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Here's What You Need to Know About the President's 2015 Budget - DUE 4/25

Here's What You Need to Know About the President's 2015 Budget - DUE 4/25 | Evan Biggers RHS POGO | Scoop.it
Here's how President Obama's budget would grow our economy and expand #OpportunityForAll → http://go.wh.gov/ctxpdE

Via Christine Thompson
Evan Biggers's insight:
There is a significant reduction in the growth rate of healthcare cost, which is causing a decline in the deficit. Constraining the growth of  healthcare cost controls the deficit.The President’s proposed budget is supposedly going to reduce the deficit below the baseline in future years, from 3.4% to 1.6%. The plan is to constrain the inflation of healthcare costs, so there will be more investments.Through the opportunity, growth and Security Initiative, the President plans to promote investment in areas of discretionary spending that he believes will build the economy the most. The creation of manufacturing institutes across the nation will provide jobs for the unemployed, thus stimulating the economy.Based purely on the numbers provided from the Director of the OMB, the budget seems like a perfect plan to maintaining the prosperity of the nation’s economy. However, it only seems like a short term solution to a long term problem. Also, much of the country will not benefit from all of the new initiatives put in place by the proposed budget. It appears as if this budget is a combination of increased government spending and a decreased deficit, and the only way it seems like this could work is built on the wallets of American citizens. While limiting the growth rate of healthcare costs seems to have the direct effect of increasing money that can be put towards investment, people benefitting from the new healthcare won’t be contributing much to economic growth.
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Cole Hagar's curator insight, April 28, 2014 1:40 PM

 

1. OMB Deputy Director Brian Deese says that the reason for the rapid rate of decline in the deficit is due to healthcare being nationalized and constant job creation.

2. According to Mr. Deese, the proposed budget deficits will continue to fall through 2024 due to the President’s plans and policies that he thinks will do away with waste.

3. The President is distributing the discretionary funding by empowering in things such as research projects that will ultimately benefit our economy in the long run. His initiative is already paid for taking into consideration the deficits.

4. The cons include the nationalization of healthcare which hurts almost everyone except the people without healthcare. The pro is the investment in our future investments which will ultimately help the economy in the long run.

Lauren Smith's curator insight, April 29, 2014 11:50 PM

1. The rapid rate of decline in the deficit is due to a historic reduction in the rate of growth in health care costs. 

2. The President's budget for 2015 will affect future deficits by decreasing the deficit more each year. 

3. The President's budget is trying to build on Congress's effort to compromise in the allocation of discretionary policy by bringing the democrats and republicans to work together to agree on a budget that has set limits for discretionary spending. The President's proposal shows how he'd build on this compromise process and invest in potential resources that would strengthen the economy. 

4. Pros of the proposal:

The deficit would decrease while the opportunities for Americans would increase. it promotes more efficient government management, and with the help of American Opportunity Tax Credit 11.5 million families can pay for their children to go to college.

Cons of the proposal:

It will take years to see the solid changes in the deficit to take effect in the economy and the plan will need bipartisan party support to work, and right now the majority of the government is divided. 

Tanner Roan's curator insight, April 30, 2014 7:50 PM

1. The rapid decrease of the deficit comes from the lowered cost of things like healthcare.

2. According to Mr. Deese, the deficit would begin to fall to around 1.6% as long as they keep decreasing the costs of things like healthcare.

3. The new budget is proposing to focus more on infrastructure and early education, but even then no one program is getting special attention budget wise. a component is the increase of funding for preschool education.

4. The idea of splitting the budget to help in so man ways sounds like a good plan to help support growth in the nation, but at the same time it seems to be very idealistic about what it will actually be able to accomplish. when spreading the budget out over so many fields, it can be easy to overestimate the impact it will actually have on the nation.

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Obama going it alone, pressing ahead on reforms for federal contractors with executive orders - DUE 4/11!

Obama going it alone, pressing ahead on reforms for federal contractors with executive orders - DUE 4/11! | Evan Biggers RHS POGO | Scoop.it
President pushing contractor changes with executive orders, moving without help from Congress

Via Christine Thompson
Evan Biggers's insight:

President Obama has chosen to enact an executive order regarding pay of federal employees in hopes of driving economic policy without first getting approval from Congress. His executive order should close the pay gap between men and women who are working with federal contractors by allowing to get compensation information about the workforce. While his order only directly affects those working for the government, he hopes it will influence the broader economy and non-government entities. Federal contracting does, however, consist of about a quarter of the workforce, which is still a sizeable chunk. This means that the executive order will still have a direct impact. The limit on his executive order is that it only applies to federal contractors, and not private, non-government related businesses. A general limit on executive orders, which came into effect due to Youngstown Sheet and tube Co. v. Sawyer in 1952, is that an executive order cannot attempt to make a law; it can only clarify or act further on a law already put forth by Congress. The main criticism of the presidents’ use of executive orders is that, while it isn’t supposed to be used for the creation of laws, is more or less allowing the President to make laws without Congressional approval. They do this by taking preexisting laws and moving them away from the way in which they were initially intended. The criticism of this specific executive order is that the additional compensation data from federal contractors will inevitably lead to wage related lawsuits. Since it also only applies to federal contractors, it means that the federal contractors are going to be put at a disadvantage, as they are the only ones mandated to obey the order. The White House has chosen to stay away from executive orders dealing with gay rights. The Obama administration is rightfully hesitant to address this area, as it is such a controversial and popular topic right now. Regardless of their decision, most of the country is going to disagree with at least some part of it. Due to the popularity of gay rights, any action on it will more than likely tarnish the public outlook of the Obama administration, which will affect the party’s ability to retain or gain spots in the upcoming midterm election.

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Ivan Dominguez's curator insight, April 14, 2014 9:02 AM

Obama is enacting an executive order to raise the pay for federal employees,and so women get paid equally as men. The order needs to get approved by the senate,and Obama is lacking congressional support. The limitations are that the president is limited to feral government contacts and has to be approved by congress. The major criticism is that the executive order will affect the basic cost of a product because they have to find a way to pay those employees, and overall the result will be inflation. The White House decided to not include an executive order on gay right issues because the Obama doesn’t want to interfere if Congress may give support in new legislation because that as that may make Congress give due to redundancy

Alex Speed's curator insight, April 16, 2014 11:54 AM

1.) Obama was forced to use an executive order because he does not have the support of congress, however he can pass legislation that will have the same effect by using an executive order. However,the limit of using an executive order is that it does not effect all US citizens.

2.) The general population is skeptical of executive orders because they do not require congressional approval, which seems like a manipulation of government. This specific order faces scrutiny for its potential with lawsuits on private companies 

3.) The Obama administration has chosen not to enact orders that will effect sexual discrimination because that is congress's situation. Obama doesn't want to create sort of bias in congress that will negatively impact this legislation

Taig Lyons's curator insight, April 17, 2014 9:59 AM

 

Why has President Obama chosen to enact an executive order regarding pay of federal employees?
The president can have an impact over the part of the economy he directly controls. This move looks good and can have an impact with federal contractors in the broader economy.

What are the limitations on Obama’s executive order and executive orders in general?
Executive orders apply pretty much only to sectors the president has direct control over, like the bureaucracy and the military.

What criticism is being levied against presidents’ use of executive orders? What is the criticism of this specific executive order?
The criticism is that the order will effect very few people and that it's really just an example more than anything. There's no pressure for non-federal contractors to follow suit.

What policy area has the White House chosen not to address with executive orders? Why might the Obama administration be hesitant to address this area?
The White House has not made an executive order regarding the protection of gays and lesbians in the federal bureaucracy, because it hopes to get a law passed that would cover this topic nationwide.

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Gerrymandering: the recipe for dysfunctional government? - DUE 3/28

Video on msnbc.com: The age-old practice of politicians re-drawing Congressional districts to find friendly voters, or, gerrymandering, has allowed members of the House of Representatives from both sides of the aisle to stay in power regardless of...


Via Teresa Herrin, Kelly Grossman, Christine Thompson
Evan Biggers's insight:
Congressional districts are redrawn by the majority party of the state every ten years, when census is taken. The party attempts to redraw the districts such that the majority party maintains a majority of the districts. They can do this by meandering the district lines to get the minority party concentrated in a few districts, with the majority of districts favoring the majority party, even if the majority party has fewer votes than the minority party. This allows the current majority party to remain in power.Gerrymandering makes it much, much easier for the incumbent to remain in office in the House of Representatives. Even if the incumbents receive fewer votes, they can still win a majority in the House due to gerrymandering. For example, in the 2012 election, Democrats got about a million more votes in Congress, but, due to gerrymandering, Republicans sent 33 more representatives to the House. Politicians are choosing their voters, voters aren’t choosing their politicians. They can get reelected even if they have a low approval rating.Mathematicians can figure out a way to divide the districts based on population and geography, thus eliminating the party bias in the district drawing. This would make it more difficult for incumbents to remain in office consistently and without worry. Eliminating the party bias would make the election more equal and less in favor of the incumbent, so he or she would have to work harder to please their constituents in order to get reelected.There are similarities between Electoral College outcomes and gerrymandering. In the Electoral College, the candidate does not need a majority of the popular vote to become president, but instead a majority of the electorate. This means that a candidate can win with the other candidate having a majority vote. Essentially the same applies for gerrymandering. Gerrymandering allows for the incumbent party to arrange districts in such a way that they can win a majority of the districts, even if the other party has the majority of the votes.The fact that both parties can benefit from it does relieve some of its illegitimacy, as it sort of evens out over time, but it certainly doesn’t make it justified. Regardless of which party is in office, it makes it much more difficult for the people to change who is representing them. Gerrymandering, at least to some degree, prohibits people from voicing their opinion in election, and is therefore unjustified. 
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Mason Paul Lyman's curator insight, April 2, 2014 9:41 PM

1. The House redraws the congressional districts every 10 years on the census in an attempr to make the districts lend their support to whoever the current party majority is.

2. Gerrymandering allows incumbents to get reelected multiple times. 

3. Have a computerized, neutral program that would create districts based on geography and demography. A program such as this would make it more difficult for incumbents to get reelected.

4. Yes, there are. One party could earn more votes than another but still lose the election.

5. No because it is an unhonorable way to earn the respective benefits.

Jessica Markle's curator insight, April 12, 2014 2:09 PM

gerymandering is the act of redrawing a district and its has gotten its name from Albridge Garry who redrew a district in the beginning of our country in order for him to win a vote. The redrawing of the districts almost guarantees a win in voting because it allows the politicians to choose their voters. In the video, suggested possible solutions to gerrymandering would be to redraw district lines according to geography, demographics, and population density but it would cause a disruption in the current system and would make it very difficult for a representative to be reelected to a district that doesn't have the same advantages. Gerrymandering can be compared to the electoral college because these systems don't work in the favor of the public, or the majority vote because with the representatives picking the districts containing people they know will vote for them along with the electoral college being able to override the public vote, it has caused question in the democratic system of the United States.

Lauren Sargent's curator insight, April 17, 2014 9:47 PM

The term gerrymandering comes from an 1810 law that was created by Elbridge Gerry, Governor of Massachusetts, which repositioned and defined congressional districts based on population changes. After the law was passed, newspaper articles came out with pictures of the re-drawn districts in concerning shapes, such as a salamander. They linked the two words “salamander” and “Gerry” and called it gerrymandering. As time has gone on, gerrymandering has been manipulated by both the Republican and Democratic parties by them re-drawing districts specifically to change the possible outcome of their “political cartoon” if you will. House seats are being re-apportioned every presidential election year. The video suggested that these means of politics have made it so that “the politicians are choosing their voters, rather than the voters choosing their politicians”. This is causing major distrust in candidates and decrease in voter participation. Gerrymandering has been beneficial to incumbents because they change their districts to work in favor of their election. Both the Electoral College and gerrymandering can be seen as unfair or corrupt government practices because they can sometimes both not accurately depict the peoples' votes by changing their districts. With the Electoral College, they could win a majority of the electoral votes, but not the majority vote. With gerrymandering, a politician would be elected just because of the re-drawn, manipulated districts, which is ridiculous. 

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Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball » 2016 presidential ratings update: Nothing but questions on the Republican side

Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball » 2016 presidential ratings update: Nothing but questions on the Republican side | Evan Biggers RHS POGO | Scoop.it

Via Christine Thompson
Evan Biggers's insight:
For Republicans, the media is looking for a candidate that maintains strong conservative credentials. They want somebody that can get conservative legislation passed, even if they are in a blue state. For example, Scott Walker and Chris Christie are both in the top tier, partially for the reason that they were able to be successful in mostly liberal states. For Democrats, the media is mostly looking for someone that is extremely popular throughout the entire nation and can make history (by being the first female president). Hillary Clinton is the ideal frontrunner according to the media, as she has experience, a legacy, and is extremely popular. Like Republicans, Democrats also want someone who can find success in a state that is primarily composed of the other party.Sabato does not seem focused on the candidates’ platforms at all. He mainly assesses the potential candidates on how the public views them, not on their views. The closest he comes to this is by saying they have strong “credentials,” but this is as specific as he gets.The permanent presidential campaign means that the campaign for the presidency is never really ending. Even though the election isn’t until 2016, people are already talking about the frontrunners. This shows the ever changing nature of the government, and it makes it seem like the current presidency is always coming to a close. This makes people focused more on the next presidency as opposed to the current one, which would wane public focus from current legislation.I don’t think there is much of an advantage to being identified as an early leader in the presidential race. It puts the potential candidate in the spotlight very early on, which makes it so much easier for their mistakes to be hyperbolized. Being an early leader also gives a lot of time for people to change their mind, as many people do. Keeping popularity for any amount of time, especially for over two years, is very difficult, since people can be swayed so easily. It’s very easy for an early leader’s campaign to fizzle out.
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Sean Kelly's curator insight, March 6, 2014 10:19 PM

1. The media is, overall, looking for a candidate that is somehow associated with government, and not associated with the government at large. The candidate needs connections, but not popular connections - they need to have a name of themselves without latching on to anyone elses name. They also are looking for a good personality, and an appeal to both sides of the political parties. This is true for Democrats and Repbulicans, except for tiny details - mainly Democrats need to have a steady, but not heavy, tone of liberalism while the Repbulicans need to tone down their conservatism.

2. Sabato does not mention party platforms for the candidates, except with Brian Schweitzer when his conseravtism on guns and the environment are listed as disadvantages.

3. the "permanent presidential campaign" refers to the tendency of government officials to always be vying for the presidential slot in the closest election year. There is always consideration for who would be the next president.

4. I would say it would be a disadvantage to be labeled as an early leader - people like the idea of an underdog story, of someone who has taken a rise to power. To be labeled as an early leader would be to be put as an "obvious choice," and so would be to be put in a bad light with the public as they feel their opinion is being downtrodded by that specific candidate.

Christine Thompson's comment, March 18, 2014 4:10 PM
I noticed that some people have the same/very similar wording on the "permanent presidency" question. Please do not "borrow" another student's work... and please be careful of plagiarism.
Lauren Smith's curator insight, March 19, 2014 6:44 AM

1. The media is looking for someone who is nationally known and has political experience, supported by some poplitical group, and they must be dynamic in speeches and campains. In addition, the canditate should have beliefs that are well alligned with their political party and have fundraising resources.

2. Sabato is focused more on the basic qualities of the politicians and has pointed out positive and negitive aspects for each potential candidate. He is not focused on each potential candidate's entire political platform yet because the point of his article is to introduce the candidates as potential, not certain, runners.

3. When Sabato refers to  the "permanent presidential campaign" he is refering to the presidential campaign in 2016 where the candidates for each party are surely running for president. These are the people that have decided to run and are no longer potential candidates.

4. I do not think there is an advantage in being identified as an early leader in the presidential race because the media can draw negitive attention to the candidate before they can defend or explain themselves. It doesn't matter who is the leader at the beginning of the race, it only matters who is the leader at the end of it. Therefore, it would be pointless to take any lead before the presidential race has begun because no one cares about that yet.

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Texan Hispanics Tilt Democratic, but State Likely to Stay Red - DUE 2/20

Texan Hispanics Tilt Democratic, but State Likely to Stay Red - DUE 2/20 | Evan Biggers RHS POGO | Scoop.it
Texas remains a Republican-leaning state because its white residents are becoming increasingly Republican and its large Hispanic population, though solidly Democratic, is less so than Hispanics nationally.

Via Christine Thompson
Evan Biggers's insight:
Democrats are hopeful of a party realignment in Texas because, at the moment, Texas is decisively a red state. A party realignment in the state would mean more people in the state would become aligned with the minority party, which is the Democratic Party, which would in turn mean the transformation of Texas into a blue state. As many minorities tend to align themselves more with the Democratic Party, the party realignment is directly related to a minority majority. With the increase in the population percentages of minorities in the state, eventually leading to a larger minority ethnic group population than whites, would come an increase in the percentage of people aligned with Democrats, since minorities are generally left-leaning.In Texas, party identification is much more skewed right (to the Republican side) compared to the rest of the country. While Hispanics still do tend to identify with the Democratic Party (46% as opposed to 27% Republican), this party difference is much smaller compared to the rest of the country (51% and 21%, respectively). Also, non-Hispanic whites identify much more with the Republican Party compared to the rest of the country (61%, 48%).Gallup suggests that a party realignment in the near future is unlikely because, despite still leaning left, Texan Hispanics align with the Republican Party more than the rest of the country. Also, while 38% of the population in the state is Hispanic, the voter participation in this ethnic group is very low compared to the right-leaning non-Hispanic whites (19%, 64%). This means that, even with an increase in the Hispanic population, their votes still will not weigh heavily enough to prompt party realignment in the state. The low political participation of Hispanics is what makes the party realignment improbable.The poll had a very large pool and a very large random sample size (178527). The samples are also weighted to correct for inherent bias, such as nonresponse, double-coverage, and selection bias. It was also weighted to match certain demographics, like gender, age, race, and Hispanic ethnicity.
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Holland Coleman's curator insight, February 20, 2014 11:28 PM

1. Democrats are hopeful of a party realignment in Texas because of the state's growing Hispanic population--Hispanics are consistently left-leaning--which represents an influx of blue voters that could tip the scales of the state. Soon, the state's white cititzens will make up less than half of the population, and the state will have a minority majority.

 

2. The party identification trend in Texas is that any given demographic will be more right-leaning than nationally. For instance, even though Hispanics in Texas still lean left, the margin by which Hispanic blue voters outweigh Hispanic red voters is much smaller. 

 

3. Despite any meteoric rise in Texas' Hispanic population, this demographic is unlikely to exercise its newfound political clout because Hispanic voters are much less likely to participate in elections than other demographics. The real challenge for Democrats therefore is not to win over the Hispanic population--they already lean left--but to get them to register and vote.

 

4. The study was a random survey conducted by telephone. Respondents were found using random-dialing methods in an even geographical spread. 50% of respondents were reached by landline, and the other 50% of respondents were reached by cell phone, to control for demographic trends regarding phone use. 

Lauren Smith's curator insight, February 21, 2014 12:22 AM

1. Democrats are hopeful for a party realignment in Texas because Texas is predominantly a Republican state, yet this poll suggests that the democrats are pulling more weight in Texas than before. If Texas were to become a more democratic state, then the Democrats would have a larger advantage in the number of voters and influence. The population of Hispanics in Texas is increasing in Texas and, along with African Americans in the state, are voting more democratic. However, the majority of Texans are white and vote republican. This shows that the minority majority struggle that the minorities are beginning to surpass the number of majority people in Texas. 

2. The trends in party identification in Texas are that the white Texans vote mostly republican, while the minorities vote more democratic. The Hispanic Texans were mostly republican in 2008 during the time of Obama's election, but now they have tended to follow the national trend to vote more democratic.  

3. Gallup suggests that the current situation of small percentages of Hispanic adult registered voters will unlikely cause a realignment of Texas to a democratic state. This is related to political participation in that there is a low percentage of Hispanic Texans who are actually registered to vote. This causes the Hispanic democrats to be poorly represented in the state.  Therefore the republicans who vote will keep Texas a more republican state.

4. Steps that were taken by Gallup to reduce sampling error were to conduct recent telephone interviews (in Spanish as well if needed to communicate to the respondent) with a random sample that included over 178,000 adults in all 50 states and in D.C., the interviews were 50% on cell phones and 50% on land lines, and there were weighted samples based on unequal selection probability and national demographics. 

Jordan Nguyen's curator insight, February 23, 2014 5:04 PM

1. If Texas has a party realignment it could be a huge change to the republican-democrat ratio. Texas is the largest republican majority state.  The minority Hispanic population as a cumulative has become the larger majority. The population is under the democratic influence more than anything else. 

2. The larger white majority will identify republican. The rest of the population will identify as democratic. 

3. Even though the minority is slowly becoming a majority the minority Hispanic population does not yet build the larger portion of population.The smaller Minority groups that makeup a majority combined are least likely to vote as well. This hinders the democratic party because there is no political participation.

4. There are several different groups looked at and not a single controlled specific type targeted, but the idea that the poll only targets people in Texas and divides them by race is not helping low sampling error. 

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Roberts Pulls Supreme Court to the Right Step by Step - DUE 4/18!

Roberts Pulls Supreme Court to the Right Step by Step - DUE 4/18! | Evan Biggers RHS POGO | Scoop.it
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. may work slowly, but he has a long-term strategy for putting his mark on the Supreme Court.

Via Christine Thompson
Evan Biggers's insight:

1. Modesty has been consistent in Robert’s court decisions. He has been able to persuade more liberal justices to compromise their opinions and allow for him to make more conservative decisions. He has been the most frequent justice in the majority because of his ability to make people compromise with his conservative views. He favors the conservatives.

2. Precedent is a past Supreme Court decision that is used in deciding other supreme court cases. Roberts has in part not gone with precedents, as in 2007, he took a major step in limiting campaign finance regulation, which goes against a major precedent. This was in the Citizens United Case.

3.  The court has a conservative majority, while the Obama administration is liberal. This makes their interests different than the Court. Obama should go for passing more moderate legislation that a conservative might not agree with, but won’t completely disagree with. By putting strong liberals in justice seats, it will make future presidents more effective.

4. Justice Kennedy has the swing vote. He doesn’t align completely with either the four conservatives or four liberals, so he essentially decides the highly partisan cases.

5. There is a bias in the way this article was written. It uses some loaded words to describe the Chief Justice, and makes it seem like he is the reason for  the ineffectiveness of the legislation. It’s almost as if they use him as a scapegoat. The article makes  the conservativese seem at fault and unmoving.

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Anna Fisher's curator insight, April 21, 2014 11:56 PM

1. The opposite party has been favored in Robert's court conditions. "He took pains to note that eight members of the court, including its four liberals, had already agreed that “things have changed in the South” and that the voting law seemed at odds with principles of federalism and “equal sovereignty” among the states."

2. "In the last term, the court issued 73 signed decisions in argued cases, in line with recent terms and about half the number the court routinely issued two decades ago. Justice Kennedy was in the majority 83 percent of the time in divided cases, trailed by Chief Justice Roberts at 73 percent. Justice Scalia brought up the rear, at 58 percent." So, Chief Robert's precedent would be Justice Kennedy and the majority does not typically rule in Robert's court.

3. “Obama’s poor overall record,” Professor Winkler added, “is largely due to philosophical differences with the court’s conservative majority.” The way this could be fixed is through compromise in parties, maybe not being too liberal and considering some of the conservative ideas. 

4. Justice Salina is considered the swing vote. Salina said that the majority needs to respect the President and the views of this. People still needs the power to govern themselves.

5. No, this article is factual and simply allows the reader to make their own opinion on the matter. 

Stephanie Shirley's curator insight, April 23, 2014 12:35 AM

1.The Roberts Court has a very conservative record that has been beneficial for business interests and detrimental to consumers and employees. They  cut back on class action lawsuits and favored arbitration. 

2. Precedent is making a decision based on prior decisions. In business cases, the court largely reaffirmed its prior decisions.
3. Obama's poor record is due to philosophical differences with the Supreme Court Justices. One strategy that the President could pursue to see greater success in the Court would be to compromise on issues and try to get legislation passed that is more bipartisan. 4. Justice Kennedy is considered the "swing vote" on the court because in some cases he votes liberal and in some he votes conservative. There are four liberals and four conservatives on the Court. 5. Yes, because it describes Chief Justice Roberts and his accomplishments in a positive way. "His patient and methodical approach has allowed him to establish a robustly conservative record."  
Ivan Dominguez's curator insight, April 24, 2014 12:41 AM

Roberts strongly supports conservative parties and decisions; “seven justices, including two liberals, agreed to sign an opinion that over time could restrict race-conscious admissions plans at colleges and universities.” This court has been the most pro-business in the past few years. A precedent is citing a previous case in order to successfully win a similar one. And Roberts court looks at all precedents set before any case is tried. The Obama administration has an overall poor record in defending their interests in the Supreme Court because the philosophical ideal differences within the administrations is very high. Justice Anthony Kennedy is most often the swing vote of the court. He typically goes back and forth between the conservatives and liberals. This article seems biased in favor of liberal stand points, but also gives credit to the Chief Justice  Roberts.

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Senate Balks at Obama Pick for Surgeon General

Senate Balks at Obama Pick for Surgeon General | Evan Biggers RHS POGO | Scoop.it
The White House is considering putting off a Senate vote on Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, who has come under criticism from the National Rifle Association, or withdrawing the nomination altogether.

Via Christine Thompson
Evan Biggers's insight:
The NRA is exercising its influence in the appointment of the new Surgeon General in several different ways. They sent out a “grass-roots alert” to millions of subscribers through e-mail, telling their members to take action and tell their Senator directly that they are against the approval of Murthy. By motivating their constituents to act, they can affect the outcome of the vote. Along with contacting individuals, they also said that they will score the confirmation votes. This means that they will put their support in Senators that vote “no,” and they will negatively affect the senator’s rating if they vote in favor of the appointment. The NRA is concerned with the nominee because he has expressed much opposition to gun rights. Even though he is the surgeon general, and gun rights aren’t in his control at the moment, the NRA is afraid that putting him in that position of power will make gun rights part of the surgeon general’s duties.While it won’t adversely affect the majority of Senators, the vote is very important to Democrat Senators in states that have very close races and a large NRA group in the state. Backing from the NRA in these states could mean the difference between winning and losing the next election.The President chose the candidate for surgeon general, who is then approved by the Senate. The Executive can be very influential in the Senate, as people from his party tend to vote for whomever he appoints. It’s not like that in this situation, however. Some Democrats are voting against the President’s appointment. This means that the White House has to take measures and strategize around the vote in an attempt to sway the majority of the Senate to approve the appointment. The Executive works with democratic leaders to make this happen.The White House could use media such as advertisements to sway public opinion in the sort of swing states. Convincing the citizens that the surgeon general is a good choice would trickle up to the Senators, who would in turn vote for the views of their constituents. They could also directly address leaders of the NRA and their concerns about gun rights, possibly by saying that the choice in surgeon general would have no effect on the current status of gun rights. From recent nominations, they suspect that they don’t have very many Democrats to lose in the voting in order to maintain a majority. Losing a mere six Democrats to vote against the appointment could mean disastrous. This shows that their party possibly isn’t as reliable as they thought, so they need to be taking extra means to ensure that they are keeping the Democrat vote.
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Sam Johnson's curator insight, April 7, 2014 9:59 AM

The NRA is exercising it's influence by basicaly telling democratic Senators in Conservative States if you support Obama's nomination, you will loose our support. The loss of the NRA's support could keep those democrats from being reelected. The White House could offer a compromise to get Murthy approved. For example they could offer to consider a ballanced budget bill in exchange for supporting Murthy.

Jordan Nguyen's curator insight, April 8, 2014 1:24 AM

1. The NRA is using it's influence in order to persuade the senators to disapprove of the appointment made by President Obama. With ties between the senate democrats and the White House already wearing thin, and the majority of the Democratic senators up for election, the senators are put in a tough situation.The nominee 'Dr. Murthy, who has voiced support for various gun control measures like an assault weapons ban, mandatory safety training and ammunition sales limits" which is upsetting to the NRA.

2. The senators have reached the beginning of the midterm election season and need to get reelected in order to climb to greater power. The NRA having so much influence to certain politics will have a major affect of campaigners who have already decided to approve of the appointment of Dr. Murthy. 

3. The President is the individual who nominates whomever to get appointed by the senate. Through confirmation the President may have a  "guestimate" at who will approve the appointment. 

4. The White House with its' influence may try to use that as bargain in rebuttal to the NRA which is threatening the Senators.  Dr. Murthy will probably be appointed but the completion of the official appointment itself will have to wait until after midterm elections. 

Zachary Smart's curator insight, April 8, 2014 11:52 PM

1.An interest group like the NRA is using its power to influence the appointment of the Attorney General because he opposes guns, therefor he is for gun regulation.

2. Senators who vote for Murphy are more likely to not be reelected in the states where the NRA holds power. This makes it to where their approval rating drops, and to where their constituents are likely to vote against them.

3. The White House/President has the ability to delay an appointment or remove the candidate from the process entirely. The Senate must approve/vote for the appointee, so the president and the senate have a tight relationship.

4. The president must have more support from the democratic senators over republicans if he is to have his appointment approved. The president recently found out that he has to make a compromise between both parties of the house.

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An education about the Electoral College

An education about the Electoral College | Evan Biggers RHS POGO | Scoop.it
Mo Rocca, host of the film "Electoral Dysfunction" airing on PBS, helps us understand just what the Electoral College is, how it affects our choosing the president, and introduces us to one lawmaker's plan to abolish it.


Footage from "Electoral Dysfunction" courtesy of Trio Pictures.
Evan Biggers's insight:
The Constitutional basis for the Electoral College was in order to create a separation between the majority population and the election of the president. The framers wanted this to be put in place so a corrupt leader wouldn’t be able to sway public opinion and cause tyranny. Basically, they didn’t trust the people with the decision of who deserves to be president. The system was also put in place in order to satisfy the smaller states’ woes by giving them a higher proportional say in the election (by making the total number  of electorates equal to the Senate and House combined).The common strategy to get to 270 is to rely on the major safe states of the party and spend a majority of the time campaigning in the swing states, like Ohio and Florida. Since the safe states are “safe,” there’s no reason to spend precious time and money, as the state’s position is essentially already decided. Swing states are where all the action happens, as the two major candidates have to fight in order to gain the popular vote in the state. Getting the electorates of the swing states is where most of campaign funding goes, and is where the verdict is decided.If no candidates receive a majority in the Electoral College, the House decides on who wins from the three candidates that got the most Electoral votes, with each delegate having one vote. Also, the Senate elects the Vice President, and if the House doesn’t elect the President by inauguration day, the VP serves as President until the issue is resolved in the House.The 2000 election reinitiated critique of the Electoral College because Bush won the presidency with 271 Electoral votes even though Gore had more of the popular vote (48.38% of total). This seems directly contradictory, as more people in the country wanted Gore in the presidency, but a minority President won.I am not satisfied with the current system. While the system did serve its purpose whenever it is created, it is now an antiquated and, frankly, pointless and counterintuitive system. Everybody’s vote should count equally, but that is certainly not the case, as voters in smaller states (3 Electoral votes) have a, statistically, greater influence than a voter in a large state. This isn’t even taking into account the fact that almost half of people’s votes don’t even matter, as a Democratic vote in Texas or a Republican vote in California has zero impact on the outcome of the election. The continued use of this out of date system is undoubtedly part of the reason that voter turnout is so much lower in the United States than in other developed countries, and the reformation of the system to something even halfway logical would increase voter turnout and improve the state of the country as a whole.
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Americans' Satisfaction With Economy Sours Most Since 2001 - DUE 2/24!

Americans' Satisfaction With Economy Sours Most Since 2001 - DUE 2/24! | Evan Biggers RHS POGO | Scoop.it
More Americans today are satisfied with where the nation stands on acceptance of gays and lesbians, federal taxes, and healthcare availability than were satisfied in 2001. But Americans' satisfaction with the economy has declined.

Via Christine Thompson
Evan Biggers's insight:
The historical events of this period do, in part, explain the changes in public opinion. 9/11 signaled significant changes to the country’s foreign affairs, particular in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These wars more than likely had an impact on the population’s satisfaction with the United States’ role in world affairs, since it changed aspects of everyday life. The terrorist attacks more than likely had a negative impact on the populations’ opinion of the U.S. in foreign affairs.The split in opinions between the Republicans and Democrats does closely coincide with the depictions of American conservatism and liberalism. Republicans, which are largely conservative, favor less government spending and stronger military/law enforcement, whereas Democrats, which align more with liberalism, favor more overall equality and environmental consciousness. Based on this, Republicans should have lower satisfaction in the areas of immigration, healthcare, military spending, and economy, as government spending as significantly increased, while Democrats should have a lower satisfaction in the areas of environment state and gun control. The poll does reflect this distribution.Based on these results, Democrats are going to support policy changes that tighten gun control and allow for stricter government regulation, specifically in terms of healthcare, the environment, and homelessness. Republicans are likely to favor legislation that restricts immigration levels, allots government spending to the military rather than affordable healthcare, and an overall decrease in the amount of government spending.A +/-4% sampling error with 95% confidence means that the pollsters are 95% confident that the true proportion of national adults that are satisfied or dissatisfied with each particular category is within 4% (above or below) of the stated percentage. This means that data for certain categories that have a very close split between Republicans and Democrats, such as the state of race relations, cannot contribute to definite conclusions about which party is more satisfied, as the true proportion might sway to the opposite conclusion.
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Anna Fisher's curator insight, February 24, 2014 1:41 PM

1. The historical events do change the opinions of the people, specifically 9/11, because it makes people lose trust in the government. The people are much less satisfied with the world affairs.

2. They do coincide with my expectations, because liberal/conservative usually go with republican and democratic ideas. Liberals believe that the state shouldn't play such a big role, while conservative believes in more strict law.

3. Republicans believe that the environment is doing pretty well, while the Democrats disagree. Democrats think that health care is doing great, while Republicans differ. The key points that Republicans and Democrats believe in, they disagree on.

4. This is the margin of error, so the people interviewed are fairly confident in their answer. Smaller the margin of error, the more reliable the poll. 

Sean Kelly's curator insight, February 24, 2014 11:34 PM

1. The terror attacks and the dot-com boom changes do explain the changes in public opinion because the relative feelings of safety and economic immunity, i.e. no one will mess with the US, are gone.

2. These results do coincide because the Democrats liberal views fit in with the government doing more to intervene with certain policies, and the conservative Republican views fit into the idea of Conservatives limiting government controls across all fronts, and their "return to the good times" attitude.

3. The Democrats would be more likely to support gun control and penal system reform, while the Republicans would enjoy a cut on the higher income bracket taxes and the loss of gun control laws.

4. The 4% error potential means that the sampling is most likely within 4% of the general popluations overall view. This means the data is not exactly precise, but does give a good ball park idea to work in for the numbers.

Mason Paul Lyman's curator insight, March 3, 2014 4:32 PM

1. For the most part, yes, due to the war in the Middle East, however, not all social factors would be.

 

2. Yes. Democrats are more satisfied with liberal issues, and Republican favor conservative issues.

 

3. Democrats would probably push for more concern for global warming and tighter gun laws, as democrats are generally liberal. Republicans would probably push for less government intervention, as republicans are generally conservative.

 

4. The results could be shifted +/- 4%, which is relatively small. It puts into mind the thought that much of our information in corrupt.