2011-12 2nd Quarter Discussions... scroll down for the current discussion.


Topic 1- The November Election: NOW CLOSED! Prior to our Mock Election, and continuing until the actual election on Tuesday, November 8th, who and what do you thing people should vote for or against and why? Post your informed and respectful opinions here. Remember that democracy involves finding compromise between opposing viewpoints, and that all points of view are worth hearing out. This discussion will run until Monday, November 7th.
Election Results are now being tallied. The next discussion topic will be chosen from among the news stories reported by students on Wednesday, November 9th.
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Topic 2- Iran with Nuclear Weapons:NOW CLOSED ! As the U.S. prepares to remove its troops from Iraq, and is on schedule to draw down its troops in Pakistan, Iran is poised to become the most influential country in the region. Hostile to the U.S. and an alleged sponsor of terror, Iran has been researching nuclear technology in pursuit of developing nuclear energy. This week the International Atomic Energy Agency of the United Nations has determined that Iran will be capable of producing nuclear weapons in a very short time. What do you think about that? What do your parents think? This discussion will run until Tuesday, November 15th.
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Topic 3- Penn State: NOW CLOSED! This past week, revelations of abuse on the part of a Penn State Football coach towards young boys has brought about the firing of a great number of officials who had heard of prior allegations and not done enough to follow up to protect these boys. Reaction went in all different directions and came from many, many different perspectives. THIS IS A DELICATE TOPIC, but it is also an important one. It relates to bullying. It relates to the bystander dilemma of whether or not to get involved and stand up to something wrong. This comes from confusion about rules for responsibility which vary from state to state. It is likely that the soul searching now taking place at Penn State will grow into a national debate. What do you think about how Penn State, Penn State students, Penn State Fans, Politicians, the Media, and General Public Opinion have handled this situation. (PLEASE CONSIDER YOUR WORDS AND EDIT YOUR MESSAGES FOR CLARITY BEFORE YOU POST TO THIS DISCUSSION). NOW CLOSED! This discussion will run until Monday, November 21st.
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Topic 4- Authority vs. Opposition... Seeds of Revolution? NOW CLOSED!- As we study the Road to Revolution, a quick look around the world today shows similar episodes abroad and at home. Our study of our own revolutionary past can help us understand revolutions and protests in the present. Reported in class today were popular uprisings in Egypt and Syria being brutally put down by security forces- a homegrown terrorist being apprehended in NYC before he could set off a bomb in opposition to U.S. policy in the Middle East- American police pepper spraying student protestors in the Occupy movement on the West Coast along with the clearing of the tent city inhabited by Occupy Wall Street protestors in NYC leading to subsequent arrests and disruptive demonstrations on the Brooklyn Bridge. Pakistan is moving to prevent texting within that barely democratic country... Where is the balance between freedom and security at present ? How are these current events similar to the events of the American Road to Revolution from 1763-1775? How are they different? What does our own history lead us to predict or expect about the course of events in the world today? What lessons of our past apply to the present and can help us predict the future?

Topic 5- Social Media and Freedom of Speech: NOW CLOSED! Many of the articles in recent weeks have related to internet or personal security, and other articles relating to the Occupy protests in the U.S. and other protests around the world have brought up the question of freedom vs. security. While at the NCSS National Conference in DC this past weekend, I learned of a national discussion board on issues that posts a new topic each week. It is run by the Annenberg Foundation and is moderated so that only appropriate postings are published. There is a delay in posting. If you participate- please follow the directions in creating your name... and if you do post to the national board simply paste your message into our Harmon discussion with a note that it was posted to both forums. We will check to see how your message is faring on the national board, while also moderating our Harmon discussion.

The topic this week is about the school girl in Kansas who tweeted negative comments about her state governor and the brouhaha that followed. Please read the information provided at the Annenberg site from this discussion page... and post your thoughts. This discussion will run until Tuesday, December 13th
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Topic 6- Time Magazine Person of the Year: NOW CLOSED ! Who should it be? You make and defend your nominations... and comment on others until Time announces its person of the year. After that- write about what you think about their winner- and the also rans. This discussion will run through Winter Break and conclude on our first day back- Wed, Jan 4th.

Topic 7- New Year's Resolutions for Others: NOW CLOSED ! You've probably set some goals for your self for the coming year. This isn't the place to talk about those. However- this is the place to suggest goals for our government, foreign governments, businesses, universities... what should they do in 2012 for the greater good... given lessons learned during the highly challenging year of 2011?
This will be the final discussion of 2nd quarter and will close on Friday, January 13th. Ideas here might be good to take up for further consideration during Mock Congress.