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  • May312011

    POSTED AT 07:50 AM

    Vocabulary you  will need to know and understand

    Several teachers of AP US History across the nation were recently polled and came up with the following list of vocabulary terms that they were noticing, with increasing frequency,  that students were being placed into AP courses without having any familiarity about the meaning of several fairly common terms terms to history/economics/government/social studies/etc.   This was happening, according to some, on a consistent basis.

    This was their list of terms.  You should make yourselves familiar with them.  We'll be using them.

    Affirmative action

    Amend/Amendment

    Amnesty

    Anti-Semitism

    Apartheid

    Appellate

    Apportionment

    Arbitration

    Autocratic

    Bureaucracy

    Capitalism

    Caucus (as a noun and a verb)

    Civil rights

    Colony

    Communism

    Condone

    Conscription

    Conservative

    Country

    Coup d’état (sometimes just coup)

    Deflation

    Demagogue

    Democracy

    Democrat

    Demographics

    Disenfranchise

    Dole (“on the public dole”)

    Domestic

    Economics

    Emigrate

    Empirical

    Entrepreneur

    Epitome

    Ethics

    Ethnic              

    Eugenics

    Evolution

    Executive

    Federal

    Fifth column

    Filibuster

    Fundamentalism

    Galvanized

    GDP

    Genocide

    Historiography

    Immigrate

    Indentured servant

    Indigenous

    Inflation

    Initiative

    Invisible hand

    Judicial

    Labor

    Legislative

    Liberal

    Martyr

    Marxism

    Melting pot

    Migration

    Militant

    Millennialism

    Monarchy

    Nation

    Nationalism

    Nation-state

    Oligarchy

    Petition (as a noun and as a verb)

    Populist

    Precedent

    Progressive

    Propaganda

    Reactionary

    Red-tape

    Referendum

    Republic

    Republican

    Rural

    Segregation

    Social Darwinism

    Socialism

    Sovereignty

    Subsidize

    Suburban

    Suffrage

    Syndicates (“organized crime syndicates”)

    Tariff

    Totalitarian

    Tyranny

    Urban

    Usurp

    Vigilante

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    Feb242011

    POSTED AT 07:25 PM

    The Politics of Envy

    | Thu Feb. 24, 2011 3:57 PM PST

    Ezra Klein reprints this chart from David Leonhardt, which shows that there's been no surge in government employment over the past two years (the short blip in 2010 is from temporary census hiring), and makes this comment:

    But I also think the chart above speaks to what's driving the events in Wisconsin: a perception that people in the "real" economy have suffered greatly, while public workers have been cosseted by their union contracts, their lobbying might and stimulus dollars. And there's some truth to that. The public sector basically sat out the first year of the recession.

    Unfortunately, Ezra is almost certainly right that this perception informs the way a lot of people think about economic downturns. It's an unfortunate example of the way we like to view recessions as morality plays rather than macroeconomic events to be dealt with as efficiently as possible.

    Start with the private sector. Why did companies shed so many workers? Answer: not because their workers were slothful layabouts, but because business was bad. If your widget sales decline by 10%, you don't need as many sales people, you don't need to run as many shifts in the factory, and you don't need as many accounts receivable clerks. So you lay them off. You don't really have any choice if you want to stay in business, but it's still unfortunate since people without jobs don't buy widgets, which just makes your situation even worse. If you could manage it, it would be pretty helpful if no one got laid off at all.

    Now how about the public sector? It's exactly the opposite because the public sector isn't in the business of selling things. If the economy tanks, that doesn't mean there are fewer fires, less crime, or a smaller number of kids in school. That's why cops, firefighters, and teachers don't get laid off. Not because they're a bunch of cosseted union goons, but because the demand for their services is just as high as it was before the recession. In some cases, in fact, it might be higher. There's actually more demand during recessions for clerks to handle unemployment applications or Medicaid reimbursements than there is during boom times.

    And it's a good thing, too, since, as Ezra says, "The worst thing for an unemployed person isanother unemployed person. It means more competition for job openings, lower wages and less job security." The best outcome for everyone would be for government to employ morepeople during recessions and to keep their wages high. This would reduce competition for jobs and help keep consumption from falling, which is why, in a perfect world, the federal government would be running big deficits in order to fund the ability of states to keep the lights on.

    But the fact that this makes sense doesn't mean most people see it this way. We're biologically wired to be envious of anyone who has things better than us, and there's never any shortage of demagogues to stoke that envy. So we demand that if we're going to suffer, then everyone has to suffer. And guess what? That's exactly what happens.

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    Feb232011

    POSTED AT 05:13 PM

    Why the Disruption of Libyan Oil Has Led to a Spike in Prices


    HOUSTON — The anxiety in world oil markets may be just beginning.

    Green

    A blog about energy and the environment.

    The unrest in Libya has forced oil companies to shut down production of as much as a a million barrels a day of some of the world’s highest quality crude. For the first time, the turmoil that has spread from Tunisia to Egypt to Bahrain has made an appreciable dent on world oil supplies.

    Libya produces less than 2 percent of the world’s oil and exports little to the United States. But the quality of its reserves magnifies its importance, causing a spike in both American and European oil price benchmarks despite assurances from Saudi Arabia that it was ready to pump more oil to calm markets.

    In New York West Texas Intermediate Benchmark crude for April delivery briefly touched $100 on Tuesday for the first time in more than two years, before easing moderately. In London, Brent crude for April delivery rose $5.47 to $111.25 a barrel.

    Libya’s sweet crude cannot be easily replaced for the production of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, particularly by the many European and Asian refineries that are not equipped to refine heavier grades of oil. Saudi Arabia may have more than 4 million barrels of spare capacity, but it includes heavier grades of crude that are higher in sulfur content and more expensive to refine.

    “Quality matters more than quantity,” Larry Goldstein, a director of the Energy Policy Research Foundation, an organization partly financed by the oil industry.

    Should the turmoil in Libya last for more than a few weeks, oil experts predict that European refiners will be forced to buy sweet crude from Algeria and Nigeria, two principal sources for the United States. That could push gasoline higher in the United States, where prices have already risen 6 cents a gallon in the last week to an average of $3.19 for regular.

    “Nigeria and Algeria are already producing flat out so they can’t come up with another million barrels a day,” Michael Lynch, president of the Strategic Energy and Economic Research consultancy firm, said. “That means there will be a scramble for lighter crude supplies.”

    Mr. Goldstein said the disruption could “force all sweet crude refiners into a bidding war.”

    Sweet crude is particularly suited for diesel, which is far more popular as a fuel in Europe than in the United States. In contrast to Europe, American refineries are outfitted to handle a heavier grade of crude oil that comes from countries like Venezuela and Mexico.

    Gulf Coast jet fuel prices soared about 6 cents, to $2.86 a gallon on Tuesday, putting pressure on airlines to raise fares. Meanwhile, diesel prices have risen 4 cents in the last week to $3.57 a gallon, the highest level since October 2008.

    The last time there was shortage of sweet crude, in 2007 and early 2008, oil prices spiked to more than $140 a barrel, although that shortage was caused by spiraling demand and not a sudden cut in supply.

    Mr. Lynch said the Brent benchmark was headed for $120 a barrel and West Texas Crude would reach $110 “in the near term.” That could easily push the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline to $3.50, a price that economists have identified as a tipping point for consumers juggling expenditures of gas with discretional shopping and dining out.

    Still, the United States remains less directly vulnerable than most European or Asian nations because its large refineries are capable of processing both sweet and sour crudes. That versatility makes the United States an exporter of both diesel and jet fuel.

    At the moment the oil storage depot in Cushing, Okla., has plentiful supplies, which is one reason the American West Texas Intermediate price benchmark is about $10 below Brent oil which is traded in London.

    If supplies of sweet oil become tight, the United States can release supplies from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, but that would probably only have a marginal impact on prices. Europe is most immediately impacted by the Libyan crisis. More than 85 percent of Libya’s 1.5 million barrels of exports go to Europe, with more than a third of that going to Italy. Most of the rest goes to Asia. About 5 percent is sent to the United States.

    Eni, the Italian oil company, Repsol of Spain, Total of France, Statoil of Norway andBASF, the German chemical and energy company have halted much if not most of their oil production in Libya and moved personnel out of the country.

    In a research note, Barclays Capital estimated that around 1 million barrels a day of production has been shut down, or more than half the country’s total. Much of Libya’s oil producing capacity and port operations are in the eastern part of the country where the government has lost most political control.

    That puts the focus on neighboring Algeria, a country with a long history of unrest. As anOPEC member that produces about 1.42 million barrels a day, Algeria is the seventh biggest source for oil imports to the United States.

    There have been sporadic protests against high food prices and unemployment over the last several weeks, including at least two large protests in Algiers demanding the resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

    “You have a powder keg in Algeria with social problems, ethnic problems and an Islamist organization blended together and overlapping,” said Michael J. Economides, a professor of engineering and energy economics at the University of Houston. “Many refineries would go into paroxysm if they lose Libyan and Algerian oil.”

    Most Middle East oil production is in the control of national oil companies that operate as virtual state agencies and coordinate their security needs with the national militaries.

    But that is not the case in either Libya or Algeria, where American and European oil companies have invested heavily to increase production that had been lagging. Foreign companies have shown in Libya, and to a lesser extent Egypt, that they will shut down exploration and production and close their offices rather than jeopardize the safety of their employees.

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    Feb222011

    POSTED AT 12:58 PM

    | Tue Feb. 22, 2011 7:53 AM PST
    Activists protesting new GOP Gov. Scott Walker's anti-union proposals have filled the streets of Madison and occupied the Capitol building for the past week, but Walker is pressing ahead anyway. 

    If you need to know the basics of what's going on in Wisconsin, read on. If you're already up to speed, you can follow the action on Twitter or jump straight to today's updates from our reporter on the ground in Madison.

    With additional reporting by Nick Baumannand Siddhartha Mahanta

    The basics:

    For days, demonstrators have been pouring into the streets of Madison, Wisconsin—and the halls of the state's Capitol building—to protest rookie Republican Governor Scott Walker's anti-union proposals. Big national unions, both major political parties, the Tea Party, and Andrew Breitbart are already involved. Democratic state senators have fled the state to prevent the legislature from voting on Walker's proposals. And the protests could soon spread to other states, including Ohio.

    Is this like Egypt?

    No.

    What's actually being proposed?

    Walker says his legislation, which would strip most state employees of any meaningful collective bargaining rights, is necessary to close the state's $137 million budget gap. There are a number of problems with that argument, though. The unions are not to blame for the deficit, and stripping unionized workers of their collective bargaining rights won't in and of itself save any money. Walker says he needs to strip the unions of their rights to close the gap. But public safety officers' unions, which have members who are more likely to support Republicans and who also tend to have the highest salaries and benefits, are exempted from the new rules. Meanwhile, a series of tax breaks and other goodies that Walker and the Republican legislature passed just after his inauguration dramatically increased the deficitthat Walker now says he's trying to close. And Wisconsin has closed a much larger budget gap in the past without scrapping worker organizing rights.

    What's really going on, as Kevin Drum has explained, is pure partisan warfare: Walker is trying to de-fund the unions that form the backbone of the Democratic party. The unions and the Democrats are, of course, fighting back. The Washington Post's Ezra Klein drops some knowledge [emphasis added]:

    wisconsin protestsActivists protesting new GOP Gov. Scott Walker's anti-union proposals have occupied the rotunda of the Wisconsin capitol building in Madison for the past week. They say they have no plans to leave unless Walker backs down.

    The best way to understand Walker's proposal is as a multi-part attack on the state's labor unions. In part one, their ability to bargain benefits for their members is reduced. In part two, their ability to collect dues, and thus spend money organizing members or lobbying the legislature, is undercut. And in part three, workers have to vote the union back into existence every single year. Put it all together and it looks like this: Wisconsin's unions can't deliver value to their members, they're deprived of the resources to change the rules so they can start delivering value to their members again, and because of that, their members eventually give in to employer pressure and shut the union down in one of the annual certification elections.

    You may think Walker's proposal is a good idea or a bad idea. But that's what it does. And it's telling that he's exempting the unions that supported him and is trying to obscure his plan's specifics behind misleading language about what unions can still bargain for and misleading rhetoric about the state's budget.

    Walker's proposals do have important fiscal elements: they roughly double health care premiums for many state employees. But the heart of the proposals, and the controversy, are the provisions that will effectively destroy public-sector unions in the Badger State. As Matt Yglesias notes, this won't destroy the Democratic party. But it will force the party to seek funding from sources other than unions, and that usually means the same rich businessmen who are the main financial backers for the Republican party. Speaking of which....

    Who is Scott Walker? 

    Walker was elected governor in the GOP landslide of 2010, when Republicans also gained control of the Wisconsin state senate and house of representatives. His political career has been bankrolled by Charles and David Koch, the very rich, very conservative, and very anti-union oil-and-gas magnates. Koch-backed groups like Americans for Prosperity, the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Reason Foundation have long taken a very antagonistic view toward public-sector unions. They've used their vast fortunes to fight key Obama initiatives on health care and the environment, while writing fat checks to Republican candidates across the country. Walker's take for the 2010 election: $43,000 from the Koch Industries PAC, his second highest intake from any one donor. But that's not all!:

    The Koch's PAC also helped Walker via a familiar and much-used political maneuver designed to allow donors to skirt campaign finance limits. The PAC gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, which in turn spent $65,000 on independent expenditures to support Walker. The RGA also spent a whopping $3.4 million on TV ads and mailers attacking Walker's opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Walker ended up beating Barrett by 5 points. The Koch money, no doubt, helped greatly.

    What are the Democrats and the unions doing to respond?

    Well, they're protesting, obviously—filling the halls of the Capitol and the streets of Madison with bodies and signs. They're calling their representatives and talking about recalling Walker (who cannot be recalled until next January) or any of eight GOP state senators who are eligible for recall right now. Meanwhile, all of the  Democratic state senators have left the state in an attempt to deny Republicans the quorum they need to vote on Walker's proposals, but if just one of them returns (or is hauled back by state troopers), the GOP will have the quorum they need. (Interestingly, the head of the state patrol in the father of the Republican heads of the state senate and house of representatives, who are brothers.) Finally, Wisconsin public school teachers have been calling in sick, forcing schools to close while teachers in over a dozen other school districts picket the capitol, plan vigils, and set up phone banks to try to block Walker's effort.

    How could this spread?

    Other Republican-governed states are trying to mimic Walker's assault on public employee unions. The GOP won a resounding series of state-level victories in high-union-density states in November. Now they can use their newly-won power to crack down on one of the Democrats' biggest sources of funds, volunteers, and political power. Plans are already under consideration in places like Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan.

    Speaking of Ohio:

    As Suzy Khimm outlined on Friday, an estimated 3,800-5,000 protestors came out in full fury in Columbus, Ohio, to vent their anger over a similar anti-union bill that would limit workers' rights to bargain for health insurance, end automatic pay increases, and infringe upon teachers' rights to pick their classes and schools. As in Wisconsin, both the Ohio state house and governor's mansion flipped from blue to red last year. "This has little to do with balancing this year's budget," former Governor Ted Strickland told the AP. "I think it's a power grab. It's an attempt to diminish the rights of working people. I think it's an assault of the middle class of this state and it's so unfair and out of balance."

    How are conservatives working to support Walker?:

    It was only a matter of time till the Tea Party got in on the action. Stephanie Mencimerreports that activists are bussing into Madison, and are "promising a massive counter-demonstration." The push is being led by American Majority, a conservative activist group that trains impressionable young foot soldiers to become state-level candidates (check out their ""I Stand With Scott Walker Rally" Facebook page). Founded by Republican operatives, the well-funded group (which, according to tax fillings, had a budget of nearly $2 million in 2009) gets much of its money from a group with ties to those adorable Koch brothers. Conservative media baron Andrew Breitbart will be leading the rally, and will be joined by presidential candidate Herman Cain and maybe—if we're lucky—Joe "The Plumber" Wurtzelbacher. Expect fireworks.

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    Feb222011

    POSTED AT 11:18 AM

    LIBYA ON FIRE

    Events are moving rapidly in Libya, so fast that it's difficult to sift the facts from the noise of contradictory reports. But here are a few reports that point to a rapid breakdown of the government's authority. Two high-ranking Libyan Air Force pilots have reportedly defected to Malta after refusing orders to conduct aerial bombing of civilian protestors. Reuters reports, with little detail, that a group of Libyan officers has issues a statement calling on the armed forces to "join the people" and remove Gaddafi from power. And the staff of the country's mission to the UN has in effect defectedfrom the current government. (Not completely sure you can do that; but I guess it's the thought that counts.)

    Finally, the country's Ambassador to the United States -- if I'm understanding this post from Ben Smith correctly -- has justcalled on the Obama administration to more forcefully denounce his government.

    Late Update: Actually, we were just able to watch a brief interview with the Ambassador on al Jazeera. He's clearly cut the cord.

    Latter Update: Watching the coverage of the Libya situation on al Jazeera English and, honestly, it's pretty embarrassing to compare it to what you get on the US cable nets. Reminds me of what CNN was sometimes like 20 years ago or actually what the BBC used to be like.

    --Josh Marshall

    www.talkingpointsmemo.com

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    Feb202011

    POSTED AT 07:57 AM


    Deficits Reshaping the Debate as Republicans Jockey for 2012

    Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana, left, and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts were among those who spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference this month in Washington.


    This morning's Sunday New York Times article   does a really good job at connecting the dots between the public policy issues that are so relevant (salient is the Political Science term we will begin using) with conservative and republican voters in our current political climate.  


    What matters with these voters is what the candidates who want to earn their party's nomination to run for president will be talking about - all the time.


           "Budget deficits and the nation’s growing debt load have emerged in the last few weeks as the consuming issues in Washington and in state capitals, and they are now shaping the early stages of the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Not a single candidate has formally opened a campaign yet — and some of those delivering the toughest talk on the budget may never do so — but the subject is giving focus and energy to a contest that has so far been largely unformed.

          The growing profile of the issue has given Republicans an opportunity to cast President Obama as a weak leader, unwilling or unable to confront the tough issues, and has added fuel to the conservative drive for smaller government.

        But it has also highlighted divisions among Republicans about how aggressively to cut domestic spending; the wisdom of supporting specific steps to address long-term problems in MedicareMedicaid and Social Security; and the proper balance between emphasizing fiscal issues and social ones like same-sex marriage.   .....

         As a result, a presidential race that once seemed poised to be a straight referendum on Mr. Obama’s record — with a particular focus on the health care law, the unemployment rate and criticism over the expansion of government regulation — now seems likely to focus more at the outset on how aggressively the country should be reassessing the size and role of government and the future of the social welfare system.  "  [end quote]

    This is a great example of the interplay of policy issues, Congressional politics and Presidential politics (winning the Republican Party's 2012 nomination).   It is also a really good example of the role of ideology (the very topic of chapter 6, no?) in our political discourse.  

    What is the proper balance between emphasizing fiscal (revenue) issues and social issues for republicans?  What should the proper scope of our federal government be when thinking about a social safety be for those in our society who are worst off?   A large role (a more liberal ideology), or a small role (a conservative ideology), or none at all?  (a libertarian ideology)?

    I give extra credit/participation consideration for those who bother to thoughtfully comment!  

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    Feb162011

    POSTED AT 11:05 AM


    As you might have seen -- though it wasn't the front-page news it ought to have been -- "Curveball," the Iraqi defector who provided the casus belli the Bush administration was searching for to justify the invasion of Iraq, has now admitted he made everything up. To review: In February 2003, noted motivational speaker Colin Powell went before the United Nations and delivered a terrifying presentation demonstrating that Iraq was brimming with horrific weapons of mass destruction, all poised to launch at the United States and who knows who else, obviously some time within the next ten minutes or so, and therefore we just had no choice but to invade. Much of Powell's case was built on the allegations of "Curveball," a person who had left Iraq five years before and whom U.S. intelligence officials had never interrogated. He was interviewed by German intelligence officials, who passed them to the Americans while insisting that they were probably bogus, as indeed they turned out to be. But everything he said was assumed by the administration to be 100 percent true -- Powell even showed computer animations of mobile chemical weapons labs, based on Curveball's invented stories. Powell's show included lots of other falsehoods and intentionally misleading claims, from those "nuclear" aluminum tubes to phantom VX nerve gas to non-existent long-range missiles (there's a good run-down here).

    Things move fast these days, and 2003 can seem like ancient history to some. But given that the run-up to the war in Iraq was the greatest media failure in decades, I thought this would be a good opportunity to remind ourselves of the tears of joy and gratitude that greeted Powell's U.N. speech. What's important to keep in mind is that a lot of Powell's bogus claims were known at the time to be false or baseless, if reporters had bothered to ask around. But they didn't, because they were so blinded by how awesome Powell was. Think I exaggerate? Let's take a look back:

    "Secretary of State Colin Powell's strong, plain-spoken indictment of the Saddam Hussein regime before the UN Security Council Wednesday embodies something truly great about the United States. Those around the world who demanded proof must now be satisfied, or else admit that no satisfaction is possible for them." -- Chicago Sun-Times

    "In a brilliant presentation as riveting and as convincing as Adlai Stevenson's 1962 unmasking of Soviet missiles in Cuba, Powell proved beyond any doubt that Iraq still possesses and continues to develop illegal weapons of mass destruction. The case for war has been made. And it's irrefutable." -- New York Daily News

    "Only those ready to believe Iraq and assume that the United States would manufacture false evidence against Saddam would not be persuaded by Powell's case." -- San Antonio Express-News

    "The evidence he presented to the United Nations -- some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail -- had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn't accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them. Only a fool -- or possibly a Frenchman -- could conclude otherwise." -- Richard Cohen, Washington Post

    That's just a small sample, but you see the pattern: not only was Powell's show presented as settling the matter of whether Iraq had this terrifying arsenal and would use it on us, but if you didn't agree, you were either an Iraqi sympathizer or at the very least anti-American. At that point, the debate over whether we would invade was pretty much over -- the only question was when the bombs would start falling. It may boggle the mind that so much of the case for war was based on the testimony of one absurdly unreliable guy. But that was what passed for "intelligence" during the Bush years

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    Aug102010

    POSTED AT 09:30 PM

    Vocabulary you "should"  (read: "you will need to know it eventually") know and understand

    Several teachers of AP US History across the nation were recently polled and came up with the following list of vocabulary terms that they were noticing, with increasing frequency,  that students were being placed into AP courses without having any familiarity about the meaning of several fairly common terms terms to history/economics/government/social studies/etc.   This was happening, according to some, on a consistent basis.

    This was their list of terms.  You should make yourselves familiar with them.  We'll be using them.

    Affirmative action

    Amend/Amendment

    Amnesty

    Anti-Semitism

    Apartheid

    Appellate

    Apportionment

    Arbitration

    Autocratic

    Bureaucracy

    Capitalism

    Caucus (as a noun and a verb)

    Civil rights

    Colony

    Communism

    Condone

    Conscription

    Conservative

    Country

    Coup d’état (sometimes just coup)

    Deflation

    Demagogue

    Democracy

    Democrat

    Demographics

    Disenfranchise

    Dole (“on the public dole”)

    Domestic

    Economics

    Emigrate

    Empirical

    Entrepreneur

    Epitome

    Ethics

    Ethnic              

    Eugenics

    Evolution

    Executive

    Federal

    Fifth column

    Filibuster

    Fundamentalism

    Galvanized

    GDP

    Genocide

    Historiography

    Immigrate

    Indentured servant

    Indigenous

    Inflation

    Initiative

    Invisible hand

    Judicial

    Labor

    Legislative

    Liberal

    Martyr

    Marxism

    Melting pot

    Migration

    Militant

    Millennialism

    Monarchy

    Nation

    Nationalism

    Nation-state

    Oligarchy

    Petition (as a noun and as a verb)

    Populist

    Precedent

    Progressive

    Propaganda

    Reactionary

    Red-tape

    Referendum

    Republic

    Republican

    Rural

    Segregation

    Social Darwinism

    Socialism

    Sovereignty

    Subsidize

    Suburban

    Suffrage

    Syndicates (“organized crime syndicates”)

    Tariff

    Totalitarian

    Tyranny

    Urban

    Usurp

    Vigilante

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    Jul202010

    POSTED AT 12:26 PM

    PART ONE

    Read "Gideons Trumpet", by Anthony Lewis.
    Complete the Study Guide  - A copy is available from the "Syllabus" section of this, my homepage.  See left column.
         (Please make sure that youhave the COMPLETE study guide.   Some copies were missing the questions from a few
           chapters due to a photocopier error).
        Yes, you need to write out the answers to the "Questions to Think About".  That is what I will be assessing as an exam grade!

    PART TWO

    Essay:  "On the Origins of Liberalism and Conservatism"  You should already have this handout.  If not - it can be downloaded from the "Syllabus" section of this, my homepage.  See left column.

    Compose a two to three page brief in whch you briefly explain the origins of modern conservatism and liberalism.  Using these philosophies, explain why you agree with one and disagree with another.  In short, tell me:  what are you, a liberal?  Or a conservative?  (Using the terms as they exist in the reading - NOT as they are used in modern-day, colloquial, cable TV food fight, spoken English!)

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    Jun072010

    POSTED AT 10:21 AM

    Here's another perspective of how our Federalism looks in real life -  operationally.  States cut spending, federal government 'stimulus' makes up the difference.  Fiscal federalism is the primary way in which our national and local governments relate to each other

    If fiscal stimulus is so great, then why hasn’t the Obama administration’s massive stimulus program helped improve the economy? Well, via Mark Thoma, the answer is that there hasn’t been any net fiscal stimulus, all the Obama administration’s efforts plus the automatic stabilizers have done is mitigate the contractionary impact of state and local policy:

    But it’s important to remember that the proper measure for fiscal stimulus is not spending by the federal government; it is spending by all levels of government. And when you look at the contributions to US GDP growth (Table 1.1.2 at the BEA site), total government spending has been a drag on growth over the past two quarters. The increases at the federal level have not been enough to compensate for the spending cuts at the local and state levels.

    And with another hat tip to Thoma, here’s a look at cuts in state and local payrolls:

    State-local 1

     

    Looked at comprehensively, what the country has been implementing is a mild version of the conservative policy prescription for boosting growth—fire bureaucrats and trim spending.  
    [via Matthew Yglesias' blog at Thinkprogress]

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