Sunday, October 30, 2011

Colbert Defining a Super PAC

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colbert PAC - Trevor Potter
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colbert Super PAC - Trevor Potter
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive
Thanks to my AP colleague, Rich Hoppock for finding these videos of Steven Colbert describing a Super PAC in the bottom video and the Colbert show defining a regular PAC above.  

What is a Super PAC

It used to be fairly easy to teach PACs.  They can give $5,000 to a candidate and another $5,000 is the candidate wins the primary/caucus.  Of course after McCain-Feingold, first came 527s and now we have "super PACs" thanks to Citizens United v. FEC.  First off here are all the posts I have done on Citizens' United and here are the ones I have done on 527s.  Here, though, is a super definition of "super PACs" and a graphic to go along with it.  Here is a graphic and definition on 527s.  Essentially they two institutions are almost the same.  The large difference is that a 527 must be limited to issues and is registered with the IRS as a tax exempt organization and deals with individuals.'  Both can accept unlimited contributions.  Secondarily 527s cannot talk to a candidate while super pacs have essentially no limitations and can accept any contributions even from corporations.  Essentially (and please respond if you think otherwise), super pacs have eliminated the need for 527s.  

Social Security Bringing in Less Than It Spends

According to this WashPost article, social security added $46 billion to the deficit last year, but is still "okay" since it has its own trust fund which is projected to be flush with cash until 2036.  Here is a graphic which shows both items. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Recording Using Your Cell Phone

It used to be that we had our students get a video camera from the library to take movies for their projects. With (yes it has been out a while), students can record (and even stream live) to the Qik site and instantly download it onto  (here is a post on how you can download from youtube) so you can use it as part of a presentation.  Qik is compatible with 200 types of phones and probably many of your students already have the app.  

Constitution Game

This will allow students to draw parts of the to the different parts of the Constitution such as preamble, articles, etc. 

Primary Resources and the Constitution

Here are a bunch of primary resources such as a picture drawn of the Philadelphia state house at the time, newspaper articles from the time, diary entries of George Washington, 


The WashPost has a great site where you can see redistricting by Repubs (as in they control both house of the legislature and the governor's mansion), Dems, split party, commissions and one state districts and see who is going to probably gain for each party. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Redistricting Game

I am about to do redistricting with my government kids and I always like to start with them playing the redistricting game.  I actually go to the second screen where they have to do partisan gerrymandering.  The game really frustrates the kids as there is no correct answer, just better results.  

Herman Cain Ad

This ad has been getting a lot of attention in the media for its simplicity.  Other than the recent Perry ad in Iowa, it like the other candidate ones, has been only online.  The WashPost blog, the Fix, has its ten favorite odd political ads. My personal favorite is this one which came in a race against Pelosi.  Of course, while Cain's ad is being ridiculed, he is ahead in the polls.  The link is a nice one as it explains how the poll was done and what the questions are.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Perry, First Up In Iowa

Rich Perry is the first, as of yesterday, to get an ad out in Iowa - which you can see below. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Ad War

I received an e-mail from a blog watcher earlier today asking if the ads below were on television yet.  The piece on today's NYTimes "broadcast" tells exactly what is going on with the two ads. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

e-book Simulation

This is a rather nice simulation on making a bill into a law.  It has a part where kids have to drag the steps of the law into the correct order as well as simulations where depending on each step you take, you see the different results - and problems and an example under Obama of how he got a law passed. 

Perry's Answer the the Romney Ad

So tomorrow my students will have to figure out which is better, the Romney ad below or this new one today from Perry. 

Tough New Anti Perry Ad by Romney

Here is the latest Romney ad and it is not one that Perry will enjoy. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I like making screencasts to show my students what they should do and/or teachers I am working with for in-services.  Above is a how to video I made for which allows you to make up to 15 minute screencasts (movies of what you are doing on the computer screen) and instantly upload them into Youtube.  Since you do not first need to download onto your computer (as you might do for Snagit) and then upload, it can all be done very quickly.  Finally it is entirely free which makes the price just perfect. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Prezi and Bloom's

Here is a great way to get teachers to think of all the levels of Bloom's taxonomy and a super example of how you can use Prezi.

Who Has Raised What

Obama has raised more money than the Republican candidates combined.  Here is another NYTimes resource you can use to see each candidate.  You can also see from where in the country the money has come and who had done what four years ago.  For example at this point in 2007, Hillary Clinton had raised $91 million and Obama "just" $80 million while Romney had raised $30 million more than he has done this time. 

Political Donations

Besides knowing that each federal candidate can receive $2500 from an individual before a primary (or in the case of presidential ones, up until the convention) and another $2500 after securing the nomination and $5000 from a PAC, it has become more confusing in recent years how much and where a person can give to a candidate.  Here is a way your students can find out about how different sums of money can be donated to candidates for president. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hippo Campus e-book

Here are two e-books (one for AP and one regular) for US government.  The nice thing is that they have both the written text as well as video which your students can watch.  It also might be useful to link your site to concepts in the book that you want your students to review. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Focusing While Reading e-books

Because I have been pushing e-books for four years now, I get lots of good and some negative comments (the positives have greatly increased with this article from the WashPost on my classroom).  One negative comments is that it is harder to focus using online books.  Of course I point out that the kids' cell phones are never far away and that they already do so much of their work online anyway.  But the temptation is still there for sure.  Well I just read this post on FreeTech4Teachers for the site StayFocused which allows students to set a time limit for how much a person can be on a site before they will get kicked off and not allowed back until tomorrow.  If the kids are sure that it is a serious problem, then they will use it or perhaps their parents will have them do so or I could just be dreaming! Above is a video explaining it. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Federal Contribution Limits

With McCain-Feingold (BCFA) we now are seeing changes in donation levels for individuals every campaign cycle.  Now an individual can give $2500 (unless there is a primary and then it is $5K) and a PAC can give $5000.  Here is the FEC page with all the other donation rules. 

State of the States - Gallup Poll

Even though our election unit is a ways off, I am thinking (as you could see from a few posts ago) of my campaign manager assignment.  So now I found a site from Gallup Poll which shows "the state of the states" and includes changes in political affiliation, the economy and even health from 2008, 2009 and 2010.  My students will use this data in part to decide what states to target.  I still haven't figured out if I want them to spend "money" and if so if I have to have them come up with the sources.  If anyone has done anything like that, would you please post a comment and if you have it a link to your assignment. 

Audio and Written Notes in an e-book

Kno is a start-up that is just about two years old, but is already working with tons of e-books to make them even better.  If you are toying with buying e-books, you can see what is starting to be out there.  In the above video, one sees how a journal is kept of pictures and notes the student takes so that one does not need to go back to each page.  Additionally a new feature allows students to quiz themselves on any picture that includes text.  As I tell my students and their parents e-books do not equal textbooks.  Above is proof. 

Short Video on Federalism

As my students said the other day, the best part of this short video on federalism are the visuals which help to explain it.  Definitely worth the three minutes it takes to show it. 

Video of the Two Sides of Awlaki

Let me add a video to Frank's below.  It is more on the pro killing Awlaki side, but it does give both sides and is short enough to play in class (3:47) and discuss. 

Debate Erupts Over Legality Of Al-Qaida Leader's Killing

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Nota for Class Posters

NOTA is a new collaborative poster maker similar to Glogster.  The added benefit is that it can add Google Maps in addition to pictures, video, words, etc.  Here is a video showing how to make a post.  One disadvantage is that it does not come (yet) with a way for teachers to create their own page for their students which Glogster does.  I found out about this a Tweet from "HPTeacherExchange." 

Google Survey Quizzes

This week or next I am showing my adult students how to make a simple quiz in Google Survey.  Above is a short video explaining how to create a Google Survey (quiz) which I found using a simple search on Youtube. Below is a video that tells you how to correct it automatically.  It is only 4 minutes long.  I know social studies teachers tend to recoil when they see math formulas, but it is an easy one and might save you a lot of time in the long run.  I found it by using the search engine on FreeTech4Teachers.