POL 104 American Government Assignments (Fall 2017)

Welcome to the course! Check here every weekend for assignments and other resources necessary for the class.

This is a course in the basic institutions and practices of American national government. After an introduction to some fundamental terms of politics and to the framing of the American constitution, we will study some basic political institutions of American politics that are necessary for our brand of liberal democracy to function: political parties, campaigns, and elections. We will then turn to the United States congress, presidency, bureaucracy, and judiciary.

There is at least one chapter in the textbook on each of these subjects. Typically, a weekly assignment will consist of one chapter of the text and an additional reading or two that I will supply or that you can access by a computer link.

Be sure to get your textbooks—hardback, e-text, or rental—at the campus bookstore or online from BVT Publishing (BVT Publishing) as soon as possible.

There will also be a weekly quiz on the material that has been assigned. The quizzes are intended to see if you have read the assigned material and are thus prepared for class discussion. The quizzes are made up of the types of questions that will appear on the exams: true-false, multiple choice, definitions, and short answer essays.

FOR THE FINAL, WEDNESDAY MORNING AT 10:00AM!:

The final exam will follow exactly the same format as the previous mid-terms, and it will be worth exactly the same amount of points. Be sure to use the handout I gave you that tells you exactly what your present grade is for the course. Use the information to make a reasoned decision about whether to take the final.

As I indicated in class, the final will cover chapters 12, chapter 6, and parts of chapter 3 and chapter 1 of the textbook, the Johnson v. California Supreme court case that we discussed last week, and the three news stories thave I handed out in class (extra copies are in the rack on my office door). Some vocabulary terms and some study questions for the three stories are listed below.

For chapters 1 and 3, you are only responsible for the content and the vocabulary of the parts of the chapters that were assigned this past month. In chapter 1, the last few pages on judicial review and Marbury v. Madison were assigned. Review the vocabulary terms on those pages. For chapter 3, the sections on the bill of rights and the first amendment (pp. 62-70), the sections on equal protection: racial and sexual equality (pp. 79-89), and the two pages on immigrants and people with disabilities.Nothing on criminal justice or privacy was assigned.

Key terms from Prior's "News vs. Entertainment" (you can either determine their meaning from the article itself or from other sources):

  1. knowledge gap
  2. selective exposure
  3. chance encounters, indiscriminate viewing
  4. content preference, preference-based gaps
  5. TV as knowledge leveler
  6. socioeconomic-based gaps
  7. political advertising
Questions
  1. What is the "knowledge gap" that Prior discusses?
  2. Why is the knowledge gap a cause for concern in our country and in democracies generally?
  3. With more and more information about politics, government, and current events available throught the electronic media, why does the knowledge gap seem to be widening?
  4. Poorer people have less access to the more sophisticated and expensive technologies and media, such as cable television, computers, and smart phones. According to Prior, if all people had equal access to these media (if the "socioeconomic-based gap" were eliminated), is it likely that the public as a whole would be better informed about politics? Why? Why not?
  5. According to Prior, what is the likely effect of political knowledge on voter turnout?
  6. What does Prior suggest as one possible solution to fill the knowledge gap and level the knowledge of political information for the public?
  7. (Take a look at the discussion questions following Prior's article.)

Key terms from Tom Price's "Future of Journalism":

  1. death of newspapers
  2. 18th and 19th century newspapers, the party press era
  3. ripple effect
  4. the press corps
  5. Washington Bureaus
  6. "vetted" news reports
  7. citizen journalists
  8. niche sites
  9. general-circulation newspapers
Questions:
  1. What is one of the main worries of scholars about the decline of American newspapers?
  2. According to Price, are web-based (online) newspapers the answer?
  3. Why, according to Price, is the health of newspapers (the print media) more important than the health of web-based news, television news, and radio news (the electronic media)?
  4. Answer the three questions posed by Price in the article:
  5. How do Price's conclusions answer Marcus Prior's concerns: If a successful democracy needs a well-informed electorate, does Tom Price's article give us cause to believe that the electronic media will benefit to democracies?

Some questions for Adam Nagourney's "Internet Injects Sweeping Change into U.S. Politics:

  1. At the time the article was written, for what political purposes was the Internet being used?
  2. What old fashioned or traditional political techniques did the author Adam Nagourney think the Internet might replace?
  3. According to Nagourney, which demographic (age) group did the Internet appeal to the most? Which group did it appeal to the least?
  4. According to Nagourney, what influence were bloggers having on politics and political parties.
  5. Study the first few paragraphs of the article closely: Approximately when was this article written? Based on your own experience, what in this article appears to still be true? What appears to be no longer true? Be able to give reasons for your answers.

FINAL EXAM. The final will cover all of the materials that have been assigned and the class lectures materials since the last exam. There will be questions on each of the chapters and readings, and I try to ask a proportional number of questions on each. There will be ten True-False questions (2 points each), ten Multiple Choice questions (2 points each), ten Definitions (2 points each), and four Short Answer Essay questions (three of which are worth 10 points, one of which is worth 20 points). Total: 110 points. Out of the ten True-False, ten Multiple Choice, and ten Definition questions there will generally be one or two True-False, one or two Multiple Choice, and one or two vocabulary terms to be defined from each chapter of the textbook that we studied. There will be one short answer essay and perhaps one or two True-False, Multiple Choice, and Definitions questions on each of the other readings that were assigned. Most of the exam will cover material that we have discussed in class and that was in the reading assignments, but a few questions are based solely on the readings and a few solely on the lectures. I ask questions that I really believe someone who has taken a college course on American Government should know: I do not ask obscure facts. (You might think some of the questions are obscure, but that is definitely not my intention.)

The four essay questions will be taken from the extra readings assigned: the Supreme Court case, the article on News and Enterntainment by Marcus Prior, the article on the Future of Journalism by Tom Price, and the article on the effect of the Internet on American politics by Adam Nagourney. There may also be one or two short answer questions—True-False, Multiple Choice, and Definitions—on some of the readings.

For the Last Class!

Please read chapter six of the textbook. Quiz on chapter six: true-false, multiple choice. I'm sorry to make this more complicated, but yesterday I did not hand out the copies of the excerpts from Mark Prior, Tom Price, and Paul Starr on news and entertainment. Blame me or blame the traffic yesterday morning (please blame the traffic). Because I think those articles are excellent, I will hand them out on Wednesday and they will be on the exam as one or two essay questions. I will fully introduce them to you during class.

I will also give each of you a worksheet that you may use to determine your present grade and decide if it is in your interest to take the final exam, so make every effort to attend.

For the Class of November 29th:

Please read (1) the Supreme Court opinion in the Johnson v California case and (2) pages 62-70, 79-89, and 91-92 of chapter 3 in the textbook. Quiz will be on the court opinion. Use the questions below.

For the Johnson opinion, consider the following:

  1. Who won the case?
  2. What did the winner win?
  3. What was the issue or question that the court was asked to decide?
  4. What was the decision or judgment of the court?
  5. What Equal Protection rule or test or standard did the Court say was the appropriate rule to apply here?
  6. Did the court decide that the California Prisons policy was unconstitutional? that it was constitutional?
  7. Any concurring or dissenting opinions? What point(s) did they make.

For the Class of November 15th:

I will return the exams on Wednesday. We will follow the syllabus closely during these last three classes. The reading assignment for this Wednesday is (1) chapter 12 on the judiciary and (2) the last four pages of chapter 1 on "Judicial Review Comes to the Supreme Court" (pages 23-26). Quiz will be on vocabulary.

The class after Thanksgiving will be on part of chapter 3 (we will discuss and decide which part in class on Wednesday) and a short Supreme Court case related to the material in chapter 3. The last class (December 6th) will cover chapter 6 on the media and a handout with readings by Prior, Price, and Starr. Good stuff.)

For the Class of November 8th:

The quiz grades were good! That makes two good ones in a row. Well done.

Mid-Term Exam! See the material in red for the regular format of the exam. The format will be exactly the same as last time. The exam will cover all of the readings assigned since the last exam: chapters 9, 10, 11, 14, and five pages of chapter 2; Robert Kaiser's Washington Post article "Three Reasons Congress is Broken"; Peter Nicholas's article on the role of the Vice President; Forrest MacDonald's article on the contributions of George Washington to the presidency; the article on the Magic Rabbit; and Federalist 51.

For the Class of November 1st:

Please read (1) chapter 14 ("Public Policy and Economics"), (2) chapter 2, pp. 50-55 (the short section on fiscal federalism or fiscal relationships), and (3) Federalist 51 (an excerpt describing the separation of powers). Quiz will be True-False, Multiple Choice.

A few study questions to lead you through the Federalist #51 excerpt:

  1. What is the initial question that Madison addresses?
  2. According to Madison, why should the basic power of government be separated?
  3. Does he insist on a strict separation and independence of the fundamental powers of government?
  4. How does he answer his original question?
  5. What is Madison's view of human nature, or at least of the nature of most politicians?
  6. How does his view of the nature of politicians inform his suggested design of republican government?

Budget Material

2017 budget

Status of FY 2017 (and past) Appropriations Bills.

Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Growth of National Debt

Budget Act Reconciliation Bills

For the Class of October 25th:

Please read (1) chapter 11 of the textbook and (2) this article on the Magic Rabbit, which I think you will enjoy. Short answer essay quiz on the Magic Rabbit.

Here is the COURSE OUTLINE that I will follow throughout the course. Note: The outline is organized on the basis of the consecutive chapters of the textbook, but we will be taking several of the chapters out of turn. You may want to print the outline and copy notes directly onto your copy.

VOCABULARY LISTS FOR EACH CHAPTER

Introduction and Chapter 1, the Constitution

Chapter 2, Federalism

Chapter 3, Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

Chapter 4, Political Ideologies

Chapter 5, Public Opinion & Political Participation

Chapter 6, Politics and the Media

Chapter 7, Interest Groups and Political Parties

Chapter 8, Campaigns and Elections

Chapter 9, Congress

Chapter 10, The Presidency

Chapter 11, Bureaucracies

Chapter 12, Supreme Court

Chapter 13, Public Policy

Chapter 14, Public Policy and Economics

Grade Calculation Fall and Spring Semesters

For the Class of October 18th:

Please read (1) chapter 10 of the textbook and (2) Peter Nicholas's article on the role of the Vice President. We'll have a definitions quiz based on the chapter 10 vocabulary. Remember to use the vocabulary lists below rather than the vocabulary lists at the end of the chapter. My lists are shorter!

For the Class of October 11th:

We will first go over the exams.

The reading assignment is (1) chapter 9 of the textbook on Congress and (2) Robert Kaiser's Washington Post article "Three Reasons Congress is Broken". Quiz will be True-False, Multiple Choice.

For the Class of October 4th:

MID-TERM EXAM. The mid-term will cover all of the materials that have been assigned since the beginning of the semester and all of the class lecture materials. There will be questions on each of the chapters and readings, and I try to ask a proportional number of questions on each. There will be ten True-False questions (2 points each), ten Multiple Choice questions (2 points each), ten Definitions (2 points each), and four Short Answer Essay questions (three of which are worth 10 points, one of which is worth 20 points). Total: 110 points. Out of the ten True-False, ten Multiple Choice, and ten Definition questions there will generally be one or two True-False, one or two Multiple Choice, and one or two vocabulary terms to be defined from each chapter of the textbook that we studied. There will be one short answer essay and perhaps one or two True-False and Multiple Choice questions on each of the other readings that were assigned. Most of the exam will cover material that we have discussed in class and that was in the reading assignments, but a few questions are based solely on the readings and a few solely on the lectures. I ask questions that I really believe someone who has taken a college course on American Government should know: I do not ask obscure facts. (You might think some of the questions are obscure, but that is definitely not my intention.)

The short answer essay questions will be based on the following assigned readings: Federalist #10 and Federalist #39; "Voter Values;" and "Republican Operative Sentenced to Two Years." Of the four short answer essay questions, you select one of your answers to be worth twenty points; the other three will be worth ten points.

For the two Federalist Papers that we went over in class, use the study questions for each essay that I listed previously on this webpage to prepare for the exam. I will use a few of these study questions for the exam questions.

For the two newpaper articles that we did not go over in class, use these study questions to prepare for the exam:

"Republican Operative Sentenced to Two Years,"by Matt Zapotosky and Matea Gold.

"Voter Values," by Thomas B. Edsall.

For the Class of September 27th:

Class will end at 11:30 (another faculty meeting).

First, your quizzes look very good. The quizzes the past two weeks show me that you are reading the material. Keep it up!

For the next class, please read (1) chapter 8 of the textbook, (2) "Republican Operative Sentenced to Two Years,"by Matt Zapotosky and Matea Gold (What was Tyler Harber guilty of doing and why did his actions violate the Federal Election Campaign Act?), and (3) "Voter Values," by Thomas B. Edsall. When was this written? Who tended to vote Republican in that election? Who tended to vote Democratic? Did this same pattern hold in 2016? You might check the exit polls on my website.

As announced in class, the quiz will be a definitions quiz. I give you a list of eight terms from chapter 8 and you define 5 of them. My suggestions for definitions that I explained in class are in the next paragraph. I have just updated the chapter 8 vocabulary list and moved all of the vocabulary lists up on the webpage. Remember, the quiz will only cover words without asterisks.

Instructions for Definitions Quizzes

One complete sentence for each term is sufficient. I will only read what you write on the lines. Honest. A definition is more than a true statement about the term; a definition captures the essence or the uniqueness of what the term refers to, and this is done by describing the genus and differentia of the term. In defining a term, the genus of the definition is the type of thing that the term is—the general class or category to which the term belongs. For example, the genus of the term "executive privilege" is "a right or a power of the president"; that is, it is one of the many rights or powers possessed by a president of the United States. The differentia of a definition is the particular characteristic that distinguishes the term in question from the other members of the class or category, often on the basis of its unique purpose. The differentia that sets "executive privilege" apart from the other rights of the president is that it is his "right to withhold certain information from Congress and the courts." Thus, a good definition would be the following: “Executive privilege is the right of a president to withhold certain information from Congress and the courts.” This definition is a complete sentence; it is in genus and differentia form; and, it says more than something true about the term—it captures its essential nature. Never use the words "where" or "when" in a definition unless you are identifying a particular place or moment in time, and do not begin the definition by writing "Executive privilege is a term that . . . ." This makes it seem that the genus is "term."

On a quiz I will give you eight vocabulary terms: you pick five to define. On an exam, I will give you sixteen and you pick ten.

An introductory course on American government focuses a great deal on basic facts and concepts. The concepts that you should learn for this course are listed on the vocabulary sheets below. (The textbook contains a list of "Key Terms" at the end of each chapter, but I am holding you responsible for the terms on the vocabulary sheets below, not the list of Key Terms in the book.) You might want to download these vocabulary lists as we go through the semester and make notes on them during class.

For the Class of Setpember 20th:

Please read (1) chapter 7 in the textbook and (2) Federalist #10 for class. The quiz will be a True False, Multiple Choice quiz covering both the chapter and the Federalist paper. I'll try to find a good Bonus question for in the news.

You also might want to look at an exit poll or two, especially if you are interested in last year's presidential election. Here is one by Fox and one by CNN (I think the recorded results are almost exactly the same). They give us a pretty good indication of the characteristics of the voters for each candidate. This material is relevant to chapters 5, 6, and 7. Take a look.

Here is a link to Federalist #10. To guide you through it, look for answers to the following questions:

  1. How does James Madison define "factions"?
  2. Why are factions a particular problem for democracies? All kinds of democracies?
  3. Why shouldn't we focus on eliminating the causes of faction?
  4. Can we have any control over the effects of factions in democracies?
  5. What two devices were built into the design of the United States Constitution to address the problem of factions?

For another shortened class on September 13th:

Please read (1) chapter 5 in the textbook, "Public Opinion and Political Participation," and (2) Federalist #39 (linked here). The quiz will be a short answer essay quiz focusing on Federalist #39.

Some study questions to get you through the essay. Madison organizes the essay on the basis of two questions posed by opponents of the 1787 constitution.

  1. What question does Madison first address in the essay?
  2. How does Madison define "republican government"?
  3. How does Madison go about answering the question and what is his final answer?
  4. What is the next question he addresses?
  5. How does Madison define "federal government" and "national government" in Federalist 39?
  6. How does Madison go about answering the second question and what is his final answer?

I may also ask you these questions, so jot down short possible responses as you read the essay.

For the shortened class of September 6th, 2017:

In the textbook (9th edition), please read the Introduction, Chapter One pages 2-22, and Chapter Two pages 32-45. If you are using the 8th edition, the page numbers listed on the syllabus are the correct pages to read. There will be a True-False, Multiple Choice Quiz at the beginning of class—no make-ups, so be there on time. To prepare for the quiz, you should review the vocabulary terms for the assigned chapters, available by links in the last directly below. You are NOT responsible for the vocabulary terms marked with asterisks; those will be discussed in class.

There will frequently be bonus questions on the quizzes that are based on current political and government events. It's good to read a daily newspaper to find out the major events concerning Congress, the President, the courts, elections, political parties, and other government-related news.

Regarding the textbook, I will be using the newly released 9th edition and will key my references to the 9th edition. You can probably get away with using the 8th edition; there are rarely significant changes from one edition to the next, but I have not exhaustively compare the 9th edition to the 8th, so I cannot guarantee that there are no significant changes reflected in the 9th edition. If you are using the 8th, try to find someone with the 9th and do a quick comparison, especially at exam time.

Material below is from the Spring 2017 semester and will be deleted later this summer.

For the Class of May 2d:

Several readings for the last class in order to wrap up the semester and make up a little for the lost class:

  1. the Supreme Court opinions in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, which I handed out in class;
  2. the excerpt from Marcus Prior's article "News vs. Entertainment";
  3. the excerpt from Tom Price's article "Future of Journalism," which, together with the Prior excerpt, I handed out in class;
  4. pages 76-79 of chapter 3 and pages 168-178 of chapter 6 of the text.
Extra copies of the handouts are in the rack on my office door, G107 Ireton.

The material covers a court opinion on a First Amendment case and some background on the First amendment; the legal status and political function of the media in the United States; and the significant structural changes that the media are undergoing in the last few years. All material for the exam.

Justice Thomas's opinion in Reed v. Town of Gilbert is organized as Supreme Court opinions are usually organized:

  1. a short statement of the decision and rationale
  2. I.the factual background, a description of the prior court proceedings in the case, and a more precise statement of the legal issue in the case
  3. II. the rule that the is to be appled to the legal issue and a consideration of the rules that the Court of Appeals appled
  4. III. the application of the rule to the facts of this case
  5. IV. additional comments about the implications of the opinion
  6. a final statement of the decision or disposition of the case
As you read the case, consider the following questions:

Some study Questions for the Marcus Prior and Tom Price articles on news v. entertainment, the survival of the news media, and the effects of fewer news media:

Key terms from Prior's "News vs. Entertainment" (you can either determine their meaning from the article itself or from other sources):

  1. knowledge gap
  2. selective exposure
  3. chance encounters, indiscriminate viewing
  4. content preference, preference-based gaps
  5. TV as knowledge leveler
  6. socioeconomic-based gaps
  7. political advertising
Questions
  1. What is the "knowledge gap" that Prior discusses?
  2. Why is the knowledge gap a cause for concern in our country and in democracies generally?
  3. With more and more information about politics, government, and current events available throught the electronic media, why does the knowledge gap seem to be widening?
  4. Poorer people have less access to the more sophisticated and expensive technologies and media, such as cable television, computers, and smart phones. According to Prior, if all people had equal access to these media (if the "socioeconomic-based gap" were eliminated), is it likely that the public as a whole would be better informed about politics? Why? Why not?
  5. According to Prior, what is the likely effect of political knowledge on voter turnout?
  6. What does Prior suggest as one possible solution to fill the knowledge gap and level the knowledge of political information for the public?
  7. (Take a look at the discussion questions following Prior's article.)

Key terms from Tom Price's "Future of Journalism":

  1. death of newspapers
  2. 18th and 19th century newspapers, the party press era
  3. ripple effect
  4. the press corps
  5. Washington Bureaus
  6. "vetted" news reports
  7. citizen journalists
  8. niche sites
  9. general-circulation newspapers
Questions:
  1. What is one of the main worries of scholars about the decline of American newspapers?
  2. According to Price, are web-based (online) newspapers the answer?
  3. Why, according to Price, is the health of newspapers (the print media) more important than the health of web-based news, television news, and radio news (the electronic media)?
  4. Answer the three questions posed by Price in the article:
  5. How do Price's conclusions answer Marcus Prior's concerns: If a successful democracy needs a well-informed electorate, does Tom Price's article give us cause to believe that the electronic media will benefit to democracies?

For the Class of April 25th:

Please read (1) chapter 12 of the text and (2) pages 35-38 of chapter 1. The quiz will be a definitions quiz; lots of important terms in the readings.

For the Class of April 11th:

We will pick up the syllabus where we left off and read (1) chapter 14 on economic policy-making and (2) Federealist #51 on separation of powers. After Easter Break (no class on the 18th) we will look at chapter 12 on the judiciary, material in chapter 3 on civil liberties, a couple of excerpts on news and entertainment, and a court opinion on a First Amendment issue.

For the Class of April 4th:

Mid-Term Exam

SECOND MID-TERM EXAM. The mid-term will cover all of the materials that have been assigned since the last test—chapter 9 (Congress), 10 (the presidency), 11 (bureaucracy), part of chapter 2 (fiscal federalism), and all of the relatied readings—as well as all of the class lecture materials. There will be questions on each of the chapters and readings, and I try to ask a proportional number of questions on each. There will be ten True-False questions (2 points each), ten Multiple Choice questions (2 points each), ten Definitions (2 points each), and four Short Answer Essay questions (three of which are worth 10 points, one of which is worth 20 points). Total: 110 points. Out of the ten True-False, ten Multiple Choice, and ten Definition questions there will generally be one or two True-False, one or two Multiple Choice, and one or two vocabulary terms to be defined from each chapter of the textbook that we studied. There will be one short answer essay and perhaps one or two True-False and Multiple Choice questions on each of the other readings that were assigned. Most of the exam will cover material that we have discussed in class and that was in the reading assignments, but a few questions are based solely on the readings and a few solely on the lectures. I ask questions that I really believe someone who has taken a college course on American Government should know: I do not ask obscure facts. (You might think some of the questions are obscure, but that is definitely not my intention.)

The short answer essay questions will be based on the following assigned readings: Federalist #39; Forrest MacDonald's op-ed piece on George Washington, the newpaper articles on Trump's attempts to undo Obama's executive orders and policies, and the magic rabbit article, "Watch him pull a USDA-mandated rabbit disaster plan out of his hat." Of the four short answer essay questions, you select one of your answers to be worth twenty points; the other three will be worth ten points.

For the Class of March 28th:

Please read the following:

  1. Chapter 11 of the text
  2. Chapter 2, pp. 58-67, of the text
  3. The Magic Rabbit Disaster Plan
Definitions quiz.

For the Class of March 14th:

The presidency is next. Please read (1) chapter 10 of the text and (2) the handouts about George Washington and Donald Trump. Let's make the quiz a True-False, Multiple Choice with a current events bonus question.

For the Class of February 28th:

The exams look pretty good so far. I should have them for you on Tuesday.

For Tuesday, please read (1) chapter 9 of the textbook on Congress and (2)

For the Class of February 21st:

Mid-Term Exam

For the Class of February 14th:

Please read chapter 8 of the textbook and the following articles. They are very short. The quiz will be a short answer essay quiz—one paragraph of three or four sentences that addresses a couple of questions about the reading—on one of the articles. Be prepared!

  1. Charlie Cook on Analytical Survey Research. What is the problem with traditional polling or survey research? What are the alternatives? What went wrong for Hillary in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania?
  2. Sentiment for a Third Party Rasmussen. Two paragraphs on support for third party presidential candidates in 2015. The quiz won't be on this one, but there may be a test question on it.

Speaking of the test, the first mid-term is on February 21st!

President for a Day?

Here is the updated statistics sheet that I handed out in class: PolStats2017. Here is the updated report by the Census Bureau on the 2016 election.

For the Class of February 7th:

Please read chapter 7 of the textbook and

For the Class of January 31st:

I am assuming that you all have or will have textbooks this week to use for the rest of the semester. The assignment for Tuesday is chapter 4 and chapter 5 of the textbook. I will again give a true-false, multiple-choice quiz (we'll put off the definitions quiz until next week). We will be studying the elections process for the next few weeks. It should help you to understand some of the media discussion about the recent elections.

For the Class of January 24th:

The textbook is Introduction to American Government, 8th edition, by Charles C. Turner, D. Grier Stephenson, and others. BVT Publishing. ISBN 978-1-62751-627-3. If the bookstore does not have them or is out of them (they were ordered last month!), I suggest that you go directly to the publisher at the following website: www.bvtstudents.com and order this version directly from BVT. You can have the digital edition almost instantly. It will cost about $53.99.

Please read the following from the Turner-Stephenson textbook, Introduction to American Government, 8th ed.: Introduction; ch. 1, pp. 13-35; and ch. 2, pp. 43-58. There will be a true-false, multiple-choice quiz of about five questions at the beginning of class to test you on the assigned reading. The best way to prepare for the quiz is to read the assigned material carefully and to study the vocabulary on the lists linked here above. A bonus question on current news about American politics will also be included.

The material below is from previous semesters. I will be using some of it this semester, also. You may sift through it if you wish. or you may safely ignore it.

Grade Calculation Fall and Spring Semesters

Grade Calculation Fall and Spring Semesters

Grade Calculation Summer Sessions

Role of the Vice President (WSJ, January 21-22)

Some study Questions for the Marcus Prior, Tom Price, Paul Starr articles on news v. entertainment, the survival of the news media, and the effects of fewer news media:

Key terms from Prior's "News vs. Entertainment" (you can either determine their meaning from the article itself or from other sources):

  1. knowledge gap
  2. selective exposure
  3. chance encounters, indiscriminate viewing
  4. content preference, preference-based gaps
  5. TV as knowledge leveler
  6. socioeconomic-based gaps
  7. political advertising
Questions
  1. What is the "knowledge gap" that Prior discusses?
  2. Why is the knowledge gap a cause for concern in our country and in democracies generally?
  3. With more and more information about politics, government, and current events available throught the electronic media, why does the knowledge gap seem to be widening?
  4. Poorer people have less access to the more sophisticated and expensive technologies and media, such as cable television, computers, and smart phones. According to Prior, if all people had equal access to these media (if the "socioeconomic-based gap" were eliminated), is it likely that the public as a whole would be better informed about politics? Why? Why not?
  5. According to Prior, what is the likely effect of political knowledge on voter turnout?
  6. What does Prior suggest as one possible solution to fill the knowledge gap and level the knowledge of political information for the public?
  7. (Take a look at the discussion questions following Prior's article.)

Key terms from Tom Price's "Future of Journalism":

  1. death of newspapers
  2. 18th and 19th century newspapers, the party press era
  3. ripple effect
  4. the press corps
  5. Washington Bureaus
  6. "vetted" news reports
  7. citizen journalists
  8. niche sites
  9. general-circulation newspapers
Questions:
  1. What is one of the main worries of scholars about the decline of American newspapers?
  2. According to Price, are web-based (online) newspapers the answer?
  3. Why, according to Price, is the health of newspapers (the print media) more important than the health of web-based news, television news, and radio news (the electronic media)?
  4. Answer the three questions posed by Price in the article:
  5. How do Price's conclusions answer Marcus Prior's concerns: If a successful democracy needs a well-informed electorate, does Tom Price's article give us cause to believe that the electronic media will benefit to democracies?

Key terms from Paul Starr's "Goodbye to the Age of Newspapers":

  1. public goods, private goods
  2. news junkies
  3. the information revolution
  4. non-market collaborative networks
  5. original sources, parasitic sources
  6. philanthropic organizations
Questions
  1. What is Starr's main concern about online news?
  2. How does Starr's argument agree or disagree with the conclusions and concerns found in Tom Price's article on the death of newspapers?
  3. How does Starr's argument affect Marcus Prior's concerns about the knowledge gap?
  4. What does Starr suggest as solutions to his concern about online news?

"Republican Operative Sentenced to Two Years,"by Matt Zapotosky and Matea Gold .

"Voter Values," by Thomas B. Edsall

To guide you through Federalist #10, look for answers to the following questions:

  1. How does James Madison define "factions"?
  2. Why are factions a particular problem for democracies? All kinds of democracies?
  3. Why shouldn't we focus on eliminating the causes of faction?
  4. Can we have any control over the effects of factions in democracies?
  5. What two devices were built into the design of the United States Constitution to address the problem of factions?

MID-TERM EXAM. The mid-term will cover all of the materials that have been assigned since the last test and all of the class lecture materials. There will be questions on each of the chapters and readings, and I try to ask a proportional number of questions on each. There will be ten True-False questions (2 points each), ten Multiple Choice questions (2 points each), ten Definitions (2 points each), and four Short Answer Essay questions (three of which are worth 10 points, one of which is worth 20 points). Total: 110 points. Out of the ten True-False, ten Multiple Choice, and ten Definition questions there will generally be one or two True-False, one or two Multiple Choice, and one or two vocabulary terms to be defined from each chapter of the textbook that we studied. There will be one short answer essay and perhaps one or two True-False and Multiple Choice questions on each of the other readings that were assigned. Most of the exam will cover material that we have discussed in class and that was in the reading assignments, but a few questions are based solely on the readings and a few solely on the lectures. I ask questions that I really believe someone who has taken a college course on American Government should know: I do not ask obscure facts. (You might think some of the questions are obscure, but that is definitely not my intention.)

The questions are based mostly on essential facts and on definitions that we have discussed in class. For the multiple choice questions, review those terms that appeared in series: e.g., the four types of congressional committees; the different concepts of democracy; the constitutional amendments that tinkered with the presidential election and succession; and so on. These types of terms make great multiple choice questions! A couple of the true-false and multiple-choice questions will be based directly on questions in the "Pop Quiz" section at the end of each chapter in the text, but most of the test questions will not.

Some short Supreme Court opinions: (1) Johnson, (2) Armour, (3) Prado v. California, (4) Bond v. United States, (5) Florida v. Jardines.

For the Johnson opinion, consider the following:

  1. Who won the case?
  2. What did the winner win?
  3. What was the issue or question that the court was asked to decide?
  4. What was the decision or judgment of the court?
  5. What Equal Protection rule or test or standard did the Court say was the appropriate rule to apply here?
  6. Did the court decide that the California Prisons policy was unconstitutional? that it was constitutional?
For the Armour opinion, consider the following:
  1. Who won the case?
  2. What did the winner win?
  3. What was the issue or question that the court was asked to decide?
  4. What was the decision or judgment of the court?
  5. What Equal Protection rule or test or standard did the Court say was the appropriate rule to apply here?

This is one of those "supervisory" opinions that the Supreme Court renders from time to time. Read the opinion carefully.

As you read the Prado case, try to determine the following:

  1. What kind of case is it—civil or criminal?
  2. Who finally won the case?
  3. What was the issue before the Supreme Court?
  4. Which Constitutional Amendment was central to the Court's opinion?
  5. What, exactly, did the winner of the case "win" here?
  6. Is there a majority opinion in this case—an "opinion of the court"? Who wrote it?
  7. Are there any concurring or dissenting opinions? Who wrote them?
  8. Why did the concurrers concur? Why did the dissenters dissent?

Jardines v. Florida. If you read or download the Jardines case from the Supreme Court website, you will notice that it comes in four parts:

  1. the two-page syllabus or headnote at the beginning of the materials;
  2. the ten-page opinion by Justice Scalia;
  3. the five-page concurrence of Justice Kagan; and,
  4. the twelve-page dissent by Justice Alito

Scalia's opinion is organized in typical fashion: (1) an initial statement of the issue in the case, (2) a summary of the facts and the prior judicial actions in the case in Part I, (3) an answer to the question or issue with supporting rationale in the different sections of Part II, (4) a pointed response to, and rejection of, some of the arguments of the losing party in Part III, and (5) a short restatement of the holding and decision in the case.

The headnote is helpful in getting an overall understanding of the case, but I would like you to read Justice Scalia's opinion in full and as much of Kagan's and Alito's opinions as necessary to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the precise question that Scalia says the Court is addressing?
  2. Where did this case come from?
  3. Which court(s) decided the question below? How did those courts rule (what did they say?)?
  4. Who appealed (or petitioned the Supreme Court to review) the lower court decision(s)?
  5. What is the Court's answer to the question presented (this is the "holding")?
  6. What reasons does the Court give to support its answer (holding)?
  7. Who won the case before the Supreme Court? This is the decision or judgment of the Court.
  8. Why does Kagan write a separate opinion? Does she disagree with Scalia about the decision or the rationale for the decision that Scalia sets forth?
  9. Is Scalia's opinion the "opinion of the Court" if Kagan, Sotomayor, and Ginsburg write separately?
  10. Why does Alito dissent? What is his main disagreement with Scalia's opinion? with Kagan's opinion?

Please read chapter 11 (the bureaucracy); chapter 2, pp. 58-67; and these articles on bureaucratic rule-making:

The magic rabbit disaster plan, and 2015 EPA Proposed Regs on Ethanol.

Disaster Plan Rule Status

The following are good sources of political news:
  1. RealClearPolitics
  2. Sabato's Crystal Ball
  3. The Cook Political Report
  4. Gallup Polls
  5. Rasmussen Political Polling Reports

Story on jockeying for chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee

Federalist #39.

Madison organizes the essay on the basis of two questions posed by opponents of the 1787 constitution.

  1. What question does Madison first address in the essay?
  2. How does Madison define "republican government"?
  3. How does Madison go about answering the question and what is his final answer?
  4. What is the next question he addresses?
  5. How does Madison define "federal government" and "national government" in Federalist 39?
  6. How does Madison go about answering the second question and what is his final answer?

I may also ask you these questions, so jot down short possible responses as you read the essay.

Sentiment for a Third Party Rasmussen

Polstats 2017

Gallup Party Affiliation

Virginia GOP Has Choice of State Presidential Primary or State Convention.

"Obama's ex-aides profit from experience".

An alternative to the legislative veto: The Congressional Review Act

Jonathan Turley on the "rise of the fourth branch of government."

Gun Law

F.E.C. on the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, as of April 9, 2014

Campaign Finance Cases:

  1. Buckley v. Valeo, 1976
  2. Citizens United v. F.E.C. (2010)
  3. Speechnow.org v. F.E.C. (C.A.D.C. 2010)
  4. McCutcheon v. F.E.C. (2014)

GOP Coalition, Dan Balz

The Political Center, Dan Balz

Article by Mike Wise of the Washington Post, an interesting follow-up to the article by Jonathan Rauch on prejudice. Not assigning it. Just saying.

On the power of interest groups to influence political policy: "Vegas Union Blocks UFC From NY".

I think some of you will be interested in these two articles: United States Debt Held by China and Bulk of America's debt held not by China but by U.S. itself.

2013 Budget Charts from zerohedge.com

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/02/13/us/politics/2013-budget-proposal-graphic.html

http://media.cq.com/media/2012/fiscal2013_budget/

Voter Values

If you are interested in following political (and other) polls, the following are two good sources:

Articles on the budget situation:

Monster Interest on the National Debt (February 17, 2011);

Government Shutdown article (April 4, 2011) The link at the end of this article to "Full Coverage of Government Shutdown" contains all the information you would ever want to have about what a shutdown entails.

Budget Battle Came Down to Three Men and their Weaknesses.

Though not assigned, you may be interested in the Status of FY 2011 Appropriations Bills.

FY 2015 Budget Graphic

To guide you through Federalist #10, look for answers to the following questions:

  1. How does James Madison define "factions"?
  2. Why are factions a particular problem for democracies? All kinds of democracies?
  3. Why shouldn't we focus on eliminating the causes of faction?
  4. Can we have any control over the effects of factions in democracies?
  5. What two devices were built into the design of the United States Constitution to address the problem of factions?

For Federalist #39. Consider the following as you read the essay:

Madison organizes the essay on the basis of two questions posed by opponents of the 1787 constitution.

  1. What question does Madison first address in the essay?
  2. How does Madison define "republican government"?
  3. How does Madison go about answering the question and what is his final answer?
  4. What is the next question he addresses?
  5. How does Madison define "federal government" and "national government" in Federalist 39?
  6. How does Madison go about answering the second question and what is his final answer?

I may also ask you these questions, so jot down short possible responses as you read the essay.

A few study questions to lead you through Federalist 51 :

  1. What is the initial question that Madison addresses?
  2. According to Madison, why should the basic power of government be separated?
  3. Does he insist on a strict separation and independence of the fundamental powers of government?
  4. How does he answer his original question?
  5. What is Madison's view of human nature, or at least of the nature of most politicians?
  6. How does his view of the nature of politicians inform his suggested design of republican government?
  7. In the final two paragraphs of the essay, Madison provides two additional reasons that the American system prevents the concentration of political power. What is the first argument Madison makes?
  8. .
  9. What is Madison's second argument? (The second argument recaps the case Madison made in Federalist #10 for an "extended" republic.)

"Congress's Afterthought, Wall Street's Trillion Dollars," by Appelbaum and Irwin.

. Compare the points made in these two older articles (2000 and 2002) with the results reflected in the exit polls of the 2004 and 2008 elections. Are the conclusions in the two articles still true (if they ever were)?

Study Questions for the Marcus Prior, Tom Price, Paul Starr articles on news v. entertainment, the survival of the news media, and the effects of fewer news media.

Key terms from Prior's "News vs. Entertainment" (you can either determine their meaning from the article itself or from other sources):

  1. knowledge gap
  2. selective exposure
  3. chance encounters, indiscriminate viewing
  4. content preference, preference-based gaps
  5. TV as knowledge leveler
  6. socioeconomic-based gaps
  7. political advertising
Questions
  1. What is the "knowledge gap" that Prior discusses?
  2. Why is the knowledge gap a cause for concern in our country and in democracies generally?
  3. With more and more information about politics, government, and current events available throught the electronic media, why does the knowledge gap seem to be widening?
  4. Poorer people have less access to the more sophisticated and expensive technologies and media, such as cable television, computers, and smart phones. According to Prior, if all people had equal access to these media (if the "socioeconomic-based gap" were eliminated), is it likely that the public as a whole would be better informed about politics? Why? Why not?
  5. According to Prior, what is the likely effect of political knowledge on voter turnout?
  6. What does Prior suggest as one possible solution to fill the knowledge gap and level the knowledge of political information for the public?
  7. (Take a look at the discussion questions following Prior's article.)

Key terms from Tom Price's "Future of Journalism":

  1. death of newspapers
  2. 18th and 19th century newspapers, the party press era
  3. ripple effect
  4. the press corps
  5. Washington Bureaus
  6. "vetted" news reports
  7. citizen journalists
  8. niche sites
  9. general-circulation newspapers
Questions:
  1. What is one of the main worries of scholars about the decline of American newspapers?
  2. According to Price, are web-based (online) newspapers the answer?
  3. Why, according to Price, is the health of newspapers (the print media) more important than the health of web-based news, television news, and radio news (the electronic media)?
  4. Answer the three questions posed by Price in the article:
  5. How do Price's conclusions answer Marcus Prior's concerns: If a successful democracy needs a well-informed electorate, does Tom Price's article give us cause to believe that the electronic media will benefit to democracies?

Key terms from Paul Starr's "Goodbye to the Age of Newspapers":

  1. public goods, private goods
  2. news junkies
  3. the information revolution
  4. non-market collaborative networks
  5. original sources, parasitic sources
  6. philanthropic organizations
Questions
  1. What is Starr's main concern about online news?
  2. How does Starr's argument agree or disagree with the conclusions and concerns found in Tom Price's article on the death of newspapers?
  3. How does Starr's argument affect Marcus Prior's concerns about the knowledge gap?
  4. What does Starr suggest as solutions to his concern about online news?

Miscellaneous Materials on Campaigns and Elections

Virginia GOP Has Choice of State Presidential Primary or State Convention

Lobbyists as Chief Fund-Raisers

Legislation Responding to Citizens United v. FEC Decision

Gallup Polls

"Libertarians: Don't Call Us Tea Party-ers."

Politics of money: Financially insecure tilt Democratic, but less likely to vote

Miscellaneous Materials on Congress

Bills Left in Limbo

Speakers of the House of Representatives

Congressional Elections, 1900 to 2012

John Dean on "Going Nuclear" and the Senate Filibuster

Example of Gerrymandering: North Carolina Congressional District 12

Robert Kaiser on Congress ("Three Reasons Congress is Broken").

Here's an article on Congressional Staffers that might be of interest to you.

Miscellaneous Materials on Lobbying

Not all big lobbying efforts succeed.

Lobbyists Focus on States and Municipalities

The Revolving Door

Competing Lobbyists/Interest Groups

Miscellaneous Materials on the Bureaucracy

Increase of Government Employees since 1942

"Obama's ex-aides profit from experience".

Questioning the Cattle Call: The Congressional Review Act

Jonathan Turley on the "rise of the fourth branch of government."

Bureaucratic Regulation at its Best! Magic Rebbit Regulation

2015 EPA Proposed Regs on Ethanol.

Gun Law

North Carolina's 12th Congressional District

Miscellaneous materials on the 2011 Budget Crisis:

Obama at Risk of Losing Liberal Support

Obama's New Approach: Entitlements on the Table

Budget Battle Came Down to Three Men and their Weaknesses

Shutdown Looks More Likely

Government Shutdown article (April 4, 2011)

Budget Impasse article

"Without a budget, Living in limbo"

House Approves 6th Supplemental March 15th