Category: United States

Maine Under Ranked-Choice: Revisiting 2014

On November 8, Maine voted to switch to a ranked-choice voting system. Though overshadowed by other results of that election, the switch will create a dramatic change in the underlying structure of the state’s political institutions. Under ranked-choice voting, voters receive ballots which offer them three slots to rank candidates in any order that they… Read more »

Race and Inconsistent Drug Policies

This piece, which will focus on the dynamic of race in drug systems, is the second of three articles dedicated to the social and political aspects of the opioid epidemic. Many politicians and officials have proclaimed that opioid drug addiction is “non-discriminatory,” in that it affects people of all demographics. But before the epidemic became… Read more »

Aging Inmates, Little Release

Note: This is the third piece in a series examining criminal justice in America. Read the introduction here and the second piece here. American prisoners are getting old. Harsh sentencing laws from the 1980s and 1990s mean that more inmates are reaching retirement age behind bars. These aging inmates are forcing some prisons to provide… Read more »

Small Towns, Big Problems

Over the course of a decade, the opioid epidemic has crept into our homes, schools, and neighborhoods, disrupting communities, destroying lives, and leaving users stuck in a never-ending cycle. It has contributed to the deaths of twenty-seven thousand people each year, surpassing cocaine as the leading cause of drug related deaths in the United States…. Read more »

A Fair Chance?

Note: This is the second piece in a series examining criminal justice in America. Read the introduction here. The people most likely to go to prison in the United States are the ones who have been there before. It is known as the “revolving door”: over 650,000 people are released from state and federal prisons… Read more »

Criminal Justice Under a Trump Presidency

Writer’s note: This piece is the first in a multi-part series on criminal justice reform. The series will examine variation in criminal justice policies between states and evaluate the effectiveness of local reforms that have aimed to reduce mass incarceration and improve treatment of ex-offenders. Six months ago, the prospects of criminal justice reform were… Read more »

Making a Place for Financial Literacy in the Liberal Arts

On the first day of class in Financial Economics at Bowdoin College, Professor Matthew Botsch of the economics department prefaced his lecture with an announcement. Anyone taking the course for the purpose of preparing for a career in finance, investment banking, or consulting should leave, he warned. Botsch is not alone in discouraging such an… Read more »

Spotting the Spoiler

Mention the word “spoiler” in the presence of a Democrat, and you will surely hear about the Al Gore presidency that could have been. “If only Ralph Nader had not played spoiler. If only he had not siphoned off a few of Gore’s votes in Florida to help George W. Bush win the presidency in… Read more »

The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

Ivan Illich, an Austrian philosopher and outspoken critic of contemporary western culture, in his speech to the 1968 Conference on Inter-American Student Projects, said, “next to guns and money, the third-largest North American export is the American idealist.” The resource, replenished each year with a new graduating class of wide-eyed twenty-somethings eager to make their… Read more »

Local Voice, Global Issue – Ep. 1: Yik Yak and Campus Dialogue

Debates on issues such as political correctness have become more contentious on colleges across the nation. Yik Yak and other forms of anonymous social media are now playing a bigger role in the discussion. Since many posts have been derogatory or vacuous, should anonymous social media even be part of the discourse?