Psychology professor, former student reunite at Mount Everest base camp

SMU News

Originally Posted: July 13, 2016

Psychology Professor Susan Hornstein has taught more than 7,000 students over the course of her 14 years at SMU, so she’s used to running into former pupils around town.

What she isn’t used to is running into them at base camp on Mount Everest, but that’s exactly what happened May 21 when Hornstein was spotted by former student Aliza Greenberg during a Himalayan trek with two friends

“It was cold. I had my hat and my glasses on – I don’t know how she recognized me,” Hornstein says. “My two friends were talking with her father and when I walked up, Aliza turned to me and said ‘Hornstein?’ I was so amazed she recognized me.”

Standing in the middle of a small village of colored tents in the shadow of the world’s most famous mountain, the student and her former professor caught up.

“I asked how she was doing, what she’d done since graduation – she’d just earned a masters in holocaust studies and she said she was going to the Northeast for her Ph.D.,” Hornstein says. “I met her father, who she was traveling with, and then we took a picture together.”

It was the first time they’d crossed paths since Greenberg took Hornstein’s Introduction to Psychology class in 2011. Hornstein has developed a bit of a reputation for the class, as she frequently uses pictures from her travels to drive home particular points about each week’s lecture.

“Oh, this picture will absolutely make the presentation this fall,” Hornstein says. “It was a surreal experience and it goes to show how small the world really is.” READ MORE

After Dallas shooting, President Barack Obama will once again be consoler-in-chief

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: July 11, 2016

President Barack Obama, consoler-in-chief.

The title rang through in the raw emotion he showed after the Sandy Hook shooting. Again when he cheered on a city after the Boston bombings for showing the country how to “finish the race.” Yet again when he leaned on Scripture to comfort in the wake of the West explosion.

And at a memorial service Tuesday in Dallas for the police shooting victims, Obama will reprise the all-too-familiar role of guiding the nation through troubled and uncertain times.

Though he’s a veteran of such mourning, Obama faces no less difficult of a challenge. He must speak directly to those affected by profound loss — in Dallas and beyond — in the midst of lingering questions over the polarizing issues of gun violence and race relations.

Aides on Monday declined to preview the precise message Obama will bring to Dallas. That’s even as White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest stressed concerns about racial disparities in policing and repeated Obama’s frustration that he’s been unable to curb access to guns.

But given the gravity of the Dallas attack — which the president described Monday as a “hate crime” in a meeting with police-association officials, Politico reported — political experts and elected officials predicted that Obama would focus first and foremost on grieving and unity.

“It’s important for a president to speak to the better angels of our nation,” said Karen Hughes, a longtime adviser to former President George W. Bush. “To bring us together. To give voice to our grief. To give thanks to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.”

Obama comes to Dallas at the invitation of Mayor Mike Rawlings, who has spearheaded the city’s response after a gunman last week ambushed five police officers at a downtown march.

The president will speak at an interfaith ceremony Tuesday afternoon at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center to an audience of elected officials and law enforcement – including officers from Dallas police and DART police. He will also meet with the injured and the families of the slain.

It’s a gut-wrenching act that Obama went through just last month after the Orlando shooting. And signaling the poignancy of these moments, Obama has often turned to the Bible: 2 Corinthians 4:16 in Newtown, Conn.; Hebrews 12:1 in Boston;Psalm 66:10 in West.

The burden is also an inherent element of the presidency — one that’s come even more into the public view in the cable TV news era, experts said.

Obama won’t need to look far Tuesday for reminders of that fact, given that he will be joined by Bush, his Republican predecessor. The former president — a Dallas resident who will give brief remarks — was thrust into similar scenarios after 9/11 and other difficult times.

“Everything a president does, by definition, is political,” said Jeffrey Engel, director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University. “But there are these moments, of course, when they need to rise above that.” READ MORE

SMU Adventures in Dallas

SMU Adventures

Originally Posted: July 12, 2016

Parker M. is a senior majoring in biochemistry and philosophy. He was awarded a Maguire and Irby Family Foundation Public Service Fellowship for summer 2016 from the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility at SMU. He is spending the summer volunteering at Texas Health Presbyterian hospital and the Texas Instituted for Surgery, both in Dallas. READ MORE


How will Fox News move forward after Roger Ailes lawsuit?

Boston Herald Radio

Originally Posted: July 12, 2016

The future of Fox News is in question given the precarious position of chief executive Roger Ailes. As the furor around a sexual harassment suit filed by former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson grows, the 21st Century Fox-owned network could be looking for new leadership.

The network’s parent has said it’s conducting an internal review of the allegations made about Ailes, who signed a new contract in June 2015 that keeps him at the helm of Fox News through 2018. He said in a statement last week that Carlson’s charges are “false” and “retaliatory.”

But if Ailes is ousted as a result of the investigation, there’s no telling whether other Fox executives or on-air talent could bolt. Several female Fox News employees, including Maria Bartiromo and Greta Van Susteren, have spoken out in his defense, while other women have come forward with stories of past harassment from Ailes.

No matter the outcome of this legal imbroglio, Fox News is coming face to face with challenges regarding the ways audiences gain access to information and significant shifts in cultural attitudes as new populations join its viewership base. “As of this moment, Fox News is in a better position than any of the other cable-news networks, but that’s no guarantee it will automatically be that way in the future,” said Matthew Wilson, an associate professor of political science at Southern Methodist Universityin Dallas. “They face a variety of challenges, on the horizon, to their current predominant positioning.” READ MORE

History professor helped organize St. Petersburg conference on lessons of Russian revolution


Originally Posted: July 11, 2016

DALLAS (SMU)One hundred years ago, a world that had long known monarchy, empire, and briefly democracy and a republic, was introduced to a new form of government: Communism, which rose to power with the fall of Tsarist Russia.

On the centennial anniversary of the Russian Revolution, a gathering of the world’s leading historians of Russia met at the European University St. Petersburg, Russia, from June 9-11 for a conference co-organized by Southern Methodist University (SMU) history professor Daniel Orlovsky with colleagues from The EurDaniel-T-Orlovskyopean University and the Institute of History, Russian Academy of Sciences. The international colloquium was titled “The Epoch of War and Revolution, 1914-1922.”

“There’s a new round of confrontation and diplomatic conflict between Russia and the west,” Orlovsky says. “The real question is how official Russia, the government, Putin, the media and the academic establishment in general will treat this centennial, and how this may manifest itself in our sessions among participants or from the audience, which will be large,” Orlovsky adds.

While contemporary interpretations of the centennial may vary, the impact of Russia’s revolution on the past century is undeniable.

“The Russian Revolution was actually two revolutions, the collapse of Tsarism in February and the rise of the Bolsheviks in October,” says Orlovsky, who helped fund the conference with a prestigious grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

“The February revolution is a model of revolutions that collapse authoritarian regimes and attempt to build a liberal or socialist world, but often don’t work and lead to new authoritarian regimes,” Orlovsky adds. “It’s an important question: Why does a regime fall apart, and why do more liberal successors fail?”

The Russian story has been echoed in other idealistic revolutions in the 100 years since – most recently in the color revolutions of Eastern Europe, Central Asia and in the Middle East.

Studying where Russia’s revolution went off the democracy rails is important, says Orlovsky, because in many ways the modern world has similarities to 1916.

“Nationalism is still a big issue, ethnic problems persist, the threat of domestic upheaval and terrorism were there then as they’re here now,” Orlovsky says. “The Russian Revolution itself has endured as a powerful model for people, but outcomes differ. The biggest controversy of the conference will be over the larger questions: What did the revolution means for Russia and the world, what is its significance for today and is it a model for change around the world?”

Spirited debate took place at the conference over the parameters of the Revolution, its periodization, the role of such factors as ethnicity, leadership cults, foreign policy, the role of language and symbols, gender, the nature of power, emotions, etc. The concluding discussion praised the renewal of scholarly interest in Revolution as an enduring script in historical memory. READ MORE

Willard Spiegelman’s book Senior Moments: Looking Back, Looking Ahead, nicely reviewed

Post and Courier

Originally Posted: July 10, 2016

Review: ‘Senior Moments’ reflects on books, writing, perception, experience

Willard Spiegelman writes essays like Ferran Adria approached “molecular” gastronomy, with conscious, understated artistry.

While generally a hopeful sort, here and there in this slim but thoughtful collection of essays, Spiegelman is as glum as he is enthusiastic, not least on the paradox of humanity’s insignificance.

But if lucidity and essence, alloyed with depth, are what he expects of great writing, he generally delivers what he advocates. And with an elastic, youthful temperament that belies the book’s title. The author’s reflections on growing older frame the book; they do not define it.

Spiegelman, 71, distinguished professor of English at Southern Methodist University and former editor of the Southwest Review, is most engaging on the subject he knows best. He defines good writing as what makes you interested in something you are not interested in. Yet few of these pieces lack relevance. Spiegelman is especially adroit on poetry, admiring verse that seduces through “condensation and expansive suggestiveness,” prompting each reader to respond to and decipher it individually. In any field of writing, he respects and seeks out those demonstrating “cool clarity, sharpened perception, and a transparent style.”

Occasionally, this prompts the native Philadelphian to be offhand and a bit waspish regarding work he considers less aesthetically sound or pleasing, but perhaps this comes with the territory, and he certainly has a right to his preferences.

On other matters, one may disagree with any number of his pronouncements, such as “the most compelling revelations always come to travelers in the most ordinary situations,” that in our digital age “all that recommends books as material objects” is their decorative appeal or “their manifestation of cultural capital,” or that, more prosaically, “driving closes the mind to everything but driving itself.” Certainly, all these things depend on the individual.

A regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Spiegelman deals with the glories of books and reading as well as the freedom of saying “No thanks” to many a book, including some celebrated classics. READ MORE

Listen: Matthew Wilson, Political Science, on Clinton email

KTSA radio

Originally Posted: July 2016

What’s Next With Clinton’s Email?

She’s essentially off the hook but the email scandal will continue to follow Hilary Clinton throughout the campaign.

Matthew Wilson at SMU says he suspects Republicans will use the FBI Director’s comments to Clinton in political adds as they attempt to make her look out of touch and not trustworthy.

Wilson says most people already feel that way so it’s not going to change public perception of her.

Wilson doesn’t think the outcome will have much of an impact on Clinton’s campaign for President.

Meanwhile, Congressman Lamar Smith says he has a great deal of respect for the FBI Director but he feels if you put national security at risk, you need to be prosecuted.

“I’m a little bit surprised, maybe even disappointed that he didn’t recommend that.”

Smith says what happens next is up to the American people.

“I do think the American people will have to think long and hard about whether they want Hilary Clinton to be President of the United States given her endangering national security.” LISTEN

James Hollifield, Tower Center, DFW could become the business capital of NAFTA

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: July 8, 2016

Could Dallas-Fort Worth become the business capital of NAFTA?

The metro area is already a major exporter to Mexico and Canada, the U.S. partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement.

D-FW has a huge transportation network and distribution hub, which are heavily invested in trade that’s often tied to NAFTA. Dozens of companies from the two countries have operations here, and D-FW is a popular target for international home buyers, especially from Mexico.

Dallas is also a leader in finance and business services, part of a growing export sector. Nationwide, service exports to Canada and Mexico rose 38 percent in the five years after the recession, and it’s a good bet that D-FW got its share.

“Many times, I’ve called Dallas the capital of NAFTA,” said James Hollifield, a professor and director of the Tower Center at Southern Methodist University. “Look at trade levels, investment, migration, companies basing their operations in D-FW. It’s all just growing constantly.” READ MORE

Cal Jillson, Political Science, Texas Senator John Cornyn files bill to revoke Hillary Clinton’s security clearance


Originally Posted: June 7, 2016

Texas Senator John Cornyn is taking the next step in the scandal surrounding Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

On Capitol Hill Thursday, the Republican Senator introduced a bill that if passed, would revoke the security clearance of the presumptive Democratic nominee and anyone else found to have acted extremely carelessly with classified information.

That’s how FBI Director James Comey described Mrs. Clinton’s actions while Secretary of State.

Cornyn said, “It’s really important that we send a firm message. I think that should mean at minimum that they forfeit the privilege of having a security clearance.”

Colby Volkey, a retired Lt. Col. and Judge Advocate for the U.S. Marines for 13 years, prosecuted and defended officers accused of mishandling classified information.

He agrees with that Mrs. Clinton should face a hearing to determine whether her security clearance should be taken away.

“That is fair,” said Volkey. “She’s facing the possible ramifications that every member of the military does if they do the same thing.”

Volkey says Mrs. Clinton, like members of the military, would go before an administrative law judge from a National Security agency.

He says that process took up to a year for his past clients, but would obviously take place much quicker for the former Secretary of State.

Until then, Volkey says she could also be sanctioned. “There can be a notice given that we’re suspending your access to classified information so she can’t look at stuff while they’re sorting this out.”

But SMU Political Science professor Matthew Wilson predicts the Obama administration wouldn’t allow that.

“But if it were to happen, I think symbolically, it would be a huge slap in the face,” said Wilson. “It would be really hard to run for the Presidency of the United States while the government has already decided you’re not trustworthy with confidential information.”

Senator Cornyn has also sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch demanding the Justice Department release the report and any transcript from the FBI’s interview with Mrs. Clinton.

On Thursday, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton’s campaign said Republican efforts to keep this issue alive would backfire.

Republicans disagree. READ MORE

Why President Obama is not saying “Radical Islam”


Political Historian Jeffrey Engel looks at President Obama’s refusal to use the term “radical Islam” and the political heat he is taking for it. He also talked about the politics of gun control in the wake of the Orlando slayings. WATCH

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