• Blog # 8

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 1/8/2021

    For this week's blog we will analyse the events that took place at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday afternoon.  These events have shocked our nation and the rest of the world. Please view the video on incitement, read the article below, and then answer the questions.

     Q1.  Speaker Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer - have urged Vice-President Pence and Mr Trump's cabinet to remove the president for "his incitement of insurrection".  What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you believe President Trump is in any way responsible for inciting violence at the U.S. Capitol, or does the responsibility lie solely at the hands of those who chose to riot?

     

    Q2.  Analyze the 25th Amendment and explain the process that would be required to remove a sitting president from office.  Is this likely to happen?

     

    Q3.  President Elect Joe Biden has described the Capitol riots as the “darkest day” in U.S. history. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? In your opinion what will it take for our nation to move forward after this event? 

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsuBntHrJeI

     

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-55583264

    Comments (8)
  • Blog # 7.

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 12/6/2020

    This week we will continue our study of the three branches of government.  As you know the executive branch is headed by the President and the Vice President with their primary role being to enforce laws passed by the U.S. Congress.  In order to do this the president is afforded many powers, some formal some informal. One such informal power is the power of bargaining and persuasion.  This particular informal power enables the president to secure congressional action. With the outbreak of COVID-19, President Trump has exercised this power to help secure the passage of a previous economic stimulus package, and now President Elect Joe Biden is weighing in on this new economic stimulus plan. 

    Given that we have a divided government and a lame duck president, it should be of no surprise that it won't be plain sailing for the president to use his powers of bargaining and persuasion to help broker this deal. To help further our understanding of this stimulus deal I would like for you to read the articles below and respond to the questions.

     

    Q1.  Read the first article and summarize the major categories of funding that the new compromise proposal may cover. 

    Q2.  Click the policy link.  From your reading determine whether this stimulus package fits in line with Keynesian economic policy or laissez-faire economic policy. Explain your answer. 

    Q3.  Should  President Trump influence the passage of this second stimulus package?  Explain your answer and in doing so site specific pros and cons associated with it. 

     

    $908 billion stimulus plan might not have a second check, but you could benefit anyway

    Economic Policy

     

    Comments (8)
  • Blog # 5

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 10/25/2020

    Last week we completed our first unit of study and ended it by exploring the concept of federalism.  We looked at the approaches to federalism taken by people like Madison, Roosevelt, and Reagan. We learned that Madison appeared to favor the concept of dual federalism, while Rosselvelt prefered the top down approach, and Reagan the bottom up approach. We also learned that the national government has been able to get involved in various programs traditionally reserved to the states via their ability offer states federal funds which often come with conditions, unless it is an unfunded mandate. Overall I think we have been able to conclude the concept and practice of federalism is something that is not clear cut and can it times become complicated. With that being said, for this week’s blog I would like you to reflect on this unit and draw a conclusion as to what you think federalism should look like. Read the article below and answer the following questions:

     

    1. Which approach to federalism do you prefer? Do you prefer dual federalism like Madison, the top down approach taken by Rosselvelt, or perhaps the bottom up approach taken by Reagan?
    2. In reference to the unfunded mandates discussed in the article, which of the above presidents would most likely be in support of these and why? Who would most likely oppose and why?
    3. Evaluate the extent to which you believe unfunded mandates are necessary. Select an unfunded mandate not mentioned in the article to help support your argument.

     

    Unfunded Mandates

    Comments (9)
  • Blog # 6

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 10/23/2020

    For this week’s blog we are going to explore the diversity of Congress and the impact individual members have on laws and policy. Clearly members of Congress exercise a great deal of influence over laws and policy.  Therefore one might argue that it is fair to say the beliefs and interests of each individual member are of great significance. But who are these members? Who makes up the 116th U.S. Congress and who will make up the 117th Congress? And what factors influence the decisions that they make? 

    Q1.  What factors do you think contributed to the changing demographics of the 116th and 117th U.S. Congress?

    Q2.  How and why is diversity good for our political system?

    Q3.  What approach do you think will best guarantee reelection for these freshman members, the delegate model approach or the trustee model approach? Explain your answer

     

    116th Congress by Party, Race, Gender, and Religion

    Racial and Gender Diversity in the 117th Congress

    Comments (10)
  • AP Gov Blog # 4

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 10/13/2020

    Chapter 3 looks at the complicated aspect of federalism in our republic.  This principle sets our nation apart from most others. The states created the national republic, but it might be argued that most of the Framers would be appalled at how few true powers the states have retained.  The 10th Amendment was intended to protect the states by reserving to them any power not delegated to the federal government or specifically denied to them. That was 1791! The line between federal and state authority has continued to be erased by the 14th Amendment, federal money and the Commerce Clause's interpretation.  Education, marriage, and elections have all traditionally been viewed as "reserved powers" of the states. This rationale follows the language of the Tenth Amendment...there are no provisions giving the federal government dominion over any of these; nor are the powers denied to the states; so these powers belong to the states, right?  But issues become the federal government's business when, as in the gay marriage debate and the right to vote, they seemingly violate the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause. But the issue of education reform is a bit murkier. Education becomes the federal government's business when it is their money being used by the states. We have seen a litany of federal education reform laws that have been vilified by nearly everyone. From No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top and Every Student Succeeds Act. All of this leads us to question the extent of the federal government’s involvement in public education.  With that being said, I would like you to read the article below and respond to the following questions:

    1.  Do you support a 10th or a 14th Amendment view? In other words, who should make decisions about education: local boards, the states or the federal government? Give me some insight about the reasoning of your view
    2. As a student with over 12 years experience in public education, what do you perceive are the biggest problems and how would you solve them?

     

    “Federal policy makers made serious mistakes during the NCLB years — they chose a flawed approach to raising student achievement, did too little to help states pay for the changes they mandated, and trampled on the authority of state and district leaders to make their own decisions about school reform. But these errors are a good reason to rethink the federal strategy, not diminish the government’s ability to contribute to school improvement. There is both strong precedent and an urgent need for the federal government to continue to play an active role in K-12 education. Certainly, it should try to stay out of decisions that are best left to governors, state legislators, school boards, superintendents, and teachers, but when local leaders are unable or unwilling to provide for all children’s needs, federal policy makers have an obligation to become involved.”

     

    1. Summarize what you believe should be the federal government's role in public education.  Be specific.  For example, do you think it should be limited to providing funds that states can use at their discretion?  Or, should they be able to mandate how federal funds are used?  

     

    The Federal Government’s role in K-12 Education



    Comments (10)
  • AP Gov Blog # 3.

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 9/21/2020

    Recently we have delved into several primary documents. Most notably The Federalist papers. In #51, an argument is given about how separation of powers will protect rights and keep the government from being abusive. Checks and balances tie the hands of the branch that over-stretch their authority. One such example is the legislative branch being able to check executive branch appointments to the Supreme Court. Once the President nominates a Supreme Court Judge, it is the job of the U.S. Senate to either approve or reject the nominee. However, this process of nominating and confirming has become incredibly contentious for many reasons. For example, in 2016 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to hold confirmation hearings to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left when Justice Scalia Died in February 2016. He stated that "The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president,". However, now that a vacancy has emerged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated that President Trump’s nominee to replace Ginsburg will get a vote in the Senate. On Friday he released the following statement concerning the current SCOTUS vacancy. This statement has led many to argue that he has reversed the position he took in 2016. Therefore it would now appear that we may be in for yet another contentious confirmation process.

    For this week’s blog I would like for you to read the articles below and respond to the following questions:

    1. Should Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell push ahead with the appointment of a new Supreme Court Justice before the upcoming election, or should he wait until after the election? Defend your answer
    2. Given the nature of such appointments how thorough should the Senate Judiciary Committee be during their confirmation hearings?  
    3. President Trump has vowed to appoint a woman to replace Justice Ginsberg.  Why do you think he has committed himself to appointing a female Supreme Court Justice?  Is this the right decision?  How important is it to have diversity within the SCOTUS?
    4. "Judges, unlike any other issue, unite Republicans of all stripes: MAGA hat wearers, neoconservatives, country clubbers, and every other label you can think of. There’s simply no other issue like it. We relish judicial confirmation battles. We all want conservatives on the bench, and we’ll all fight like hell to get them there." Matt Gorman claims this is because liberals "legislate from the bench" whereas, "conservatives will interpret the Constitution as it was intended." Find an example (SCOTUS case) to support and or refute this assertion. Be sure to reference the composition of the Court (how many ¨liberal¨ justices, how many ¨conservative¨ justices, and how they voted).

    After Kavanaugh, Republicans are looking forward to another Supreme Court fight

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death sparks political firestorm

    Top 10 Controversial Supreme Court Cases

    Comments (9)
  • AP Gov Blog # 2

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 9/8/2020

    Recently in class we have discussed the meaning of political power and how political power is distributed in our democracy. We have discussed the legitimacy of power and explored the composition of the political elites who are involved in the struggles over policy. When I read this week’s article I couldn't help but think about this power struggle and how power is distributed in our democracy.  With that being said, for this week’s blog I would like for you to read the article below and answer the following questions:



    Q1.Do you agree or disagree with Rosenberg’s assertion that democracy in American and the West is falling? Support your answer.

    Q2.  In reference to democracy falling, Rosenberg states, “We’re to blame.  As in 'we the people'.” Why do you think he is laying the blame at our feet?

    Q3. What does this article suggest to you about the distribution of power in our democracy?

     

    The End of Democracy

    Comments (11)
  • AP Gov Blog # 1

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 8/17/2020

    Blog Week 1:

    Welcome back for your senior year! I will post a blog every other Sunday on a topic related to our readings, discussions and course objectives.  It will be YOUR responsibility to comment on the article BEFORE Friday at midnight.  Each comment will be worth 10 points. Comments posted after Friday at midnight  will be docked 3 points; comments posted after the Sunday deadline will be docked 5 points. Responding to each post is not an option. I expect each and every one of you to comment on each and every topic. To get full credit you also must read the article and react to all questions posed in the blog post.  Failure to do so will take 3 points from your grade. I also insist that you use correct spelling, punctuation, grammar.

    Our first discussions will center on the definitions of power, authority and legitimacy. We will also focus this week on the types of power. One type of power we will discuss is pluralist power; whereby many groups compete for power so no one group has complete control. Many Americans like to believe this is the perfect theory when it comes to our country. I think it helps us somehow sleep better at night knowing that power is watered down so there is no one "Big Brother." So, let's test this theory. Who is really calling the shots and wielding power in our country? Read the article below, then come back here and comment on all of the following:

    1. Does this study surprise you? What are your fears if the findings are true?
    2. In the article it states “Ordinary citizens in recent decades have largely abandoned their participation in grassroots movements. Politicians respond to the mass mobilization of everyday Americans as proven by the civil rights and women's movements of the 1960s and 1970s. But no comparable movements exist today. Without a substantial presence on the ground, people-oriented interest groups cannot compete against their wealthy adversaries.” Given that this article  was published in 2014, do you still believe this to be the case? Explain your thoughts.
    3. Donald Trump asserted during the campaign that he was the best choice for President because he "Can't be bought" like the other candidates. Now that he has been President for almost four years, do you agree or disagree with his statement? Explain.

    Who Rules America?

    This article is based on a study of data. Click here if you want to read this study.

     

    Comments (11)
  • Summer Blog # 4

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 7/21/2020

    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 Obama bailouts" and terms like "Obamacare/Trumpcare" 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 a President leaves office, he will still exude power. He will command attention by the media, much like former Presidents Obama, Clinton and the Bushes do. Now, we have a very different President, who commands attention through Twitter rather than the traditional media. His use of the "bully pulpit" is unprecedented, unconventional and controversial. So, with that introduction, here is what I would like you to do this week:

     

    1. Study the presidential approval ratings.
    2. Why do you feel the American public chose Trump to be President? In other words, what was his appeal?
    3. Based on the charts and any other additional sources, explain why you feel President Trump remains unpopular with many. What, if anything, should he do to improve his image? 
    4. Finally, assess what you feel are President Trump's strengths and weaknesses.

     Presidential Approval Ratings

    Comments (12)
  • Summer Blog # 3.

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 7/5/2020

    This is post number three. 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 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."
     
    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!  Click on the links below to look over the following case summaries. 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.  
     
    Bostock v. Clayton County
     
    Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California

    Remember, you may not post more than one time per calender week (Sunday-Saturday).  
    Comments (12)
Last Modified on January 8, 2021