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EMPIRE STATE BUILDING? Is America Becoming an Empire?

with Mark Danner, Niall Fergusonvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, February 28, 2003

Since the end of the cold war, the world has watched as the United States became, not merely the world's only superpower but what the French began calling a "hyperpower." Now, with the United States asserting its will and power on such issues as Iraq and the war on terror while rejecting contraints that the international community tries to place on it, some suggest that the term American empire is more appropriate. If America does have an empire, it is not based on territorial expansion as in past empires. So what is it based on? And would taking on the role of imperial hegemon be good for America and the world?

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: The Supreme Court and the Texas Homosexual Conduct Law

with Pamela S. Karlan, Douglas W. Kmiecvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, February 28, 2003

A case currently before the Supreme Court challenges the constitutionality of the Texas Homosexual Conduct Law, which in 1974 legalized heterosexual sodomy but not same-sex sodomy. Does the Texas law violate the constitutional rights of homosexuals, or are states permitted to pass such laws if they choose? If the Supreme Court does strike down the Texas law, what implications will that have for other civil rights that gays and lesbians are seeking, such as same-sex marriage?

OFF TO THE RACES: The Supreme Court and Affirmative Action

with Vikram David Amar, Douglas W. Kmiecvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, February 28, 2003

The Supreme Court will soon announce its decisions on two cases that are being called the most important for affirmative action in a quarter century. These cases both challenge the use of racial preferences in the admissions policies at the University of Michigan. On one side of the legal dispute over the Michigan policies are those who argue that creating racial diversity on college campuses is a "compelling interest" that justifies the use of certain types of racial preferences in the admissions process. On the other side are those who argue that any system that rewards people solely on the basis of race is unconstitutional. Who's right? And how will the Supreme Court's decision affect the future of affirmation action?

DEBT AND TAXES: The Bush Administration's Tax Plan

with Michael J. Boskin, Robert Reichvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, January 30, 2003

In January 2003, the Bush administration unveiled a package of proposed new tax cuts, including provisions to eliminate the taxation of dividends and make permanent the 2001 tax cut. President Bush called the plan "an immediate boost to the economy" as well as "essential for the long run to lay the groundwork for future growth and prosperity." Critics have said that the plan doesn't provide short-term economic stimulus and endangers long-term growth and prosperity. Is the Bush tax plan good for the economy or not?

THINKING GREEN OR THINKING GREENBACKS: President Bush's Environmental Policy

with Terry Anderson, Mark Hertsgaardvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, January 30, 2003

During the 2000 presidential campaign, George W. Bush said, "Prosperity will mean little if we leave future generations a world of polluted air, toxic lakes and rivers and vanished forests." So after two years in office, how has President Bush done as the chief steward of our nation's air, water, and land? Is the Bush environmental record the disaster that critics contend? Or has the administration just done a poor job of articulating its vision for new ways of caring for the environment?

THE EMPIRE STRIKES FIRST? The National Security Strategy of the United States

with Eliot Cohen, Peter Tarnoffvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, January 16, 2003

In September 2002, President Bush released the first National Security Strategy report of his administration. Crafted by the president, his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, and a team of experts both inside and outside government, the report lays out what some have called "the most important reformulation of U.S. grand strategy in more than half a century." Proponents say that the National Security Strategy presents the case for the responsible and justified use of American power, but critics call it a dangerous "doctrine without limits." Who's right?

LEADERSHIP IN WARTIME: Civilian Leaders in Time of War

with Eliot Cohen, David M. Kennedyvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, January 16, 2003

In the modern democratic era, it's not uncommon for elected leaders to have little or no military training or experience. It has become an accepted notion that political leaders should therefore leave battle plans and campaign decisions to the military commanders and avoid "micromanaging" war. But is that notion correct? Or was Clemenceau right when he said that "war is too important to be left to the generals"? What lessons can we learn from studying the greatest wartime leaders, such as Lincoln, Churchill, and FDR?

THE POPULATION BOMB REDUX: Is Population Growth a Problem?

with Nicholas Eberstadt, Paul Ehrlichvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, November 12, 2002

In the past century the earth's human population has quadrupled, growing from 1.5 billion in 1900 to about 6 billion today. By 2050, it is estimated that the global population will reach 9 billion. In 1968, a young biologist named Paul Ehrlich wrote a best-selling book called The Population Bomb, which sparked an ongoing debate about the dangers of overpopulation. He argued that population growth was destroying the ecological systems necessary to sustain life. So just how worried should we be? Is population growth a problem or not? And if so, what should we do about it?

THE SKEPTICAL ENVIRONMENTALIST: Measuring the State of the Environment

with Daniel Kammen, Bjorn Lomborgvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Global warming, population, deforestation, mass extinctions—according to environmental groups and environmental scientists, the earth is in ever more dire straits. Should we heed these warnings and take steps to mitigate our impact on the global ecosystem? Danish statistician Bjørn Lomborg has come forward to say, not so fast. He claims the environmental state of the world is actually improving, not getting worse. His claims have generated a firestorm of condemnation in the scientific community. Why? And how can we in the general public separate ideology from fact in this debate?

PULLING OUT THE ROOTS: The Roots of Terrorism

with Paul Wilkinson, Robert Wrightvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, November 11, 2002

What are the root causes of terrorism and how should we respond to them? If the discontent and hatred that breed terrorism spring from economic, political, and cultural grievances, should we address those grievances? Or does acknowledgment of these types of causes of terrorism lend a dangerous legitimacy to terrorists themselves?

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