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!
As the new year begins, I know you are all welcoming the year of your high school graduation. When Friday comes and goes, you will have responded to 22 blogs, taken 5-1/2 unit tests, turned in 5 projects and completed 12 chapters in the textbook. Don't be lulled into thinking the course is winding down, though. In fact, the course is about to hit its biggest concepts in the coming quarter. So, take exam week off to rest and relax, because quarter 3 has its stresses and rewards breathing down your necks. Here is what I would like you to do this week:
What suggestions do you have for me to improve the course without compromising the rigor, content, or requirements for the course? Many of the key details of this class have come from this very post in the previous years!
What has this course taught you about yourself and your study habits? Focus not just on negative things here, but positives as well!
What has this class taught you about your country, peers and leaders? Does that frighten or excite you with the upcoming Presidential innauguration?
The last day to post a comment for full credit for this blog is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, January 13th.
Happy New Year and welcome to the year of your high school graduation! These next few months are sure to fly, but in between we will culminate our course by primarily studying the major institutions of our federal government. Before we take that leap at the end of the month, we will complete our unit on"Influencing Government" by studying special interests groups. This unit will tie interest groups to other influences that we studied before the break-political parties, elections and the media. Your special interest project is due on January 11th, but if you have not started your research, that is all right. This week's post is a gentle way to nudge you into starting.
The site you are exploring today is a HUGE non-partisan database. You are going to be exploring just the section on special interest groups, but feel free to peruse other sections. Okay, here is what I would like you to do this week:
Pick 2 topics to explore. You may choose from the drop-down section if you want.
Find a group that supports Republicans and another that supports Democrats on each issue.
Read about the group's position on each side then come back here and contrast the differences in positions for each issue you chose to explore. To determine if it is a Republican or Democratic supporter, click on the Endorsements tab and look at the candidates the group endorsed.
The last day to post comments for full credit is 11:59 p.m. on January 6th.
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. Americans can be informed on any event at any time nearly anywhere. With the rise of the use of social media, stories can go viral and be shared by tens of thousands in a blink of an eye. In the last few months, both the left and the right have railed and lamented over the problem of "fake news." From the bus tweet alleging Trump protestors to the Washington Post story about Russian hackers, both sides have been culprits in spreading fake news.
You were all part of my social media nightmare earlier this fall when our Today's Meet forum was crashed by trolls. I was devasted, horrified, and powerless while it was happening, but learned a very valuable lesson about not password protecting my bakchannel.
After spending way too long looking for an objective story, I came upon one that may help all of us from becoming the perpetrators of spreading misinformation. I am a news junkie. I read, research, then read some more. So, here is what I would like you to do this week:
Bob Dylan once said, "Money doesn't just talk, it swears." Money and politics have always left Americans a bit skeptical. No one wants to believe that someone else's vote counts more than theirs simply because that other person has money. The sad reality is that it does take MILLIONS of dollars to be President. The old adage that "Anyone can be President" is simply not true. This week you will be looking at the 2016 Presidential race and the money raised by the candidates. The site you will be exploring is maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics. Here is what I would like you to do once you go to the site via the link below:
Using the link below, click on the Presidential link on the left side of the page to compare the money that was raised by the Presidential candidates in 2016. Comment on the amounts.
Click on at least 3 of the candidates names and scroll down to study the source of their funds. What did you learn from the comparisons, discussing commonalities and differences?
From the Menu button at the top right of the page, click on the Congressional elections and go to North Carolina;s races. What patterns and trends do you notice about the incumbents in these races?
When you are finished exploring the site, comment on your overall feelings about money and politics.
This week, we will start our unit on the Influences on our government. We will start this short unit on political parties. I think we all may be a bit sick of the whole mess, but alas, we must perservere! With controversies still swirling around November's election outcomes, the drama is far from over. One person who is also fed up is Bernie Sanders. Now before some of you start cutting your eyes, let me at least finish my introduction. Bernie is far from being a sore loser. On the other hand, he has come out smelling like a rose and being treated like a rock star. He gave an interview this weekend about the future of the Democratic party and the problems he perceives with the party who rejected him and the party who won the White House. So, here is what I would like you to do this week:
As Milenials, do you agree with his assessment of the problems in the country? Would you want your generation to have higher taxes in the future if it meant free college tuition, better healthcare, and more income redistribution?
Does the Democratic Party need to embrace Sanders' Socialist ideas to broaden its appeal or do you think the last election was just a fluke? Explain your opinion.
The last day to post your comments for full credit is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, December 2nd.