Friday, April 27, 2012

MENTOR PROGRAM - Application now available

Thanks for your interest in our new program here at West Ranch! Click this link to apply online for our brand new freshman/transfer mentor program:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

GOVT - Final Project Spring Semester 2012

Your final project deals with the national issues that will be most important in the 2012 Presidential and Congressional elections.  Here's what you will do in advance:
  • Organize into groups of 1, 2 or 3 (no more)
  • Choose a topic AND a position from the list below (you can also come up with your own)
  • Research the topic
  • Prepare an oral argument that supports your position
  • Prepare visuals, photos, video--anything that can be accessed from a school computer and a school internet connection
  • Prepare a paper handout for each student in the class (optional)
On the DAY OF your Project, you will:
  • Have 10 minutes to present your argument
  • Have 10 minutes to listen to your opponents' argument (if any exists)
  • Have 5 minutes to take questions and respond to arguments against your position
  • Have 5 minutes to argue against and question your opposition (if any exists)
  • Have handouts to give to everyone in the class.  You may give Mr. Ippolito ONE single-sided sheet to make copies.  You must give this to Mr. Ippolito by 12:15 p.m. the day BEFORE your presentation (again, a paper handout is optional)
You will be graded on:
  • The quality of your argument
  • Having the FACTS to back up your argument (be prepared to explain your sources, and make sure your sources are reliable--not just, "Well, according to Wikipedia . . .")
  • Having resources to share with the class to back up your argument
  • Be prepared to answer your opposition's questions about your topic, your peers' questions about your topic, and Mr. Ippolito's questions about your topic--you should be knowledgeable about your subject--this is a good portion of your grade
Project Topics (or you can choose your own; topic must be approved by Mr. Ippolito before you begin)
  • ECONOMIC STIMULUS Plan (the bank bailout)
    • Support the stimulus plan
    • Scrap the stimulus plan
  • TAXES and Government Services
    • Let's increase income taxes on the wealthiest one or two percent of Americans.
    • NO! Any increase of any taxes of any income level hurts the economy.
  • Use MILITARY FORCE AGAINST IRAN if it is discovered that they are developing nuclear weapons
    • I would support using military force
    • I would NOT support using military force
  • WATERBOARDING of terror suspects
    • It's "enhanced interrogation" and a valuable tool in the war on terror
    • It's "torture" and counterproductive, illegal and/or immoral
    • Would lean toward preserving civil liberties even though it might risk our security. 
    • Would lean toward preserving our security even though it might risk our civil liberties, for example advocating an expansion of the PATRIOT ACT. 
    • Labor unions should be limited! Would favor the pro-business positions of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and similar groups.
    • Labor unions are good! Would favor the pro-labor positions of the AFL-CIO and similar groups.
    • I support increases in the minimum wage. 
    • I oppose increases in the minimum wage. 
    • We should keep it a governmental program, a non-private entity, possibly adjusting the earnings ceiling and/or the retirement age, etc.
    • We should consider other options, including and especially privatization. 
    • I support free trade policies. Free trade is a system in which the trade of goods and services between or within countries flows unhindered by government-imposed restrictions [such as] taxes and tariffs, non-tariff barriers, quotas.
    • I support fair trade policies. (Fair trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach to empowering developing country producers and promoting sustainability. The movement advocates the payment of a fair price as well as social and environmental standards... More at Wikipedia) 
    • I support federal expansion of embryonic stem cell research. 
    • I oppose federal expansion of embryonic stem cell research. 
    • I support the pro-choice positions of organizations like NARAL.
    • I support the pro-life positions of organizations like National Right to Life Committee. 
    • I support the death penalty.
    • I oppose the death penalty.
    • I support gun control legislation recommended by groups such as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
    • I oppose gun control legislation, agreeing with groups such as the NRA and the Gun Owners of America.
  • MARIJUANA laws
    • I not advocate any sort of legalization of marijuana.
    • I support legalization for doctor prescribed medical use of marijuana. 
    • I support a general decriminalization of marijuana.
    • We should "repeal and replace" the health insurance reform bill signed by Obama (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act).
    • We should support the health insurance reform bill signed by Obama (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act). 
    • I favor positions of environmental groups like the League of Conservation Voters. 
    • I support positions of property rights advocating groups like the American Land Rights Association. 
  • ARIZONA'S IMMIGRATION LAW - Arizona SB 1070 is the broadest and strictest anti-illegal immigration measure in decades. Some see it as a necessity to stop crime and illegal immigration. Others are concerned about racial profiling and constitutional issues.
    • I oppose Arizona's new illegal immigration law.
    • I support Arizona's new illegal immigration law.
    • I oppose both marriage and civil unions for same sex couples.
    • I support both marriage and civil unions for same sex couples.
    • I support civil unions for same sex couples.

STAR Schedule - Tue, 4/24

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

GOVT - How can I prepare for this Friday's written exam?

There is no new homework this week other than to make sure you are prepared for the very important written exam we are taking this Friday. Here's the best way you can prepare:

1. Make sure you are able to answer these questions:

2. Study the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" packet of court cases. If you DON'T know the outcome of any of these cases, look them up online or e-mail me. The packet is here:

3. Download this sheet here and make sure it's filled out:
You can get the answers by reading this here:

4. Finally, you should know all about the Bill of Rights. We did this a while ago, but you can review the PowerPoint here:

If you study these things, you should be good to go for this Friday's written exam.

MODCIV 4/13/12 - Comparing Korean and Vietnam Wars

Thursday, April 12, 2012

GOVT 4/12/12 - Most Valuable Thing

GOVT - Written Exam Questions for April 20

On Monday, April 16, we will take a written exam in our government class. Be prepared to answer some or all of the following questions:

1.  Describe the rights and limitations held within the principle of "Freedom of Speech."  Use an example of at least one Supreme Court case that demonstrates protected speech (what you can say) and one case that demonstrates unprotected speech (what you can't say).

2.  Explain the difference between the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause.

3.  Describe three different Supreme Court cases you have learned about (in the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" packet) that deal with an issue other than free speech.  Name the case, explain the details (including the specific amendment it deals with), and give the outcome of the case.

4.  List and explain the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment.

5.  If there were a "Bill of Rights Museum," chances are the First Amendment would get the largest section of the museum.  In your opinion, what other amendment (besides the First) should be prominently featured in the Bill of Rights Museum?  Why is this amendment so important to Americans?  Explain your answer.

6. What is judicial review? In detail, explain the story of how the Supreme Court first exercised the power of judicial review.

7. Describe the make-up of the current Supreme Court of the United States. Tell me what you know about the current members of the Supreme Court and the factors that go into making rulings for both liberal and conservative justices.

GOVT - Prosecutor "throws the book" at George Zimmerman in Trayvon Martin killing

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

MODCIV 4/11/12 - Quotations from Chairman Mao

GOVT - Tonight's Supreme Court HW

HOMEWORK: In the textbook or online, find the answers to these two questions:
1. What is the concept known as judicial review?
2. Explain the circumstances of the Marbury v. Madison case. What happened in the case? Why is it so important in the history of the Supreme Court?