Archive for April, 2013

Civil Liberties in Times of Emergency

With the capture and arrest of the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, there are three opinion pieces I want you to read, as well as the first three paragraphs in particular from the front page of Thursday’s paper. As you hopefully know, at first authorities considered charging the surviving bomber as an enemy combatant, and deliberately decided not to Mirandize him once he regained consciousness. Remember that he is a naturalized US citizen captured on American soil and has so far not been tied to any international terrorist organizations. (first three paragraphs are particularly important).

First, from an editorial from the Post-Dispatch:

And this one from conservative commentator George Will:

And from moderate Kathleen Parker:

This is a great chance to APPLY what we learn and use it to determine our course of action. It is also a good chance to review the Constitutional Amendments and Supreme Court decisions as well as other historical precedents that apply to our understanding of  civil liberties. We will be discussing this in class next Tuesday, April 30. Take notes and CONSIDER your answer to these questions:

What are civil liberties? What is the purpose of civil liberties? Are they negotiable or variable? What does history show us about limitations on civil liberties in times of war or crisis? What points does George Will make about previous instances of racially-based civil liberties decisions? What point does Kathleen Parker make about the ease of stripping those perceived as “alien” or “other” of their rights and claims to humanity?

Here is a link outlining very briefly the current case law on the matter of enemy combatants and civil liberties:

Rest in Peace, Richie Havens

One of the most important folk singers (and inventive guitarists) of the 1960s and 1970s, Richie Havens passed away on April 22, 2013, at the age of 72. One of his most famous moments was when he opened the Woodstock Music festival on August 15, 1969. Here is one of his most beautiful songs, “Follow.”


Here is a celebration of his life from the NPR blog:

Here is his “High Flyin’ Bird.”

Manuel Noriega: An Overview of a Strange Career

Read this:

Cold War Military Spending Chart

Attached is a copy of the chart that was handed out in class. Please analyze and infer from the data the impact of major Cold War events upon military spending. I would suggest you also remember who was president during each of these years. Remember that an event could actually be from the previous year before it impacts budgetary items. You may write the analysis as annotations, and this is due the next time class meets. Remember, I am no longer accepting late assignments (not even photographs of the completed assignments!), so make sure you have it with you.

Cold War Military Spending in Equivalent Dollars

The Challenges in American Automobile Industry in the 1980s:

The Challenges in American Automobile Industry in the 1980s:
Crisis, Consolidation, and Competition

Originally there had been dozens if not hundreds of automobile companies in the US at the turn of the 20th century. Over the next few decades, car companies came and went: Nash, Oakland, Maxwell, DeSoto, Stutz, Pierce-Arrow, Packard, Studebaker, Willys, Franklin, Tucker, and Auburn were all early makers of automobiles that most of you have never even heard of.

In the middle to late- 20th century, many of these car companies were either bought out by larger rivals or disappeared entirely. By the 1920s the development of highways spurred automobile manufacturing. The 1950s were notable for the post-war economic prosperity as well as the passage of the Interstate Highway Act; both of these spurred more automobile manufacturing.

By the 1980s, American car manufacturing was centered in the so-called “Big Three” which were usually referred to as Ford, GM, and Chrysler in common conversation. In reality, these corporations controlled many different makes and models of cars, some of shared basic design platforms and components across makes.

By the 1980s, Ford actually included Lincoln and Mercury. By the mid late 1980s- early 1990s, Ford also acquired stakes in Jaguar, Aston Martin, Volvo, and Land Rover. By the 1980s, Ford had also acquired a 30% stake in Mazda. In 2008, Ford sold Aston Martin, Jaguar, and Land Rover.

By the 1980s, General Motors (GM) included Chevrolet, GMC, Oldmobile, Buick, Pontiac, Cadillac, Vauxhall and Opel (sold in Europe). One of the most popular GM makes in the 1980s was Oldsmobile, whose Cutlass and Delta 88s were very popular. During the late 80s- early 90s, GM also partnered and invested in Toyota and Suzuki as well as partially spinning off Saturn. GM also produces light and medium trucks with Isuzu.

Chrysler included Dodge, Mercury, Plymouth, and Jeep. In the 1980s, Chrysler bought AMC from the French auto maker Renault in order to gain the Jeep line, which became the Jeep-Eagle line in the 1980s. By the 1980s, Chrysler had also acquired stakes in Mitsubishi (and since Mitsubishi sometimes cooperates with Isuzu, there’s a tie there as well). In 1997, Daimler Benz (makers of Mercedes) bought Chrysler, although it was later partially sold to a private equity company. Chrysler no longer makes AMCs (look up the Gremlin for a really weird car) or Eagles, which for a while were a spin-off partially independent brand like Saturn was for GM.

The problems for the Big Three auto makers in the 1980s stemmed from three basic things.

First, the oil crisis from 1973-1974 oil crisis and the 1979 energy crisis. Together these led to the government imposing fuel efficiency standards on the American auto companies in the 1980s, which meant that they had to reduce engine sizes (from 8 cylinders to usually 4), weight of the cars (by reducing the amount of steel on the bodies and engines and replacing it with lighter materials such as plastic, aluminum, etc., as well as for the first time offering compact and subcompact size cars), and the aerodynamics of the cars (by removing fins and sharp corners on the bodies and making them smoother and more rounded).

Second, manufacturing costs and quality issues, on top of these new smaller cars, went against American preferences. Notorious clunkers included these and these (seriously, the Vega, the Pinto, and the Mustang II…. Oh the horror! Look it up. I dare you.) The 1971-1980 Pinto had a gas tank outside the frame of the car in the rear, and if you got hit from behind it could explode. The Chevette. The X-cars (see 1980 Buick Skylark for the ugliest rear of a car before the Pontiac Aztek). The Cadillac Cimarron. The Olds Cutlass Diesel. The Dodge Omni. They were ugly AND they didn’t work most of the time.

The third problem for American car manufacturers was the increasing competition from the Japanese… especially Datsun (Nissan), Toyota, and Honda (which we had primarily known in the early 70s as makers of lawn mowers and motorcycles). These cars got great mileage AND they lasted forever. They were also kind of cute. My family had an orange 1977 Honda Civic CVCC five door hatchback that had 185,000 miles on its little 4 cylinder engine when we sold it. It was unkillable. It got nearly 40 miles to the gallon of gas. The only bad part was my dad’s big hands and thick fingers wouldn’t fit into many of the spaces to fix things like when the throttle cable broke, so he would have to have me actually fix things while he gave instructions. I learned a lot from that car. By the end of the 1980s, most American and Japanese car manufacturer had cooperative agreements or actual investments in each other, so there really was no longer such as thing as an American car. Hondas were made in Tennessee. Isuzus were made in Oklahoma and Indiana. Chrysler cars had Mitsubishi parts. Chrysler built Crown Victorias in Canada. And high American labor costs eventually drove manufacturing further out of the country, including to Canada and Mexico. Look at St. Louis, for example. How many shuttered car plants do we have now?

Fro more information, see this:

American Tune

“American Tune”

by Paul Simon

Many’s the time I’ve been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and I’ve often felt forsaken
And certainly misused
Oh, but I’m alright, I’m alright
I’m just weary to my bones
Still, you don’t expect to be
Bright and bon vivant
So far a-way from home, so far away from home

And I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
I don’t have a friend who feels at ease
I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered
or driven to its knees
but it’s alright, it’s alright
for we lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the
road we’re traveling on
I wonder what’s gone wrong
I can’t help it, I wonder what has gone wrong

And I dreamed I was dying
I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly
And I dreamed I was flying
And high up above my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was flying

We come on the ship they call the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the age’s most uncertain hours
and sing an American tune
Oh, and it’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
You can’t be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow’s going to be another working day
And I’m trying to get some rest
That’s all I’m trying to get some rest

MC AP Exam May 2-3

You will do an AP MC exam May 2 or 3, depending upon your class period. This will be over the entire 41 chapters we have covered this year, so you need to study!!!!!

FRQ Outlining assignment for EVERYONE

Especially given the reworking of our Monday schedule, this is for everyone to turn in to me by the beginning of class on Monday. You are to write an OUTLINE only, which should show your basic paragraph structure to organize your information. An FRQ when WRITTEN COMPLETELY should be at least a solid 400-500 words, so your outline should be able to support that length of analysis at a MINIMUM.

You need to write an OUTLINE for one of these two FRQ prompts. The outline would include a potential specific thesis, at least 15 statement pieces of relevant historical information or analytical statements ( have at least three minimum of each).

Although the 1960s are usually considered the decade of greatest achievement for Black civil rights, the 1940s and 1950s were periods of equally important gains.
Assess the validity of this statement.


The Bill of Rights did not come from a desire to protect the liberties won in the American Revolution, but rather from a fear of the powers of the new federal government.
Assess the validity of this statement.

This should take no more than 15 minutes, and needs to be ready on Monday.

Your chapter 41 questions are due on Tuesday. You are welcome.

Test 38-39 tomorrow!

And your DBQ!

Video on Women’s Rights Movement of the 1970s

2 minutes!