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Comparative Human Rights Abuses

travel-suitcase

Via the Monkey Cage (Putting Cuban human rights violations in some context), Erik Voeten notes In a recent article (ungated) in the American Political Science Review, Penn State political scientist Christopher J. Fariss develops a smart measurement model that captures the common component among different measures of physical integrity rights. Moreover, this model generates measures […]

Drezner on Cuba

travel-suitcase

If you haven’t seen it, I would highly recommend Dan Drezner’s piece on Cuba from yesterday:  Every big question you have about the U.S. opening to Cuba, answered

Some Questions for Those who Oppose an Opening with Cuba

Cuban American Flags

A little round of Qs and As on US-Cuban policy.

Ok, This is Silly: No “Team America”

travel-suitcase

Via TPM Livewire:  Paramount Blocks 2004 Movie ‘Team America’ From Being Shown In Theaters

US-Cuban Relations and Venezuela

travel-suitcase

Via Bloomberg:  Obama Makes Maduro’s ‘Insolent Yankees’ a Tougher Sell “Maduro’s anti-US rhetoric is being undercut by the Cuban government,” said Gregory Weeks, head of Latin American studies at the University of North Carolina. “One of the biggest repercussions is that Maduro’s foreign policy is based on exclusion of the U.S. and now its biggest […]

Sony, “The Interview,” and Running Government Like a Business.

military-soldier-sunset

It strike me that the situation with Sony and The Interview is a good example of why you can’t run government like a business. While the US government would have to make calculations about warding off future attacks, national reputations, etc. in the face of terrorist threats, all Sony (And AMC, etc.) had to do […]

Hatred Won’t Improve the Discourse

academic-book-glasses

Now, granted, communications is not my academic area of expertise, but I am pretty sure that starting off a column with  the sentence “I hate X” pretty much precludes any chance of communicating (at least having discourse with) members of group X. And yet, Susan J. Douglas, Professor  and Chair of Communications at the University […]

Colombia also Feeling the Fall of Oil Prices

travel-suitcase

Via Reuters:  Colombia Congress passes tax reform to contain deficit Colombia’s lower house passed a tax law that will earn the government 53 trillion pesos ($22.3 billion) over the next four years mostly from businesses, by extending and modifying existing taxes that will expire at the end of this year. The package was passed by […]

Placing Jeb in Ideological Context

Elephants Fighting

Also: charting the rightward shift in the GOP.

Chart of the Day

travel-suitcase

This is from the iPhone story, but it deserves its own post:

Rubles and iPhones

travel-suitcase

Via the BBC:  Rouble turmoil leads to Apple halting online sales in Russia Technology giant Apple says it cannot sell products online in Russia because the rouble’s value is too volatile for it to set prices. The company stopped sales of its iPhones, iPads and other products in the country after a day in which […]

Sowell Deploys a TTBS

us-politics

As a follow-on to my post the other day (On Ticking Time Bombs) I see that Thomas Sowell is joining in the fun: If you knew that there was a hidden nuclear time bomb planted somewhere in New York City — set to go off today — and you had a captured terrorist who knew […]

On Ticking Time Bombs

Nuclear Explosion

The “ticking time bomb scenario” is a TV trope and, therefore, is a terrible guide for making policy.

What Does “Linked to Terrorism” Mean?

military-soldier-sunset

A question occurs in response to Doug Mataconis’ post this morning:  what does "linked To terrorism" mean?*   After all, we often want to know if a given act of violence is “terrorism” or not (and we seem, collectively, to react differently if an act is “terrorism” or not). If an armed individual holds hostages because […]

Hayden and “Rectal Hydration”

us-politics

Via The Hill:   Ex-CIA director defends rectal rehydration “These were medical procedures,” Hayden said during a tense interview on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.” He added that the method was used because detainees were dehydrated, and that giving them intravenous fluids with needles would be dangerous.  ”I’m not a doctor,” he said. “What I […]

Rationalizing Torture

us-politics

I would recommend the following (audio only at the moment):  What Is Torture? Our Beliefs Depend In Part On Who’s Doing It. The piece is about social science research on torture and notes, among other things, 1.  Humans are likely to define “torture” differently if it their group doing it versus when other groups do […]

Gruber

us-politics

Dana Milbank’s piece on the Gruber testimony is worth a read:  The Jonathan Gruber hearing was a zany coda to Darrell Issa’s tumultuous tenure. His summary of the events are not that different than this report from Fox News:  Gruber apologizes for ‘mean and insulting’ ObamaCare comments and this one from The Hill:  Gruber grilled […]

You are Defending Torture

us-politics

So far the only critique of the Senate report has been that the techniques deployed by the CIA did, in fact, produce good and useful intelligence. Setting aside whether that is true or not, keep in mind that such an argument is a defense of torture. I have not seen anyone disputing the actual content […]

Least Shocking Headline of the Day

us-politics

“Dick Cheney Was Lying About Torture” (Politico).

Law (and Law Enforcement) Need not Lead to Violence

law-scales-justice-flag

Despite some of the commentary on threads from recent posts, the presence of the law does not mean that force is around the corner (or that law enforcement officers have no choice but resort to violence in the face of malefactors). Via AL.com: Police officer buys eggs for woman caught shoplifting to feed her family […]

Attitudes on Race (Survey Data)

us-politics

There is a reason why one can safely make assumptions about racist attitudes (unfortunately) in much of American society as data from the 2012 American National Elections Study demonstrates (as summarized by political scientist Tobin Grant at his blog, Corner of Church and State:  Poll: Most whites say blacks are lazier or less intelligent than […]

On Resisting Arrest

law-scales-justice-flag

Several of my recent posts have been on the question of whether a specific law can be said to be to blame for outcomes like the Eric Garner situation or whether it is about the enforcement of those laws (and the behavior of the police). To add some numbers to that debate we have the […]

Violence, Law, and the State

Weber

Thinking about that the state, law, violence, and the Garner incident (and contributing to the tl;dr phenomenon).

Chris Rock on Ferguson, Cosby, and ‘Racial Progress’

us-politics

Worth a read:  (via Vulture):  Chris Rock Talks to Frank Rich About Ferguson, Cosby, and What ‘Racial Progress’ Really Means. And, the man has a point: to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people […]

From the “You Can’t Make this Stuff up File” (Chinese Constitution Day Edition)

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Via Foreign Policy:  On First Annual Constitution Day, China’s Most Censored Word Was ‘Constitution’ On Dec. 4, China’s first annual Constitution Day, Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Dailyposted the complete text of the Chineseconstitution to its Weibo microblogging account, accompanied by the upbeathashtag: “Let’s all read the Constitution!” The easy-to-read attachment included each constitutional article — including […]

On “Black-on-Black” Crime

crime tape

Yet another example of the need for context when discussing stats.

On “Broken Windows” Policing

law-scales-justice-flag

Worth a read from Slate:  Broken Windows Policing Doesn’t Work.

A Quick Observation on the “Too Many Laws” Argument (as Linked to Garner)

law-scales-justice-flag

While I need to formulate (and am working on it, in fact) more well developed response to the discussion of the role played by the law on cigarettes in the death of Eric Garner, I do have a simple response I want to note (it is a thought that has occurred to me more than […]

Photos of the Border

us-politics

I can’t recall if I have posted this link before or not (so apologies if this is a rerun) but it is worth  look (if anything there are some stunning photos).  Via The Atlantic: On the Border.

Speaking of Visa Over-stayers

us-politics

Check out the top three:  Undocumented before they were celebrities.

Six Observations on Immigration Reform

borderfence

Some points on the immigration debate that need constant (it seems) reinforcement.

Easier Voting and Turnout

us-politics

Via TPM: Why Voter Turnout In Oregon Is Incredibly High Average voter turnout across the country was horrible during this year’s midterms: about a third of those eligible to cast ballots did so [...] But turnout surpassed 50 percent in a handful of states: Maine, Wisconsin, Colorado, Alaska, Minnesota and Oregon. During each election over […]

1980: Bush and Reagan on Mexican Immigration

us-politics

This is interesting, if anything, because it rather clearly illustrates a) the Reagan many worship today is not the Reagan that actually existed, and b) it helps underscore how far right the GOP has gone on this issue. (Source:  Hit and Run).      

Early Elections Called in Japan

travel-suitcase

Via the BBC:  Japan PM Shinzo Abe calls snap election in December Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called an early election, two years ahead of schedule. At a news briefing, he said he would dissolve parliament later this week and was also delaying a planned but unpopular increase in sales tax. Mr Abe was […]

Oil Prices to Continue to Fall

money-bankruptcy

Via the BBC:  Oil prices likely to fall further, says IEA The IEA, a consultancy to 29 countries, said weak demand and the US shale gas boom meant crude’s recent fall below $80 a barrel was not over. On Friday, Brent crude, one of the major price benchmarks, traded at $78.13 a barrel, near a […]

Kids These Days!

money-bankruptcy

“I’m just staying home tonight, getting lost in that hopeless little screen” —Leonard Cohen The latest example of “woe unto this generation” is from Nate Hanson at HuffPo:  The Last Generation of Kids That Played Outside This brings me to the startling truth: If we allow the current generation to be satisfied thinking within a […]

Gruber: Politics, Hypocrisy, and Stupidity, Oh My!

argument-cartoon-yelling

Because no one, ever, has ever questioned the intelligence of American voters in extemporaneous discussions of politics.

Unopposed in House Elections

districts

Looking into uncontested and partially contest House districts from the 2014 cycle.

Low Turnout in Alabama

election-voter-people

This year was an especially acute case of no competition in Alabama.

Providing a Little Perspective on the Elections

Election 2014

Political scientists tend to be less dramatic than commentators.

The Senate’s Class 2 and Representativeness (or Lack Thereof)

election-voter-people

Something to keep in mind about the structure of Senate elections.

“Controlling” the Senate

senate_thumb.jpg

That word may not mean what you think it means.

Ebola Numbers

money-bankruptcy

Via the BBC:  Ebola outbreak: Six surprising numbers. The ones that stood out to me were: 1 in 50 Liberian health workers infected 90 days without sex for survivors of Ebola (The Ebola virus can remain present in semen for a long time. Experts say it is best for men who are recovering from the […]

Marijuana Legalization, Uruguay Style

travel-suitcase

Via the BBC:  Uruguay cannabis growers’ clubs: Registration begins Uruguay has started registering cannabis growers’ clubs as part of the government’s plan to legalise the drug. Licensed clubs of up to 45 members will be allowed to grow a maximum of 99 plants each year. In August, growing up to six plants of cannabis at […]

Coup in Burkina Faso

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Via the BBC: Army backs new Burkina Faso leader Isaac Zida Burkina Faso army chiefs have backed a military officer as transitional president. In a statement, the army said Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida was “chosen unanimously to lead the transition period”. This appears to end confusion over who has succeeded President Blaise Compaore, who stood […]

Violent Protests in Burkina Faso

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Via the BBC:  Burkina Faso parliament set ablaze. The conflict is over an attempt to amend the constitution to allow the long-standing president to run for re-election: Protesters angry at plans to allow Burkina Faso’s President Blaise Compaore to extend his 27-year-rule have set fire to parliament. [...] Mr Compaore first took power in a […]

Q3 GDP Growth

money-investing

Via the BBC:  US grows at annual rate of 3.5% in third quarter The US economy grew at an annual rate of 3.5% in the July-September quarter, the Commerce Department has said. That is a slowdown from the 4.6% growth rate of the April-June quarter, but economists say that was a rebound from the first […]

Shooting at the Canadian Parliament

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Via the BBC:  Shots fired inside Canada parliament “Shots fired at War Memorial at 9:52am today; one person injured,” Ottawa Police tweeted on Wednesday as a witness reported seeing authorities search from room to room for the suspect. The gunman fired on soldiers guarding Canada’s main war memorial and then ran into the parliament. The […]

Obama the Republican

money-bankruptcy

Bruce Bartlett has a column at the American Conservative (Obama Is a Republican) which is getting a lot of attention today (and rightfully so, in fact).  His points about the deficit, in particular, ought to be paid attention to. I will say, however, that I find all the attention to his thesis a bit amusing, […]

More Good Ebola News

travel-suitcase

Via the BBC we find that : 1)  Nigeria has been declared Ebola free Nigeria has been declared officially free of Ebola after six weeks with no new cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) says. WHO representative Rui Gama Vaz, speaking in the capital Abuja, said it was a "spectacular success story". Nigeria won praise […]

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