Public Policy

  • Photo of a person holding a life-size version of the cover of Donald Trump's book, Think Big and Kick Ass In Business and Life, among a crowd of others.

    Picks of the Week: Creeping Authoritarianism

      The Governing Cancer of our Time | The New York Times The best predictor of Trump support isn’t income, education, or age.  It’s authoritarianism. | Vox   More than five years ago in The Providence Journal, I wrote of a specter haunting America. Then I was concerned about impatience on the left of the political spectrum and my growing sense that authoritarianism was gaining in popularity. I repost those … Read More

  • Photograph of a full crowd intently listening to panelists at the Laudato Si event in Bazarksy Lecture Hall.

    Spring 2016 Lecture Series Announced

    The first event is a screening of “This Changes Everything” on January 26, 2016

  • Hayat Alvi and Timothy Hoyt speak onstage during their lecture about United States policy in the Middle East.

    The Legacy: What’s Next for U.S. Policy in the Middle East?

    On December 2, 2015, the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy hosted its final lecture of the fall semester titled “The Legacy: What’s Next for U.S. Policy in the Middle East”. The lecture featured two experts from the U.S. Naval War College, Hayat Alvi and Timothy Hoyt and attracted one of the year’s largest crowds despite rainy weather outside. Moderated by Pell Center Executive Director Jim Ludes, the … Read More

  • Cover of study by Adjunct Fellow Angela Siefer on State-Level Broadband policy

    New Study Offers Guidance for Expanding Broadband Access

    The Internet is a tool that Americans use every day to work, to locate information, to communicate, to shop, and to play. More broadly, access to the Internet can help strengthen communities, improve schools, heighten public safety, and create a more responsive relationship between government and citizens. Perhaps most importantly, many believe that the availability of broadband Internet is a key enabler of economic growth. While many decisions about broadband … Read More

  • President Obama June 18, 2015 on the events in Charleston

    Charleston shooting creates an opportunity to discuss gun control

    In light of the tragedy that occurred in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday night, it is difficult not to look once more at the gun control policies currently in place in the US. What happened? If you haven’t heard, on Wednesday June 17, 2015 a young male entered Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, during an evening prayer meeting. He attended the meeting for close to an hour, ... 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

  • 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

  • close up of the capitol building on a United States bank note

    Follow the Money

    In a conversation about campaign finance reform years ago, a friend and former colleague told me that he believed “money is a form of speech.”  The same argument underpinned the majority opinion in the Supreme Court’s ruling on Citizens United and poses a fundamental threat to our democracy. Any question about the corrosive and dangerous effects of money in our electoral system can be resolved with a quick look at … Read More

  • Who Are We As a People?

    Poverty in the United States is destroying lives and making this great nation weaker. In Maryland this past week, Rodney Todd, a single, working-father of seven died, along with all of his children, from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in their home.  Investigators found a generator in the kitchen that was out of gas.  Several days earlier, the local utility had disconnected power to the home because a stolen electric meter … Read More

  • Panelists Discuss the Public’s Perception of Science

    The Pell Center’s presentation earlier this month, “Science Under Attack: Politics, Policy, and Science in America” discussed the public’s perception of science, and focused mainly on global warming.  The presentation featured Suzanne Shaw, director of communications at the Union of Concerned Scientists and Todd Anthony Bianco, principal policy associate at the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission. Shaw started off by discussing the public’s beliefs and mentioned that most Americans trust … Read More

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