Say goodbye to political privacy

Say goodbye to political privacy

The Huffington Post has put up a feature it calls "Fundrace," which allows users to search by address, city, name, occupation, or employer to find out who has made campaign donations of $200 or more, of which federal law requires public disclosure. On a whim, I did a vanity search for my name, even though I had only contributed $100 to the Ron Paul campaign. Of course, I wasn't in the results, but someone else who shares my name was:…

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Neuropsychology illuminates roots of human ethics

Neuropsychology illuminates roots of human ethics

David Hume said humans, in observing pain, experience that pain, too. Therefore, we want to alleviate the pain of other people, to ameliorate the suffering it causes within us. This empathy for our fellow humans constitutes the basis for treating them decently. Hume's best friend Adam Smith, in his 1759 work The Theory of Moral Sentiments, agreed that instinctual empathy helped birth human morality. He wrote: How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his…

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Does Scandal Matter?

Given the results of the 2006 elections, one could wonder whether scandals actually matter for electoral outcomes. Senator Conrad Burns of Montana, who used a subcommittee chairmanship to fulfill the requests of Jack Abramoff in exchange for cash,1 did lose his seat, but only by such a slim margin several days of vote counting were necessary to ascertain the final outcome. Other politicians with ties to Abramoff, such as Representatives John Doolittle,2 Roy Blunt,3 and Pete Sessions,4 won reelection. Additionally,…

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Chafee for Senate

Chafee for Senate

An R next to a politician's name might as well be a scarlet letter in 2006. Voters have tired of Republican President George W. Bush for his ignorance of reality in Iraq and abuses of power at home. And Americans have soured on Republican custodians of Congress for lining their pockets with lobbyists' bribes and concealing the depredations of individual congressmen. Because of these failings of national Republicans, the incumbent Republican Senator for Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee, must win re-election…

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Democrats, beware

In the upcoming elections, Democrats have the strongest chance of seizing control of the House of Representatives since 1994. Perhaps they will take the Senate as well. Republicans, after all, have left the door open for Democrats: They have pushed an unpopular war in Iraq. They have tainted themselves with the stench of Jack Abramoff. They have supported a president who, through incompetent response to terrorism and Hurricane Katrina, has earned the ire of the American public. And, recently, they…

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Bush’s cronyism has gone too far

President George W. Bush's penchant for cronyism has achieved infamy by now. Apparently, he thought a friend with no judicial experience and simplistic legal reasoning, Harriet Miers, a dandy choice for the Supreme Court. The highest court in the land isn't for brilliant thinkers, after all, but long-time pals. Also, of course, the President believed a failed horse breeder with no disaster response ability, Michael Brown, a fine selection to lead the Federal Emergency Management Agency. New Orleanders know what…

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