AP US Government Homework

Homework (No Number)

Come to class prepared to talk about your thesis paper and its findings.




50 moments that define an improbable presidency.

Why hasn't Trump folded?

The Democrats finally won the suburbs--now will they destroy them?


If you want to see the article I contributed to, here it is.



-Due Tuesday, January 15th

Homework (No Number)

Read Remy, pp. 543-549


FOR DISCUSSION ONLY: The internet and social media are destroying our country. To what extent is this statement true?




When is it legal to declare a national emergency?

No, Alexandia Ocasio-Cortez. The fact is, it's not because you're a woman.

How the Democrats could lose this shutdown.


-Due Monday, January 14th

Homework (No Number)

Read Remy, pp. 536-541


FOR DISCUSSION ONLY: Should the fairness doctrine be brought back?



More fallout from the Tucker Carlson monologue: David French rejects it, Kirk Jing attacks French's rejection (both are conservative)

A workable compromise is available.

Why is Texas so big?



-Due Friday, January 11th

Homework (No Number)

Read Remy, pp. 527-534


FOR DISCUSSION ONLY: To what extent is it fair to say that the media have too much influence over our political process? 



There's a ton of debate and discussion breaking out about this Tucker Carlson monologue. Tectonic shifting?

Walther is impressed, Kurt Smith less so.

Levitz adds his two cents.



-Due Thursday, January 10th

Homework (No Number)

Read Remy, pp. 519-522


Also, click here if you wish to meet with me in lieu of normal grading for your thesis paper.


FOR DISCUSSION ONLY: Some countries ban polls within a month of an election--here's an Economist piece on the practice.  Should we do the same here?  Why or why not?



Trump literally did not understand what a shutdown would do.

Trump's best shutdown move is to fold now.

Is marijuana as safe as we think?


-Due Wednesday, January 9th

Homework (No Number)

Read Remy, pp. 514-517. Also read this Atlantic piece from 2016 about political polarization


AND: The study sheet for Test 6 can be found here!


FOR DISCUSSION ONLY: To what extent is political polarization rendering America ungovernable?



It's not sexist to call Elizabeth Warren unlikable.

The fight for the soul of the Democratic party has begun.

Patrolling with the Border Patrol.



-Due Tuesday, January 8th

Homework (No Number)

Read Remy, pp. 508-513. Also, please listen to this chapter from This American Life: The Hamster Wheel.


FOR DISCUSSION ONLY: To what extent can our system thrive without the specialized help of lobbyists?



(From 2013) The odd story of the law that dictates how government shutdowns work.

Anti-Americanism drove Der Spiegel's lies.

Misogyny drives Elizabeth Warren's low approval ratings.



-Due Monday, January 7th

Homework (No Number)

Read Remy, pp. 503-507


FOR DISCUSSION ONLY: To what extent should we be worried about interest groups?



2019 will be the worst year of Donald Trump's life.

To what extent is the Parkland massacre a consequence of an Obama policy?

Should the left unite behind Elizabeth Warren.



-Due Friday, January 4th

Homework 42

Read Remy, pp. 492-497


Are you a liberal, a conservative?  A moderate, a libertarian?  A communist, a socialist?  Write about your own political identity and how you came to feel the way you feel.



Is everything awesome?

Why Elizabeth Warren will be such a major player in 2020.

Mitt Romney argues that Trump's character falls short.


-Due Thursday, January 3rd

Homework 41

Read Remy, pp. 481-484


Should we have mandatory voting in the United States? Assume that you could check a "none of the above" option, and also assume that it would be easier to vote than today (maybe an election week rather than just one day).



How bad does the "Illinois exodus" have to get?

Der Spiegel journalist messed with the wrong small town.

Memo to Democrats: just build something.


ALSO, if you are in my 7th period class, please fill out the following sheet to bring food tomorrow.



-Due Wednesday, January 2nd

Homework (No Number)

Read Remy, pp. 475-479


FOR DISCUSSION ONLY: In the United Kingdom, political advertisements are forbidden--except for those on billboards.  Do you think we should have a similar system in the United States?



The secret to winning in 2020.

Is Obamacare dead?

The Pacific Legal Foundation and various Asian parents sue Mayor de Blasio to halt his Discovery plan changes.






-Due Tuesday, December 18h

Thesis Paper Assignment

Please check out this instruction sheet for the thesis paper!


 After reading the sheet, please submit your thesis statement HERE before 11:59pm, December 21st. The sooner you submit, the sooner you can start reading and/or writing. Once you submit, you can see my response on this Google spreadsheet. The essay paper will be due at 11:59pm, Monday January 7th.


Some people have expressed the desire to meet with me in lieu of having their paper graded the conventional way.  To that end, I'm putting up a link to a Google form.  If you would be interested in such a meeting, please indicate it by filling out this form.


Also, to spur your creativity, here are links to previous years' topics: 2017, 2015 and 2014.

Homework (No Number)

Read Remy, pp. 464-470


FOR DISCUSSION ONLY: Many people have criticized party primaries by noting that they tend to be won by the most extreme candidates--thus polarizing the nation.  Do you agree with this critique?  Should we go back to nominating conventions?  What do you think?



Trump won't win a shutdown over the border wall.

Green madness.

Forget Trump. We all must act on climate change.



-Due Friday, December 14th

Homework (No Number)

Read Remy, pp. 458-462. Also check out this piece about the future of parties in America.


FOR DISCUSSION ONLY: To what extent do you agree with the author of this piece?



The real roots of America's rage.

Trump discovers the real wall.

Who's most at risk from the Russia investigations? It might be the Democrats.



-Due Thursday, December 13th

Homework (No Number)

Read Remy, pp. 453-57.


FOR DISCUSSION ONLY: Are political parties good or bad for the United States?  What do you think?


AND: The study sheet for Test 5 can be found here!


ALSO: Dollree Mapp, the plaintiff in the famous Mapp case died not too long ago.  Here's a really interesting obituary from the New York Times.


...and for those of you smarting over college deferrals/rejections, I recommend this piece from 2004.



If Trump is obsessed with stock prices, why is he still a "tariff man"?

America's new religions.

Beto is a loser.



-Due Wednesday, December 12th

Homework 40

Read Remy, pp. 437-443. Also read this Economist article about plea bargains.


Should plea bargains be eliminated? Why or why not? Explain your answer.



29 minutes with Sherrod Brown--is looking this rumpled a path to the presidency?

I was kicked off the stage by college students.  Did I deserve it?

The misguided priorities of our educational system.



-Due Tuesday, December 11th

Homework 39

Read Remy, pp. 430-435


To what extent should tort law be reformed?



Nancy Pelosi's incredible comeback.

The Wisconsin "coup" that wasn't.

The redefinition of racism.


-Due Monday, December 10th

Homework (No Number)

Read Remy, pp. 422-428


FOR DISCUSSION ONLY: Evaluate the major legal principles of the American legal system.  Do you agree with them?  If not, what might work better?



Bush's funeral wasn't about Trump.  But of course it was.

Is Trump considering jettisoning Pence?

Inside the strange world of conservative college women.


-Due Friday, December 7th

Homework 38

Read Remy, pp. 412-418


What do you think of  the Court's ruling in the Bakke case? 



Why a fringe idea about the Supreme Court is taking over the left.

Why we miss the WASPs.

Why the ultrarich aren't satisfied with their wealth.


-Due Thursday, December 6th

Homework (No Number)

Read Remy, pp. 406-410


For Discussion Only: Do you think that the Constitution should be the source of equal protection law?


For those interested--here is a debate/discussion between Justices Stephen Breyer and the late Antonin Scalia. It's about an hour and a half, but it is quite fascinating (if you prefer to watch it in bite sized nuggets, you can go here). This is Dahlia Lithwick of Slate.com's take on the goings-on.




The GOP decides that democracy is the enemy.

What will the post liberal order look like?

We must face persistent racial gaps in academic performance.



-Due Wednesday, December 5th

Homework 37

Read Remy, pp. 398-405.


To what extent do you agree that we gone too far in the creation of protections for the rights of the accused?


Also, if you are interested in learning more about the diversity lottery, check out this Dan Baum piece from December 5th, 2005 New Yorker (PDF).



George H.W. Bush was a better president than Reagan or Clinton.

The Bush family's struggle to keep up with the rightward drift of the conservative movement.

Beware the Bush family image-rehab machine.



-Due Tuesday, December 4th

Homework (No Number)

Read Remy, pp.391-397.


FOR DISCUSSION ONLY: Many have criticized the doctrine of jus soli and claim that it is subject to abuse.  Should jus soli be abolished? Why or why not? Also, read this article from the 2011 New York Times on birthright citizenship.



The hard road to conservative reform.

Mueller just guaranteed that he'll be able to issue a public report.

The continuing lunacy of the neocons.


-Due Thursday, November 29th

Homework (No Number)

Read Remy, pp.387-390


FOR DISCUSSION ONLY: Are our current immigration laws too harsh?  Or should we have a less permissive policy?  Why?



Trump's critics were dead wrong about the caravan after all.

The end of impartiality.

Liberal parents, radical children.



-Due Wednesday, November 28th

Homework 36

Read Remy, pp. 376-382


To what extent do you agree with the outcome of the case of the Nazi march in Skokie? 


AND: The study sheet for Test 4 can be found here!





The two emperor problem.

The perfidy of Illinois' public payrolls.

The monopolization of America.



-Due Tuesday, November 27th

Homework 35

Read Remy, pp. 371-375. Also check out this justification from New York Times of their decision to publish the WikiLeaks info dump of diplomatic cables a couple of years ago. Also, please read the famous Brandeis concurrence to the Whitney case.


To what extent do you agree with the New York Times here?


ALSO: For those of you interested in the Supreme Court, here is a scholarly comparison of the strict originalism (also called textualism) employed by Justices Scalia and Black when making decisions.



Liberals' infantile Beto fantasy.

The decline and fall of the Zuckerberg Empire.

Will Donald  Trump shut down the government if he doesn't get $5 billion for his wall?



-Due Monday, November 26th

Homework (No Number)

Read Remy, pp. 366-370. Also please read this interview "Plain Words and Constitutional Absolutes," with Justice Black from 1962. Additionally, here's a pretty incendiary piece from Slate arguing that Supreme Court Justices "are not really judges."


FOR DISCUSSION ONLY: Is "clear and present" danger the proper test for legal free speech?  Or are you inclined to agree with Justice Black? 



The "madman" behind Trump's trade policy.

The white supremacy surge.

How the Beto bubble could burst.



-Due Wednesday, November 21st

Homework 34

Read Remy, pp. 358-364.  Also please read this piece on the attempt to abolish "under God" from the pledge of allegiance.


Should religion be totally banished from the public sphere?  Should "In God We Trust" be expunged from our currency, for example?  Use the info in the reading to answer this question.


-Due Tuesday, November 20th



The supreme test of Nancy Pelosi's wizardry.

Is Beto O'Rourke the white Barack Obama?

Dueling deities at Harvard.

Homework (No Number)

Read Remy, pp. 355-357


FOR DISCUSSION ONLY: Justice Hugo Black believed in total incorporation--he thought that all of the rights in the bill of rights should apply to the states.  In the end, we now use selective incorporation.  Do you agree or disagree with Black? Why or why not?


-Due Monday, November 19th



Left wing protests are crossing the line.

The New York Post actually endorses criminal justice reform.

This time, Jeff Flake's stand against Donald actually matters.

Homework 33

Read Remy, pp. 343-348


To what extent do you believe that Supreme Court justices are primarily motivated by a dispassionate examination of the Constitution when they write opinions?  Are they excessively ideological?  Should something be done?



The threat to Nancy Pelosi's speakership is suddenly serious.

This is Trump's Saturday night massacre.

Maybe it's time to split up the USA?



-Due Friday, November 16th

Homework 32

Read Remy, pp. 336-341


Does the Supreme Court have too much power in shaping public policy?



Amazon's HQ2 will only worsen America's "Great Divergence." Related: is New York City getting fleeced?

Don't challenge Nancy Pelosi--instead take down Steny Hoyer, the number two Democrat.

Forget impeachment--Mueller's real threat to Trump is in 2020.


-Due Thursday, November 15th

Homework 31

Read Remy, pp. 331-335.  Also read this article by Howard Bashman.


To what extent do you agree with Bashman's argument?




Why can't Democrats win in Ohio?

Democrats should be very careful when they wield their new investigative powers.

Populists on the left and right should be very wary when encouraging the breaking of political norms.





The time Richard Nixon met Robocop--and was lucky to avoid arrest!


Probably the oldest photograph containing a human being.


-Due Wednesday, November 14th

Homework (No Number)

Read Remy, pp. 320-326. Also, please read this article from The Atlantic magazine on law clerks.  It's a short and interesting piece.


For Discussion Only: Is it right that Supreme Court Justices serve a life term? Why or why not?  What alternatives might there be?




As always, the NYTimes has a great election section.

Democrats feel deflated mostly because their expectations got out of hand.

Midterms deliver an American stalemate.

The Senate is drifting away from Democrats indefinitely.





Watch 15 different sorting algorithms do their job!  With sound effects!  More fascinating than you might think.


-Due Thursday, November 8th

Homework 30

Read Remy, pp. 312-317. Also, get ready for Election 2018.  Will the Democrats take back the House?  Possibly even the Senate?  We shall see... Check here for the latest polls. 


Evaluate the process for the selection of federal judges. Should this be done in a different way? Explain.




If you're sure you know what's going to happen on Tuesday, you're wrong.

Democrats ponder the unthinkable: what if they lose?

How will Trump handle defeat?  Not like past presidents...





Recapture the archery techniques of the ancient masters!


-Due Wednesday, November 7th

Homework 29

Read Remy, pp. 305-310


Almost no one in American history has had anything bad to say about judicial review--that's why this 1825 opinion by Pennsylvania judge John Gibson is so notable.  Please read it in Eakin v. Raub


Was John Marshall right to grab the power of judicial review? Do you agree with Gibson’s critique? Explain.





Uncle Pete's in danger.

How everything became the culture war.

The Democrats' culture divide.


-Due Monday, November 5th

Homework 28.

Read Remy, pp. 291-298


As you can see from the reading, bureaucrats have a great deal of power--yet they are totally unelected.  Should our bureaucracy be more democratic?  Should we introduce some sort of election system?  Why or why not? Explain.




Here's the link to the study sheet for Test 3.





The improbably run of Andrew Gillum.

Saudi Arabia: A partner we can't depend on.

Can Kyrsten Sinema win in Arizona?



-Due Friday, November 2nd

Homework (No Number)

Read Remy, pp. 284-289



For Discussion Only: Given how hard it is to fire incompetent federal employees, was the move towards civil service reform such a good thing?



The citizenship clause means what it says.

...or does birthright citizenship need fixing?

Trump plays his greatest hits.



-Due Wednesday, November 1st

Homework 27

Please note that we are skipping the beginning of Chapter 9, Section 3,  but read Remy, pp. 266-7--just the section on Executive Privilege. and Chapter 10, Section 1:  pp. 275-283.  Also, please check out this piece by David Iglesias, "Out of Bounds," from back in 2008.


To what extent is it fair to say that executive privilege gives the President too much power to keep secrets?


-Due Wednesday, October 31st




The biggest story of the midterms is one that the Democrats aren't telling.

The coming clashes between Democrats and Republicans.

The fossil Mark Sanford.






The madness of this wings pricing scheme.

Homework (No Number)

Read Remy, pp. 252-259. Also, check out this editorial about the Senate's treaty powers. For fun, Google the authors!


For Discussion Only: To what extent is it fair to say that executive orders and executive agreements undermine the powers of Congress?




Hillary was right about Trump's basket of deplorables.

Blaming Trump for nuts will backfire on Democrats.

In Europe, speech is an alienable right.


-Due Tuesday, October 30th

Homework 26

Read Remy, pp. 245-250.  Also read this piece about America's perpetual state of emergency--as well as this recent follow-up.


To what extent do presidents take too much power during times of emergency?



The hot seats--Slate's guide to the most competitive races of 2018.

Mike Espy's hard road in Mississippi

When verbal violence turns real.



-Due Monday, October 29th

Homework 25

Read Remy, pp. 234-239.  Also, check out the website for the EOP.


Has the President consolidated too much power for himself through the growth of the Executive Office of the President?



-Due Friday, October 26th



Jon Tester bets the farm.

Democrats don't understand their own midterm weakness.

America's "broken" constitution is exactly what the founders intended.






Ranked by scientists and historians--the greatest 50 inventions of humanity.

Homework 24

Read Remy, pp. 228-232. Also read this article from John Dickerson on the decline of the cabinet.  It's from 2004, but is still relevant.


Is there anything that can be done to make the cabinet more effective? Should it be made more effective?


-Due Thursday, October 25th



Why Democrats need to pack the Supreme Court.

The Air Force has apparently been paying $1300 a piece for coffee cups.

America's demoralizing caravan politics.




This map showing the evolution of the top name for girls since 1960 is fascinating--like watching generals slug it out for territory.

Homework 23

Read Remy, pp. 220-226. Also, check out Five Reasons to keep the Electoral College by Richard Posner. 


Should the Electoral College be scrapped?  Why or why not?  If so, what should be put in its place?


-Due Wednesday, October 24th



Jon Tester's tough campaign in Montana.

The Trump administration's hard choices on Saudi Arabia.

Democracy and its discontents.


Also: Marxists against wokeness.

Homework 22

Read Remy, pp. 213-219. Also, check out this Bloomberg piece.


Article 2 of the Constitution mandates that the President be a natural born citizen and that they be at least 35 years of age.  What do you think of these requirements?  Explain.



The right finds the perfect weapon against the left.

How the Mueller fairy tale ends.

Tribalism isn't our main problem... the conservative movement is.



-Due Tuesday, October 23rd




Hypnotic letter painting skillz.

Homework 21

Read Remy, pp. 198-203


When Republicans took control of the House and Senate in 2010, they banned earmarks.  Read this Washington Post article defending earmarks and asking for their return.


Should earmarks, also known as pork, be returned to the House? Why or why not?


-Due Thursday, October 18th



Will the blue wave collapse before it reaches the shore?

The Elizabeth Warren fiasco.

America's dilemma: censuring MBS, but not halting his reforms.

Homework 20

Read Remy, pp. 194-198.  Also check out this piece, "Two Visions of Democracy."


To what extent should our politicians be delegates? To what extent should they be trustees? Explain.




Here is a really fantastic interactive budget, though it is based on the 2010 fiscal year.  It focuses on how small a percentage of the budget is discretionary non-defense spending. Unfortunately, it's in Flash, so you might have to use an old browser...


Optional Reading

Richard Fenno is a political scientist who became famous through his exploration of how members of Congress act in their home districts and how these actions aid in their reelection.  He wrote a book called Home Style on these matters, but the book grew out of an academic article entitled House Members in Their Constituencies: An ExplorationHere's the article--it's great; but its not required.




Why the left won't take up originalism.

What the left misses about nationalism.

 Did Elizabeth Warren just kill identity politics?



...and meet your new robot overlords!


-Due Wednesday, October 17th

Homework 19

Read Remy, pp. 189-192. Also, here is a great article about the way that the Senate circumvents the requirement that the House pass tax legislation first.


To what extent is it fair to argue that the federal government spends too much money?


Also, here's the study sheet for Test 2.



-Due Tuesday, October 16th



Harvard trial about more than affirmative action--elite college admissions are broken.

Even if Beto loses, he still matters.

Three theories about Jamal Khashoggi's fate.


Bonus Graphics

A great graphic design visualization of how a bill becomes a law.


The North Carolina gerrymander

Homework 18

Read Remy, pp. 181-188


To what extent is it fair to say that the founders have created an overly cumbersome legislative process?  Should it be easier to make a bill into a law? Explain.


ALSO: Check out this Planet Money podcast called "Schoolhouse Rock Is A Lie"--though the filibuster has changed a bit since Reid's reforms.



Two cheers for socialism--why liberals need enemies on the left.

Constitutional hardball and "anti-hardball"

The Democrats have an immigration problem.



-Due Monday, October 15th

Homework 17

Read Remy, pp. 172-176


Given the breakdown in communication between Congress and the President, should reforms be undertaken to improve this relationship?  Can they?



My private oval office press conference with Trump, Pence, Kelly and Pompeo.

Independents likely hold the key to control of the House.

There's no excuse for undermining the legitimacy of the Supreme Court


-Due Friday, October 12th



The Useless Web

Homework 16

Read Remy, pp. 167-171. 


The reading spoke about the practice of legislative oversight, and also how limited it is.  Scholars Matthew McCubbins and Thomas Schwartz published a very influential defense of Congress in their 1984 piece "Congressional Oversight Overlooked: Police Patrols versus Fire Alarms." (PDF)  Please check it out.


To what extent do you agree with McCubbins and Schwartz?  Explain.



Kavanaugh uproar in Senate fuels GOP races for Governor and House.

The cult of Beto.

Kavanaugh's first day on the job was... normal.


-Due Thursday, October 11th

Homework 15

Read Remy, pp. 157-165


THE COMMERCE CLAUSE! Read the opinion of the Supreme Court in the 1942 case Wickard v. Filburn.  Also, please watch this video from Reason Magazine on this issue--Wheat, Weed and Obamacare. Note that Reason has a strong libertarian bias--they are affiliated with the Cato Institute.  Note, as an opposing point of view, that it was via the commerce clause that the Civil Rights Act was applied to private businesses.


To what extent has Congress overstepped its bounds when interpreting the commerce clause? 



Liberals can fight back by packing the court.

The Kavanaugh lesson: resist "the resistance" or lose.

Get tougher on limo safety to prevent future tragedies.


-Due Wednesday, October 10th

Homework (No Number)

Read Remy, pp. 146-150


Check out this article on the powers and responsibilities of Congressional Staffs. 


Also, check out Legistorm--a website that shows all of the staffers in Washington and their salaries. If you're challenged to log in, I have created an account for the class:


username: stuystudent

password: imastuystudent


Here is a link to the staff of Senator Schumer--note that there are two such pay periods, so the numbers you see can be multiplied by two to see what yearly salary the staffer makes.  And here is a link to the salaries of the staffers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee--the committee fought over by Waxman and Dingell.  Note that there are four pay periods in the House, so to determine yearly salaries, multiply the numbers you see by four.


FOR DISCUSSION ONLY: "Members of Congress have become cripplingly over-reliant on their staffs. Staff budgets must be slashed in order to force our legislators to do the work for which they were elected."  Do you agree or disagree with this quote?  What do you think?



Trump engaged in suspect tax schemes as as he reaped riches from his father.

What Kavanaugh's drinking tells us about his credibility.

How Democratic party idiocy may cost them the Senate.




-Due Thursday, October 4th

Homework 14

Read Remy, pp. 138-145 (please note that this is two sections)


Also, please read this blog entry by enormously prolific former judge Richard Posner on the filibuster. Also, special thanks to Ivan Galakhov who was able to create his own version of Slate's flag generator!


Should the filibuster be abolished?


-Due Wednsday, October 3rd




How Kavanaugh's downfall would be a disaster for the Democrats.

This map shows why Trump couldn't kill NAFTA.

Brett Kavanaugh's lies are catching up with him.




Optional Stuff

Interesting piece on procrastination from the New Yorker.  Read it AFTER you finish the homework...

Amazing mashups (of Youtubers) by Kutiman and (of Muppets) by Pogo.

Homework 13

Read Remy, pp. 132-137


Also, click on this link to the web site of the radio program "This American Life." I want you to listen to a segment about life in the minority in the House of Representatives called "Bully's Pulpit"--it comes 42 minutes into the show and is about 13 minutes long. (Note: it might take a couple of minutes for the program to load in its entirety)  If you want to save it, you can right click on the link and download the mp3 to play on your cell phone or whatever.


To what extent is the House is too dominated by the majority party? Should anything be done to change this?


Here is the study sheet for this Friday's test.



If there is a "Kavanaugh Wave," will it help Democrats or Republicans?

The FBI can do this, says James Comey.

The FBI probe may be designed to fail.



Behold the amazing hexaflexagon!



-Due Tuesday, October 2nd

Homework 12

Read Remy, pp. 123-130


Read this (somewhat old) article by Jeffrey Toobin about the increasingly sophisticated techniques behind gerrymandering. Also, check out this website that lets you create your own gerrymandered districts.  Wow!


Has gerrymandering made a mockery of the House of Representatives?  What realistic solutions are there to the problems that Toobin explains?



Trump's going to get reelected, isn't he?

Only the truth can save us now.

The Kavanaugh hearing was a train wreck.



ALSO: Richard Feynman explains why rubber bands work. Fascinating stuff.


-Due Monday, October 1st

Homework 11

Read Remy, pp. 112-116. Also, check out this article from the New York Times from a couple of years ago.


Given the tremendously low turnout in local elections, to what extent should we be worried about our federalist system?


-Due Friday, September 28th





A day that will resonate in history.

Trump's press conference was unhinged and legitimately scary.

With or without Rod Rosenstein, the Russia probe will survive.



Just a normal video of a guy in a kayak being slapped in the face by a seal with an octopus.

Should invasive species be killed?

Homework 10

Read Remy, pp. 106-110


“States' rights, as our forefathers conceived it, was a protection of the right of the individual citizen. Those who preach most frequently about states' rights today are not seeking the protection of the individual citizen, but his exploitation. . . . The time is long past - if indeed it ever existed - when we should permit the noble concept of States' rights to be betrayed and corrupted into a slogan to hide the bald denial of American rights, of civil rights, and of human rights.”

--Robert Kennedy


Do you agree or disagree with this quote?  Note that today, some states are more progressive than the nation as a whole, passing laws legalizing marijuana use, same sex marriage and imposing tighter restrictions on industrial pollution and emissions.


-Due Thursday, September 27th







Beto O'Rourke, the Reaganesque anti-Trump.

Brett Kavanaugh and the cruelty of male bonding.

Is America heading for an actual civil war?



Optional Stuff

Impressed by the eloquence of Justice Antonin Scalia, but hate his conservative opinions?  Here's a roundup of some of the times that he sided with liberals--or at least civil libertarians.

Homework 9

Read Remy, pp. 103-105


To what extent is it fair that state universities charge out-of-state students more tuition?  Explain your reasoning!


-Due Wednesday, September 26th



Believe the facts, not necessarily the women.

The boys' club that protects Brett Kavanaugh.

If Rosenstein goes, the next in line can't be trusted.



Optional Reading

What is it really like to be a baby?

This is a pretty cool video.

Homework 8

Please read Remy, pp. 95-102. Then check out this critique, which calls our sacred national document imbecilic. Also, Rod Rosenstein is out because of this Times article.


To what extent is our constitution "imbecilic"?



-Due Tuesday, September 25th



New Kavanaugh accusation and a delay in testimony

The Supreme Court is coming apart.

Did Kavanaugh engage in a pattern of sexual assault?  He's probably a goner?


Homework 7

Read Remy, pp. 84-90. Also, read this 2012 piece that argues that it's too hard to amend our Constitution.


If you could add any amendment to the US Constitution, what would it be and why?


Due Monday, September 24th



How strong does the evidence against Kavanaugh have to be?

Believe him.

Why should we?

and could Kavanaugh still be charged for attempted rape in Maryland?


Optional Stuff

Amazing Japanese mochi making.

Homework 6



Take a look at these failed amendments and these proposed amendments.


Also, please read James Madison's Federalist 10 and 51


Finally--here's a fantastic site that allows you to explore the ratification of the Constitution in depth.


Did the Founding Fathers make the Constitution too difficult to amend?  What do you think of the amendment process in general?  Did seeing the failed or proposed amendments change your mind? Explain.


Also: for those who are curious to see James Madison's notes of the Philadelphia Convention, they can be found here.


-Due Friday, September 21st



Kavanaugh and Ford deserve blind justice.

If Kavanaugh goes down, will Republican voters be discouraged or enraged?

And a big report from the New York Times: The plot to subvert an election.




Optional Reading

Here's an interesting map of the United States with 50 new states--all with more or less equal population.

Homework 5

Read Remy, pp. 63-67.   Also check out this review of Robert Dahl's book "How Democratic Is the American Constitution", written by Hendrick Hertzberg (the a past editorial editor at the New Yorker magazine). Finally, THE CONSTITUTION. Read it in FULL! Get thee to the interactive Constitution. Even if you do have a physical copy, the site is worth a visit.


Also, the full calendar for the course is now up!


Pick a (scholarly) article from the Interactive Constitution article and creatively disagree with it.



It's Susan Collins's moment.

"I believe her."

And, an interesting take: "If Kavanaugh loses, do Democrats really win?"



-Due Thursday, September 20th


Optional Reading

Proof that my no laptop policy is awesome?

Drilling. It kills your desire to learn... doesn't it?

Why are some languages faster than others?

"No Evidence of Disease"--this is a hell of a story.

Homework 4 

Read Remy, pp. 53-58.  Also read this article about the Constitutional Convention.


Here's a quote from famous abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, on the Constitution:


There is much declamation about the sacredness of the compact which was formed between the free and slave states, on the adoption of the Constitution. A sacred compact, forsooth! We pronounce it the most bloody and heaven-daring arrangement ever made by men for the continuance and protection of a system of the most atrocious villany ever exhibited on earth. Yes—we recognize the compact, but with feelings of shame and indignation, and it will be held in everlasting infamy by the friends of justice and humanity throughout the world. It was a compact formed at the sacrifice of the bodies and souls of millions of our race, for the sake of achieving a political object—an unblushing and monstrous coalition to do evil that good might come. Such a compact was, in the nature of things and according to the law of God, null and void from the beginning. No body of men ever had the right to guarantee the holding of human beings in bondage. Who or what were the framers of our government, that they should dare confirm and authorise such high-handed villany—such flagrant robbery of the inalienable rights of man—such a glaring violation of all the precepts and injunctions of the gospel—such a savage war upon a sixth part of our whole population?—They were men, like ourselves—as fallible, as sinful, as weak, as ourselves. By the infamous bargain which they made between themselves, they virtually dethroned the Most High God, and trampled beneath their feet their own solemn and heaven-attested Declaration, that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights—among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They had no lawful power to bind themselves, or their posterity, for one hour—for one moment—by such an unholy alliance. It was not valid then—it is not valid now. Still they persisted in maintaining it—and still do their successors, the people of Massachusetts, of New-England, and of the twelve free States, persist in maintaining it. A sacred compact! A sacred compact! What, then, is wicked and ignominious?


Do you agree or disagree with the above quote?  If you do agree, were there any alternatives? What do you think?


-Due Tuesday, September 18th



Kavanaugh's nomination in turmoil as accuser says he assaulted her decades ago.

And Kavanaugh and his accuser are both willing to testify.

Trump derangement syndrome doesn't exist?



Optional Stuff

Why do people hurt themselves for memes?

How Japan's bullet trains changed travel.

Homework 3

Read Remy, pp. 48-52.  Also read the Articles of Confederation. These also can be found in the back of our textbook (pp. 808-811).  Also, read this article comparing the European Union to the Articles.


1) To what extent were the Articles of Confederation feasible blueprints for the new nation?


2) Analyze at least one article in the Articles.  Show why it's a good or bad idea.


-Due Monday, September 17th



Ten misconceptions about the great financial crisis.

Democratic insurgents topple six incumbents--and primaries are won on the ground, not in the air.

The college campus cult of fragility.



Optional Stuff

Would terraforming Mars be a bad idea?

Bonkers animation of the possible storm surge from Florence.

Homework 2

Read Remy, pp. 42-7 and the Declaration of Independence found at pp. 770-773. Also, check out this piece about the impact of the Declaration in early US history


To what extent has the United States lived up to the revolutionary ideals of the Declaration of Independence? Explain.


-Due Friday, September 14th



There's never been a President this unpopular with an economy this good.

How Elizabeth Warren is dominating the Democratic presidential race.

The polarization of Hurricane Florence.



Optional Stuff

Myers-Briggs--the bogus personality test that conned the world.

Homework 1

We are beginning to use the textbook, henceforth known as "Remy."  Read pp. 35-40.  Also, take a look at these excerpts from John Locke's Second Treatise of Government. 


Written work: What are Locke's hypotheses, and to what extent do you agree with them?


What format should this work be in?  It should be:

1) In PDF form.  You should be able to use Word or any other word processing software to save as PDF. Also Macs and some other programs allow you to print to PDF.  Also, Google Docs allows you to save as a PDF. PLEASE NOTE THAT HOMEWORK SUBMITTED IN .DOC OR .DOCX FORM IS NOT GRADABLE!

2) Double spaced

3) No longer than two, but no shorter than one page.

4) Titled "HW 1, John Smith" if your name were John Smith

5) Uploaded into our shared Dropbox account by the start of class  tomorrow.



For the first time ever, the NYTimes reveals its live poll data in real time!

The opioid crisis hits home. Mine.

The delicate art of using linguistics to identify an anonymous author.



-Everything Due Wednesday, September 12th


Read short George Orwell essay about good writing: "Politics and the English Language." Let it be your guide.


Examine this PDF, an infographic showing the entire federal budget in 2016.


Read this blockbuster op-ed in the New York Times from an anonymous White House official: "I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration."  See (conservative anti-Trump columnist) David Frum's response here: "This is a Constitutional Crisis." And who is this anonymous individual?


-Due Friday, September 7th



Optional Stuff

Also: want to engage in a bit of military procurement through the Department of Defense?  No problem!  Simply master this organizational chart.

And... why are window ACs stuck in the past?


Please go to this form and enter in your information! Also, check out this interesting video about the tiny subway that runs under the U.S. Capitol.




1) Make sure you have a Dropbox account!


2) Share a folder with me.  The format should be as follows:  If your name were Joe Biden and you were in my 7th period AP US Gov class, the folder would be entitled: Joe Biden, 7.  My e-mail address for sharing is mpolazzo@gmail.com


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




-Due Thursday, September 6th