Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Archive for February, 2010

Feb 28th, 2010

Summary: Saying “I pray for the victims,” Pope Benedict XVI urged survivors of Chile’s devastating earthquake to be courageous and asked the Catholic Church to play a role in relief efforts. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 28, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that the Southern Poverty Law Center had released its annual hate group report, titled “The Year in Hate.” The study identified 926 hate groups active in 2008 and found that the number of hate groups had grown by 54 percent since 2000.

Feb 27th, 2010

Summary: A tsunami triggered by a magnitude 8.8 earthquake off the Chilean coast is racing across the Pacific Ocean, threatening Hawaii. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 27, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that President Barack Obama won crucial backing for his Iraq military withdrawal plan from leading Congressional Republicans, including Senator John McCain and Ohio Rep. John A. Boehner, the House minority leader.

Feb 26th, 2010

Summary: Insurgents struck in the heart of the Afghan capital with suicide attackers and a car bomb, targeting hotels used by foreigners and killing at least 16 people and wounding dozen. The four-hour assault began about 6:30 a.m. with a car bombing that leveled a residential hotel used by Indian doctors. A series of explosions and gunbattles left blood and debris in the rain-slicked streets and underscored the militants’ ability to strike in the heavily defended capital even as NATO marshals its forces against them in the volatile south. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 26, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that Rep. Michele Bachmann had acknowledged for the first time — at least implicitly — the uproar her controversial public comments have caused.

Feb 25th, 2010

Summary: The political movement of Iraq’s best-known anti-American cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, is emerging as a major contender in the March 7, 2010 national elections, raising the specter that the next prime minister of Iraq could be openly hostile to the United States and friendly toward Iran. Further complicating the situation, Iraq’s main Sunni party has said it is dropping out of the elections. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 25, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that four U.S. soldiers and an Afghan civilian working for them were killed in southern Afghanistan when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb, while in Iraq two policemen opened fire on U.S. soldiers visiting a police station, killing an American soldier and an Iraqi interpreter, wounding three Americans, and raising concerns about insurgent infiltration among the ranks of Iraqi police.

Feb 24th, 2010

Summary: More than eight years after the Taliban was toppled from power, the number of U.S. military fatalities in the war in Afghanistan is nearing 1,000, a grim milestone in a resurgent conflict that is claiming the lives of an increasing number of troops who had survived previous combat tours in Iraq. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 24, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that although the worst of the sectarian bloodshed and loss of American lives have ebbed in Iraq, U.S. service members continue to die in the 5-year war.

Feb 23rd, 2010

Summary: Weekly report of U.S. military deaths in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), compiled from U.S. Department of Defense News Releases. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 23, 2009, Aubrey Immelman featured live coverage of the trial to decide the winner of the Coleman-Franken contest for U.S. Senate, courtesy of The UpTake.

Feb 22nd, 2010

Summary: Iran says it plans to build two new uranium enrichment facilities deep inside mountains to protect them from attack, a new challenge to Western powers trying to curb Tehran’s nuclear program for fear it is aimed at making weapons. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 22, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), criticizing the economic stimulus plan on KTLK radio in the Twin Cities with her trademark gloom-and-doom histrionics, foresaw a “national rationing board,” claimed “your doctor will no longer be able to make your health care decisions with you,” and catastrophized that “we’re running out of rich people in this country.”

Feb 21st, 2010

Summary: Nancy Carver of Rice, Minn., has led by example by restoring her shoreline on Little Rock Lake to native flowers and grasses during the past two years. She is helping educate her neighbors on how to develop restoration plans for their shorelines. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 21, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that two of his student research associates in the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, Sarah Moore and Angela Rodgers, presented their research on “The Personality Profile of President Barack Obama: Leadership Implications” at the 6th annual Minnesota Private Colleges Scholars at the Capitol event, Feb. 19, 2009 in the State Capitol rotunda, St. Paul, Minn.

Feb 20th, 2010

Summary: Conspiracy theories have long been a fixture on the political landscape, with political paranoia most virulent among politically marginalized sectors of the polity. So, with Democrats holding the reins of power, it stands to reason that the right-wing fringe has become the prime repository of collective craziness. … Conspiracy-theorist-in-chief Michele Bachmann. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 20, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that Muntadhar al-Zeidi, the Iraqi reporter who hurled his shoes at George W. Bush, said at his trial that President Bush’s smile as he talked about achievements in Iraq had made him think of “the killing of more than a million Iraqis, the disrespect for the sanctity of the mosques and houses, the rapes of women,” and enraged him. “After more than a million Iraqis killed, after all the economic and social destruction … I felt that this person is the killer of the people, the prime murderer. I was enraged and threw my shoes at him.”

Feb 19th, 2010

Summary: A small plane has crashed into a multistory office building in Austin, Texas, causing a fire and sending black smoke billowing from the seven-story structure. The building reportedly houses one or more federal agencies, so the possibility exists that this incident could be an intentional act. (Federal law enforcement officials later identified the man as Joseph Stack, 53, a software engineer with a long-standing grudge against the Internal Revenue Service.) … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 19, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that some Republican politicians were taking credit in their home districts for stimulus money coming their way, even though they voted against it, but that U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann went the extra mile by claiming the stimulus bill was nothing but a payoff for those who supported President Barack Obama during his election campaign.