Jim Hollifield, Tower Center Director discusses long term implications of Britain’s vote with panel of experts

The Wilson Center

Originally Posted: June 28, 2016

The Wilson Center held a teleconference with its experts, including Tower Center Director Jim Hollifield, to discuss the long term implications of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. Listen to the conversation at the link below. READ MORE

Tower Center Associate Harold Clarke interviewed by the National Post

National Post

Originally Posted: June 24, 2016

Of all the demographics that were torn apart by the Brexit vote — old/young, rural/urban, rich/poor — one of the most dramatic was between voters who consider themselves English first, and those who identify as British.

People who see themselves as British, that is as part of a commonwealth in a single United Kingdom, were more likely to vote with the losing side to Remain in the wider European Union. Self-identified Welsh were about evenly split, leaning more Remain the further they live from Cardiff and the English border. And a majority of Scots, having already rejected secession from the U.K. in 2014, likewise voted to Remain.

But people who identify primarily as English were overwhelmingly more likely to vote to Leave, at 72%. They were the great winners of the referendum, and an analysis of voting intention surveys shows how their three main motivators — economy, security and culture — were expressed in attitudes that ranged from narrow, self-interested xenophobia to romantic, nostalgic English nationalism.

“A lot of people perceive that immigration has produced a huge cultural threat to the English traditions, way of life, Judeo-Christian religious traditions, and all those things. It’s not politically correct to talk about it, but they are really concerned. Immigration was huge in this referendum,” said Harold Clarke, author of Affluence, Austerity & Electoral Change in Britain, and professor of political economy at the University of Texas at Dallas. “Negative attitudes towards immigration were a huge driver of Leave voting. That’s something that’s been building for years.” READ MORE

Brexit De-Brief: 10 Things Learned at Tower Center ‘Populism’ Talk

Overheard @SMU

Originally Posted: June 24, 2016

European political insider Sergey Lagodinsky was guest speaker for the recent “Populism in Europe and Germany” event sponsored by SMU’s John G. Tower Center for Political Studies. Lagodinsky, a Berlin-based attorney/author/political commentator who heads the EU/North America Department of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, was introduced by Tower Center Director James Hollifield. (Photo credit: Flickr)

1) “Reactive populism is on the rise in Europe and the U.S.,” Hollifield said before the talk. “Until recently Germany has escaped this trend. The bitter experience of Nazism seems to have inoculated Germany from radical-right politics. But will Germany continue to buck the trend?”

2) “Welcome to the Age of Populism.” Opening his discussion with this remark, Lagodinsky explained that while populism in America traditionally has been viewed as a positive reinforcement of democracy, “in Europe it carries a negative connotation of nationalism, distrust of government, anger over a stagnant economy and, chiefly, the growing migrant crisis.”

3) Populist parties vary, but share one “zero point”: “The European Union represents everything they dislike,” Lagodinsky said.

READ MORE

Democrats End Sit-In with No Vote on Gun Legislation

NBC 5

Originally Posted: June 23, 2016

After a sit-in that lasted more than a day, House Democrats walked out of the Capitol on Thursday without any scheduled votes on gun control, which had been their goal in the wake of the mass shooting at a Florida nightclub.

“It’s a new dawn and a new day in our fight,” said Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

The Democrats sat on the floor of the House, and members spoke for more than 24 hours. They are calling for background checks on every gun sale and banning gun sales to anyone on a no-fly or terror watch list.

In a very chaotic scene that broke protocol on the floor, Democrats screamed as House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., called for a vote on a matter unrelated to the gun issue during the sit-in.

Ryan called the sit-in a publicity stunt, but U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, who was on the floor for the demonstration, disagrees.

“I think this is awful to call this a publicity stunt when you talk about the lives that have been lost, when you are talking about the public safety of America,” said Veasey.

Lawmakers pleaded with the public to call their representatives to ask for a vote. NBC 5 political reporter Julie Fine checked with members of the Texas delegation about this.

Veasey’s office said their phone was ringing off the hook. Most other representatives said they have heard from voters, too, but some say they have heard more from voters who are against more gun regulation.

“We have never seen this takeover of the floor. It reminded me of what other countries, third-world countries, do in their legislative bodies, not the United States. A true disappointment,” said U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas.

Cal Jillson, professor of politics at Southern Methodist University, believes the Democrats did accomplish something.

“Well, at the end of the day it increases the visibility of these gun issues, and to the Democrats’ benefit and the Republicans’ detriment, because about 85 percent of the American public believe it makes sense to have gun control – stop someone on a terrorist watch list who couldn’t get on an airplane from buying a gun,” Jillson said. “The Republicans are saying, ‘No, that’s too strict,’ the public is saying, ‘What, that’s too strict? These are potential terrorists.'”

“The Republican argument is that people can get on the watch list wrongly, but a lot of people are on there are on there rightly rather than wrongly. And so the Republicans are in a very difficult position on the terrorist watch list issue and the greater scrutiny of guns bought at gun shows,” Jillson added. READ MORE

2016-2017 Dallas-Fort Worth Schweitzer Fellows Named

DFW Schweitzer Fellows will launch health and wellbeing initiatives within underserved communities while completing leadership training

Dallas, TX, June 23, 2016—The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) announced the selection of its second class of Dallas-Fort Worth Albert Schweitzer Fellows—9 graduate students who will spend the next year learning to effectively address the social factors that impact health, and developing lifelong leadership skills. In doing so, they will follow the example set by famed physician-humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, for whom their Fellowship is named.

Schweitzer Fellows develop and implement service projects that address the root causes of health disparities in under-resourced communities, while also fulfilling their academic responsibilities. Each project is implemented in collaboration with a community-based health and/or social service organization. This year’s Fellows will address an array of health issues affecting a range of populations, including a college and career readiness program, an expansion of a smoking cessation program for men experiencing homelessness, and a volunteer doula program for low-income women.

Housed in Southern Methodist University’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, the Schweitzer Fellowship draws on an interdisciplinary approach to guide the Fellows throughout the year. Monthly meetings feature speakers from a range of fields, including several Dedman College faculty members. Renee McDonald, Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs, guided the Fellows through evaluation strategies and program planning, allowing them to begin their projects with a more rigorous approach to assessing their effectiveness. Dr. McDonald will meet with the Fellows periodically to help them refine their evaluation plans and interpret their data.

Neely Myers, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology, led a discussion and exploration of the social determinants of health with the group at another meeting. Dr. Myers’ discussion spurred critical thinking about the issues that the Fellows will address through their projects and laid the groundwork for future explorations of the many aspects of health.

Dr. Rick Halperin, Dr. Carolyn Smith-Morris, and Dr. Alicia Schortgen have also lectured and facilitated discussions with Schweitzer Fellows on topics ranging from human rights, ethics and medicine, and how organizations work within Dallas to address the issues facing our community.

“The Schweitzer Fellowship changes the lives of not just the Fellows themselves, but also the lives of the community members they serve through their Fellowship projects,” said Courtney Roy, Program Director of the Dallas-Fort Worth Schweitzer Fellowship. “Our Fellows will learn to lead and innovate as they take on complex issues, and will also have the opportunity to learn from one another, sharing their strengths and knowledge, preparing them for professional careers in an ever-changing world. Meanwhile, their project participants will gain information, skills, and behaviors that will assist them in leading healthier lives.”

“These Schweitzer Fellows are living Dr. Albert Schweitzer’s legacy of reverence for life,” said Executive Director Sylvia Stevens-Edouard. “Their Fellowship year will leave them well-prepared to successfully face the challenges of serving vulnerable and underserved populations, whose health and medical needs are many and varied.”

The 9 Dallas-Fort Worth Fellows will join over 200 other 2016-17 Schweitzer Fellows working at 15 program sites, 14 in the US and one in Lambaréné, Gabon at the site of The Albert Schweitzer Hospital, founded by Dr. Schweitzer in 1913. Upon completion of their Fellowship year, the 2016-17 Dallas-Fort Worth Albert Schweitzer Fellows will become Schweitzer Fellows for Life and join a vibrant network of nearly 3,000 Schweitzer alumni who are skilled in, and committed to, addressing the health needs of underserved people throughout their careers. Fellows for Life routinely report that ASF is integral to sustaining their commitment to serving people in need.

The Dallas-Fort Worth Albert Schweitzer Fellows Program marks a unique collaboration between eight Dallas-Fort Worth universities. Housed in Southern Methodist University (Dedman College), supporting universities include the Baylor University’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing, Texas Christian University, Texas Woman’s University, University of Dallas, University of Texas at Arlington, and the University of Texas at Southwestern Medical Center.

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Meet the 2016-2017 Dallas-Fort Worth Albert Schweitzer Fellows

About The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) is preparing the next generation of professionals who will serve and empower vulnerable people to live healthier lives and create healthier communities. To date, more than 3,200 Schweitzer Fellows have delivered nearly 500,000 hours of service to nearly 300,000 people in need.  Additionally, more than 100 Fellows have provided care at the 100-year-old Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné, Africa. Through this work and through the contributions of Fellows whose professional careers serve their communities, ASF perpetuates the legacy and philosophy of physician-humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer. ASF has 14 program locations in the U.S. and one in Lambaréné, Africa. Its national office is located in Boston, MA and hosted by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

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Mixed opinions on Susan Hawk’s ability to remain district attorney

Fox News

Originally Posted: June 21, 2016

Public officials in Dallas are taking different sides about Susan Hawk and her fitness for office after she announced Monday she’s checking into mental health treatment for a third time.

Some say she is not doing the job she was elected to and that she should resign for the good of her health, the DA’s office and her political party. Others are concerned about her health and defending her office in her absence.

Hawk has checked into an Arizona psychiatric facility for continued treatment of her major depressive disorder. In May she sought treatment at a facility in Houston. The district attorney’s office has been managed by First Assistant DA Messina Madsen.

Democratic Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins was measured in his comments on Tuesday.

“Right now I think the concern is on a person’s healthand I don’t want to get into comments or speculation about anything other than wish her the best on her health,” Jenkins said.

Republican commissioner Mike Cantrell defended the Republican district attorney.

“That first assistant is operating that office under polices set by Judge Hawk and they’re running that office according to those policies and its being operated in a very professional and efficient way,” Cantrell said.

SMU political science professor Cal Jillson said Hawk should resign to get healthy.

“As an objective matter she was elected to be district attorney for a 4-year period during which she has a lot of responsibilities. I don’t think she is fulfilling those responsibilities and for her own good you would think that she would resign,” Jillson said.

If Hawk resigns before Aug. 19, then the DA’s race would be on the November ballot. Should she step down after Aug. 19, Gov. Greg Abbott would appoint someone to finish out the nearly two years remaining on her term in office. READ MORE

Thomas Knock, History, interviewed about his book Rise of a Prairie Statesman: The Life and Times of George McGovern

New Books Network

Originally Posted: June 19, 2016

51luk8ax3RL._SL160_George McGovern is largely remembered today for his dramatic loss to Richard Nixon in the 1972 presidential campaign, yet he enjoyed a long career characterized by many remarkable achievements. In Rise of a Prairie Statesman: The Life and Times of George McGovern (Princeton UP, 2016), the first in a projected two-volume biography of the senator and Democratic Party presidential nominee, Thomas Knock chronicles McGovern’s life and career from his Depression-era upbringing in South Dakota to his 1968 reelection campaign and emergence as a presidential contender. Knock describes McGovern’s transformation from a shy young boy into a confident debater who, after America went to war in 1941, volunteered for service in the Army Air Corps as a B-24 bomber pilot and flew 35 combat missions over Germany and Austria. Upon returning home, he embarked on a path that took him from the ministry to a Ph.D. in history and then the college classroom before he settled upon a career in politics. After serving two terms in the House of Representatives and as Director of Food for Peace in the Kennedy administration, in 1962 McGovern won a seat in the United States Senate, where he emerged as a prescient critic of America’s descent into the Vietnam War. In detailing his opposition to that expanding conflict, Knock not only shows how McGovern emerged as a national leader, but also demonstrates the relevance of his vision to the challenges our nation faces today. LISTEN

Dedman College Research Roundup

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Dedman College scientists continue to receive global recognition for their research. Check out some of the latest research articles from Dedman College faculty.

  • Long-term daily contact with Spanish missions triggered collapse of Native American populations in New Mexico. 

SWJM_oldboundary_8x11portrait-232x300“Scholars increasingly recognize the magnitude of human impacts on planet Earth, some are even ready to define a new geological epoch called the Anthropocene,” said anthropologist and fire expert Christopher I. Roos, an associate professor, Department of Anthropology, and a co-author on the research. READ MORE

  • The Moon used to spin on a different axis.

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“As the axis moved, so did the face of the Man in the Moon. He sort of turned his nose up at the Earth. These findings may open the door to further discoveries on the interior evolution of the Moon, as well as the origin of water on the Moon and early Earth,” said Matthew Siegler, adjunct faculty in the Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, and lead author of the study. READ MORE

  • SMU seismology team response to March 28, 2016 U.S. Geological Survey hazard forecasts. READ MORE
  • Nearby massive star explosion 30 million years ago equaled brightness of 100 million suns. 

Deep blue space background filled with nebulae and shining stars

  • The massive explosion was one of the closest to Earth in recent years, visible as a point of light in the night sky starting July 24, 2013, said Robert Kehoe, SMU physics professor, who leads SMU’s astrophysics team. READ MORE
  • Could Texas’ dirty coal power plants be replaced by geothermal systems?

geothermal-map“We all care about the earth,” said Maria Richards, SMU geothermal lab coordinator, in welcoming the attendees. “We are applying knowledge that is applying hope.”                         READ MORE

  • SMU physicists: CERN’s Large Hadron Collider is once again smashing protons, taking data. READ MORE
  • Study: Humans have been causing earthquakes in Texas since the 1920s. READ MORE

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Scientists from SMU’s Department of Physics are among the several thousand physicists worldwide who contribute on the LHC research.

 

  • Early armored dino from Texas lacked cousin’s club-tail weapon, but had a nose for danger.

Karen_Carr_Pawpawsaurus_campbelli--300x197Pawpawsaurus was an earlier version of armored dinosaurs but not as well equipped to fight off meat-eaters, according to a new study, said vertebrate paleontologist Louis Jacobs. READ MORE

 

  • Wildfire on warming planet requires adaptive capacity at local, national, int’l scales.

house-1024x768“We tend to treat modern fire problems as unique, and new to our planet,” said fire anthropologist Christopher Roos, lead author of the report. “As a result, we have missed the opportunity to recognize the successful properties of communities that have a high capacity to adapt to living in flammable landscapes — in some cases for centuries or millennia.“ READ MORE

  • Giant sinkholes near West Texas oil patch towns are growing — as new ones lurk.

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The two sinkholes — about a mile apart — appear to be expanding. Additionally, areas around the existing sinkholes are unstable, with large areas of subsidence detected via satellite radar remote sensing. READ MORE

Two giant sinkholes in West Texas expanding, researchers say

Star Telegram

Originally Posted: June 17, 2016

A couple of giant sinkholes in the West Texas oil patch are apparently expanding, and might eventually converge into one gigantic hole.

The sinkholes are about a mile apart and sit between Wink and Kermit off I-20 west of Midland-Odessa. They were caused by lots of oil and gas extraction, which peaked from the mid-1920s to the mid-1960s, according to researchers at Southern Methodist University.

Satellite radar images indicate that the giant sinkholes are expanding and that new ones are forming “at an alarming rate” as nearby subsidence occurs, they report in the scientific journal Remote Sensing. One is 361 feet across, about the size of a football field; the other is larger, 670 to 900 feet across.

“A collapse could be catastrophic,” said geophysicist Jin-Woo Kim, who leads the SMU geophysical team reporting the findings.

In addition to Wink and Kermit (combined pop. about 7,000), there’s lots of oil and gas production equipment and installations and hazardous liquid pipelines in the area, Kim said in the report. The fresh water injected underground in the extraction process “can dissolve the interbedded salt layers and accelerate the sinkhole collapse.”

There’s something not too dissimilar happening in Daisetta, east of Houston.

Officials have fenced off the area around the sinkholes between Wink and Kermit and they’ll be monitored, but residents don’t appear to be worried about them.

“They’re a ways off from the highway; if nobody mentions it, then nobody is interested in it,” Kermit City Manager Gloria Saenz told the New York Daily News.

A preacher of the Apocalypse from Indiana had a decidedly different take, exclaiming on YouTube: “Here’s my concern. It’s like hell is being enlarged, and that without measure.”

Well, maybe not quite. READ MORE

Who Will Win?

SMU News

Originally Posted: June 17, 2016

Election 2016 with USA Flag in Map Silhouette Illustration

The 2016 presidential election has come a long way since the first presidential debates last fall and SMU’s election gurus have offered their insights every step of the way. Take an inside peak at the evolution of the election process through their eyes: READ MORE