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Archives For February 2013

j-ragusaRepublicans like to campaign on repealing the Affordable Care Act (better known as “Obamacare”).  But what’s the probability it will actually be repealed?  When is repeal most likely?  And what factors make repeal more or less likely?

Professor Jordan Ragusa in the political science department explored this issue in his paper “The Lifecycle of Public Policy.”  He explains:

I used a survival model to explore the birth and death of legislation from 1951 to 2006 and found that from the time a law is enacted until about a decade after enactment, repeal becomes increasingly likely.  However, after the ten year window passes, repeal becomes less likely over a law’s lifecycle.  Thus, in the aggregate, repeal of the Affordable Care Act is most likely in the year 2020, where the probability of a major repeal to the law is about 13% according to my data.  Some factors of the Affordable Care Act make it more likely that major elements of the law will be repealed in the future. First and foremost, I found that laws crafted during unified control—like the ACA—are more frequently repealed over the long term than legislation passed during divided government.  This is due to the lack of compromise which goes into drafting legislation when one party controls both chambers of Congress and the White House.  But a number of factors simultaneously decrease the likelihood that the Affordable Care Act will be repealed.  First, as with all legislation, repeal is less likely in a highly polarized political environment.  Unless Republicans win 60 Senate seats in the future, it’s likely hazard-of-repeal2Democrats will filibuster any attempt to repeal provisions of the ACA.  And second, entitlement programs like the ACA are notoriously difficult to repeal.  Once provisions of the law are put in place and citizens begin receiving benefits under the ACA, it becomes increasingly difficult for Republicans to repeal it.

If you are interested similar topics related to American politics, check out Ragusa’s blog Rule 22.

Faculty Research Series: Jen Wright (PSYC)

By Christine Ragusa
Posted on 27 February 2013 | 2:02 pm

Jen Wright“…insanity is a sane response to an insane world.”

Whether you agree with that or not, read the CofC “Live the Life” article written about Psychology department’s Jen Wright and how she “messes with your head” in the classroom by clicking on the image to the left. You can even a questionnaire that Professor Wright uses in her research.



Congratulations to professor Rich Bodek, Department of History, for earning himself a trip to Germany this summer as a Fulbright German Studies Seminar Participant! rich4Professor Bodek, whose research interests include German labor history, the history of Berlin, and the history of the Weimar Republic, sent this information about the program:

“Participants in this seminar gain a firsthand look into how Germany’s political, economic and cultural systems deal with contemporary issues. For U.S. Scholars, the engagement in substantive dialogue with political, academic, scientific, journalistic and cultural leaders in Germany can strengthen research and teaching”

“The German Studies Seminar will explore if economic growth, Richard Bodekcompetitiveness, and new employment opportunities in and around Berlin can be pushed to ensure social integration, and personal success without such experience from the past? How to increase the integrative functions of schools and to strengthen educational attainment? How can Berlin´s plurality, whether in the human or natural sciences, in universities or research institutions, in culture or business, and in the different biographies of East and West Germans become an asset rather than a burden, and lead to productive, harmonious cooperation? While some Germans hope that Berlin stays “sexy”, others certainly also expect that innovative and competent governance will help the nation´s capital to rise from the “poor” and to encourage future visitors to “still keep a suitcase in Berlin”.”

Stay tuned for a follow-up post about the trip!


Faculty Research Series: John Bruns (ENGL)

By Christine Ragusa
Posted on 15 February 2013 | 2:16 pm


Turns out Dr. John Bruns, Department of English, is serious about comedy. In addition to teaching courses on film, John directs the Film Studies Program. He explains his research interests:

My areas of research are comedy, narrative theory, and film—specifically narrative cinema and film theory. Since arriving at the College of Charleston in the fall of 2004, I have published a book and several articles. “Get out of Gaol Free, or: How to Read a Comic Plot,” appeared in Journal of Narrative Theory (Winter 2005. 35:1. 25-59). “Baffling Doom: Dialogue, Laughter, and Comic Perception in Henry James,” appeared in Texas Studies in Literature and Language (Spring 2005. 47:1. 1-30). The third, “Polyphonic Film,” which was written in the summer of 2006 underwent extensive revisions in the summer and fall of 2007, appeared in New Review of Film & Television Studies(August 2008. 6:2. 189-212.). “The Map is Not the Country: Cartography in Joel and Ethan Coen’s No Country for Old Men” appeared in Film Criticism(Winter 2011. 36:2. 2-21). In April of 2009, I published  Loopholes: Reading Comically with Transaction Publishers, Rutgers—The State University of New Jersey. For a quick look at some blurbs from the book’s back cover, click here.

John is currently working on a project entitled “People, Places, and Things: Navigating the Hitchcock Landscape”. He has also begun work on a book on the films of Steven Spielberg.

To learn more about Dr. John Bruns and read his CofC faculty spotlight, click here.

You may remember reading about Dr. Thomas Nadelhoffer, the newest faculty member in the Department of Philosophy, in our “Meet the New Faculty” post here.  Whether you are a philosopher or not, you may want to know a little more about professor Nadelhoffer’s research interests and the many projects he is involved in, especially if you are interested in psychology. He explains:

“My main areas of research include moral psychology, free will, punishment theory, and neurolaw. Lately, I have been especially interested in  the relevance of the gathering data on psychopathy to the philosophy of t-nadelhofferpunishment, and the potential promise and perils of using neuroscience to make better predictions of future dangerousness for the purposes of the law.

“Since 2011, I have also been working on a two-year project with philosopher Eddy Nahmias and psychologists Jonathan Schooler and Kathleen Vohs that is entitled, “The Psychology of Free Will.”  Our project is part of The John Templeton Foundation’s Big Questions in Free Will grant that is being administered by Alfred Mele.  We will be working not only to develop a new scale for measuring folk intuitions and attitudes about free will, dualism, determinism, and responsibility, but we will also be running several studies that explore how these intuitions and attitudes (or lack thereof) get expressed behaviorally.  One of our central goals is to examine how future advances in neuroscience might influence our moral and legal beliefs and practices.”

Professor Nadelhoffer has been exploring these and related issues in his experimental philosophy lab here at the College of Charleston.  This year he has been undertaking various major studies: the way people think about pharmacology and cognitive enhancement, as well as something he likes to call “dark side of free will”. I guess you could call professor Nadelhoffer a “psychosopher”– a term that combines psychology and philosopher. (If you couldn’t tell I totally just made that up and there may even be an official, more intelligent term out there.)

To learn more about Dr. Nadelhoffer, you can visit the philosophy department’s faculty spotlight here or check out his website here.



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