Monday January 30, 2012 – Periods 4 & 6
Tuesday January 31, 2012 – Periods 1 & 3

  Today we learned that economics is defined as how individuals, families, businesses, and societies use limited resources to fulfill their unlimited wants. Scarcity has prevented people from satisfying all their needs and wants. Scarcity means that people do not and cannot have enough income and time to satisfy their every want; therefore, people are forced to make choices about how they will use their resources. The notion of TINSTAAFL, which stands for “There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch,” is often used to remind us that resources are scarce and that we must make careful economic decisions regarding what, how, and for whom to produce. Scarce resources are divided into four factors of production needed in the production of all goods and services: land, labor, capital, and entrepreneurship. Economic models help economists analyze problems. Economists construct models to investigate the way that economic systems work and test the models to determine if it is a good representation of reality. We concluded class with the nuclear survivor worksheet.


Semester Exams

  Good Luck.

Semester Exam Review and Prep

Thursday January 19, 2012 – Periods 4 & 6
Friday January 20, 2012 – Periods 1 & 3

   Worked on semester review worksheet.

Lost Class

Wednesday January 18, 2012

  School closed – no power due to weather.

Executive Branch

Thursday January 12, 2012 – Periods 4 & 6
Friday, January 13, 2012 – Periods 1 & 3

  Today we learned that to be elected president, a candidate must win 270 of the 538 available electoral votes. The candidate who wins the greatest number of popular votes in any state usually receives all of that state’s electoral votes. The larger a state’s population, the more electoral votes the state has. A campaign strategy must plan how to capture key states. The most important communication tool for a presidential candidate is television. Political commercials and televised debates project an image of the candidate to voters. Candidates are also increasingly using the Internet.

  The constitutional powers of the president include commander in chief, head of the executive branch, making treaties and appointing ambassadors, appointing federal court judges, pardoning people convicted of federal crimes, and executing the laws that Congress passes. The President has seven key duties, and five are specified in the Constitution: serving as head of state, chief executive, chief legislator, chief diplomat, and commander in chief. Two other duties, economic planner and political party leader, are not implied in the Constitution but have developed over time. As head of state, the president represents the nation and performs many ceremonial roles. As the nation’s chief executive, the president uses several tools to see that the laws of Congress are carried out. One tool is the ability to issue executive orders. Other tools are the power to appoint people to important offices in the executive branch, to fire appointed officials, and to appoint officials to the judiciary. However, the Senate must confirm a president’s appointees. As chief legislator, the executive branch is expected to propose legislation to Congress that it wishes to see enacted. The president has a large staff to help write legislation, and the staff also presents to Congress a suggested budget and an annual economic report. As party leader, presidents are expected to appoint members of their party to government jobs. As chief diplomat, the president directs the foreign policy of theUnited Stateswhich include negotiating treaties, making executive agreements, and recognizing foreign governments. As commander in chief, the president shares with Congress the power to make war. The president may also use the military to control serious turmoil in the nation caused by riots or natural disasters. Every president has a unique style of leadership. The most successful presidents have a genuine feel for the hopes, fears, and moods of the nation. Failure to understand the public can prove disastrous for an administration. Successful presidents must be able to communicate effectively and to present their ideas in a way that inspires public support. Sometimes presidents demonstrate leadership by introducing bold new policies at the right time. Good leadership also requires the capacity to be flexible, open to new ideas, and able to compromise. Successful presidents need political courage to go against public opinion to do what they think is best.


Presidential Campaign

Friday January 6, 2012 – Periods 4 & 6
Monday January 9, 2012 – Periods 1 & 3

  Candidates for president begin organizing their campaigns almost one year before the election. Primary races in the spring help narrow the field of candidates. After national conventions, the presidential campaigns become intense. Running for political office takes extensive party support, in part because it is very expensive. To win an electoral majority, candidates of the two major parties must appeal to a diverse set of interests. Because theUnited   Stateshas only two major parties, each of which seeks to gain majority support, they normally tend to avoid controversial or extreme political positions. The parties typically pursue moderate and somewhat overlapping policies. Their appeals are designed to win the support of a diverse electorate with moderate opinions. This form of party competition is reflected in the Republican and Democratic coalitions. Although the two parties’ coalitions are not identical, they do overlap significantly; each party includes large numbers of individuals who represent nearly every significant interest in the society. The ability ofAmerica’s party organizations to control nominations and election to office is weak, which in turn strengthens the candidates’ role. Candidate-centered campaigns are based on money and media and utilize the skills of professional consultants.

  Today we continued with our campaign simulation. The meet and greet is intended to serve as a dialogue between the interest groups and candidates about which issues to focus on during the campaign. The ideal outcome is for candidates to secure endorsements and financial support, in the form of Power Tokens, from interest groups and for interest groups to find candidates who support their causes. Power Tokens represent the additional assistance that an interest group can give to a candidate during an election. Sometimes this assistance comes as a financial donation to the campaign or as a promise to encourage its membership to vote for the candidate. In exchange, the candidate promises to support the interest group’s issue.