Libya Update (the sequal)

Given the post from last week, I'm somewhat surprised that this has happened so fast.  There was some speculation that the scrapping of uniforms by Ghadaffi's soldiers meant that the battle into Tripoli would be a long and drawn out affair, as Ghadaffi loyalists geared up for more of an insurgency-style campaign against the rebels.  However, it's also possible that they were just ditching the uniforms so as to not get killed.  Either scenario is plausible, and the reality is probably a mixture of the two.  Anywho, I had just a couple of thoughts as to where we go from Continue reading Libya Update (the sequal)

Raising Taxes on Everyone but the Wealthiest Americans?

A few weeks ago, it appeared as though certain House Republicans would have rather seen the country go into default rather than raise taxes. Now it seems that the GOP is willing to let the temporary payroll tax cuts expire as planned. This is the same GOP who fought hard to make sure the Bush tax cuts did not expire (as that would have been a tax increase). It is interesting that the GOP suddenly had a change of heart over taxes. It is even more interesting that they support a tax increase that will mostly likely affect lower and Continue reading Raising Taxes on Everyone but the Wealthiest Americans?

Stuff is still happening in (the sequel)…

I really don't know how many times I'll be able to use that title, but given that the American audience has become so distracted by the Washington debt ceiling battle, I decided to check on some old favorites and post a quick update on goings on elsewhere.   Libya:  Apparently Libyan rebels have made "significant" gains in the past week, taking control of some key cities on the way to Tripoli.  NATO planes have damaged or destroyed over 150 targets in the past week alone.  However, who really knows what qualifies as a "military target" for these purposes.  Sources in Continue reading Stuff is still happening in (the sequel)…

Jonathan’s Card Has Ended

Penny Arcade, a comic that usually discusses video games and the video game industry, weighs in on Jonathan’s Card–apparently, homo economicus can gain utility by not only defecting and receiving the largest share possible, but also gains utility purely by gaming the experiment. Unfortunately, it appears the test has come to an end (Starbucks deactivated the card) due to abuse and apparent fraud in the experiment (perhaps Tycho-types have won).  The premise of the project was to have a publicly available Starbuck’s card that anyone could use. The card started with a balance and anyone with a smart phone could use Continue reading Jonathan’s Card Has Ended

The Future of Political Science (summary, short discussion)

I have mentioned, in a previous post, all of the books that fill up my summer reading list. As of now, I have at least one book completed and several more have been added to my list.  I have recently finished The Future of Political Science: 100 Perspectives, a collection of 100 short articles aimed at discussing what has not been properly analyzed or should be analyzed in political science.  The book ended up being more oriented towards the fields of American and Comparative than I had originally anticipated (mostly by the title); however, this is more my own fault than anything else. Quickly Continue reading The Future of Political Science (summary, short discussion)

Good for the Money: International Finance, State Capacity, and Internal Armed Conflict

Things are pretty crazy around here with the impending school year and upcoming conference season.  However, since the country is currently swept up in credit rating mania, I figured I would take the time to pass along some new research that is immediately relevant and serves as a nice complement to the Pontichelli and Voth paper being discussed over at the Monkey Cage.  From my fellow Binghamton graduate students Matthew Digiuseppe and Colin Barry, as well as former Binghamton graduate student and current UNO faculty member Richard Frank: Previous research indicates that a lack of state capacity is a key determinant Continue reading Good for the Money: International Finance, State Capacity, and Internal Armed Conflict

Class, Empathy, and Taxes

Several recent studies by three University of California psychologists, Michael Kraus, Paul Piff, and Dacher Keltner, suggest that individuals with lower class incomes are more empathetic and more altruistic than individuals with higher class incomes. They argue that since lower income individuals have to rely more on others to survive, they learn pro-social behaviors and learn to emphasize with others. The results of these studies may explain why some individuals with a great deal of disposable income (1) are unaware of the magnitude of income inequality in the US, (2) believe they should pay the same tax rate as lower income individuals, and (3) want to Continue reading Class, Empathy, and Taxes