There is an old proverb that goes something like this, "Great endings come from good beginnings." I am hoping this year has been a great start to the work you all will be expected to do next year. I also hope that the trip ending this course is the capstone of your high school tenure that you will reflect back on from time to time as you move forward in the world. In less than 2 weeks, you will take your final AP exam. To say this year has flown would be an understatement for me. I have enjoyed every minute of it, truly. As we rev up for our reviews, I would like to start here with the blog. I did this blog last year for the first time with a great deal of success and hope to have similar results this year. So, here is what I would like you to do this week:
List a fact about ONE constitutional amendment that you learned this year.
Define a word for your peers that you find to be a challenging concept.
List one agency in the bureaucracy and the area they oversee.
Explain one misconception that most Americans have, then hit us with some knowledge to clear it up.
Now, here is the catch...nothing can be repeated. (I will remind you that there are 27 amendments and only 34 in the class, but there are at least 3-5 parts to the 1st, 5th, 6th and 14th amendments!) The later in the week you wait, the harder this blog will be because you will need to read what your classmates have written before you post. Here is my list from above:
The 12th Amendment separated voting for the President and Vice President. Today, they run as a ticket.
An amicus curiae brief is filed as a way for special interest groups to lobby the SCOTUS in how a case should be decided.
The Federal Election Commission is a regulatory commission that enforces federal election laws and oversees disclosure of all campaign contributions. They have the power to make policies, enforce these policies and punish those that break them.
Many Americans believe lobbyists walk around with bags of money bribing government officials into making laws. Actually, there are so many lobbyists, representing so many interests, that what they really seek is simply access to provide information to the lawmakers. The rules about money today (disclosure) also keep both lobbyists and lawmakers honest.
Good luck! We will use this blog next week in one of our last class reviews.
The last day to post comments for full credit is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 28th.
This blog marks the last blog with an article attached...the end is surely very near! Make it through this week and you have officially made it to the end of the content of the course. Since we are covering environmental policy the week before Earth Day, I thought I would finish out the articles with one on this topic. We will debate the contentious nature of environmental policy with many topics like the Keystone Pipeline, Endangered species, Offshore oil drilling and Global warming just to name a few. The site you are going to this week is a debate forum on the environment. Choose a topic from the list, even if it goes back to 2014. Read the opinions and attached article, then come back and comment on the following:
Week 29: Culmination of the Institutions of Government
Posted by SELINA JARVIS at 4/2/2017 7:00:00 PM
Well, you all have made it past that dreaded third nine weeks and we are officially on the down-slope towards your graduation. We will officially complete our in depth study on the institutions of government this week with our test on the bureaucracy and the judiciary. I hope you have learned a great deal of details concerning how our federal government really functions. To give you all a bit of a break this week, there is no article...only opinions and dialogue. Here is what I would like you to do this week.
Explain one interesting tidbit you learned about each of the four institutions: Congress, the Presidency, the Bureaucracy, and the Judiciary. What surprised you? What concerns you? What were you finally able to understand? Tell me some great details!
Then, defend which branch you think is (a) the most powerful, (b) the least dangerous, and (c) the most misunderstood?
Finally, rate yourself on how well you think you understand the four institutions we have studied from 1-10 with 10 being "I've got this!"
The last day to post a comment for full credit is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 7th.
This week we will begin our study of the last of the institutions, the federal judiciary. Their list of powers in the US Constitution is relatively unimpressive. There is no mention of their greatest power, judicial review. This power was conferred upon the courts by their own rulings. John Marshall, in writing the opinion in Marbury v. Madison said, " It is emphatically the province of the judicial department to say what the law is." Over 200 years later, the Supreme Court is still reviewing laws and actions that allegedly conflict with the Constitution. The case you are reading about this week, is complicated. That Jae Lee is most likely guilty is not the issue. The case revolves around the right to counsel in the 6th Amendment. Complicating the case is the fact that Lee is not a citizen. So, like the SCOTUS, I want you to interpret the law. Here is what I would like you to do this week:
1. Read the article below.
2. How would you rule in this case? Why?
3. What is the benefit of siding with the petitioner? What is the danger?
4. How do you think the high Court will rule? Explain your opinion.
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.