Tower Center Associate Harold Clarke interviewed by the National Post

National Post

Originally Posted: June 24, 2016

Of all the demographics that were torn apart by the Brexit vote — old/young, rural/urban, rich/poor — one of the most dramatic was between voters who consider themselves English first, and those who identify as British.

People who see themselves as British, that is as part of a commonwealth in a single United Kingdom, were more likely to vote with the losing side to Remain in the wider European Union. Self-identified Welsh were about evenly split, leaning more Remain the further they live from Cardiff and the English border. And a majority of Scots, having already rejected secession from the U.K. in 2014, likewise voted to Remain.

But people who identify primarily as English were overwhelmingly more likely to vote to Leave, at 72%. They were the great winners of the referendum, and an analysis of voting intention surveys shows how their three main motivators — economy, security and culture — were expressed in attitudes that ranged from narrow, self-interested xenophobia to romantic, nostalgic English nationalism.

“A lot of people perceive that immigration has produced a huge cultural threat to the English traditions, way of life, Judeo-Christian religious traditions, and all those things. It’s not politically correct to talk about it, but they are really concerned. Immigration was huge in this referendum,” said Harold Clarke, author of Affluence, Austerity & Electoral Change in Britain, and professor of political economy at the University of Texas at Dallas. “Negative attitudes towards immigration were a huge driver of Leave voting. That’s something that’s been building for years.” READ MORE

Two giant sinkholes in West Texas expanding, researchers say

Star Telegram

Originally Posted: June 17, 2016

A couple of giant sinkholes in the West Texas oil patch are apparently expanding, and might eventually converge into one gigantic hole.

The sinkholes are about a mile apart and sit between Wink and Kermit off I-20 west of Midland-Odessa. They were caused by lots of oil and gas extraction, which peaked from the mid-1920s to the mid-1960s, according to researchers at Southern Methodist University.

Satellite radar images indicate that the giant sinkholes are expanding and that new ones are forming “at an alarming rate” as nearby subsidence occurs, they report in the scientific journal Remote Sensing. One is 361 feet across, about the size of a football field; the other is larger, 670 to 900 feet across.

“A collapse could be catastrophic,” said geophysicist Jin-Woo Kim, who leads the SMU geophysical team reporting the findings.

In addition to Wink and Kermit (combined pop. about 7,000), there’s lots of oil and gas production equipment and installations and hazardous liquid pipelines in the area, Kim said in the report. The fresh water injected underground in the extraction process “can dissolve the interbedded salt layers and accelerate the sinkhole collapse.”

There’s something not too dissimilar happening in Daisetta, east of Houston.

Officials have fenced off the area around the sinkholes between Wink and Kermit and they’ll be monitored, but residents don’t appear to be worried about them.

“They’re a ways off from the highway; if nobody mentions it, then nobody is interested in it,” Kermit City Manager Gloria Saenz told the New York Daily News.

A preacher of the Apocalypse from Indiana had a decidedly different take, exclaiming on YouTube: “Here’s my concern. It’s like hell is being enlarged, and that without measure.”

Well, maybe not quite. READ MORE

New study by geophysicists Zhong Lu, professor, Shuler-Foscue Chair, and Jin-Woo Kim research scientist, Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, finds massive sinkholes are unstable

Science Daily

Originally Posted: June 14, 2016

Geohazard: Giant sinkholes near West Texas oil patch towns are growing — as new ones lurk

Satellite radar images reveal ground movement of infamous sinkholes near Wink, Texas; suggest 2 existing holes are expanding, and new ones are forming as nearby subsidence occurs at an alarming rate

Two giant sinkholes that sit between two West Texas oil patch towns are growing — and two new ones appear to be lurking, say geophysicists. Satellite radar images reveal substantial ground movement in and around the infamous sinkholes near Wink, Texas — suggesting expansion of the two existing holes, with subsidence in two other nearby areas suggesting new ones may surface. READ MORE


North Texas Venues Reject Donald Trump Campaign

100.3 JackFM

Originally Posted: June 14, 2016

Two North Texas Cities have refused to play host to Presidential Candidate Donald Trump for a campaign rally. Both Grand Prairie and Irving have rejected Trumps’s visit to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex on Thursday.

“It’s very unusual that the Republican candidate for president in this deep red state would be having trouble finding a venue for his rallies,” said SMU Political science professor Cal Jillson.

According to CBSdfw, Trump originally requested for the rally to be held at the Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie. The City of Grand Prairie denied that request and blamed traffic, other events in the area, along with an inadequate police force to provide security.

Trump rallies typically involve violence and riots; however, Dallas activists insist they’ll be ‘peaceful’.

“There are various groups that are very upset on policy terms with him and they’re going to counter-demonstrate and that obviously raises security concerns particularly in the wake of Orlando,” said Cal Jillson, SMU Political Science Professor.

Last September, Trump held a rally at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, drawing a crowd of more than 20,000 people. AAC event coordinator – Dave Brown says there are no plans to host Trump again this time.

Irving also rejected the Trump campaign’s request for the Irving Convention Center, releasing the following statement:

“In consultation with the Irving Police Department, the city of Irving decided it was not given sufficient time – given a 48 hour notice – to gather the resources necessary to ensure the safety and security of those attending such a large-scale, high-profile event.”

The Dallas Police Department has not commented on any preparations for the convention, wherever it may be held, this Thursday night. READ MORE

“Trump is making it more and more clear he doesn’t care if people think he’s racist,” Matthew Wilson, associate professor of political science

Oregon Live

Originally Posted: June 10, 2016

‘Never Trump’ leaders try to prod Mitt Romney by insisting he can be the next … Martin Van Buren

Weekly Standard editor and “Never Trump” leader William Kristol has begged for months. But everyone he’s approached to take on an independent conservative presidential run has said no.

Kristol remains determined to keep presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump out of the White House. So now he’s turned writer Jay Cost loose with a unique argument aimed at Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican Party standard-bearer who has been vocal in his opposition to Trump. Writes Cost in the Weekly Standard:

“The nation needs a candidate to defend what Martin Van Buren once called ‘plain republicanism,’ and to do so regardless of the chances of victory. Van Buren himself furnishes an inspiring example.” READ MORE

Voters may like the past but their minds are on the future

Fox 4

Originally Posted: June 9, 2016

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Campaign rhetoric may dwell on achievements of the past but voters are thinking about the future when they go to into ballot boxes, said SMU Professor Jeffrey Engel, director of SMU’s Center for Presidential History. “When we have an election where one candidate says, ‘I’m talking about the future’ and the other candidate says, ‘I’m talking about the past,’ the future candidate almost always wins,” Engel said.

Latinos see a bright economic future according to new Pew study; here’s why that’s good for Texas

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: June 9, 2016

Latinos are increasingly optimistic about their finances, a report from the Pew Research Center finds, and that’s good news for the Texas economy.

Although other measures still show that Latinos have lagged behind Americans overall since the recession, economists say those who see their financial situations as promising are more likely to make big purchases, invest in their education or start new businesses.

“This sense of optimism, while it might not quite match other economic indicators, means people are feeling confident enough to purchase a car, save money for their children’s college education,” said Mark Lopez, the study’s author and Pew’s director of Hispanic research.

In other words, your attitude makes a difference in money matters. READ MORE

Caroline Brettell discusses the history of anthropology’s connections to other disciplines


Originally Posted: June 7, 2016

A Reflection on Anthropology and Inter/Cross/Multidisciplinarity

Drawing on her recent book Anthropological Conversations, Caroline Brettell discusses the history of anthropology’s connections to other disciplines. Through examples of they how anthropologists have collaborated with, influenced and been influenced by historians, geographers and psychologists, she traces intellectual exchanges that have been productive in understanding culture and difference.


James Hollifield speaks on Europe’s ongoing refugee crisis

KERA Think

Originally Aired: June 6, 2016

James HollifieldJames Hollifield, public policy fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center and director of the Tower Center for Political Studies at SMU, talked June 6, 2016, with KERA Think host Krys Boyd about the current state of the migrant crisis in Europe – and about how these asylum seekers can be better served. LISTEN

Christopher Roos, Anthropology, Wildfire on warming planet requires adaptive capacity

Heritage Daily

Originally Posted: June 3, 2016


The interdisciplinary team say there is much to be learned from these “fire-adaptive communities” and they are calling on policy makers to tap that knowledge, particularly in the wake of global warming.

Such a move is critical as climate change makes some landscapes where fire isn’t the norm even more prone to fire, say the scientists in a new report published in a special issue of thePhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

“We tend to treat modern fire problems as unique, and new to our planet,” said fire anthropologist Christopher Roos, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, lead author of the report. “As a result, we have missed the opportunity to recognize the successful properties of communities that have a high capacity to adapt to living in flammable landscapes — in some cases for centuries or millennia.” READ MORE