Measuring Mental Disability and Death Penalty Cases

This past Monday the Supreme Court agreed to hear a Florida death penalty case that deals with how states determine whether a death row inmate is mentally disabled. In 2002, the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for states to execute someone who is mentally disabled, as it violated the Eight Amendment’s restrictions on cruel and unusual punishment. However, it allowed the states some flexibility on how they determine whether someone was mentally disabled. Nine states (including Florida and Idaho) use an IQ score of 70 as a cutoff for a mental disability. They deem anyone who scores above Continue reading Measuring Mental Disability and Death Penalty Cases

On Hegemons and Trade (Part I): Origins

I am currently in the process of entirely rewriting and redesigning one of my earliest academic papers that I want to update with the context of better data and methods in evaluating the hypotheses I initially proposed. That is, I am writing the same paper a second time.  As part of this process, I am revisiting some classic works on the topic of Hegemonic Stability Theory. Consequently, this is part one of a multi-stage blog post series.  Part 1 of the project deals with the origins of Hegemonic Stability Theory, Part 2 will dig into the advancements in the theory Continue reading On Hegemons and Trade (Part I): Origins

Teaching Introductory Graduate Methods: Some Ideas About Understanding Sampling Distributions

Everyone has their own way of teaching methods, but in this entry I thought I’d share a brief exercise that I thought worked well. This code was developed when I was the teaching assistant for a second-semester methods class focusing on regression. Specifically, this was a section of the class from the first few weeks that dealt with two things: first, showing/repeating the idea of a sampling distribution, and second, showing some introductory code on loops and graphics. The code uses the ggplot2 package for R. This software, and this package, have (in my experience) a somewhat steep learning curve Continue reading Teaching Introductory Graduate Methods: Some Ideas About Understanding Sampling Distributions

How Do You Review?

I’ve been sending articles out for review for a few years now, and I’ve also had the opportunity to review several papers for journals. Having been through each side of the ordeal, I’ve begun to form some opinions on the peer review process as a whole. This is something other political scientists have written extensively about. For example, Michael Allen recently addressed the issue on this blog, and Nathan Jensen recently wrote an interesting piece about one of his paper’s journeys through the political science peer review process.  However, some of my recent experiences have prompted me to think about the process from the vantage point Continue reading How Do You Review?

Concessions, Recognition, and Blame

Forcing the government to shutdown, instead of fully implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), may seem like a huge misstep by the Republican party, as most Americans would rather see the implementation of the ACA instead of the government shutdown. But as I discuss below, Republicans may be able to walk away from this whole mess with wins on three fronts. First, they may be able to get concessions on the ACA. Second, they may be able to limit Obama’s ability to garner recognition for the ACA as it is now being implemented for the first time. And last, if Continue reading Concessions, Recognition, and Blame