I shall post videos, graphs, news stories, and other material there. We shall use some of this material in class, and you may review the rest at your convenience. You will all receive invitations to post to the blog. (Please let me know if you do not get such an invitation.) I encourage you to use the blog in these ways:
To post questions or comments about the readings before we discuss them in class;
To follow up on class discussions with additional comments or questions.
To post relevant news items or videos.

There are only two major limitations: no coarse language, and no derogatory comments about people at the Claremont Colleges.

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Second Essay

Pick one:
  • Answer any of the "Questions for Discussion" for chapter 5 of the Haskell book (pp. 164-165).
  • Read the final lines of the Sinclair book (p. 276).  Do the congressional events of 2013 confirm or contradict her conclusion? 
  • Evaluate a current proposal for reforming congressional procedure. Carefully explain arguments for and against the proposal. Consider: even if it sounds good in principle, would it work in practice? If you were a member of the relevant chamber, would you vote for it? Explain. In your answer, account for any procedural changes that have taken place since January.  You may find "options for reform" in Reclamation of the US Congress or choose a measure such as one of the following:
    • S Res 4 – filibuster reform 
    • H Con Res 9 – “Govern before going home” 
    • H Res 14 – permitting nonvoting delegates to vote in the Committee of the Whole 
    • H Res 16 – single-subject rule
  • Pick any episode of House of Cards.  Explain how it both resembles and differs from the real world of Congress.  In your answer, do not dwell on the obvious point that most lawmakers are not murderers.  Rather, consider such matters as the role of congressional leaders, the process of passing legislation, and the contrast between home style and Hill style.
  • You may also write on any relevant topic, subject to my approval.
Essays should reflect an understanding of class readings and discussions. Many resources, including CQ Weekly and Politics in America are at Honnold Library/Databases/CQ Library. Also go to the library and see The Almanac of American Politics. You should check other sources as well. See: http://www.claremontmckenna.edu/pages/faculty/JPitney/congress.html

The specifications:
  • Essays should be typed (12-point), double-spaced, and no more than three pages long. I will not read past the third page. 
  • Cite your sources. Please use endnotes in the format of Chicago Manual of Style.  Endnotes do not count against the page limit. Please do not use footnotes, which take up too much page space.
  • Watch your spelling, grammar, diction, and punctuation. Errors will count against you. Return essays to the Sakai dropbox for this class by 5 PM, Friday, February 28. THIS REVISED DUE DATE IS THREE DAYS LATER THAN THE SYLLABUS INDICATES. Papers will drop one gradepoint for one day’s lateness, a full letter grade after that.

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