ABOUT THIS BLOG

I shall post videos, graphs, news stories, and other material. 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. I encourage you to use the blog in these ways:

· To post questions or comments;

· To follow up on class discussions;

· 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.

The syllabus is at http://www1.cmc.edu/pages/faculty/JPitney/gov106-fall15.html

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Disabilities, Autism, and Interest Group Politics

Autism illustrates three major points about interest group politics:
  1. Changes in the perceived extent of a problem lead to changes in interest group activity.
  2. Interest group activity on one issue may foster activity on related issues.  In this case, the civil rights movement spawned the disability rights movement, which spawned the autism rights movement.  See Shapiro, esp. p. 167
  3. Interest group activity on any issue is often full of factionalism and conflict among groups.  In the case of autism, the conflict includes death threats.
 The "Early History" of Autism
  • 1943:  American psychiatrist Leo Kanner publishes “Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact” (Nervous Child 2 (1943): 217-250), identifying autism as a childhood psychiatric disorder.
  • 1948:  In another article, Kanner says that autistic children “were kept neatly in refrigerators which did not defrost.”  Time popularizes the idea in an article titled "Frosted Children."
  • 1959:  Bruno Bettelheim publishes “Joey: A Mechanical Boy,” in Scientific American  200 (March 1959): 117-126.  A condensed version reaches a larger audience through Reader's Digest.  The article gains even more attention for the "refrigerator mother" theory.
  • 1960:  Armstrong Circle Theater presents “The HiddenWorld,” a highly favorable dramatization of Bettelheim's work, with actor Peter von Zerneck portraying Bettelheim.
  • 1964:  Bernard Rimland publishes Infantile Autism, a book summarizing current research and refuting the "refrigerator mother" theory.
  • 1965: Psychologist Ole Ivar Lovaas develops the Applied Behavior Analysis.  The May 7 issue of Life gives it national publicity in “Screams, Slaps, and Love:  A Surprising,Shocking Treatment Helps Far-Gone Mental Cripples.”
  • 1965:  Rimland and 60 others form the National Society for Autistic Children (NSAC), later the Autism Society of America.
  • 1967:  Bettelheim publishes The Empty Fortress, a book expanding on his theory and criticizing Rimland.  Bettelheim is a celebrity who gets many more readers.
The Disability Rights Movement and the Law
  • 1927:  The "civil libertarian" Oliver Wendell Holmes writes the majority opinion in Buck v. Bell, upholding involuntary sterilization of people with mental disabilities:  
    • We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, in order to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world if, instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Three generations of imbeciles are enough
  • 1945-46:  Veterans come home, many with disabilities See Shapiro, pp. 143-144.
  • 1973:  Congress passes the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (P.L. 93-112). Section 504 forbids discrimination against the handicapped "under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”  
  • 1975: Congress passes the Education of All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94-142) requiring free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive setting.  The law later gets the more familiar name of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  See Shapiro, pp. 165-166.
  • 1975: The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (P.L. 94-103) creates a "bill of rights" for persons with developmental disabilities, funds services, and establishes protection and advocacy organizations in each state.  Because of lobbying by NSAC, it includes autism .
  • 1975: In O'Connor v. Donaldson (422 U.S. 563), SCOTUS says: "A State cannot constitutionally confine, without more, a nondangerous individual who is capable of surviving safely in freedom by himself or with the help of willing and responsible family members or friends
  • 1982The Rowley case (458 U. S. 176) narrows the scope of EAHCA. See p. 189 of Fleischer and Zames. 
  • 1987Lovaas publishes a study reporting a 47 percent recovery rate with ABA. 
  • 1988: Rain Man introduces autism to millions of moviegoers.
  • 1990:  President George H.W. Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act (P.L. 101-336). mandates that local, state and federal governments and programs be accessible, that businesses with more than 15 employees make "reasonable accommodations" for disabled workers, that public accommodations  make "reasonable modifications.” See Shapiro, p. 181.
  • 1990: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments (IDEA) (P.L. 101-476) renames the Education of the Handicapped Act and reauthorizes programs under the Act to improve support services. Autism becomes a separate category in IDEA for special education.
  • 1994:  The fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) expands the definition of autism.
  • 1998:  Dr. Andrew Wakefield and others publish a fraudulent study in the Lancet about MMR vaccinated children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.
  • 2000:  President Clinton signs the Children's Health Act, founding an autism research coordinating committee.
  • 2002: Wakefield tells the House Government Reform and Oversight committee that there is “compelling evidence” of a link between vaccines and autism, even though studies have already discredited his research.
Autism Takes Off

Children 3 to 21 years old with autism served under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part B (numbers in thousands)  Source: Digest of Education Statistics, various years.
Autistic children aged 3 to 21 receiving services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (in thousands)

The Interest Group Universe

Peak Associations
Anti-Vaccine Activists
Pro-Science Groups
Self-Advocates
Professional Organizations

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

MADD Updates!

Here's a short round-up of some interesting mentions Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has had in the news recently.

States trying to refuse refugees — someone from MSNBC used data from a recent MADD report to compare states with lax drunk driving laws against those refusing refugees:
"...in a recent report from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 14 states have particularly lax laws covering a range of safety precautions – including immediate confiscation of licenses for DUI offenders, sobriety checkpoints, and penalties for DUI child endangerment, among others. Eight of those states have governors who are opposing, refusing or suspending the resettlement of Syrian refugees into their state."
MADD joins fight to bring Uber to New York — outside of NYC, Uber and Lyft are restricted in NY state. MADD has joined a coalition to allow the services statewide in the hopes of keeping drunk drivers off the road:
"Mothers Against Drunk Driving is joining the push to bring Uber to upstate New York. The ride share service announcing today that MADD is now part of a coalition encouraging state leaders to get the service throughout the state. While many see the service as a quick and easy way to catch a ride, MADD sees it as a way to keep people safe. The coalition 'New York needs Uber,' says the ride share service will make communities safer by keeping drunk drivers off the road."
Moms speak out for gun sense — an advocacy group formed after the Sandy Hook shooting is taking a leaf out of MADD's book: using the social trust/clout of motherhood and the rhetorical framework of protecting families to push for gun control laws:
"Much like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, MDA [Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense] in America was created to advocate for stronger laws and policies that will reduce gun violence and save lives. Since its inception after the Sandy Hook mass shooting, MDA has mobilized mothers across the country to become the largest grassroots movement working to reduce gun violence. MDA is a non-partisan grassroots movement of American mothers demanding common-sense solutions to address the country’s dangerous culture of gun violence that jeopardizes the safety of children and families."

More from Vogel: Unsurprising, but spies!

The Koch Intelligence Agency

"The competitive intelligence team has a staff of 25, including one former CIA analyst, and operates from one of the non-descript Koch network offices clustered near the Courthouse metro stop in suburban Arlington, Va. It has provided network officials with documents detailing confidential voter-mobilization plans by major Democrat-aligned groups. It also sends regular “intelligence briefing” emails tracking the canvassing, phone-banking and voter-registration efforts of labor unions, environmental groups and their allies, according to documents reviewed by POLITICO and interviews with a half-dozen sources with knowledge of the group.

The competitive intelligence team has gathered on-the-ground intelligence from liberal groups’ canvassing events in an effort to assess the technology and techniques of field efforts to boost Democrats, according to the sources. And they say the team utilizes high-tech tactics to track the movements of liberal organizers, including culling geo-data embedded in their social media posts."

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/11/the-koch-brothers-intelligence-agency-215943#ixzz3ruc41ppD


Major Donors Consider Funding Black Lives Matter

"The DA, as the club is known in Democratic circles, is recommending its donors step up check writing to a handful of endorsed groups that have supported the Black Lives Matter movement. And the club and some of its members also are considering ways to funnel support directly to scrappier local groups that have utilized confrontational tactics to inject their grievances into the political debate.

It’s a potential partnership that could elevate the Black Lives Matter movement and heighten its impact. But it’s also fraught with tension on both sides, sources tell POLITICO."


Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/11/major-donors-consider-funding-black-lives-matter-215814#ixzz3ruawgI00

Air Midterm

Relax. This “air midterm” does not count toward your grade; do not even turn it in. Instead, use it to appraise your own progress in the course. Try out this test, either in your head or on paper.If you flounder, then you should take more care with class sessions and assigned readings.

I. Identifications  In a short paragraph each, explain the meaning and significance of the following items. What is fair game for an identification?
  • Items that we have discussed in class or on the blog;
  • Items that appear in bold or italics in the readings;
  • Items that cover several pages in the readings.
  1. "Repeat players"
  2. Murder boards
  3. 501(c)(3)
  4. American Crossroads
  5. Americans for Prosperity
  6. The Gilded Age
  7. Iron triangles
  8. Lobbying Disclosure Act
  9. SEIU
  10. Special districts
II.   Short essays.  In a couple of paragraphs each, answer the following.
  • How is philanthropy a form of interest-group advocacy?
  • How did Big Tobacco use front groups?
  • Explain why Teles writes that the Federalist Society "is not an interest group, and it does not engage in many of the activities its opponents attribute to it."
  • Explain the purported "crowding out" phenomenon in government budgets.
III. General Essays 
  •  Explain how lobbying Congress is different from lobbying the executive branch.  When is an interest group more likely to focus on one rather than the other?
  • Aside from the obvious contribution caps, distinguish traditional corporate PACs from Super PACs and 501(c)(4) groups. Are they trying to do something different?
Bonus questions.  Very briefly identify the following:

  • Stephen Goldsmith
  • Samuel Gompers
  • Gwen Gordon
  • Arthur Goldburg
  • Robert Gibbs

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Social Issues

Immigration

Assimilation v. Liberation, Conciliation v. Confrontation (Cigler, p. 69)
LGBT Groups:  Different postures toward conflict, different venues for action

Do you think marriages between same-sex couples should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Not from the Onion!

Oscars for advocacy
Judged by your own peers, The Goldie Awards recognize excellence in political practice and communication. Democrats are recognized with a Golden Donkey. Republicans are recognized with a Golden Elephant. Non-Partisan and Independent entries are recognized with a Golden Eagle.
Unlike other award programs, your peers judge your entry based on your individual goals, execution and effectiveness. Your entries are never pitted against other entries that have different production budgets and different purposes and goals trying to be achieved.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Labor III


Data from Vox:

AFSCME WI decline
WI public sector union chart


Right-to-Work Laws  (See AFL-CIO view)


DS wisconsin 25th RTW state

Public Opinion

Opinion of Right-to-Work Laws

California



And the outcome

In the courts:  Vergara


College Lobbying

The Wall Street Journal reports:
Lynchburg College President Kenneth Garren was sipping wine at a reception before Virginia’s gubernatorial inauguration last year when he spotted a familiar face: Sen. Mark Warner.
Mr. Garren had known the senator for years and had met with the lawmaker’s daughter on campus when she was considering applying to the small Christian college. At the inauguration party, Mr. Garren says, he buttonholed the senator and urged him to oppose a plan from President Barack Obama to create a ratings system for colleges.
Mr. Warner (D., Va.) announced two months later that he opposed Mr. Obama’s plan, saying he had been persuaded by Mr. Garren and other Virginia college presidents. Scores of other members of Congress did the same, and this summer, Mr. Obama announced that he was backing off key elements. The Education Department released a searchable database about colleges in September, but left the ratings possibilities to others.
Colleges and universities have become one of the most effective lobbying forces in Washington, employing more lobbyists last year than any other industries except drug manufacturing and technology. There are colleges in every congressional district, and 1 in 40 U.S. workers draw a paycheck from a college or university.
Over the last two decades, the higher-education industry has beaten back dozens of government proposals to measure its successes and failures. It has killed efforts to tighten rules for accrediting schools, defeated a proposed requirement to divulge more information about graduation rates and eliminated funding for state agencies that could have closed bad schools. The proposals had support from both sides of the political aisle.
 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Teachers unions to have more success in 2016 Dem candidates?

Teachers unions are upset with Obama's decision to replace outgoing Education Secretary Arne Duncan with like-minded John King, Jr. "By choosing King to succeed Duncan, the president is signaling that he cares more about continuing those fights—for higher standards, for charter schools, for standardized testing—than healing wounds or papering over differences within his party before the 2016 election," writes Politico journalist Mike Grunwald in "Obama vs. teachers unions: It's still on."

This will become a big question for Democrats in the 2016 race -- whether the party will continue pursuing education reform or side with the teachers unions. The American Federation of Teachers was the first major organization to endorse Hilary Clinton and the National Education Association have also backed Clinton as well. 

Education reform activist Campbell Brown hosted an education forum, where the Dem presidential candidates were notably absent. In "Bowing to Unions, 2016 Dems Skip Campbell Brown's Education Forum," Brown told Politico: "What happened here is very clear: The teachers unions have gotten to these candidates... President Obama certainly never cowered to the unions." 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Labor II

Losing Ground in Public Opinion:

Trend: Do You Approve or Disapprove of Labor Unions?




 "I'm not satisfied when I see men like Jimmy Hoffa - in charge of the largest union in the United States - still free."  -- JFK, first Kennedy-Nixon debate, 1960

Increase in government employment, though not at the federal level:



Public and private sector (also see page 40 of Cigler)


About even share of union membership



By state (See DiSalvo, p. 42):
govt-union-membership-by-state


Top organizational contributors since 2002 (compare to DiSalvo, p. 58)

Eitan Hersh writes at FiveThirtyEight:
Most states — 44 out of 50 — hold some state and local elections off the federal cycle.
...
Why do Democrats and Democratic-aligned groups prefer off-cycle elections? When school boards and other municipal offices are up for election at odd times, few run-of-the-mill voters show up at the polls, but voters with a particular interest in these elections — like city workers themselves — show up in full force. The low-turnout election allows their policy goals to dominate.




Nurses as political champions


Research Paper

You are to write an essay analyzing the interest group that you have chosen.  In your answer, answer these questions:

  • Whom does the organization represent?
  • How does the organization make decisions?
  • What are its top current policy priorities?  Tell how it is seeking to change or preserve certain statutes, rules, or practices.
  • What strategy is it pursuing?  Inside game or outside game?  Legislative, executive or judicial action?
  • What are its prospects for success over the next year?

Instructions:
  • Document your claims. Do not write from the top of your head. 
  • Essays should be typed (12-point), double-spaced, and no more than eight pages long. I will not read past the eighth page. 
  • Cite your sources with endnotes in Chicago/Turabian style. Endnote pages do not count against the page limit. 
  • Watch your spelling, grammar, diction, and punctuation. Errors will count against you. 
  • Due date is 11:59 PM on FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4 (new time).  Papers will drop a gradepoint for one day's lateness, a full letter grade after that.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

NY Times: "Airbnb and Uber Mobilize Vast User Base to Sway Policy"


In the last few years, so-called sharing companies like Uber and Airbnb have entered communities that are growing rapidly and developing new policies and regulations that are unfavorable to their businesses. Sharing companies are mobilizing their users to fight these regulations.  For example, in opposition to Proposition F (which would limit the number of nights that people can rent out rooms in their homes),  Airbnb led a news conference last Wednesday that “served as a warning shot” to other cities that are considering tightening their regulations. The head of global policy for Airbnb “framed Proposition 8 as an industry-led attack on the middle class.” Groups opposing Prop. F raised almost 8 million to mobilize Airbnb users. Additionally, Airbnb hopes to create 100 “clubs,” essentially unions, by the end of this year to lead similar efforts.  


http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/05/technology/airbnb-and-uber-mobilize-vast-user-base-to-sway-policy.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=photo-spot-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Labor I

Union membership, historical:




1869: Knights of Labor
1886: Haymarket Riot
1886: AF of L 
1894: Pullman Strike
1905: IWW begins
1911: Triangle Shirtwaist Fire
1912: Massachusetts passes first state minimum wage law
1912: Socialist labor leader Eugene Debs win 6% in presidential election
1913: Federal Department of Labor Established
1919: Federal government imprisons Eugene V. Debs
1919: Coolidge breaks the Boston police strike
1931: Davis-Bacon Act
1933: Perkins becomes Secretary of Labor
1935: Wagner Act
1937: CIO Splits from AFL
1938: Fair Labor Standards Act
1944: CIO invents the PAC
1947: Taft-Hartley Act
1955: AFL-CIO Merger
1962: JFK issues executive order 10988
Public and private sector (also see page 40 of Cigler)
Latest BLS Data

Why the private-sector decline?  One reason:



Monday, November 2, 2015

Ted Cruz's silent super PACs

Today, Politico published an article titled "Cruz's silent super PACs a growing worry for campaign."  In this article, Shane Goldmacher reports on the minimal amount of TV time reserved by Cruz's super PACs.  Unlike other 2016 candidates who have one major super PAC supporting them, Cruz actually has four separate PACs that each have a form of "Keep the Promise" in their names.  Combined, these PACs have raised $38 million, which is the second highest of any presidential contender.  However, unlike other candidates' super PACs, Cruz's groups have only run one TV ad, which played during the Iowa-Iowa State football game in Sep.  Also, they have reserved no TV time, which may be problematic as ad rates are expected to rise substantially.

As we talked about in class, candidates are not allowed to communicate with super PACs, which is not to say that Cruz's campaign has not tried to send them signals.  Over the summer, his campaign posted hours of unedited, b-roll footage on Youtube that could be used by PACs for TV ads.  Unfortunately for Cruz and his team, this footage has not yet been utilized.