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  • God and American Politics

    I just returned from the Pell Center round-table with Professor Dan Cowdin on the role of God in American politics.  It was a lively conversation that affirmed just how intimately intertwined are issues of faith, identity, and public values. As the conversation ensued, we made reference to several texts from American history.  I’ve linked to each below. President John F. Kennedy’s Address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association (1960) Rev. … Read More

  • The Briseno Family: Heroes among Heroes

    In 2004, I was working as a legislative assistant in the U.S. Senate when I came across a story about a grievously wounded soldier from Northern Virginia and his devoted parents who refused to give up on him. The soldier is Jay Briseno.  An Army reservist, he deployed to Iraq in 2003 and was shot in the back of his neck, severing his spinal cord.  In the course of surgeries … Read More

  • Roundtable Question: What Role for God in American Politics?

    The Pell Center’s next roundtable lunch and conversation will be: The Time: Wednesday, April 18, at 12:00 PM. The Place: Wakehurst 003–Basement The issue: God and American politics. Featuring: Dr. Dan Cowdin, Associate Professor Religious and Theological Studies and Dr. Jim Ludes, Executive Director of the Pell Center. “Pay Caesar what belongs to Caesar — and God what belongs to God.” — Jesus Christ in Mark (12:17) “I certainly believe … Read More

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    Energy Geopolitics: Thinking about China’s Defense Spending

    Webster’s defines “geopolitics” as: a study of the influence of such factors as geography, economics, and demography on the politics and especially the foreign policy of a state a governmental policy guided by geopolitics a combination of political and geographic factors relating to something (as a state or particular resources) And during the Cold War we talked about geopolitics, or so it seemed, with a lot more frequency than we … Read More

  • New Event: Healthcare Reform and Rhode Island

    On Monday, April 30, 2012, the Pell Center for International Relations will host a half-day conference on the state of healthcare reform in Rhode Island.  Featuring keynote remarks from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, and a who’s-who of healthcare officials and policy makers, the conference is intended to take stock of what’s planned and what’s possible as we await the Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The … Read More

  • Dennis Weichel: American Hero

    Specialist Dennis Weichel of the Rhode Island National Guard is an American Hero.  He deployed to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban and al Qaeda.  He died saving a little girl from being struck by a truck. After more than ten years of persistent conflict around the world, there are some who would say that we have grown desensitized to the loss of American lives overseas.  But Specialist Weichel, the father … Read More

  • Energy, Iran, and Cybersecurity: Up-coming events at the Pell Center

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 6:30 PM Energy Geopolitics: Supply, Demand, and U.S. Foreign Policy with William Sweet, Author and Journalist (a joint event with Newport CIV) In the last year, global energy markets were shaken by Middle East instability while Japan grappled with the worst nuclear power disaster in history.  The future of energy is a future of increasing demand and pressure on supplies, whether political, environmental, or economic.  … Read More

  • Quick Hit: Shadow War between Israel and Iran not so Shadowy

    Over the last several years, scientists associated with Iran’s nuclear program have been killed in a series of attacks.  According to NBC News, the United States believes Israel is behind these killings–part of a shadow war to slow or halt Iran’s nuclear program. Just last month, the Washington Post reported: A scientist linked to Iran’s nuclear program was killed in his car by a bomb-wielding assailant on Wednesday [January 11, … Read More

  • Roundtable: What does American “strength” mean in the 21st century?

    The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy presents its second roundtable for the spring 2012 semester. This roundtable will focus on the question posed by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius: What does American “strength” mean in the 21st century?  Is it a recovery of the kind of power and prerogative the United States had, say, in the Ronald Reagan years?  Or is it something more aligned with changes … Read More

  • Quick Hit: ‘We the People’ Losing Appeal

    I read this story in the New York Times on Monday and found it both fascinating and troubling. “We the People” Loses Appeal with People Around the World” Here’s a brief quote: In 1987, on the Constitution’s bicentennial, Time magazine calculated that “of the 170 countries that exist today, more than 160 have written charters modeled directly or indirectly on the U.S. version.” A quarter-century later, the picture looks very … Read More

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