A&S in the News: September 24-30, 2017

Accelerated Master’s Program

Large university begins incentivizing math educationECampus News – Sept. 24

The University of Alabama has created a new pathway to get the best and brightest minds into secondary mathematics teacher education. The Alabama State Department of Education recently approved a new UA accelerated master’s program that will allow select undergraduate math and math education majors to complete master’s degree requirements and achieve teacher certification simultaneously.

Robert E. Lee

The myth of Robert E. Lee and the “good” slave ownerDaily Beast – Sept. 24

Because of the current controversy surrounding Confederate monuments, Robert E. Lee’s connection to slavery crops up repeatedly, as it did most recently in a New York Times article. Complicating the discussion is that his image remains tied to the legacy of the “Lost Cause,” a postwar effort to distort historical record. Insisting that the Confederacy had not seceded in the defense of slavery, but in defense of “states rights,” Lost Cause advocates painted slavery as beneficial to both whites and blacks, arguing the Confederacy’s leaders and soldiers were men of virtue who had merely endeavored to civilize and teach Christian values to an inferior people. In this southern revision of history, Robert E. Lee stands above all Confederate leaders as worthy of adulation; the very model of paternalistic southern gentlemen. . . . Glenn David Brasher is a history instructor at The University of Alabama.

Roy Moore

Alabama’s Roy Moore would be the most extreme senator – with huge consequences for CongressVox – Sept. 25

Still, Moore can make the body more conservative in a number of ways. He’ll likely shift the center of gravity in the caucus to the right, giving the existing right-wing hardliners — Sens. Rand Paul (KY), Ted Cruz (TX), and Mike Lee (UT) — an additional vote to pull the party in their direction. “I can see him functioning as a quasi-Rand Paul, but perhaps more extreme,” added Allen Linken, a political scientist at The University of Alabama.

GOP Runoff

UA political science expert says voter turnout could affect the GOP runoff electionWVUA (Tuscaloosa) – Sept. 25

A big day for Alabama voters tomorrow as Senate candidates Roy Moore and Luther Strange go head-to-head in the primary runoff. Moore and Strange beat out several others in the GOP primary last month, but neither got more than 50% of the vote thus spurring the runoff. The University of Alabama political science professor Dr. Allen Linken says turnout will mean everything in this election.

Special Senate Election Influenced By Trump

What to know about the Republican runoff for Jeff Sessions’ Senate seatMy Central Oregon – Sept. 26

On Tuesday, Alabama Republicans will vote in a primary runoff for the Senate seat previously occupied by Attorney General Jeff Sessions … According to Richard Fording, a professor of political science at The University of Alabama, this election “will continue to be influenced by Trump” and that “it will flat out be a referendum on his performance as president.”
1470 WMBD (Illinois) – Sept. 26
WBAL 1090 (Baltimore, Maryland) – Sept. 26
Columbus News Team (Nebraska) – Sept. 26
KRVN (Lexington, Nebraska) – Sept. 26
Willmar Radio (Minnesota) – Sept. 26

Low Voter Turnout

Low turnout aids Moore; Trump had little effect in raceFlorence Times-Daily – Sept. 26

Voters stayed home in droves in today’s special Senate election runoff, belying the intensity of the campaign advertising … Bill Stewart, professor emeritus of political science at The University of Alabama, said voters were in a protest state of mind, and Moore is adept at protesting what he doesn’t like. “Moore is a better speaker, he has better charismatic appeal,” he said. “Luther Strange spent many years lobbying for his clients in Washington. That’s not very popular with voters today, that you owe much of your success lobbying for special interests.”

Academic Collaboration

Strengthening ties: faculty program opens doors for academic collaboration throughout the SECThe Battalion (College Station, Texas) – Sept. 26

Throughout this year, six A&M faculty members will visit various Southeastern Conference universities for research, lecture presentations, grant proposals and more. . . . The trip is an opportunity to both advance cosmological studies and increase A&M’s presence throughout the nation according to university distinguished professor in the department of physics, Nicholas Suntzeff. Suntzeff will travel to The University of Alabama at the end of October to present both professional and public lectures. “I am trying to establish personal relations with astronomers in the southeastern United States … We need to unite our astronomers more so we can have more of a united front because otherwise we get leveraged out of most discussions by California universities and northeastern universities,” Suntzeff said.

Alabama Senate Race

Five things to look for in Alabama’s Senate raceThe Anniston Star – Sept. 27

Voters ousted U.S. Sen. Luther Strange in a Republican runoff vote Tuesday, but the real battle for Senate may just be starting. Voters on Dec. 12 will choose between Republican firebrand and former Judge Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones in the general election to decide who will complete the term begun by former Sen. Jeff Sessions, who left the office to become U.S. attorney general … “Democratic voters finally have a decent candidate, and not just somebody who’s willing to put up the qualifying fee,” said William Stewart, an emeritus professor of political science at The University of Alabama.


Anti-vaccine sentiment thrives on Twitter: StudyOutbreak News Today – Sept. 28

Anti-vaccine sentiment is alive and growing in social media, with California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania showing the most negative tweets of any states, according to a new five-year CU Boulder study. In Colorado, Fort Collins ranked particularly high for the prevalence of anti-vaccine tweets … For the study, published in the October issue of Social Science and Medicine, Vargo and co-author Theodore Tomeny, an autism researcher with The University of Alabama, created a machine-learning algorithm to examine more than a half-million tweets from around the country between 2009 and 2015.
Denver Post – Sept. 27
The Denver Channel – Sept. 27
Boulder Patch (Colorado) – Sept. 27
Global News Connect – Sept. 29
Westword – Sept. 29

Birmingham Mayoral Race

Birmingham mayor’s race: William Bell and Randall Woodfin combative in lead-up to Oct. 3 runoffBirmingham Times – Sept. 28

The stakes are high for the Oct. 3 run-off to the municipal elections with the question of whether William Bell will remain Birmingham’s mayor or be replaced by challenger Randall Woodfin, who came out ahead in their August contest … Will the Oct. 3 election turn on Bell’s greater experience, or Woodfin’s newer face, or some issue of character? It might be much simpler than that – a matter of numbers, according to one political observer. “It sort of falls back to turn out,” said The University of Alabama political science professor Dr. Allen Linken, who noted that the run-off election is “sort of by itself out there” not linked to other candidates or other races that might increase the turnout.

“The Caucasian Chalk Circle”

UA Theatre and Dance to perform ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’Tuscaloosa News – Sept. 28

Descriptives such as “fabled” and “legendary” can mislead. What fables are told of this person? What are these legends? It’s a bit like saying someone’s famous: If you have to explain fame, it might not exist. So while not every household would immediately recognize the name Bertoldt Brecht, the German poet, essayist, playwright and director, it’s hard to deny legendary impact when his name’s applied to a movement.

Medicaid Expansion

The GOP’s big problem is big moneyThe American Prospect – Sept. 29

Republican leaders are reeling from their primary loss in Alabama and the demise of their health-care bill, but they have only themselves—and their big donors—to blame … GOP governors and voters actually now broadly support Medicaid’s expansion, says Richard Fording, a political science professor at The University of Alabama, who noted that attacks on Obama resonate less with GOP voters now that he is no longer president.