Mar 312020
MPs under investigation, dying in Germany, quanteda goes 2.0, and academic chapters: 4 links I liked 1

Germany’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution (i.e. the spooks) begins to build dossiers on 3 sitting MPs for the AfD. All of them are prominent members of the most radical faction within the party (in German)

In a landmark ruling, Germany’s highest court declares ban on assisted suicide unconstitutional. Judges say right to end one’s life is fundamental, so assistance can’t be illegal. Germany’s top court paves the way for assisted suicide. Neatly dovetails with my research on bioethical attitudes and legislative behaviour in Germany.

This looks great: version 2.0 of quanteda is ready.

Excellent advice: using social media and open access can radically improve the academic visibility of chapters in edited books.

Feb 132020
Sinn Fein wins big in Ireland, German centre-right does deal with the devil™️, and UK journalists: 3 links I liked 2

Never ever have Sinn Fein (and leftist parties more generally) done so well as in the January 2020 Irish general election.

Political journalists in the UK grow some spine and boycott a press conference that was open to a select few only. Everyone is rightfully concerned about the trumpification of UK politics.

Provincial centre-right politicians in Thuringia undermine the cordon sanitaire around Germany’s extreme/radical right that has been in place for about 70 years. And they don’t understand why (almost) everyone else thinks they are completely off their rockers. The article is a snapshot of were we stood on February 5, but the shock waves will be felt for months and years.

Bonus track: I wrote a short thread on Twitter that explains why this was such a big thing.

Jan 312020
Political personalities, university cultures, radical-right environmentalism, and the armed forces: 4 links I liked 3

The idea that there are seriously problematic political personalities is at least a 100 years old. In a recent article, colleagues Sabrina Mayer, Carl Berning and David Johann take it for a spin and look at the Two Dimensions of Narcissistic Personality and Support for the Radical Right (open access!)

Over at the Duck of Minerva, Anne Harrington has an interesting post (it’s the second in a mini series, actually) about the UK’s Higher Education culture, and its focus on audits. Harrington writes from the perspective of an American outsider. As a former German outsider in British Higher Education I find this double layering particularly interesting.

Why and how does the Radical Right campaign for the protection of the environment? Here is a very interesting piece that looks at the environmental stance of the Alternative for Germany.

The German military’s counter-espionage unit has published a count of (alleged) right-wing extremists within the forces. While this is a huge step forward, many people think that this the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

Jan 242020
Turkey, Power Corrupts, and Right Wing Extremism in Germany: 4 links I did not really like 4

How rogue can Turkey go?” This is a rather depressing assessment of the frayed state of relations between Turkey and “the West”. And it does hardly delve into the whole issue of human rights abuses.

Talking about depressing yet oddly fascinating stuff, there is going to be a new season of the fantastic Power Corrupts Podcast. Tune in!

Exactly: The Neo-Nazi Murder Of A German Politician Highlights Threat Of Radical Right Terrorism. And this problem is much, much bigger than just one case: German police investigate report of bullet holes at black MP’s office

Dec 112019
Extremism & the German police, disinformation in the UK, nativism & populism, and the most useful podcast ever: 4 links I liked 5

In Germany, these problems have been under-estimated, under-reported, and outright downplayed for a very long time:
Elite German Police Unit Was Crawling With Far-Right ‘Preppers’ Gearing Up for a Race War

If you are worried about the effect of disinformation on democracy, the UK is a very scary place right now: Google bans eight different Tory election adverts as disinformation concerns mount (I think the number has risen in the meantime).

Cas Mudde thinks that nativism and authoritarianism are more problematic than mere populism. I couldn’t agree more.

If you feel CONSTANTLY OVERWHELMED BY THE FLOOD OF NEW BOOKS THAT YOU SHOULD READ OR AT LEAST KNOW ABOUT, the New Books in Political Science podcast delivers wonderful, commute-sized reviews / interviews with the authors right to your earphones.

Hidden bonus track: what you always wanted to know about Derrida but were too afraid to ask 👇

Nov 242019
California vs Russia, Ukrainian bribery, Mr P comes to Little Britain, false flag attack in Germany, and the fire-hose of anti-vaxx lies: 5 links I liked 6

Over at Crooked Timber, John Quiggin asks an odd yet interesting question: Would Republican voters rather live under a government like that of Russia, or one like that of California?

Barbara McQuade, an actual law professor and former US attorney, argues that what the testimonies from the impeachment hearings add up to bribery.

Still not sure if I really get how it works (there is always the original Gelman piece), but here is a useful primer to “Mr P” and its application to the upcoming General election in the UK

In Germany, a soldier who planned a (false flag) far-right terror attack is to stand trial. Just as scary as his plan is that the magistrate court wanted to dismiss his case. Thankfully, the federal prosecutor appealed to the high court, which ordered their colleagues further down the food chain to begin proceedings. This is very scary, and woefully under-reported.

Why do some political actors spout obvious lies? There is a Rand paper on Russian propaganda which claims that this is a deliberate strategy. And this article in the Guardian applies the idea to anti-vaxxers. Fun fact/bonus track: this is what I see in position 0 (i.e. before any hits) when I type “he spouts lies” into Google.

Trump spouts lies

Nov 152019
The AfD's culture war, Trump as Voldemort, the electoral system's impact on the Canadian election, and campaign deepfakes: 4 links I liked 7

The AfD have launched their very own culture war (German style). Over at the Atlantic, Eliza Apperly reports.

Is it uncivil to protest an uncivil president at a sports event? Mc Sweeny’s has a wonderful spoof essay on that topic: “Booing Voldemort at the Triwizard Tournament demonstrates Hogwarts’ lack of civil discourse”

If you are a political scientist, you are probably familiar with the work of Matthew Shugart. But you might not be aware that he has been writing on his personal blog (they still exist) for more than a decade. A couple of weeks ago, he has published a very instructive analysis of the recent Canadian election through an electoral-systems-research lens that is absolutely worth your time.

It is now possible to create convincing deepfake videos of politicians endorsing their opponents. Watch this one (created for educational purposes) and be afraid.

Sep 122019
The end of Canadian politeness, relative deprivation, right-wingers go nuclear, and the birth of Linux from a private monopoly: 4 links I liked 8

Even Canadian politeness has its limits: someone writing for the Globe and Mail thinks that BoJo is really, seriously rubbish. Amusing (and spot on).

Want to know what relative deprivation is and does? Look no further: “Germany’s far-right AfD stronghold: Life is good, but ‘people are scared'”

Not much to see here, just a far-right “activist” serving on a nuclear sub.

When it’s all getting a bit too much, read this wonderful article about the unlikely environment / management culture in which the world’s favourite operating system was hatched. I have filed “selective enthusiasm” for use in future faculty meetings. Also has some seriously weird pictures of nerds in front of historic computers.

Aug 232019
Anglo-Irish Science Fiction, Poggenburg, and the Anthropocene that is not : 3 links I liked 9

Talking about the Anthropocene seems to be a stupid thing, for various reasons. Intriguing article full of very large numbers.

Life imitating satire: hardliner Andre Poggenburg left the AfD to set up his own party. Seven months down the line, he tries to dissolve the new party, fails, and leaves (in German). Why don’t you watch, purely for the fun of it, a (now historical) video I made about the original split back in January?

If you are into Anglo-Irish relations, Brexit, and Science Fiction, this article is for you: Ossian’s Ride

Bonus track: random Marie Kondo tweet

Aug 142019
Authoritarian parties, liberal parties, terrorism, and an #rstats distraction: 4 links I liked 10

Apparently there is a market for left-wing authoritarian parties in Western Europe: “The consequences of supply gaps in two-dimensional policy spaces for voter turnout and political support”

The plight of Ciudadanos, and Liberal parties more generally

Terrorism does increase with immigration – but only homegrown, right-wing terrorism

What a wonderful distraction: doing algebra and calculus with R and yacas


Bonus track: this glorious thread on state-sponsored youth festivals in the former GDR