Hurricanes: A Growing Threat to an Endangered System

As part of my Ph.D. research, I surveyed longleaf pine habitats before and after Hurricane Michael. My goals were to assess baseline conditions in habitats that were considered to be in exemplary condition and the subsequent damage caused by the storm. This information should help land managers and policy-makers be better informed while making decisions about recovery plans. In total, 0.3-0.4 million acres of longleaf pine habitat within the Florida panhandle were impacted by hurricane force winds, while up to 2.6 million acres experienced tropical storm force winds. My detailed surveys at four sites showed that the site nearest to the storm center experienced catastrophic losses with an estimated tree mortality of 88.7%. At the other sites further away, mortality ranged from 1.3 – 8.4%.

These Two Arguments Make Americans Less Opposed to Court Packing

This piece first appeared in TheMonkey Cage. Reprinted with permission. Originally published as "These Two Arguments Make Americans Less Opposed to Court Packing" in The Monkey Cage at The Washington Post on March 27, 2019. Should Democrats try to add more justices to the Supreme Court? Some 2020 presidential candidates are discussing the idea — responding to …

Spinning, Rotating Queer Planetary Systems

My research on the Midtown neighborhood in Atlanta argues that when planning and urban development efforts fail to recognize the fragility of queer spaces, there can be serious consequences for the viability of LGBTQ spaces. In Atlanta plans for high-end redevelopment along the Peachtree corridor took precedence over longstanding LGBTQ bars on the street and explicitly excluded the adjacent Midtown gayborhood from influencing the redevelopment process. As interest in redevelopment in the Midtown area heated up, Midtown lost many gay and other queer residents who moved south and east in search of more affordable spaces further away from the Midtown “sun.”

The Power of Independent Thinking: The Vice in “Vice”

The partisanship on display in McKay’s film is unfortunate on many levels. As a writer and director, he has squandered the acting talents of an exceptional cast, brilliant editing, and dazzling cinematography. Amy Adams and Christian Bale are top-shelf actors, among the few who could pull off Shakespearian wordplay as contemporary pillow talk, and they do it with superb comic effect at McKay’s direction. While McKay does a solid job of portraying the genuine love and affection the Cheneys have for each other and their children, the emotional impact is diminished, even relegated to a minor theme, by the end of the movie.

The Joe Biden Moment: How Social Movements Can Capitalize on the Problems of Political Parties

So far, the response has been mixed. Some Democrats have urged the party to come down “hard” on Biden, noting that this is the only way to get him to change his behavior. Others argue downplay Biden as “touchy-feely” and argue that Democrats should be careful and not take the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace “too far.” At the time of this writing, women’s rights groups have largely been silent on Biden’s behavior. However, it would not be surprising if some groups, particularly those lacking strong relationship with the Democratic Party machine, used Biden as a rally point to build their supporter base and fill their coffers in the near future.

From Murphy’s Law to Murphy’s Regulations: What Actually Goes Wrong in Public Programs

Yet these solutions have not caught on because screening against a single criterion is so entrenched in public policy. Perhaps if Murphy’s Regulations were to become as much a part of the public policy lexicon as Murphy’s Law, attention would turn to what actually does go wrong as opposed to throwing up hands in the assumption that everything is going wrong.

Making Sense of President Trump’s Trade Policy

By looking at trade from a multidimensional perspective, we can better understand why President Trump has taken the trade positions he has and where those policies fit on the ideological spectrum. It also makes clear that trade policy is more complicated politically than often imagined, since we can’t just talk about free traders vs. protectionists, but must also consider fair traders—who are neither—and different types of protectionists.

Green New Deal’s Plan For Planes, Trains, And Automobiles Won’t Work

Economic forces are working against the Green New Deal’s infrastructure plan and its supporters don’t seem to understand this. Smaller local initiatives, such as reforming land-use regulations to encourage more density, the elimination of parking requirements and free parking, and congestion taxes, would reduce driving and carbon emissions and can be tailored to individual communities in a way that grandiose national plans can’t.

Longer Lives: New Paths Forward

Developing a roadmap for later life that includes a Third Age can help set up individuals for higher quality lives. However, making such plans are not the responsibility of individuals alone. There are significant disparities in the length and opportunities available during the Third Age. We need policies designed to ensure that young people today have resources throughout their lives so they can develop a meaningful Third Age, and in doing so, we will be able to utilize the knowledge, skills, and abilities of our current and future elders.