Monday, June 27, 2022

Here’s how to meet Biden’s 2030 climate goals and dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions – with today’s technology

  Unprecedented forest fires in the drought-stricken western United States. Tropical storms and rising seas threatening the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. Sizzling heat across large swaths of the country. As climate change unfolds before our eyes, what can the U.S. do to sharply and rapidly reduce its share of the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing it?

  The Biden administration has committed to reduce those emissions 50% by 2030 below 2005 levels. That’s a critical first step of a global energy transition that must achieve net-zero emissions by midcentury to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 F) and thereby avert the worst impacts of climate change.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Virginia Military Institute’s culture is forced to change — but how much?

  Graduates of Virginia Military Institute (VMI) include some of the United States’ most illustrious leaders in government, business, education, and professional sports – Nobel Prize laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners among them. Founded in 1839 as the nation’s first state military college, VMI even trained a young Mel Brooks during World War II.

  But VMI graduated the infamous, too – leaders who fought during the Civil War to preserve slavery and destroy the U.S. – men like Edward Edmonds, Confederate colonel of the 38th Virginia Infantry; John McCausland, a brigadier general who served under the “unrepentant rebel” Gen. Jubal Early; and Walter Taylor, aide-de-camp to Gen. Robert E. Lee and later a state senator and staunch defender of the Confederacy.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

How your race, class and gender influence your dreams for the future

  In Disney’s “Pinocchio,” Jiminy Cricket famously sings, “When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are. Anything your heart desires will come to you.”

  But Jiminy Cricket got it wrong.

  We’re often taught that we are free to dream – to imagine our future possibilities.

Friday, June 24, 2022

5 things to know about the Fed’s biggest interest rate increase since 1994 and how it will affect you

  The Federal Reserve on June 15, 2022, lifted interest rates by 0.75 percentage point, the third hike this year and the largest since 1994. The move is aimed at countering the fastest pace of inflation in over 40 years.

  Wall Street had been expecting a half-point increase, but the latest consumer prices report released on June 10 prompted the Fed to take a more drastic measure. The big risk, however, is that higher rates will push the economy into a recession, a fear aptly expressed by the recent plunge in the S&P 500 stock index, which is down over 20% from its peak in January, making it a “bear market.”

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Privacy isn’t in the Constitution – but it’s everywhere in constitutional law

  Almost all American adults – including parents, medical patients, and people who are sexually active – regularly exercise their right to privacy, even if they don’t know it.

  Privacy is not specifically mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. But for half a century, the Supreme Court has recognized it as an outgrowth of protections for individual liberty. As I have studied in my research on constitutional privacy rights, this implied right to privacy is the source of many of the nation’s most cherished, contentious, and commonly used rights – including the right to have an abortion.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Social stress can speed up immune system aging – new research

  As people age, their immune systems naturally begin to decline. This aging of the immune system, called immunosenescence, may be an important part of such age-related health problems as cancer and cardiovascular disease, as well as older people’s less effective response to vaccines.

  But not all immune systems age at the same rate. In our recently published study, my colleagues and I found that social stress is associated with signs of accelerated immune system aging.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

State government on pace for another record surplus; will it give Alabamians a break?

  State government continues to take more money from Alabamians than ever before. Will it use that money to continue the historic expansion of state government or finally take less taxes from citizens? 

  As first reported by Alabama Daily News, 2022 is on pace to be another banner year for state government. Through the end of May, state revenues totaled nearly $1.4 billion more than they did at this point last year. The state has already collected almost $8.7 billion in gross revenue. With four months remaining in the fiscal year, that revenue surplus will likely grow.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Juneteenth celebrates just one of the United States’ 20 emancipation days – and the history of how emancipated people were kept unfree needs to be remembered, too

  The actual day was June 19, 1865, and it was the Black dockworkers in Galveston, Texas who first heard the word that freedom for the enslaved had come. There were speeches, sermons, and shared meals, mostly held at Black churches, the safest places to have such celebrations.

  The perils of unjust laws and racist social customs were still great in Texas for the 250,000 enslaved Black people there, but the celebrations known as Juneteenth were said to have gone on for seven straight days.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Nurturing dads raise emotionally intelligent kids – helping make society more respectful and equitable

  When my oldest son, now nearly 14, was born in July of 2008, I thought I could easily balance my career and my desire to be far more engaged at home than my father and his generation were. I was wrong.

  Almost immediately, I noticed how social policies, schools, and health care systems all make it difficult for dads to be highly involved and engaged at home. Contradictory expectations about work and family life abound.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Money is the icing, not the cake

  Despite the advice of preachers and philosophers warning us of the shortcomings of money, it’s hard to argue with Gertrude Stein’s observation: “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. Rich is better.”

  Although money is better at reducing suffering caused by poverty and relieving anxiety caused by debt than it is at making us happy, it can buy lots of things that make us feel good and important.