Political Science at Huntingdon College
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PSC 212American Policy System

Ann Serow (ed), Lanahan Readings in the American Polity

Students' Outlines, of readings new to 5th edition | 4th | 3rd

compiled from student contributions (thanks) by Jeremy Lewis, PhD, revised 23 Feb. 2016

Liberties & Rights:
53: Craig Rimmerman, "The Lesbian and Gay Movements"
86: Michele Wucker, “Lockout”
87: Stephen Cohen, “Understanding Environmental Policy”
88: Kevin Phillips, from "Bad Money"
90: Fareed Zakaria from The Post-American World


53: Craig Rimmerman, "The Lesbian and Gay Movements"
by Ann Clancy, Spring 2012

Poses the question- which is the best way to achieve gay rights, through the assimilationist approach or the liberationist approach?

Two different approaches to achieving lesbian and gay rights:

- Assimilationist- slow, evolving change. The Assimilationist approach “fights for a seat at the table”
- Assimilationist strategy: based on civil rights, legal reform, political access, and visibility. This strategy has raised awareness of the importance of organizing and educating those involved with the movement.
- Liberationist- radical change seeks change that is “transformative in nature and often arises outside the formal structures of the U.S. political system”
- This strategy has resulted in the founding of societies and riots that have raised awareness and support for this movement.
Trials the LGBT community faces:
 -fewer than 1/10 of 1% of all elected officials in the U.S are openly gay.
 -forbidden to marry in most states
 -forbidden to teach in many public schools
 - forbidden to adopt children or provide foster care
 - left out of sex education courses
 -victims of hate crimes
“lesbians and gay men remain second-class citizens in vital ways”
Mainstreaming LGBT community
 -tv shows- progressive, but a slow progress and highly stereotypical.
Poses the question what kind of government will we be? One that doesn’t make decisions and is irrelevant and hinders progression? Or one that makes choices and movements.

Implores us to “reconceptualize what it is to be an American” (white, thin, male, young, etc.) because it is a myth and is harmful to society.

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86: Michele Wucker, “Lockout”
By Hunter Pattison, Spring, 2012

-Alan Greenspan remarks that both skilled and unskilled labor are needed in the American economy, and immigration helps keep inflation in check.

-Immigrants working for lower wages, however, kept America’s poorest from attaining jobs, giving them the sense that they are paying for the prosperity of others in America.
-Polls of credible economists show that 81 percent of them believe immigration has had a favorable effect on the economy, while none think it is detrimental.
-Most Americans think of immigrants as “doing the jobs Americans won’t do”, but this really isn’t the case. Immigrants make up 20% of unskilled laborers, 50% of research and development workers, and 25% of doctors and nurses.
-45% of foreign workers have completed or attended college, much higher than American workers. However, 30% of immigrants have not completed high school, compared to American’s 7%.
-Although Americans agree that immigrant play a crucial role, they are given resentment.
-The Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, a group who portrays themselves as law abiding citizens, but is supported by white supremacist groups and dubbed vigilantes by George Bush, met in Babylon, New York, to organize a border patrol along the U.S./Canada border, similar to one they organized along the U.S./Mexico border. They gather at the American Legion Hall and face off with protestors.
-The author talks to a Minuteman who is open to discussion. They disagree over how to solve the immigration problem, but are able to find a common ground in placing blame at businessmen who hire illegal immigrants for low wages.
-“The fear is that losing control of who is American means losing control of America. But our Demographics are only part of our destiny. What has made America great has been our ability to shape that destiny as one nation made of many people.”
 
 

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Stephen Cohen, from “Understanding Environmental Policy”
by Nate Madlock, spring 2012
In the excerpt from “Understanding Environmental Policy”  offers a variety of different perspectives on the Environment as a whole. He vehemently disagrees with those who have only one perspective on the Environment. In fact, he believes that political scientist,economist, and others have a unique but incomplete perspective. He offers a simple way to approach the environment. In determining how the Environment is affected, he starts with a decision making process.

Cohen offers solid evidence of different perspectives: the fist being that of a businessman. He states, “to a businessman the environment issue is a set of rules one needs to understand in order to stay out of trouble.”

Other examples were given for political Scientist. The article states the problem of Political Concern, generated mostly by conflicting interest.

Cohen comes up with a decision making process by which he determines how the Environment works.

The list shows as follows: An issue of values, A political Issue, A technology and science issue, A policy design and economic Issue, and lastly a management issue.

In this perspective, he believes that there are dimensions to examining the environment.

The New York disposal issue is one that is addressed. Not only a problem in New York, but it's a national problem.

From 1960 to 2000 the total amount of waste generated from 88 to 232 tons/year.

For sometime the Department of Sanitation depended on land field for waste disposal, until it closed in 2001. Leaving the city council with a tough 20-year export plan.

Prior to 1894 the city practiced dumping waste in the Ocean. However, a new administration would come into play continuing the practice of ocean dumping until 1935.

Cohen believes that, the issue was a result of community collective values and lack of recycling.

Thought government would like to get the garbage away from the middle and upper class only to make them believe that it would magically disappear.

Takes note of the economic situation. Stating that New York spent a large amount of funds on garbage disposal only to find themselves with no long-term plan(at least for garbage disposal anyway).

Constraints on Policy-planning for Garbage waste was at a standstill for decades because of Politics.

Waste to Energy plants are central to disposing garbage now. Part of a technology boom.

Government put's waste disposal at a standstill, while dimensions allow for a more ordered waste disposal.


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Kevin Phillips, from "Bad Money"
by Katrina Harden, Spring 2016

In mid 2007, gasoline prices declined and put a new focus on oil prices.
Then to make matters worse, funding problems and foreclosure a were taking place only to be followed by collateralized debt obligations.
By August, banks were unwilling to loan and froze all normal activity worldwide.
Other financial problems added to the so called "August Market chills" such as municipal bonds, money market funds, and plain vanilla stocks.
Even the New York Stock Exchange closed at the end of July and did not resume trading until four months later.
The US  financial services circa in 2007 had swollen to an unstable 21 percent of gross domestic product and the national and international playing field was no more controllable than the Gilded Age and the Roaring Twenties.
In 1987, when Alan Greenspan was in charge of the Federal Reserve Board, we, being the US, were only in debt of $10.5 trillion compared to after his death in 2006 with $43 trillion, quadrupling the initial amount of $10.5.
The book's main two concerns are
1. The deadly interplay of financial sector growth and debt with a hot-wired American housing crash, and
2. The intertwined vulnerability of US oil supremacy and the targeted dollar.
Hence the title "Bad Money," money is "bad" in the historical sense when a leading worlds' economic power lets itself luxuriate in finance at the expense of harvesting, manufacturing, or transporting things.
 
Kevin Phillips, from "Bad Money"
by Amanda Wineman, spring 2012
“The great credit bubble”-the idea that our spending is contributing to a giant bubble that will undoubtedly have to pop at some point

Housing markets, oil crisis, and banks unwilling to loan are only a few contributors to the  bubble

After twelve years of a Republican Congress, the Iraq quagmire, Afghanistan war, and Republican sex scandals all contributed to Democrats returning to power in Congress in 2006

CDOs- collateralized debt obligations

With all this financial chaos, CDOs could no longer be “marked to market” or “marked to model”

Because the credit bubble took over two decades to form, it was believed that it would take years to deflate

Behind all of it was America's imperial hubris (overbearing sense of pride)

President Bush, Secretary of the Treasury, and the Federal Reserve Board all made statements trying to make the financial situation look less bleak

Warren Buffet describes CDOs as the real “weapons of mass destruction”

Ignored precedents led to this bubble

Phillips describes how the money just stacked on top of itself from the 80s til 2007 until it was too much to handle

Because so much money was lost, products were made with much less care

Bad Money addresses two main concerns
 1. “the deadly interplay of financial sector growth and debt hubris with a hot-wired American  housing crash”
  2.“the intertwined vulnerability of U.S. Oil supremacy and the embattled, targeted dollar.”

“To institutionalize the dominance of minimally regulated finance at this stage of U.S. History is a bad idea.”


 

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Fareed Zakaria from The Post-American World
notes by Georgianna Hunt, Spring 2015
International Politics is changing, with the United States slowly digressing in dominance compared to Asia.
Zakaria refers to the rise in dominance of other countries as the “rise of the rest”.
He believes the U.S. will be more like a “chair of the board”, rather than a single superpower.
This is not a negative change, but one that allows the U.S. to have influence and power in the global community.
We may be leaders, but we are not a global hegemon- the United States cannot control everything.
Growth has been visible in Asia as well as other countries in Europe.
Many of the “rest”, as they are called, are groups and individuals being empowered.
Even terrorist groups like Al Qaeda are finding their way into the international system.
In 2006 and 2007, 124 countries grew at a rate of 4% or more-which includes 30 countries in Africa (2/3 of the continent).
Because of the media, many believe that the world has become more violent, but it is actually due to our access to information.
He asks us to continue with openness to the rest of the world and less fear, which accounts for the U.S. being successful
 
 

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Interest Groups:

63 Richard Skinner, "More Than Money" (2007)
 
 

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64: Robert Kaiser, "So Much Damn Money" (2009)
 
 

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65: Joe Garcia,"La Gran Opportunidad /Up For Grabs /The Hispanic Opportunity" (2009)
 
 

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Voting & Elections:

66: Dante Scala, "Stormy Weather" (2003)
 
 

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67: Dennis Johnson, "No Place for Amateurs" (2001)
 
 

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68: David Mark, "Going Dirty" (2006)
 
 

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69: David Campbell, "Why We Vote" (2006)
 
 

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70: Chuck Todd and Sheldon Gawiser, "How Barack Obama Won" (2009)
 
 

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Political Parties:

72: Morley Winograd & Michael Hais, "Millennial Makeover" (2008)
 
 

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73: John Judis, "America the Liberal: The Democratic Majority: It Emerged!" (2008)
 
 

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74: Stuart Rothenberg, "Is 2008 a Realigning Election? Numbers Offer Some Clues." (2008)
 
 

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75:Ronald Brownstein, "The Second Civil War" (2007)
 
 

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76: Kate Zernike, "Boiling Mad" (2010)
 
 

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Media:

78: Morley Winograd and Michael Hais, "Millennial Makeover"
 
 

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79: Cass Sunstein, "Republic.com 2.0"
 
 

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80: Diana Mutz, "How the Mass Media Divide Us"
 
 

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81: Russell Peterson, "Strange Bedfellows"
 
 

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