Archive for Current Events

Presidential Use of Nuclear Force

With increased tensions on the Korean peninsula that are coupled with the bombastic utterances emanating from Washington, there is a renewed interest in the question as to whether the president has unilateral authority to launch nuclear weapons. Such is the concern that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on this topic – Nuclear Weapons Authority. Other recent reports include these from the Congressional Research Service: Can Congress Limit the President’s Power to Launch Nuclear Weapons?,  “Legislation Limiting the President’s Power to Use Nuclear Weapons: Separation of Powers Implications.”,  Defense Primer: President’s Constitutional Authority with Regard to the Armed Forces.

That this is an area fraught with danger can be readily seen in this document-laden briefing book from the National Security Archive – U.S. Presidents and the Nuclear Taboo.

Does he have the power? It depends on whom you listen to. But be assured that this is one of the thorniest areas of contention between the executive and legislative branches of our government. It has yet to be fully resolved and maybe never will.


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Time Magazine’s 2017 Person of the Year Is “The Silence Breakers”

Those who have spoken out, with great cost to themselves, about incidents of sexual harassment.

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Top Tweets/Retweets of 2017

The lists with analyses and additional links are here.

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Who Are the Rohingya?

They are a minority-Muslim group inside the largely Buddhist country of Myanmar (once known as Burma). According to CIA data, Buddhists comprise 87.9% of the country while Muslims total 4.3% of the population. These people have been in the news largely because of the large mass emigrations into neighboring Bangladesh, supposedly in retaliation for attacks on government offices by a splinter Rohingya group.

Background information on this can be found in many places, especially:

The Rohingya Migrant Crisis (CFR Backgrounder); The Rakine State Danger to Myanmar’s Transition (International Crisis Group); Rohingya (Migration Policy Group); STATEMENT ON ROHINGYA REFUGEES FLEEING BURMA TO BANGLADESH (US State Department); Final Report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State (supplemental material here); Congressional bills, hearings, resolutions on Rohingya; Burma – February 2017 Update (UK House of Commons Library Research Briefing); U.S. Restrictions on Relations with Burma (CRS); There is no simple solution to the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar (Brookings); Myanmar’s Problem State (Chatham House); and United Nations reports, documents, and publications.

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Who Won What at the 2017 Emmy Awards

Here are the lists of the winners and the contenders.

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“Nine-Eleven” from “The Writer’s Almanac”


You passed me on the street
I rode the subway with you
You lived down the hall from me
I admired your dog in the park one morning
We waited in line for a concert
I ate with you in the cafes
You stood next to me at the bar
We huddled under an awning during a downpour
We dashed across the street to beat the light
I bumped into you coming round the corner
You stepped on my foot
I held the door for you
You helped me up when I slipped on the ice
I grabbed the last Sunday Times
You stole my cab
We waited forever at the bus stop
We sweated in steamy August
We hunched our shoulders against the sleet
We laughed at the movies
We groaned after the election
We sang in church
Tonight I lit a candle for you
All of you

Courtesy of The Writer’s Almanac

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Live 2017 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony From Ground Zero

You can view it here. And if you do not have time to watch it live, C-SPAN permanently archives its broadcasts.

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