AP Comparative Government Homework

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.



How much immigration is too much?

What it's like to be thrown in jail for posting on Facebook.

Why Orban and his allies won't win the EU elections.






-Due Friday, March 22nd


ADDITIONALLY: Please bring me a check or money order made out to Stuyvesant High School in the amount of $42 to pay for this term's Economist.

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.



Maduro's useful idiots.

France's yellow vests are rebels without a cause.

Mark Rutte's last stand.



-Due Wednesday, March 20th



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 Monday, March 18th



The next stage of the Korean peace process.

The great realignment of Britain.

Spain's Watergate.



Optional Stuff

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

Homework 15:  Please read pp. 226-238 in this section.  Thousands of Russians protest the erection of a "new iron curtain."  Also, read about Russia's tragic great power politics.


-Due Thursday, March 15th



The generals running Algeria have not really stepped aside.

The increasing rift between Uganda and Rwanda.

Brexit has left the United Kingdom trapped by its own history.



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.



How many defeats can Britain take?

Venezuela's historic blackout in seventeen photos.

Military on the front line in Thai election.


-Due Thursday, March 14


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).



Why India and Pakistan avoided nuclear war.

Brexit headed for extra time.

The violent toll of Hindu nationalism in India.



-Due Wednesday, March 13th



Optional Stuff

Is cryonics just a scam?

Homework 12: We begin our unit on Russia! Please read pp. 191-205 in this reading. Four years ago, reformist politician Boris Nemtsov was murdered in Russia. Thus far, the perpetrators have not been brought to justice--though it seems pretty certain that the culprit is Chechnyan strongman Ramzan Kadyrov.  Check out this fascinating New Yorker piece about him.



The future of China--U.S. military relations.

Greece's pyrrhic victory.

Labour's support for a second referendum confirms that it is no longer the party of the people.



-Due Friday, March 8th



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.  The deal with North Korea fell through--why?  Maybe because North Korea is no Vietnam.


-Due Monday, March 4th



Should Colombia give up peace talks with the ELN?

Venezuela's tragic journey from Perez to Chavez to Maduro.

Why has Somaliland succeeded where Iraqi Kurdistan has failed?



Optional Stuff

Some great stuff from Francis Fukuyama on European identities.


This is an amazing machine!

Homework 10: Please continue on in the textbook up to page 156. Also read this: the making of a young U.K. socialist. Also check out this piece: "At last, Jeremy."



Will Maduro's supporters abandon him?

Are India and Pakistan on the verge of a water war.

Behind every mujahid there is a mujahidi.


-Due Thursday, February 28th.


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 4th.



Optional Stuff

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

Homework 10: Please continue on in the textbook. Please read pp. 136-45. Please this piece on Jeremy Corbyn--arguing that his far-left politics have driven the Labour party into a crisis.


Check out an example of Prime Minister's Questions from February 13th--note that Question Time starts about at about the 4:26 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. Obviously, the star of the show is the Prime Minister, Theresa May and her chief inquisitor is Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour party.  Corbyn is an interesting individual--representing the old, pre-Blair Labour party. The men and women seated on the front benches are the government (on the Tory side) and the shadow government (Labour).


Note: when members stand after a point, it means that they are trying to get the attention of the Speaker 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. .  The most frequent interlocutor of Theresa May is Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour party. The people sitting next to the Prime Minister are the members of the Cabinet and the people sitting next to Corbyn are the members of the shadow cabinet.


...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 Speaker of the House. Here's another medley of Bercow hits.



-Due Tuesday, February 26th



"Why are these professional war peddlers still around?" asks Tucker Carlson.

Nigeria's militarized democracy faces a test at the polls.

After 40 years, Iran needs another revolution.



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.


You've always wanted to hear Tainted Love played on thirteen floppy drives and one hard drive, haven't you?

Homework 9: Please continue on in the textbook. Please read pp. 122-36. Also, check out this Economist article from 2010 about the (failed) Lib Dem attempt to change the voting system in the UK.  Also, please read Our World In Data--some amazing charts here.



Iran's grand illusion turns 40.

Murder of Iraqi novelist stirs fear and outrage.

Empowering the African Union.



-Due Friday, February 15th


Optional Stuff

Also: this might be one of the most important (and depressing) articles about the state of the world that you'll read--Our Miserable 21st Century.  Contains some really mind-blowing stats; placed here because of its strong emphasis on the United States.


Ten not entirely crazy theories explaining the great crime drop.

Homework 8: Please continue on in the textbook. Please read pp. 114-122.  Also, a primer on charismatic leadership--why we love tyrants. And, how worried should be be about undemocratic liberalism?


-Due Thursday, February 14th



A new Americanism--given the enduring strength of the nation-state, should we focus our history teaching on it?

A united Ireland now looks like an increasing possibility.

Angela Merkel quits Facebook--and raises concerns.


Optional Stuff

Are you ready for microscheduling?

Is this really the most satisfying video in the world?

Homework 7: Please continue on in the textbook. Please read pp. 102-114.  Also, please check out the BBC's invaluable guide to Brexit here.


-Due Tuesday, February 12th



How Venezuela turns its useless bank notes into gold.

Iran's revolution turns 40.

Europe?  It does not exist.



Optional Stuff

If you donít 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 6: We are beginning our Britain unit!  To that end, please continue on in the textbook. Please read pp. 94-104.  Also, please read  these two articles from the Economist on Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) and personal liberties. Note that ASBOs have been superseded by new laws since 2015, but the basic elements survive in the legal code. Also, note that things have changed.  David Cameron is no longer Prime Minister and Britain has voted to leave the European Union.



-Due Monday, February 11th



India will rise, regardless of its politics.

The right wing pundit "hashtag triggering" France.

The "tired" Taliban fights on as the US is desperate to leave Afghanistan.



Optional Stuff

The crime rate perception gap.

Repulsion, disgust and political orientation.

Homework 5: We're going to take a break from the textbook so I can catch up!    Here's a short piece arguing that we shouldn't worry too much about future tech--the case against techno-pessimism.


-Due Wednesday, February 6th



Venezuela's very normal revolution.

Demography has become the biggest story on the planet...and the world might actually run out of people.

China couldn't dominate Asia if it wanted to.


Optional Stuff

This new map of Beringia opens your imagination to a vanished landscape.

Buzzfeed failing--what went wrong in digital media?

Homework 4: Please continue on in the textbook.  Please read pages 54-80.  Those of you who have had me before know that I'm a bit worried about all humans being pushed out of the workforce.  This film elegantly explains why this is a threat: Humans Need Not Apply--please watch it in full.


-Due Monday, February 4th



America never gave Afghan women a chance.

Is Huawei a pawn in the trade war?

The EU needs a Brexit endgame.


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 (libertarian) 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 Friday, February 1st



How is President George Weah doing in Liberia, one year after his election?

The EU cannot rescue Britain from Brexit chaos.

The whales have won--even as Japan sharpens its harpoons.



Optional Stuff

A super interesting read in Bloomberg about the rise of Uber and Airbnb.


Ranking all 52 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." 


-Due Thursday, January 31st



A brotherly takeover: could Russia annex Belarus?

The Trump Doctrine?

Mexico is bleeding. Can its new president stop the bleeding?



Optional Stuff

Best Simpsons opening sequence ever?

An amazing retrospective on National Geographic 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 7th period AP Comp Gov class, the folder would be entitled: Patrice Lumumba, CG7. 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 Pessimist's Guide to 2019.

The Left keeps getting Venezuela wrong.

The Chinese railways remolding East Africa.



-Due Wednesday, January 30th


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.