How do you know it’s as bad as it is?

March 20, 2009

My father lived through the Great Depression.  That was what we noted whenever he cheered when somebody got a job with the Post Office.  “It’s a steady job,” he’d say.  “The Post Office doesn’t lay people off.  They have good health care, and a pension.”

That was then.  My father died in 1988.

This is now.

Yeah, it’s that bad.

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Political identity confusion

March 20, 2009

Is there anything more bizarre than the Sarah Palin-loving conservatives who keep insisting they were Hillary Clinton fans?


Supreme Court tryouts

March 20, 2009

Elena Kagan took the oath of office to be the nation’s top lawyer, the Solicitor General, last Friday.  The Associated Press is running a story (here from the Sacramento Bee) on whether this is a tryout for the Supreme Court itself, “Obama could make top high court lawyer a justice.”  (Isn’t that a tortured headline?)

Three justices may want to retire soon:  Justice John Paul Stevens is 88 years old.  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 76, and back on the court in record time after surgery for pancreatic cancer.  Justice David Souter is third oldest, at 69.

So, this AP story could be a good article for use in government classes.  Consider these questions:

  • Is Solicitor General a stepping stone to the Supreme Court’s bench?
  • What is the role of the Solicitor General?
  • How important is Supreme Court experience, or experience in other courtrooms, to success in arguing before the Supreme Court?
  • What are some of the top cases before the Supreme Court this term, and what are the potential and likely results of these appeals?
  • What is the role of the U.S. Senate in selection of federal judges, and especially in the selection of Supreme Court justices?
  • Kagan clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall.  What do law clerks do for justices?  What does her clerking suggest for Kagan’s advocacy of Voting Rights Act issues, since she worked with Justice Thurgood Marshall?

Resources:


California unemployment map, for economics classrooms

March 20, 2009

The Sacramento Bee, one of America’s great newspapers which we hope can stay in business through these tough times, today put up a map of California unemployment, county by county.  The map shows unemployment changes over the past year with an interactive slide that makes it great for classroom use in economics, but makes it impossible for me to embed here (it’s in Adobe Flash).

California’s unemployment is at about 11% statewide.  Colusa County’s unemployment is 26.6%.  Two counties away, in Marin County, it’s only 6.8%

California economics classes can use their knowledge of agriculture and industry in the state to make educated guesses about what is going on in each county.  Surely there are uses the rest of us can find.  Colusa and Imperial Counties are two of the hardest hit — with the internet, can your students tell what that is going to mean for prices on fresh produce and processed foods?

This is where computers and the internet step out ahead in the education tilts, with tools like this interactive map.  Thank you, SacBee.  Can you give teachers a download?

Another unemployment map, national, for December 2008, The Swordpress

Another unemployment map, national, for December 2008, The Swordpress


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