Disproportionate Influence

By Sheila Kennedy

[Originally published at SheilaKennedy.net on March 5, 2015]

Disproportionate Influence
The Pew Research Center recently published “Five Facts About Consistent Conservatives.” It explains a lot

Some of what Pew’s research tells us is unsurprising: political participation is highest at the “poles”–both ideological liberals and ideological conservatives participate more than their less ideological fellow-citizens. The category they call “consistent conservative” is heavily dominated by rural folks. When it comes to raising children, conservatives prioritize responsibility, faith and hard work, with faith identified as particularly important; while responsibility led among all five of Pew’s ideological categories, religious faith was chosen by significantly more consistent conservatives than all other groups. 

These findings tend to confirm what most observers would have expected. The surprise–at least, to me–came from the conclusion that “Consistent conservatives participate in politics at higher rates than most other ideological groups.” 
Half of consistent conservatives, for example, said they had contacted an elected official within the past two years – the highest level of any of our five groups. (The corresponding figure for all Americans, by the way, was 28%.) Consistent conservatives also ranked high on other measurements of political engagement, such as donating money (26%), attending campaign events (24%) and volunteering on a campaign (12%). 
Those of us who wonder who elects the scientifically illiterate, the religiously intolerant “Christian Nation” folks, and the other assorted crazies have our answer. 

As with so much of life, showing up matters. 



Sheila Kennedy is a former high school English teacher, former lawyer, former Republican, former Executive Director of Indiana's ACLU, former columnist for the Indianapolis Star, and former young person. She is currently an (increasingly cranky) old person, a Professor of Law and Public Policy at Indiana University Purdue University in Indianapolis, and Director of IUPUI's Center for Civic Literacy. She writes for the Indianapolis Business Journal, PA Times, and the Indiana Word, and blogs at www.sheilakennedy.net. For those who are interested in more detail, links to an abbreviated CV and academic publications can be found on her blog, along with links to her books..

SCOTUS Sets The LGBT Marriage Debate Date: April 28th


SCOTUS Sets The LGBT Marriage Debate Date: April 28th
 
The U.S. Supreme Court announced the date they'll be hearing arguments on the consolidated marriage equality cases, and that date is April 28, 2015. Equality Case Files posted the announcement if you'd like to read it in full.
 
Stay tuned as we'll have a full write-up the day of arguments on how things went!


About Tim Peacock:

For virtually his entire life, Tim has been writing. Over the years he's dabbled in mainstream fiction, science fiction, dystopian fiction, and personal essays. The one consistent thread through his entire writing career has been blogging - he's been doing it since 1997 in one form or another. In addition to writing Tim has frequently worked and volunteered as a civil rights advocate including on campus LGBT advocacy as well as interning with the Colorado Civil Rights Division.

You can find Tim online at his personal website. He additionally guest contributes at Blue Nation Review. You can find him on LinkedIn as well as on Twitter as @timsimms


Pot and That Kettle of Booze…

By Sheila Kennedy

[Originally published at SheilaKennedy.net on March 4, 2015]

Pot and That Kettle of Booze…
Are you one of those soft-headed “libruls” who want to decriminalize pot? If so, add this to your list of arguments.
 
A new study compared all kinds of substances, and found that pot is more than 100 times safer than alcohol.(They didn’t take the “munchies” and consequential obesity into account, however…)  Researchers found that booze is actually the deadliest substance of all, and–based upon their findings– recommended that US law enforcement focus a lot less on pot-related crimes.
 
According to the Washington Post:
Those are the top-line findings of recent research published in the journal Scientific Reports, a subsidiary of Nature. Researchers sought to quantify the risk of death associated with the use of a variety of commonly used substances. They found that at the level of individual use, alcohol was the deadliest substance, followed by heroin and cocaine.
So, put that in your pipe and smoke it. (Okay, a little inappropriate humor there….)
 
For the past thirty years, at least, criminal justice scholars have documented the flaws in American drug policy. The drug war has been a costly, monumental failure–in addition to its clear failure to reduce hard drug use, it has decimated communities of color, ruined countless lives, distorted foreign policy…and the beat goes on.
 
Drug use is not the same thing as drug abuse. And drug abuse should be addressed as the  public health issue it is, not through the criminal justice system. (You’d think we might have learned a thing or two about overreaction during Prohibition…)
 
When ideology and “morality” trump evidence and common sense, you get profoundly stupid policies. We do “profoundly stupid” a lot. 

 

Sheila Kennedy is a former high school English teacher, former lawyer, former Republican, former Executive Director of Indiana's ACLU, former columnist for the Indianapolis Star, and former young person. She is currently an (increasingly cranky) old person, a Professor of Law and Public Policy at Indiana University Purdue University in Indianapolis, and Director of IUPUI's Center for Civic Literacy. She writes for the Indianapolis Business Journal, PA Times, and the Indiana Word, and blogs at www.sheilakennedy.net. For those who are interested in more detail, links to an abbreviated CV and academic publications can be found on her blog, along with links to her books..

George Takei: Flipping Alabama the Marriage Bird


After the Alabama Supreme Court put LGBT couples through the ringer yet again (and placing them in legal limbo) yesterday with an order halting all same sex marriages across the state, one celebrity decided he'd had enough and flipped the entire state government the bird...the marriage bird that is.


Want to join Mr. Takei and flip the marriage bird yourself? Take a photo with your spouse, post it to Facebook or Twitter and use the hashtag #LuvUAlabama

Here's the photo I submitted:


Did you flip Alabama the marriage bird? Leave your photo (or a link to the social media posting) in the comments.

About Tim Peacock:

For virtually his entire life, Tim has been writing. Over the years he's dabbled in mainstream fiction, science fiction, dystopian fiction, and personal essays. The one consistent thread through his entire writing career has been blogging - he's been doing it since 1997 in one form or another. In addition to writing Tim has frequently worked and volunteered as a civil rights advocate including on campus LGBT advocacy as well as interning with the Colorado Civil Rights Division.

You can find Tim online at his personal website. He additionally guest contributes at Blue Nation Review. You can find him on LinkedIn as well as on Twitter as @timsimms