China, Trump and the Coronavirus

China took a lot of heat for its handling of the Coronavirus outbreak —being slow to acknowledge its existence, minimizing the risk it posed to public health, and suppressing information all to avoid embarrassing the ruling party. These are actions we would expect from an authoritarian government like China’s. Contrast that with the response of […]

Is Our Democracy in Danger?

Can democracy survive when large segments of the population no longer have faith in it? And what happens if one of the two major political parties actively works to undermine that faith as a strategy to achieve their political goals? Is this where we now find ourselves? One of my favorite programs for news and […]

Why Voting Matters?

Here is a “sneak peek” episode from my soon-to-be launched “After Class Podcast“.   This episode is on a timely topic given it’s election day.  So give it a listen, leave some feedback, then go vote! If you are undecided about who to vote for, check out the platform based voters guide I posted here I […]

Voting Guide: A Platform-Based Approach

In our political system, deciding who you should vote for is pretty simple: 1) read the Platform for both major political parties, 2) consider whose priorities and policies you agree with most, and 3) vote for the candidates from that party. But few voters ever read the platforms. Instead they base their decisions on the […]

How “Setting Bail” Undermines the U.S. Justice System

Check out this segment of a TED Radio Hour episode documenting how profoundly unjust the system of setting bail is. A great example of an “inconvenient fact” that our criminal justice system is fundamentally unfair – particularly when it comes to how it deals with people charged with a crime but who cannot post bail. […]

Illinois Congressional District Map

Here is a map of the 18 Congressional Districts in Illinois. The map is interactive so you can zoom in to find which district you live in. Bloomington/Normal is divided right in half by the 13th and 18th Districts but all of the ISU campus is located in the 18th Congressional District, currently represented by […]

Illinois House of Representatives – District Map

Here is the district map for the state House of Representatives in place since 2012. There are 118 Illinois House Districts in all. On the eve of the 2018 General election, 67 of these seats were held by Democrats and 51 held by Republicans. Most of the Town of Normal and all of Illinois State […]

Sociologically Relevant Segments this week from NPR

Here are four segments this week from National Public Radio that struck me as particularly relevant to some of the topics we are discussing in my courses. Why More Men Don’t Get Into The Field Of Nursing Story illustrating the power of gender roles and gender as a social institution. New Book Looks At Why […]