Category Archives: United States

Commissioner Kelly and the discussion worth having

by Ben Kutner

Brown lost its balance yesterday. The healthy give and take between dissenting opinions and the ability to voice those opinions was disrupted during New York City Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly’s speech.

“Governor Moonbeam,” They called him

by Michael Tamayo

They said he couldn’t do it. They said he was a hopeless romantic, dreaming the same way he had always dreamed throughout his career—with his head in the clouds and his feet in the air. He wanted too much from a political climate that budged too little. Governor Jerry Brown wanted to balance California’s budget. California: the Greece of the United States.

Your 2013 special election primer

Ed Markey

by John Perilli

2013 was supposed to be the year America breathed a big sigh of relief from electoral politics, but there is no escape from the ever-turning wheel of democracy. Aside from a number of scheduled off-year elections, there are three upcoming special elections to fill vacated Congressional and Senate seats, in South Carolina, Missouri, and Massachusetts. One special election already occurred in Illinois in April, resulting in a win for Robin Kelly (D-Ill.)

Why the gridlock on gun control?

by Michael Tamayo

Last week at the White House, President Barack Obama stood before a group of mothers whose children had died in shootings and renewed his call for reforms to U.S. gun laws. “I haven’t forgotten about those kids” who died at Sandy Hook three months ago, the president said. “Shame on us if we’ve forgotten.”The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting primed an issue normally left out of the national spotlight. The shooting was the second deadliest school shooting in American history, just behind the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007. The number of casualties in the Sandy Hook shooting nearly doubled that of the Columbine High School massacre. And unlike those shootings, the victims of Sandy Hook weren’t young adults or teenagers: The children were all first graders.

The cost of ambivalence

by Ben Resnik

Queen Elizabeth II’s recent hospitalization and Mitt Romney’s post-election malaise grabbed the headlines last weekend on Google News. Reported with considerably less pomp was the fact that nine people were killed in unmanned drone strikes last month.

The campaign metric we need to understand

by Taylor Daily

In the aftermath of the 2012 election, we saw the importance of mathematics in both understanding and successfully participating in electoral politics. Not only was Barack Obama the election winner, but so were the Nate Silvers of the world. Their desire to bring more mathematics into politics has proven resoundingly successful.

International Oil Companies: Company Culture – Part III

by Margaret Kearney, Louisa Kellogg, Jacqueline Ho, Katherine Wong

Company culture, which includes how the companies engage with the media and stakeholders, disclose information, and present themselves to the world, influences Exxon Mobil Corp. and British Petroleum’s stances on climate change.

Three bold VP picks for Dems in 2016

by Taylor Daily

I am often confounded, as are many others, by how often we in the political sphere denigrate the office of the vice president or downplay the importance of the vice presidential nominee. Perhaps the evidence supports this position, as vice presidential candidates, with the notable exception of Sarah Palin, have appeared not to change the fundamental dynamics of a presidential race. Campaigns generally select the safer choice over one that could be far more interesting.

Mass murder and morality

by Joachim Krueger

It is soothing to think of morality as goodness, to consider a person moral inasmuch as he or she (hereafter: he) acts to benefit others. A person is moral a fortiori if he pays a price in order to perform such acts. Moral goodness thus defined is hard to sustain. Game theorists — evolutionary or otherwise — point out that paying a price in order to help others reduces one’s own fitness to survive. That’s what paying a price means. The conundrum is how morality survives with Darwin’s wind blowing in its face.

Deconstructing the debt

by John Perilli

It’s risky to play a bargaining chip when you do not know its value. All the same, our national debt was tossed back and forth across the fiscal cliff armistice table on a number of occasions, whether it was the bipartisan deal to cut it by $2 trillion or the proposal to include an extension of the “debt ceiling” in the final compromise. The current accounting of the national debt measures it at around $16.4 trillion, but like any government-issued statistic, the national debt comes heavily laden with political baggage. What is our debt really worth?