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Archive for August, 2008

Tales Of The LBJ Tapes

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

When Lyndon B. Johnson took office as president, after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, he began making daily recordings of his private conversations.Historian Michael Beschloss transcribed and edited the tapes’ contents and provided commentary on them in his book Taking Charge: The Johnson White House Tapes, 1963-1964.

The book sheds light on Johnson’s thoughts during the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination, the creation of the Warren Commission to investigate it, the progress of the civil rights bill and the Gulf of Tonkin attack. And it illuminates Johnson’s decision-making process during his administration’s escalation of the Vietnam War.

Listen to the interview with Terry Gross

On the Joe Biden Choice

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

It’s Biden Time (from Slate’s John Dickerson)

AP Comparative Government Course Guide (Truncated)

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

Please read the official explanation of the AP Syllabus from the AP College Board and be familiar with the exam structure:

The AP Comparative Government and Politics Exam asks students to explain and apply key and supporting concepts. The exam measures students’ knowledge of the six core countries and their ability to compare and contrast political regimes; electoral systems; federal structures; civil rights; and state responses to economic, social, and religious challenges over time.

The APCG Exam:

Section I: Multiple Choice | 55 Questions | 45 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

  • Address major conceptual understandings among the six core countries
  • Apply skills of comparison and interpretation in addition to factual recall

Section II: Free Response | 8 Questions | 100 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

  • Short-Answer Concept (5 Questions)
    Students provide descriptions of concepts, identifying their significance, contrasting them, or providing examples in one or more countries.
  • Conceptual Analysis (1 Question)
    Students use major concepts to identify and explain important relationships and to discuss the causes and implications of politics and policy.
  • Country Context (2 Questions)
    Students use concepts to analyze one or more countries studied.

Russia and Georgia Clash

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

Russia conducted airstrikes on Georgian targets on Friday evening, escalating the conflict in a separatist area of Georgia that is shaping into a test of the power and military reach of an emboldened Kremlin. Earlier in the day, Russian troops and armored vehicles had rolled into South Ossetia, supporting the breakaway region in its bitter conflict with Georgia.

The United States and other Western nations, joined by NATO, condemned the violence and demanded a cease-fire. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice went a step further, calling on Russia to withdraw its forces. But the Russian soldiers remained, and Georgian officials reported at least one airstrike, on the Black Sea port of Poti, late on Friday night.

The War is on? (from NYT)

Read Slate’s c overage from the Same Day

James Traub Interview on NPR (very good) 

In Pictures from Foreign Policy Magazine

Condi Rice Gets Tough on Russia

No Cold War, but Big Chill Over Georgia

Great Minds Speak

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Malcolm Gladwell talks about the importance of stubbornness and collaboration in problem-solving, and how long it takes to master any challenge. Introduced by David Remnick. View it here

No expert has brought as much fresh thinking to the field of contemporary copyright law as has Lawrence Lessig. A Stanford professor and founder of the school’s Center for Internet and Society, this fiery believer foresaw the response a threatened content industry would have to digital technology — and he came to the aid of the citizenry.

As corporate interests have sought to rein in the forces of Napster and YouTube, Lessig has fought back with argument — take his recent appearance before the U.S. Supreme Court, fighting the extension of copyright protection from 50 to 70 years — and with solutions: He chairs Creative Commons, a nuanced, free licensing scheme for individual creators.

Lessig possesses a rare combination of lawerly exactitude and impassioned love of the creative impulse. Applying both with equal dedication, he has become a true hero to artists, authors, scientists, coders and opiners everywhere. View his Ted Talk Here

The World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

When Foreign Policy and Prospect magazine asked readers to vote for the world’s top public intellectual, one man won in a landslide: Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen, an inspirational leader to millions of followers around the world and persona non grata to many in his native Turkey, where some consider him a threat to the country’s secular order. In a rare interview, Gulen speaks to FP about terrorism, political ambitions, and why his movement is so misunderstood.

See the list here

Coalition Troubles

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

A Coalition of the Unwilling

Cracks Appear in Germany’s Grand Coalition

Grand Coalition in a Bind

The Coalition is Incapable of Reforms

The Right

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

A Wake Up Call from the Far Right

CDU Puts a New Twist on Conservative Politics

Struggling SPD

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

The Worst Possible Thing for the SPD

Does the SPD Still Matter?

SPD Seeking Leadership

Obituary for the SPD

Chinese less restricted, except for politics

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

For the past two decades, China’s people have become richer but not much freer – and the Communist Party has staked its future that the Chinese will live with that tradeoff.That, at least, is the conventional wisdom. But with the Olympic Games opening in Beijing on Friday, training a spotlight on China’s rights record, that view obscures a more complex reality: Political change, however gradual and inconsistent, has made China a significantly more open place for ordinary people than it was a generation ago.

Read on from the IHT