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About This Blog and Website

June 16, 2010

What is the purpose of this website?  Taking my cue from the inaugural post of The Monkey Cage, here are some thoughts:

  1. I am a doctoral student in political science, and it seems to be the trend to have fancy websites and blogs.  These website often contain bibliographies and datasets, collect course syllabi, link to interesting research, and accomplish other useful academic stuff.  In other words, it’s a bit of self promotion.
  2. I have blogged before, once during a field research trip/internship in Pristina, Kosovo.  I foolishly deleted this blog a while after returning home, and it exists now only in paper form.  I also blogged more recently, at my blog “Live from Oakland,” but ended up not posting regularly.  I also took down that site.  Here, I have combined my personal webpage and blog– which I hope motivates me to post more often.  This site will also have a clearer mission.
  3. Like the political scientists at The Monkey Cage, I believe there is a dearth of informed comment in the media and the blogosphere on subjects related to political science and public policy.   I envision this blog as place for high quality commentary on politics, governance, and public policy.  I would also like to invite guest posters, since whatever expertise I have is quite limited.
  4. The mission of this blog is, in part, to challenge bad politics, bad political science, bad policy, and uninformed comment in an entertaining way.  If, for instance, public figures, political parties, interest groups, or other writers are behaving dangerously, disingenuously, or, well, stupidly, then good citizenship often requires sharply worded responses.  But I also pledge to strive for fairness in my criticism.
  5. My hometown and current home, Oakland, California, is in a slow-moving political and economic crisis, and the lack of leadership from City Hall has been astounding.  I expect to comment heavily and critically on these circumstances.  I will also offer some potential solutions.  In my next post, I will briefly explain why I am supporting Don Perata for mayor in the November, 2010 election.  Though I am a partisan for Sen. Perata, this blog will, again, be a place for fair criticism of all local leaders and candidates, unlike many of the other local political blogs in our fair city.  I also hope to apply some of my formal training in political science and public policy analysis to this criticism, which I think should bring a unique voice to the politics of the city.  (Of the Oakland-focused blogs, I believe I will be the only political scientist.)
  6. Ditto for the State of California.  The State is in a severe crisis, with ever-lively politics.  Expect to see commentary on the state of the Golden State.
  7. I will be conducting field research over the next few years, starting with a trip to Uganda in summer 2010.  This website will be a place to offer my observations, pictures, experiences, and so forth, while (hopefully) travelling extensively.

I think that about covers it.  I’m sure the mission of this blog will evolve, but hopefully this post gives you some sense of what to expect to find here.

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