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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Monday, April 28, 2014



Philanthropy as friend-buying:
He has received many honors, including the 2009 NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2008 BBA Humanitarian of the Year Award, the 2008 NAACP President’s Award, the 2006 Say Yes to Children Network Children’s Hero Award, the 1999 MDA Dennis Day Memorial Award, the 1998 Los Angeles Yeshiva Golden Menorah Humanitarian of the Year Award, the Asthma & Allergy Foundation 1998 Humanitarian of the Year Award, the Vista Del Mar Orphanage 1997 Man of the Year and the Gold Medal Humanitarian of the Year by the Special Olympics.
He was also named Humanitarian of the Year by the Los Angeles Police Historical Society at its 1999 Jack Webb Award gala. Funds generated by the event went toward the construction of the Los Angeles Police History and Community Education Center, a multi-purpose facility designed to pay tribute to those who have fallen in the line of duty and serve as a community center for at-risk youth, an interactive LAPD Museum, and an LAPD sub-station.
Click here to learn the identify of this philanthropist.

Average cost of winning elections in the House and Senate since 1986 in 2012 dollars

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Last Essay

After reading Congress: A Performance Appraisal, pick any of Taylor's benchmarks.  You may analyze it in one of two ways.
  • Explain an alternative appraisal.  How might a serious student of the institution reach a different conclusion about the extent to which Congress has met the benchmark?  If Taylor says that Congress has met it, tell how someone might reasonably argue that it has not -- or vice versa.  With which view do you agree?
  • You may disagree with the benchmark itself, believing that it is an inappropriate standard for judging congressional performance.  If so, explain why it is the wrong benchmark and suggest an alternative.  Has Congress met it?
Essays should reflect an understanding of class readings and discussions, including Taylor and Haskell, among others. Many resources, including CQ Weekly and Politics in America are at Honnold Library/Databases/CQ Library. 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 11:59 PM, Monday, May 5. Papers will drop one gradepoint for one day’s lateness, a full letter grade after that.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Phyllis Schlafly Claims Women Paid The Same As Men Won't Find Husbands

For those on the Judiciary Committee in simulation, one of the Republican witnesses for the sexual assault bill is chiming in on equal pay legislation. Ladies and gentlemen, Phyllis Schlafly.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Senator Dan Coats at the Wrong Hearing

A funny thing happened to Sen. Dan Coats (R., Ind.) at a subcommittee hearing: He pressed an official for information about possible job losses in his home state -- before realizing he was in the wrong hearing, and asking the wrong official. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tax Lobbying

The New York Times reports (h/t Julian B):
Just two days after he proposed a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s tax code, Representative Dave Camp, Republican of Michigan, traveled to Park City, Utah, for a glittering fund-raiser attended by lobbyists from some of the nation’s largest corporations, all with enormous stakes in the tax battle to come.
The event was intended to honor Mr. Camp, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, whose 979-page tax plan would cut the overall corporate tax rate by creating a new bank tax and a surtax on the very wealthy, among many other changes.
But this gathering ended up serving a decidedly different purpose: the unofficial kickoff of a push to make sure that Mr. Camp’s tax plan dies, a campaign that is highly likely to succeed, particularly now that Mr. Camp himself essentially conceded defeat, announcing this week he will not seek re-election this year.
The twist reflects how lobbying in Washington — and the millions of dollars in fees that lobbyists collect — are often about stopping action and preserving the status quo. Whenever Congress considers major changes to the tax code, lobbyists buy insurance on both sides of the fight. It also reflects a pivot by lobbyists who had spent months cheering Mr. Camp’s three-year effort to draft this giant package, given that its stated purpose was to lower corporate tax rates and simplify the tax code, and who are now working to make sure that the package never becomes law.
“There is no doubt that what they have done is put a big target out there on the backs of some industries,” said Jeffrey A. Forbes, a former staff director at the Senate Finance Committee turned tax lobbyist, who was not at the Park City fund-raising event but represents clients who were.
The undisputed winners of the legislative battle so far are the lobbying shops themselves. Senior congressional tax staff members have already named Mr. Camp’s push the “Build a Vacation Home for a Tax Lobbyist Act.”
Lobbyists say they have to be zealous because the tax code hits almost every corporate interest.
“If you are not at the table, you are on the menu,” said Heather Podesta, a lobbyist whose firm, Heather Podesta & Partners, has at least 10 tax-related corporate clients.

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