Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Federal Bureaucracy

Is the Federal Bureaucracy too big?

The Federal Bureaucracy is an organization that allows for workers to perform the necessary services needed. The Bureaucrats are able to communicate with each other, maintain accountability, interpret the law, and successfully implement the objectives of an organization. Over the last 25 years, the size of the Federal Bureaucracy has remained stable. Congress has delegated authority to the Federal Bureaucracy by granting agencies the power of drafting rule-making and adjusting to conflicts. The Federal Bureaucracy resembles the nations other branches of government.

The Federal Bureaucracy is not too big to be effective, yet it is large enough to get the job done. The size allows for multiple people of different opinions and view points to get an input, but not to large as to where nothing gets done. Congress is in charge of making sure that the Federal Bureaucracy properly executes all of there functions.

Officials in the Federal Bureaucracy are department staffed. Some people think that it is too powerful, but if that were the over whelming majority, they would do something about it. The power that the Federal Bureaucracy has is all necessary. The number has fluctuated in recent years, but has remained constant with the growing population. With the greater amount of people in an area, more people (Bureaucrats) are need to look after the people. Within the Federal Bureaucracy, everything is self sufficient and able to run smoothly alone.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Presidency: too powerful or too weak?

"In the light of the nation's experience over recent decades, has the presidency grown too powerful or too weak?"

Over recent decades, many things have changed for our nation. We are now involved in a war over seas, we were attacked on American soil, 24 hour cable news is now available, cell phones and laptops are now a common place rather that a rarity and environmental issues have taken a priority. As the the role of the President, I don;t think it has changed much.

The President has a very difficult job, but in past decades I don't think is level of power has changed much. He may be expressing them more, but i don't think his level of power has changed very much. The purpose of the Constitution was not just to grant powers to people but to keep things from getting out of hand.

When the Constitution was written things like nuclear weapons, biological warfare, and other weapons of mass destruction were unheard of. The couldn't for see all that America has grown into with is economics and largely growing population. In a sense, the President has grown more powerful in the past few decades, but I think it is in moderation, keeping up with the ever changing circumstances of our country. The founding fathers could never imagine going into a country and being able to destroy it with nuclear weapons when all they had was a few hundred cannons.

In recent years, the Presidency has grown stronger, but I believe it is all in moderation. The President should be strong and powerful considering he is the leader of our country. He is the one that makes quick decisions when the nation is in an emergency. In the olden days, the army could only move as fast as their horse, now they could be in action as soon as the president declares an emergency. The president does have the most power, but 99% of the time, things pass threw Congress first. The 435 people in the House and 100 in he Senate all give guidance but the President does have the final say.

The president is elected on the votes of the people. He represents the whole county and whether you like him a lot he is the person 'running' the country and should be respected. The president may have gained more power in recent decades but I don't think the Presidency has grown too powerful.

US Capital Visit

Today, Wednesday March 24th our AP and regular government classes boarded the bus at 6:30am and was off to DC. The day had its highs and lows but was over all a great day (besides the make up work I now need to do!) We had a vip tour scheduled to view the capital. Unfortunately, we got off to a last start and hit some traffic along the way and missed out tour. Luckily enough, we were about to get in on a regular tour. The tour was more 'history' then 'government' in my opinion but still i learned something new. I have never seen the paintings in the capital dome which were really a beauty. And the room with 14 karat gold paint with the light pink behind it was my favorite! I was not able to get any photos because i didn't bring in my cell phone or camera when i was told we could not have them on the tour (when we still thought we had the vip one). Our stay at the Capital was fun, then we walked to the Newseum, which was awesome! I will definitely be going back.

The day started off early, and unfortunately we missed the great tour but we will still about to see the US Capital, a great experience for everyone. The field trip was fun, time to start planning the next one!

Federalist 51

Make a blog entry discussing Federalist 51 and Madison's idea of Checks and Balances. Is the system working as intended.

Federalist number 51 written by James Madison expresses the idea of Checks and Balances. Published in 1788, Federalist number 51 has became very popular in discovering a way that there can be a separation of power within the government. The intentions of Madison's idea of Checks and Balances was to "form a more correct judgment of the principles and structure of the government planned by the Constitutional Convention." He went about this by pointing out that the separate branches of government would allow the people more say and protect their rights. In Federalist 51, James Madison stressed the importance of having all members to be as distant as possible and allowing all positions to be elected by the people.

I do think the current system is working how James Madison intended. He thought throughly about this. Before the system of Checks and Balances was created, the people in the House were chosen and elected directly by the people where as the Senate was chosen by legislatures. the current system allows for the most 'community involvement' allowing the votes to be left up to the people. I do think the current system works out well, and as some people say 'if it ain't broke- don't fix it!' Madison's creation of Checks and Balances in 1788 was a great idea that is still fitting as intended today.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Game Change- Era of mass media

Group B

In this era of electronic mass media, politicians can use it to their advantage. Now with almost every home owning multiple television sets, candidates often make television commercials promoting themselves or bashing respectfully their opponent. Sometimes the ads can get a little offensive if you are from the opposing party. From the commercials, image-makers and spin control can at times portray a candidate in a different light.

The issue of weather image or substance in more important is very popular in politics. There is a very fine balance between the two. It is very important for a candidate to give off a good ‘first impression’ so, for politicians, their outward appearance needs to be professional and presentable. There was a huge debate over Sarah Palin’s clothing when she was running for vice president, which is one example of the importance of image in this career. Substance is what people really are voting for though. A candidate must be clearing the way they stand and present themselves in the best way possible.

Political campaigns are organized with the effort to secure a nomination in the election. Campaign cost in recent years has become enormous, with advertisements, especially television being the greatest expense. As a result of this era of electronic mass media, candidates have to raise many millions of dollars. Although candidates would like to be able to accept any amount of money they are given, there are some federal regulations set for how much money organizations, individuals, and committee members can give.

In 1974, Gil Scott-Heron released a song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” At that time, things were not widely televised and Internet was unheard of. Nowadays, the Internet has changed the nature of American voting. In the most recent election, President Obama did a lot of Internet campaigning. President Obama used the Internet to identify, organize and unite his voters. He raised millions of dollars that helped him to make a virtual community of networkers and followers who would bring in the votes. By using the Internet as a campaign source, President Obama was able to connect with a younger generation and bring millions of new voters to the polls.

Campaigns are able to calculate the preferences of voters based on polls. During election time, people are dedicated to watching and making polls to find out where their candidate is ranked. The majority of polls are opinion polls. They can also look at past trends to see voter preferences based on a particular area. In the most recent election, Iowa, a swing state, was very important for Obama to win, therefore many polls were taken in that area and a lot of his political campaign focus was placed their.

The issues are very important in a campaign. That Is what people should be basing their vote on. The issues, weather it be bout the war, abortion rights, or health care, the politicians stance on this issues is the most important factor to voters. The campaign helps, it’s promoted the candidates views and highlights their best features. Politicians want the best information to be out their about themselves, so one way for their opponent to ‘get ahead’ is to make attacking ads. Negative ads can be very detrimental for a candidate. Negative campaigning is trying to win an advantage over another candidate by referring their negative attributes rather then emphasizing their own positive aspects and policies. Negative campaigning can evoke negative responses and can come with some controversy. This negative campaigning usually influences undecided voters. The money that is used on campaigns comes from independent voters, organizations, other politicians, and committee members donate.

The media has influenced politics very much in recent years. With this modern era of technologies it also brings about change. It is no longer needed to sit around the family radio t0 listen to a political speech but you can watch it on television, live online, read about it in the news paper the next day or on online blogs. Mass media has helped the candidates campaign but has also cost them a lot more money. They are now able to reach a wider audience and get their message out into the public more. Campaigns are organized very diligently with funds from many supporters that hope to achieve success in a campaign with the help of electronic mass media.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

State of the Union.

The State of the Union Address took place on the evening of Wednesday, January 26, 2010. In recent months, President Obama’s poll numbers have been on the decline, but yet he still believes this is the time for ‘change’ and we, as the people will see it. The two biggest issues concerning the president right now is creating jobs (which will help the economy) and preventing another attack on American soil.

There was a recent Supreme Court Case about weather or not large corporations can make unlimited campaign commercials and have unlimited donations. President Obama says that is problematic and will open the doors to special interest groups. This relates to the recent State of the Union address because as President Obama was speaking, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, publicly shuck his head repeatedly and mouthed the words “not true.” This all took place live on TV as the President publicly criticized the high court’s ruling to remove corporate campaign spending limits.

If I could ask the president one thing, I would ask to see his time table for getting us out of this economic recession. Although he will not take any of the blame, he freely signed up for the job knowing full well what it would entail, therefore should have a plan of action for lowing the unemployment rates and getting small business back on their feet.

(Article about Supreme Court Alito’s reaction to the Presidents State of the Union address:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Key Question

Should the Supreme Court have the power to overturn unconstitutional federal laws?

The Supreme Court should have the power to overturn unconstitutional federal laws. The Supreme Court has the power of judicial review because it reviews the actions of the Legislative and Executive Branch to be sure they are acting accordingly to the constitution.

The Constitution does not explicitly grant the Supreme Court the power of judicial review but it does give the power of the Court to overturn laws deemed unconstitutional. In Federalist No.78, “A Constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain it’s meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body,” said Alexander Hamilton. The Constitution says that the judicial power of the United States should be in one Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court doesn’t have the power of judicial review then who would, the states?

The Supreme Court first established its power to declare laws unconstitutional in Marbury v. Madison in 1803 in the system on checks and balances. The power of checks and balances allows judges to have the last word on authoritative issues among the three branches of government. The federal government grants the three branches the ability to set bounds to their own authority.