Monthly Archives: January 2010

Foreign Money in American Politics?

Some election lawyers believe that last week’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court opinion may have opened a new avenue for foreign money to enter the American political system, and that the justices are inviting a repeat of the 1996 Chinese money scandal that bloodied the Clinton administration. (1/24/10 ABC News, Matthew Mosk) … Read Article

1. Discuss the constitutional basis of the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission.

2. Discuss the reason some critics oppose the Court’s decision.


Mississippi Delta Earthquake: America’s Haiti Waiting to Happen?

In 1811 and 1812, the New Madrid fault zone that zig zags through five states shook so violently that it shifted furniture in Washington, D.C., and rang church bells in Boston. … Geologists consider the New Madrid fault line a major seismic zone and predict that an earthquake roughly the magnitude of the Haiti earthquake (7.0 on the Richter scale) could occur in the area during the next 50 years. (1/23/10 ABC News, Suzi Parker) … Read Article

1. Discuss how the Mississippi Delta is similar to Haiti.

2. What effort is being made to mitigate the threat of  a disastrous earthquake in the Mississippi Delta?

California is First State to Mandate Green Buildings

California continues to take the national lead in environmental protection. The California Building Standards Commission voted unanimously this week to approve the first statewide green building code. (1/24/10 ABC News, Daniel B. Wood) … Read Article

1. Discuss the Sierra Club’s criticism of California’s new building code.

2. Discuss what the new code requires from builders.

16-Year-Old Girl Aims to Break Solo-Sailing Record

Most parents wouldn’t let a teenage daughter stay out past midnight, much less sail around the world by herself. But that’s just what 16-year-old Abby Sunderland did Saturday, when she embarked on a six-month solo journey aboard the open 40-foot racing yacht Wild Eyes. (1/24/10 ABC News, Bert Rudman) … Read Article

1. Discuss why some critics are opposed to Sunderland’s solo-sailing around the world.

2. Discuss other teen-sailing records mentioned in the article.

(Video)Haiti Ends Searches For The Living

The United Nations says the Haitian government has declared an end to the searches for living people trapped in the rubble, despite that, another survivor was reported. (1/23/10 Associated Press, John Mone)

1. Why is Saturday referred to as a day of good byes?

2. What is the “declaration” referred to in the video.

(Video)A Reporter’s Notebook from Haiti

The Associated Press’ Rich Matthews leaves Haiti with a heavy heart, anxious to be back home with his family, but forever changed by the human tragedy he saw on the ground. (1/23/10 Associated Press, Rich Matthews)

1. Discuss why the reporter is glad to be going home from Haiti and yet he is also unhappy.

2. Discuss what the reporter describes as “what’s like to be Haitian today.”

PoliSci Students’ Opinion on the Trial of Christmas Day Bomber

In one of our recent polls we asked MPSL students their opinion on whether the trial of the Christmas Day bomber should be held in a civilian criminal court. The result: 27% said yes, the trial should be held in a civilian criminal court; 53% said no; while 20% is not sure whether the trial should be held in a civilian criminal court or not. In a similar nation-wide poll by CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, 42% of Americans said they would rather see the Christmas Day bomber tried in a criminal court; 57% said they would rather see him tried in a military court; while 1% was unsure. For detail poll results visit Results were retrieved on 1/24/10, 8:00 PM PST.

Some critics believe the Obama Administration is making a mistake for trying the Christmas Day bomber in a civilian criminal court. They think he should be tried in a military tribunal. What do you think?