POL 104 American Government Assignments (Summer 2014)

Talk about GOP Coalition, Dan Balz

Talk about The Political Center, Dan Balz

For Thursday, June 19th:

For the Final: The format of the final is exactly the same as the format for the first exam. The short answer essay questions will be based on the three readings that were assigned—McDonald's article on the George Washington presidency, Federalist #51, and the Bond v. United States case—and material from the text/lectures that requires a short explanation. For examples, material about the legislative process, about the relation of the bureaucracy to federal policy, the litigation process, and so on. Something that is basic and that was covered in the text and my lecture. II have not decided on a question yet.) Exam time is 6:00 to 8:00, just like last time.

See you then!

For Wednesday, June 18th:

For Wednesday, please read (1) these excerpts from the recent Supreme Court case, Bond v. United States and (2) pages 39-42 in chapter one of the text on judicial review. The excerpts from the Bond case include the complete opinion of the court and an abbreviated opinion by Justice Scalia.

For Monday, June 16th:

Please read chapter 12 of the textbook. For Wednesday, please read (1) these excerpts from the recent Supreme Court case, Bond v. United States and (2) the pages in chapter one of the text on judicial review.

The Assignment for Thursday:

For Thursday, please read (1) pages 386-411 of chapter 11 on the bureaucracy, (2) pages 68-75 of chapter 2 (fiscal federalism) that we did not read before, and (3) Federalist #51 (see link and study questions below). Next week we will look at chapter 12 on the courts and a recent Supreme Court opinion, Bond v. United States, which I think you will enjoy.

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. What is Madison's second argument? (The second argument recaps the case Madison made in Federalist #10 for an "extended" republic.)

The Assignment for Monday:

Please read chapter 10 on the Presidency and the one-page handout by Forrest McDonald on George Washington's presidency for Monday. The quiz will be a short-essay question on the McDonald article.

The Assignment for Thursday:

I know this is a quick turn-around, but please read chapter 9 (Congress) for Thursday. Focus on vocabulary.

The Exam on Wednesday:

The additional readings that I assigned last night are chapter 7, pp. 230-232 (on the Federal Election Campaign Act and Political Action Committees), and chapter 8, p. 291 (on the different kind of primary elections and the caucus). I covered this material in class, but more complete explanations and definitions are given in the text.

The exam will cover all of the assigned readings, including the pages just assigned, since the beginning of the course. When you complete the exam, you may go home. The subject of Thursday's clas will be Congress.

MID-TERM EXAM. The mid-term will cover all of the materials that have been assigned since the first class 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. Thus, 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 basic 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.

The readings on which the short answer essay questions will be based are (1) Federalist #39, (2) the article by Prior on news and entertainment, (3) the articles by Price and Starr (taken together) on the future of newspapers and journalism, and (4) the article "Voter Values" on the 2000 election.

The assignment for Monday, June 2d:

Please read (1) the material on Political Parties in chapter 7 of the text, pp. 243-257; (2) the material on Campaigns and Congressional Elections in chapter 8 of the text, pp. 267-281, 298-302; and (3) the short newspaper article "Voter Values", linked here. The quiz will be a True-False, Multiple Choice quiz. Don't forget, the mid-term exam is on Wednesday, June 4th! Be sure that you have read all the assigned material by Wednesday. Catch up if you are behind.

You may be interested in this article on the June 10, 2014, Democratic primary. It will be taking place next Tuesday, and it explains all of the campaign signs that you see on your way to school.

The assignment for Thursday, May 29th:

Please read chapter 6, pp. 188-204, 210-216, and the readings by Prior, Price, and Starr that I handed out in class. The quiz qill be a definitions quiz. On the vocabulary sheet for chapter 6 below, you are responsible for all of the words in red. A couple of terms from the Prior-Price-Starr readings will also be included. Please reread these instructions for writing definitions:

Instructions for definitions quizzes.

One complete sentence for each term is sufficient. A definition is more than a true statement about the term; a definition captures the essence or the nature of the term being defined, 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. 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. On the quiz I will give you eight vocabulary terms: you pick five to define.

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 these vocabulary sheets, 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. The chapters that we will study this summer are in bold.

Turner-Stephenson Text Vocabulary Lists

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

The assignment for Tuesday, May 27th:

We will meet Tuesday and Thursday this week. Please read Chapter Five, pp. 153-165, 172-181,and Federalist #39 for Tuesday. Tuesday's quiz will be a short answer essay question on Federalist #39.

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?

The quiz may ask you one or two of these questions, so jot down short possible responses as you read the essay.

The assignment for Thursday, May 22d:

Please read the Introduction, Chapter One (pp. 13-39), and Chapter Two (pp. 47-65) for Thursday. Note: only parts of chapters one and two are assigned. You are responsible for the vocabulary (see the lists below) that appears in the assigned pages only. The quiz will be True-False, Multiple Choice. I will assign Federalist 39 and parts of Chapter 5 for next Wednesday. Wednesday's quiz will be a short answer essay question on Federalist 39. Note: Because of Memorial Day, there will be no class on Monday. We will meet either next Wednesday and Friday, or next Tuesday and Thursday, instead. We'll decide in class this week.

If you wish to purchase your textbook directly from the publisher, click on this website and enter the ISBN number of the edition you wish to purchase. I recommend either the first or the second option. With either option, you will have an ebook version of the text immediately.

Textbook ISBNís

  1. Textbook+Plus (includes Physical Loose-Leaf Textbook and ALL of the online resources) ISBN: 978-1-61882-607-7
  2. eBook+Plus (includes all of the online resources and eBook EXCEPT that it does not come with a physical textbook) ISBN: 978-1-61882-608-4
  3. Loose-Leaf Textbook (ONLY includes physical Loose-Leaf Textbook with NO resources or online eBook) ISBN: 978-1-61882-377-9

Here is the outline for the entire course (Course Outline). This summer we will look at three main topics: the United States Constitution, the branches of the federal government, and American elections and party politics.

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.

And this one on the power of interest groups to influence political policy: "Vegas Union Blocks UFC From NY".

"Libertarians: Don't Call Us Tea Partyers."

Johnson v. California.

Review the study questions following the Rauch article. For the court opinion, consider the following:

  1. Who won the case?
  2. What did the winner win?
  3. What was the decision or judgment of the court?
  4. What was the issue or question that the court was asked to decide?
  5. Did the court decide that the California Prisons policy was unconstitutional? that it was constitutional?

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

For the Class of October 2d:

For the Class of September 18th:

The magic rabbit disaster plan.

For the Class of September 11th:

Be sure to download the vocabulary list for each assigned chapter and study the definitions that are given in the text or in class. A large portion of each mid-term exam will be based on the definitions.

The assignment for each upcoming class will be posted here in red. Directly below the assignment for the class of September 4 is a link for the Course Outline, which provides an outline for my lectures on each subject and chapter.

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.

Polstats 2013 Grade Calculation Fall and Spring Grade Calculation Summer Session

Justice Scalia's opinion in Florida v. Jardines, decided by the Supreme Court on March 26th.

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?

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.

Increase of Government Employees since 1942

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/

There are many websites devoted to the 2012 presidential primaries. A couple that I have found useful in learning about the presidential nomination process are the Wikipedia website "Republican Presidential Primaries, 2012, and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) calendar of primaries and caucuses. The Wikipedia site lists the primaries and caucuses by date, and the FEC site lists them alphabetically by state.

Wikipedia Presidential Primaries Article

Of the many polling organizations, two well respected ones are The Cook Political Report and The Rasmussen Reports. Check them out.

A good general source of electoral politics is RealClearPolitics.

We will list sources for the economic crisis later in the semester.

Election 2002

Voter Values

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

Gallup Polls

Rasmussen Political Polling Reports

Not all big lobbying efforts succeed.

The assignment for Monday is to read chapter 14 and the following three newspaper 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 2012 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.

Election 2002. 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)?

Additional Information about the Course:

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

Miscellaneous Materials on Campaigns and Elections

Lobbyists as Chief Fund-Raisers

Legislation Responding to Citizens United v. FEC Decision

Gallup Polls

Miscellaneous Materials on Congress

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 the Bureaucracy

"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!

Gun Law

Electronic Frontier Foundation Analysis or Center for Democracy and Technology Summary and Analysis or the Connecticut General Assembly Office of Legislative Research. See also report of the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Justice, July, 2003, on complaints arising fron the Patriot Act, Public Law 107-5.