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Author archive for admin

  • To test or not to test?

    By Sheila Kennedy on January 21, 2015
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    I used to introduce my undergraduate Law and Public Policy class by administering a test–20 questions drawn from the citizenship test immigrants have to pass in order to become U.S. citizens. I stopped because it was too depressing. Foreign students regularly passed the test; native-born students just as routinely failed it. So I’ve been intrigued by the recent effort to […]
  • America is Doomed

    By Sheila Kennedy on January 8, 2015
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    Before the incident–and attendant snark–went viral, no fewer than three friends had sent me news items about Kirby Delauter, a Frederick County (Maryland) Council Member, who threatened to sue a local journalist named Bethany Rodgers for … wait for it… using his name without permission in a newspaper article. Think about that for a minute: this jerk is an elected official. Presumably he […]
  • The Rolling Stone rape story debacle

    By Jeffrey M. McCall on December 29, 2014
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    Journalism enters dangerous territory when reporters look to tell “stories” that are more dramatic, more sensational and more confrontational than what is provided by real life. Rolling Stone magazine found this out with its recent, misguided story about sexual assault at the University of Virginia. Sexual assault is, indeed, a concern on college campuses, and perpetrators need to be caught. […]
  • What is liberal?

    By John Guy on December 18, 2014
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    “Why are television dramas always ‘liberal,’” asks a friend. “Not true,” I say, and soon recant, because I cannot recall a drama that is ‘conservative.’ What is going on? The answer reveals a lot about the human condition and civic interaction. A definition of “liberal” is “open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values,” to which […]
  • Media contribute to nation’s violent culture

    By Jeffrey M. McCall on December 17, 2014
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    The nation struggles to explain why violence is so much a part of its daily experience. Senseless murders. Sports stars committing domestic violence. Perpetrators playing “knockout games” on public streets. School principals dealing with widespread bullying. The causes of violence are many, complex and difficult to assess. One contributing factor to the disturbing culture of violence, to be sure, is […]
  • Republicans buy shoes too

    By Matt Impink on December 10, 2014
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    To many kids who grew up in my generation, they remember Michael Jordan as the greatest player ever to play the game as he won six NBA championships during my childhood. Contrasting Jordan to Charles Barkley who famously said “I’m not a role model,” Jordan seemed like the polished embodiment of a winner and role model for kids. I still […]
  • Pass a Citizenship Test?

    By Admin on December 8, 2014
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    A bill proposed in North Dakota will require all graduating high school seniors to pass the same citizenship test given to naturalized immigrants to the United States. Data shows that many Americans would have trouble passing such a test that over 97% of immigrants seeking citizenship pass. It is part of a growing movement in states that seek to require […]
  • Energy and the Marketplace

    By Sheila Kennedy on December 2, 2014
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    Congressional critics made sure that Americans heard about the “scandal” of Solyndra, the green energy start-up that failed and defaulted on its government loan. But we haven’t heard much about the federal government’s renewable energy loan program since then–probably because there hasn’t been a subsequent opportunity to twist results in order to make political hay. Since 2005, the Department of […]
  • Stick to the facts on climate change

    By John Guy on December 1, 2014
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    That which is certain is uncertain. The more certain and popular a hypothesis, such as climate change, and the more aggressively advocates ridicule disbelievers, the less likely related predictions will prove true. For extended periods, some as long as centuries, people, almost unanimously, held incorrect or unproven beliefs. They believed that the earth is flat, and that it is the […]
  • A Call to Service

    By Matt Impink on November 18, 2014
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    Christmas ads have begun their assault on Thanksgiving, skipping right over the month’s other humble holiday: Veteran’s Day. After a busy week, I have finally caught up on this year’s noble efforts to put Veteran’s Day in our national consciousness. These efforts, however, go against the national trend of greater detachment from the military. In my parents and grandparents generation, […]
  • A Scientific Habit of the Mind

    By Matt Impink on November 17, 2014
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    As the education system continues to evolve, the emphasis on STEM education must also evolve. The focus in the early stages of STEM education has been simply throwing money at the development of STEM education amongst teachers and students. Seemingly saying, “Holy crap, we’ll pay you a lot of money if you’re a STEM major,” the results have been disappointing. […]
  • What a lack of Civics could look like in your state.

    By admin on November 12, 2014
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    The folks over at PoliTech recently decided to have a little fun at the expense of the students at Texas Tech University. Like Jimmy Kimmel who exposed how much Americans’ perspectives on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) have been distorted, a young student asks her fellow students basic questions about civics and history. When I say basic, I mean BASIC: […]
  • Do we take freedom of the press for granted?

    By Jeffrey M. McCall on November 11, 2014
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    Former CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson is either a paranoid kook or victim of one of the most heinous government abuses of a reporter in American history. Either way, the rest of the journalism community should be jumping into action to determine the truth. Sadly, it is not. Atkisson claims in her new book that the federal government hacked into her […]
  • Time for a revival of journalism

    By Jeffrey M. McCall on October 17, 2014
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    The dim news for the journalism industry just keeps coming. A recent Gallup news poll shows public trust of the media is at historic lows. Just 40 percent of the public has a measure of trust in the media. This long-term trend indicates trust in the media has dropped 15 percentage points during the last 15 years. Citizens say the […]
  • Should we trust government?

    By Matt Impink on October 14, 2014
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    Recently on his blog, Peter Levine dives into the longstanding poll question asking whether individuals “trust the government in Washington to do the right thing most of the time?” Given the longitudinal implications of asking the same question since the 1950’s, this the language has not been altered giving pollsters an increasing pessimistic look into the state of mind of […]
  • Hijacking Free Speech

    By Sheila Kennedy on October 13, 2014
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    Recently, a Indiana State Trooper was sued for proselytizing a woman he’d stopped for speeding. The Indianapolis Star has the story. Not surprisingly, our homegrown theocrats saw nothing wrong with this. Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana, said that although the traffic stop might not have been the best time to quiz someone about faith, […]
  • A New Voting Rights Act

    By Matt Impink on October 9, 2014
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    In 1964, about 700 college students from around the country descended upon Mississippi for what came to be called Freedom Summer. At the time literacy tests, intimidation and violence kept all but 7% of black citizens registered to vote despite the fact that black citizens outnumbered whites in many counties throughout the Mississippi Delta. The students worked as organizers with […]
  • Eating our young…

    By Matt Impink on September 30, 2014
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    There has been a lot of irresponsible journalism lately making sweeping generalizations about the so-called Millennial Generation. Beyond being annoying and contradictory to be called achievement-obsessed and lazy at the same time, there seems to be little interest in my generation to engage in the very institutions that our elders currently control. Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post summarizes: Distressingly, […]
  • Tests of Citizenship

    By Admin on September 22, 2014
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    In a bold move last week, seven states launched proposals to offer citizenship tests for graduating American-born teenagers. Short of requiring it, the proposal offers American high school seniors a boost in their grade point average for passing the test with six out of ten correct answers. In South Carolina, three former governors have now publicly endorsed the measure: Former […]
  • Fear Itself

    By John Guy on September 19, 2014
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    The only thing we have to fear . . . is public policy arising from fear. In early September, the Indianapolis City-County Council voted 19-10 to increase local income taxes by 0.5 percent to fund up to 150 new police officers by 2018. It sailed through. Members of both parties voted yes, and those voting against were relatively quiet in […]