Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Primer on referenda

It became a prime topic this past year. (More complicated, I think, than necessary.) With the British vote on EU membership next month, the importance might hang over into next year. Here is a link to The Economist's briefing.

Referendumania
Europe is seeing a rising tide of referendums. In the 1970s, on average, three were held each year. Now the figure is eight…

Fans of direct democracy argue that it engages citizens. Referendums “stimulate debate"…

But the recent referendums are not just wholesome exercises in civic engagement. They also reflect widespread alienation from politics and anger at the governing class. Support for old political parties has withered, while populist, anti-EU parties are gaining ground. Governments derided as elitist and out of touch find it hard to resist calls to submit controversial issues to a popular vote…

Some referendums are called by mainstream politicians trying to fend off pressure from populists… Others are pushed by populist leaders mustering ammunition against… policies they dislike…

Referendum fever poses several problems. For a start, it makes it increasingly hard to agree on transnational policies. Treaties are generally signed by governments and then ratified by legislatures. Adding referendums to the mix hugely complicates matters. “It’s almost impossible now to see how 28 states would ratify an EU reform treaty,” says Stefan Lehne of Carnegie Europe, a think-tank. Minorities of voters in smaller countries may be able to stymie Europe-wide policies…

… some argue that human rights should not be subject to majority vote. What a majority gives, it can also take away…

The idea that referendums foster engagement is questionable, too. As they have proliferated, the median turnout for nationwide referendums has fallen from 71% in the early 1990s to 41% in the past few years (see chart)…

Paradoxically, then, referendums may end up increasing voters’ alienation. In countries such as Switzerland, the political system has adjusted to them. But elsewhere… they tend to make politicians look as if they do not know what they are doing….

Direct democracy is fine for things that don’t matter, such as the Eurovision song contest. But it is no way to run a country, let alone a continent.

Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed. Use the search box to look for country names or concept labels attached to each entry.

What You Need to Know 7th edition is ready to help.


Order the book HERE
Amazon's customers gave this book a 4-star rating.








Just The Facts! 2nd edition is a concise guide to concepts, terminology, and examples that will appear on May's exam.


Just The Facts! is available. Order HERE.

Amazon's customers gave this book a 5-star rating.







The Comparative Government and Politics Review Checklist.



Two pages summarizing the course requirements to help you review and study for the final and for the big exam in May. . It contains a description of comparative methods, a list of commonly used theories, a list of vital concepts, thumbnail descriptions of the AP6, and a description of the AP exam format. $2.00. Order HERE.

What You Need to Know: Teaching Tools, the original version and v2.0 are available to help curriculum planning.











Labels: ,

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Sign of the power?

Political power is displayed in many ways in the Iranian regime. This is one.

Powerful Iranian Council Selects Hard-Liner as Chairman
An Iranian council that would have the authority to select a new supreme leader elected an 89-year-old hard-liner as its chairman…

The council, the Assembly of Experts, holds an increasingly important role in light of concerns about the health of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei…

Ayatollah Jannati
The selection of Ayatollah Jannati, who won a majority of the 86 votes, suggested that seniority was a higher priority than the preference of voters. During parliamentary elections in February, Ayatollah Jannati managed to secure the last of 16 seats in the Tehran constituency, barely making the threshold.

It also signals new obstacles for a coalition of reformists and moderates who are seeking very modest changes in the Islamic republic, analysts say.

In addition to his new post, Ayatollah Jannati heads the influential Guardian Council, a vetting body that disqualified over 3,000 reformist candidates for the parliamentary elections…

Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed. Use the search box to look for country names or concept labels attached to each entry.

What You Need to Know 7th edition is ready to help.


Order the book HERE
Amazon's customers gave this book a 4-star rating.








Just The Facts! 2nd edition is a concise guide to concepts, terminology, and examples that will appear on May's exam.


Just The Facts! is available. Order HERE.

Amazon's customers gave this book a 5-star rating.







The Comparative Government and Politics Review Checklist.



Two pages summarizing the course requirements to help you review and study for the final and for the big exam in May. . It contains a description of comparative methods, a list of commonly used theories, a list of vital concepts, thumbnail descriptions of the AP6, and a description of the AP exam format. $2.00. Order HERE.

What You Need to Know: Teaching Tools, the original version and v2.0 are available to help curriculum planning and teaching.











Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Queen's speech, 2016

The Queen's speech marks the beginning of a new session of Parliament and outlines the government's agenda.

If you haven't seen the ceremony, it's worth watching.

Queen's Speech: Prison shake-up at heart of new laws
The government's planned new laws have been set out by the Queen - including the biggest prison shake-up in England and Wales "since Victorian times"…

The 21-Bill agenda also includes support for a spaceport and driverless cars - but a planned British Bill of Rights has been put on hold.

David Cameron called it "a One Nation speech from a One Nation government"…

The speech is being seen as an attempt to secure a legacy of social reform for the prime minister but critics say it will be overshadowed by 23 June's referendum on whether Britain should remain in the EU, which has split the Cabinet…

But the government was still pre-occupied with the EU referendum and the fear that "if they don't win David Cameron might not be prime minister in six or seven weeks' time", she added.

The Queen made only the briefest of direct references to her government holding "a referendum on membership of the European Union".

But - in a move that may be seen as an attempt to reassure voters ahead of the EU referendum - she added: "My ministers will uphold the sovereignty of Parliament and the primacy of the House of Commons."…

Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed. Use the search box to look for country names or concept labels attached to each entry.

What You Need to Know 7th edition is ready to help.


Order the book HERE
Amazon's customers gave this book a 4-star rating.








Just The Facts! 2nd edition is a concise guide to concepts, terminology, and examples that will appear on May's exam.


Just The Facts! is available. Order HERE.

Amazon's customers gave this book a 5-star rating.







The Comparative Government and Politics Review Checklist.



Two pages summarizing the course requirements to help you review and study for the final and for the big exam in May. . It contains a description of comparative methods, a list of commonly used theories, a list of vital concepts, thumbnail descriptions of the AP6, and a description of the AP exam format. $2.00. Order HERE.

What You Need to Know: Teaching Tools, the original version and v2.0 are available to help curriculum planning.











Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

in·ter·mit·tent

Pronunciation: \-ˈmi-tənt\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin intermittent-, intermittens, present participle of intermittere Date: 1601
coming and going at intervals : not continuous ; also : occasional — 

in·ter·mit·tent·ly adverb 

Source: Mirriam-Webster Online Dictionary http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Intermittent Retrieved 15 May 2015

Postings here will be less frequent than they have been.

Extraordinary things that I notice will be posted.

I expect to get back on a 5-days-a-week schedule in August.

Remember that nearly all the over 3,800 entries here are indexed. 

Use the search box in the right hand sidebar to find a country or a concept that you're interested in. 

And, if your web browser allows it, there's a search box at the top left corner of the blog that will sort through key words. (The search box shows up on my Safari and Netscape browsers on my desktop computer but not on my laptop.)
 
If you find a bit of information that might be useful for teaching comparative politics or if you have a question, post it at the AP Comparative Government and Politics Facebook page or send me a note.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Unfree press

Russian president Putin is not fond of independent reporting. What does he fear from investigative journalism when his popularity ratings are so high?

Removal of Top Editors Signals Trouble for Independent Russian Paper
Three senior editors at the media organization controlled by Mikhail Prokhorov, the Russian billionaire and Brooklyn Nets owner, left their jobs on Friday, apparently victims of the Kremlin’s ire for reporting too many details about the family and friends of President Vladimir V. Putin.
The departure of the three editors from the RBC newspaper and news service was widely viewed as the death knell for one of Russia’s last independent paper…

Dmitri S. Peskov, Mr. Putin’s spokesman, denied on Friday that the RBC editors’ departure had anything to do with pressure from the Kremlin…

Most analysts expect that Mr. Prokhorov will be pushed to sell the company to some friend of the Kremlin who will turn it into another government mouthpiece…

Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed. Use the search box to look for country names or concept labels attached to each entry.

What You Need to Know 7th edition is ready to help.


Order the book HERE
Amazon's customers gave this book a 4-star rating.








Just The Facts! 2nd edition is a concise guide to concepts, terminology, and examples that will appear on May's exam.


Just The Facts! is available. Order HERE.

Amazon's customers gave this book a 5-star rating.







The Comparative Government and Politics Review Checklist.



Two pages summarizing the course requirements to help you review and study for the final and for the big exam in May. . It contains a description of comparative methods, a list of commonly used theories, a list of vital concepts, thumbnail descriptions of the AP6, and a description of the AP exam format. $2.00. Order HERE.

What You Need to Know: Teaching Tools, the original version and v2.0 are available to help curriculum planning.











Labels: , ,

Saturday, May 14, 2016

2016 FRQs

Here's my estimate of points on these questions.

 I usually overestimate the number of points, but it's difficult to know what the rubric will demand for an explanation or whether partial answers will earn partial credit.

Points for FRQs
  1. 3 points; 1 definition, 1 example, 1 consequence
  2. 3 points: 1 cause, 2 reasons
  3. 3 or 4 points; 1 example of correlation; 1 example of causal relationship; 1 or 2 points for explanation
  4. 3 points; 2 examples of domestic factors; 1 example of international factor
  5. 3 or 4 points; 2 descriptions; 1 or 2 points for explanation
  6. 6−9 points; 3 points for descriptions; 3-6 points for explanations
  7. 7-10 points; 4 points for descriptions; 3-6 points for explanations
  8. 6-7 points; 5 points for descriptions; 1-2 points for explanations

Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed. Use the search box to look for country names or concept labels attached to each entry.

What You Need to Know 7th edition is ready to help.


Order the book HERE
Amazon's customers gave this book a 4-star rating.








Just The Facts! 2nd edition is a concise guide to concepts, terminology, and examples that will appear on May's exam.


Just The Facts! is available. Order HERE.

Amazon's customers gave this book a 5-star rating.







The Comparative Government and Politics Review Checklist.



Two pages summarizing the course requirements to help you review and study for the final and for the big exam in May. . It contains a description of comparative methods, a list of commonly used theories, a list of vital concepts, thumbnail descriptions of the AP6, and a description of the AP exam format. $2.00. Order HERE.

What You Need to Know: Teaching Tools, the original version and v2.0 are available to help curriculum planning.











Labels:

Friday, May 13, 2016

No apologies necessary. Action welcome.

The British PM was overheard to say that Nigeria was "fantastically corrupt." Did an international incident follow? No. Here's why.

Nigerian President Buhari 'not demanding' Cameron apology
Buhari
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari says he is not demanding "any apology from anybody" after UK Prime Minister David Cameron labelled his country "fantastically corrupt".

Speaking at an anti-corruption event in London, Mr Buhari said he was more interested in the return of stolen assets held in British banks…

Mr Buhari's address at the anti-corruption event at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London followed a statement from his office on Wednesday, saying that he had been "deeply shocked and embarrassed" by Mr Cameron's remarks.

Asked if Nigeria was "fantastically corrupt", in an echo of the prime minister's comments, Mr Buhari responded: "Yes."

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Buhari said what the new Nigerian government found when it came to power proved Mr Cameron was right.

"He was telling the truth. He was talking about what he knew," Mr Buhari said.

Nigeria was ranked 136 out of 167 countries in Transparency International's 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index…

Mr Buhari praised the UK government for its help in efforts to repatriate stolen funds held in the UK…

"What would I do with an apology? I need something tangible," Mr Buhari said, referring to efforts to recover the money…

Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed. Use the search box to look for country names or concept labels attached to each entry.

What You Need to Know 7th edition is ready to help.


Order the book HERE
Amazon's customers gave this book a 4-star rating.








Just The Facts! 2nd edition is a concise guide to concepts, terminology, and examples that will appear on May's exam.


Just The Facts! is available. Order HERE.

Amazon's customers gave this book a 5-star rating.







The Comparative Government and Politics Review Checklist.



Two pages summarizing the course requirements to help you review and study for the final and for the big exam in May. . It contains a description of comparative methods, a list of commonly used theories, a list of vital concepts, thumbnail descriptions of the AP6, and a description of the AP exam format. $2.00. Order HERE.

What You Need to Know: Teaching Tools, the original version and v2.0 are available to help curriculum planning.











Labels: , ,