Winter Olympics

I was thinking that we have not had a blog lately and thinking about how much I enjoy watching the Olympic events that I otherwise no nothing about, don’t participate in, nor watch at any other time. Why do you think the Olympics are so compelling? Share a story or two here of something that you have seen, heard, or read about the Olympics that has been interesting to you.

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Fresh Start

For many of you, we are just getting started with our semester courses in Government or Economics. For some of you, we have been together since the beginning of the school year. For all of us the new year and new semester gives us a chance to start again.

Take a moment to reflect upon any lessons learned in the first semester and anything you anticipate for the second semester. Write a few sentences below about what you look forward to or hope to change to start 2018. Also feel free to comment on political or economic issues that you will be following in the next few months.

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Great Thanksgiving Listen

A project with NPR and the Library of Congress called “Story Corps” has recorded everyday Americans discussing life with everyday Americans ever since the 9/11 attack. They have produced radio interviews, books, articles, and thousands of documents for the Library of Congress. A few years ago they created an app that would allow students to record relatives around the thanksgiving dinner table. Please check out the website, consider submitting an interview and blog about the experience here for bonus.

Great Thanksgiving Listen

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Two former presidents gave speeches yesterday that touched on high-minded principles like democracy, freedom, and the American dream. Obama was focussed on a campaign rally, while Bush headlined a forum on liberty with some extraordinary guests. Please take a look at the speech and panel discussion and share your thoughts about what is good about America and the shared values that we have.

Spirit of Liberty

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Debate on Guns

Due to current events and classroom discussions I thought you might want to comment further on the meaning of the Second Amendment and what might be common sense gun control without violating constitutional rights.

Please take a moment to watch the two interviews from PBS Newshour after the shootings in Las Vegas and then comment on the politics of gun rights/control. Please add any other links that you think might be helpful to this conversation.



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Dealing with DACA

There are something like 12 million undocumented immigrants in the US. Some of these people intentionally broke our naturalization laws, but some of them were children when they were brought here. These so called “Dreamers” only know what it is to live in the US. Now that they are grown up should there be a way for them to easily become full citizens? Congress tried over a decade ago to pass a law that many call the Dreamers Act but failed to agree on it. President Obama used an executive order created the program known as DACA that would allow those who would come forward and identify themselves to get drivers licenses, become eligible for scholarships, loans, and other services. Some states’ attorneys general sued the federal government over the program. President Trump has announced that the program will be stopped six months from now. This will take the benefits away from the 800,000 people who signed up for DACA and make them vulnerable to deportation. Trump says he is ending DACA because Obama did not have the authority to create it and that the six months will give the Congress proper time to pass legislation. Now states are suing the federal government about ending the program. Dreamers are confused and worried. Colleges, business people, and many groups of citizens have spoken out on this issue. Check out the following resources and write a summary of what you think the US should do about this situation. Do we need a whole new system of naturalization? Is it time for comprehensive immigration reform? What might that look like?

Explanation of DACA

Background of DACA

Announcement about DACA

Stories about DACA

Plans for DACA

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Welcome Back

Hello to all my new students. This website contains assignments, notes, and other bits of information that will help you in my class. Please write a sentence or two about an experience you had this summer or something new that you learned while on break from school.

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Second Semester

Hey everybody,

We are about to start semester two (Spring 2017). Some of you will be graduating while some heading into their senior year. All of you will have exciting new adventures during 2017. What plans to you have to better the person you are this year? Is there something you will read, study, try for the first time, or investigate this year? What new approach to learning and/or school will you commit to this semester? What new classes are you looking forward to? How will you finish this school year strong?

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Indians Fever

With the Indians or the Cubs on the verge of breaking long droughts without championships, this year’s World Series has been a clash of losers from the past. Both teams have proven themselves to be the top teams this year and one will be champions for the first time since 1948 (the Tribe) or 1908 (Chicago). Check out these websites and then reflect on the following questions: What does a victory mean to these cities? What does baseball mean to US history? Has the history of the two teams created more enthusiasm? Do fans watch the games anticipating their team to fail in the end?

Historic Perspective




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Talking to Your Brothers Killer

On the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11 an amateur film maker discusses a phone call between a man and the murderer of his brother. Listen to the story on “The World” radio program form NPR on 9/23/16. It is a story of rage, sorrow, mistaken identity, ignorance, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Please share you thoughts.

The World

I have added this addendum to the story from The World. Story Corps is a collection of tails about life that NPR and other sources have been collecting for almost two decades. The conversation that aired this morning will tear at you heart. Check it out and comment.


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