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Government Margin Notes
Part #1 Foundations
The Context of US Politics
The US Constitution
Part #2 Processes
Part #3 Institutions
The US Congress and Domestic
and Economic Policy
and Foreign Policy
The National Bureaucracy
The National Courts
and Civil Rights
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National Budget Process (PDF)
Republican Presidential Primary Satire
Super PACs 2012
Super PACs 2016 (PDF)
vs. Bush and the Rights of Detainees (Online Video, 82 min)
Boumediene v. Bush, a set of consolidated cases argued before the US Supreme Court on December 5, 2007, raised the question of whether detainees at the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay may challenge their detention through habeas corpus petitions. During this program, scheduled for one week after oral arguments before the Court, counsel for the parties and their amici debated the issues raised in the case
and commented on the questions raised by the Justices at the oral argument. The discussion covered the effect of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which purports to strip the federal courts of jurisdiction to hear habeas petitions from the detainees,
and whether the detainees are entitled to a hearing on the merits.
and Equal Protection Cases 1856-1948 (MP3 Audio Downloads, varying lengths)
Landmark United States Supreme Court decisions focusing on civil rights
and equal protection between 1856
the Federal Government (Online Video, 60 min)
In a new Cato Institute book, Chris Edwards provides a detailed plan to avert a looming federal financial crisis caused by runaway spending
and the exploding costs of entitlement programs. His research identifies more than 100 federal programs that should be terminated, transferred to the states or privatized, in order to balance the budget
and save hundreds of billions of dollars. Downsizing the Federal Government discusses the systematic causes of wasteful spending
and overflows with examples of programs that are obsolete
and mismanaged. Edwards is joined by a distinguished panel to discuss the book
and consider solutions to Washington’s budget woes.
of Social Security (Online Video, 92 min)
New York Times columnist
and economist Paul Krugman
and Maya MacGuineas, president, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
and director, Fiscal Policy Program, New America Foundation, discuss
and decipher the difficult issues facing America's largest public program, Social Security. The discussion is moderated by Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe columnist Tom Oliphant.
of US Elections (Online Videos, varying lengths)
Led by Martin Lewis, this map-intensive YouTube course explores the geography of US elections (both past
and challenges the suggestion that we are simply divided into a Red America
and Blue America. It's really much more complicated than that. The course was first offered by Stanford's Continuing Studies program in 2008. (The original posts – "the course will last five weeks," "includes a debrief after the election," "begins in October," "a new lecture will be posted each Wednesday"
and etc – are still online. Ignore those. The course ended 2 years ago but all materials were left for public use.)
Supreme Court Nominations Not Confirmed
Reasons include "Senate opposition to the nominating President, nominee's views, or incumbent Court; senatorial courtesy; perceived political unreliability of the nominee; perceived lack of ability; interest group opposition; and fear of altering the balance of the Court. These nominations have been the subject of extensive legal, historical and political science writing, a selected list of which is included in this report." A Congressional Research Service (CRS) report for Congress. Opens directly into a PDF file.
The Supreme Court: Home
to America's Highest Court (Online Video, 85 min)
This video takes an unprecedented look into the Supreme Court, the role, traditions
and history of the Court featuring interviews with all the sitting and retired Justices.
Law professor Lori Andrews on personal privacy rights, how they are being eroded by social networks
and how personal information is often collected
and sold in
I Know Who You Are
and I Saw What You Did (67 min)
is the Electoral College? (video)
Do Political TV Ads Actually Work? (video)
Amendment and The Electoral College (video – 25 min)
Thomas Neale of the Congressional Research Service talks about the 12th amendment of the US Constitution
and the creation of the electoral college.
and Technology (video – 29 min)
ACLU attorney Catherine Crump talks about police use of cell-phone location tracking as a widely used means of surveillance.
of the US Postal Service (video – 31 min)
US Post Master General Patrick Donahoe talks about options for restructuring the US Postal Service (USPS), which has been losing $20 million per day of operation.
Negative Political Advertising (3-hour video)
Speakers talk about the impact of negative political advertising on the 2012 election, including the history of negative ads and how those ads affect people's views.
The Negative Consequences of Uncivil Political Discourse (PDF)
The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution (54-minute video)
Author Brion McClanahan on the US Constitution and his thoughts about the Founders original intentions, including current interpretations
and Media Coverage (44-minute video)
A panel discussion about political spin and media coverage of campaigns and politics
Political Ads (45-minute video)
Kenneth Goldstein on the latest technologies in customized political advertising used by political parties and election campaigns
What Do You Believe? (PDF)
Who's in Charge? (PDF)
US Poverty Stats
What it’s like to live on $2 a day in the United States (PDF)
Median US Household Income by State