• Summer Week 5: Voting Rights and Elections

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 7/10/2016 6:00:00 PM
    Please do the blog posts in order! (Start with week 1 and move through them in numerical order.)
     
    Wow!  This is the last blog for the summer.  Our vacation is flying by quickly. There are so many other topics that we will be exploring this next school year that I was in a conundrum about which topic to pursue. One of the most hotly debated topics is NC's newly passed Voter I.D. law. So, let's tackle it!  Republican legislatures all across the nation have enacted new laws that require voters to show a picture i.d. These laws, they argue, will prevent fraud and maintain the integrity of our electoral system. Democrats, however, are calling "FOUL!" They have, of course, turned to the government's referee, also known as the court system. Democrats liken these laws to poll taxes that disenfranchise the poor, the urban population, and disproportionately minorities (all that tend to vote blue.) North Carolina is still arguing over this issue, as this case has no been appealed to the US Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond. Our people are taking sides. So, here is what I would like you to do this week:
     
    1. Read the article below.
    2. Which side do you most agree with: the Democrats or the Republican? Explain why.
    3. What else could be done to make this law more fair, if anything? Is this law even necessary? Explain! 
    4. Finally, after reading the article, tell me who you think will win this lawsuit on appeal & why.
     
    Remember, you may not post more than one comment per week (Sunday-Saturday). A 2-point bonus will be awarded to those students that post all five comments before July 31. This post will be available for comments until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 28, 2016.  
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  • Summer Week 4: The Presidency

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 7/3/2016 8:00:00 AM
    Please do the blog posts in order! (Start with week 1 and move through them in numerical order.)
     
    As we start the semester exploring the topic of power, invariably we must look at our own concentrated version of individualized power--the President.  What always strikes me as odd is how my students (as well as the general public) think of the President as an autocrat!  Love him or hate him, our President gets much of the credit and blame for nearly everything.  People call every congressional action by the President's name.  We hear phrases like "the Bush surveillance program" and terms like "Obamacare" in the media. These terms and phrases imply that the President acted alone to implement policies and programs. Nothing could be further from the truth! Americans forget about the months and months of creation, deal-making, and compromising in Congress and just assume that President wrote, passed and implemented the law. Long after President Obama leaves office, he will still exude power. He will command attention by the media, much like former Presidents Clinton and the Bushes do. Now, we have two very different candidates that want his job. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both have image problems, but undoubtedly one of them will be our next President. So, with that introduction, here is what I would like you to do this week:
     
    1. Read the short articles below and study the charts.
    2. Why do you feel the American public chose these two candidates to be on the ballot in the fall?
    3. Based on the article and charts, explain how you view each of the candidates. What has helped shape your opinions?
    4. Finally, try to predict the electoral outcome in the fall. Who will be our next President & why?
     
     
    Remember, you may not post more than one comment per week (Sunday-Saturday). A 2-point bonus will be awarded to those students that post all five comments before July 31. This post will be available for comments until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 28, 2016. 
    Comments (6)
  • Summer Week 3: The US Supreme Court

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 6/27/2016 3:00:00 PM

    This post is the third of five. Please complete them in order, starting with week 1.

     

    The judicial branch is probably the most misunderstood of the three branches in our national government.  Americans have a high standard of justice and when we feel justice is not served (perhaps like we may see in the George Zimmerman or Casey Anthony cases) we get angry and rail against the system.  Our country has always had a passionate love-hate relationship with this branch.  Many of the grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence concerned this branch:

     
    • He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.  
    • He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. 
    • For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states.  
    • For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury: 
    • For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:
     
    In convincing the states to ratify the Constitution, Alexander Hamilton wrote the following about the judicial branch in The Federalist, #78:
     
     
     "It proves incontestably, that the judiciary is beyond comparison the weakest of the three departments of power; that it can never attack with success either of the other two; and that all possible care is requisite to enable it to defend itself against their attacks. It equally proves, that though individual oppression may now and then proceed from the courts of justice, the general liberty of the people can never be endangered from that quarter."
     
    I am not so sure Hamilton would agree after looking at many of the controversial decisions from this year's session of the US Supreme Court!  Our Court surely handed down some extremely contested rulings this year. With a simple majority of five, the US Supreme Court can strike down any law, halt any action, or refuse to intervene to save a life.  When you couple those powers with the fact that these members serve for life--THAT'S power!  The next President will have an incredible effect on the High Court because of the curren opening left by Justice Scalia's death earlier this year. Click on the links below to look over the following case summaries from the session that just ended. Post your comments as to: 
    1. Whether or not you agree with these decisions & why or why not, and;
    2. Whether or not we have concentrated too much power in the hands of too few.  
     
     
    Remember, you may not post more than one time per calender week (Sunday-Saturday).  A two-point bonus will be awarded to those that post comments for all 5 blogs by July 31, 2016.  All comments must be approved, thus there will be a delay in seeing your comment posted (I am not on the Internet at all times!)  The last day to post a comment for this blog is Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 11:59 p.m.
    Comments (10)
  • Summer Week 2: Congress

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 6/19/2016 3:00:00 PM

    This post is the second of five. Please complete them in order, starting with week 1.

    One topic this course emphasizes is that Congress is the "first branch of government." What that exactly means today is often up for interpretation.  The Framers gave the Congress the power to tax, the power to make laws and the power to fund nation's programs-just to name a few.  Most Americans, however, give the President the blame or credit--depending on their ideological point of view.  Although Congress passed the healthcare law, the stimulus packages, TARP, and the deficit budgets that have led to our nearly $19 trillion debt, the American public calls these "Obamacare," the "Obama Recovery," or the "Obama Bailouts."  I am certain James Madison would scratch his head at our misconceptions.  He would not be surprised, though, at the lively two-party system that has emerged.  I am certain he would point to these "factions" (as he called them in the Federalist #10) and be satisfied that there is a balance of power between the two.  In the article below, politics are to blame for the ongoing gun control debate between our divided government.  The Republican-controlled Congress believes that limiting law-abiding citiens from buying or owning guns is dangerous and probably unconstitutional; our Democratic President wants to implement strict limits on automatic weapons and new rules for background checks to prevent more mass shootings, like in Sandy Hook and Orlando. What to do? What kind of compromise will be hammered out, if any?  Here is what I would like you to do this week:

    1. Read the article below, then comment on what you think our course of action should be.  Which side do you most agree with and why?  What should we do about this tense issue of gun violence?
    2. Study the second link to public opinion polls on what a majority of Americans think.  How do your views stack up?  In your post, make it apparent to me that you have read the article and studied the trends.

    Senate Debate on Gun Control

    Polls on Gun Control

    Remember, you may only post one comment per week (Sunday-Saturday).  This post will be available for comments through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 28th.

    Comments (12)
  • Summer Week 1: Power

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 6/15/2016 7:30:00 AM
    Welcome to the AP Government Blog!  The goal of my blog is to help my students develop a deeper understanding of the topics we will explore this year and to help you take that understanding to make real world connections.  The first topic we will explore in August is power.  All year we will explore the essential questions of Who governs? and To what ends?  We will also explore the ideas of authority and legitimacy in obtaining power.  So, how does one gain power over people?  What or who gives them that power?  How does that person get others to follow?  When atrocities occur, when should the US and other countries intervene? If we do get involved to what extent and what costs? If we don't get involved, do we let other destructive regimes call the shots?
     
    Before you begin, please sign in to the site in the upper right corner using your student id number and password.  If you cannot get the site to log you in, PLEASE start your post with your name.  Failure to do one of these two will get you no credit because I will have no way to know who posted the comment.
     
    Here is what I would like you to do in this post:
    1. Click on the following link to read the article.  Read the entire article. Power in North Korea
    2. Analyze the article using the questions below so that I can tell you have read the article and have a thorough understanding of its content.  How do you think someone like Kim Jong-un maintains power? Should the US be alarmed at the persistence of the Kim dynasty? What should our response to this regime be? Should the US do more to end the regime or mind our own business?  Explain your opinion!
    3. In your post, please relate the topic to the article's content. You may also respond to postings by fellow students.  Please use proper rules of grammar, spelling and language.  This blog is not a place to text message!  
    4. Some of you may have strong feelings concerning this article's topic...Please keep all responses appropriate!  If you feel the need to attack, attack the position--NOT THE PERSON.  
     
    Remember, you may not post more than one comment a week (Sunday-Saturday)!  This post will be available for comments through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 28, 2016.
    Comments (16)
  • Week 33: Final Post: Advice to Rising Seniors

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 5/15/2016 5:00:00 PM
    Our year together is quickly winding down...I can't even say more than that without a sadness in my chest!  The underclassmen have all registered for classes by now and summer work goes live on the social studies website this week.  I know you are all smiling thinking about how you aren't going to miss that ONE BIT! Has this course been all you expected and hoped?  Has it been harder or easier than you imagined?  I want you to be frank in the advice you give to those that have signed up for this course next year.  Let them know what they are in for--both the good and the bad.  Now, maybe I should not have waited to have you blog on this topic after the AP exam. I have found that by now you are all just TOO HAPPY to be done and I am afraid that all I will get is sunny little comments about my course.  We all know those rose-colored comments are not reflective of the stress you felt last week in finishing the course work and preparing for AP exams. So, be honest; be fair; be kind; but don't be just a suck-up! Here is what I would like you to do in your final post:
     
    1. Explain to the rising seniors what is the most challenging aspect about AP Government.
    2. Give your best advice for being successful in the course...what do they need to do or not do?
    3. What should they look forward to about the course (besides the obvious DC trip)?  What should they dread?
     
    The last day to post a comment for full credit is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, May 27th.
    Comments (17)
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