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Civics
Hot topics and current events relevant to Civics students
Curated by Heather Ramsey
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EU Court Tells Google That People Have 'The Right To Be Forgotten'

EU Court Tells Google That People Have 'The Right To Be Forgotten' | Civics | Scoop.it
Europe's highest court has issued a landmark decision against Google, ruling that people can go directly to Google and request that the search engine delete certain results about them. For more information, Audie Cornish turns to Meg Ambrose, a professor of communication, culture, and technology at Georgetown University.
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Weighing The Risks Of Warrantless Phone Searches During Arrests

Weighing The Risks Of Warrantless Phone Searches During Arrests | Civics | Scoop.it
Police have long been able to search people without a warrant at the time of their arrest. Two cases before the Supreme Court ask whether cellphones should be off-limits until police get permission.
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US lags as commercial drones take off around globe

US lags as commercial drones take off around globe | Civics | Scoop.it

". . . .The use of commercial drones, most of them small, is starting to spread to countries where authorities have decided the aircraft presents little threat if operators follow a few safety rules.

The drone industry and some members of Congress are worried the United States will be one of the last countries, rather than one of the first, to gain the economic benefits of the technology. . . ."

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The Countries with the Worst Press Freedoms, Mapped

The Countries with the Worst Press Freedoms, Mapped | Civics | Scoop.it
The journalistic advocacy group Reporters Without Borders has released its annual World Press Freedom Index, a ranking of the countries with the best and worst treatment for journalists trying to do their job.

Via Mike Busarello's Digital Storybooks
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Ireland asks unemployed citizens to move away

Ireland asks unemployed citizens to move away | Civics | Scoop.it
Heather Ramsey's insight:

For my students:

Write a reaction to the government action discussed in the article. What additional information do you think you need to be able to fully evaluate what Ireland is trying to do?

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House votes to renew all-plastic gun ban

House votes to renew all-plastic gun ban | Civics | Scoop.it
WASHINGTON—With the advent of 3-D printers capable of producing plastic weapons, the House voted Tuesday to renew a 25-year-old prohibition against firearms that can evade metal detectors and X-ray machines.
Heather Ramsey's insight:

For my students: Summarize the various reactions that people have had about the 3D printing of guns and the plastic gun ban.

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Cheerful Songs About Drug War Murders, Now at a Walmart Near You

Cheerful Songs About Drug War Murders, Now at a Walmart Near You | Civics | Scoop.it
Narco Cultura shows how communities on both sides of the border have become cauterized to the terrifying violence in Mexico.
Heather Ramsey's insight:

For my students:

After reading the article, discuss how this issue illustrates the difference between power and authority. Be sure to throroughly explain your reasoning.

 

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Looking back at America’s forgotten first constitution

Looking back at America’s forgotten first constitution | Civics | Scoop.it

How many of us know when “first constitution” was created and how and why it was adopted? Did it play a role in the adoption of America’s “second” Constitution? Why don’t we cherish it with the same reverence as the Declaration and present Constitution? Here’s an overview of this important document.

 

Although the Articles of Confederation weren’t drafted until 1776, the document’s story begins, perhaps, with a convention called among the British North American colonies at Albany, New York, in 1754. At that time the French in Canada, together with their Indian allies, had been raiding the colonies, and a call when out for a meeting in Albany.


Via Thomas Schmeling
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The Legislative Process

The Legislative Process | Civics | Scoop.it
"The Legislative Process", a playlist created by LibraryOfCongress
Heather Ramsey's insight:

This YouTube channel from the Library of Congress has several videos explaining different facets of the Legislative Branch.

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Your Digital Trail: Does The Fourth Amendment Protect Us?

Your Digital Trail: Does The Fourth Amendment Protect Us? | Civics | Scoop.it
Unlike the movies, officers can't instantly see your private data, but experts warn they soon could.
Heather Ramsey's insight:

For students: Based on your reading of the article, what loophole makes it possible for personal data to be shared without violating the Fourth Amendment?

 

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Presidential Elections - The American Presidency Project

The American Presidency Project contains the most comprehensive collection of resources pertaining to the study of the President of the United States. Compiled by John Woolley and Gerhard Peters
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Constitute Project - "The World's Constitutions to Read, Search, and Compare"

Heather Ramsey's insight:

Constitutions from around the world are organized by country. There is also a feature to browse particular constitutional topics/issues and for comparative purposes. Very cool!

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Worth a try - "Civic Crowdfunding"

Worth a try - "Civic Crowdfunding" | Civics | Scoop.it
EVERYONE loves an underdog. The news of Detroit’s bankruptcy on July 18th, the largest ever filed by an American city, made headlines everywhere. The story is one...
Heather Ramsey's insight:

Have you ever participated in a fundraising effort? From trying to raise money for an organization through a car wash, to selling candy bars, or even just taking up a collection for pizza with friends, many of us have done some fundraising at one point in our lives. This article briefly discusses efforts to raise funds for community projects ("crowdfunding") when there isn't any other funding available. The article has links to different websites that people use to try and raise money for a cause. Check out a few of those websites and some of the causes/projects that are listed there.

 

BONUS for students:

Discuss a project or cause for which you would actively raise money, and be sure to explain your choice.

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Liberals Eat Here. Conservatives Eat There. - Washington Wire - WSJ

Liberals Eat Here. Conservatives Eat There. - Washington Wire - WSJ | Civics | Scoop.it
Can you tell a person's politics based on where they buy their groceries or hamburger? Here's one gauge of how liberal or conservative customers are at America's chain restaurants, fast-food establishments and supermarkets.
Heather Ramsey's insight:

Politics vs. geography!

 

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Should you pay fees for better public services?

Should you pay fees for better public services? | Civics | Scoop.it
What role should money and markets play in our society? Should access to premium public services such as education and health care be available for a price? Follow the debate and vote on a winner in this second installment of TED Ideas Lab — a partnership between The Globe and Mail and TED
Heather Ramsey's insight:

Toward the beginning of the article, this question is posed: Are there things that simply shouldn’t be bought and sold? It is an interesting question, and not a new one. The debate on the website also shows several good examples of argumentation.

 

For students: What do you think is the answer to the question? Draw evidence from the article/debate that aligns with your thinking.

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Should a Defense Lawyer Have to Decide How His Client Should Die?

Should a Defense Lawyer Have to Decide How His Client Should Die? | Civics | Scoop.it
Legal ethicists are alarmed by a recent federal appeals court ruling that requires attorneys to suggest alternatives to the lethal injection procedures they deem unconstitutional.
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U.S. Federal Legislation - 1973-present | Congress.gov | Library of Congress

Accurate, timely, and complete legislative information for members of U.S. Congress and the American people
Heather Ramsey's insight:

This is searchable database of laws, resolutions, etc. passed by Congress since 1973. It shows the chronology of each individual piece of legislation from when it was introduced to when it became a law. There are also sponsor names, summaries, and notes for each.

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How U.S. Activists Helped Push South Africa Away From Apartheid

How U.S. Activists Helped Push South Africa Away From Apartheid | Civics | Scoop.it
U.S. civil rights leaders were among the first Americans to shine an international light on apartheid in South Africa. But calls for economic sanctions eventually led to wider actions, from college campuses to Wall Street.
Heather Ramsey's insight:

The U.S. anti-apartheid movement is a powerful example of how people who feel passionately about a cause take action and affect change!

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The recorded world: Every step you take

The recorded world: Every step you take | Civics | Scoop.it
“THIS season there is something at the seaside worse than sharks,” declared a newspaper in 1890. “It is the amateur photographer.” The invention of the...
Heather Ramsey's insight:

The right to privacy has been a hot-button issue in the last several months due to emerging news and debate over the National Security Agency. Some new technological capabilities are also raising questions for some, and possible positive and negative impacts are discussed in this article.

 

For my students:

Have you ever felt like your privacy was being invaded using technological means? How would you feel if you found out that technology was used to record something about you?

 

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How JFK Fathered The Modern Presidential Campaign

How JFK Fathered The Modern Presidential Campaign | Civics | Scoop.it
He was novel, energetic and knew how to harness mass media. Today, candidates still follow his lead.
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Take This State And Shove It: The New Secession Movement

Take This State And Shove It: The New Secession Movement | Civics | Scoop.it
Residents of rural areas feel shut out of their states' politics, so why not create their own?

Via Seth Dixon, ApocalypseSurvival
Heather Ramsey's insight:

On election day this year, several Colorado counties voted on whether to secede from Colorado and create a new state. Many of the counties voted in favor of the idea. (See the link below for more info on the Colorado secession movement.) This is not the first time groups of Americans have considered (and voted on) breaking away from their state. When political issues come up and decisions are made by the government and/or the people, some get their way and others do not. The article explains one way that some people have decided to take action when they do not feel their interests are being served.

 

BONUS for my students:

1) What steps do you think should be taken before people consider seceding from their state?  

2) What are some possible pros and cons of breaking away from a state to create a new one?  

3) Hypothetically speaking, what would it take for you to want to create a new state?

 

Here is the link to the article about Colorado's secession movement:

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/colorado-rural-voters-approve-secession-idea-20850962

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Tony Aguilar's curator insight, October 31, 2013 12:07 PM

These rural colorado area feel that being overheard or misrepresented by their local government would lead them to seceed and create their own state. This may be a good idea only in making sure they are being heard as an autonomous state it will only be a potentially bad thing if they attempt to be their own country. urbna centralized governments may overlook farmers anf other people who have needs that dont coincide to well with government whose agenda is focused on urbanizing and expanding in a non agricultural way. It is aparent though that there are leaders who do  want a seccession and want to see the rural areas come together and feel that they are being more better represented.

Victoria McNamara's curator insight, December 11, 2013 11:43 PM

Some states urban and rural areas have had differences and beliefs when it comes to politics. For example Virginia and West Virginia have had their differences and this is what has caused them to seperate. If every state did this there would be too much craziness because im sure each state would have a different belief and nobody would agree on anything. 

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, February 1, 2014 7:57 PM

This article is about segments of California, Colorado, and Oregon wanting to separate and become their own states so their voices can be heard in Congress.

 

If, hypothetically, new states were formed out of existing ones this kind of gerrymandering would likely only lead to even more new states. It might even lead to a secession arms race to gain more Democrat and Republican seats in the Senate. With so many new states, it could lead to increased division, with no Democrat or Republican wanting to set foot in an opposition’s state. In the long run though, political affiliations do eventually change and we would have a precedent analogous to attempting to take the ball home when the other kids don't want to play the same game as you, which is not how a democratic republic works.

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Everyone The U.S. Government Owes Money To, In One Graph

Everyone The U.S. Government Owes Money To, In One Graph | Civics | Scoop.it
Here's who won't get paid if the government defaults.
Heather Ramsey's insight:

Will all of the talk about the debt ceiling and budget issues in Congress, not to mention the partial government shutdown, there has been a lot of talk about our debts to other countries. NPR provides an interesting visual for this on their website.

 

Students: What is your reaction to this graph? Does it match your prior knowledge of our country's debt or not? Is there a particular part of this graph you find interesting or surprising?

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A Short History Of Government Shutdowns

A Short History Of Government Shutdowns | Civics | Scoop.it
Before 1980, when lawmakers reached a budget stalemate, the federal workforce kept on working.
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Californian law gives teens right to delete web posts

Californian law gives teens right to delete web posts | Civics | Scoop.it
California passes a law that will enable children to make websites delete their personal information.
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Are There Too Many 'Hillionaires' In Washington? : NPR

Are There Too Many 'Hillionaires' In Washington? : NPR | Civics | Scoop.it
More than 60 percent of the Senate and most members of the House of Representatives are millionaires. California Republican Darrell Issa tops the list, with an estimated net worth of more than $355 million.
Heather Ramsey's insight:

When talking to my Civics students, I hear a lot of comments about the fact that lawmakers are often wealthy idividuals. If you're one of the students who has had this conversation with me, you know my answer already: VOTE! Participate! If this article resonates with you, then make it a point to investigate the ways that you can affect change. Maybe you can run for office yourself someday!

 

BONUS for students:

Do you have other insight about how to change who is in our legislative branch? OR, do you think that that is a problem to have wealthy people in Congress? Tell me how you stand on the issue presented in this article.

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