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.
A Disaster Worse Than Katrina
June 04, 2010
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill, now deemed the worst in American history, may inflict more damage to the future of New Orleans than Hurricane Katrina. In a matter of days, Katrina and the levee failure wiped out the physical and social fabric of many communities. Across the Gulf Coast, more than 1 million people were displaced from their homes and another estimated 1,400 persons lost their lives to the disaster. In New Orleans, the severe flooding destroyed more than 134,000 homes, wreaked havoc to public and private infrastructure, disrupted businesses, and severed generations of family and
Kenneth the Page Becomes a Man
May 28, 2010
True conservatives have never known exactly what to think of Bobby Jindal. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Republicans praised Louisiana’s newly elected governor as just the kind of energetic technocrat the state needed to get back on its feet. They were impressed by his youth, his intelligence, and, yes, his background (he’s Indian-American)—and they eagerly started talking him up for higher office. But then came his disastrous response to President Obama’s State of the Union in 2009, after which GOPers mercilessly mocked the governor for the same dorky qualities they once cheered.
May 27, 2010
WASHINGTON—So who is in charge of stopping the oil spill, BP or the federal government? The fact that the answer to this question seems as murky as the water around the exploded oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico suggests that this is an excellent moment to recognize that our arguments pitting capitalism against socialism and the government against the private sector muddle far more than they clarify. There are many tragic ironies bubbling to the surface along with the oil. Consider the situation of Gov.
How They Did It
May 21, 2010
When the president and his closest advisers huddled in the Oval Office last August, they had every reason to panic. Their signature piece of legislation, comprehensive health care reform, was mired in the Senate Finance Committee and the public was souring on it. Unemployment was on the march, and all this talk about preexisting conditions and insurance exchanges barely registered above the Fox News pundits screaming, “Death panel!” Suddenly, health care reform was under attack everywhere—even in the West Wing. All week, the group had debated whether to scale back the reform effort.
The Crisis Comes Ashore
May 21, 2010
The continuing undersea gusher of oil 50 miles off the shores of Louisiana is not the only source of dangerous uncontrolled pollution spewing into the environment. Worldwide, the amount of man-made CO2 being spilled every three seconds into the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding the planet equals the highest current estimate of the amount of oil spilling from the Macondo well every day.
Removing the Nuts
May 17, 2010
Charlie Crist has fled the GOP. John McCain has sold his maverick soul. Bob Bennett just got throttled by conservatives. Michele Bachmann is occasionally taken seriously.
As expected, the Kerry-Lieberman climate bill will give states incentives to expand offshore oil and gas drilling. (See Subtitle B here.) That's not too surprising. Kerry is still gunning for votes from conservatives like Louisiana's Mary Landrieu or South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, and expanded offshore drilling is one way of enticing them. But there are also a lot of adamant drilling skeptics out there, like Florida's Bill Nelson. So how did Kerry thread this particular needle? Here's how the bill would work.
Reading through The New York Times every day, it can seem like the press has been covering the Gulf disaster obsessively. Indeed, some fishermen in Louisiana are now worried that the media is too focused on the oil spill—to the point where it could harm business even in unaffected areas. But how does all this coverage compare historically? I asked Drexel sociologist Robert Brulle for his thoughts, and he put together some fascinating data.
Oil Spill Not Changing Many Minds In Congress
May 10, 2010
So is the Gulf spill actually changing anyone's mind about offshore drilling? It depends where you're looking. In Florida, sure, it is. A handful of conservative state legislators have recently been rethinking their pro-drilling stance. Charlie Crist, who's running for the U.S. Senate, is now rethinking drilling. And, as Brad Johnson notes, GOP State Rep. Greg Evers was once a huge fan of putting up new rigs right near the Florida panhandle shore. Post-spill, though, he's starting to think the risk to the state's beaches isn't worth it: "You have to understand: this is our way of life.