Political

California Action Alert: April 9 Call-in Day to Cut Nuclear Weapons

Californians have a unique role to play in reducing dangerous stockpiles of nuclear weapons as well as helping to reduce the deficit. Our Senator, Dianne Feinstein, is the Chair of the committee that oversees the nuclear weapons budget, and is one of the most important leaders in the Senate on the issue. That is why an urgent Statewide Call-in Day is planned for Tuesday, April 9th, to show Sen. Feinstein that Californians want to cut spending on nuclear weapons. Current plans will have the U.S. spend up to $500 billion in the next decade on these weapons, in direct contradiction to the growing bipartisan consensus that we could safely cut our nuclear arsenals now and cut billions of dollars from the federal deficit.

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From Tonnage to Feelings: Evaluating Campaign Ads

  Negative campaign ads that leave a sour taste in your mouth and an unsettling feeling in your stomach might not be all bad, according to new interpretations. YouGov analyzed a random sample of 600 individual's reactions to political ads, representative of the U.S. population at large. This topic was the foundation for a panel discussion hosted by  The Brookings Institute in Washington, DC on July 23rd . The panel, New Ways of Evaluating Campaign Ads featured panelists John Geer Professor and Chair of Political Science at Vanderbilt University, Doug Rivers, President and CEO of YouGov/Polimetrix, Lynn Vavreck  Professor at UCLA and director of the Center of the Study of Campaigns, Jeremy Peters, political reporter for The New York Times, and Ken Goldstein, Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The event began with an overview of the history and discussion of different broadcast mediums. The initial emergence of broadcasting in the 1960’s came about with the introduction and growing use of television being utilized to reach as many people as possible with no limiting measures. Then came narrow casting in the 1970’s and 1980’s with the introduction of cable creating the  capability to target different demographics with certain ads or messages, the 1990’s and the Internet brought about mircocasting allowing candidates to narrow their focus even further, and finally to present-day and nanocasting using social media networks. This topic is of interest to political scientists (especially those that focus on advertising)to see how people respond to these different types of broadcasting and their reactions to both positive and negative ads. The continuous narrowing of casting has allowed for campaigns to be even more tailored and more effective in targeting a certain demographic with certain campaign ads.

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The Next Generation in Russia, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan: Youth, Politics, Identity, and Change

This Tuesday, Nadia Diuk, Vice President of the National Endowment for Democracy, hosted a panel discussion concerning her book and the topics addressed therein. Also featured was Sharon Wolchik, Professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, and Marc Plattner, who moderated the discussion. Diuk’s book studies the role of youth in politics in Russia, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan, through public opinion polling in 2003 and 2009 of youth between the ages of 18-35 and interviews with young leaders, analyzed from a historical perspective.

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Increasing Nuclear Transparency with Satellite Imagery

FAS was pleased to welcome experts Matthew McKinzie with the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Hans Kristensen with FAS, and Tamara Patton with the Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) this Thursday to present and discuss their use of satellite imagery to monitor nuclear forces and proliferators. Matthew McKinzie spoke about the use of Geographic Information Systems and satellite imagery for arms control, human rights, and environmental advocacy work. Google Earth has exposed IBCM silo complexes, and observations of changes in images of the same location over time have evidenced mass building destruction on the Eritrea-Ethiopia border after the 2000 cease-fire and home demolitions in the Gaza Strip. Using knowledge from North Korean refugees, what at first appeared from satellite to be towns we now know to be prison camps. An examination of geographical overlap can also reveal locational information about Hezbollah terrorism targets in Beirut. In addition, when given known information about prevailing winds, McKinzie was able to calculate the radiation plumes that would result from a meltdown of each US power reactor at specific times during the day. The NRDC also collected data on radar throughout the US, including weather, airport surveillance, and air route surveillance radar, which, when combined with information about prevailing winds and elevation, can give essential information to the DOD about high interference areas.

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PCAST Federal Energy Policy Report Released

U.S. public energy RD&D spending as share of GDP is only 1/3 of Japan's Yesterday morning the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released its “Report…

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