Category Archives: Political

What’s More Important — Patriotism or Free Speech?

Today the test-of-patriotism spotlight is on professional football players, but in 1942 it was on Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Specifically, two elementary school girls from Charleston, West Virginia. At that time, West Virginia required all students and teachers to salute the flag.  Jehovah’s Witnesses objected because they believed this violated the Bible commandment against worshiping images.  Gathie

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Economic Benefits of Endangered Species

When you read about the Endangered Species Act, it’s usually within two contexts — a specific species that’s recovering, or the economic costs of adhering to the law.  So I was a bit surprised to see the headline “The Endangered Species Act Is Criticized for Its Costs. But It Generates More than $1 Trillion a

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Free Speech and Higher Education

I’m a poor choice to write on the implications of free speech at colleges and universities.  Both my undergraduate and graduate degrees were earned at military schools, and I didn’t get onto a “real” college campus until age 57, when I retrained for my teaching license. But I do know that colleges have become coveted

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Documenting Children and War

Keeping up with the news can be sobering, even depressing, especially when children are involved.  But every once in a while, a story grabs your attention like a slap across the face.  Like tonight. I don’t know how many watch PBS’s “News Hour” ( https://www.pbs.org/newshour/ ), but a story late in tonight’s broadcast really brought home

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Presidents and the Supreme Court

Today we tiptoe into the minefield of politics. Recently much has been made about presidential appointments to the Supreme Court, and with good reason.  Our highest court has the final say on what the law of the land actually means. Within a year and a half of taking office, President Trump gets to appoint two

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How Winning a Court Case Cost 10,000 Lives

With all the heat about illegal immigration, it’s refreshing to find an occasional point of light.  One such point (three points, actually) is the “Border Trilogy”, a series of three podcasts from National Public Radio’s Radiolab.  It goes a long way toward explaining how we got to where we are today, including a court case

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A Better Polling Method

There’s been a lot of soul-searching among polling professionals since the 2016 election — why was President Trump’s win such a surprise?  Since then, political pundits have been looking for better polling methods. They may have found one — social circle polling.  Basically, instead of asking how someone plans to vote, people are asked how

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The Prevalence of Fake News

President Trump has a point — there’s a lot of fake stuff out there. Of course, manipulative tools have been available for some time.  I assume you’ve heard of the computer program Adobe Photoshop?  The publishing business where I worked for 15 years displayed a photo of an older couple with the man’s head replaced

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