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Sunday, September 30, 2012

QOD- Debate- Fri Oct 5

QOD- Debate- Fri Oct 5

What is the Democratic spin on the outcome of the debate?

What is the Republican spin on the outcome of the debate?

What seems to be the general consensus among journalists about the debate?

What impact do you think this first debate will have?

Student's Response...

QOD- Debate- Thu Oct 4

QOD- Debate- Thu Oct 4....

What was a plus for Romney in the debate?

What was a plus for Obama in the debate?

Either of them make any critical mistakes?

Best line of the night?

Who do you think came out ahead?

QOD-The Economy- Wed Oct 3

QOD- Economy- Wed Oct 3

Economically, how is a "stimulus" package supposed to work?

Economically, how is reducing taxes supposed to work to benefit the economy?

QOD- Polls Accurate?- Tue Oct 1

QOD- Polls Accurate?- Tue Oct 1....

Who is claiming the present polls are wrong?

What is their arguement for the polls being wrong?

Student's Response....

QOD- Polls- Mon Oct 1

QOD- Polls- Mon Oct 1

What do present polls show for the overall, national vote for President?

What do present polls show for the "battleground states?"

Student Response's....

Monday, September 24, 2012

Visit to Knox

Register-Mail Look at Our Class

If you’ve heard that younger voters — or soon-to-be voters — are apathetic, you haven’t had a chance to talk with the students in Evan Massey’s poli sci 368 class at Galesburg High School.
However, everyone can read what class members are writing about politics, elections and the upcoming presidential race in particular as they blog about the elections of 2012 at

Issues or Non-Issues?

Issues or Non-Issues?


Candidates bring up a variety of topics during the campaign. It is often difficult to tell what the meaning of some of these topics:

·         Real issues?

·         Minor issues?

·         Ways of examining character of the candidates?

·         Revealing a candidate’s values?

·          Clever sound bites?

·         Distractions from the real issues?


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Lincoln-Douglas Debates

The debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephan Douglas were held in 1858, for the campaign for the US senate. The debates were held at seven sites in Illinois, one of them include at Knox College in Galesburg. Lincoln wasn’t as popular as Douglas was, but during that arguments Lincoln stated that the United States wouldn’t survive as a half slave, half non-slave county. The debate at Knox College was on the east side of South Street between Cedar and South Cherry streets and was the site of the original debate. It is the only remaining; original building that is still stating that the debates took place at. Douglas beat Lincoln for the seat at Senate, but in 1960 Lincoln ruled over Douglas for the Presidency.

Political History Reports

1948 Election

     In 1948 the presidential election between Dewey and Truman was held. Everyone across America was sure that Dewey would win, its said only Truman believed he would win and be re-elected. All the polls predicted Dewey was far ahead in the lead, including George Gallup's organization. Roper was so sure that he ceased polling in September. Even a poll asking how good of a job Truman had been doing said only 36% of people thought he was doing good as president. However, the polls proved wrong and president Truman was re-elected for another term. He beat Dewey 49.6% to 45.1%. Most likely the polls were wrong since their main source was the telephone, like it is today, and then it was still rare to be able to afford a phone. Therefore, only the rich mostly answered polls.
     Because of the error many papers and magazines published with headlines of Dewey winning. A famous picture shows Truman holding the Chicago tribune with the title "Dewey defeats Truman". This just added to the embarrassment of being wrong.
     The 1948 polling error is the main example used that polls aren't always right. This massive error in election history has taught America that only the election day really matters. Polls should be used more generally as a guideline.
     It showed to not give up hope even if the polls say there is none, and to not take it easy if your the one winning. Dewey had a low-key campaign due to overconfidence. So Truman took advantage of that and ran his campaign the best he could despite the overwhelming polls.
     the 1948 polling error showed to not completely trust polls. Polls can easily be miscalculated or subjected to just one group. Polling organizations have also tended to be more careful at how they go about it.
- Karisa

QOD- Good & Bad- Fri Sept 28

QOD- Good & Bad- Fri Sept 28

Based on Mr.Hawes look at the history of government programs....

What would be three examples of effective government programs in your mind & why do you consider them effective?

What would be three examples of ineffective government programs in your mind & why do you consider them ineffective?

What is your verdict- government too big or government help needed?

Student's Response....

QOD- Government- Thur Sept 27

QOD- Government- Thur Sept 27

Many criticize government for having gotten too big. Government spends a lot of money.

What are the top ten items in terms of government spending in it's yearly budget? And how much does it spend on each item?

Student's Response....

QOD- AARP- Wed Sept 26

QOD- AARP- Wed Sept 26

What is AARP?

What are the issues of most concern to them?

Why was Ryan not warmly received at their convention?

Student's Response....

AARP stands for the American Association of Retired Persons. AARP members are the most concerned about Social Security and Medicare. Ryan wasn't well liked at the AARP convention because Ryan wants to change Medicare to voucher system.
- Savannah

QOD- Senate Election- Tues Sept 25

QOD- Senate Election- Tues Sept 25

How many Senators are up for election?

How many Democrat incumbents?

How many Republican incumbents?

Where are the most heated elections?

What projections do they have about the outcome?

Student's Response....

QOD- Senate & House- Mon Sept 24

QOD- Senate & House- Mon Sept 24...

What is the present makeup of the US Senate in terms of Republicans & Democrats?

What is the significance of getting 51 or getting 60 Senators?

How many Senators are up for election?

What is the present makeup of the House in terms of Republicans & Democrats?

What does a simple majority mean more in the House?

Student's Response....

Our Experts- What Are the Issues?

I asked our "experts" what they considered the major issues of this campaign. These are individuals who are across the political spectrum, but all very well read. Here are the questions they were asked-

1- From your perspective, as you vote, what do you see as the major issues in this election?

2- What are issues that either candidate are bringing up which you do not feel are important issues, that are more just campaign ploys?

3- What are issues the candidates do not seem to be dealing with which you feel should be issues of the campaign?

Here are their responses....

RR says....

#1.  The economy and the deficit.  Whenever times are tough, the economy dominates everything else, as evidenced by 1980, 1992, and 2008.  Economic growth is tied to deficit reduction, as the Greeks and Spaniards are finding out.  An underlying issue is just how much a national government can (and should) do to influence economic policy.  This will be subtext of the Romney campaign—government efforts to improve the economy are inefficient and inherently corrupt, as the government will assist its political allies, regardless of their contribution to economic recovery.

#2.  Each side is making noises about reducing the deficit, but neither side is being honest about what it will take to accomplish that.  Obama’s class warfare campaign calling for a “fair share” tax increase on the “rich” will raise no more than $70 billion, according to a study in the Wall Street Journal.  Romney’s statements about cutting funds for PBS and the Endowment of the Arts, etc. (with which I happen to agree) will not even save $1 billion a year.  With a deficit of $16 plus trillion, none of these suggestions will make even a small dent in the deficit.  The best hope of deficit reduction was the Simpson Bowles task force report (which the fanatics on both sides ignored) because it recommended the perfectly sensible approach of both raising revenue and limiting government expenditures.

Unless Congress acts before the end of the year, the Bush-era tax cuts will expire and the mandated cuts in spending agreed to last year will kick in.  The combined effect of which will take about a trillion dollars out of the US economy, which is more than enough to trigger another huge recession. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Election History Reports

Each student is being given a topic related to past elections in the United States. Students are asked to research their topic. They are asked to submit their report via email by Monday, September 24 at 7:45am to

The report should:

1- Be submitted via email by the deadline.
2- Be 300-400 words or 1 to 1.5 pages in length.
3- Give the basic details of this event.
4- Explain what the "legacy" of this event has been in either American history or in better understanding elections. What significance has it had in changing American history?
5- All papers will be checked for Wikepedia paraphraphing!!
6- All papers should have a minimum of 3 articles listed at the end of the paper, with the internet address of those articles.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Knox Trip Assignment

Wednesday, Sept 19 we will be going to Knox College to listen to Owen Muelder who is the founder and head of the Underground RR Center at Knox College. He is going to talk to us about Knox College and Galesburg in the 1800's leading up to the Lincoln-Douglas Debates.

By Monday, Sept 24 at 7:45am, I would like you to submit via email to a report on one of the following:

Option #1- Galesburg & Knox in the 1800's.
What were the values of the early founders of Knox and Galesburg?
How did these values impact life in Galesburg and Knox?

Option #2- Knox & the Debates
Describe how the social and political values of Knox influenced what Lincoln had to say?
Describe the level of "activism" in Galesburg in regards to abolitionism?
How did Galesburg's "activism" play a role in the debates?
What did Lincoln have to say?

Option #3- Debates- Then & Now
What were the Lincoln- Douglas debates like?
What will this year's debates be like?
How will they be different than this year's debates?

Your reports should be 300-400 words or about 1 to 1.5 pages in length.

QOD- Benjamin Netanyahu - Fri Sept 21

QOD- Benjamin Netanyahu - Fri Sept 21

Who is he?

Why is he in the news?

What does he expect of US?

What is meant by "red line"?

Student's Response....

QOD- Simpson-Bowles- Thur Sept 20

QOD- Simpson-Bowles- Thur Sept 20

What is it?

What did it recommend?

Why didn't it work?

Student's Response...

QOD- Lincoln- Wed Sept 19

QOD- Lincoln- Wed Sept 19

Tell me three things about the Lincoln Douglas debates, you don't think I already know?

Student Response's....

1. more than 20,000 people were in attendance
2. Lincoln stressed the moral wrong-doing of slavery in his speech.
3.  last standing site of the 1958 Lincoln-Douglas debates.
- Emily

The famous Lincoln and Douglas debates occured in 1858.  One fact about the debates is the first speaker spoke 60 minutes, the the next 90 minutes while the first man had a chance to speak another 30 minutes and since Douglas was the incumbant he spoke first of the 4 debates.  The next little fact was major papers from Chicago sent stenographs to create complete texts of each debate, which newspapers across the United States reprinted in full, with some partisan edits which was a big deal at the time.  And the last fact didnt occur during the time but in 1994 CNN had a reanactment of the speeches on its channel which is very cool.
- Nate

The debates were held at 7 different sites, one in each of the congressional districts. Over 15,000 people attended the original debate in Freeport, which was then only a town of 5,000 residents. One result of the debate, the Freeport Doctrine, allowed states people to have the right to choose whether or not to exclude slavery from their limits. One fact about Mary Todd Lincoln I thought was interesting was, Stephen A. Douglas proposed to Mary and told her if she accepted she would become the wife of the president; she declined saying "Mr Douglas, I will be the wife of the president, but not as Mrs. Douglas."
- Savannah

QOD- Super Pacs- Tues, Sept 18

QOD- Super PAC's- Tuesday, Sept 18

How much are Super PAC's spending?

Who are the major contributing groups to Republicans?

Who are the major contributing groups to Democrats?

Student's Response....

QOD- Sequestration- Mon Sept 17

QOD- Sequestration- Monday, Sept. 17....

What is sequestration?  (Actually have an article on it on the blog!)

What were Republicans and Democrats pressuring each other to get done?

What did each side hold over the other?

Has it worked?

How has it entered the campaigns?

Student's Response...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Current Events Reports

There are a series of "Current Events" reports included over the past week. The students had several days to research their topics. Most of the topics are general issues- some with tremendous relation to and impact on the 2012 Election. And some are of a more general nature.

If you scroll down the blog, you will see a listing of the topics with questions the students were asked to address in their reports.

The students were graded on both a presentation to the class and a written report. A copy of each written report is posted. The students were evaluated on several factors, included were:
- How thorough was their report? Does it reflect thoughtful research? Does it add to the knowledge of the class?
- When appropriate to the topic, do they give both a conservative and liberal perspective on the issue or problem?
- Does their information have a high level of accuracy? Would "fact checkers" say the information is accurate and adequately explained?

As you read the reports, you will see some do a better job than others of enlightening us on the perspective of liberals and conservatives on their issue.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Current Events- Campaign Funding

Sami, Emily and Danielle

Campaign Finance Reform

            Without money involved in political elections, the candidates might as well throw the towel in and not even run.  Funding for the elections has increased throughout the years and it has affected the way candidates run for political offices

Current Events- Polls

By Paul, Riley, Mike, Jordan, Nate
Polls are defined as a sampling or collection of opinions on a subject.  Polls are an American tradition, they have helped form America to the remarkable country it is today.  They continue to help us predict our future and gather information.  Polls are a necessity in politics, without them the wonderful world of politics would be lost forever. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Current Events- Voting Issues

By Sergio, Lila, Lexi, and Karisa

In a Democracy, the basic element to participate in government is a vote. This “right” to vote in America was a strange thing that hadn’t occurred in history; suddenly everyone had the right to vote in this new free country. Or did they? At the start of our countries history only white, male, land owners were aloud to vote. This restricted the voice of the people and made for a system where the lawmakers were directly making laws for one group of people, instead of the country as a whole. Throughout America’s history there has been a fight for true equality at the ballot. This is shown through movements to allow all men to vote, including blacks and other minorities in the 1870s and on, movements for women to have the ability to vote in the 1920s, and fair, equal voting rights movements still occurring today. These equal rights were fought for from our countries origin, all the way to today.

Current Events- Negative Ads

By Allison, Savannah, and Kelsie

Negative Campaign Ads

            The history of negative campaigning goes back to over one hundred years ago.  The most effective would be advertisements attacking an opponent's personality, record, or opinion.  There are two types of ads used in negative campaigning: attack and contrast.  Attack, identifies risks associated with the opponent, often exploiting people’s fears to manipulate and lower the impression voters have of the opponent.  Contrast, contains information about both the candidate and the opponent.  The information about the candidate is positive while the information about the opponent is negative.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Washington Post on Sequestration

Understanding the battle over the looming defense cuts
at 06:02 AM ET, 09/11/2012

The Sunday public affairs shows sometimes leave ordinary American lost in a blizzard of Washington gobbledygook, especially when it comes to the federal budget. A lengthy exchange between Norah O’Donnell and GOP vice president nominee Paul Ryan on CBS’s “Face The Nation” on Sunday is a good example of that, in which two people are simply talking past each other.
We are fairly convinced that 99.99 percent of the people watching this exchange had little clue what they were arguing about. In an effort to promote understanding, we will annotate it. Both Democrats and Republicans have their own narratives of what happened in the debt ceiling debate so we will not try to adjudicate that dispute.

Current Events- Third Parties

James S, Erin S., Cheyenne S.

Third Parties

            Most people have heard of Democrats and Republicans. Very few, however, have ever heard of smaller third parties. Two of the major third parties are the Libertarian and Green parties. The Green Party was formed in 2001 with 10 set key values that they follow. The key values are Grassroots Democracy, social justice and equal opportunity, ecological wisdom, non-violence, decentralization, community based economics and economic justice, feminism and gender equality, respect for diversity, personal and global responsibility, and finally future focus and sustainability. Grassroots democracy is basically letting the people have more say in the government and directly involving them in the decision making process. Social justice and equal opportunity is everyone has the right to benefit from the environment and our society, also to confront barriers that separate us. Ecological wisdom is helping protect the environment and learning new ways to replenish what we take. Non-violence is basically what it means, to get rid of violence like eliminating weapons of mass destruction and demilitarize everywhere. Decentralization is to eliminate a system which is controlled by and mostly benefits the powerful few, to a democratic, less bureaucratic system. Community based economics and economic justice is to create a system that’ll create jobs and pay people based on what they actually earn, also to enhance our quality of life. Feminism and gender equality is just to make everyone equal without any boundaries. Respect for diversity speaks for itself, to treat every race the same with no exception. Personal and global responsibilities are to help create a better world. Future focus and sustainability are thinking about what we are doing now and how it’ll affect our future, also to help create a way to make things last longer. They haven’t been successful in getting elected in to major offices but have made it in to smaller roles.

Current Events- Shootings

By- Victoria Worsfold, Katie Schofield, & Troy Schisler

Country Wide Shooting

            In just the past four years the U.S. homicide rate has almost doubled. In Chicago alone, the number of homicides out numbers U.S. troop killings in Afghanistan. Between July and August of 2012 the U.S. has suffered through three major shootings, including one of the largest mass shootings in U.S. history. These three shootings consist of the Colorado Theater, Wisconsin Temple and New York Empire State Building shootings.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

QOD- Labor Stats- Fri Sept 14

QOD- Labor Stats- Fri Sept 14....

Last Friday, job growth and unemployment numbers came out. What were they and what was their significance?

Student's Response....

Saturday, September 8, 2012

QOD- Virgil Goode- Thu Sept 13

QOD- Virgil Goode- Thu Sept 13....

Who is Virgil Goode?

What party is a member of?

Could he influence the outcome of the election? How?

Who wants him off the ballot? Who will decide if he stays on the ballot?

Student's Response....

QOD- Karl Rove- Wed Sept 12

QOD- Karl Rove- Wed Sept 12

Who is Karl Rove?

What role has he played in government?

What role is he playing in the 2012 Election?

Student Response....

QOD- Kerry Quote- (Tue, Sept 11)

QOD- Kerry Quote- (Tue, Sept 11)

In his speech at the Democratic Convention, he used a quote that was used against him when he ran for President?

What was the quote?

Who originally made the quote & how were they attacking Kerry?

Who was Kerry attacking & what was he attacking them about?

Student Response....

QOD- Debates (Mon Sept 10)

QOD- Debates (Mon Sept 10)....

What are the dates of the Vice-Presidential & Presidential debates?

What are the topics, formats, and moderators of each?

Student Response....

NY Times- Guide on 5 Factors to Watch

The following is a guide from the NY Times of 5 Factors to watch before the election....

WASHINGTON — Two months before the election, President Obamaand Mitt Romney agree on one thing: the collection of states where the race will be decided.
Jim Wilson/The New York Times
Mitt and Ann Romney paid a brief visit to campaign headquarters in Boston on Saturday before heading to Virginia. President Obama is spending the weekend in Florida, traveling by bus.More Photos »
The Election 2012 App

The Election 2012 App

A one-stop destination for the latest political news — from The Times and other top sources. Plus opinion, polls, campaign data and video.
As Mr. Obama opened a two-day bus tour of Florida on Saturday and Mr. Romney set his sights on trying to put Virginia back in the Republican column, television ads from both sides were filling the airwaves in those two vital states and six others from Nevada to New Hampshire, while outside groups supporting the candidates tested for traction elsewhere.
With the political conventions over, the battle to determine whether Mr. Obama will win re-election or Mr. Romney will become the 45th president of the United States is fully engaged. The race has been deadlocked according to many measures, and each side was predicting that it would see no lift from its convention. That seems to have been true in Mr. Romney’s case, and Mr. Obama’s aides were hopeful that new polls due out this week would prove them wrong.
But for now Mr. Obama may hold a slight edge because the race remains essentially tied, which means voter disappointment has not turned into a resounding call for his defeat despite the challenging economic climate.
Presidential races take place on many levels, some easily visible, others more shrouded. As the clock runs down, both sides make tough decisions about which states to compete in and which to abandon. Advertising messages get tested and changed as strategists hunt frantically for the right appeals, and get-out-the-vote teams wavering voters with tailored messages.
Behind closed doors, the candidates are preparing for the most crucial remaining events, the debates. And in courtrooms, lawyers battle over who is on the ballot and who can vote.
The race could also still be influenced by unforeseen events, domestic or foreign, that could shape perceptions of the incumbent president and his challenger. Here are a few things to watch in the 58 days ahead, beginning with the electoral map.
The roster of battleground states has not changed much, but one that Republicans had dearly hoped to put in play appears to have broken decisively: Pennsylvania. Mr. Romney spent time and money in the state, which went Democratic in the last five presidential elections, but Republican strategists now say it seems out of reach.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

QOD- Obama Speech- Fri, Sept 7

QOD- Friday, September 7....

What were the themes of Obama's speech?

What did Democrats have to say about it?

What did Republicans have to say about it?

What did you think about it?

Student Response....

QOD- 1992 Convention- Thu Sept 6

QOD- Thursday, September 6....

In the 1992 campaign, Bill Clinton got the biggest "bump" in modern campaigns.

What were his numbers going in?

What were his numbers going out?

Many attribute this to an effective convention speech by Clinton. What was the famous ending to his speech based on his home town?

Teacher's Response....

QOD- "Better Off"- (Wed Sept 5)

QOD- Wednesday, September 5....

One Republican theme is, "Are you better off today than you were 4 years ago?"

Who was this first used by?

Was it effective for then?

How do Republicans answer this today?

How do Democrats answer this today?

Student's Response....