Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bureaucracy: Ambassadorial appoinments - Political Appointee vs. Career Foreign Service

I ran across this graphic on the The Monkey Cage blog. You won't find a political donor being sent to Bamako, Mali and unfortunately a career foreign service officer will never be the ambassador to Oslo, Norway.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The "in plain English" series is more about technical items (Google Docs, wikis, blogs, podcasts, etc.), but the one above simplifies the Electoral College.
Who Runs Government
This is a nice interactive by the Washington Post that shows you all the members of Congress, who are the Dems and Repubs, the leaders in the executive branch, administrative officials, governors, Hill staff, interest groups. Really the Post is a good source to keep visiting as they are trying very hard to do things to get people to come to their site since they are rapidly losing readers of their newspaper.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

VA Done and NJ Still Up in Air
At least that's how I've read it (but then again, I thought NJ was over for Corzine months ago!). Just a week to go and a good time to talk about GOTV (get out the vote efforts by campaigns).

Saving Paper By Splitting Your Screen
Two years ago I almost bought another monitor so I could see two screens at the same time as I was tired of printing out paper, using it for a minute and then throwing it away. Perhaps the people who view this blog know about the trick above, but in case you don't, please watch the one minute video and learn how to see and work with multiple documents/webpages all at once.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Census Site for Schools
The US Census has put together a rather extensive site with lesson plans, a history of the census and more.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

HBO Education site

The HBO education site contains teacher guides to many of their films as well as links to the film sites. Some of the films are: John Adams, 4 little Girls, Iron Jawed Angels, Recount, and The Laramie Project.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ambassador Appointments
We are doing confirmations in my government class so these links will be quite helpful. This site tells you what percentage of the ambassador picks for each country since 1960 has been political (defined as not career foreign service). Now this site lists every ambassador under Obama, if they are political or foreign service, if and or when they were approved by the senate and has a link to a biography on each one.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Complete (free) Online Government Textbook
Here is a complete free online textbook from a group out of Philly that I have been working with for the last year. The book has several great features: 1) it is very easy to manuever since it is not a pdf such as the large textbook groups have for their online books 2) it has great links that will help you in the classroom 3) it has a super search engine that shows you where your information is in both the book and the Internet and 4) did I say it's FREE!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Student Presentations
If you go to and type in "government class projects," you will see a myriad of ideas from other teachers. Above is a nice newscast that students did on current events. I am working on an idea where kids will have to do this and discuss the path of Obama's health care to date.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Health Care Support Falls Off
Remember that is an invaluable resource for the US government teacher. The poll above shows that Obama has his work cut with the liberals standing up for the "public option" and the conservative Dems wanting it out (see a few posts ago for some great links about health care). The poll above (or the ones below) are also a great way to talk about the number of people needed for a poll (generally about 1000 nationwide to be within +-3%). Here are the details on this poll and an explanation of how to use it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Living Room Candidate
This site is remarkable in that it seems to have every presidential from 1952-2008. Your students will get a laugh at some of the cartoon ones and be amazed at the way women are shown in some of the early advertisements. Above is the most controversial presidential ad of all time from 1964 which was only shown once on television.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Corzine's Weighty Ad on Christie
The ad above is getting a lot of play because Corzine is trying to attack Christie's weight. With the polls very close, it is getting to be pretty nasty in New Jersey! Here is a recent Christie ad.

Super Freakonomics
Perhaps this is more for the teacher than the student, but I have used examples from Freakonmics when I ask students if government should make decisions based on outliers for political expediency or based on statistics. If SuperFreak is as good as Freak was, then you may enjoy the video blurb above on the new book. If you are into econometrics and want to see Levitt's academic papers (upon which his books are based), then go here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Congress/Interest Groups PowerPoint
There are a bunch of ways to teach government. One of my department colleagues is going to his elections unit now since we have one in VA in a few weeks. I choose (after the Constitutional Foundations + Federalism) to go with the first article of the Constitution combined with interest groups. Obviously others combine political parties with interest groups. So if you are using my slides above to help you, just know that this is my, but not the definitive way to order a government course. Also, I have two recent links (one in the post just below this one) and one from a blog entry put up here by a fellow blogger last week. So, this PowerPoint will probably have a few changes in the next few weeks as I go through it. The graphs/charts are thanks to O'Connor/Sabato and Magelby/O'Brien.

The Health Care Kielbasa

You know the old saying about "Laws are like sausage. It's better not to see them being made." (Widely attributed to Bismark) Well, this graphic from the illustrating what still needs to be done to get a Health Care Bill passed would have had Otto shouting "Ich war richtig!"

Monday, October 12, 2009

Know Your Member of Congress
I got this off from one of you - thanks. This site allows you to type in a member of Congress (mine is above) and see how many bills he/she has introduced, how many earmarks he/she have asked for & received. The site does not give its definition of earmarks, nor tell if the bills are for one's entire career (I suspect it is), but nonetheless, it is an interesting starting point.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Politics 1 is a site that is updated daily and has a ton of links for articles for the hot political topics of the day. It is not a site looking for attention like the Drudge Report, just a person who seems to love politics. There is also a link on Facebook for it.

Politico Playback - Comics and Politics
Okay this might take too much explaining, but has its comedic playback every morning.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Deeds vs. McDonnell
In VA McDonnell's (R) lead has grown to 9 pts over Deeds (D). If you are teaching in VA, here is a 47 minute special you can show your students on the two candidates. If you want the lastest news, then above is a 4 minute clip from earlier today.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Job Losses Digitally
Admitedly, this only goes through June, but it is a great visual showing the number of jobs lost since the recession started. The graphic actually goes from blue (jobs) to red (job losses - Freudian blame of Bush?!). By the way, this came from a fellow teacher in my county. If you ever see a great site, please e-mail me a as this blog is meant to be a sharing opportunity for everyone around the country - now that it has really grown. To those who send me e-mails (and those who are "lurkers") thanking us for the site - thanks for coming back again and again.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

NJ Governor's Race
I've commented on my own state's race and now above is a poll from NJ's gubernatorial one. As this commentary will tell you, Corzine has been stuck at 40% for some time, but his ads are now taking points from Christie who has dropped significantly - but is still ahead. All of Christie's percentage losses are going to the independent in the race. Here is info on both races.

Levi Johnston pitches pistachios.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Executive Orders
We are discussing federalism in my class and so that brought up executive orders. As if on cue, Obama signed one today mandating that all federal agencies measure their greenhouse emissions and reduce them by 2020. Here are all of Obama's since coming to office as well as everyone from FDR onwards.
Scholarly Search Engine
This is a site where you can put in say "Federalism" and get back a lot of hits found on government servers.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

AP Multiple Choice How-To
Yes the study guides on Google Books are not complete, but here and above (starting on 9 nine) is the complete section from Barron's explaining how one tackles each kind of multiple choice question. It's not as good as the explantion in Cliff Notes - but I can't find that one online. Barron's for my money is the best study guide for multiple choice questions and the chapter summaries - and terrible for their examples of free response questions.

Friday, October 2, 2009

What Does a VP Do?
In between breaking ties in the senate, here are 25 recent pictures of Joe Biden at work, complete with descriptions - including the one above swearing in Massachusetts' new junior senator.
Health Care Debate
Struggling to teach the health care debate? Here are a few links that give a short, concise look at it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Pollster.Com has a ton of head to head polls including the one above between McDonnell (R) and Deeds (D) from VA (one of the two states having gubernatorial elections this fall).