James Steinberg LAW ’78 was nominated to serve as one of two lieutenants to Secretary of State-designate Hillary Rodham Clinton LAW ’73, the transition team of President-elect Barack Obama announced Tuesday. Steinberg, formerly a top national security aide in the Clinton administration, will have to be confirmed by the Senate before officially assuming his duties as Deputy Secretary of State. Steinberg’s nomination makes him the third Yale alumnus to serve as Deputy Secretary of State since the Clinton administration, following former News Chairman Strobe Talbott ’68 and John Negroponte ’60.

William Kaufmann ’39 GRD ’48, a major supporter of a shift away from the early Cold War strategy of mass nuclear retaliation, died Dec. 14 in Woburn, Mass. Kaufmann, who was 90, served as a special assistant to all seven defense secretaries in the Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations. He helped develop the concept of counterforce, which called for precision bombing as an alternative to a full-force nuclear attack. After earning a bachelor’s degree, a master’s and a doctorate, all in international studies, from Yale, Kaufmann taught at Yale and Princeton University before joining the RAND Corporation, the military research institution, in 1956.

A portrait of President George W. Bush ’68, painted by fellow Yalie Robert Anderson ’68, was unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery on Dec. 19. As he admired the painting, the lame duck president shared some self-deprecating remarks. “[Anderson] had a lot of trouble with my mouth,” Bush said. “I told him, ‘That makes two of us.’”

“The Bridge at the End of the World,” a book by Yale FES Dean Gus Speth, was named one of the best nonfiction books of 2008 by the Washington Post. In the book, Speth critiques overly commercial and growth-centric capitalism. “[H]ow can the operating instructions for the modern world economy be changed,” Speth asks, “so that economic activity both protects and restores the natural world?”