Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

On the road

VACATION


Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park
  • Surface elevation: 6,781' (2,067 m)
  • Area: 1.861 mi² (4.82 km²)
  • Length: 2.175 miles (3.5 km)
  • Width: 1.181 miles (1.9 km)

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











What You Need to Know 6th edition is ready to help.



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







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


New edition coming in August.







Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Advice from the third way

Tony Blair refashioned the Labour Party and its programs. And he lead the party to victory. Then the party reverted, in many ways, to its pre-Blair incarnation. Now the former PM offers advice about getting back to winning ways.

Tony Blair warns against moving left as Jeremy Corbyn leads poll
Labour has "rediscovered losing", former Prime Minister Tony Blair warned as a poll put left-winger Jeremy Corbyn ahead in the leadership contest.

Blair
Mr Blair said Labour could win again - but not from a "traditional leftist platform" and said it had to "move on"...

Addressing the Progress think tank, Mr Blair said the "debilitating feature" of the leadership contest was that it was being presented as a choice "between heart and head", adding that people who say their heart is with Mr Corbyn should "get a transplant"…

Since he became Labour leader 21 years ago, the party had "discovered winning successively" then "rediscovered losing successively", he said, adding: "Personally I prefer winning."…

May's election was "out of the playbook of the 1980s" with the Conservatives seen as the party of economic competence and Labour of compassion, he said, adding that the party should avoid repeating past defeats by occupying the centre ground of politics…


John Prescott tells Tony Blair to 'calm down'
Lord Prescott
Lord Prescott has criticised Tony Blair's intervention in the Labour leadership contest, telling the former prime minister to "calm down".

Mr Blair urged against a lurch to the left and said people who said their heart was with Jeremy Corbyn should "get a transplant".

Ex-Deputy PM Lord Prescott said his comments were "unacceptable", saying Labour was all about heart and head.

He urged the party to "stop the abuse" and "get back to policy"…

And he was highly critical of Mr Blair over his comments on Wednesday warning that Labour would not win again if it shifted its policies leftwards…

He said Labour had lost a lot of support because of the 2003 Iraq War and said the former prime minister should reflect on that…

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

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











What You Need to Know 7th edition will be ready to help in August.



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.


New edition coming in August.








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Monday, July 27, 2015

Teaching about civil society

Lindsay Marshall of San Jose, CA found and posted (on the AP Government Teachers Facebook page) an excellent set of tools for teaching about civil society. NOTE: There's also a Facebook page for AP Comparative Government and Politics.

The plans were created for Civic Voices which "encourages global education for the 21st century by creating a virtual classroom for students to study active citizenship."

Several of the teaching plans are specifically about the USA, but Russia and Mexico are featured in a couple more. It wouldn't take much to add examples of national symbols, national anthems, and constitution preambles of the other countries in the AP curriculum to customize these plans for AP Comparative.

What is political culture?
Topics:
  • Defining Culture
  • Distinguishing Political Culture from the rest of culture
  • Political Culture and Democracy
  • Daniel Elazar's Typology of Political Cultures
  • Roles of Citizens in four political cultures
  • How does political culture explain American politics?
  • Is statism compatible with democracy?
  • Is democracy compatible with traditionalism?
  • What do national symbols say about political culture?
    • National Symbols of the United States
    • National Symbols of Russia
    • National Symbols of South Africa
    • National Symbols of Mexico
  • What are five dimensions of political culture?
  • What do constitutional preambles tell us about political cuture?

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











What You Need to Know 7th edition will be ready to help soon.



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.


New edition coming in August.








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Another UK party in disarray

The Prime Minister has trouble keeping his MPs in line. Now it seems that Labour, which is still deciding upon a new leader, has trouble keeping its members united.

Welfare cuts backed amid Labour revolt
MPs have backed government plans for £12bn in welfare cuts amid a Labour revolt over its leadership's call for its MPs not to oppose the changes.

The Commons backed the Welfare Reform and Work Bill at Second Reading by 308 to 124 votes.

Announcing voting results
But 48 Labour MPs defied orders to abstain and instead voted against the bill…

Acting Labour leader Harriet Harman has faced criticism for her stance on the issue, with many MPs saying she should have been more outspoken in her opposition to curbs on child tax credits and cuts to other in-work benefits…

In a passionate debate, Conservative MPs lined up to support the measures while many Labour MPs said they could not support the bill, which was also opposed by the SNP, the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and the Greens…

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: "Nearly 50 Labour MPs have defied their leadership and opposed our welfare reforms which will move our country from a low wage, high tax and high welfare economy to a higher wage, lower tax and lower welfare society… "

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











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



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.


New edition coming in August.








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Sunday, July 26, 2015

China as a global power

A combination of wealth and intention have led to China's role as a major world power.

China’s Global Ambitions, With Loans and Strings Attached
Where the Andean foothills dip into the Amazon jungle, nearly 1,000 Chinese engineers and workers have been pouring concrete for a dam and a 15-mile underground tunnel. The $2.2 billion project will feed river water to eight giant Chinese turbines designed to produce enough electricity to light more than a third of Ecuador…

Ecuador, with just 16 million people, has little presence on the global stage. But China’s rapidly expanding footprint here speaks volumes about the changing world order, as Beijing surges forward and Washington gradually loses ground…

While China has been important to the world economy for decades, the country is now wielding its financial heft with the confidence and purpose of a global superpower…

China’s currency, the renminbi, is expected to be anointed soon as a global reserve currency, putting it in an elite category with the dollar, the euro, the pound and the yen. China’s state-owned development bank has surpassed the World Bank in international lending. And its effort to create an internationally funded institution to finance transportation and other infrastructure has drawn the support of 57 countries, including several of the United States’ closest allies, despite opposition from the Obama administration…

In many cases, China is going where the West is reluctant to tread, either for financial or political reasons — or both. After getting hit with Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, Russia, which is on the verge of a recession, deepened ties with China. The list of borrowers in Africa and the Middle East reads like a who’s who of troubled regimes and economies that may have trouble repaying Chinese loans, including Yemen, Syria, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe…

With its elevated status, China is forcing countries to play by its financial rules, which can be onerous. Many developing countries, in exchange for loans, pay steep interest rates and give up the rights to their natural resources for years. China has a lock on close to 90 percent of Ecuador’s oil exports, which mostly goes to paying off its loans.

“The problem is we are trying to replace American imperialism with Chinese imperialism,” said Alberto Acosta, who served as President Correa’s energy minister during his first term. “The Chinese are shopping across the world, transforming their financial resources into mineral resources and investments. They come with financing, technology and technicians, but also high interest rates.”…

Find out about the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/06/25/is-aiib-the-answer-to-asias-infrastructure-needs.html

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

AIIB Home Page

Also check out the NYTimes interactive graphic of China's involvement in the world economy.


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











What You Need to Know 7th edition will ready to help soon.



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.


New edition coming in August.








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Saturday, July 25, 2015

The youngster raises some good questions

Like a lot of Brits, those of us who have watched Commons for years have become inured to the eccentricities of MPs' behaviors. Newcomers bring a new persective.

Mhairi Black criticises Westminster's 'silly traditions'
Westminster must decide whether it is a museum or a functional parliament, according to the UK's youngest MP.

Mhairi Black, aged 20, was elected as MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South in May amid a wave of SNP dominance in Scotland.

Her maiden speech in the House of Commons became a viral hit, racking up millions of views…

On the issue of the no clapping rule in the House of Commons she said: "So you're not allowed to clap like an ordinary person, but you're allowed to bray like a donkey?

"I mean, see PMQs, especially the Conservative side, they've got this weird noise they do. It actually sounds like a drunken mob." …

She also suggested the tradition of having to vote in person, rather than electronically, was outdated.

"Are we genuinely saying that the Underground can log millions of travellers, day in, day out, without a problem, and 650 of us can't hit a button?

"It's just stupid. A couple of Mondays ago, I didn't get home until half past midnight because we were voting. How is anybody with a family supposed to work those hours?"…

As in the US Congress when members give speeches, there were few people in Commons when Ms Black gave her first speech. Her SNP colleagues were the main audience. So there were few "bray" noises and many "Hear! Hear!" cheers that substitute for applause.




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











What You Need to Know 7th edition will ready to help soon.



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.


New edition coming in August.








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Friday, July 24, 2015

Soft power within Iran

Among the pressures created by the sanctions on Iran was the wavering support for the government among the young, urban citizenry. The powers that be are trying to win that support back.

How Iran is trying to win back the youth
Amir Tataloo
The Iranian rapper Amir Tataloo released a new music video… on 14
July. It was called Nuclear Energy and took the Iranian web sphere by storm. The clip features members of the Islamic republic navy on a warship singing “This is our absolute right, to have an armed Persian Gulf”.

The video, with clear support from the regime and its military apparatus, has shocked many Iranians, given that officials have snubbed rappers as “westernised” thugs at best, and fomenters of evil, at worst…

Some in Iran’s pro-regime cultural centres felt they had a problem though: very few young people were interested in state-sponsored media. Media makers had spent… 20 years creating films, television series, and books about the “Sacred Defence”, the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. But, from the 1990s onwards, ticket and book sales were dipping, according to their own accounts.

“Frankly, we turned young people off with the propaganda we produced in the 1980s and 1990s,” one prominent pro-regime film producer… told me. “We have to learn to speak the language of youth and use their codes if we want them to like our work. In short, we have to entertain them.”

Observing an increasing trend in displays of nationalism in the general population, the regime’s cultural producers and the political elite sensed an opportunity…

A prominent example is the newly built multi-million dollar Museum of the Sacred Defence in northern Tehran…

One of the main exhibits… displays large maps that demonstrate the expanse of the Persian empire ruling swaths of Asia over 3,000 years ago. It juxtaposes it against shrinking Iranian territory throughout the centuries. Iran’s size today is minuscule in comparison to the glorified empire painted on the wall…

This museum, in line with the new strategy pursued by these cultural producers, moves away from celebrating martyrs to offering a narrative heavy on nationalism, dignity, and pride. “This youngest generation doesn’t understand our religious language,” a key filmmaker said at one meeting of pro-regime cultural producers where I was present. “We have to reframe our heroes for them - give them heroes they can relate to.”…

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











What You Need to Know 7th edition is coming in August.



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.


New edition coming in August.








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Thursday, July 23, 2015

The soft power champ

Every country makes an effort to extend their influence. China has been very purposefully active in trying to extend the reach of their influence through soft power. Maybe it takes more than effort.

Softly does it
HOW many rankings of global power have put Britain at the top and China at the bottom? Not many, at least this century. But on July 14th an index of “soft power”—the ability to coax and persuade—ranked Britain as the mightiest country on Earth. If that was unexpected, there was another surprise in store at the foot of the 30-country index: China, four times as wealthy as Britain, 20 times as populous and 40 times as large, came dead last.

Britain scored highly in its “engagement” with the world, its citizens enjoying visa-free travel to 174 countries—the joint-highest of any nation—and its diplomats staffing the largest number of permanent missions to multilateral organisations… Britain produces more internationally chart-topping music albums than any other country, and the foreign following of its football is in a league of its own… It did well in education, too… because its universities are second only to America’s…

Governance was the category that sank undemocratic China, whose last place was sealed by a section dedicated to digital soft-power—tricky to cultivate in a country that restricts access to the web…

The index will cheer up Britain’s government, which has lately been accused of withdrawing from the world. But many of the assets that pushed Britain to the top of the soft-power table are in play. In the next couple of years the country faces a referendum on its membership of the EU; a slimmer role for the BBC, its prolific public broadcaster; and a continuing squeeze on immigration… Much of Britain’s hard power was long ago given up. Its soft power endures—for now.
St. Edmund Hall, Oxford

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











What You Need to Know 6th edition is ready to help.



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







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


New edition coming in August.







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