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10 Years of the Human Rights Act

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Guardian is running a special report on ten years of the Human Rights Act - it can be found here

Keeping up with Obama

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I’m posting a couple of details for those who are looking to keep up tp date with the Obama presidency.

There’s a good feature on Obama’s diplomatic efforts in the Middle East in the Guardian.

But Lexington argues that Obama is only likely to disappoint his supporters.

Obama and the race row

Saturday, July 25, 2009

That race relations continues to be America’s most intractable social problem was brought to the surface again this week.

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Less advice and consent?

Sometimes when assesing the US Constitution we should be careful that we are addressing the contents of the document and not actions by politicians who claim to be acting out their constitutional role.  One such example is the process by which federal judges are confirmed.

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Obama effect?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Politics in the US continus to be dominated by health care and the Sotomayor nomination.  But I came across this little cut and keep nugget on voter turnout.

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Can Obama meet the health care challenge?

Monday, July 20, 2009

I know there seems to be a lot of emphasis on the blog at the moment on the Obama Presidency, but a new White House incumbent gives us the chance to analyse the intricate workings of politics inside the beltway.

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Obama health check

President Obama’s campaign pledge to widen health coverage to as many of the non insured as possible is stumbling amid partisan wrangling

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Whither support for war on terror?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

There’s a fine piece of writing by Tim Garton Ash in Thursday’s Guardian on how the war on the faltering economy has put thoughts about the so called war on terror to the back of many peoples’ minds.

“The first thing I see every time I come to New York is something that is not there. That soaring absence of the twin towers on the skyline of Manhattan remains this city’s most haunting presence. A landmark of air. But the shadow cast by the absent twin towers is no longer the defining feature of world politics in the way that the shadow cast by the Berlin Wall was for nearly 30 years. Most people don’t any more feel that we live in a “war on terror” in the way that we did feel that we lived in a cold war. Not across the world. Not in America. Not even in New York.”

Sotomayor and being sleepless in Seattle

A combination of reverse jetlag and too many visits to Seattle’s many and varied coffeehouses has resulted in being glued to the late night news shows.  The consensus amongst the talking heads, even those on Fox’s far right broadcasts, is that the hearings for Sonia Sotomayor have been a straightforward proces, lacking any real controversy.

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Obama and race

The discussion about Barack Obama’s African heritage has obviously moved on from discussion about whether the USA was ready for a black President.  This week Obama shifted the debate onto discussion about how black America could write its own destiny.

This should provide a good point of discussion for students examining racial politics in the USA.

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Obama lacking leadership?

So claims one of the leading commentators on US politics in a recent column in Time Magazine.

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Obama and Africa

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

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As if Barack Obama didn’t have enough on his plate as American President, he has taken time to forge a new direction in US foreign policy on Africa. Last week he made a bold speech where he argued that the continent could no longer apportion the blame on the effects of colonialism.

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Parliamentary graffiti?

One of the more arcane methods MPs can use to scrutinise the government are Early Day Motions.  The BBC’s World at One did a great piece recently on the campaign to scrap them.

Did you know?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sometimes the process of examining means that you learn new things.  According to one candidate it is illegal to eat chicken with a fork in Gainesville, Georgia.

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Checking out?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What do a couple of the most powerful men in the world get up to at international summits?

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Just for fun - dramatic footage from a Congressional hearing

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Chairman of the Congressional hearing on Market Data Protection reform found himself regretting his earlier decision to bring his five year-old son to work…

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Could Machiavelli save Gordon Brown?

There is a fascinating piece in today’s Guardian by Tim Parks who has just completed a new translation of Machiavelli’s The Prince, relating Brown’s current predicament to the advice given by the renaissance writer.

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Who’s Roe in Roe v Wade?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

There’s a great feature on the woman who was at the centre in one of the most famous and controversial Supreme Court judgments in American history.  Quite how did this woman switch from being the poster girl of the pro-choice movement to fulfilling the same role for the anti-abortionists?  Those readers possessing the vaguest familiarity with American politics and society will not be shocked when they discover the answer.

Read the article here.

Obama and Russia

Monday, July 06, 2009

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As if the 44th President didn’t have enough on his plate, he is expected to reset the relationship between the USA and Russia.  Rupert Cornwell brings you up to speed.

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“American Dream” or “American nightmare”?

An interesting piece of Americana in today’s Independent: “The American Dream was fading almost before it began, says a study which shows a quarter of all pilgrims gave up on the New World to return to Britain.

The harsh realities of life in 17th-century Massachusetts, where disease was rife, the climate unforgiving and the economy stagnant for long periods, forced thousands to make the treacherous three-month voyage back across the Atlantic within a few years of arriving.”

Report prize winner

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Further to an earlier posting, I have details of the report I set for my post AS groups entitled “A political introduction to America”.  Participation was voluntary and the quality of entries was high.

Congratulations to Rebecca Salkeld, who in 2,000 words produced an excellent piece that is as good as could be expected from a candidate who has only been studying US Politics for a couple of weeks.

Rebecca’s submission is posted below, and the Amazon vouchers will be winging their way to her email account soon.

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Palin’s greatest hits

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Why some people were concerned back in the autumn that this individual would be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

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Palin for President?

Saturday, July 04, 2009

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Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential candidate dropped a bizarre bombshell on the eve of Independence Day by announcing that she was stepping down as Alaksa’s governor.

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Can America get out of its economic crisis?

Friday, July 03, 2009

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A twin set of stories from today’s Independent on America’s economic troubles.

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Obama and the magic of 60

This week we have been discussing the implications of the news that Al Franken will become the 60th Senator to vote with the Democrats.

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Brown v Cameron

Thursday, July 02, 2009

If you want to keep up with the latest phoney election war ins and outs, then Simon Carr in today’s Indpendent makes it relatively painless.

Review of Supreme Court Decisions for the Past Year

The Washington Post has several good pieces providing an overview of Supreme Court activities for the past year, including an interesting analysis of its continuing display of ‘right wing judicial activism’.

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Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A General Election can’t be far away when combatants like Lord Mandelson and George Osborne start trading insults.  It will be interesting to see what alternatives to actually using the word “liar” or “lying” the politicians can come up with.  Mandelson has a go today suggesting that Osborne is telling “deliberate untruths”.  Keep watching for more creative ways of saying the same thing…

Hoggard on Twitter

Simon Hoggard on good form here on the rise of Twitter as a default mode of political campaigning!

It’s the economy, stupid!

The Politics Blog has taken on something of a US Politics slant, but in its defence it is a process of its contributors following not just their interests, but paralleling what they are doing in the classroom. You may be aware that blogs with a different orientation will be up on the T2u site soon, and hopefully that will help satisfy demand. But in the short term I would draw your attention to an excellent piece by the Indy’s Hamish McRae. Students often ask about whether politics or economics is more important in shaping world events, and that’s a tricky one to answer in absolute terms. At the moment, the economy is certainly driving politics. It is the downturn in the economy that have changed Gordon Brown’s fortunes, and the anger over MPs’ expenses is a manifestation of the inability of government to keep to its ridiculous end to boom and bust promise. The status of the economy also determines the rather puerile debate going on at the minute between the two main parties over projected spending beyond the end of this Parliament. The fact is that no one knows for sure how much money will be in Treasury coffers and politicians are obviously too scared to say as much.

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