Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Election Strategy

A two-term president?
Today we will focus on the overall strategies chosen by the Republican and Democratic parties in the 2012 presidential campaigns. You will complete today's assignment by yourself. You may:
  • Type and print the assignment
  • Write it on loose leaf paper
Part 1: The GOP (10 points)
First, read the article "G.O.P’s 2012 Strategy Puts Focus on Timing". It is a little old, but it will help us discuss some key Republican strategies. Use it to respond to the questions below.

  1. According to the post, in what ways is the next presidential race comparable with the 1996 race? In what ways will this race be different?
  2. What are the two main strategies that Republicans are using to level the playing field in the campaign against President Obama? Do you think that these two strategies will work? Why or why not?
  3. Why are Republicans slowing down their potential candidates’ entry into the race? What are the benefits of this approach? What are the drawbacks?
  4. Why are Republicans slowing down the anointment of a nominee? What are the benefits of this approach? What are the drawbacks?
  5. If you were a campaign strategist for the Democratic Party, what would you do to counter these Republican strategies? Why?
Part 2: The Democrats (10 points)
When you're done with the first article, read"Obama begins re-election facing new political challenges". Use the article to answer the questions below:
  1. What types of messages about his candidacy is President Obama sending his supporters at the kickoff of his re-election campaign? Why?
  2. What are some good signs for President Obama at this early stage in the campaign?
  3. If you were President Obama, what would you be concerned about?
  4. What decisions did President Obama make during his presidency that might help or hurt him now that he is running for re-election?
  5. If you were a campaign strategist for a Republican candidate, what would you do to counter Mr. Obama’s approach to his re-election campaign?
Part 3: YOUR Strategy (10 points)
Now, go back to your partner(s) for your Republican candidate. Your goal, clearly, is to discredit President Obama and to win election (for yourself and your party). Based on all of the research you have done so far, as well as today's articles, create a 10-step list that will enable you to take America's top job.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Back to the Ads

Today and tomorrow, we will return to your attack ad projects. We have access to Windows Live Movie Maker in the computer lab now, and will be able to do that.

You must:
  • Save your ads research to the Y:\Ramin American Politics\Attack Ads Research folder
  • Save your ad to the Y:\Ramin American Politic\Attack Ads folder
First: Check to make sure that your information is up to date! A couple of weeks have passed since we worked on this. Lots of things have changed in the time that passed.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Quick Summary

Still don't quite understand the goals of the Occupy Wall Street movement? Check out this brief video from CNN. It's a little silly, but it gets the point across.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Presentation Preparation

Today's class runs from 8:50 - 9:26.
During this period, you must:
  • Make sure each group member's name is on every document you are turning in
  • Save your bibliography to the "Y:\Ramin American Politics\EPA Bibliographies" folder
  • Save your brief the the Y:\Ramin American Politics\EPA Briefs" folder
  • Print out a copy of your brief and your bibliography. Staple everything together and turn it in to me
  • Print out copies of the brief for each member of the group.This way the presenters will each have one. In addition, the people not presenting will have one to follow along with.
  • Outline your presentation
Your presentation before the Pollution Control Board is a 50 point project grade. It must include each of the following elements:
  • When called on to present, you will stand and approach the podium.
  • Introduce yourself and your organization. "My name is _______________, and I am here on behalf of the _____________________________."
  • Introduce your colleagues, even those who will not be presenting. Gesture to each in turn. Students not presenting: when your name is called, stand, nod to the panel, and return to your seat.
  • An introduction. Explain why you are here today. Give an overview of the 2 (or more) issues your group will focus on and any important facts you will talk about more in depth later in the presentation. State whether you will show that Chicago Clean Energy, Inc. should be able to build its proposed coal gasification plant or not (or whether you should get the land instead, Solar Service, Inc.!).
  • First issue. Introduce the point, then give your supporting facts. Think: how can I persuade the panel to believe that my position here is more correct than the other groups'?
  • Second issue. Again, introduce the point, then give your supporting facts.
  • Summary and Conclusion. Summarize the points you made, and remind your audience of any particularly important facts. Conclude by strongly re-stating your opinion. Include your organization's name at some point.
  • Be prepared to answer questions!
Break your presentation up between the two speakers. I recommend alternating between the two of you.
  • First speaker approaches the podium, introduces group, introduces position, sits.
  • Second speaker rises, introduces first issue, explains first issue, answers any questions, sits.
  • First speaker rises, introduces second issue, explains second issue, answers any questions, sits.
  • Second speaker rises, delivers conclusion, responds to any questions, thanks panel, sits.
All speakers will sit in the front row of the chapel. All other group members will sit in the audience area.

During the presentations, group members who are not speaking will have evaluation sheets to fill out. These will help you predict your success/lack of success/etc.

Any group members not preparing the outline in class today should prepare a list of at least six critical questions. When it is time to practice, watch your presenters to see if they address these questions. If not, ask them. Help them prepare strong, fact-based responses.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pollution Control Board Briefs

An example of a coal gasification plant.
First -- no test on Monday. We will need to take one later in the week, likely Friday.

The Leucadia/Chicago Clean Energy, Inc. Issue
Leucadia National Corporation is a holding company that does business in many different fields. One of its focuses is on energy production. Now the company would like to open a coal gasification plant on Chicago's southeast side.

You represent one of 5 stakeholder groups:
  • Leucadia National Corporation
  • Illinois Coal Association
  • Sierra Club
  • Allergy and Asthma Network/Mothers of Asthmatics
  • Solar Service, Inc.
In addition to Leucadia's real life bid, we are adding a little twist -- Solar Service, Inc. would like to purchase the same land to open a solar panel production factory.

Your group will need to produce a brief in support of or in opposition to Leucadia's bid.

The brief must be 3-4 pages in length PLUS a title page. An effective brief will likely be closer to 4 pages plus the title page.

This is a group project grade, and it is worth 80 points based on this rubric. You will also need to complete a 25 point works cited page, based on this rubric. Finally, your group will receive an additional 50 point grade  for your presentation at the Illinois Pollution Control Board (yes -- this is a real group) hearing on Wednesday.

This brief, prepared on behalf of the Sierra Club, is way too long for our purposes, but it gives an excellent example of the format you should follow.

If you cannot open the pdf, this link should work.

First, we will need to decide on a list of issues to address.
  • Choose one member to represent your group for today only.
  • The rest of the group members should go to this page produced by Chicago Clean Energy, Inc., a subsidiary of Leucadia.
Representatives will meet with members of other "friendly" groups to plan your side's attack. Other group members should watch at least 2 of the videos on the Chicago Clean Energy page in order to get a better idea of exactly what the issue is.

First, the slides presented by Ms. Furey and the EPA speakers on Wednesday and Thursday are available for you to view in the "Y:\Ramin American Politics\EPA Slide Shows" folder.

Once you have the two issues your group will focus on in its brief, you will need to find at least five sources to use in your project. Include these in a minimum 5-source bibliography. 

These sources could be:
  • Information from your organization's website
  • News sources
  • Academic papers
  • Federal/State evaluations of the site
  • EPA information on coal gasification and sequestration
  • Etc., etc.
Make sure each fits with the points you plan to make!

Cite each source using proper MLA format, as demonstrated on the Purdue OWL website. Each group will turn in one bibliography.

For the sake of time, I will not require you to annotate your sources. However, take notes on them as you go through them -- this will make sure that you are including accurate information in your brief. I will not check your notes, but the quality of the notes you take will be evident in your final brief and in your presentation to the pollution control board.

The Brief
Follow the example Sierra Club brief to format your information correctly. You will need to:
  • Mirror the format of the Sierra Club's title page
  • Include a header on each page similar to the one on the example brief
  • Do NOT include a table of contents (unless you really want to -- this will not count toward your page limit)
  • Include an introduction your group, the reasons for your interest in the proposed Leucadia site, and the  issues you will adress
  • Your group's evaluation of the proposed site and its impact on your position (environmental hazard? Job creator? Etc.?)
  • Your analysis of related issues
  • A defense of your position
  • An refutation of the opposition's position
Remember -- hopefully you'll be presenting
for Governor Quinn!
The brief, remember, is just the beginning. You will need to make a reasonable, impassioned argument before the Pollution Control Board. Even now, you should be thinking of your two speakers and what they will say.

You need to convince the board to vote for your position -- whether or not to approve Leucadia's proposed coal gasification project on Chicago's SE side.

This is all due at the end of Monday's class. Make sure you divide anything that you will be accomplishing this weekend.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Politics and the Environment Prep Work

The logo for the Environmental Protection Agency.
For homework tonight, read the articles below and respond to the accompanying questions on loose leaf paper. The assignment is a 25 point homework grade.

First, read the Atlantic Magazine article "Dirty Coal, Clean Future" by James Fallows at the magazine's website. You can find the same article as a pdf here.

Use the article to answer the following questions on loose leaf paper (20 points).

Again -- the article is long. I recommend you read the questions first so you know exactly what information you are attempting to find.
  1. Why is carbon dioxide arguably the most significant of the greenhouse gases?
  2. Explain the “positive feedback” loop that may happen when carbon dioxide levels reach 450 ppm and above.
  3. Compare the per capita CO2 emissions of the United States, China, Europe, India and Kenya. What do they share in common? What is different? What’s unique about France?
  4. Summarize the four components of the “carbon wedge” identified in the article.
  5. The average American annually uses electricity produced by how much coal?
  6. What “externalities” of coal usage are unregulated?  What is the consequence of this lack of regulation?
  7. What is the energy efficiency of coal?
  8. How long does it take to secure a permit to build a new coal-fired power plant in the U.S.?
  9. Describe the process of CO2  sequestration.
  10. Describe the process of underground coal gasification.
Then, read Paul Krugmans's New York Times editorial "Here Comes the Sun." Summarize his main points on the same page as questions 1-10. (5 points)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Attack of the Ads -- PowerPoint!

In addition to Windows Live Movie Maker, you can also use Microsoft PowerPoint to complete your Attack Ad project. You can include the same exact information you would include using Movie Maker in PowerPoint.
  • Compile your required information
  • Set it up in the order you want it on the slides
  • Include any explanatory text, etc.
Once you've got the PowerPoint set up in the order you want it, it's time to work on the following:
  • Transitions
  • Timing
  • Voiceover recording
  • Sounds
By accessing the "Insert" tab, you can ad any sound or video you have saved to the Y: drive.

In the "Animations" tab, you can set up the timing, transitions and sounds for your show. Make sure that it meets the 1-2 minute time limit.

In the "Slide Show" tab, you can record a voiceover for your ad.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Attack of the Ads

This sign is right. For this project,
however, we will ignore its wisdom.
Keep your lobbying pamphlets on your desk.

Today, you will begin to take your campaign on the offensive -- literally, and metaphorically. Over the past month or so, you have gathered a massive amount of information about your candidate. You are becoming an expert on his likes and dislikes, his positives and negatives, his every idiosyncrasy. Starting today, you will put that knowledge to use.

Today and Monday, you will create an attack ad on behalf of your candidate's campaign. It should be 1-2 minutes in length.

This project has two components:
  • The research sheet. You started this on Tuesday. You will complete it today. It must be saved to the "Y:\Ramin American Politics\Republicans and Interest Groups" folder. It should be saved as "Your Last Names -- Your Candidate Name -- IG." Your completed research sheet is a 30 point project grade, based on this rubric.
  • The attack ad. You will begin work on this today in class and complete it Monday. It is due at the end of class on Monday. This is a 50 point project grade, based on this rubric.
I recommend that you use Windows Live Movie Maker. This site will tell you exactly how to create a 1 minute video using Windows Live Movie Maker. Watch the video. Although the subject matter is nothing like what we will be doing, all of the principles involved apply.

Part 5: Attack Ads
Start by watching at least 3 ads from the "Attack Ad Hall of Fame" site hosted by the University of Chicago. Use them to respond to the following:
  1. What is the most effective attack ad you watched? Why?
  2. The least effective? Why?
Part 6: Strategy
Take a look at this rather complete article from eHow titled "How to Create a Political Attack Ad." Use it to assist your planning process.

Choose one opponent to attack. Record the name of this candidate. Follow the steps in the article to plan your ad. Record the relevant information for each "Instruction" listed in the article.

Part 7: Script
Plan your attack ad. Write a summary describing exactly what you plan to include in your ad, in the correct order. This should be a bullet-point list.

Wherever you plan to include an internet resource, you must copy and paste the link for the photo, article, audio file or video you will use. This will serve as our bare-bones citation page for this project. Use reliable sources -- newspapers, university sites, news networks, etc.

You also have the option to create short videos using the digital cameras I have with me.

When in doubt, ask me if a source is reliable. Absolutely no blogs.

Create a new folder in my "Y:\Ramin American Politics\Attack Ads Research" folder. Use it to organize photos, articles, audio files, or videos you will use.

Part 8: The Ad
When you've finished gathering your information, it's time to start making your ad. At this point, you should have everything you need to eliminate your opponent with one devastating TV spot. Be creative, and follow the rubric.

Save your video to the "Y:\Ramin American Politics\Attack Ads" folder.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Lobbyist’s Handbook

•You will work with a partner to create a tri-fold pamphlet to help new lobbyists successfully do their jobs.
•You will use the information on pp. 313-318 to create your pamphlet.
•You will need to choose a cause that is important to you and follow the instructions on the next slide.
•HINT: Try not to get your potential lobbyists arrested.
•A cover image and title. Something like: “How To Be A ____________ Lobbyist”. Put your names on this page (“By: Student A and Student B) (5 pts.)
•An intro fold which explains your interest group’s goal to the prospective lobbyist. (5 pts.)
•Each “center” fold should include:
–an explanation of how to successfully use a lobbying strategy to promote your cause.  (3 pts. per fold)
–A focus on one strategy (DIRECT, GRASSROOTS, AND INFORMATION).  (1 pt. per fold)
–Steps to follow and/or simply pieces of advice. Each fold should be full of information. (4 pts. per fold)
–At least 2 references to text per fold. (2 pts. per fold)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Meets Iowa

An interesting connection between the "Occupy" movement and the upcoming Republican primaries:

Attention Tweeters!

If you use Twitter, this tweet from Pres. Obama might be of interest to you:

Barack Obama 
Tweet your questions about how President Obama is helping students to , and they could get answered at tonight’s summit.

Retweeted by  and 100+ others

Tweet a question to the President, print something out that shows me your tweet, get 5 points extra credit!

You can sign up to watch the summit live on the President's campaign site here.

Mock Trial Case

The 2011 PSM Mock Trial Team.
If you are signed up for Law & Government class this Spring and would like to take an early look at the Mock Trial case, you can find it here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Republican Roundup: Current Events and Interest Groups

Proof -- Buddy Roemer (right) has been in the news recently!
Keep your notes from last night on your desk.

Today you will return to working with your partner to find out some more information about your Republican candidate. You will:

  • Research your candidate's recent performance
  • Analyze the impact interest groups have on your candidate
First, make sure that your dossiers from the first quarter are saved to the correct location on the Y: drive -- Y:\Ramin American Politics\Republican Dossiers. You will need to come back to this information during quarter 2. Make sure the document is saved as "Your Last Names - Your Candidate's Last Name - Dossier".

Now, create a new Word document. Save it to the Y:\Ramin American Politics\Republicans and Interest Groups folder. Save your document as "Your Last Names - Your Candidate's Last Name - IG".

The assignment is worth 2 points per question, 30 points total.

Part 1: Recent Events
Your candidates have been busy since we last saw checked in on them. In particular, Mr. Cain and Mr. Perry have some very specific issues to deal with. Complete the following:
  1. Check the polls using RealClearPolitics' Poll Average chart. How is your candidate doing? Has his standing improved? Who is the current front runner?
  2. Three of the most historically important primary elections occur in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Find the links for the current poll results from these states on the left hand side of the RCP page. Record your candidate's standing in each state, then predict his performance in each primary (based on current data).
  3. Check your candidate's current standing against President Obama. Have things changed since you last looked? How would your candidate fare against the incumbent?
  4. Read and briefly summarize 2 news articles related to your candidate. What has he been in the news for lately?
  5. How do you anticipate your campaign will be affected by recent events? Specifically, will your candidate be helped or hurt by what he's been doing recently?
Part 2: Let's Look at the TapeImage is incredibly important in a political campaign. With that in mind, find at least one video from the last week related to your candidate. You may use any news site -- CNN, CBS News, MSNBC, Fox News, etc. Use it to complete the following:
  1. Record the link for the video. Watch it, then summarize its content.
  2. Record your emotional response to your candidate based on this video.
  3. Remember -- you are your candidate's campaign managers for Illinois' 7th District. How do you think the video will affect your candidate's poll performance in this district?
  4. How can you use the information you find to help your candidate? Alternatively, how can you control any damage your candidate has done to his campaign in the video you found?
Part 3: Interest Groups
Your candidate has many people attempting to get his attention at all times. Today, we will attempt to discover who might have the most influence over his policies.
  1. Define interest group.
  2. According to your book, what are the five major roles of an interest group? Briefly describe each. This can be a list with definitions.
  3. Define lobbyist. How could an interest group make use of a lobbyist?
  4. Examine your candidate's official site. What interest groups might have his attention? How can you tell?
  5. Examine this list of interest groups from the LA Times. Each group's name links to its official website. Which of these interest groups might support your candidate? Explain your response. You should have at least three interest groups.
  6. Do a Google news search for your candidate's name and the word "lobbyist". Try the same with "interest groups". What type of influence do lobbyists and interest groups seem to have over your candidate? Copy and paste any links where you find information.
  7. What type of influence do lobbyists and interest groups seem to have over the campaign in general? Copy and paste any links where you find information.
Part 4: Lobbying Tactics
  1. Take a look at the anti-Romney ad launched by a 527 group today. You can find the ad linked to in this article. What does the group's goal seem to be? How do they attempt to accomplish it? What tactics do they use?
  2. Think about your opponents. Which one(s) might you want to attack? Why?
  3. What are some vulnerabilities your opponents have? Be specific to whichever candidates you bring up.
  4. Which interest groups listed in the LA Times article might be sympathetic to your cause? Explain.