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Latino Voters, Policy Grammar, Alcohol, Veterans

The Morning Show
  • Nov 11, 2014
  • 01:44:09
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RISING LATINO VOTE  A record number of Latinos – some 25 million – were eligible to vote in the recent election. Latinos now make up 11 percent of eligible voters nationwide.  Stanford University political science and Latino studies professor Gary Segura attributes the growth in the Latino vote largely to the “natural maturation of the population”: the median age of Latino in the United States is 27 years old and more than 90 percent of Latinos under the age of 18 are U.S. citizens.  The overwhelming position in the Latino voter population is anti-Republican, says Segura. Immigration is the most frequently mentioned issue among Latino voters in Segura’s surveys, but jobs and public safety are important to them, too.  On the subject of immigration reform, Segura says, “two-thirds of all Latinos who we poll blame Republicans for the failure of immigration reform. “ But he says they also blame President Barack Obama for putting off the executive action he promised to defer deportation for more undocumented immigrants. “That’s the big story in last week’s election for the Latino vote,” says Segura. “When President Obama deferred his executive action on immigration until after the Mid-Terms, Latino activists were furious and the Latino electorate was completely demobilized by it.”  “If he had acted as he promised he would, there would have been great Latino enthusiasm for democrats in the Mid-Term election,” says Segura.  “If Republicans want to recover their brand with Latinos – or if Democrats want to grow their appeal, they need to try,” adds Segura. “To be perfectly honest, putting out an ad in Spanish would be a great improvement over what they’ve been doing, which is nothing.”   Segura says that “even a modest effort” by Democrats to reach Latinos voters would have turned the results in their favor in Colorado and Florida.  “POLICY FOR THEE, NOT ME”  There’s an adage along the lines of “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” But “what you say,” does matter. The words you choose can have a very real effect on how people perceive them. A recent study out of the psychology department at Columbia University – and published in the journal “Judgment and Decision Making” - found that a subtle shift in the grammar of a policy proposal affects how likely you are to support it on a ballot.  James Cornwell, a post-doctorate researcher at Columbia University and principal author of the paper “Public Policy for Thee, But Not for Me,” which pretty well sums up the phenomenon.  Cornwell’s survey research found people more likely to support policy proposals referring to “people” in the general 3rd person form than they were when the proposals used the 2nd Person “you.”  For example, people were more supportive of a proposal to raise the gas tax when it explained the purpose as encouraging “people to drive less,” rather than encouraging “you to drive less.”  Cornwell’s findings have implications for politicians and policy groups attempting to drum up support – or opposition to – specific proposals. Ballot initiatives and referenda might see more support if they used only the 3rd person form. But “if they oppose the policy, politicians should definitely use the word you,” to portray it in a bad light, says Segura.  DEVOTIONAL PROFILE: SCOTT SWOFFORD  As the director of content at BYU Broadcasting, Scott Swofford is charged with creating “family-friendly content.” But first, he says he’s trying to change the perception of “family-friendly.”  “When I grew up, ‘family-friendly’ meant something you put the kids in front of,” says Swofford. “We think ‘family-friendly’ needs to be interesting to the entire family, as well as inoffensive.” The key to good entertainment is good story, character and performance, adds Swofford (noting that’s a lesson he first learned while pursuing his degree in film from BYU in 1979.)  Swofford has spent a career marrying entertainment with themes that are uplifting – even spiritual. The BYUTV period drama “Granite Flats” is one of his proudest professional accomplishments. Having produced so much film and entertainment, Swofford says he “knows too much about how the sausage is made with movies,” to find them relaxing. Instead, he goes hiking or backpacking.  Swofford will deliver the Campus Devotional address today at 11 a.m. MT. You can listen live on www.byuradio.org.  PARENTS AND TEEN ALCOHOL ABUSE  When it comes to teens and substance abuse in the U.S., one tops the rest: More teens die as a result of alcohol use than all other illegal drugs combined. Anti-alcohol campaigns have only gotten so far, largely because when you look at where youth are getting the alcohol, most roads lead back to adults. A 2004 study by the National Academies of Science concluded that parents tend to dramatically underestimate the problem of underage drinking in general – and their own child’s drinking in particular.  That study recommended public health officials focus more of their anti-drinking messages on the parents of teenagers.  BYU health science professor Gordon Lindsay notes that teenage drinking has declined some since its peak in the 1980s, but he says there’s a lot of work to do, compared to the success with anti-tobacco campaigns.  New research paints a clearer picture of the effect alcohol has on the teenaged brain. Lindsay says using alcohol during the years when a teenager’s brain is still growing presents developmental issues and makes that teen far more likely to abuse alcohol as an adult.  Unfortunately, Lindsay says youth “get a lot of mixed messages,” about alcohol. Hollywood tells teens that, “this is really a social success and you need to do this.” Survey research indicates teens and college students tend to significantly overestimate how much other people are drinking. That has the effect of justifying their own drinking and wanting to do more, in order to keep up with their perception of what others are doing.  “Parents are the gatekeepers on this issue,” says Lindsay. “Kids don’t really like being the focus of anti-alcohol ads. They follow adult behavior. Survey research shows ‘parental disapproval’ is a main reason why kids choose not to drink, so parents should model responsible behavior.”  Lindsay points to the successful messaging of Utah-based advocacy group www.parentsempowered.org” which targets parents. “The messages give them a very clear direction in order to prevent underage drinking,” says Lindsay. “If you lay down the rules, teens are more likely to follow.”  But Lindsay notes the equation: “R minus R equals R.” That is: Rules minus Relationship equals Rebellion. “It’s important for parents to bond with their teens, to have a relationship and spend a lot of time with them.”  AMERICA’S SOLDIER SLAVES  On April 9, 1942, we had the largest surrender of American troops in our history, explains BYU law school distinguished alumnus Jim Parkinson. He co-authored a book with Lee Benson on the "Soldier Slaves" of WWII.  That day in April 1942, thousands of U.S. soldiers were ordered by their commander to surrender to the Japanese on the Philippines' Bataan Peninsula. General Douglas McArthur was ordered off the island by the president of the U.S. and he left his men behind on Bataan. The Japanese rounded up the American soldiers and forced them into the infamous "Bataan Death March." Parkinson says the Japanese considered the U.S. soldiers dishonorable cowards and "they treated them like dogs-worse than humans."  "These were heroes, but they were forgotten about by their country and when they got home they were told not to speak of their experiences," so as not to exacerbate international tensions, says Parkinson.  In the late 1990s, Parkinson represented a number of the POWS who sued for compensation from the Japanese companies that used them as slave laborers for three years in deplorable working environments.  Veteran Lester Tenney recalls being sent into a previously-condemned coal mine "wearing only rubber sandals and a G-string and forced to work 12 hours a day for nearly three years." But, the U.S. Department of State blocked the lawsuit, saying the soldiers had no claim to compensation under the peace treaty with Japan.  "Our experts disagreed and we tried to get the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in, but they denied our request," says Parkinson. So the lawsuit was dismissed. It was never about money for the POWs, adds Parkinson. They wanted justice, an apology. And they wanted the young people of America to know what happened and why.  "This is a story that needs to be told to our children-the story of the courage and suffering of these U.S. soldiers in the Philippines and Japan during World War II," says Parkinson.  His entire account can be found in the book, "Soldier Slaves: Abandoned by the White House, Courts and Congress." Show More...

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