Tag Archive: Politics

  1. YLS professor weighs in on recess appointments

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    At least one Yale Law professor is upset over President Barack Obama’s recess appointments, though perhaps for reasons different than congressional Republicans.

    Sterling Professor Bruce Ackerman LAW ’67, an expert on constitutional law, took to the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday to discuss the president’s controversial decision to make several high-profile appointments during the recess of the United States Senate, effectively bypassing the traditional congressional approval process.

    Such a decision normally requires constitutional backing from the Justice Department, Ackerman argued, but Obama made the decision based on an unpublished constitutional defense written by White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmier. Ackerman said he did not necessarily think Obama’s decision to go ahead with the appointments was unconstitutional — he just wants to understand exactly what logic was governing Obama’s thinking, and accordingly is demanding that Ruemmier publish her opinion.

    “It is hardly enough for him to inform the Senate that Ms. Ruemmler has given the go-ahead,” Ackerman wrote. “At the very least, he should provide his counsel’s legal opinion explaining why he has the constitutional authority to second-guess the Senate on whether it is in recess.”

    Ackerman’s piece has racked up over 80 comments on the Journal’s website.

  2. Connecticut may allow bear hunting lottery

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    The state of Connecticut is not afraid to allow residents to go on a bear hunt.

    With nearly 3,000 bear sightings in the past year, the state of Connecticut is deciding whether to implement a hunting lottery, used in states such as Maine, the Hartford Courant reported Tuesday. The proposal for the lottery, which is being reviewed this week, would allow hunters to pay a fee to enter a lottery for a permit to kill a bear. It aims to reduce the number of bears and profit the state.

    The proposal faces opposition from animal rights activists. Its opponents claim a hunting lottery would make Connecticut devolve into a “wild west.”

    “It’s definitely a bloody way to make money,” said Nancy Rice, the outreach coordinator for Darien-based Friends of Animals. A more effective route, activists say, would be to eliminate open food sources that attract bears.

    Bears have spread south into Connecticut, leading to an increase in sightings. The current bear population, somewhere between 500 and 1000, is expected to double every five to seven years. We can only hope the bears don’t make it down to East Rock, for then where would we picnic?

  3. Soundbites: Larry Summers edition

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    The Yale Political Union hosted Lawrence Summers, former Harvard president, Treasury Secretary and director of the National Economic Council for a debate on economics titled “RESOLVED: The U.S and world economies need more Keynesian thinking.” Below are some of Summers’ more quotable moments:

    Ladies and gentlemen, it is an honor to speak to the political union of the nation’s second best university.

    John Kennedy said man’s problems were made by man, and that it follows that they can be solved by man. No one knows how to find a cure for cancer, find peace in the Middle East, find a formula for controlling greenhouse emissions or what to do about rising inequality. These are all very deep and hard problems. But does anybody think that we cannot find ways to spend money and put people back to work in the U.S.?

    Are people quitting jobs? No. People are staying in jobs at record rates, because they are having trouble moving elsewhere. What about job vacancies? They’re at record lows. That’s because we live in a country that has too little demand. Some people think this has to do with workers being lazy or being not properly motivated. But factories do not have psychological problems that cause them to want to be empty: they are sitting empty because there is no demand.

    If we grow just 1 percent slower for the next 10 years, that adds 3 trillion dollars to the debt in 2020. That’s why there’s no more important problem facing this country than getting this economy growing again.

    How many people have been to JFK? How many people are proud of the Kennedy airport as the gateway to America’s greatest city? Probably a member of the Tory party. Most who look at Kennedy airport say, “we can do better.”

    In general, the U.S. would be well-served by more open immigration policies, especially in regards to skilled immigrants. I think that’s morally right and economically smart, and our country did a number of short-sighted things in the wake of 9/11.

  4. World Fellow awaits release as Russian protests continue

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    As the largest protest since the fall of the Soviet Union erupted in Moscow, political activist, renowned blogger and Yale World Fellow Alexei Navalny sat in a jail cell, unable to see the whirlwind of political activity that now surrounds him.

    Navalny was arrested for obstructing traffic during a protest on Dec. 5 and sentenced to 15 days in jail, the longest possible sentence for the crime. Since then, he has become the face of Russian protests accusing United Russia, the incumbent party of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, of rigging elections.

    Six days after Navalny’s incarceration, 50,000 peaceful protesters marched in Russia, many carrying signs with Navalny’s popular slogan calling United Russia “the party of crooks and thieves.” Though only 7 percent of Russians recognize Navalny, two-thirds of Russians now recognize his slogan, according to the Economist.

    A letter Navalny wrote from his jail cell was published on his website and read to the crowd at the protest. [See a translated version here.]

    “It’s impossible to beat and arrest hundreds of thousands, millions,” the letter read. “We are not cattle or slaves. We have voices and votes, and we have the power to uphold them.”

    In an interview from his jail cell, Navalny told the Russian newspaper the New Times that he was happy to see such large protests, but added that there was still work to be done.

    “I am very grateful to those people who come to picket with slogans like ‘Free Navalny,’ ‘Free Yashin,’ but these slogans have to be changed,” Navalny said. “’Freedom for all political prisoners!’”

    While Navalny may try to deflect attention from himself, he is quickly becoming a major Russian political figure. Two days after Navalny’s arrest, Medvedev’s Twitter account retweeted a vulgar attack making a direct reference to Navalny.

    “Today it became clear that a person who writes in their blog the words ‘party of crooks and thieves’ is a stupid, c——-ing sheep :),” said the tweet, originally written by Konstantin Rykov, a Russian politician.

    The Kremlin quickly removed the tweet and said that the account had been hacked by an employee in charge of technical support for the account. A press release promised that “the guilty will be punished.”

    International press have noticed the flurry of activity surrounding Navalny. Major news organizations have profiled him, including the New Yorker, the BBC and the New York Times. Nine days after his incarceration, Time Magazine covered Navalny, among others, for its 2011 Person of the Year article honoring “The Protester.”

    Several news organizations, including the BBC, have speculated that Navalny might be able to challenge Putin for the Russian presidency in 2012. Before his arrest, the Moscow Times ran an opinion piece with the title “The Only Electable Russian is Alexei Navalny” which claimed that “as of today, not a single Russian public figure other than Navalny has any chance at all.”

    According to Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy, the Russian United Democratic Party “Yabloko,” an opposition party to Putin’s United Russia, has proposed nominating Navalny for the presidency.

    Putin has declared his intent to run for president, and when the New Times asked Navalny about a potential candidacy, he declined to comment.

    “I think that to give an answer to this question at this point and in the context of all that is happening is stupid,” he said. “That should not be discussed here.”

    Navalny is scheduled to be released on Dec 20. A major protest is scheduled for Dec. 24.

  5. McMahon to run for Senate again

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    Linda McMahon, who ran an expensive but unsuccessful Senate campaign against Richard Blumenthal LAW ’73 in 2010, will try her luck a second time in 2012.

    According to the New York Times, the Republican former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment told two sources that she plans to run for the Senate seat currently held by Joseph Lieberman ’64 LAW ’67, who is not seeking reelection.

    Given her deep pockets, McMahon’s entrance into the race is likely to send political shock waves across the state. During her 2010 run, she spent $50 million, much of it her own money, though in 2012 she plans to raise more funds from private donors, the Times reported.

    The race for the Democratic nomination to succeed Lieberman is well underway, with former Secretary of the State Susan Biesywicz ’83 locked in a tight battle with three-term U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy.

    McMahon will announce her candidacy in the coming week, the Times reported.

  6. McMahon makes a run for our money

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    Republican Linda McMahon is inching up in the polls in the race for the Connecticut U.S. Senate seat.

    Richard Blumenthal LAW ’73 is now only ahead of the former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO by 3 percentage points, 49 to 46, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released Tuesday morning.

    Blumenthal, who recently got a boost in New Haven from his law school classmate former President Bill Clinton LAW ’73, led McMahon by a much wider margin — 6 percentage points — in a Sept. 14 poll.

    “Angry” voters are liking McMahon. According to the poll, 78 percent of the 33 percent polled saying they are “angry” with the federal government are would vote for McMahon. Only 20 percent would vote for Blumenthal.

    “Blumenthal has to be concerned about Linda McMahon’s momentum,” Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz said in a statement. “He can hear her footsteps as she closes in on him.”

  7. Gen. McChrystal’s seminar: The syllabus

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    Retired four-star Gen. Stanley McChrystal has decided on a tentative syllabus for the graduate-level seminar he is teaching this semester.

    Eric L. Robinson GRD ’11, a research assistant for the course, sent out the following course outline Thursday afternoon to students enrolled in the class, “Leadership in Operation” (INRL 690). Note the Nov. 16 seminar theme, “Communicating the Story — the Media Environment.”

    • 7th September 2010: “The Importance of Leading Differently – The Changing Operating Environment”
    • 14th September 2010: “Case Study: The Changing Military 1972-2010”
    • 21st September 2010: “Role of a Leader”
    • 27th September 2010 (6-8pm): “Coping With Failure”
    • 28th September 2010 (Assignment 1 Due): “Building Teams – What Makes Some Great”
    • 5th October 2010: “Driving Change and Operating Differently”
    • 12th October 2010: “Navigating Politics”
    • 19th October 2010: “Making Difficult Decisions Pt. 1 – How We Decide”
    • 26th October 2010 (Assignment 2 Due): “Making Difficult Decisions Pt. 2 – Dealing With Risk”
    • 2nd November 2010: “Loyalty, Trust and Relationships”
    • 9th November 2010: “Dealing With Cultural Differences”
    • 16th November 2010: “Communicating the Story – the Media Environment”
    • 30th November 2010 (Assignment 3 Due): “The Leader – the Personal Impact of Responsibility, Notoriety and Other Realities”
    • 7th December 2010: “The Future Leader”

    Robinson also included details about the first class:

    7th September 2010 – Seminar 1: The Importance of Leading Differently: The Changing Operating Environment

    Description: A description of how changes in our operating environment over the 34 years of my service have demanded changes in how organizations operate – and how leaders lead them. For the military, focus often falls too narrowly – on technological advances in weaponry and armor. But like most organizations, truly significant changes in technology, politics, media, and society overall have driven change to almost every aspect of leading. Increasingly, the product of a failure to change – is failure.

    Historical Examples:

    • Case Study 1: The career of Stanley McChrystal
    • Case Study 3: The 2002-2003 decision to invade Iraq
    • Case Study 3: The United States Civil War
    • Case Study 4: German Grand Strategy of World War 2

    Primary Reading

    • Filkins, Dexter. Stanley McChrystal’s Long War. The New York Times Magazine.
    • 18th October 2009. P. 36.

    Supplemental Reading

    1. FM 6-22 Army Leadership, Chapter 10: Influences on Leadership (Operating Environment, Stress in Combat, Stress in Training, Dealing with the Stress of Change, Tools for Adaptability).
    2. Coutu, Diane L., “How Resilience Works,” Harvard Business Review on Leading in Turbulent Times. Harvard Business School Press. 2003.
    3. Gehler, Christopher P. Agile Leaders, Agile Institutions: Educating Adaptive and Innovative Leaders for Today and Tomorrow. Strategy Research Project.
    4. Carlisle Barracks, PA: U.S. Army War College, 2005. 26pp. http://handle.dtic.mil/100.2/ADA434868
    5. Wong, Leonard. Developing Adaptive Leaders: The Crucible Experience of Operation Iraqi Free-dom. Carlisle Barracks, PA: U.S. Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, 2004. 23pp. http://handle.dtic.mil/100.2/ADA424850
    6. Doyle, Michele Erina and Mark K. Smith, “Classical Leadership: theories of leadership” article (ILE materials)
    7. Reed, George E., ”Warrior Ethos” (ILE materials)
    8. Gardener, John. On Leadership. New York: Free Press. 1990., Chapters 1-3.

    Robinson also explained that while students enrolled in the class are free to talk with the media about their impressions of the class, the seminar itself will be off the record. The class meets on Tuesdays at 9:25 a.m., but the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs has yet to release the meeting location.

  8. Dean ’71 talks health care, Yale

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    Howard Dean on Meet the Press

    Long considered one of the most knowledgeable figures on the topic of health care, Howard Dean ’71 has recently been the subject of a number of profiles, as debate on a “public option” continues.

    Dean will be teaching a residential college seminar this semester, “Understanding Politics and Politicians,” with his friend and fellow Piersonite, organizational psychologist David Berg ’71 GRD ’72. He spoke with the News on Friday about health care, his course and why he wants to teach at Yale.

    Q: How has your role in the health care reform debate changed since you decided to teach at Yale early this year?

    A: I don’t know that it has changed all that much. Health care reform is something I have been interested and involved in for a long time — over 30 years.

    Q: Are you surprised by how long it is taking for a bill to move through Congress?

    A: I am not surprised. My original prediction, one I still think is true now, is that I am confident the President will sign health care reform into law in November.

    (more…)

  9. Negroponte ’60 on Danish cartoons: ‘I agreed with the decision by Yale’

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    When the Yale University Press was faced with the decision of whether to reprint the caricatures of the prophet Muhammad that are at the center of its forthcoming book, “The Cartoons that Shook the World,” it turned to the University proper for advice.

    University Vice President and Secretary Linda Lorimer then consulted with numerous counterterrorism and diplomatic officials. She asked them whether reprinting the cartoons could incite more violence. For the most part, Yale says, those experts cautioned the University and the Press not to republish the cartoons.

    While the University has not revealed the identity of most of the experts with whom it consulted, John Negroponte ’60 recently confirmed to the News that he was among the group of people who spoke with Lorimer and other Yale officials. Negroponte, who served for many years in government and was the nation’s first Director of National Intelligence, will begin teaching at Yale in the fall.

    Q: What advice did you give Yale about publishing the cartoons?

    A: I agreed with the decision by Yale and I certainly think that publishing the cartoons and the likenesses of Muhammad in the way they appeared in those cartoons would have been a gratuitous act.

    (more…)

  10. Two Kohs are better than one

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    thekohsaresoadorable.jpg

    Bored during your internship? Here’s something to add to your reading list: A profile of former Yale Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh and his brother, Howard Koh ’73 MED ’77, that appeared in The Boston Globe today. The brothers are now, respectively, legal adviser in the Department of State and assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services.

    The whole article is worth reading, if only to find out that Harold Hongju Koh, who was once seen hoisting two Boston Red Sox World Series trophies in the Law School dining hall, will throw out the first pitch at Fenway Park on August 29. It is also worth reading because of the adorable photograph, above, that accompanies it.

  11. What not to do when declaring your candidacy for alderman

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    Of all the missteps we have seen in aldermanic campaigns in recent years, this is a new one: Getting your wife’s name wrong when declaring your candidacy.

    That’s what happened to a longtime West Rock resident, Carlton Staggers, when he announced Thursday that he would seek the Democratic nomination to succeed Ward 30 Alderwoman Michelle Edmonds-Sepulveda, who is not running for re-election. As is typical when local politicians declare their candidacies, Staggers’ campaign sent us a press release on Thursday evening explaining his decision to run. (You can read more about Staggers’ candidacy from the New Haven Independent here.)

    The release — which noted that Staggers has lived in Ward 30 for more than three decades and raised five children there with his wife of 17 years, Marion — did not seem unusual at first.

    Two hours and 15 minutes later, we got another e-mail:

    ———- Forwarded message ———-

    From: Carlton Staggers

    Date: Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 7:36 PM

    Subject: CORRECTION

    To: Carlton Staggers for Ward 30 Alderman

    CORRECTION

    The press release names Carlton Staggers’s wife as “Marion Staggers.”  Her name is Monique Staggers.

    Ouch.

  12. Firefighters: Sotomayor ruling violated our rights

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    Two New Haven firefighters told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday that they believe Sonia Sotomayor LAW ’79 and other judges on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals infringed upon their rights when they summarily rejected their appeal in a reverse discrimination lawsuit.

    Ricci did not address Sotomayor in his testimony, speaking only to the frustration he and his colleagues faced when they were denied promotions after no black firefighters scored well enough on a city-administered exam to earn promotion.

    (more…)