Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Immigration: What Obama Did and Why He Did It

I’ve had a few readers ask me to do a piece explaining US President Barack Obama’s recent executive action on immigration. I’ll aim to explain what Obama did, why Obama did what he did, and whether or not what Obama did was legal.

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A Scientist’s Shirt: How Feminism Has Turned On Itself

Last week, Matt Taylor, a British scientist associated with the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission (which landed a probe on a comet), wore a shirt with scantily clad women on it:

Many online commentators took offense to the shirt, calling it sexist. Taylor eventually issued a tearful apology. This piece is not about whether or not the shirt is sexist. A man was reduced to tears because he wore a shirt that some people didn’t like. Should feminism be in the business of making men cry because of the shirts they wear?

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Does the US/China Emissions Deal Make a Difference?

Recently the United States and China agreed to a carbon emissions reduction deal to combat global warming. Under the terms of the deal, the US agrees to reduce emissions by 26% to 28% from 2005 levels by 2025, while China agrees to reach peak emissions by 2030, and to generate 20% of its energy with zero-emissions technology by that year. Diplomacy is notoriously difficult, and consequently any deal on climate change heartens those who watch international politics. But are these emissions reductions sufficient to avert the worst of what global warming potentially has to offer? I’m not seeing much coverage of the deal from a climate science perspective, so I decided to look into it.

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Ted Cruz is Wrong about Net Neutrality

Yesterday, US President Barack Obama came out in favor of net neutrality, urging the FCC to classify the internet as a utility for regulatory purposes:

Immediately thereafter, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) came out against net neutrality, tweeting:

“Net Neutrality” is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.

This analogy between net neutrality and Obamacare does not work on any level and is deeply misleading. Here’s why.

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What do the Midterms Mean? Not Much…

In much of the media’s coverage of the US midterm elections, the focus has been on the number of races won by republican candidates. When we look exclusively at races won, it appears as if the right has scored a stunning victory. The trouble is that in the American political system, power is widely distributed. An individual congressman, senator, or even governor or president can do very little to meaningfully effect policy.  Consequently, when we evaluate what an election means, we need to evaluate whether enough power has been accumulated by one side or the other to meaningfully sway policy outcomes. When we do this at the federal level, we see that the balance of power has remained more or less consistent since 2010.

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