Monthly Archives: August 2010

New Orleans: Five Years After Hurricane Katrina

It is now five years since Katrina wreaked havoc on New Orleans and while the city is in some senses still rebuilding, for tourists it is stronger than ever. What does post-Katrina New Orleans look like? What has changed and what remains the same? (8/28/10 ABC News, Scott Mayerowitz) … Read Article

1. What impact did Katrina have on the tourism industry in New Orleans?

2. How has Katrina affected the population of New Orleans?


Does Gay Revelation Mark a Shift in GOP Platform?

Ken Mehlman who helped President George W. Bush win a second term in office recently announced that he is gay. Mehlman now join former Vice President Dick Cheney, First Lady Laura Bush, and Bush administration Solicitor General Ted Olson in supporting same-sex marriage. Does this revelation mark a shift in GOP attitude toward same-sex marriage?  (8/26/10 ABC News, Jake Tapper, Steven Portnoy and Devin Dwyer) … Read Article

1. What does Mehlman’s outing mean for the Republican Party leadership? Is the party likely to openly support gays running for office?

2. The Republican Party’s official 2008 platform calls for a constitutional amendment to define marriage between a man and a woman. What will it take, politically, to achieve this objective?

Baby Bust? U.S. Birth Rate Hits Historic Low

The U.S. birth rate dropped for the second year in a row since the recession began in 2007. Births fell 2.6 percent last year even as the population grew, numbers released Friday by the National Center for Health Statistics show. Is it the recession or a choice that women made to not have children? (8/28/10 Associated Press, Marilynn Marchione) … Read Article

1. How does the U.S. birth rate compare with that of wealthy Germany, Britain and France?

2. Compare last year’s birth rate to the 1930s, 1980s, 1990s and 2001. Give specific figures.

2010 Campaign: What Do Voters Want?

Hot-button social issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and embryonic stem cell research that fueled political debate in elections past now rank at the bottom of more than a dozen issues raised by voters as being “very important” in this election, according to the most recent Pew poll. Instead, voters now focus on questions related to the economy, jobs, and the deficit. (8/27/10 ABC News, Devin Dwyer) … Read Article

1. What is the implication, for American politics, of the current shift in voters’ focus from hot button social issues to issues related to the economy?

2. What does Steve McMahon mean when he said that “the culture wars are important to the base of both parties?”

(Video)Primary Elections: Who’s Watching?

Is the anti-incumbent sentiments fueled by the Tea Party movement gaining grounds in this year’s primaries? Watch this report for the answer. (8/25/10 CBSNewsOnline, Nancy Cordes)

1. According to the video, which candidate, from which state was placed on the ballot by signature write-in? What problem did the opposition candidate face?

2. What factors may have contributed to the “cliffhanger” in Alaska? Is it the Palin effect or the anti-incumbent effect? Explain your answer.

(Video)Banks Vs. Credit Unions: What’s the Difference?

The recent financial fiasco with big banks leaves consumers now having a second thought about doing business with banks. The Early Show’s financial contributor Vera Gibbons compares banks and credit unions. Would a credit union be a better alternative for you? (12/17/2009 CBSNewsOnline)

1. How would you determine which credit union to join. What are some specific signs to look for?

2. Compare bank and credit union rates for car loans and home loans as reported in the video. How do credit unions compare with banks in overall satisfaction rate?

(Poll)Polisci Students’ Opinion on Electing a Non-Christian President

In one of our recent polls, we asked MPSL students if they will vote to elect a non-Christian candidate for president. The result: about 53% of the students responding said yes, they will vote to elect a non-Christian candidate for president; about 42% said no; while 6% said they are not sure. However, a 2007 Pew Survey shows quite a different result. According to the survey, 61% of Americans are less likely to vote for an atheist candidate; 45% are less likely to vote for a Muslim candidate; while 25% are less likely to vote for a Mormon candidate. Results were retrieved on 8/28/10, 8:00 PM PST.

A recent study found that a president’s faith matters to many Americans. What do you think?