A Sociologist Covers The News
June 07, 2010
Chris Beam's well-received piece imagining a news article written by political scientists has inspired Conor Friedersdorf to imagine a news article written by sociologists: NEW ORLEANS — Absent from the dialogue surrounding the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which began on April 20, 2010 following an explosion that killed eleven workers, are the roles of class, race and especially gender.
The Tea Party Movement Isn’t Racist
June 02, 2010
“Very well-written … but dead screaming wrong,” my critic wrote in an email that a friend forwarded to me. “Judis has managed to write about the Tea Party movement without referring to its profound racism.” This sums up the chief complaint that I received about the article I wrote on the Tea Party movement. It is also a common interpretation of the Tea Parties, especially on the political left.
Toward an Accurate Portrayal of American Poverty
May 14, 2010
There’s been a lot of talk lately on the ins and outs of a new supplemental poverty measure being developed by the U.S. Census Bureau. As named, this new measure will not replace the official measure, but will supplement it by offering more information on people’s economic wellbeing. Nancy Folbre’s recent Economix post gives a good round up of why this new measure matters, but here’s the upshot.
Who Pays For The Oil Cleanup?
May 03, 2010
So who pays for an oil-spill disaster like this one? Matthew Wald offers some context. Big, wealthy oil companies like BP are usually expected to pay to the cleanup costs themselves. But that still leaves the cost of all the indirect damage to fisheries and wildlife habitats in the area. In that case, under current law, an offshore rig operator is liable for up to $75 million in damages.
The Arizona Epidemic Hits Alabama
May 02, 2010
In Alabama, it's about "English only." The Associated Press reports that Tim James, Republican candidate for governor, has launched an ad in which he proclaims that, if elected, he would drop the practice of giving the state driver's-license exam in eleven languages other than English. And why? "This is Alabama. We speak English. If you want to live here, learn it."
April 04, 2010
Last week, Alabama Republican Richard Shelby, the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, floated a compromise on the consumer financial protection agency that’s currently stalled in the Senate. Under the bill Chairman Chris Dodd moved through the committee in March, the consumer agency would effectively have its own budget and an independent, White House-appointed director. It would also have significant (but not unchecked) authority to write and enforce rules protecting consumers from abusive bank practices, like deceptive mortgages.
Judging for Dollars
April 03, 2010
Illinois is home to the nation’s costliest judicial election ever: the 2004 contest between Lloyd Karmeier and Gordon Maag. The two candidates in Illinois's fifth judicial district together raised almost $9.4 million, nearly double the previous national record. It topped the money raised in 18 of 34 U.S. Senate races decided that year.
The Zeitgeist Shifts
March 25, 2010
The psychology of victory and defeat is a remarkable thing. A week ago, the Democrats were perceived to have an enormous political problem. Their agenda was stalled in Congress. There was a mass groundswell of public anger they had to contend with. Suddenly those problems have been flipped on their head. Now Democrats don't have a problem because they can't pass anything, Republicans have a problem because they're obstructing everything. Whereas right-wing grassroots activism represented a public backlash against the Democrats, it's now seen as an extremist element that discredits the GOP.
Man of Letters
March 16, 2010
This is the way it happens. They sit in your class poring over Dante’s Inferno or grousing good-naturedly about the silent film you’ve insisted they admire. They graduate to crawling through the mud at Ranger School or learning how to fly a Chinook in Alabama. They write to let you know about the milestones and about the weirdness; they ask what’s new on your end and tell you not to work “too hard.” They stop by the office whenever they’re back in town for a classmate’s wedding or some other event.
March 09, 2010
As we all understand, Republicans are about to have a pretty good election in November. Much of the GOP excitement revolves around congressional races that could unseat “red-state” Democrats who won during the 2006 or 2008 cycles, along with a number of incumbents (some of whom have decided to retire) who have been around much longer. Ground zero for the Republican tsunami is, of course, the Deep South, where in some areas John McCain did better in 2008 than George W.