With March Madness officially under way, millions of office-bound Americans (from President Obama to your humble blogger) are completing their work while keeping one eye on the latest scores. And, as usual, The Study is taking a look at the economics of the event. So, do cities benefit from hosting March Madness tournament games? A 2003 paper by two economists says no—at least not when it comes to the men’s tournament.
This morning, the Internet was abuzz over a scathing resignation letter—in the form of a New York Times op-ed—from a Goldman Sachs official named Greg Smith. Smith claims that over the last several years, the moral culture at the firm has soured.
Everyone’s talking about a recently-released poll showing that Latinos, like most people, simply do not care for Mitt Romney. The poll, conducted by Fox News Latino (it’s real!) and the firm Latin Insights, showed that in a matchup with President Obama, Mitt Romney would garner just 14 percent of Latinos’ votes, compared to Obama’s 70 percent. And crucially, the poll found that this fall, Obama could win forty percent of the Latinos who backed McCain in 2008.
An order announced yesterday by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus will install breath-testing machines on all of the U.S. Navy’s ships and submarines and on Marine Corps bases. The move, according to The Washington Post, “is part of a broader new Navy program designed to improve the physical and mental well-being of those having difficulty coping with the stresses of a decade of war.” As Mabus tells it, the Navy is trying to proactively address a range of alcohol-related problems, from poor fitness to sexual assault and suicide.
This month’s issue of the Journal of Psychiatric Research contains an article debunking a controversial 2009 study (published in the same journal) which claimed to have established a link between abortion and mental health problems. Julia Steinberg, an assistant professor at UC San Francisco, was one of the critique’s authors.
Tomorrow is Super Tuesday, when Republicans in ten states will cast their primary votes. Mitt Romney needs decisive wins to strengthen his tenuous frontrunner status, and he can’t be pleased about recent news that he definitely supported a federal mandate to purchase health insurance. As Romney’s damning (to conservatives, anyway) record becomes clearer, is he losing their support? Somewhat surprisingly, a poll released by Gallup today doesn’t seem to bear out that idea.
Yesterday, Vladimir Putin was elected, in a widely-criticized vote, to another term as Russia’s president. Election observers said the voting process was rife with fraud and ballot-stuffing, but they also criticized the run-up to Election Day, alleging that Putin had manipulated the campaign by using the government to boost his own prospects. Are Russia’s rigged elections part of a worldwide trend away from electoral democracy? According to reports from Freedom House, the last few years have seen both gains and setbacks for the cause of electoral freedom.
The nastiness of right-wing media has a way of turning everyday people into objects of partisan hatred. The latest such unwitting celebrity is Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student whose advocacy for contraception coverage captured the attention of Rush Limbaugh. The radio host demonstrated characteristic charm and decency when he misrepresented Fluke’s stance, called her a “slut” on national radio, and then suggested that she (and millions of other women) make a sex tape for him.
Amid growing tension about Iran’s nuclear program and the possibility of an Israeli strike (with or without advance notice to the United States), President Obama sat down for an interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg. When discussing the potential for a U.S.-led assault on Iranian nuclear facilities, Obama said, “I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don't bluff.” Wait, really? Put aside dangerous geopolitical friction for a moment.
Last night, Matt Kenseth won what many are calling the most bizarre Daytona 500 in history. The race was plagued by a fiery crash, a rain delay (the event’s first ever), and a series of other crashes that necessitated extra laps at the race’s end. It was an exciting event, but was it an economic boost for Daytona Beach? Yes, according to a paper from 2000, but not to the extent that NASCAR would have you think. Some studies popular within the racing industry estimate that new raceways will bring hundreds of millions in economic benefits for communities.