State officials work to shut down casino-style gaming in East Texas

Star Telegram

Originally Posted: July 26, 2016

For the Alabama-Coushatta tribe, this could become a case of deja vu.

In 2002, a casino the Indian tribe operated in East Texas was closed by state officials who successfully argued that state law trumps national Indian law — and casino gambling isn’t allowed in Texas.

The tribe reopened a casino-like facility two months ago, after national Indian and federal officials ruled that the tribe can oversee gaming at its 10,000-acre reservation south of Livingston, about 240 miles southeast of Fort Worth.

Now, court documents filed in Lufkin’s federal court show state officials have made the first move to again shut the gaming down.

“This certainly was expected,” said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “The Indian tribal leadership has attempted to fine tune, or tweak, the types of games they offer in order to satisfy the political officials in the state of Texas this time.

“I don’t think they’ll be successful,” he said. “State officials have always been reluctant to allow gaming in the state because they are so deeply concerned about our morals.” READ MORE

Killer Robots?

SMU News

Military drones and autonomous weapons focus of experts’ talk at SMU March 3

DALLAS (SMU) – Lethal autonomous weapons systems, a.k.a. “killer robots,” were once the stuff of sci-fi thrillers. But technological advancements in unmanned weaponry (like drones) have created some very real strategic, legal and ethical dilemmas for policymakers and military/government leaders.

To sort out those issues, three internationally respected armed conflict experts will assemble for “Killer Robots,” a free public discussion sponsored by the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies on Thursday, March 3, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at McCord Auditorium, third floor of Dallas Hall, 3225 University Blvd. Advance reservations are requested by emailing tower@smu.edu.

“Some say it’s unethical to put lethal force in the hands of autonomous systems, because no computer algorithm should be able to make decisions about killing,” says event moderator Joshua Rovner, SMU Tower Center Distinguished Chair of International Politics and National Security and author of the award-winning book, Fixing the Facts: National Security and the Politics of Intelligence (Cornell University Press, 2011).

“On the other hand, robots can be programmed to be very careful about where and when to fire, resulting in fewer innocent civilians caught in the crossfire,” he adds. “Robots also are free of the nastier human emotions ­– rage, hatred, the desire for revenge – that lead to atrocities.” READ MORE

High-level’ national security postdoctoral fellows join SMU Tower Center

SMU News

Originally Posted: December 16, 2015

DALLAS (SMU) – Thomas Cavanna and David Benson have been selected to serve yearlong national security postdoctoral fellowships at SMU. Cavanna is in the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, and Benson joins SMU as part of a National Science Foundation-funded project on cyber-security.

“Both are pursuing important interdisciplinary scholarship at a very high level,” says Joshua Rovner, Tower Center acting director. “They’ve sought out discussions and collaborative research on critically important policy issues, and they are pushing the boundaries of what we know about international relations and national security policy.”

Cavanna’s work focuses on U.S. foreign policy, strategy and nuclear studies, particularly in Asia and the Middle East. He is the author of Hubris, Self-Interest and America’s Failed War in Afghanistan: the Self-Sustaining Overreach (Lexington Books, 2015). His next book, expected in spring 2016 to focus on U.S. foreign policy toward India and Pakistan in the 1970s, is based on his dissertation, which won the 2013 Prix Jean-Baptiste Duroselle for best dissertation in history of international relations. Another forthcoming book will address U.S. grand strategy and the rise of China from the Cold War to the Obama administration. READ MORE

Cal Jillson, Political Science, Hilary Clinton wants to quell doubts in prime-time debate

The Hill

Originally Posted: October 11, 2015

Hillary Clinton is getting off her back foot after a clumsy start to her presidential campaign.

After being buffeted for months by the controversy over her emails and seeing her dominance in the polls decline, Clinton has made aggressive moves to shore up her support on the left and take the fight to the Republican field.

A strong performance on the debate stage during the first Democratic clash, set for Las Vegas on Tuesday night, could help the former secretary of State maintain her altitude, quiet talk of a White House bid by Vice President Biden and slow the rise of her main rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

“We’ve seen all email, all the time,” said David Birdsell, a debate expert at Baruch College in New York. “This is the first sustained encounter with her in which voters will have the opportunity to hear about something else.”

Clinton has been trying to change the subject recently, with some success.

Her announcement last week that she opposed the trade agreement known as the Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP, came as a welcome development to liberals who have been skeptical of her candidacy.

She also seized the initiative on gun control, perhaps the one issue in which she can convincingly run to Sanders’s left, after a mass shooting in Oregon.

On Friday, Clinton met with activists from the #BlackLivesMatter movement — a constituency that has given Sanders considerable trouble — later tweeting, “Racism is America’s original sin.”

And Clinton has even sought to turn the Benghazi probe to her advantage.

Her campaign pounced last week after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) appeared to suggest that the House panel investigating the 2012 attacks deserved credit for lowering Clinton’s poll numbers. READ MORE

Dedman College Alumni Celebrated at Homecoming

Congratulations to Dedman College alumni Bess Enloe ’60, finance educator and the Rev. Dr. Michael W. Waters ’02, ’06, ’12. Mrs. Enloe will receive a Distinguished Alumni award while Rev. Waters will receive the University’s Emerging Leader Award, which recognizes the outstanding achievements of an alumnus or alumna who has graduated in the past 15 years. READ MORE

Matthew Wilson, Political Science, does Ted Cruz’s evangelical father help or hurt his campaign?

Star Telegram
Originally Posted: April 18, 2015
By: Bud Kennedy

Cruz’s father brings down the heavens, but does he help or hurt Ted?

If you thought Sen. Ted Cruz’s father might tone down his comments for the campaign, think again.

At 76, Carrollton evangelist and professional translator Rafael Cruz made headlines last week.

And not only as the father of a presidential candidate with a stunning $35 million raised, including PAC money, just one week into the campaign.

Rafael Cruz is an old-school fire-and-brimstone preacher, barnstorming to win souls for Christ and votes for Ted.

At a Tea Party event in a Georgia church, the elder Cruz said: “If someone like Hillary Clinton is elected in 2016, you might as well kiss this country goodbye. … We are fighting for the survival of America.” READ MORE

Cal Jillson, Political Science, to speak at Austin College this week on his book Lone Star Tarnished

North Texas e-News

Sherman, Texas — Austin College’s annual Public Administration Symposium will feature the presentation “Lone Star Tarnished” by political expert Cal Jillson, sharing ideas from his book Lone Star Tarnished: A Critical Look at Texas Politics and Public Policy. The lecture Friday, April 10 at 11:00 a.m. in Hoxie Thompson Auditorium of Sherman Hall is free and open to the public.

Following the lecture, The Texas Tribune will host a panel in Mabee Hall on “Texas Transportation: The Next Five Years.” Panelists will include Deirdre Delisi, former chair of the Texas Transportation Commission; Clay Jenkins, Dallas County judge; Ambassador Ron Kirk, Former U.S. trade representative and Dallas mayor; and State Representative Larry Phillips, R-Sherman. Evan Smith, CEO and editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune will moderate. READ MORE

Harold Stanley named 2015-16 Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar

Harold Stanley, Geurin-Pettus Distinguished Chair in American Politics and Political Economy and SMU associate provost, has been named a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar for the 2015-16 academic year.

Stanley, who was named SMU’s interim provost and vice president for academic affairs in late March, joins 12 other outstanding scholars in the liberal arts and sciences from institutions including Columbia, Princeton, Stanford, Yale, NYU, UCLA, Penn State, Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Pennsylvania, Boston University and the Institute for Signifying Scriptures. READ MORE

Did you miss the Tower Center’s nuclear weapons forum? C-Span was there.

Watch the discussion on nuclear weapons and national security, featuring the Tower Center’s own Joshua Rovner as moderator.  http://cs.pn/1I0FEOy 

 

New courses help students shape ethical dialogue in variety of fields

DALLAS (SMU) – Nine new courses to be taught at SMU beginning this fall aim to address real-world ethical challenges from the political science realm to the video game industry.

With $128,000 in grants from SMU’s Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility, many of the 25 faculty members who developed the courses or have sponsored ethics-focused research grants gathered March 19-22 in Taos for a ethics course development and writing workshop.

“We have long felt that professors are among the most influential people in a student’s college life. If their professors write about, talk about and teach ethics, students will see ethics as important and worthy of attention,” says Maguire Center Director Rita Kirk.

The grants are part of a half-million dollar, five-year incentive award offered by the Maguire Center to professors for course development and research publishing. (For recipients, see below.)

SMU Political Science Professor Matthew Wilson says his course “Ethics of Revolution and Civil Disobedience” will reflect current political issues students see in everyday life.

“Ethical-issues discussions surrounding resistance to the state are especially timely, given the current debates over conscientious objections to vaccination, the Obamacare contraception funding mandate and same-sex marriage,” he says.

“As our society continues to become more and more diverse in its mix of religious and philosophical beliefs, a growing number of Americans will find that they have significant moral objections to some aspect of government policy,” Wilson says. “When are they duty-bound to subordinate their own consciences and obey, and when are they ethically permitted, or even obligated, to resist? That’s the core question this class will explore.”

SMU Religious Studies Professor G. William Barnard will guide students through the complexities of world religions “to more consciously articulate and address difficult moral issues within the matrix of their own lives,” he says. READ MORE