Opinion

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    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

  • The Case for the New Congress to Restore Defense Earmarks

    Pell Center Executive Director Dr. Jim Ludes and Ms. Kelly Mendell, President of MIKEL, a RI based defense company, published an op-ed today calling for the restoration of Congressional earmarks for defense research and development.  An excerpt is below.  The full piece is available at at RollCall.com. A Rose by Any Other Name: It’s Time to Bring Earmarks Back to Defense R&D  By James M. Ludes and Kelly Mendell Nov. … Read More

  • Quick Hit: The President’s Strategy for ISIL Assessed

    In 15 minutes of remarks tonight , President Barrack Obama laid out his strategy to confront the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL.) The president’s much awaited strategy can be condensed to this: Train and equip local forces—whether Iraqi or Syrian—to fight ISIL on the ground. Provide additional American advisors to support these local forces. Use American airpower to support forces on the ground—including … Read More

  • The Immigration Issue

    On one hand, you’re turning your back on innocent children, many of them escaping poverty, violence and a number of other horrors. Yet on the other side, you have legal American citizens who struggle day by day, single mothers, homeless veterans, and hardworking families who can’t catch a break. This is the question that Congress is being asked to answer before they depart for the month of August. In my … Read More

  • Our Culture’s Role in the Tragedy in Isla Vista

    The results of May 23 are yet another example of the blatant need for mental health care reform in the United States. The shooting in Isla Vista, California reminded us of numerous other issues, bullying, gun control, and equality, but none more critical then mental health care. Based on the number of videos, articles, tweets, and shares out there, almost all of these issues have and are being addressed by … Read More

  • D-Day + 70 Years

    I originally posted this on June 6, 2008 on the Flashpoint Blog of the American Security Project.  I’m re-posting it here today, the 70th anniversary of D-Day. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, USA, Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Forces, drafted a statement on the eve of the D-Day invasion.  He intended to issue it to the press should the invasion fail and be pushed back into the sea. He wrote: Our landings in … Read More

  • “Climate change” vs. “global warming”

    The Center for Climate Change Communication (4C) at George Mason University has just released a report that discusses the relative merits of the terms climate change and global warming – from the perspective of communicators trying to engage audiences on this critical topic. The results are a reminder that word choice matters – a conclusion I am professionally obligated to endorse, as a cognitive linguist. They are also a reminder … Read More

  • Not about charity

    At a forum last night for Rhode Island gubernatorial candidates (organized by the Economic Progress Institute and held at the Ocean State Theatre in Warwick, RI), one of the participants emphasized a point that all of us would do well to remember. It is worth taking a moment to appreciate State Treasurer Gina Raimondo’s repeated insistence that “This is not about charity,” when talking about tax-supported public programs from Head … Read More

  • Incarceration policy: What works vs. what’s “right”

    Why are we Americans so eager to put each other in jail? A new report  from the Pell Center (Salve Regina University, Newport, RI) explores the contrasts between U.S. incarceration policy and how other countries handle jail time. The report paints a shocking picture of a country that imprisons people at a far, far higher rate than others do: About 7 in 1000 Americans are in prison, while our closest … Read More

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