn't be wider it seems. For the last 8 years under President Obama, the divide seemed as wide as the ocean at times. With the 115th Congress underway, we have a totally Republican-controlled Congress staring back at a new, unpredictable President. The two parties seem so polarized that every issue may a debate. Here is what I would like you to do this week. Read the article below. Then, respond to each of the following questions:
Do you think our government is so polarized that it is "broken?" Why or why not?
Which "cause" of polarization in the article do you blame most? What arguement did you find most convincing? As you get to the end of the article, re-examine it now that we all know the outcome of the 2016 elections.
What can be done, if anything, to pass legislation?
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 12th term as NC's US District 3 Congressman. Last year, Rep. Jones led the revolt against former Speaker John Boehner, but triumphed as a trend-setter when Boehner bowed out. He remains a staunch Republican in a very red district in a fairly red state. 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 topics under the Issues tab. Come back here and explain what three things you learned about your Representative and how you feel about those insights.
The last day to post comments for full credit is midnight on Saturday, January 28th.
This week marks the end of the first semester for us. I have tests to complete, projects to grade and blogs to post...all before Friday gets here. So, what I am getting at is this: There will be no blog this week. We will take the week to begin our look at Congress through the YLI simulation and the beginnings of chapter 13. Once January 30th rolls around, there will be no rest for the weary! See you Monday!