Politics + Society – Articles, Analysis, Opinion

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Just who were the voteres these elections? Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Minority voters tell their stories

Editor’s note: voter turnout in this year’s midterm elections - 36.6% - was lower than in the 2010 midterms (40.9%.) According to the Pew Research Center the “party of non-voters” is more racially diverse…
It doesn’t have to be like this. Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

The case for closing down women’s prisons

It sounds like a radical idea. Stop incarcerating women, and close down women’s prisons. But in the UK, there is a growing movement, sponsored by a peer in the House of Lords, to do just that. The argument…
Prop 91 - just one of three ballot initiatives on marijuana decriminalization Steve Dipaola/Reuters

Ballot initiatives take the pulse of the nation

Editor’s note: There were 146 state-wide ballot measures up for consideration by voters in this week’s midterm elections, covering all manner of controversial issues – from abortion and guns to minimum…
The man to watch: new Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Midterms 2014: a little big day

No denying it, Tuesday was a big day for Republicans. They took control of the Senate, expanded their majority in the House, and added to the number of governorships they hold. The Senate outcome is rightly…
Slot machines are designed to make losses seem like wins. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

How slots trick gamblers into losing more than they know

A 2011 Massachusetts law allows for the expansion of gambling, including slot machines. That law is now on the November 2014 election ballot for potential repeal. This is a real opportunity for voters…
Is California ready for prison reform? Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

California’s Proposition 47: softer on crime

On November 4, 2014, Californians will vote on Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act. The measure would change many crimes from felonies, which generally require prison terms, to misdemeanors…
Comedian Stephen Colbert at the 2010 Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. Reuters

Satire might not sway votes, but that isn’t the point

John Oliver’s new program Last Week Tonight is the most recent addition to the parody news genre. Like its predecessors, the show frequently mocks American politics; for example, an attention-grabbing…
Polls are open. Which campaigns’ ground games will outlast the election? AP

Getting out the vote: not all ground games are alike

In the final Election Day push, more and more focus is being shifted to the “ground game,” or the effort campaigns make to identify and turn out voters. From Massachusetts to Alaska, New Hampshire to Colorado…
Russians protesting murder of crusading journalist Anna Politkavskaya. Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

How do you frighten political strongmen? Teach journalism.

A few weeks ago, a colleague of mine stood talking before an attentive group in a hotel conference room when the doors burst open and six stern-faced government agents strode in and demanded he halt the…
Your odds of winning are greatly improved if you own a casino.

Losses disguised as wins, the science behind casino profits

Gambling is good business, or at least a profitable one. According to the American Gaming Association, in 2012 the 464 commercial casinos in the US served 76.1 million patrons and grossed $US37.34 billion…
A chicken and egg problem: more women will stand for office once more women win. Larry Downing/Reuters

Too few minority politicians? You can’t win if you don’t run

A common complaint about American’s representative democracy is that it is not representative. Across all levels of office, most elected seats in the US continue to be occupied by white, non-Hispanic men…
One way to manage problem gambling would be to limit the supply of poker machines. EPA

The problem with gambling research

Casino gaming is on the rise across much of the developed world, with governments increasingly unable to resist the allure of windfall taxes and a hefty influx of cash for the local economy. Massachusetts…
What if an experimental treatment seems to hold a terminal patient’s only hope? Pill bottle image via www.shutterstock.com

‘Right to try’ laws are compassionate, but misguided

On November 4, the state of Arizona will decide whether to join Colorado, Missouri, Louisiana and Michigan in passing so-called right to try laws. If passed, the “Arizona Terminal Patients’ Right To Try…
Nothing but corn as far as the eye can see Timothy M. Hagle

As Iowa goes, so goes the nation – maybe

Every four years Iowa begins the presidential nomination process with the Iowa Caucuses. The start of caucus season is also the start of complaints by those who object to Iowa going first in the nomination…
Common goals can become a common problem. Shutterstock classroom

Explainer: why are schools adopting the Common Core?

The Common Core State Standards Initiative (or Common Core) is a quintessentially American approach to addressing the relatively modest academic performance of many students. The Common Core seeks to raise…
Casinos like this one in Maryland bring benefits as well as costs. The challenge is working out which is greater. www.marylandlivecasino.com

Economic benefits of casinos likely to outweigh costs

During the past two decades, the US casino industry has expanded dramatically. According to the American Gaming Association, there are now nearly 1,000 commercial and tribal casinos in the country. Plans…