• Blog # 7.

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 11/18/2019

    This week we will conclude our study of civil liberties and civil rights. We have learned that civil liberties are basic human rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and beyond.  We have also learned that civil rights is the entitlement to equality and fairness to all people regardless of their race, gender, age etc. Many groups historically and currently have engaged in a series of struggles to embrace and protect their rights. Constitutional amendments, executive orders, and countless laws and policies have been passed to help guarantee equality for all.  One such policy example would be affirmative action programs established by government to redress discrimination in the work place. Affirmative action programs were initially introduced by President Kennedy in 1961, but have since dwindled due to the fact that many consider such programs to be an example of reverse discrimination. For this weeks blog I would like for us to learn more about affirmative action programs and consider whether or not such programs are an effective way to prevent discrimination on the work palce. Click on each of the links below and read about affirmative action programs and then respond to the following questions:


    1. What are affirmative action programs?
    2. Is affirmative action best administered according to the degree of inequity? If so, which groups should come first?
    3. Many argue these programs are a form of reverse discrimination, how would you respond to this assretion?
    4. After reading both Court cases, summarize the Court’s position regarding affirmative action in relation to the college admissions process. Explain whether or not you agree or disagree with their position.



    Affirmative Action



    Let People Vote


    Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978)


    University of Michigan Law School in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003)

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  • Blog # 6

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 11/3/2019

    Civil rights protect individuals from discrimination based on characteristics such as race, national origin, religion, and sex; these rights are guaranteed to all citizens under the due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution, as well as acts of Congress.  When groups or individuals feel that their civil rights are being violated or ignored they can challenge it via the judicial system, and of course government can and has responded to these challenges via court rulings and/ or policies. One such current example of this concerns a dispute about LGBTQ workplace rights.  Currently the SCOTUS is considering the meaning of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to determine weather or not it extends employment protections to indiviuals who identify as being transgender.  


    For this week’s blog I would like you to read the article below and visit the Equal opportunity Commission’s website to explore the text of  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. After reading please answer the discussion questions below:

    1.  Summerize your understanding of the two cases recently agrued before the SCOTUS.

    2.  In your opinion, does Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 extend protections to people who are gay, bisexual, and also those who identify as transgender? Explain.

    3. Speculate as how you think the Court will rule.  What will be the implications of such a ruling? 



    LGBTQ Workplace Rights Dispute


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  • Summer Blog # 4

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 8/13/2019

    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. Read the article below and study the chart.
    2. Why do you feel the American public chose Trump to be President? In other words, what was his appeal?
    3. Based on the article, the chart 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.


    Trump Approval Ratings




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  • Summer Blog # 3

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 7/8/2019

    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 (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."
    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.  
    Department of Commerce v. New York


    Rucho v. Common Cause
    Remember, you may not post more than one time per calender week (Sunday-Saturday).  
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  • Summer Blog # 2

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 6/28/2019

    This is the second post.   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. With a Republican President and a divided Congress, bills are being introduced and supported along party lines. This polarization between the 2 parties sometimes seems as wide as the Pacific Ocean. What to do? What kind of compromises will be hammered out, if any?  Here is what I would like you to do this week:

    1. Click on the first website below. Pick one proposed bill to study. Click on the bill first, then study 3 tabs (overview, summary, details) about the bill. You can also click on the 4th tab, text, if you want to read your chosen bill in detail. Come back here to 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 issue?
    2. Next, go to the second link to public opinion polls and find out on what a majority of Americans think.  How do your views stack up? In your post, make it apparent to me that you have studied the trends.

    Bills and Resolutions of the 115th Congress


    Gallup Polling Topics A-Z


    Remember, you may only post one comment per week!  

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  • Summer Blog # 1

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 6/18/2019
    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 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. Atriocities Under kim Jong-un
    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 25, 2019.
    Comments (24)
Last Modified on Sunday at 12:56 PM