• Close-up photo of Rhode Island Senator Claiborne de Borda Pell outside of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

    The Hill: Legislating as it Once Was: The NEH Turns 50

    The Following op-ed was published originally on the Congress Blog of The Hill, the Capitol Hill newspaper. Legislating as it Once Was: The NEH Turns 50 Elizabeth Francis and James M. Ludes Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson signed legislation creating the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts.  It was not fast-tracked legislation, rather it was the result of determined effort by Senator Claiborne … Read More

  • The Pell Center declares its Cyber Awareness for National Cyber Security Awareness Month

    Picks of the Week: Cybersecurity Awareness Month at the Pell Center

    National Cyber Security Awareness Month Kicks Off In Nation’s Capital | PR Newswire Presidential Proclamation – National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, 2015 | The White House Rhode Island Cybersecurity Commission Report Delivers Plan to Enhance Cybersecurity Efforts Statewide and Nationally | Rhode Island Office of the Governor October marks National Cyber Security Awareness Month, in which citizens and businesses alike are encouraged to learn more about online safety and information security … Read More

  • Photograph of a handgun resting on top of an American flag.

    Picks of the Week: Another Mass Shooting: Enough is Enough

    There’s been no calendar week without a mass shooting during President Obama’s second term | Washington Post Deaths from gun violence vs. deaths from terrorism, in one chart | Vox President Obama Laments Mass Shootings Becoming ‘Routine” After Oregon School Massacre | ABC News I didn’t want to turn on my television tonight.  I knew what was waiting for me.  But I had to watch—and as soon as I turned … Read More

  • Arctic Glaciers

    The Pope’s Call for Action on Climate Change

    “Man can’t change the climate.” With those words on the floor of the United States Senate last January, Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma summarized the current Republican consensus on climate change. The Earth is so big, the logic goes, that our insignificant selves could never have an impact big enough to alter the climate.  In a 50-49 vote that followed, the Senate said climate change was not caused by human activity. … Read More

  • Veterans graves during Mermorial Day

    We Remember | Memorial Day 2015

    Gilgamesh, in the epic Mesopotamian poem, wanted to live forever, like the gods.  But Gilgamesh was human. His mortality meant that he would know death.  His name, however, could live forever.  He would be remembered, he reasoned, because of the great things he did.  He asked: “Who is the mortal able to enter heaven? Only the gods can live forever. The life of man is short.   What he accomplishes … Read More

  • Vaccine bottles and a syringe

    Pick Your Poison: Ignoring Science at Our Own Peril

    Throughout human history, our progress has been intimately linked to advances in science. Even in the so-called “dark ages,” the light of learning was turned on the natural world.  From those efforts came Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, and Galileo.  New understandings of the universe based on observation with new instruments challenged world-views, and the Pope, in one of the great refutations of science in recorded history, forced Galileo to recant his … Read More

  • Identity, War and Peace

    Two articles have recently caught my attention—one about the rise of Christian militias, financed by American evangelical Christians, who are fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria.  The other about the first signs of hope in Iraq in a long, long time.  They reflect different dimensions of the same conflict, and those differences give me pause. In Baghdad, the curfew imposed after the American occupation began has been lifted.  People are … Read More

  • Picks of the Week | The Impact of Cheap Oil; SOTU and Cybersecurity

    Cheap Oil and Security Falling oil prices hit Venezuela, Iran and Russia hard | The Washington Post Russia ends US Nuclear security alliance | The Boston Globe Americans are thrilled with the drop in gas prices over the last six months—I know I am.  Every time I fill my car up for $35 instead of $55, I smile.  But the drop in oil prices that underlies the drop in gasoline … Read More

  • White Pell Center logo with blue background.

    United We Stand?: Brief Thoughts on the SOTU

    Some of the strongest moments in last night’s State of the Union speech came when the President returned to a basic theme that helped propel him to the White House in the first place – that we are one nation, and that our shared interests are more important than our differences. This hopeful, unifying – not to mention constructive and accurate – perspective was most explicitly highlighted towards the end … Read More

  • Picks of the Week | The Senate Torture Report

    The Senate Torture Report and the Long Walk Home Report Portrays a Broken CIA Devoted to a Failed Approach | The New York Times Panel Faults CIA Over Brutality and Deceit in Terrorism Interrogations | The New York Times Floor Statement by Senator John McCain on Senate Intelligence Committee Report on CIA Interrogation Methods | John McCain I remember where I was—on a USAirways flight home to DC sometime in … Read More

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