The Dickey Amendment is dead. Or, maybe it’s more that it has eroded into a shadow of what it once was. First passed into law in 1996, the Amendment is widely credited with ending federal funding of gun violence research in the United States. But while Dickey is technically still on the books, Democrats have chipped away at its power over the last couple years — first with an official clarification that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can study gun violence, and now a bipartisan agreement to provide $25 million of actual funding to back that up.
The movement says it wants a second Civil War targeting liberal political opponents and law enforcement.
In a beige reception hall in a Des Moines suburb, over paper plates piled with the remains of a Monday morning continental breakfast, Sen. Bernie Sanders urged a packed house of Iowans to manifest their dreams. Imagine an America where cancer only kills you, rather than also rifling through your wallet. Visualize a future where no American child has to pay off her grandmother’s student loans. Cynicism is high and more than a quarter of us believe the American Dream is unattainable, but Sanders’s stump speech offered hope. “Everything is impossible until it’s not,” he said. The crowd went wild.
When a presidential race that was supposed to be won by a mainstream moderate instead ends being captured by a far-right gadfly, you better believe pollsters are gonna get some scrutiny. But when this situation took place in the first round of French elections in 2002, bumping the incumbent prime minister from the final round, it wasn’t just the failure of prediction that led to a polling protest. Instead, people were concerned that opinion polling, itself, had caused the outcome.
When the Iowa caucuses went to hell in a handbasket last week, they probably took some of Americans’ last morsels of trust in the political system down too. But when I asked political scientists and psychologists about the impact of the bungled caucuses on overall political cynicism, they, by and large, weren’t particularly concerned. The vast majority of voters probably won’t care all that much, they said; instead, these experts are more worried about the indirect effects. Long after the shoddy apps have been forgotten, mistrust and bitterness could still be trickling down from political elites to everyone else.
Before there were vapes, there was sulfanilamide. One of the first great medicines of the antibiotic era, sulfanilamide was a miracle drug at a time when curing pneumonia with a quick trip to the pharmacy seemed akin to walking on water. When a sweet, raspberry-flavored liquid version appeared in stores in early September of 1937, it was a no-brainer prescription for doctors whose sick young patients were still picky enough they might reject even Jesus himself if he returned in the form of a bitter-tasting pill.
How many Americans are shot but not killed each year? I can’t really tell you exactly. You’d think gunshot injuries would be easy to count, but as we’ve reported in the past, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls its own estimates “unstable and potentially unreliable.” The range of uncertainty has gotten so large that the agency removed the most recent two years’ worth of firearm injury data from its website.
This summer, we asked readers to send us their climate change questions. A lot of those questions sat squarely under umbrella topics we expected: how climate science works, what individuals can do to prevent greenhouse gas emissions and what crazy technological solutions might actually be effective. We’ll be coming back to those later. But first, we wanted to address a different sort of question: Who is winning climate change? Sure, climate change is a very bad thing in a larger, existential sense. But are there animals and plants whose habitats will expand in a warmer world? Is there anybody who has figured out how to profit off the coming apocalypse? Won’t some places be nicer to live in than others? You wanted to know. We’re going to find out.
Maybe you call it a bubble. Maybe you call it a silo. Maybe you just call it an echo chamber. But whatever metaphorical, narrow and enclosed space you prefer, there’s a good chance you’ve been told that one of the great social problems of our time is Americans getting their political news from biased sources. Conservatives watch Fox News. Liberals watch MSNBC. The news tells us what we already believe and distorts reality around partisan talking points.
Everybody is cynical and few people are changing their minds. That’s the takeaway from the House’s impeachment hearings. (Well, that and Steve Castor’s unconventional taste in briefcases.) It’s the sort of national attitude that you might suspect would inspire political apathy. If you think all politicians are crooked do-nothings, you might care less what they do.