Current Events and the Psychology of Politics
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Summary: The Los Angeles Times published photos showing U.S. soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division posing with the body parts of dead suicide bombers in Afghanistan. The news comes at a time of growing sensitivity over the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan after a series of damaging and embarrassing incidents involving U.S. troops: In January 2012 video surfaced of U.S. Marines urinating on Afghan corpses; in February 2012, the burning of Qurans in a fire pit at the main American base in Afghanistan sparked violent protests and revenge killings of six Americans; and in March 2012, 17 civilians, mainly women and children, were killed in a nighttime rampage, allegedly by Staff Sgt. Robert Bales.


Sep 24th, 2010

Summary: NBC News’ Political Unit and MSNBC.com have created the Voter Confidence Index (VCI) as a measure of the current political climate and what it may signal about the November 2010 elections. The index uses a combination of three questions commonly asked in national polls: the president’s job approval rating, the direction of the country (right track / wrong track), and the generic congressional ballot. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on September 24, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), delivered the Third Annual Eugene J. McCarthy Lecture at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn.


Dec 28th, 2009

Summary: The New York Times reports that in the midst of two unfinished major wars — Afghanistan and Iraq — the United States has quietly opened a third, largely covert front against Al Qaeda in Yemen. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on December 28, 2008, Aubrey Immelman reported that the Taliban, which had long operated its own shadow government in the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan, had begun spreading north, encroaching on the capital city of Kabul.


Aug 22nd, 2009

Summary: Politico reports that Charlie Cook has sent out a special update to Cook Political Report in which he envisions a scenario in which Democratic House losses could exceed 20 seats in 2010. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on the 39th day of his campaign against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann for the Republican nomination as House of Representatives candidate in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, Aubrey Immelman started his second walking tour — a 50-mile campaign swing down Minnesota Highway 23 from Foley in the east through St. Cloud, Waite Park, Rockville, Cold Spring, and Richmond to Paynesville on the western boundary of the Sixth Congressional District.


Jan 19th, 2009

Summary: President George W. Bush presided over the weakest eight-year span for the U.S. economy in decades, according to an analysis of key data, with economists across the ideological spectrum increasingly viewing his two terms as a time of little progress on the nation’s thorniest fiscal challenges. Specifically, the number of jobs in the nation increased by about 2 percent during Bush’s tenure, the most tepid growth over any eight-year span since data collection began seven decades ago. Gross domestic product, a broad measure of economic output, grew at the slowest pace for a period of that length since the Truman administration. And Americans’ incomes grew more slowly than in any presidency since the 1960s, other than that of Bush’s father George H. W. Bush.


Jan 12th, 2009

Summary: Security forces used tear gas and batons to repel anti-Israel protesters who tried to attack a U.S. consulate in Pakistan as tens of thousands of people demonstrated worldwide against Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip. … Seven years after a U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan routed the Taliban regime, hard-line Islamic fighters who had scattered under massive bombardment to their villages and rear bases in Pakistan once again govern large swaths of Afghanistan and are dug in across regions that surround the capital Kabul, saying they welcome the U.S. military’s proposal to send as many as 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan by summer 2009 because it will give them more chances to kill “infidels.”