Saturday, November 29, 2008

Washington Post Site

Political Science Musings
"The Department of Human Behavior"column in "The Washington Post," authored by Shankar Vedantam, has had some fabulous articles explaining political behavior. For most of the election cycle, there was a column every Monday. Recently, it has appeared periodically in the "Science" section. You can find previous columns using Proquest.

For example, on September 17, there is an article entitled "Lessons in Forced Democracy" which discusses research by political scientists on the likelihood that the United States will suceed in fostering democracy in Iraq.

On November 10, the column provides a different take on the role of political donations. See the article entitled "Big Political Donors Just Looking for Favors? Apparently Not."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Great Place for Assignment Ideas
This blog was started to try and get more interaction between teachers among the 27 high schools in the county where I teach. It has grown to be used by teachers across the country to find useful sites to aide in teaching US government. Trullinger's site, though, does a great job of posting her assignments. Here, for ex. is a great one on interest groups. If you are interested in setting up your own free blog you can go here or here . Both sides explain how to create and maintain the blogs.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Origin of the Thanksgiving Day Holiday
This very short film, while US history, actually works better for US government. Did you know that the author of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" was behind the US making Thanksgiving a national holiday, that Lincoln was the president who initiated this, that there is no proof that turkey was actually eaten on the first Thanksgiving. So many nice tidbits in this video and more of the story here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Presidential Pardons
We all remember Marc Rich as the most controversial last minute pardon for Clinton (and will again hear of him at Eric Holder's confirmation hearing), but here is a great article on the big names (Michael Milken, Randy Cunningham (former Congressman), Edward Edwards (former governor). Milken has hired Ted Olson who used to be Solicitor General to try and get the pardon for his crimes for which he has already served his sentence. The other two are looking for get out of jail free cards. Here is an article on who was pardoned this Thanksgiving ( a traditional day for presidential pardons) and here is who Bush has pardoned to date.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Electoral Maps for Every Presidential Election
This pdf from the LA Times has the map above which shows how each party has done for every presidential election in US history. It also has a pictoral chart showing how each state has voted over time as well as the percentage of the vote for each party.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Good Links/Lesson Plans on the Constitution and Gitmo
For the first time since the Supreme Court ruled in June 2008 that detainees at Guantanamo Bay have the right to challenge their detentions in federal court, a hearing has begun in the case of six men being held in the War on Terror. The future of the prison at Guantanamo Bay is uncertain. President-Elect Obama has stated that he would like to close it, but his aides have stated he is not close to making a decision on how it will be closed. This week’s Bill of Rights in the News focuses on the first habeas corpus hearing of six prisoners, and the future of the prison itself. There will be an online discussion with Brookings scholars on Wednesday Nov 19th at 12:30 pm on this topic. If interested, click here.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Explaining the Credit Crisis

MarketPlace has a great set of short videos that help explain parts of the credit crisis. They're part of the MarketPlace Whiteboard videos.
The Plum Book of Presidential Appointments
I never seem to know exactly how many positions a president can appoint. Well here is the answer (or here if you want easier to upload chapters). This book is great as you can show the kids, literally, how many jobs Obama must appoint. Since ambassadors are one job covered in textbooks, I will show my students this page and then this page so they can see the Executive Office of the president and here for the entire cabinet. Go here for the legend. You can read an article on this process here or read how political appointees like to "borrow in" at the end of an administration and end up in high level civil servant jobs.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Too Cool!
Leave it up to Google to do something else wonderful. This link is for 2008 and includes each state's results for the House, Senate and presidential elections. The bottom one does the same for each presidential year going back to 1980, but it also includes demograhics such as income, race and age.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Entire US Government Course Online
This is supposed to be an AP US government course, but much, if not all, could also be used for regular government. It included flash movies for each chapter as well as textbook chapters and ancillary materials. It would be a good link for students who need extra help. Most of the material comes from Hippo Campus.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Executive Orders
Traditionally the first official act a new president does right after being sworn in is to sign an executive order. CNN has a good article, here, discussing the controversial decisions that Obama may change from the Bush administration. The video above is also a good discussion. If you want to see all executive orders since 1937, click here. Two of the more famous executive orders are Truman's one integrating the military and Clinton's "Don't ask don't tell."

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Swing State Over The Last 20 Years
This is a great series of graphics of VA from 1980-2008 showing each county/city and which way they votes for president. It is also a good way to show students how the power bases continues to move to the urban areas (NOVA and Hampton Roads in this case).
Different Ways of Looking at the Electoral Results
This looks at the results by electoral college and then distorts the college to reflect the vaule of each state and then looks at the country returns by county and much more.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Politico 44 and Congress 2008
The first site, "Politico44" will be great if you are doing the executive branch soon for such things as Cabinet picks. Right now there is an article on Rahm Emmanuel accepting the chief of staff position. Likewise, "Congress2008" updates everything you need to know about the new Congress including the as yet to be determined races.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Breakdown of Votes
Click here for what we have on yesterday's vote and here so you can see a comparison to 2004.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Amazing Electoral Returns
Click here (or above) and you can get live results from every state for presidential, US Senate and the House of Representatives.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

What and When to Watch on Election Night
This is a well stated list of what to watch on election night for the McCain-Obama race as well as the Senate races. You could also go here for a similar one from Newsweek.