Joshua Rovner, Tower Center, The U.S. just leaked its war plan in Iraq. Why?

Washington Post

Last week U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) gave a remarkably detailed press briefing about its intended late spring offensive to drive the Islamic State out of the critical Iraqi city of Mosul. Critics immediately jumped on CENTCOM and the Obama administration for telegraphing its intended operations to the enemy. In an open letter to the president, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) warned that the “disclosures not only risk the success of our mission, but could also cost the lives of U.S., Iraqi, and coalition forces.”

Whether one agrees with McCain and Graham or not, the CENTCOM disclosures certainly were odd. Military officers are typically loathe to provide specific details of future campaigns. So why did CENTCOM broadcast its plans?

According to one report, U.S. officials wanted to warn the estimated 1,500-2,000 Islamic State fighters in Mosul that they would soon face an onslaught from 25,000 or more coalition personnel, including five Iraqi army brigades and three Kurdish Pershmerga brigades, all backed by U.S. airpower, intelligence, and advising. Perhaps Islamic State fighters would retreat rather than stand and defend their de facto capital in Iraq, thereby saving a great deal of blood and treasure for everyone concerned. READ MORE

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Markets and Culture & Sociology Gathering for Students and Alumni

When: Tuesday, March 3rd, 5:00-6:30
Where: Dallas Hall, Room 115

Markets and Culture and Sociology alumni from various career paths will share their insight and perspectives on the job search and how they have been able to leverage their SMU academic and extracurricular experience in their careers. Come as you are and connect with people who were once in your shoes and are eager to be a resource and support to you.

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Matthew Wilson, Political Science, Top Texans can’t resist ranting about gay marriage


Originally Posted: Feb. 21, 2015


Mighty as it is, Texas is not mighty enough to turn back the clock.

Every marriage soon might be performed and recognized nationwide under a federal ruling, a stroke for liberty and an average $15,000 boost for the economy.

State leaders, sworn to uphold current laws, must choose between begrudging acceptance or kicking and screaming.

One of Texas’ wisest political science experts predicts the latter.

Whatever courts rule on an Austin same-sex marriage last week, or whatever the Supreme Court rules in June on the 14th Amendment equal right to marry, Republicans “should rail against it for one powerful reason,” professor Cal Jillson of Southern Methodist University wrote by email.

Gov. Greg Abbott and House Speaker Joe Straus, more business leaders than preachers, can’t let faith-and-values conservatives such as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton seem more outspoken, Jillson wrote.

The Republican runoff last year showed that “diehard conservatives are a 2-to-1 majority,” Jillson wrote.

“I think Abbott knows that Patrick will challenge him the moment he thinks he can get by him on the right.”

That means more railing against federal courts on same-sex marriage, even when the same leaders are railing in favor of a federal lower court on delayed immigration enforcement.

A 40-year political science professor at UT Pan American in Edinburg, Jerry Polinard, remembers the 1960s debate over interracial marriage.

He predicts more of the same harsh rhetoric.

“If you’re an elected official in Texas and want to remain in office,” he wrote by email, “you play to your base and attack ‘judge-made law.’

“You cite the Bible, which was cited in the fight over interracial marriage.

“And you coast to re-election.”

The real challenge will come when any officials resist a Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriages, he wrote.

Such a decision is expected in June, days after the June 1 end of the Texas Legislature.

Matthew Wilson, an SMU political science professor who writes and teaches on religion in politics, advised a dignified response upholding “respect for the democratic process and the rule of law.” READ MORE

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Virtual Training At SMU Helps Women Say “No”


SMU researchers have created a tool to help women develop the confidence to say “no”. WATCH VIDEO

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Congratulations Dr. Santosh D’Mello, 2015 Distinguished Scientist Award Recipient

Dr. D’Mello has been selected by the Council of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine as one of the 2015 recipients of the Distinguished Scientist Award. Distinguished Scientists will be announced at the Society’s annual Socializer and Awards Presentation at the 2015 Experimental Biology Meeting in late March.

Congratulations Dr. D’Mello!

Learn more

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More than 1,000 participants expected at Beal Bank Dallas Regional Science and Engineering Fair

DALLAS (SMU) – More than 1,000 junior high and high school students are expected to participate in the 2015 Beal Bank Dallas Regional Science and Engineering Fair on Saturday, Feb. 21, in Fair Park.

Co-sponsored by SMU, participants — who have won their school or district science fairs — will compete for more than 500 awards.

“Many of the students who participate will become scientists, ” says Simon Dalley, Fair president and physics professor at SMU. “Encouraging their interest is crucial for the development of technology and science in the United States.”

SMU faculty members coordinate the fair, recruit judges and help select the grand prize winners. SMU also hosts a March banquet honoring the top 150 fair winners, their parents and science teachers.

The Fair is affiliated with the International Science and Engineering Fair, the world’s largest pre-college science competition. Students in grades 6-12 at public and private schools within the boundaries of TEA Region 10, who placed in their school science fairs, are eligible to participate in the DRSEF.

Projects that place 1st – 4th in Science Category at DRSEF will be invited to enter the Texas State Science & Engineering Fair. The top approximately 10% of Junior Division projects at DRSEF will receive invitations to the Broadcom Masters. Senior Division grand prize winners and runners-up at DRSEF are eligible for the International Science & Engineering Fair, with attendance sponsored by Beal Bank.



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Willard Spiegelman, Everything Is Going On Brilliantly: Oscar Wilde and Philadelphia’ Review

Wall Street Journal

Originally Posted: Feb 18, 2015

The City of Brotherly Love is having an affair with Oscar Wilde. This historic bastion of Quakerism, the butt of jokes from the likes of W.C. Fields, has embraced the flamboyant gay spokesman for decadence, aestheticism, wit and suffering. READ MORE

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Neil Foley, History, 25 Years of McCuistion: A Brief History of Immigration

25 Years of McCuistion

Originally Posted: Feb. 16, 2015

The history of immigration in the United States is the topic of today’s discussion. Ironically even though the United States is a nation of immigrants, immigration has been a controversial issue from its very beginnings.

The immigration debate is again heating up as a result of President Obama’s executive actions as they relate to immigration. Recent news headlines report that 26 states filed a lawsuit to stop President Obama’s executive actions that would allow approximately 4.9 million eligible, undocumented immigrants to temporarily avoid deportation by applying for deferred action programs, namely the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA). The suit was initiated by then Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who has since become the state’s governor.

On the first of our 25th anniversary programs, host, Dennis McCuistion, is joined in part one of a three part series titled A Brief History of Immigration, by experts:

  • Mike Gonzalez (via Skype): Heritage Foundation Senior Fellow, Author of A Race for the Future: How Conservatives Can Break Through the Liberal Monopoly on Hispanic Americans
  • Hipolito Acosta: Former District Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration, Author of The Shadow Catcher, and
  • Neil Foley, PhD: SMU Professor -The Robert H. and Nancy Dedman Chair in History U.S.-Mexico Borderlands/Immigration Legal, Labor and Political History of the American Southwest, Author of Mexicans and the Making of America.



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College Students Choosing Volunteerism Over Partying During Spring Break

Originally Posted: Feb. 15, 2015

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Spring Break and college co-eds usually means a ritual of partying and debauchery for many, but a new trend is spreading among college students and drawing out their real talents.

SMU’s Carson James won’t be partying this Spring Break but volunteering her time.
“I’ve always wanted to go to Africa,” says Carson. “I just think it’s really neat to do something different and something that you’re going to remember the rest of your life.”

The pre-med major is packing her bags to Ghana for a week.She’s just one in a trend of countless students across the country choosing volunteerism over beachside parties. READ MORE

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Santosh D’Mello, Biological Sciences, transcriptomics identifies genes and signaling pathways that may regulate neurodegenerative diseases

Science Codex

Originally Posted: Feb. 12, 2015

Massive elimination of neurons is a critical aspect of normal nervous system development but also represents a defining feature of neurodegenerative pathologies, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Although the molecular events that trigger neuronal death in each of these neurodegenerative diseases is distinct, the downstream apoptotic process through which neurons die in these pathologies are thought to share commonalities to each other, as well as to developmentally-regulated neuronal death. Identifying genes that promote or prevent neuronal death would thus be an important step in understanding both developmentally-regulated neuronal death as well as the mechanisms underlying degenerative brain disorders.

Scientists at Southern Methodist University, led by Professor and Chair of Biological Sciences Santosh D’Mello, have used RNA-Seq to conduct transcriptome profiling of gene expression changes in dying neurons. This study, reported in the February 2015 issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine, utilized cultured cerebellar granule neurons, one of the most widely used models to study neuronal death. READ MORE

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