AP Comparative Government Homework

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China's tightening grip in the South China Sea.

The perils of Atlantic decoupling.

Are we headed into a worldwide depression--leading economists respond.

Brazil's political meltdown under Jair Bolsonaro.

Indian comfort food and the pandemic.

The coming dollar meltdown.

The impact of coronavirus on (checks notes) Moscow's criminal underworld.



Fear of transit is bad for cities.

Could the virus have a long-term impact on hearing?

...other emerging long-term complications of COVID.

(How) can international travel resume during the pandemic?

Could statins reduce the severity of COVID19?

Social factors may be most important when looking at COVID mortality rates.



New law in China--is this the death of Hong Kong?

Erdogan pours cold water on possible Israel-Turkey reconciliation.

Israel and the Arab world are making peace without a peace deal.

...meanwhile Israel's new government is a many-headed hydra.

India and China clash in the mountains.

Africa's informal cross-border traders struggle to survive.

No lockdown, few ventilators, but Ethiopia is still beating the virus.
Mexico's broken hospitals become killers too.





Rethinking COVID19 mortality statistics.

Could alpacas hold the key to an effective antibody treatment for COVID19?

New research rewrites the history of when COVID19 took off in the United States.

Big gene-therapy names line up behind experimental vaccine.

Low-wage hourly workers hit hardest in San Francisco.

What the development of penicillin can show us about a possible coronavirus vaccine.

The world is still far from herd immunity.

Should we fear post-pandemic inflation?



Optional Stuff

An interesting estimate arguing that it didn't take that many people to build the Great Pyramid at Giza.


China's virus apps may outlast the outbreak, stirring privacy fears.

...and they actually did it--tested 6.5 million people in Wuhan in a matter of days.  Here's how.

Can we avoid a China-led world order?

Things are getting dicey in Hong Kong--China's military vows to defend "the country's interest."

The Taliban are on the verge of victory--driving all US troops from Afghanistan.

Bolsinaro's populism is leading Brazil to disaster.

 Argentina defaults again!




The shutdown will cost Americans millions of days of life.

Social distancing is not enough!

I'm a chef in a seaside town and I'm terrified.

No evidence for increased transmissibility from recurrent mutations!

COVID19 tears through Navajo Nation.



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A surprisingly ambitious plan to bail out Europe.

Things I didn't expect, by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

Sharpening the knives for Huawei

Equidistant Germany.

How COVID19 has transformed Brexit.

China asserts control in Hong Kong.



Why is the CDC conflating different data types?

The human desire to socialize will survive the pandemic.

America's patchwork pandemic response is fraying even further.

Ten reasons why immunity passports are a bad idea.

Lockdown delays cost at least 36,000 lives.

The real problem with hydroxychloroquine is nothing new--it's chemistry.

Do temperature checks make sense in the USA?

"It's something I've never seen": how coronavirus hijacks cells.


Optional Stuff

Did Cro-Magnons wipe out the Neanderthals after all?



I want to reemphasize this piece that I posted yesterday on Iran--100% worth reading.

The pandemic undermines AMLO's power grab in Mexico.

Scuffles on the floor of Hong Kong's legislature in an attempt to stop a law which would criminalize attempts to "disrespect" the Chinese anthem.

Midsize powers caught in the middle.

Big interesting article about whether Taiwan warned the WHO and the brouhaha that has emerged.

Elections in Burundi to replace a longtime strongman.

Iran quietly lowers the temperature with the US.

Germany's economy is a bigger risk than ever for EU stability.

Donald Trump doesn't want authority.






Immunity jealousy is real and it's coming.

While recovering COVID19 patients may test positive, they are not infectious.

Could a mathematical model based on geometry help create coronavirus drugs?

How does a virus spread in cities?

How the "Plandemic" hoax spread through the internet

They beat the virus--now they feel like outcasts.

We have real-time data for COVID19 fatalities--why not for opioid overdoses?

Vaccine experts question the news about Moderna's vaccine.

Here's a more general round-up on vaccines.

They bought a $1 house in Italy. Then the virus struck.


Homework 43: Check out his article called "What I learned hanging out with Nigerian email scammers." And the sad tale of the Perfect Mark.


If you are interested in people who scam Nigerian scammers, you can check out 419 Eater. If you are particularly interested in scam-baiting and its moral implications check out this episode of the NPR radio show "This American Life." Nigerian crime ring steals virus relief money.


Here's Herders against Farmers, showing the impact of desertification on Nigeria's economy and politics. This is an excellent reference on Boko Haram. And here's a great piece all about Nollywood.


-Due Wednesday, May 20th



Big New Yorker piece: the twilight of the Iranian regime.

Weird European attacks on 5G towers.

Jordan's King Abdullah II talks about his country's virus response to Der Spiegel.

Turkey's struggles with democracy and the rule of law.

No matter the crisis, Putin finds a way...

Rising crime and COVID19 leave Mexico increasingly dependent on its military.




Could vitamin D be the secret factor?

Problems with the Oxford vaccine?

How the virus destroys the body, one organ at a time.

What's going on with these divergent results of antibody studies?

Why contact tracing may be a mess in America.

South Korea's re-opening did not go as planned. What can America learn?

The animal source of the virus continues to elude scientists.

How Utah went all in on hydroxychloroquine and then dropped it.

Nine ways COVID19 may forever upend the US healthcare industry.



Optional Stuff

Who knew that the humble aluminum soda can was such a triumph of engineering?


The right way to fix the EU

Vietnam defies the odds on COVID19.

Japan joins the group of countries pushing for a WHO probe.

Could the virus create opportunities for terrorists?

Why the Taiwanese are thinking more about their identity.

Germany is reopening and learning a tough lesson.

Hope, fear and grief: Wuhan after the lockdown ends.




Is the pandemic killing the attraction of megacities?

Good news on the human immune response to the virus.

Extremely promising vaccine news from Moderna.

More on the Moderna vaccine here.

...and if it is developed, who gets it first?

Where chronic health conditions and the virus could collide.

How great are your chances of catching the virus outside?

The sprint to solve and disarm coronavirus protein structures.

Can the social sciences help us beat the virus?


Homework 42 Please continue on in the Ethel Wood reading, and finish Nigeria: pp. 524-531. 



COVID19 looks like a hinge in history.

Is Russia ending its support of Libyan strongman Khalifa Hifter?

China, Venezuela and the limits of pandemic democracy.

South Sudan's political dilemma.

More data comes in on the Swedish experiment.

What does a "return to normal" look like in Australia?

Taiwan's secret weapon: its VP is an epidemiologist.




Extremely promising reports of success in Oxford vaccine trial.

How the coronavirus is killing the middle class.

Building a mouse squad against COVID19.

Can those recovered from COVID19 become a "societal shield"?

On COVID19 and the myths of mutation.




-Due Monday, May 18th


Optional Stuff

Why do so many NBA teams feature basketballs in their logos while so few NFL teams have footballs in theirs?  This piece actually has a geopolitical element as well.

Homework 41 Please continue on in the Ethel Wood reading, pp. 520-524.  I found a plethora of resources on Nigerian corruption! This is an amazing podcast on how to steal a million barrels of Nigerian oil.  And here's a piece about the extraordinary removal of central bank governor Lamido Sanusi (by the previous administration of Goodluck Jonathan) after he uncovered $20 billion in missing oil money. Here's another account--the Extraordinary Story of Nigeria's $20 Billion Oil Money "Leakage."



Haunted by a phantom, China fights a modern-day siege.

Poland and Hungary are also testing the power of the European Court of Justice.

A Rohingya activist talks about repression in Myanmar.

Will AMLO's popularity survive COVID19?

Iraq has a new Prime Minister--what lies ahead for him?

China plans to test all 11 million of Wuhan's residents.

When Egyptian expatriates criticize the regime, their family pays the price.

Duterte shuts down TV in the Philippines.



Cool coronavirus infographics.

Pennsylvania roiled by shutdown disputes.

The rolling shock of continued job losses.

How to reopen America safely.

Cats can transmit the coronavirus, but probably can't get sick from it.

Coronavirus is a "supernova in human history."

Gilead should ditch remdesivir in favor of its simpler and safer ancestor.


-Due Friday, May 15th


Optional Stuff

What would we actually do if a civilization-threatening asteroid were hurtling towards Earth?

Homework 40 Please continue on in the Ethel Wood reading, pp. 514-520.  Here's a couple of articles from a Nigerian newspaper--the Vanguard.  This one is a rumination on the lockdown, and here they report on the naming of a new Chief of Staff for President Buhari.



Iran's perplexing pandemic response.

Who's decoupling from whom?

More on the German ECB/ECJ crisis.

Do these low prices represent an existential crisis for Saudi Arabia?

The stealthy military rise of... Japan?

Oligarchs flex their muscles as Putin flounders.

Parts of Turkey reopen as its economy teeters on the brink.

Exotic meat markets are still a thing in Indonesia.




Latest updates in the FT tracker.

A journalist is completes four rounds of quarantine in four cities-here's her impressions.

Six takeaways from the Senate's surreal virtual hearing on the coronavirus response.

A video on testing failures.

Anti-lockdown measures during the 1918 Spanish Flu are a cautionary tale.

How New York explains the other states.



-Due Thursday, May 14th


Optional Stuff

Visit the world's only abandoned floating McDonalds!


The EU is entering a constitutional crisis.

It's time for the United States to stand with Taiwan.

Weirdly enough, COVID19 seems to have improved Jewish-Arab relations in Israel.

The new church of England--Brits take renewed pride in the NHS.

More violence in Afghanistan.

Japan's mob bosses see opportunity in the virus.



The risks: know them, avoid them.

What Americans need to know about the Swedish experiment.

Lockdowns are just delaying the invitable.

Thought-provoking hypothesis about the novel coronavirus.

Likely no summer break from COVID19

If a vaccine is developed, who should get it first?


Homework 39 Please continue on in the Ethel Wood reading, pp. 502-514.  The foot soldiers in Nigeria's quiet gender revolution? The Nigerian government's long road to peace with Boko Haram. A Nigerian middle-class exodus to... Canada?




Germany's constitutional court goes rogue!

...and is the ECB still in denial?

Former Trump NSA Advisor and "warrior monk" H.R. McMaster's big Atlantic piece: How China sees the world and how we should see China.

How well will Gulf States manage the oil crunch?

And what about the Middle East in general--how will coronavirus and the low oil price affect these regimes?

Could Russia be undercounting its COVID deaths?





As Europe reopens schools, relief combines with risk.

The US government claims that Chinese government-sponsored hackers are planning to steal American vaccine research.

Inside the NIH's controversial decision to stop its remdesivir study.

Fauci and other officials will be testifying before Congress on Tuesday--here are the questions that they should be asked.

What US states could learn from COVID19 transition planning in Europe.

How disorganized democracies can outperform efficient autocracies in their coronavirus response.

Perhaps we could attack the virus by messing with its spike protein?

Why economic pain could persist even after the pandemic is contained.

We treated older patients--here's how to save more of them.





-Due Tuesday, May 12th


Optional Stuff

Did you know that pretty much all eyeglasses (though not Warby Parkers) are made by one giant and shadowy Italian corporation?  It's quite a tale.

Homework 38 Please continue on in the Ethel Wood reading, pp. 492-502.  Also check out this piece about how Pidgin English turns competitors into comrades in Nigeria.



Hidden toll: Mexico ignores a wave of coronavirus deaths in Mexico City.

More on masks and Sweden.

How Angela Merkel lost control of policy to the states.

What is Justin Trudeau afraid of?

Is Putin really not worried about a rising China?

...and is the Putin regime cracking up?

Singapore's second wave is exposing economic inequalities.




We know everything--and nothing--about coronavirus.

In the fight against coronavirus, your lungs are the battlefield.

Why do authorities usually start times of crisis with the worst policies and advice?

There's really only one way to reopen the economy.

We haven't seen jobs numbers like this since the Great Depression.



-Due Monday, May 11th

I found better versions of the BBC's Welcome to Lagos.  Here they are: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.



German court sets a bomb under EU legal order.

Is Xi Jinping weaker than we think?

Erdogan faces the biggest test of the pandemic: the economy.

The end of Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte's honeymoon.

Argentina can stop its march towards default.

As bad as the 1918 Spanish Flu was, why wasn't the economy slammed the way it is today?




There is still no plan.

Doctors up in arms about poor federal distribution of remdesivir.

Amazon lends its expertise--and its cash--to COVID19 research.

How did South Korea do it?

The problem with stories about dangerous coronavirus mutations.

More on the difficulty of doing an accurate death count.

My husband would not survive a triage decision.

Pandemics leave us forever altered.

I have seen the future--and it's not the life we knew.


Homework 37 So we are now starting Nigeria--please read this excerpt from Ethel Wood on Nigeria, pp. 482-92. 


Here's an amazing documentary about life in Nigeria's biggest city: Welcome to Lagos (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3).


Also!  The AP demo is now live--please go and do it. It's very important to familiarize yourself with the new format.



Pandemic lessons from the interwar period.

The EU has lashed out against whistleblowers on its soft-pedaling of the Chinese response to the virus.

Meanwhile, the crisis has demonstrated that the Western Balkans belong with Europe.

French farmers sound alarm on cheese meltdown.

How Taiwan bested the WHO chief.

This pandemic is testing Putin's grasp on power.

A preliminary evaluation of Japan's response.



The New York Times tallies death totals for each state here.

Is the coronavirus actually getting more contagious? Reasons to be skeptical.

Cancer and the coronavirus

Do not resuscitate.

Could vitamin D help?

Emerging antiviral takes aim at COVID19

COVID19 reignites a contentious debate over bats and disease.



-Due Thursday, May 7th







MINI-PAPER 3: In two to three  pages, I want you to compare some aspect of Mexican government to some aspect of Iranian government.  Go crazy--choose whatever you want!



-Due Monday, May 18th


Will Russia be the loser in a new US-China cold war?

What are Vietnam's options in the South China Sea?

Avigan may cause birth defects, but Japan is pushing its use as a coronavirus treatment.

Professional baseball in Taiwan is back--in empty stadiums.

Hope and worry mingle as countries begin to ease lockdowns.

How an Iranian airline helped spread COVID19.

Italy's desperate receive mafia offers they can't refuse.



Will monoclonal antibodies save the day?

The complex biology powering the pandemic.

Four coronavirus lessons that we should learn.

Weird, rare, pediatric cases involving inflammation.

Were researchers wrong to move the goalposts on remdesivir?

Which antibodies is the body actually forming?  Against which parts of the virus?  SCIENCE ALERT.


Homework 36 We are finishing Iran! Please continue on in Ethel Wood--pp. 460-469.  Also please read this piece on how Hezbollah is pushing Lebanon to the brink of economic collapse.



A global backlash begins against China.

Taiwan shows how it should be done.

Bolsinaro is writing his political obituary with COVID19.

Parallel plotlines--climate change and coronavirus.

China's coronavirus vaccine drive powers a troubled industry.





In the race for the coronavirus vaccine, we must go really big.

The COVID19 riddle--why a some places spared while others are slammed?

Why the United States should not copy Sweden.

Video showing how remdesivir works against coronavirus.

Three potential futures for COVID19.

The bridge to the post-pandemic world is collapsing.

This restaurant's exhausting list of procedures shows how hard reopening is.





-Due Tuesday, May 5th

Homework 35 Please continue on in Ethel Wood--pp. 448-460.  Here's a great video from the Council on Foreign Relations on 2009's Green Movement. Also, check out the Iran Primer--probably the best and most comprehensive website about Iran and its government.



Venezuela--a ticking time bomb ready to explode? Probably not a good sign that they are shipping many of  their gold bars to Iran.

Who's afraid of Boris Nemtsov?

And how equipped is Russia to deal with coronavirus?

Where, exactly, did the novel coronavirus come from?

The return of Hobbes's leviathan.

Hundreds of Rohingya Muslims stuck at sea in refugee crisis.

Sudan outlaws female genital mutilation.

Rome has been sacked, conquered and abandoned. Now it’s the coronavirus’s turn.




Information about the remdesivir study.

... and why the successful remdesivir trials "are no cause for celebration."

Do your genes predispose you to COVID19?

How high will the death toll go?

Would it be ethical to infect volunteers with coronavirus?

Comparing coronavirus deaths to flu deaths is like comparing apples and oranges.

All the things that could go wrong on the path to a vaccine.


Is the east coast getting hit with a more deadly, more infections strain? (SCIENCE ALERT)

Should you get an antibody test?

Perhaps, in the end, COVID19 will make America stronger?



-Due Monday, May 4th


ALSO: The fascinating chronicle of the disappearing and reappearing red M&M.

AP Resources Here is the information about this year's weird AP and its strange new procedures. 

First the 2020 testing guide.

Did you know that the AP is an open book exam?  Here are their tips on that.

Here's the AP checklist--might be worth printing out.

Here's the link to request a makeup if things go wrong.

Content-specific changes for the CompGov exam.

Here's the actual course guide from the AP.

And here's the scoring rubric for the Argumentative Essay with some changes due to the virus.



Oil's collapse is a geopolitical reset in disguise.

A Swede returns to Sweden from the US and is horrified by the coronavirus response.

Meanwhile, Danes divide over reopening society.

You're going to miss the blob once it's gone.

In Canada, Quebec and Ontario travel different paths on reopening.

Migrant workers trapped in Russia.

For the first time since 1998, global poverty will increase.

Putin, Russia's man of action, lets others lead in the coronavirus response.




No one knows when this pandemic will end.

Perhaps saliva tests are better than sticking a swab up people's noses?

What policymakers need to know about COVID19 protective immunity.

Reopening states increases risk in other states.

Maybe Gilead is the Tom Brady (in a good way) of drug manufacturers?

How coronavirus could turn around the negative perceptions of "Big Pharma."

Could genetic engineering make a vaccination in months, rather than years?

...and when will a vaccine be available?

Coronavirus is an opportunity to shorten the workweek.



Russia and Eastern Europe revisited

Can Brazil's Bolsonaro survive?

Is Sweden right on coronavirus?

More on Sweden's response (by our man in Tehran)

The pandemic shakes the traditional French faith in a strong central government.

Taiwan shows how to manage a pandemic.




No testing, no treatment, no herd immunity, no easy way out. Our new dark reality.

Is this the moment of maximum risk?

The false hope of antibody tests.

Why don't COVID patients detect their alarmingly low oxygen levels?

How, exactly, does COVID19 kill?

He ran marathons and was fit--so why did COVID19 almost kill him?

Statnews has a giant vaccine tracker here.

Why coronavirus is so confusing.

Homework 34 Please continue on in Ethel Wood--pp. 437-448.  If you have the time, this is a truly fantastic documentary about the Iranian Revolution with a lot of interviews with the key players.


Here's a fascinating piece from Foreign Affairs, arguing that the USA was actually not instrumental in overthrowing Mohammad Mossadegh. And here's a really nice rundown of Operation Ajax from the New York Times giving the more conventional history.




Recalibrating the US-China relationship.

How China's Red Cross serves the CCP.

Is coronavirus the perfect geopolitical storm?

Macron, the lonely Europeanist.

United in lockdown, India splinters on reopening.

Jakarta's trash mountain.




Chinese scientists say the virus is likely to return each year.

Learn how to handle this pandemic from a trusted source: the Insane Clown Posse.

Scientists who express different views on COVID19 should not be demonized.

States are way short of the testing levels needed to reopen society.

Whose coronavirus strategy worked best?



-Due Wednesday, April 29th


ALSO: 100 Years of Persian/Iranian Beauty


South Korea insists that Kim Jong-un is alive and well.

Brazil's most famous minister resigns.

The end of the Harvard century--written by Polazzo alum Matteo Wong.

The Rhine is drying out.

Coronavirus hits the global south.

How will Peru handle the virus?




Populations skew older in some of the hardest hit countries.

So congested, no one goes there anymore.

How Las Vegas became ground zero for the American jobs crisis.

Great piece about the closure of Prune, a small but successful East Village restaurant.

Seattle's leaders let scientists take the lead.  New York's did not.

How playing a video game about a plague helped one doctor.

The pandemic will change American retail forever.


Homework 33 Please continue the Ethel Wood reading--pp. 426-37.  Looks like Iran successfully launched a military satellite into space.




Could the COVID crash spark another Arab Spring?

African migration to China will never be the same.

Fighting slavery in Mali.

Some key questions for the WHO.

The grim truth about the "Swedish experiment."

Clear skies and economic gloom in India.



So much for Tom Brady... looks like remdesivir has no benefit.

How to judge whether the latest serological test results are worthwhile.

Three ways to make coronavirus drugs in a hurry.

Straight talk about a COVID19 vaccine.

Sunlight? Disinfectant? Huh?

Isolating the sick at home, Italy stores up family tragedies.



-Due Monday, April 27th


ALSO: Where, exactly did "eeny, meeny, miny and mo" come from?


Is Argentina headed for another default?

Mexico's governors find their voice.

How is Central Asia coping with COVID19?

The Chinese lab at the center of the coronavirus controversy.

US-Russia relations in the wake of coronavirus.

The Dutch have taken on the mantle of skepticism within the EU now that the UK is leaving.

Imams keep Pakistani mosques open for Ramadan. What could go wrong?

Coronavirus gives Taiwan and opportunity to push back against China.



Gilead scaling up Remdesivir production--what does this tell us?

What life is like after coming off of a ventilator.

Hundreds of young people volunteer to be infected with the virus to help make a vaccine.

...meanwhile other vaccinations are not being given.

The politics of hydroxychloroquine.

Errors our mind makes when trying to grasp the pandemic.


Homework 32 We are beginning a new country--Iran.  Please read this fantastic primer on the difference between Shia and Sunni Islam. Also, please read "Who Is Ali Khamenei?"--a piece from Foreign Affairs. Finally, check out this excerpt from Marjane Satrapi's great graphic novel Persepolis--a tale of her coming of age during the Iranian Revolution.  Finally, please begin the Ethel Wood reading--pp. 416-426.


A couple of years ago, the New York Times ran a fantastic series of short videos featuring their Tehran bureau chief, Thomas Erdbrink.  It's entitled "Our Man In Tehran."  This is the first episode, which also features a Q&A about Iran.  

Episode 2: The Martyr's Daughter.

Episode 3: Big City Life.

Episode 4: Mr. Big Mouth.

Episode 5: Eye For an Eye.

Episode 6: A Narrow Escape

Episode 7: The Empty River of Life



China takes advantage of the world's distraction to attack Hong Kong.

After COVID19, only the fittest firms will survive.

Is the Swedish experiment paying off?

The oil inventory challenge.

Epic oil bust.

Chinese agents spread messages that sowed virus panic in the US.

Chinese state propaganda builds a culture of hate.

What's going on with coronavirus in North Korea?





Solving the mysteries if coronavirus with genetic fingerprints.

Coronavirus kills more Americans in one month than flu kills in one year.

COVID19 spreads through the American South with unnerving speed.

Why do some people get sicker than others?

How the coronavirus became an American catastrophe.




-Due Thursday, April 23rd


ALSO: I cannot stop watching this video.

Homework 31 Please finish the Ethel Wood reading on Mexico--pp. 391-405.  Here's a piece about AMLO's plan to possibly move Mexican agencies all over the nation. Also, more here about AMLO's cuts to the "golden" bureaucracy.



Taiwan's president writes in Time Magazine how her country prevented COVID19.

Containing Russian influence in Venezuela.

China, COVID19 and the Middle East...

The futility of Joe Biden's anti-China rhetoric.



Possibly cheap way to catch COVID19 in its early stages?

New York's outbreak was NOT inevitable.  Guess who's fault it was?

Why some people don't wash their hands.

Why are so many more men dying from COVID19?

The CDC's failed coronavirus tests were themselves seeded with coronavirus.

Will antibody tests really change everything?



-Due Wednesday, April 22nd

Homework 30 Continue on in the Ethel Wood reading on Mexico--please read pp. 383-91.  Here's a piece from September 2019 about the election of AMLO.



Vice videos on Mexico!  Thrill to the music of the narcocorridos--bands that play for and celebrate brutal drug cartels (and here's the links to parts two and three).   Be chilled by the seemingly scary (but maybe not so bad) subway gangs of Mexico City.  Don't spill your drink as you learn about what has happened in the 20 years since the Zapatista uprising in the impoverished state of Chiapas. And learn about the triumph of the human will at Mexico's other border.  Also, please read this incredibly gripping article from the New York Times Magazine from a couple of years ago about an American priest ministering to a prison controlled by the Zetas.



Why China is losing the coronavirus narrative.

...and don't bet on it assuming a global leadership role now.

Europe needs a shared plan.

Austria's gamble,

The most effective Prime Minister on the planet is...

A roadmap for Latin America's confrontation with COVID19.





Our pandemic summer.

Could coronavirus create a new working class?

Vaccine prospects?

Lots of interesting science about the link between interleukin06 (IL6) and COVID19.

We need a new social contract for coronavirus.

What went wrong at one New Jersey nursing home.

Lessons from Hokkaido.




-Due Tuesday, April 21st


ALSO: How to conquer procrastination for your health!



Actually, eurobonds are a terrible idea!

China ends its lockdown of Wuhan.

The EU's chief science officer resigns, blasting its coronavirus response.

The ECJ orders Poland to disband its disciplinary panel for judges.

Watching the Queen's coronavirus message and thinking maybe the revolution was a mistake?

Business as usual in the South China Sea.

Could the coronavirus actually heal Libya ?




In the fog of coronavirus, there are no experts.

How delays and unheeded warnings hindered New York's virus response.

Piece about the spouses of medical personnel.

Nationwide blood studies seek to track the spread of the virus in the US.

States gearing up to eventually reopen the economy--relying on contact tracing.

...are we actually overusing ventilators?




For whatever reason, I found this perfect restoration of a rusty old oil lamp to be extremely satisfying.



Spain's coronavirus crisis accelerated as warnings went unheeded.

To fight coronavirus, the UK asked for volunteers. It got an army.

Germany must abandon its rejection of eurobonds.

Don't forget that Idlib is still having a humanitarian crisis.

Should sanctions on Iran be dropped for humanitarian reasons?  No! says this article. Yes! says this article.

Brazil's poor are joining together to fight the virus.

Boris Johnson still in intensive care.






Contact tracing could free us from quarantine.  But what is it and how does it work?

Is variolation the key?

Everyone hates Peter Navarro, but he was the only person in the Trump administration who knew the pandemic was coming.

Our glorious mayor and his many missteps.

Hoping for fewer deaths in the NYC metro area.

See how the coronavirus death toll rose across the USA.

Bet big on treatments for coronavirus.

Is NYC undercounting its COVID fatalities?





Homework 29 Continue on in the Ethel Wood reading on Mexico--please read pp. 372-83.  Here's a good piece about Jesus Malverde--considered to be "the patron saint" of drug dealers.   Here's a piece about Mexico and the problem with "privilege violence." And... the pointy boot craze!



Who runs the country if Boris Johnson is out of commission?

Coronavirus reveals the differences between Switzerland's language communities.

Coronavirus and the ugly end of "Chimerica"

Wuhan medical workers look back in anger.

Is the EU losing Italy?

Autocrats' dilemma: you can't arrest a virus.

Counterpoint--does the virus threaten liberal democracy?

Was the real winner of the Afghan peace deal... Pakistan? And if the Taliban return, will their former capital accept them?

Japan finally about to declare coronavirus emergency.





My wife's hospital was featured on CNN last night, and these are her colleagues.

Leaving the  coronavirus tracker in place here.

I am a privacy advocate.  But now I want Google and the CDC to take all my data.

The importance of Scott Gottlieb.

Ray of light--NYC death toll fell yesterday from 630 to 594

Bronx Zoo tiger tests positive for coronavirus.

Do hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine actually help?

NYC cases by zip code.

Can an old vaccine help?





-Due Tuesday, April 7th

Homework 28 Continue on in the Ethel Wood reading on Mexico--please read pp. 364-71. His terrible coronavirus response shows that AMLO has gone entirely off the rails. His ratings are dropping--but since Mexican presidents have only one term, he need never face the voters again.



Lots of countries are putting out suspect numbers on the virus.

...meanwhile the CIA hunts for the actual Chinese numbers... how will this affect the recent detente between the US and China?

"The strong do what they can, while the weak do what they must," said Thucydides.  Was he right?

This crisis is a turning point in history and the end of peak globalization.

How the World Health Organization (WHO) became China's accomplice.

Can Iran's president turn around the economy?

And Singapore goes back into lockdown.







Inside the coronavirus genome.

This random China vlogger that I've been following for awhile thinks that he has found the source of the virus--a lab... where is Huang Yanling?

The importance of viral load!  'Tis the dose that makes the poison...

Why does the 1000-bed US Comfort currently have only have 20 patients?

The pandemic undoes a decade of job-growth.

Track the growth of the virus across the USA.

The unemployment numbers will get worse before they get better.




-Due Monday, April 5th


ALSO: Crazy GoPro action!

Homework 27 Continue on in the Ethel Wood reading on Mexico--please read pp. 356-64. Here's an interesting piece about NAFTA and whether it really cost America jobs. Also, check out this piece about the rise of the drug trafficking trade in Mexico. Finally, here is a long but excellent documentary about the Mexican Revolution. AMLO rated as one of the worst three presidents in the world on coronavirus handling.



Surprise!  Chan concealed the extent of the virus.

Europe's geopolitical emergency.

Turkmenistan's failure to control coronavirus.

Italy's future is in German hands... though it is also being subjected to a Chinese charm offensive.




Don't believe the COVID19 models.

"I know the day we got it."

Where Americans didn't stay home even as the virus spread.

What New York looked like during the 1918 flu pandemic.

Our country is so snarled up that we can't even give money away.





-Due Friday, April 3rd


ALSO: An Object at Rest

Homework 26: Continue on in the Ethel Wood reading on Mexico--please read pp. 340-56. Also, check out this great Vox explainer on the War on Drugs. And from a 2014 Atlantic piece: "The Good Mexico Versus the Bad Mexico."



Merkel's moment of truth.

Italy: less singing, more social unrest.

The world must not mimic China's strategy.

Apocalyptic effect on low-wage garment workers in South Asia.





Leaving the  coronavirus tracker in place here.

Also, the FT tracker is especially good.

What explains Trump's bump in the ratings?

Will COVID19 kill the Constitution?

Everyone thinks they are right about masks.

An ethicist on how to make impossible decisions.

"My whole household has coronavirus"




-Due Thursday, April 2nd


ALSO: Watch a guy build a table with a secret compartment.

Homework 25 We move on to Mexico!  Check out the Economist piece "Mexico's reluctantly liberal president,"  as well as this one about  Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO)'s cancellation of a new airport for Mexico City.  Also, how AMLO's failure to take coronavirus seriously is setting Mexico up for a public health crisis.


Also here's a link to the engagement form for those who can't attend the Zoom!



I hate to link to the Daily Mail, but it looks like China's live markets are still thriving.

Sweden's radical approach--will it work?

More on the BRI-financed Hambantota port in Sri Lanka.

Australia was foolish to outsource all of its manufacturing.

Chechnya's extreme measures to halt the spread.

OECD tackling the coronavirus.

Is India really prepared?





Leaving the  coronavirus tracker in place here.

Does data from smart thermometers show that we are making progress against coronavirus? Here's their map.

The unpredictable curve of COVID19

Why isn't there a national lockdown in the USA?

The social distancing culture war has begun.

For the first time, I'm debating my decision to come to America.

Complicated mathematical models are not a substitute for common sense... more details by the same author here.

What will post-COVID New York City look like?

Time to make your own mask.


-Due Wednesday, April 1st




MINI-PAPER 2: In exactly three  pages, I want you to compare some aspect of Chinese government to some aspect of Russian government.  Go crazy--choose whatever you want!



-Due Monday, April 6th


Optional Stuff

Super slo mo of a compact disc shattering, representing the death of my youth.

Homework 24: Please finish the China section by reading pp. 322-329 in this excerpt. In the war against coronavirus, is China foe or friend?


Whenever Francis Fukuyama writes, it's always worth checking out--and he says that trust is the key


Please also read "Good President, Bad Emperor," a bunch of nuanced takes on Xi Jinping's power grab. Also, how China turned a city into a prison.


Finally, here are some great Belt and Road Initiative links: a deep dive into Central Asia in the New York Times Magazine as well as the Council on Foreign Relations Belt and Road Tracker. How could I neglect this amazing Belt and Road song?



Italy's agriculture at risk.

Yemen's war finally halts... due to coronavirus.

How the virus crushed Shinzo Abe's Olympic dream.

Economically, Europe must move to a wartime setting.

Does coronavirus threaten South Asian democracy?




Here's a handy coronavirus tracker.

A solution... if we act!

Seems like coronavirus was NOT made in a lab.

Another great Christakis thread.

Slowdown in Seattle suggests that social isolation is working.

The hammer and the dance--a very interesting piece from Medium.

It's a myth that society breaks down when disaster strikes--actually people become more pro-social.

...but coronavirus also shakes up the moral universe.

Also an interesting definition of freedom by David Byrne of Talking Heads fame.

And some sources of hope in the crisis.



-Due Tuesday, March 31st


Optional Stuff

Tips on working at home from BBC dad.

Don't trust adults!

Homework 23: Please read pp. 312-322 in this excerpt. How China built a propaganda machine and let it loose on Twitter once the virus struck.


Also read this hilarious story about the Chinese government's attempt to rein in its army of 100 million dancing grannies (here's a video about the phenomenon). Also, here's an interesting piece about how the Chinese government uses nationalism to increase its popularity from the Brookings Institute.  And an app for Xi Jingping thought!



At the bleak heart of the world's deadliest coronavirus outbreak--Bergamo, Italy.

Boris Johnson has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Old and new struggles for Argentina--and coronavirus comes for Latin America.

Democratic Taiwan has responded better to the virus than the CCP mainland.




Our terrible mayor and his terrible week.

Will this pandemic doom New York City?

Are pangolins to blame?

What should the government spend to save a life?

How genetic mutations turned the coronavirus deadly.

"I'm treating too many young people for the coronavirus"

New York is now warning the rest of the USA.

Actually, coronavirus is showing us the benefits of globalism.




-Due Monday, March 30th



Optional Stuff

Is the black hole at the center of our galaxy a gigantic quantum computer?

Homework 22: Please read pp. 302-312 in this excerpt  Is China devouring Europe? And here's post-pandemic piece: how to think about China.



India--one fifth of the world population--enters total lockdown.

How Iran botched the coronavirus.

North Korea secretly asks the world for help.

In the face of coronavirus, Europe's leaders ditch austerity.

Another mystery--why, despite its high number of infections, does Germany have such a low rate of death?




How the pandemic will end.

"We're in disaster mode": Courage inside a Brooklyn hospital.

"Apocalyptic" surge at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens.

A very neat model showing the effects of social distancing on the curve.

Stimulus deal shortchanges New York.

Mask shortage due to onerous FDA regulations?

Eminent virologist David Ho gives a super-informative Q&A on the virus.

Social distancing may have to be turned on and off like a spigot.

We've never seen unemployment jump like this before.

The tremendous importance of serological tests.

... and countries and labs are (finally) starting to try to implement serological testing for corona.

...and inevitable regulatory road blocks.



-Due Friday, March 27th



Optional Stuff

Really cool graphic on the NYT--albeit from 2015. Also an amazing "Come Together" cover on the gayageum.

Homework 21: Please read pp. 291-302 in this excerpt.  Also, please read this Economist special report from 2016 on the rise of China's new middle class. And here it is: The Secret Document that Transformed China!




India--one fifth of the world population--enters total lockdown.

A locked down Europe asks "how much longer?"

Luxembourg--COVID19 hotspot.

China, America and the international order after the virus.

The COVID19 recession is going to hurt Africa.






Here it comes--a $2 trillion stimulus package.

Is the coronavirus as deadly as they say?

What I learned when my husband got sick with coronavirus.

America's hospitals have never experienced anything like this.

...and what would happen if America's healthcare workers stopped showing up?

I think I have a mild-to-moderate case of COVID19.  I don't think I could survive worse.

Anyone leaving New York City or the NYC metro area should self-quarantine for 14 days, says White House expert.

People who want to "choose the economy" are not being honest about the consequences of that decision.




-Due Thursday, March 26th



Optional Stuff

Fantastic piece in the New Yorker on how South Korea has become the plastic surgery capital of the world.  Here's a GIF showing how similar the faces of beauty pageant contestants look. Here's 30 startling before-after pictures of Korean plastic surgery.


Also: how the "little ice age" changed history.

Homework 20: Please read pp. 280-91 in this excerpt. Here's an argument that the United States should offer Taiwan a free trade agreement. Also from National Review, a comprehensive timeline of all of the Chinese government's coronavirus lies.




Why is Japan still a coronavirus outlier?

Sweden's preppers say "I told you so"

How South Korea flattened the curve.

Armies are mobilizing to fight the virus.  Not armies of people--literal armies.




De Blasio says NYC school reopening is unlikely this year.

Olympics postponed until 2021

The pushback against the shutdown; Chait says that Trump is waging war on science at the worst possible time.

In a remarkable interview, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick says that grandparents would be willing to die to save the economy.

Another GIF showing exponential growth.

New York City's greatest enemy in stopping the spread: density.




-Due Wednesday, March 25th



Optional Stuff

A bit late, but here's a cool article on Pi.

Coronavirus Updates (3/23): More pandemic updates.



Experts say that the virus can be stopped, but only with harsh steps.

The pandemic has caused an increase in the great power rivalry between the US and China.

New York City is now an epicenter of the pandemic!  Woot!

"I'm 26.  Coronavirus sent me to the hospital."

..and why are so many young people in the USA being hospitalized compared to China?

Could loss of the sense of smell be an early sign of COVID19?

Maybe mask-wearing by all is the key to stopping the spread?

Deniers and disbelievers: "If I get corona, I get corona."

No relief from those bozos in Washington.

Rand Paul tests positive.

Great infographic from the NYTimes on how the virus escaped China.

Italy's lessons for the world.

A thread on China's response from a British traveller.

Another great thread from Nick Christakis on the Chinese response.




Coronavirus Updates (3/20): I'm a bit ahead with homework, so I'm just putting up pandemic updates.



I sort of buried this piece in yesterday's links, but it is definitely worth a slow and careful read: the crisis of the liberal zombie order.


A great thread by Nicholas Christakis on what happens if you get, and recover from, covid19.

The search for a vaccine becomes a global competition.

Can't get tested? Maybe you're in the wrong country.

If this survey is right, a staggering 14% of Americans have been laid off.  These are Great Depression-style numbers.

Shady business--US Senators dumped stock after getting a confidential coronavirus briefing in late January.

GOP Senate stimulus bill would send $1200 to every American, with $500 per child.

WHO head says that Africa must "wake up" to coronavirus.

China claims no new cases in Wuhan... though I have some skepticism.

China avoids blame for the virus by trolling the world

...and here's a piece from 2017 wondering if China's wet markets will be ground zero for a future pandemic>

Elon Musk says he will help make ventilators... but how trustworthy are his promises?

As bad as it is for the economy, extreme social distancing is no overreation.




Homework 19: We are beginning to read Ethel Wood's section on China.  Please read pp. 270-280 in this excerpt. Also, check out this nice roundup from the NYTimes on the annual meeting of the National People's Congress, China's rubber-stamp legislature. Can China create its own powerful aircraft manufacturer?  Finally... does a country need to have a viable manufacturing sector to remain rich?



How do different regime types respond to pandemics?

China reports no new cases today.

Will Asian nations face a second wave of imported cases?

Mike Bloomberg's plan for economic stimulus.

The existential inconvenience of coronavirus.

Crisis of the liberal zombie order.



-Due Friday, March 20th


Optional Stuff

Did culture kill the two parent family?

Homework 18 We are beginning China! Check out China's Great Leap Backward, an article from the Atlantic Magazine written by James Fallows--an American journalist who lived in Beijing for many years. The piece is from 2016, but foreshadows many of today's issues.  Also read this article from the New Yorker's Evan Osnos "Xi Jinping may be president for life.  What will happen to China?"  Finally, Handling Xi Jinping, China's "President for Life." Finally, check out this link: crazy smog in Beijing--click on images 2-4 to bring and dispel the haze.



Is it bad to call this a "Chinese virus"? 

Why the British government changed tack on COVID-19.

In the coronavirus pandemic, we're making decisions without reliable data.

Weird Facebook corona post deletion bug.

One trillion dollar corona-stimulus?

Have we become too pessimistic about coronavirus?





-Due Friday, March 20th

Homework 17: Let's finish Russia! I just discovered MUCH better version of the textbook.  Please note that this PDF goes up to the end of China.  Here's the second half.  That being said, please read pp. 246-58. Who is Vladimir Putin's most effective enemy? American businessman Bill Browder.  And how much money does Putin have, exactly?  More on the mess in Crimea here.



You should be absolutely terrified about the economy right now.

Trump pushes for what would be a $1 trillion fiscal stimulus.

How Italy became ground zero of Europe's coronavirus pandemic.

Why doesn't the USA have barely any coronavirus tests?

Our glorious mayor in action. Or in inaction.

Flattening the curve is a deadly delusion?

Heat and humidity reduce the transmission of COVID-19?

Can city life survive the pandemic?

Pandemic literature.



-Due Wednesday, March 18th



Optional Stuff

Have you heard of "eephing"--also known as "hillbilly beatboxing"?

Homework 16: More Russia. Please read pp. 238-46 in this section.  Also check out this piece "5 years since Putin's intervention in Ukraine: has his gamble paid off?"


-Due Tuesday, March 17th



Trump tries to lure German vaccine company to the USA.

Apparently Israel has been sitting on a pile of top-secret cell phone data, which they will now use to track coronavirus.

Messages from quarantined Italians to themselves from 10 days ago.

Iran rages against the perfect storm (paywalled article unless you click through the tweet).

Will coronavirus kill globalization?

The next phase of China's fight with coronavirus.





Optional Stuff

End the scourge of clock changing! Also, how well do you really know the NYC subway?

Online Class Information--IMPORTANT

 Hello fellow plaguesters.  I hope that you are all doing fine out there and engaging in social distancing!  Regardless of whether schools are open or closed next week, I will not be there and I suggest that you not be there as well.  My plan is to carry on with the curriculum as before, except instead of in-person lectures, I'm going to be doing things on Zoom.  As before, all work will be submitted, graded and returned on Dropbox. 


As far as Zoom lectures are concerned, my plan is as follows:

10am-11am: coronavirus news and updates.  This meeting is optional, but designed to (a) share news and resources and (b) keep coronavirus talk from hijacking all the other course material.

11am-noon: AP Comparative Government

1:30-2:30: Western Political Thought


I intend to start this schedule tomorrow!


I am not sure if you need to have a Zoom account, but it would probably make things easier if you had one.  They are at zoom.us.  The Slack group is proving to be a great resource to share articles, information and cat memes, so if you haven't already done so, please accept the invitation and join the group!  While I will try to keep my site updated, I'm on Slack all the time and there you can get newer updates.  Most importantly, I will be sharing the Zoom invite codes to the Slack group.  At the moment, Zoom is limiting me to 40 minute meetings, but I have applied for a free K-12 waiver.  If I don't have it by Monday, we'll probably have to quit after 40 minutes and rejoin.  It'll be a slight pain, but not impossible. 


Obviously, we are all under a lot of pressure, so if you can't make the meetings I will understand. Still, if you could make every effort to attend, it would be great.


Stay safe out there.  And should things seem dark, remember the following mantra:


I must not fear.

Fear is the mind-killer.

Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

I will face my fear.

I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.

Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.

Only I will remain.

Homework:  Hey all.  If you are in my class, you should have received a Slack invite in your stuy.edu email. When you get a chance, please accept and download the Slack app for your phone.  This will enable us to communicate in real time.  Let's all remember to keep things civil and let's also try to remain calm.  Once you accept the invitation, please edit your profile and enter in your name (the default is just your e-mail address).  I'm creating channels for each class, so you can join your group.


The main idea of the group is for me to share work and articles with you and also to facilitate communication.  If school is actually cancelled, or even if it isn't, I'm going to try to do a virtual class using Zoom or some other platform.  I'll give updates on this once I figure out more.


In case you are interested, I wrote an editorial in today's New York Daily News--it can be found here.


ALSO: I do intend to get back to the actual curriculum, so starting next week, expect updates on the reading and other relevant sources.



Coronavirus: no good options.

Why you must act now.

The New York Times coronavirus update page.

CDC worst case scenario.

How will coronavirus permanently change the world?


Homework:  It feels a bit silly to be learning about Russian government when we are in the midst of what may be the greatest public health crisis of our lifetime. 



The state of testing in New York State.  It's bad.

Doctors in Italy facing brutal choices--a preview of our own future

12 steps to tackle coronavirus!  We are currently doing none of them!

First cases in NYC public schools! Should trigger a shutdown, right?

Calm before the storm? Covid19 will test our health system like never before.


Homework 15:  Please read pp. 226-238 in this section.  More information on the oil war between Russia, America and the Saudis. Also, Putin makes his move to become president for life.


-Due Thursday, March 12th



Shut everything down NOW.

Coronavirus puts Brexit into perspective.

Italian doctors face tough calls on who to save.




Optional Stuff

Fascinating graphic illustrating the world's nuclear stockpile. Also, rap stars and pre-16th century art resemblances?

Homework 14: More Russia! Please read pp. 215-226 in this section. Also, here's "Understanding Stalin," a review of Stephen Kotkin's biography of Stalin.  Kotkin was the author of the FA piece from last night's homework. Also, can Russia win the great oil war of 2020?



With the fall of Idlib, there is no longer any safe place in Syria.

Saudia Arabia's brash young prince--MBS.

An imperfect deal with the Taliban is better than no deal at all.




China's risky plan to restart the economy after coronavirus.

Southern Italy gets ready for coronavirus.

People in South Korea already thought the Shincheonji Church was a cult.  Now they are at the epicenter of the coronavirus in that country.



-Due Wednesday, March 11th


Optional Stuff

A weasel riding the back of a flying woodpecker?  Can it be real?  Can it be?

And on the subject of birds, why ravens and crows are Earth's smartest birds.

Homework 13: Deeper into Russia! Please read pp. 205-215 in this reading. Also, please read this fantastic article from Foreign Affairs about the rise of Vladimir Putin (Russia's nightmare dressed as a daydream). Also, how Russia views itself as the world's scapegoat (article by Polazzo alum Andrew Roth).



Malaysia's Mahathir gambled with his job and lost.

Oil price war!

Zimbabwe's female bus drivers.



Could South Korea's low death rate be a ray of light?

The EU leaves Italy in the lurch... and can Italians follow rules?

Ashraf Ghani takes the oath of Afghan president--and so does his rival.


-Due Tuesday, March 10th



Optional Stuff

Can we end the madness that is daylight saving time?

Is cryonics just a scam?

Homework 12: We begin our unit on Russia! Please read pp. 191-205 in this reading. About three months ago, Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, along with the rest of his cabinet, abruptly stepped down. But why?



Chaos in Syria.  Is Turkey creating another refugee crisis?  And is Erdoğan reaping what he has sown?

Long, but interesting piece from the Lowy Institute on what Australian can do to stop a potential Taiwan crisis.

He was one of Mexico's deadliest assassins--and then he turned on his cartel.



You're likely to get the coronavirus.

Italy, Europe's coronavirus lab.

Can the Spanish Flu of 1918 teach us anything to help today?



-Due Friday, March 6th



Optional Stuff

From 1995 in Newsweek--some people call this "the wrongest article ever written."

Homework 11: We are moving on to a new chapter in the textbook on supranational entities, focusing on the European Union--please read it: 167-186.  Also, please read this article from the 2015 Economist--it's a bit stale, but still has some useful information. Also, check out this piece: the Coronavirus could be the end of the European dream of open borders. Finally, please read this piece by Francis Fukuyama on European identities.


-Due Monday, March 2



Why America radicalizes Brits.

In Africa, the opposition playbook on discrediting elections... and its risks.

Bougainville: Ringing in the change?




What would a Coronavirus outbreak mean for schools?

Most cases are mild--this is good and bad.

Fast spreading Coronavirus pushes Iran closer to lockdown.

Italy needs help with its fast-spreading virus problem.




Optional Stuff

This is an amazing machine!

Homework 10: Please continue on in the textbook up to page 156.  And does the British left have a problem with Tory Indians?



Is it a pandemic yet?

94 year-old Malaysian prime minister Mohamad Mahathir resigns... but why?

Iran's rigged election is a flop.


-Due Thursday, February 27th.


MINI-PAPER 1: In two to three  pages, decide which form of government is superior--that of the United States or that of Great Britain. A word of caution: It's okay to say that US Government works best for the US and British government for the Brits, but if this is your choice, be sure to elaborate... Couldn't the US be a unitary state?  Why not let the British regions be autonomous? You get the idea.


-Mini Paper Due Monday, March 2nd.



Optional Stuff

Is the dreaded Rebound Effect making our gains in energy efficiency meaningless?

Homework 9: Please continue on in the textbook. Please read pp. 136-45. Meet Rishi Sunak--the new Chancellor of the Exchequer. This piece argues that with Javid's ouster, Johnson is now fully in control.


Also, please check out an example of Prime Minister's Questions from February 12th--note that Question Time starts about at about the 1:00 mark on the video. "Question 1" is the traditional first question, to which the PM always gives the same response.  To read along, check out this transcript (which picks up at 3:11--after the end of Question 1). Obviously, the star of the show is the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and his chief inquisitor is Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour party.  Corbyn is an interesting individual--representing the old, pre-Blair Labour party. And, of course, Johnson just defeated Corbyn in big election that happened in late December. Corbyn immediately goes for the jugular at 5:05 (note that Johnson had US citizenship up until recently). If you are curious about the Windrush Generation, check here.


The men and women seated on the front benches are the government (on the Tory side) and the shadow government (Labour). The bald dude behind Johnson is recently ousted Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid.


Note: when members stand after a point, it means that they are trying to get the attention of the Speaker (Sir Lindsay Hoyle) to ask a question. Note that all of the comments of the Prime Minister are always directed towards the Speaker.  The Speaker calls for order (frequently) and also calls on members to ask questions.


...and here's a clip of former PM David Cameron calling (since ousted) Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls a turkey. And he's a short clip showing the best of Bercow, the much put-upon former Speaker of the House. Here's another medley of Bercow hits.



-Due Monday, February 24th



Does the Coronavirus expose the limits of Xi's centralized power?

The three most polarizing words in India.

Why was the Gambia the country that brought charges against Myanmar in the International Court of Justice?



Optional Stuff

This person does not exist. AI generated faces that (usually) look uncannily real.


Try this dialect quiz from the New York times to which sort of British/Irish accent you have!  Hint: probably none.


Homework 8: Please continue on in the textbook. Please read pp. 122-36. This piece says that the real story is not Brexit, but the weakening pull of the EU. Also, breaking news--UK cabinet reshuffle!



Also, please read Our World In Data--some amazing charts here.



China, ultra-competence and the Coronavirus.

Climate emergency in Africa?

Sugary drink consumption plunges in Chile after the posting of new warning labels.


-Due Friday, February 14th


Optional Stuff

Ten not entirely crazy theories explaining the great crime drop.

Homework 7: Please continue on in the textbook. Please read pp. 114-122.  Spiked, a pro-Brexit site, writes that it's time for Britain to seize the day.  Meanwhile, the Economist frets that there is not really enough time to forge an effective trade deal.


-Due Thursday, February 13th



Africa's top candidate for an economic leap is Ghana.

The collapse of Angela Merkel's chosen successor reveals major problems in German politics. (Here's a bit more about the Thuringia brouhaha)

Urgent questions that scientists are asking about Coronavirus.


Optional Stuff

Where the hell are the flying cars that I was promised in my youth?

Homework 6: Please continue on in the textbook. Please read pp. 102-114.   Also, please read this piece: Britain has changed forever.


-Due Tuesday, February 11th



Coronavirus shocks China's elite.

Five takeaways from Ireland's election shocker.

Venezuela's loss, Latin America's gain?



Optional Stuff

If you don’t speak Japanese but would like, momentarily, to feel like a linguistic genius, take a look at the following words. Try to guess their meaning from the two available options

1. nurunuru (a) dry or (b) slimy?
2. pikapika (a) bright or (b) dark?
3. wakuwaku (a) excited or (b) bored?
4. iraira (a) happy or (b) angry?
5. guzuguzu (a) moving quickly or (b) moving slowly?
6. kurukuru (a) spinning around or (b) moving up and down?
7. kosokoso (a) walking quietly or (b) walking loudly?
8. gochagocha (a) tidy or (b) messy?
9. garagara (a) crowded or (b) empty?
10. tsurutsuru (a) smooth or (b) rough?

These If you want to learn more about this phenomenon, check out this really interesting article about ideophones.


These clips of early color motion pictures from 1922 are really haunting--some of the earliest use of color you will ever see.


Check out Li Hongbo's bonkers paper sculptures.

Homework 5: We are beginning our Britain unit!  To that end, please continue on in the textbook. Please read pp. 94-104.  Also, please read this insider account of the rise of Euroskepticism that would eventually lead to Brexit.  And... how to pronounce UK place names! Also, one woman--17 British accents.




-Due Monday, February 10th



Why won't Carrie Lam shut Hong Kong's border with Mainland China?

The Muslim world's question: "what happened to us?"

How dollarization saved Ecuador's economy.



Optional Stuff

The crime rate perception gap. And from the same site, expert predictions of  what will happen in 2020.

Homework 4: Please continue on in the textbook.  Please read pages 54-80.  Also, a primer on charismatic leadership--why we love tyrants. Also, why Britain brexited.


-Due Wednesday, February 5th



Here's the New York Times's indispensable Coronavirus page.

Britain may be leaving, but it left its mark on the European Union--and what effect will its departure have?

The impact of Turkey's ambitious foreign policy.



Optional Stuff

Pogo remix!

Did early humans tame themselves by killing off aggressive males?

Homework 3: Please continue on in the textbook.  Please read pages 34-54.  Also, please read this report from the (libertarianish) Niskanen Institute about the rise of two separate moral systems in the United States. And if you found it interesting, this piece in by Thomas Edsall in the New York Times reflects more on its conclusions.  Both pieces are from 2017, but are still very relevant.


-Due Monday, February 3rd



Will Boris Johnson reverse Thatcherism?

Coronavirus and the panic epidemic.

Is Burkina Faso playing with fire by arming its citizen militias?


Optional Stuff

Can you create a band using only musicians that you find on Fiverr?

Ranking all 53 Superbowls.

Homework 2: This is the first excerpt from the textbook.   Please read pages 12-34.  Also, check out this piece written by Bill and Melinda Gates entitled "Three Myths on the World's Poor."  Finally, please read this riveting story: Trapped in Iran.


-Due Thursday, January 30th



Trump's Middle East peace plan is actually about power.

Is the Wuhan virus China's Chernobyl?

Iran's Guardian Council purges reformers from the election roster.



Optional Stuff

Best Simpsons opening sequence ever?

Check out George III's collection of military maps.

Homework 1: Please go to this form and enter your information!




You should do the following:


1) Make sure you have a Dropbox account.


2) Share a folder with me.  The format should be as follows:  If your name were Patrice Lumumba and you were in my 4th period AP Comp Gov class, the folder would be entitled: Patrice Lumumba, CG4. Please do not omit the "CG" in front of your period number. My e-mail address for sharing is mpolazzo@gmail.com


3) Upload a headshot of yourself that (a) is not too large and (b) actually looks like you. Place it in the shared folder. Name it patricelumumba.jpg (substitute your first and last names).  Please note that all headshots should be in JPEG form!


4) All uploaded data is due by the start of the period that I teach you on Wednesday!




Please check out this famous article by Harvard prof (and Stuy alum!) Samuel Huntington from Foreign Affairs--a counterpoint to the utopian philosophies that emerged around the time of the end of the Cold War.  Later this was turned into a book. 



The Optimist's Guide to 2020.

Did Putin just appoint himself president for life?

The Wuhan coronavirus--how upfront has Beijing been... and the race to contain this new killer bug.


BONUS CONTENT: Special report on Taiwan's elections.



-Due Wednesday, January 29th


Optional Stuff

How good are you at recognizing foreign languages?  Test your skill with Name that Language!

Those of you as obsessed with Chipotle as I am will find this oral history of Chipotle very interesting.

The Atlantic Magazine has an amazing photo blog called "In Focus."  Check it out here. Particularly stark pictures of Wuhan here.