Battle of the sexes – do men really know more than women about politics?

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The battle of the sexes has many combat zones – with political knowledge being one of the battlefields. For decades women have scored lower than their male counterparts on political knowledge surveys. That trend irked Bowling Green State University political science professor Dr. Melissa Miller enough that she decided to study that “pesky gender gap.” Miller shared her thoughts on the political battle of the sexes recently during at talk at BGSU. Since 1960, national surveys ranking political knowledge asked basically the same questions: Which party controls the U.S. House of Representatives? Who is the vice president? Which branch rules on the Constitutionality of an issue? What majority is required to override a presidential veto? Which is the more conservative political party? “Men on average are more likely to get the answer right,” Miller said. “This is troubling.” For years, the gender gap was blamed on women spending more time at home, being less likely to discuss the topic at work, and being less interested in politics than men. However, those trends just no longer hold true, Miller said. Women in the U.S. are currently more educated, spend less time at home on housekeeping, are more likely to share child-rearing chores, and are much more likely to have jobs outside the home. “So why hasn’t the gender gap disappeared?” she asked. Miller has some ideas. “Maybe it’s the way we measure political knowledge,” she said. Upon looking closer at the way the surveys were conducted, Miller noticed that the political surveys included multiple choice answers – with one of those answers being “I don’t know.” And whether conducted by phone or in person, those taking the surveys were always advised that many people don’t know the correct answer, so they can pick “I don’t know.” Seems insignificant? Not so, Miller said. Women are far more likely to take the bait and say “I don’t know.” Men are more likely to risk a wrong answer, and less likely to say they don’t know. Miller used BGSU mascots Freddie and Frieda Falcon to explain….

Search for citizen study leads Harvard grad to BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Jamie Piltch’s search for the true definition of a good citizen brought him to Bowling Green. Piltch, 23, is on a trek through the so-called rust and sun belts of the U.S. to discover whether Americans still care about being good citizens. His journey started in Washington, D.C., in May, then on to Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, then Bowling Green. From here, the recent Harvard grad was headed to Detroit, Saginaw, South Bend, Chicago, then onto Wisconsin and Iowa before heading south. Along the way, Piltch, is interviewing all types of people about their views on citizenship. Some of those interviews – including some done here in Bowling Green – are being posted on his blog   www.citizensstory.com. He sat down at Grounds for Thought and talked with business owner Floyd Craft and city attorney Mike Marsh. While in Bowling Green, he also spoke with an Afghanistan war veteran, a soon-to-be naturalized citizen, and a secretarial assistant at BGSU. Their views on citizenship can also be found on Piltch’s blog. Piltch, originally from Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, hasn’t always fascinated by the meaning of being an American citizen. “Like most young people, I spent the first 20 years of my life mildly disinterested in politics. I voted in the 2012 presidential election, a moment of personal pride. But, outside of getting my license, I didn’t really interact with the government. I never voted in a local election and rarely thought about my town’s needs. I didn’t even consider doing those things.” However, he is the son of two teachers, steeping him in “nerd” genes. “During college, though, I took a class on American democracy that changed my feelings about politics. Class discussion made it clear to me that normal, everyday citizens like myself mattered,” he said. “I spent my final half of college learning about citizenship. I read about citizens’ duties and tried to figure out how we could all be good citizens. More than anything, I tried to learn whether people still cared about being good citizens. “As I approached graduation, I wanted answers….

“Trump Proposing War” – Joann Schiavone

He is proposing to increase military spending by $54 BILLION and cut nonmilitary programs by the same amount… guess what, seniors? Decisions about our Medicare and Social Security will not be made until later in the year. Get ready to play for his $54 BILLION plan. Remember, this president promised to slash EPA environmental rules to help the drilling and mining industries, but without hurting air and water. How are you going to do this Trump, by twitching your nose? He is going to slash EPA funding by 24%. He just did a reversal in America’s progress toward cleaner air and water and fighting global climate change. So those of you who support this man, be ready for breathing problems and deaths in this most polluted country in the world. His new leader Pruitt sued the agency he now leads more than a dozen times while Attorney General of Oklahoma to stop federal rules. He never mentioned climate change in his 12 minute speech at EPA headquarters in Washington. This will also make changes to Mr. Obama’s Waters of the United States rule that details which waterways fall under federal protection. So plan on having some flavor added to your drinking water that can put you in the hospital for black lung disease. But remember, people who voted for this man, he made these promises to you but failed to tell you that he is in the pockets of polluters, and this is who he is working for. Too bad you chose to vote for more bad jobs than cleaner jobs, and set your priorities for the almighty dollar rather than for the health of you and your children. SHAME ON YOU! Please attend ALL Town Hall meetings and demand that your congress person and state senators attend and answer all your concerns. If they don’t attend, like our State Senator Portman and Congressperson Bob Latta, remember this when you go to the voting booth. Latta will only attend dinner fundraisers or have a phone-in Town Hall meeting which is a big joke. They will ask you what your question…

“Ideological purity replaces the need to get things done.” -F Scott Regan

The political “experts” assure us that in the past election the public expressed anger, distrust and frustration with politics as practiced in Washington. Yet over 80 percent of the incumbents were reelected! President-Elect Trump has demonstrated the power of harnessing the national desire to change things. The reality is that our country no longer functions as a two party system. In the vast majority of election districts aspiring citizens have no real chance to compete due to the manipulations of the two major parties and the moneyed interests behind them. As a result, it seems that our representatives now have their first loyalty to their party rather than to their conscience or to the compromises necessary to serve the public. We send Republicans and Democrats to Washington rather than Americans. Ideological purity has replaced the need to get things done. What can be done? Here are a few thoughts, some simple and some more fanciful: –Eliminate the Electoral College and let the candidate with the most votes win. (A crazy idea!) –End political control over determining districts (“gerrymandering”) so that our representatives need to have a more holistic view of the region, state, and nation’s challenges. –End the right of political parties to choose replacements after a resignation, which allows someone handpicked by a party to run as an “incumbent” without ever being elected. –End the practice of party insiders (“Super Delegates”) having power to impose their will over elected delegates. –Charge a 10 percent tax on all political commercials (whether by party or pac) with the money going to eliminate the national debt. –Empower an independent commission with the power to fine or expel any candidate who lies in a commercial. –Require equal access to any candidate who feels they have been disadvantaged by a “half truth” in advertising. –Empower a panel of high school students to create a code of ethics for all candidates. Candidates could sign on to this code or ignore it at their own peril. Such changes would not advantage the powers to be. Some of these suggestions might lead to unintended consequences and others…