Saturday, December 10, 2011

Chapter 14 Blog Assignment

1. Read online bio's of the U.S. Supreme Court Justices.  What do you find interesting about their backgrounds?  Pick one of the Justices, read about cases this Justice has written (majority or dissent) and explain whether you agree or disagree with his/her judicial philosophy.

I do think it is interesting and a big positive that the justices are so diverse of a group. As a member of the court, Sandra Day O’Connor was considered to be a moderate conservative. She tended to vote in line with her politically conservative nature, but she still considered her cases very carefully. In opposition to the Republican call to reverse the Roe v. Wade decision on abortion rights, O’Connor provided the vote needed to uphold the court’s earlier decision. Many times she focused on the letter of law, not the clamoring of politicians, and voted for what she believed best fit the intentions of the U.S. Constitution.

2. Is Judicial Review a power that should be exercised regularly or sparingly?  Why?
 I think Judicial Review is an excellent tool to be used to 'fully' understand the Constitution. YET it can be very harmful depending on how used. In thecase of slavery, the framers wanted Slavery to be outlawed within 20 years and not spread. Due to Judicial Review it took a Civil war to bring about the end of slavery. For this reason I do think it is a process that should be used sparingly.

3. Is it the job of the High Court to apply the Constitution in light of the intent of the framers of the Constitution (strict construction) or should they interpret the Constitution in light of changes in society/technology (living Constitution)?  Why?

I believe their job should be strict construction. Our Constitution is not something that should change with time. I do not feel the framers wanted and evolving law which is why they added in the Bill of Rights, to make sure it did not evolve to over take them.  If changes are needed then it is Congress' job to mandate laws to fit the times.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Chapter 13 Blog Assignment

1. Research federal agencies and explain which one you feel is the most important one and why?

I feel the concept of the Homeland Security agency is the most important. I do not feel it does enough though. I feel the agency should be the head of all organization for out homeland. The FBI, CIA, NSA should all be headed through the Homeland Security. This would allow better communication between agencies and a better security for our home front.

2. Which federal agency could be terminated with the least impact (if any) and why?

 I do not feel that any agency could be terminated without having crucial effects to both or social culture and economic culture. I think every agency could be cut back to a more manageable size. There are things in each agency that does not work, which causes the end result to be less productive.

3. Are any new agencies needed?  In other words, if you were president would you create new agencies?  If so, in what area(s)?

NO, I do not feel there are new agencies needed. I feel the government already has more control over our lives then is needed. We also spend billions of dollars on programs that are not worked enough as it is.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Chapter 12 Blog Assigment

1. What makes a great President (not which Presidents have been great) . . . what qualities are essential to greatness?  Why?
 In my opinion a great President is someone who does everything in their power to fulfill their promises to the people. A President who does not play games and try to deceive the American public. A good President looks out for the welfare of our nation for our children and grandchildren.

2. Other than Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, which two Presidents have been the greatest and why?
Thomas Jefferson, being one the president's that had the greatest  role in the Deceleration of Independence and the writing of the Constitution. I feel he was in line with what this country needed and was expected as a president.

Franklin Roosevelt is the one I would choose second. This is a hard call for me as I think he is a great president for the fact that he got citizens through our hardest economic times. That being said I do not agree with the social program and route our federal government has taken on since the New Deal. So many of these programs have been inefficient in much help yet drastically contribute to out financial crises. 

3. Research a President that you're previously unfamiliar with - list at least three things you learned.  Was this President effective?  Why or why not?

I researched James K Polk.  I learned he left office before finishing term due to health and dies shortly after. His primary focus was on expanding the United States and after a war with Mexico, he acquired California and New Mexico. He left being the Speaker of the House of Representatives to become the Governor of Tennessee. I do believe off of what I read that President Polk was an effective President. He accomplished what he said he was set to do; in the end that is what should be used to judge effectiveness.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chapter 11 Blog Assigment

1. Who are your Senators and your Congressman?
Our Senators are Alexander Lamar and Bob Corker. My Congressman is Scott DesJarlais.

2. Reserach the areas they champion and find one you support.  What is it and why do you also support it?
Congressman Scott DesJarlais is against all of the 'jobs stimulus' President Obama is currently pursuing. He wants to pass bills that will allow small business to grow. He wants to stop over-spending, stop over-taxing and, above all, stop over-regulating. I do not think taxing the rich is the answer to our problems, or giving all this help to 'big' business', as we see how in favor of the American population they are. Small business' are the ones keeping the jobs here in America for the American people. I do believe they are the key to getting us out of this jobs mess.

3. Find an issue one of your Senators or Congressman champions that you disagree with.  Why do you disagree?
Senator Bob Corker has effectively cornered Amazon and other online retailers to charge sales tax.  I do not agree with this policy. From a personal stand point I believe congress spends way to much money without the American approval and then taxes to make up some of that. Americans are taxed on far to many things in my opinion, when the average household can not make bills.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Chapter 10 Blog Assigment

1. Read Bush v. Gore in the text.  Do you agree with the majority or the dissenting opinion?  Why?
   I agree with the majority. I do feel if someone went through and hand counted votes using their 'opinion' more problems would have issued. I am a firm believer that no one in this country could really put aside their desire for who should be president and count the votes unbiasedly.

2. Is the ability to fundraise too important in elections?  In other words, are good candidates prevented from running because they cannot raise the needed funds?  Can/should something be done to correct this if it is a problem?
  I will say I think we have gotten out of hand on how much money it costs to run in an election. It truly has become a who you know and how much money you have race. I can honestly say I do not know how it can be corrected as I do not believe tax payers should be paying for the elections at all when we are so far in debt anyways.

3. Why is there such voter apathy - in other words, why is there often such low voter turnout for elections?  Is there a way to rectify this problem?
I do think as a whole most people do not think their vote counts. I also do not feel the average person is taught how important it is to vote or why. We seem to forget it is a right that LOTS of people have fought for in our countries past. I must say I love when I read that it is mandated by law to vote in some countries. Then I am faced with the dilemma of do I really feel that our law makers should be made to tell us we have to vote. I am in a catch 22 at this point.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Chapter 9 Blog Assigment

1. Which political party do you most identify with?  Why?  Are there things in the party platform with which you disagree?
I identify with the Republican party primarily. I am conservative and feel our government should take a more hands off approach.  I do not feel we should have a lot of the laws we have today. Also if our government took a step back and let people run and live their own daily lives, I do not believe we would be in the debt or economic worry we are in today. I feel we have a double standard in a lot of way, we fiddle in this because a politician thinks we should but we are going to let this business continue to do under handed things. At some point there has to be more of an equality to getting involved or staying out of it. I do not believe in the regulations on same sex marriage or death penalty.

2. Does America need political parties?  The founders originally hoped that American politics would operate without need of parties?  Would that work today?  Why?
I do agree that America needs political parties. Exactly what our text book pointed out, without them how would we hold our politicians accountable. I do not feel we would have the democracy we have today without the parties. Take out the parties and I believe we would go back to political bosses. The arena for elections would have to be controlled by someone and I do not think there would be the 'other' party checking to make sure things are done correctly.

3. Please research lesser known political parties - which one do you most identify with?  Why?
I researched the American First Party, established in 2002. The party is pro-life, opposes all gun control, seeks to end affirmative action, racial quotas, and illegal and unlimited immigration. They believe the 16th amendment was not ratified and should be removed. I do not agree with the fact that they support allowing mandated organized prayer in public places, especially in public schools. But I do agree with them allowing displays of religious icons (such as tablets of the Ten Commandments) by the government on public property. They want to take all federal funding from public schools and although I agree with their position that this allows to much federal control, I still feel funding with minimal regulation should occur. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Chapter 8 Blog Assignment

 From figure 8.1 in the text, select one of the interest groups and do some research on their issues and beliefs.  What did you learn?  What did you find interesting?  Do you agree/disagree with their positions on issues? Why?
 I researched the APWU or American Postal Workers Union. It is a union that supports the postal workers. They have fought for dignity and respect for the workers they represent, as well as for decent pay and benefits and safe working conditions. They were formed after workers were not receiving raises. It is actually several unions that merged together. I could not find anything I did not agree with, I believe they are true to their mission statement.
Find an interest group with which you associate (positively).  What is the name of the group and what do you find persuasive about their position on issues?
I associate with the NRA. My husband and mother-in-law are concealed weapons carriers. They believe in information and training to be able to handle a weapon securely. The NRA helps train law enforcement, they have also started a program to teach children to "STOP. DON'T TOUCH. LEAVE THE AREA. TELL AN ADULT." Since guns will always be in our life I greatly appreciate all the NRA does to help train individuals. 
Do interest groups have enough/too much/the right amount of power in the political system?  Most believe it's a fine-line balance between freedom of speech for the groups and keeping unfair persuasion out of government.  Where is that line and when is it crossed?
I think there should be a more level playing field for interest groups. Important groups are often over looked due to lower membership or income. I do not feel they have to much power, yet I do feel they do not have enough laws governing them to make them fair. I think if the financial aspect was closer controlled we would see more fairness.  I also do not think that politicians should be able to serve or 'help' groups. Their should be more of a boundary.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Chapter7 Blog Assignment

1. Does objectivity still exist in the media's coverage of politics?  Of the major news outlets (CNN, FoxNews, MSNBC, NPR, NBC, etc.), which are the most objective and which seem to have the most bias?
I think as a whole news coverage is not objective. That being said I tend to give more abjectivity to those that allow guest speakers from both sides. I can not comment on which one is most objective , as to be honest I am unsure. that being said I know Fax to be very conservative as a whole and CNN very conservative. 

2. How does talk radio (Rush Limbaugh, Air America, etc.) affect your view of politics?  Why?
I can not give an opinion on this as I have NEVER listened to talk radio. Therefore I guess it has no affect on my view of politics.

3. Is media objectivity important?  Why or why not?
I am not sure media can ever truly be objective. The journalists are only human and EVERY human has an opinion on things in politics. I think it is important to showcase all ideals but I dont know we can ever achieve a truly objective media.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Chapter 6 Blog Assignment

Is American news media too dependent upon polls?  Is it appropriate for news agencies to create polls and then report on them?  Why or why not?
I believe that the media is too dependent upon polls. I do not feel they should create and report on them. There is no way to show the true scientific polling on their polls. This is what causes things like the Kerry/Bush fiasco. That being said I do not feel it would be okay to create laws against them.

2. How important is political party identification to you (e.g. as a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, etc.)?  Was it more or less important to your parents & grandparents?  Does it seem voting. more or less important to your friends?  Why or why not?
 Political party identification is important to me. If asked I will always say I am a Republican; that being said it is not my ultimate decision when voting. I vote Republican unless there is a person that sticks out and hits home for me. I do feel party identification was a lot more important to previous generations. That being said I also feel the parties were more set on who and what they believed in and the lines were not as skewed between parties. I do not know where my friends stand on party lines as it has almost become taboo to talk about politics do to being "politically correct".

3. Do you feel that you opinion of politics is more influenced by economic issues or by social issues?  Why?
 I feel the opinion of politics in this day and age are influenced by economic issues. With the downturn of the economy there are so many people out of work or barely making it month to month. Important issues that people feel strongly about seem to not be as big when people are losing their homes, jobs, and not being able to provide for their family.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Chapter 5 Blog Assignment

1. The issue of race - does the government do too little or too much to reduce the instances of racial discrimination?  Why or how so?
It is my opinion the government does to much in the area of racial discrimination in so far as affirmative action.  Affirmative Action was a great thing that helped bring equality and a better life for ethnic people yet in my opinion, it is unneeded now. I would say after more than twenty years (closer to thirty or thirty five) since equality has been a mainstay it is time to get rid of it. I seen the races as in a competition as to who can be 'owed' more by our government. As a student I see Asian, African American, Hispanic loans/scholarships; yet where is the poor white fund? I am not say ethnic people do not need the help but instead of focusing on the color of our skin lets focus on things of importance.... deserving, need, background, etc. I have seen so many people act like they are owed something because the 'white' man did this or that. In reality this generation is not owed anything because they did not live through it, we are all equal and all deserve the same opportunities for our slice of the pie.... again regardless of the color of our skin.
2. The issue of gender - same question as #1.

I feel the same as question one in my answer. I do not see gender as something that should play a role in ANYTHING. I feel it should be based on skill, education, determination; if the best one is a female then so be it.... male then so be it. I would never want a job, role in society, or role in my own house to be from the fact I am a female. I want to EARN my way in life, not have it handed to me because my grandmother and great grandmother (etc) did not have the same equality in our society I do. I do not need their hand outs.

3. The issue of sexual orientation - same question as #1 and #2.
Wow, for me this week has been easy questions, or I am just really opinionated on these subjects. I feel the government needs to back off and out of peoples sexual orientation. What is it to any of us who someone calls a spouse, partner, bed mate? I am a Christian, therefore my religion teaches whats right and wrong, but I am also taught not to judge as that is my makers job. To love and respect and do unto others as I would have done unto me, ummmm well I was allowed to get married and was not told who to marry; therefore my gay friend Joe should be able to marry whomever he chooses regardless of gender. For a nation so bent on keeping church and state separate, I would honestly like to know where the Constitution grants the power of marriage. This to me is a religious issue not a government issue; especially one with no ties to religion. I am not condoning or condemning this act but I do think the government has not place governing it in any sense.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Chapter 4 Blog Assignment

Freedom of Speech:  How important is it?  Does the freedom go "too far"?  What areas of speech should not be protected?
Freedom of speech is extremely important. Without it why did we need to declare independence in the first place.... (okay plenty of other reasons BUT this was a main one). Without our freedom of speech changes would not be made in the world we live in, their would be no voice. I am a firm believer in it only takes one to start a stampede of change and if we did not have the freedom to voice our thoughts, opinions, etc then change would never get to take place. If you think over our history, the freedom of speech has been the moving force. I think of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, the kids at the school, etc. Do I think it goes to far.... Absolutely not. I think we have the laws in place to protect people. I do not like what I see in tabloids and with gossip magazines but those people do put themselves into the public eye and know this is the product of that. In all honesty the only time I feel speech should be protected is in matters of national security and where someones life would be in danger. I am not pro abortion but I am in agreement that the abortion clinics should be protest free.

Freedom of Religion:  Is separation of church and state necessary?  Why or why not? 
Again I am of the mind this is necessary.  I am a Christian but I also do not feel I have the right to make anyone believe the way I believe, that is for the maker and that person. I do feel this right goes beyond the scope it was meant to. Our money and deceleration both mention God yet we now feel that praying at school is against that right. I do not agree with the ban on not teaching creation and yet evolution can be taught. I am also the first one to say teach about all the ways the start of life could have begun, until we have 100% undeniable proof of how we began teach all the 'theories' as that is what they are. I believe the separation is necessary in that we wanted independence in the first time to be able to choose our own way, if this was not included.... again I am going to say why did we seek independence.

Criminal Procedure:  Are defendant's rights crucial to our system of government?  Why or why not?  Many argue that defendants have too many rights - do you agree?  Why or why not?
This is maybe one of the hardest questions I have to answer thus far. I do believe a defendant's rights are crucial to our system. that is one of the biggest things that sets us apart from other countries. The rights of defendant's is what allows innocent people to walk free every day. that being said it also allows guilty people to walk without paying for their crimes. I walk a thin line with if defendants have to many rights. I think if we took rights away we would punish many more innocent people then guilty. That being said cases like the Anthony murder trial, child abuse, and rape cases make me question if in the end it is worth all their rights. Nothing is more sickening then when guilty people go free because of their 'rights'. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Chapter 3 Blog Assignment

 Is a strong national government necessary or should the state governments have an equal share of power?  Why?

I am tore on this one. I feel we need a strong national government, without it we risk our nation falling a part. We risk being taken over by other countries, we risk revolt and civil war as happened when President Lincoln took office. That being said I do believe the states should have a more equal share of power. I see since the constitution took effect more and more power being taken over by the federal government and all in the name of "necessary and proper". All in all I feel there are to many laws and in many ways the constitution is skewed to fit the governments wants at that time.

National power increased during the Great Depression but then power began to shift back to the states (somewhat) during the Reagan administration.  Why did that happen and is that shift appropriate?

 The Nixon administration began a trend called the new New Federalism that began shifting the power back to the states. The shift was primarily that money given to the states from the federal government had more leeway for the states to decide how to use it. I feel the shift happened and is appropriate because during the depression, World War 2, and civil rights movements the federal government gained to much power. That being said giving the states money and deciding how to use it was not a big enough shift of power back to the states. 

Education stirs much discussion relating to the issue of federalism.  Should the national government regulate education or is it a matter best left to state and local governments?  Why?

My opinions here differ so much it is hard to put into words. I do not feel it is constitutional for one, for the national government to regulate education. I do feel there is no clear line on who controls regulates what for there to be a clear agreement on that is to happen with education. My son was in headstart last year and they could not celebrate holidays and do certain things because the federal government regulates all of that. The headstart can not teach how to color in the lines, send homework home, and basically become a glorified daycare instead of teaching. This in no way prepared my son for Kindergarten which is held to a higher standard than when we were kids. How is that constitutional or beneficial for the peoples well being?  A lot of my thinking is that if the states and local government regulated things BUT at the same time we did not have so many petty rules and laws governing us, the issues that are of much more importance would be dealt with. I see a lot of power struggle between the federal and state governments that only result in added confusion and headache for the general people.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Chapter 2 Blog Assignment

We are studying the Articles of Confederation and shift to our current Constitution. I am asked to give my thoughts on three areas.

How important was the switch to the Constitution.
     The switch from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution were extremely important. As a starting free Country we had debt from war that was not getting paid and lowering out reputation. States did completely as they seen fit which kept us from being a country that looked out for the best interest of everyone combined. We were invaded and would have lost our country very fast as we had no set rules for how to respond or act, who to led a military. It was also to easy for a state to get mad or have issues and not participate/block crucial things to runt he country. If we had not switched to a Constitution we would have become the property of another country extremely fast as the blind was leading the blind, and essentially the states were still mini countries under the name of the United States of America.

How important are the bill of rights
     The bill of rights established what each citizen of this country has rightfully as their own. When I think of the powers that the government has taken over in my life alone, I shudder at the thought of being without the Bill of Rights. There is nothing that can not be construed to be for the welfare of the people. Rioting often results from free speech, so instead of making riots illegal they could simply say that it is for the peoples welfare that we will limit speech or press. Martin Luther King never would have made his famous speech. Our court proceedings would be very different. Needless to say I feel the Bill of rights was just as important as the Constitution. that being said I do feel that laws have been passed because we were not given the right spelled out int the Bill of rights. I also feel that things like prayer in school, In God we Trust on money, and One nation under God are challenged because the Bill of Rights. Those things I do not feel go against it as 'God' can be many religions and I still do not feel it was the intent of the Bill of rights. Like so many other things in this world..... everything is open for interpretation.

Comment on Capital Punishment and if it is Constitutional.
     I do not think the Constitution protects against Capital Punishment. I do think that it mandates more reform for it to be constitutional though. For it not to be cruel and unusual punishment I think that without a shadow of doubt the person has to be proved guilty; thus DNA proving it. I also think the laws on capital punishment have to be across the board so that all people are treated equal. If murder is going to constitute capital punishment I think it should have to in every state. That being said I also think that opens up so many more cans of worms. I am not for capital punishment so maybe that clouds my thinking as well. I would like it to be so hard to ever be sentenced to death that it never happens. I do not feel we can have double standard in laws. Don't kill but if you do then I can kill you......  but that is for another assignment.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chapter 1 Blog Assignment

Do you think people take idea of democracy for granted…. Why, anything to be done about it.

     I do think people take the idea of democracy for granted. I believe this because they want the democracy but they do not want to do their part for it. Examples of this is the lack of voter turn out, amount of people that want out of jury duty, and overall lack of involvement. In this country it is often easy to complain when things do not go as one hopes and yet those same individuals did not homework on the issues, people behind the issues, or those coming into office. As a whole we get so caught up in the media frenzy of this politician attacking this one that we become jaded that we know everything about one or that we don't know enough about another and instead of researching it stops there. Thus so many people vote without facts or don't vote because they feel they do not have enough facts.

    My biggest suggestion on how this can be fixed is to create more open caucus' in more locations to allow additional people involved. Go straight to the horses mouth as I heard often growing up.

Why do you think Separation of powers is so crucial, so important

     I believe the separation of powers is so crucial so we stay a democracy. People are only human and in the end most have an inner desire to further themselves. That being said with the separation we are doing exactly what the framers hoped for. No one can person/group can become the prime power as not only do they have separate powers but they can not function without each other. Also with each having some power over the other, there is virtually no way of one taking over the others. This has allowed America to stay a democracy and not fall into dictatorship. I also feel the separation of powers allows the people to be better involved and the constitution to be better served as it keeps a greater number and diversity of people in power.

Where so I fall in line of ideology and why?
    I am a moderate on the line of ideology. I fall closer to the right side and conservative but I have liberal type ideas as well. I believe taxes should be lowered and more across the board, yet I strongly support social help programs like welfare and unemployment. On that though I am conservative in thinking the government does not restrict access to these programs enough; I believe in a helping hand not a hand out. I do not stand with the conservatives with same gender marriage and rights yet I do when it comes to abortion. I feel if we have a law about taking a life, that even means unborn babies. I am conservative on the lines of gun laws as well. My strong ideas can be found on both sides which is why I would classify myself moderate yet I tend to find myself more aligned with conservatives in voting and thinking on most issues.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Roane State POLS 1030 U.S. Government & Politics

This blog will start with my class at Roane State POLS 1030 U.S. Government & Politics.