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About this Blog

During the semester, I shall post course material and students will comment on it. Students are also free to comment on any aspect of American politics, either current or historical. There are only two major limitations: no coarse language, and no derogatory comments about people at the Claremont Colleges. This blog is on the open Internet, so post nothing that you would not want a potential employer to see.

The course syllabus is at:

Monday, December 14, 2015

Something That Will Not Be on the Final

Who has the longest nose?

As our semester and this year begin to close, the Washington Post has collected what they believe to be the biggest lies made my politicians of this year.  Donald Trump evidently has made the most false claims a presidential campaign has ever seen.  Yet, let us not discount the false claims of other politicians throughout America.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Murray is Everywhere

I saw this at Montclair Plaza today and I instantly thought of Murray. These places are an endangered species, at least in Murray's Fishtown.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Politics and the Stuff of Life

Murray, pp. 227, 229: "In the 2000s, gentrification came to Fishtown...In a few years, there will no longer be a `real Fishtown.'"

Tyler Finn's 2013 post.

A 2015 short video confirms the point:


The real Belmont:

Happiness and "the stuff of life" (ch. 13), which brings us back to...

Danielle Allen!

Saving Private Ryan

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Practice Final, Fall 2015

The following will give you an idea of the format of the final exam. As you prepare, also take a look at the air midterm.

I. Briefly identify 12 of 14 items (4 points each). Explain each item's meaning and significance.
  • Executive orders
  • Congressional oversight
  • Brutus
  • Article II
  • Homogamy
  • The jury “as a political institution”
  • Majority faction
  • Michelle Nunn
  • The 10th Amendment
  • Isolates
  • The Creationism Act
  • The Heller and McDonald decisions
  • Transactional politics
  • The Seneca Falls Declaration
II. Short essays. Answer three of four. Each answer should take about half a page. (6 points each).
  • Explain the origin and meaning of the following passage: " In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions." 
  • Explain the differences among PIE, PO, PIG and POG.
  • Explain the origin and meaning of this passage: "Whenever possible, go outside the experience of the enemy."
  • Explain the relationship between cigarette smuggling and federalism.
III. Answer two of three essay questions (17 points each). Each answer should take about 2-3 large bluebook pages or 3-4 small bluebook pages.
Bonus Questions (one point each). Very briefly identify the following:
  • Tipper Gore
  • David Geffen
  • Francis Grund
  • John Kenneth Galbraith
  • Claire Goodrich

Monday, December 7, 2015

Trump calls for a ban on Muslim immigration to the US

Having seemingly weathered the fallout of every offensive comment he's made thus far, Trump today released a statement proposing the "total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the United States until America's leaders can "figure out what is going on."

The word "demagogue" has been tossed around when describing Trump's policies and statements, but I think this statement validates every negative suspicion people have had about him. It is clearly a proposal that contradicts the American value of religious toleration.

Could this be the beginning of the end for the Trump campaign? It will be interesting to see how this affects his poll numbers.

Read the statement here

Congressional Mitosis

This graphic shows how drastically Republicans and Democrats in Congress have pulled apart over the past two decades.