General

  • Afghanistan End Game: Event Report

    On Wednesday, August 1, the Pell Center and Newport CIV jointly hosted an evening conversation with two prominent experts on the course of the war in Afghanistan.  Dr. Bernard Finel of the National War College and Dr. Mark Jacobson of the German Marshall Fund of the United States engaged an audience of more than 100 people with assessments of where we stand after nearly 11 years of fighting. America’s war … Read More

  • Do Facts Matter? Should they?

    Former New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once famously quipped: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” If only it were so simple. New research and events demonstrate that facts, science, and evidence don’t really matter when we’re discussing controversial issues—even if the controversy is engineered. A recent letter in the journal Nature examines the relationship between science literacy and the perception of risk from … Read More

  • 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

  • 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

  • ANALYSIS: How do you solve a problem like Iran?

    The confrontation over Iran’s nuclear program appears to be heading toward a crescendo—and that’s not the same as a resolution. To be sure, talk of western or Israeli military action against Iran’s nuclear program has been at a low boil for years, now.  In recent weeks, however, the intensity has increased and spiked on Thursday, February 2, when Washington Post columnist David Ignatius wrote: [U.S. Defense Secretary Leon] Panetta believes … Read More

  • A Blog is Born

    To launch the Pell Center Blog, we proudly present the following imagined dialogue: You: Another blog? Us:  Yeah, another blog. You:  Why should I care? Us:  Because we’re going to be interesting AND informative. You:  That’s what every new blog author says. Us:  Didn’t you notice?  We all-capped “and.” You:  Not persuasive. Us:  Just like the vast majority of other blogs.  So right out of the gate, we’re already in … Read More

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