Current Affairs

A Matter of Dignity

Donna Hicks— Like so many of us, I am deeply saddened and outraged by the brutal killing of George Floyd by members of the Minneapolis police. The jaw dropping video showing the fatal actions of Derek Chauvin, while George pleaded for his life, were beyond comprehension. What happened to Derek

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Fake News, Then and Now

Tracy Campbell— In his first fireside chat after Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt urged Americans “to reject all rumors,” noting that “these ugly little hints of complete disaster fly thick and fast in wartime.” By summer 1942, FDR knew that executive admonishments had failed to curb the avalanche of false information

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Because You Just Can’t Stop Reading the News

We get it. It’s tough to unplug from the current news cycle. If you’re looking for a deeper dive into topics around COVID-19 and beyond, we’ve got you covered (with a little bonus on the power of solitude snuck in just because). A “brilliant and sobering” (Paul Kennedy, Wall Street Journal)

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Crisis Musings on the Constitutional Revolution

Gary Jeffrey Jacobsohn— Recently a United States Senator, reflecting on the terrible crisis we all now face, recalled an earlier time when the nation confronted an existential threat to its governing institutions. Said Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts: “I do think there’s an FDR moment.” Presumably what he meant was

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Standing for Reason at the Universities

John Sexton— Over twenty-five years ago, in a speech at Saint Louis University, I focused on a too-little-noticed day in 1957, a turning point in American history: October 8, 1957. The day’s edition of New York’s major tabloid the Daily News bore two screaming headlines. The first announced the demise of

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Unemployment and Bankruptcy in the Middle Class

Teresa A. Sullivan, Elizabeth Warren, and Jay Lawrence Westbrook— Just how significant job problems are for bankruptcy filers can be determined in at least two ways. One is to ask people in bankruptcy systematically about their work histories. The second is to ask them why they filed for bankruptcy and

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Sovereignty in a Public Health Crisis

Don Herzog— Who should buy ventilators, N-95 masks, PPE, and more? “Governors are supposed to be doing a lot of this work,” complained President Trump. “The federal government is not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping. You know, we’re not a shipping clerk.”

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The Paradox of Democratic Reforms

Frances McCall Rosenbluth and Ian Shapiro— Since the 1960s, powerful movements across the democratic world have pursued reforms meant to bring politics closer to the people. Many political parties have adopted primaries, local caucuses, and other decentralized ways of choosing candidates. Districts have been redrawn to ensure selection of racial

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Social Control, Political Power, and Epidemics

Manuel Barcia— I should probably begin this blog with a confession. A couple of days ago, when I started writing it, I had a very appropriate and colourful anecdote taken from a nineteenth-century document to begin my text. However, something rather unexpected happened between the moment those lines were written

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Revolutionary or Impostor . . . Who Was Ahmed Khan?

Ian Coller— O Lydian lord of many nations, foolish Croesus,Wish not to hear the longed-for voice within your palace,Even your son’s voice: better for you were it otherwise;For his first word will he speak on a day of sorrow.—Herodotus A Lydian prince, born mute, miraculously acquires the power of speech

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