Opinion

  • 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

  • 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

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