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"What Can We Do to Stop Massacres?"

UPDATE: This April 2010 report by the US DOJ states, "Moreover, nearly half of all public schools have assigned police officers."  Obviously, this statement does not make clear whether or how they are armed.

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Black Rifle Blues

Everyone is sick right now.  There's only one thing it seems we can all agree on, which is that we can abide the massacre of children neither in conscience nor gut.  It's an unfortunate truth that what transpired on Friday in Newtown was different in degree rather than in kind, but the degree seems to matter this time.

Even more unfortunate is that this heightened arousal doesn't really seem to be leading to many cogent answers to the question, "How do we prevent this from happening again?"

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Don't Vote - It's Completely Irrational

One of the interesting things about voting is that there isn't a good reason for it, especially from the perspective of modeling human behavior that's common in fields like economics.  In order to illustrate why this is true, I've put today's Presidential election into a simple game theory framework:

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What's the Big Idea This Election? Reality

Many voices, from the hallowed blogs of Dag to the exalted table around which Mighty Joe Scarborough and his colleagues convene, have decried the lack of substance in this election (though I'm pretty sure I hear that complaint every time anyone is running for office - "This should be about the issues!").  Mika Brzezinski has called it the Seinfeld election - a race about nothing - though I'll leave up to the reader whether this reflects more accurately the election or her observational skills.

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David Brooks Is The Worst Parent In America, Or At Least That's What I'm Going To Assume

In yesterday's David Brooks column, he offered a tepid endorsement of Mitt "Thurston Howell" Romney for President.  Brooks games out what the next two years will probably look like under Romney or Obama.  There's really nothing insightful or interesting there, so here's his conclusion:

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I'm Here Today To Save The Romney Campaign From Itself

Against my better judgment and my general belief that the cake of this unrelenting election cycle has long been baked, I'm going to give Willard Mitt "I'd Shut Down FEMA" Romney a bit of advice, 100% gratis.  Mitt Romney should spend the next week using his leadership, connections, management skills and even his own personal fortune to demonstrate exactly why he should be President by organizing a private relief effort for victims of Hurricane Sandy.

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Mourdock's Crime is Theism

Republicans can't seem to keep from diving into the nexus between rape and abortion during this "jobs, jobs, jobs" election.  Aside from the obvious - that this is probably a bad political play for a party that has a big gap with women voters nationally - it's been quite common during this cycle.  The latest such comment from a running GOPer comes from Richard Mourdock, the Tea Partier who primaried Indiana's Dick Lugar.  Mourdock recently made comments that have people comparing him with Missouri's Todd Akin.

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Embrace the War on Women for the Win

About a year ago, I wrote about a model of US Presidential elections by UCLA's Lynn Vavreck.  Vavreck's model, like almost every poli-sci model of this type with any predictive power, is mostly based on what's happening in the economy.  But Vavreck claims her model is still more accurate by taking a careful accounting of the campaign messages.

Here's how I described Vavreck's model last year:

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Debate The Controversy!

As we all know, there are two - and only two - sides to every story.  It's an article of faith in contemporary American political life.  He said one thing, she said another.  We must, of course, exhibit both sides in order to get a fair and balanced view of any issue.  After all, the truth will invariably be found somewhere in the middle.

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Wonk Like A Man

Paul Ryan is wonky.  You can tell this is so because he is frequently described this way by Very Important People.  Like in this ABC news video.  Or this Daily Beast column.  Or in this NYT column.  Wonkiness is supposedly one of Paul Ryan's great strengths.

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