Posts Tagged: ‘politics’

Whether good, bad, or ugly, female political candidates’ looks making the news hurts their electability. A survey jointly sponsored by Name It. Change It., the Women’s Media Center and She Should Run found that whenever the media report on the appearance of women running for office, the outcome is negative — no matter whether news items praise or critique. Based on the responses of 1,500 likely male and female voters, including an oversample of 100 women, the survey revealed that the appearance reporting hurt the women candidates the most in the areas of “being in touch, being likeable, confident, effective and qualified.”

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We waited until the last, last possible second to say anything about the election. And here it is, published the day before the 2012 U.S. presidential election: our exploration of what all this TV business has to do with all this political business. Basically: It’s had a bigger impact than we thought.

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Was it even intended to be political at all? Maybe that’s a better question to ask. By now, you know the one I’m talking about, right? The Clint Eastwood “It’s Halftime in America” commercial for Chrysler. I won’t say too much about this, mainly because I want to hear what you think in the comment section below. However, I will tell you this…

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Neil deGrasse Tyson is probably the last person to suggest NASA falsify the threat of alien invasion to play on humanity’s fears. I also doubt he’d suggest that the space agency exploit America’s religious conservative movement with “proof” that said aliens are governed by demons.

But just for the sake of argument, let’s you and I go there.

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I referenced “shrimp on a treadmill” in a recent episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, so here’s a quick refresher on what I was talking about. As reported in this excellent NPR story, when politicians such as Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn push to cut National Science Foundation funding, they love to point out the more preposterous-sounding details in the research. In the past this has included studies on the link between STDs and penis size (which didn’t actually use tax dollars), and “shrimp on a treadmill” is just the latest favorite among the anti-science funding crowd.

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When it comes to the history of politics, Sarah and I never tire of covering the more, shall we say, “unique” characters who defy the mainstream in promoting their agendas. A new piece on Constitution Daily points out some of the most unusual political parties the world has ever seen.

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In the last few weeks, we’ve seen a number of GOP presidential hopefuls sign all manner of pledges regarding tax increases, the federal budget, marriage, sexuality, religion and reproductive rights. All this in the midst of a final space shuttle mission and the James Webb Telescope’s likely death at the hands of Congress. So what about an “In Defense of Science Pledge” for U.S. elected officials? I think it might go something like this:

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A New York Times article that’s been getting wide circulation asks one obvious question in light Rep. Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal: why aren’t female politicians getting caught in sex scandals as well? Press conferences featuring male politicians apologizing to country and family for infidelities (the remorse only comes after the embarrassing reveal, of course) have become nearly routine events, which indicates that women are either way savvier at conducting illicit sexual activity, they aren’t interested in taking the risk, or they just don’t have the time.

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Here in the U.S., we’re adrift in a constant war of political words. On one side we have political conservatives who want to own guns, build play forts out of money and drill for oil on the moon. On the other side, we have political liberals who think marijuana should be legal, hospitals free and cats afforded basic human rights.

OK, so those are exaggerations, but the exaggeration serves to drive home the fact that liberals and conservatives often come off like two separate species who just happen to share the same basic morphology. But do the differences go deeper than nurtured beliefs and values? Do liberals and conservatives have different brains?

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The situation in Wisconsin certainly has caused an uproar. And there are at least three fronts for the uproar: 1) the idea of union busting, 2) the idea of political warfare, and 3) The idea of handing valuable power plants over to billionaires for “pennies on the dollar”. 1) the idea of union busting The […]

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