A Sinkhole That Is Pulling Us All Down

While most local papers probably did not splash the news on their front page or headline their evening news last week, our largely bought Congress just gave the Military-Industrial-Complex (MIC) a sizable raise in thanks for their contributions and lobbying pursuits. President Trump’s initial budget request for the Pentagon was for a sizable $54 billion increase for the military …

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Talking Ta-Nehisi Coates, Seriously?

Glenn Loury is Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences, Department of Economics, Brown University. John McWhorter is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where he teaches linguistics, American studies, philosophy, and music history. Loury (@19min): “He’s a good writer but not a deep thinker, and he’s being taken seriously …

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Independent Streams (Week of October 2)

Problems Summit Held For Ending Campus Sexual Assault(link is external) IPPSR affiliate Rebecca Campbell explains common trauma-responses in sexual assault victims. ‘Fake News’ Course Aims To Improve Media Consumption And Production(link is external) IPPSR affiliate William Dutton comments on the impact of ‘fake news.’ Cooking Books: DOD, HUD Defrauded Taxpayers Of $21 Trillion From 1998 to 2015(link …

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Varieties of Snowflakes

I was pleasantly surprised that New Yorker editor David Remnick and Berkeley law professor Melissa Murray continue to support the First Amendment, even if some of her students do not. Remnick gives Historian Mark Bray (author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook) a tough time about the role of violence in political movements. After Charlottesville, the Limits …

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Normies Lament

Ezra Klein talks to Angela Nagle. It’s still normie normative, but Nagle has at least done some homework. Click the link below to hear the podcast. From 4Chan to Charlottesville: where the alt-right came from, and where it’s going Angela Nagle spent the better part of the past decade in the darkest corners of the …

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In Other Words (Week of August 21)

On the Left Lack Of Support With Child Care Costs Leaves Families Struggling(link is external) From the Michigan League for Public Policy blog Factually Speaking, a look at the high costs of child care. U.S. Court Of Appeals Rules To Keep Michigan Wolves On Endangered Species List(link is external) From the blog Up North Progressive, Michigan wolves kept on endangered species …

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Independent Streams (week of August 14)

Problems Are We Thinking About Teacher Pay All Wrong?(link is external) IPPSR Affiliate Joshua Cowen discusses teacher pay. Using Science To Combat Illegal Wildlife Trade(link is external) IPPSR Affiliate Meredith Gore joins scientists in the fight against illegal wildlife trade. Are You Overestimating How Happy Your Customers Are?(link is external) IPPSR Affiliate Tomas Hult co-authors study on customer …

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A Farewell to Arms? Surely You Jest!

As I arrived home last night after a meeting and having been serenaded on the way first, by the end of Mr. Trump’s Afghanistan speech, and then by NPR’s commentators, I realized that I was more disheartened by the phalanx of commentators than by Trump’s final words. An additional irony for me was the reflection that here …

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The Bannon Channel

Rumor has it that Bannon will start a Breitbart TV channel to rival Fox News. Given the success of YouTube- / pod-casters like Joe Rogan (5 million downloads per episode), it’s plausible this could be done with very modest capex (the channel could start out as pure streaming and only go to cable later). Billionaire …

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In the matter of James Damore, ex-Googler

James Damore, Harvard PhD* in Systems Biology, and (until last week) an engineer at Google, was fired for writing this memo: Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber, which dares to display the figure above. Here is Damore’s brief summary of his memo (which contains many citations to original scientific research), and the conclusion: Google’s political bias has …

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In Other Words (Week of July 31)

Inviting you to review our newest regular feature, In Other Words, of biweekly policy-related readings from divergent voices across Michigan. On the Left Why Your Religion Shouldn’t Be My Problem (link is external) From the blog Ramona’s Voices, a discussion on religious freedom. Governor Snyder, Please, It’s Time To Show Leadership In The Debate Over Trumpcare (link …

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A Prohibition Whose Time is Now

On July 7th, the UN passed the Nuclear Prohibition Treaty. A treaty the US will not join any time soon, just as it hasn’t joined many other global agreements including: Convention on Cluster Munitions Ottawa Treaty (Mine ban) International Criminal Court Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (Signed, but withdrew in 2002) As one might expect this UN …

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Report: Michigan Lags in Evidence-based Policymaking

In an increasingly ideological and partisan political world, the practice of evidence-based policymaking is a critical tool in ensuring the most efficient use of government resources. Objective outcome analyses and rigorous program evaluations can help policymakers and state officials guide limited funds towards investments with a proven track record (i.e., evidence) and away from programs …

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In Other Words (Week of July 17)

Introducing our newest regular feature, In Other Words, of biweekly policy-related readings from divergent voices across Michigan. On the Left A Better Budget For All Michiganians (link is external) Gilda Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy, discusses the state budget in Factually Speaking blog post. Concealed Weapons For Convicted Stalkers? ‘What Could …

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Independent Streams (Week of July 10)

Our weekly roundup of policy-relevant reads and IPPSR-connected research. Problems Michigan Schools That Sue The State Would Be Punished Under 2018 Budget (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate Kristi Bowman reacts to a new school state budget provision. Has The Death Of American Manufacturing Been Exaggerated? (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate Lisa Cook discusses the ongoing …

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In Other Words (Week of June 26)

Introducing our newest regular feature, In Other Words, of biweekly policy-related readings from divergent voices across Michigan. On the Left Michigan Continues To Lag Behind Nationally In Outcomes For Kids (link is external) From the Michigan League for Public Policy blog Factually Speaking, Alicia Guevara Warren talks child outcomes. Why Are The Media Ignoring Stories About …

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Independent Streams (Week of June 19)

Our weekly roundup of policy-relevant reads and IPPSR-connected research. Problems The American Dream Is Fading Faster In Michigan (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate Charles Ballard argues median wages should receive the same attention as unemployment rates. Civic, Business Leaders Emphasize Urban Agenda At Mackinac Policy Conference (link is external) IPPSR Affiliates Josh Sapotichne and Eric …

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Oliver Stone confronts Idiocracy

See earlier post Trump, Putin, Stephen Cohen, Brawndo, and Electrolytes. Note to morons: Russia’s 2017 GDP is less than that of France, Brazil, Italy, Canada, and just above that of Korea and Australia. (PPP-adjusted they are still only #6 in the world, between Germany and Indonesia: s-s-scary!) Apart from their nuclear arsenal (which they will …

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Climate Risk and AI Risk for Dummies

The two figures below come from recent posts on climate change and AI. Please read them. The squiggles in the first figure illustrate uncertainty in how climate will change due to CO2 emissions. The squiggles in the second figure illustrate uncertainty in the advent of human-level AI.   Many are worried about climate change because …

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Independent Streams (Week of June 5)

Our weekly roundup of policy-relevant reads and IPPSR-connected research. Problems No Easy Answers But At Least Right Questions At Mackinac Policy Conference (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate Charles Ballard reflects on themes discussed at annual Mackinac Policy Conference. How To Attack Africa’s Neonatal Mortality Problem (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate Sue Grady leads study on …

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Not Enough Bullets

I am struggling to remember an earlier time in my life when I felt like the world was as surreal as I find it now. We have a person in the drivers seat so self-absorb, most professional mental health experts I know concur  that he suffers from Narcissistic Behavior Disorder (NBD), based upon his public statements …

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Independent Streams (week of May 22)

Problems Books, Pencils, and Billboards: Local School Ad Spending Spikes (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate David Arsen discusses school choice and marketing. Researchers: Fake News Not Swaying Elections (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate William Dutton leads report on the impact of fake news on public opinion. Trump Fires Comey: It Looked Bad Right Away (link …

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Comey under oath: no obstruction of justice

Almost everything we hear from the media these days is simply motivated reasoning — i.e., partisan nonsense. Wikipedia: …When people form and cling to false beliefs despite overwhelming evidence, the phenomenon is labeled “motivated reasoning”. In other words, “rather than search rationally for information that either confirms or disconfirms a particular belief, people actually seek out information …

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New Scholarship Arguing, “Presidents Lack the Authority to Abolish or Diminish National Monuments”

Mark Squillace, Eric Biber, Nicholas S. Bryner, and Sean B. Hecht have posted “Presidents Lack the Authority to Abolish or Diminish National Monuments” on SSRN. Here is the abstract: By any measure, the Antiquities Act of 1906 has a remarkable legacy. Under the Act, 16 presidents have proclaimed 157 national monuments, protecting a diverse range …

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Independent Streams (Week of May 8)

Our weekly roundup of policy-relevant reads and IPPSR-connected research. Problems Fake News And Filters Aren’t Fooling Internet Users (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate William Dutton conducts international survey on internet users and fake news. Climate Change, Tornadoes And Mobile Homes: A Dangerous Mix (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate Mark Skidmore co-authors study on climate change …

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Oldies But Goodies

There is probably a built in mechanism in our culture’s brain that the newest ideas and thoughts are better than older ones. Today’s thinkers have the chance to stand on the shoulders of those who came before. I know I’m always looking for fresh new ideas in the books recently published, thus my almost weekly …

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School Voucher Programs

An introduction to school voucher programs: School voucher systems are one of the leading topics of debate in education policy. A school voucher system offers state funds for financial assistance to parents who want to send their child to another school district or a private school. Oftentimes, legislatures will set parameters on who is able …

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SubAltern Homesick Blues

New York Magazine seems to have dedicated an entire issue to the Alt-Right. If you don’t recognize any of this subterranean internet stuff you should probably have a look. Somehow they left out the Illuminati, though. See The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Subaltern Postcolonial Gramsci Homi Bhabha Babble. BEYOND ALT: THE EXTREMELY REACTIONARY, …

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Term Limits: What Do They Do?

15 states legislatures have term limits, but what does this mean? What are term limits supposed to do, and what observable effects do they have on government? This is the subject of the research I presented at the 2017 Michigan State University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum. Term limits place a limit on the amount …

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Independent Streams (week of May 1)

Our weekly roundup of policy-relevant reads and IPPSR-connected research. Problems Full Day Kindergarten: NH Republicans Have Lost Their Minds (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate Todd Elder discusses prescription drugs and their impact on children. National Mental Health Survey Finds Widespread Ignorance, Stigma (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate Mark Skidmore co-authors national survey on mental health …

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Independent Streams (week of April 24)

Our weekly roundup of policy-relevant reads and IPPSR-connected research. Problems In Richmond, High Number Of Homicides Go Unsolved (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate David Carter talks homicide investigation practices in Richmond, Virginia. Few Democratic Voters Back Syria Bombings. So Why Do So Many Democrats In Congress? (link is external) IPPSR Director Matt Grossmann discusses foreign …

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Michael Anton: Inside the Trump White House

Michael Anton is head of strategic communications for the National Security Council. See related Politico article. The Atlantic: Michael Anton warned last year that 2016 was the Flight 93 election: “Charge the cockpit or you die.” Americans charged. Donald Trump became president of the United States. And Anton, the author of that now-notorious essay, is …

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Independent Streams (Week of April 17)

Our weekly roundup of policy-relevant reads and IPPSR-connected research. Problems In Richmond, High Number Of Homicides Go Unsolved (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate David Carter talks homicide investigation practices in Richmond, Virginia. Few Democratic Voters Back Syria Bombings. So Why Do So Many Democrats In Congress? (link is external) IPPSR Director Matt Grossmann discusses foreign …

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Elie Mystal on the Chief Justice

Here is “John Roberts, Silent During The Garland Process, Suddenly Worries About Partisanship.” An excerpt: When Mitch McConnell decided that black presidents only get to be president for seven years and refused to hold a hearing on Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, there was only one man in the country who could have …

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Michigan’s Future is Tied to the Great Lakes Region: Findings from the Urban Institute

The Urban Institute, a non-partisan research institute and think-tank out of Washington D.C. recently released a report titled “The Future of the Great Lakes Region”. The report is timely, with intense interest in the postindustrial Midwest from both an electoral and policy perspective, and it contains findings that should be of great interest to policy …

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Independent Streams (Week of April 10)

Our weekly roundup of policy-relevant reads and IPPSR-connected research. Problems Border Tax Could Add $2,500 To Price Of Car Or Truck (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate Charles Ballard comments on potential consequences of a border tax. Political Corruption Knows No Party, History Shows (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate Eric Freedman discusses historical political corruption. Michigan …

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Independent Streams (Week of March 27)

Our weekly roundup of policy-relevant reads and IPPSR-connected research. Problems 6 Ways Trump’s Budget Cuts Hurt All Americans (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate Charles Ballard comments on the new presidential administration’s budget release. Analysis: A-F Grades For Schools A Tough Sell In Legislature (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate Josh Cowen discusses the possibility of giving …

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