Opinion

  • What’s the plan? – Adapting to a changing climate

    At the end of January, residents of the Newport area had a chance to hear from three individuals who are leading Rhode Island’s effort to deal with global warming and its impacts along the Ocean State’s extensive shoreline. While the speakers certainly shared some bad news, they also focused on our opportunity to get ahead of the problems through planning. At a public forum organized by the Pell Center for … Read More

  • “Inequality” for some?

    Last night, the Pell Center at Salve Regina University hosted a free public screening of “Inequality for All” – Jacob Kornbluth’s award-winning documentary about former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, and his lifelong effort to combat rising income inequality in the United States. The audience discussion after the film was lively, smart and engaged. Reich’s economic analysis, and the film’s presentation of it, clearly struck a chord with viewers. To … Read More

  • Cybersecurity – an invisible issue?

    Melissa Hathaway recently gave an excellent talk at Salve Regina University – a clear, impassioned and compelling overview of the cybersecurity issue, and the stakes involved.  From my perspective, one important aspect of the talk, hosted by the Pell Center, is that it reflected the challenges inherent in trying to create more informed public dialog about public policy. How do you get a national conversation going on a topic most people are … Read More

  • The Human Side of Cybercrime (OpEd)

    What do cyber criminals, Greek gods, and Facebook have in common? They are all connected to “Zeus,” a Trojan horse malware program first identified in 2007, when it was used to steal information from the U.S. Department of Transportation, and that now may be lurking in a link on rigged Facebook pages. Along with phishing campaigns, Trojans are the principal method chosen by cyber criminals to attack users, allowing them … Read More

  • Iraq: Ten Years Later

    There is no decision more grave than a decision to go to war.  History has taught us, time and again, that once unleashed, the dogs of war have no master.  Unintended consequences abound.  And no plan survives first contact with the enemy. As we approach the ten year anniversary of the war in Iraq, those truisms—almost cliché—have to be uppermost in our minds when we talk about that war. The … Read More

  • The Future of Digital Security: Will Your Devices Soon be Obsolete?

    The rapid rise in the availability of ever smaller, inexpensive, and increasingly powerful networked devices has revolutionized how—and how quickly—we create, process, store, and share information.  These developments have transformed our world to such an extent it’s hard to recall what life was like before.  Despite their rapid growth, however, the security challenges that have been created as a result of their expansion—password hacking, phishing emails, Internet fraud, identity theft, … Read More

  • Make It Stop: Shootings of 2012 Still In the Headlines in 2013 (Op-Ed)

    The mass shootings in 2012 were horrific reminders that gun control and mental health are two fields that need to be researched, re-evaluated, and re-addressed on Capitol Hill. As time goes on, I fear that politicians will overlook these issues in the midst of heated debates over the decision to raise the debt ceiling in February. The headlines are keeping gun control and mental health in the spotlight, but they’re … Read More

  • Opinion: Where’s the Dialogue on Climate?

    Ten days ago, I had the good fortune of moderating a panel at the Association of Opinion Journalists in Orlando, Florida.  The topic my colleagues and I were supposed to address was Climate and the Environment.  As I prepared my remarks, I couldn’t help but think about how lacking the public debate has been on substantive issues for the last two months.  Sure, there’s been a lot of coverage of … 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

  • Opinion: The Politics of National Interest

    The “Halftime in America” ad from Chrysler that I found so compelling angered Karl Rove. Go figure. You could simply chalk it up to different political perspectives—and that might be true, but not in the way you would think.  I’ll explain. Democrat or Republican, I’m drawn to candidates who put the nation ahead of party.  Liberal or conservative, I’m attracted to public servants who seek common solutions to common problems.  … Read More

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