Political Science Professor Thomas Schaller writes in his latest op-ed published in The Baltimore Sun that while polls show Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown with a commanding lead in the Democratic primary for governor, continuing with a mistake-free campaign will be the key to victory in June.
Schaller writes Attorney General Douglas Gansler and Del. Heather Mizeur, Brown’s opponents in the race, haven’t gained traction statewide and are competing for votes in Montgomery County while Brown has gained widespread support.
“Mix in a string of union endorsements and the backing of Gov. Martin O’Malley, U.S. senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, half of the state’s U.S. House delegation, and scads of state legislators and county officials, and there’s little doubt Mr. Brown is the party establishment’s choice,” Schaller writes.
In his column titled “Slow and steady wins the race for Brown,” Schaller argues even with strong backing from the Democratic establishment, Brown should focus on not making any major missteps in the months ahead.
“That said, and given the large chunk of undecided Democrats, Mr. Brown’s task is simple: Don’t blow it. As sometimes happens, being perceived as inevitable is no guarantee of inevitability,” Schaller added.
You can read the full op-ed in The Baltimore Sun here.
In an op-ed published February 17 in Fox News Latino, Justin Vélez-Hagan, Public Policy Ph.D. student and Executive Director of The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce, argues recent policies put forth by Puerto Rico’s government are not the solution for long-term economic growth and development.
Vélez-Hagan writes Puerto Rico’s “Jobs Now Act” was intended to grow the economy by offering tax exemptions and credits along with incentives for hiring underemployed groups, but the cost to hire and train new employees far outweighs the benefits of the new policy.
“It’s especially surprising given the latest employment numbers,” writes Vélez-Hagan. “According to the Government Development Bank of Puerto Rico, employment trends have yet to improve. While unemployment actually fell by a full percentage point in 2012, it completely reversed this trend in the first year of this administration, climbing from 14.6 percent to 15.4 percent by December.”
In the column, Vélez-Hagan offers alternative solutions for improving Puerto Rico’s economy and creating jobs.
“Even if they are finally able to balance their budget, the governor is going to have to push beyond his political limits to focus on incentives for growing businesses in Puerto Rico, such as rolling back the higher tax rates, expanding the incentive for foreign investment, and explicitly targeting companies in high-growth industries for residency in Puerto Rico,” he adds.
You can read the full article titled “Puerto Rico Still Doesn’t Get What Makes an Economy Tick” on Fox News Latino’s website here.
The Daily Iowan’s editorial board recently published a column arguing that the Iowa Senate should reject a $9 million tax break for a motor racing track in Newton, Iowa purchased by NASCAR. The authors contend that accepting tax breaks and appropriating public funds to build and maintain complexes for organizations such as NASCAR can harm the local economy.
A study by economics professor Dennis Coates was referenced in the article in which he argued sports welfare negatively impacts local residents because most money generated by sports stadiums ends up going to the owners.
“The professional sports environment in the 37 metropolitan areas in our sample had no measurable impact on the growth rate of real per capita income in those areas. The professional sports environment has a statistically significant impact on the level of real per income in our sample of metropolitan areas, and the overall impact is negative,” the Coates study noted.
You can read the full column published February 17 here.
After Maryland was hit with heavy snowfall last Thursday, WYPR’s Maryland Morning looked into the question: how do our older neighbors plan for and deal with this kind of weather? Sheilah Kast, the program’s host, spoke with Erickson School Dean Judah Ronch about tips and suggestions for helping elders during snowstorms.
Ronch discussed how elders can be vulnerable when they lose power and heat in their homes during storms, which can make them more susceptible to injury, cause them to become disoriented and it can even spoil food which can lead to lack of nutrition.
“That affects both body and mind. Their thinking gets to be a little less clear, and they may make decisions which really aren’t typical of what they can do,” Ronch said.
Ronch added you can help elders by creating a buddy system and forming relationships before storms and emergencies happen. He said having a plan in place and making sure the person has everything they need in advance can go a long way.
“Having a checklist of what the person needs, for example, do you have enough food, do you have enough water, do you have all the medications you would need for let’s say a four to five-day period?” Ronch said. “I think those who are checking in on older adults should check in before, during and after the event.”
You can listen to the full interview on WYPR here.
UMBC is featured in two articles in The Baltimore Sun’s February Education Supplement. Josh Massey, an interdisciplinary studies major, is profiled in an article titled “Tools of success” for his role in developing “Banana Bones,” a mobile campus navigation app to help students and visitors find their away across college campuses.
Massey and two of his fellow classmates, Andres Camacho and Hashem Kanfash, started the app as part of a class project that was later purchased by Tecor Networks. “None of us is really a techie,” said Massey, explaining why they didn’t produce the app themselves. “We knew we needed someone to help with the programming.”
UMBC’s Global Studies program is featured in an article titled “A global perspective,” which focuses on new programs that go beyond the traditional study abroad experience. Political Science Professor and Global Studies Program Director Devin Hagerty is quoted in the article describing the program, in which students are required to study abroad and take courses across several disciplines.
“This program is based on a global competence concept involving knowledge of other cultures and the ability to embrace change and learn about cultures outside your own environment. This way, if you are transferred to an office in Berlin or Stockholm, you will have the confidence to hit the ground running,” Hagerty said.
To read the full article featuring “Banana Bones,” click here. You can read the full article featuring the Global Studies program here.
A recent article in The Washington Times reviews states that have experienced glitches after rolling out health exchange websites as part of the Affordable Care Act. The article mentions the Maryland website which experienced software defects, causing state officials to offer retroactive coverage to users who couldn’t purchase plans in time for the start of the new year.
In the article, Public Policy Professor and Chair Donald Norris offered insight into how the health exchange website problems could affect the upcoming Democratic primary in the race for governor. He said Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown will likely win despite being the target of criticism for the website’s problems.
“If he does win and the website continues to have problems the GOP nominee, whoever that is, will certainly use [Obamacare issues] against him, though I can’t imagine that that alone would cause him to lose,” Norris said.
To read the full article in The Washington Times, click here.
In an article published last week, Governing Magazine explored participation in the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), Republican Governors Association (RGA) and National Governors Association (RGA), and how it is increasingly becoming a proving ground for governors seeking higher office.
Political Science Professor Thomas Schaller is quoted in the article when describing Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s leadership role with the DGA. He says O’Malley “used the platform very well,” and “it gave him reason to take positions on national issues, especially inequality and poverty.”
While leading a governors association can be a good platform to develop a policy portfolio and weigh in on key policy issues, Schaller says success “really depends upon what that chair does with the opportunity.”
You can read the full article in Governing Magazine here.
Folger Theatre announced on its “Production Diary” blog last week that Richard III has been extended and will now run at the theatre through March 16. English Associate Professor Michele Osherow worked closely on the production of Richard III as dramaturg and sat down for an interview to discuss her role.
In a Q&A published on the Folger Theatre blog, Osherow notes the role of dramaturg can vary depending on the production. “In a general sense, the dramaturg is thought of as ‘the scholar in the rehearsal room,’” Osherow said. “The scholarship I’ll bring to a Folger project can range from literary criticism to historical information.”
Osherow further discussed her role as always focusing on what makes the play stronger by discussing concepts with the director, mastering the history of the play and providing materials to help artists involved in the production.
“Listening carefully and being open-minded is very important. At the same time, it’s my job, I think, to ask a lot of questions about choices and concepts, to interrogate how they serve the play,” she added.
You can read the full interview in Folger Theatre’s blog here.
In an interview published February 8 in The Wall Street Journal, Manil Suri, mathematics professor and affiliate professor of Asian studies, commented on a recent Indian Supreme Court ruling that reinstates a 19th-century law criminalizing homosexual acts (Section 377), he commented on gay activism in India, and he described his personal experiences growing up in Mumbai, among other topics. Below is an excerpt from the interview in which Suri described how the gay community has changed over the last several years in Mumbai:
When I was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, there was no community to speak of. Then, through the years, an underground movement slowly started to peek out—the private parties on the roof decks of suburban hotels, the upstairs bar at Gokul’s (in south Mumbai) which was unofficially colonized, the gay disco scene which became increasingly prominent. What’s most heartening to see is that the emphasis on sex is abating in favour of love—people are entering relationships, trying to create a vibrant gay culture.
You can read the full interview in The Wall Street Journal here.
Suri has also been presenting interdisciplinary talks at other campuses across the country. On Wednesday, February 12, he presented the Arcus Lecture at UC Berkley College of Environmental Design. The lecture examined the intersection of urban studies with diversity issues, particularly LGBTQ diversity and how such intersections are explored in his book, “The City of Devi.” More information can be found here.
On Thursday, March 6, Suri will be presenting the Director’s Visiting Scholar Lecture on math and fiction at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. More information on that event can be found here.
Most scientist accept the RNA world hypothesis, which states that RNA was the first biological molecule due to its ability to copy itself and pass along genetic traits. However, Nicholas Hud, a chemist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, wasn’t convinced.
A recent article in WIRED, courtesy of Quanta Magazine, discusses Hud’s experiment with the building blocks of RNA. The experiment made a breakthrough with the discovery of a chemical recipe that points to the existence of a molecule that might pre-date RNA.
Quanta interviewed Stephen Freeland, director of UMBC’s interdiscipinary studies program, for the article. “In my opinion, nothing like this has been seen before,” Dr. Freeland said, before going on to say that the experiment leads to conceptual progress, even if it did not use the exact components of the unknown molecule.
Read the entire article at WIRED.com.