Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Just pointing to my brief piece on Medium about Democrats and whether they're now believers in conspiracy theories. Read it. Short, brilliant, and did I mention short? And brief?

It's the J-school, Dammit

It pains me to agree with my former editor and now dean of that large j-school to the south of us from which I have my advanced degrees, but she's right in her recent post about the importance of journalism and the necessity of its name remaining in our colleges of mass and various communications.

In discussing the recent challenges to the field, she notes:
So what should a college of journalism do? A handful of our alumni have suggested that we take journalism out of our name and focus on a more contemporary approach to news and information. 
 I see it another way: I say we double down on fact-finding, truth-seeking and audience engagement. There has never been a more important time to affirm our allegiance to the standards and practices that are the bedrock of an informed citizenry. Our ethical codes are the right ones. Let’s reinforce them, not abandon them.
Back in 2013 I wrote about this in terms of a name change floated here at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The title of that post says it all:

It'll Always Be The J-School, Dammit

And it will. As long as I'm here, at least.

I know the realities and the numbers. Public Relations and Advertising are far more popular majors for all kinds of reasons. That's fine and good and disappointing and a sign of the Apocalypse, but that doesn't mean we chase that popularity to change a school's name and forget our academic and professional and moral and Constitutional roots. Or to put it another way, as I did in my original post:

Lemme help you out folks.
 Henry W. Grady, he wasn't a PR guy.

So here's to Diane McFarlin. She got it right, both for UF and for us. All of us.

It'll always be the j-school, dammit.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Religious Political Sophistication?

There's a fresh study out that looks at a new concept, one called by the author religious-political sophistication. The first sentence sets the argument up nicely:
This article demonstrates that the effect of religion on public opinion is partially contingent on a previously overlooked variable: whether religious identifiers have accurate personal understanding of church teaching on political issues. 
This is an interesting and important argument, so set aside the author's love love of first person throughout the piece (I actually find that refreshing and  leads to tighter writing, but some journal editors hate it).

So how does one measure religious-political sophistication? Largely by scoring respondents as agreeing with church orthodoxy, though it gets more complicated than that. As is often the case in political science research, you get bombarded by statistical models and it can appear the journal pays the author by the number of tables published. Simply put, correctly knowing the position of one's religious leaders influence's one opinion on the issue in the direction of the religion. I'm oversimplifying, but I'm rushed. Read it yourself for all the nuance and, especially, at the end the question of whether this is merely projection or a real effect on public opinion.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

My Lenvimaversary

Just pointing to my post on Medium today about my Lenvimaversary (one year on Lenvima) and my visits to MD Anderson. Read it. Now.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Obmacare vs ACA

Just a quick post to point to this NYTimes story and poll that shows just how important a label is in what is the same thing, just called by different words.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Some States Are NOT for Lovers

So there's this study out that ranks the states in terms of attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance. Virginia is for Lovers? Not so much.

Here are the Top Ten in terms of attachment anxiety. The list for avoidance is similar, but not a perfect match. Virginia, FYI, is in the middle of the pack.

  1. North Dakota (surprising given it's so cold)
  2. West Virginia (unsurprising)
  3. New York (insert NYC joke here)
  4. Kentucky (meth?)
  5. Kansas (what's wrong with Kansas? Now we know)
  6. Connecticut (I got nothing)
  7. Missouri (see Kentucky above)
  8. Ohio (I blame THE Ohio State University)
  9. Texas (of course)
  10. Rhode Island (I doubt its existence)
Who is the most cuddly, or the least anxious?
  1. Mississippi (you're kidding, right?)
  2. Alaska (colder than even North Dakota)
  3. Vermont (ditto)
  4. Utah (Mormons cuddle?)
  5. Wisconsin (after all that beer)
  6. Louisiana (my wife is Cajun. No comment)
  7. Minnesota (nothing else to do)
  8. Arizona (old folks cuddling?)
  9. Oregon (I got nothing)
  10. North Carolina (but in separate bathrooms)
If you look at the actual study you'll see the numbers and rankings. There's a decent correlation between the two scores (r = .58), and North Dakota leads on both.

Georgia, by the way, ranks 25th in attachment anxiety and 16th in attachment avoidance. For what that's worth.


Image result for cheatYou know, all those online knowledge tests. Do you ever cheat? Of course you do.

It only matters, truly, when we're analyzing the data for some more serious purpose. This study looks at ways to reduce such cheating on line political knowledge tests and finds that telling people to not search for answers online can help.  Apparently, telling them how important it is to have honest data can make a difference.