In his latest opinion column for the Baltimore Sun, UMBC political science professor Thomas F. Schaller takes on accusations surrounding the recent U.S. Department of Homeland Security purchase of large quantities of ammunition (up to 1.6 billion rounds in some reports)—including claims that the Obama administration is arming itself while simultaneously trying to disarm the citizenry through gun control legislation.
In researching the purchase, Schaller found:
It turns out the order is closer to 750 million rounds and covers a five-year period and the 70,000 federal officers who require firearm certification or retraining. That’s roughly 2,200 rounds per officer per year; recreational gun users often dispense several hundred rounds during a single firing range visit.
Schaller concludes that this “scandal” is more conspiracy than legitimate critique of government overreach. He suggests that gun advocates would benefit from ignoring such distractions and instead focusing on what he identifies as real examples of government abuse of power, or addressing the risks that can come with gun ownership.
Thomas F. Schaller’s latest Baltimore Sun column responds head-on to arguments that the Department of Defense (DoD) should be exempt from sequestration.
Schaller describes several concerns regarding financial waste, fraud and abuse in the DoD, but notes, “The good news is that the sequester, coupled with America’s downsized presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, has actually reduced military spending significantly.”
He writes, “We can have a strong defense, support our troops and veterans, and do so without holding the Pentagon to different standards just because it has the unique and essential duty of defending the nation.”
On Saturday, April 27, UMBC political science professor Thomas F. Schaller spoke at the 9th annual Western Maryland Democratic Summit, alongside Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin, U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen and others.
According to coverage in the Herald-Mail, Schaller commented that the Republican Party has become a “Housified party” in recent years. Since 1994, Republican majorities in the U.S. House of Representatives have been driving the policies, philosophy and message of the party, which Schaller argued is to the GOP’s detriment in Senate and presidential politics. On the 2014 midterm election, Schaller predicted the Democrats are unlikely to regain a majority in the House because that would require 18 more seats and there are fewer swing districts across the nation than in the past.
Thomas F. Schaller, professor of political science at UMBC, offers his expertise on Maryland politics in a new Governing Magazine article that asks “Are the States Deepening the Nation’s Red-Blue Divide?”
The article explores how the expansion of unified party control and legislative supermajorities at the state level are impacting policymaking, examining what policies are being approved in strongly Republican and strongly Democratic states.
The article identifies Maryland as a Democratic state that has taken a turn to the left with recent legislation on assault weapons, education, same-sex marriage and the death penalty. “Maryland is getting bluer in election results,” says Schaller; conveying that Maryland’s GOP has become increasingly marginalized.
In today’s Baltimore Sun, political science professor Thomas F. Schaller writes,
Less than 24 hours ago, an apparent act of terrorism marred this year’s Boston Marathon. It’s too early to know many of the details about this tragic event. Late last night, officials were reporting three deaths and well over 100 injuries; soon we will have a clearer sense of how many were killed and wounded. [...] But we don’t need to know every detail to draw a few sad, cautionary lessons about what happened Monday.
Among those lessons is recognizing that “the primary purpose of terrorism is not to kill victims but to terrorize survivors.”
In addition to its horrific impact on victims and their families, writes Schaller, “[t]errorism poisons if not destroys our public spaces and the physical and psychic experiences we share with one another while in such spaces. After incidents like Monday’s, it’s tempting to retreat and turn our public spaces into fortresses.” But to do so, he warns, would be “fatal to our collective identities.”
A new Washington Times commentary critiquing government contracting programs for minority- and women-owned firms references testimony by UMBC professor George La Noue on why federal contacting preferences should be reexamined. La Noue is an expert on education policy, constitutional law and policy, and public procurement policy, and is a frequent witness in Congressional testimony.
In his latest Baltimore Sun column, UMBC political science professor Thomas F. Schaller explores how the 2010 and 2012 elections put Maryland on “a steady path toward leading a new vanguard of progressive policy and politics in the United States.”
Maryland voters last year approved both the Dream Act and marriage rights for same-sex couples. This year the Maryland General Assembly has prioritized raising the gas tax and repealing the death penalty. Although a plastic bag tax and bottle deposit bill failed, Schaller suggests both proposals are gaining support and might pass in the coming years.
“Already one of America’s bluest states,” Schaller writes, “Maryland seems to be getting bluer with each passing year.” Read the full column on the Baltimore Sun website.
Vivian Ekey ’11, political science and modern languages and linguistics, was recently chosen to be a Rangel Fellow.
The Rangel Graduate Fellowship is a program that aims to attract and prepare outstanding young people for careers in the Foreign Service in which they can help formulate, represent and implement U.S. foreign policy. Each year, the Rangel Program selects 20 outstanding Rangel Fellows in a highly competitive nationwide process and helps support them through two years of graduate study, internships and professional development activities, and entry into the Foreign Service.
Ekey will be earning an M.A in Latin American Studies and International Economics at the Johns Hopkins SAIS Bologna school.
Political science professor Thomas F. Schaller’s latest Baltimore Sun column takes a personal approach to examining the selection of Jesuit Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as pope, now known as Pope Francis. After reflecting on his own Catholic upbringing and how his religious identity has changed over time, Schaller highlights Pope Francis’ reputation for humility and what it might mean for the Catholic Church.
“It’s encouraging to have a humble, fresh face from the ‘new world’ heading the Catholic Church,” writes Schaller, continuing, “What’s unclear is whether Pope Francis’ background and temperament can actually reform the Vatican and the church, and guide the planet’s 1.2 billion Catholics toward a more promising future.”
In addition to the Sun column, this week Schaller also wrote a guest column for Sabato’s Crystal Ball on multiple-member districts (MMDs), or statewide at-large U.S. House districts — their history, their decline and their possible future.
Earlier this week, Schaller also contributed to the CBS-DC news story, “Maryland Becoming More Liberal.” “This is not the Democratic Party of William Donald Schaefer anymore,” he said, referring the former Maryland governor who endorsed George H.W. Bush. Schaller added, “It’s a blue state, but the blue hue is getting darker over time because of the demographics of the state.”
Thomas F. Schaller’s new Baltimore Sun column critiques the concept of “liberal media bias.”
Schaller writes, “Yes: The opinion media generally skew liberal on social issues related to abortion, gay rights, religion and maybe — maybe — guns. But that’s about the extent of it. On issues of war and peace, taxes and spending and government regulation, the corporate-owned American media are frequently anything but liberal.”
Read the full column on the Baltimore Sun website.