Wednesday, February 8, 2023

How evangelicals moved from supporting environmental stewardship to climate skepticism

  White conservative evangelicals, who make up most of the religious right movement, largely oppose government regulation to protect the environmental initiatives, including efforts to curb human-caused climate change. Multiple social scientific studies, for example, consistently reveal that this group maintains a significant level of climate skepticism.

  Contrary to popular perception, however, this hasn’t always been the case.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

W.E.B. Du Bois, Black History Month and the importance of African American studies

  The opening days of Black History Month 2023 coincided with controversy about the teaching and broader meaning of African American studies.

  On Feb. 1, 2023, the College Board released a revised curriculum for its newly developed Advanced Placement African American studies course.

  Critics have accused the College Board of caving to political pressure stemming from conservative backlash and the decision of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to ban the course from public high schools in Florida because of what he characterized as its radical content and inclusion of topics such as critical race theory, reparations, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Monday, February 6, 2023

US is spending record amounts servicing its national debt – interest rate hikes add billions to the cost

  Consumers and businesses aren’t the only ones feeling the pain of higher borrowing costs because of Federal Reserve rate hikes. Uncle Sam is too.

  The U.S. government spent a record US$213 billion on interest payments on its debt in the fourth quarter, up $63 billion from a year earlier. Indeed, a jump of almost $30 billion on the previous quarter represents the biggest quarterly jump on record. That comes as the Fed lifted interest rates a whopping 4.25 percentage points from March through December.

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Five times LGBTQ activism relied on First Amendment freedoms to create change

  For generations, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Americans lived in secrecy and fear. Politicians, the media, popular culture, and religious figures labeled them depraved or criminal. Though LGBTQ activism wasn’t new, it took a six-day uprising in 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, an illegal gay bar in New York, to propel the grassroots movement to a new era. The Stonewall uprising inspired a new generation of activists to use their First Amendment freedoms to challenge stereotypes, work for justice and pave the way for equality.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Americans are taking more control over their work lives – because they have to

  One thing that’s become clear in the past few tumultuous – and for many, traumatic – years is that it’s easy to feel like there is no control in our lives. Control is a basic psychological need that helps people feel like they have agency, from how they live to where they work. One area where people have tried to wrestle back control is around work.

  As a Rice University business school professor and author, I’ve examined through my research, teaching, and readership the complex relationships between employees and their employers for nearly two decades. The aftermath of the pandemic is the latest iteration of a timeless negotiation between labor and management over control that took on added significance these past few years.

Friday, February 3, 2023

Tyre Nichols’ death underscores the troubled history of specialized police units

  The officers charged in the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols were not your everyday uniformed patrol officers.

  Rather, they were part of an elite squad: Memphis Police Department’s SCORPION team. A rather tortured acronym for “Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods,” SCORPION is a crime suppression unit – that is, officers detailed specifically to prevent, detect, and interrupt violent crime by proactively using stops, frisks, searches, and arrests. Such specialized units are common in forces across the U.S. and tend to rely on aggressive policing tactics.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Why do groundhogs emerge on February 2 if it’s not to predict the weather?

  According to legend, if the groundhog sees his shadow on February 2nd, there will be six more weeks of winter; if not, an early spring is predicted.

  Of course groundhogs – also known as woodchucks – don’t emerge at this time just to be furry weather predictors. So what’s the real reason? Research into groundhog biology shows they have other priorities in early February than mingling with the people of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Parsing which foods are healthy and which are less so isn’t always straightforward – a new rating system aims to demystify the process

  Many people aim to start the year off with healthier food choices. But how do you choose between seemingly similar foods, snacks, or beverages? How does a bagel with cream cheese compare to toast topped with avocado, for instance? Or a protein-based shake compare to a smoothie packed with fruits? Or two chicken dishes, prepared in different ways?

  As nutrition scientists who have spent our entire careers studying how different foods influence health, our team at Tufts University has created a new food rating system, the Food Compass, that could help consumers and others make informed choices about these kinds of questions.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Black police officers aren’t colorblind – they’re infected by the same anti-Black bias as American society and police in general

  Once again, Americans are left reeling from the horror of video footage showing police brutalizing an unarmed Black man who later died.

  Some details in the latest case of extreme police violence were gut-wrenchingly familiar: a police traffic stop of a Black male motorist turned violent. But, for many of us, other details were unfamiliar: The five police officers accused of using everything from pepper spray to a Taser, a police baton, and intermittent kicks and punches against the motorist were also Black.

  After pulling over 29-year-old Tyre Nichols for what they said was reckless driving, Black officers in the Memphis Police Department’s now disbanded SCORPION unit pepper-sprayed, kicked and beat Nichols, ultimately to death.

  The Conversation asked Rashad Shabazz, a geographer and scholar of African American studies at Arizona State University, to explore the societal conditions in which Black police officers could brutalize another Black man.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Florida Gov. DeSantis leads the GOP’s national charge against public education that includes lessons on race and sexual orientation

  Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ disdain for “woke ideology” is on full display.

  At a January 2023 inaugural event, the governor boasted that “Florida is where woke goes to die.”

  This is more than political bluster.