Military Madness: Matt Kennard on his book “Irregular Army”

Recently, Michael Busch, Coordinator at the Colin Powell Center and lecturer in the Department of Political Science at the City College of New York, interviewed journalist Matt Kennard about his book, Irregular Army, which was published in time for the tenth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The interview in its entirety has been published on the Huffington Post.

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Recently, Michael Busch, Coordinator at the Colin Powell Center and lecturer in the Department of Political Science at the City College of New York, interviewed journalist Matt Kennard about his book, Irregular Army, which was published in time for the tenth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The interview in its entirety has been published on the Huffington Post

This past March marked the tenth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, a decade of fighting, which claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, destroyed an entire country, and destabilized the broader Middle East. As journalist Matt Kennard argues in his new book, Irregular Army, the war in Iraq — as well as that in Afghanistan — also had deleterious consequences for the U.S. military itself. Faced with declining enlistment numbers as fighting dragged on year after year with no clear end in sight, Kennard shows that the American armed forces looked for alternatives to populate its ranks. In the process, regulations were weakened, rewritten and in some cases, not enforced. Continue reading “Military Madness: Matt Kennard on his book “Irregular Army””

Social Justice for the Classroom: Part 2 of a Two-Part Series

In my previous post, I suggested we must capitalize on the momentum of social justice movements aided and propelled by social media. How, I asked, can we educate our youth and emphasize to them the possibilities for “doing good” through the technology they use every day?

For those taking up this question—activists, educators, artists, and others—this is an exciting time. Never before have we had access to so much information and ways to share ideas and our stories. As an educator and activist, I am empowered by these tools in conjunction with the new Common Core Education Standards emphasis on teaching nonfiction: It’s a perfect opportunity to re-emphasize current events and civics education. And so I created the American Justice Missing in Action Project (#ajmia), (www.ajmia.tumblr.com) a new initiative dedicated to engaging students in conversations about race, class and gender—what I call the intersections of injustice.

technology in the classroom is a tool. Photo by Dell; used under a Creative Commons license.By Kanene Holder, Center Alumna

“The illiterate of the twenty-first century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” —Alvin Toffler

“I think the first duty of society is justice.” —Alexander Hamilton

In my previous post, I suggested we must capitalize on the momentum of social justice movements aided and propelled by social media. How, I asked, can we educate our youth and emphasize to them the possibilities for “doing good” through the technology they use every day?
Continue reading “Social Justice for the Classroom: Part 2 of a Two-Part Series”

The Inaugural Spitzer Lecture: What’s Behind America’s “Asia Pivot”

With North Korea’s young leader Kim Jong Un playing hard at nuclear brinksmanship, the question is not only to what end, but also what are the potential long-term destabilizing impacts in the region. These are among the issues Walter Russell Mead addressed on Monday, April 15, 2013, during the first annual Anne and Bernard Spitzer Lecture, “America’s ‘Asia Pivot’ at a Time of Upheaval: The Pacific Isn’t Looking Pacifistic.” Among the causes, Mead noted the incalculable difference in possible outcomes between the best case scenario for the region and the worse case.

Walter Russell Mead at the Spitzer Gallery. Photo by Joshua Kristal
By Maura Christopher, Director of Publications

With North Korea’s young leader Kim Jong Un playing hard at nuclear brinksmanship, the question is not only to what end, but also what are the potential long-term destabilizing impacts in the region. These are among the issues Walter Russell Mead addressed on Monday, April 15, 2013, during the first annual Anne and Bernard Spitzer Lecture, “America’s ‘Asia Pivot’ at a Time of Upheaval: The Pacific Isn’t Looking Pacifistic.” Speaking at the Spitzer Gallery in the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, Mead outlined reasons for America’s recent “Asia Pivot,” a largely symbolic shift that signals a reorientation in U.S. policy emphasis.

Continue reading “The Inaugural Spitzer Lecture: What’s Behind America’s “Asia Pivot””

Magical Mystery Tour: The New York Federal Reserve

But there has been long-term speculation that all is not golden at the Federal Reserve. Various conspiracy theories about the bank, a quasi-governmental agency, has been the focus of various conspiracy theories that challenge the availability, as well as validity, of the gold supply.

The New York Federal Reserve Building. Photo: Creative Commons license.
The New York Federal Reserve Building. Photo: Creative Commons license.

by Ahsan Sayed, Colin Powell Center Fellow

My first thought when approaching the imposing limestone structure was Gringotts! The impenetrable fortress that houses all the gold of the witches and wizards in the world of Harry Potter could have very well drawn inspiration from the New York Federal Reserve building. Its interior is jealously hidden behind an edifice of thick brick, wrought-iron window grills, and a multitude of security guards, all of which make for an effective symbol of power.

Continue reading “Magical Mystery Tour: The New York Federal Reserve”

…With Liberty and Health Care for All

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, validated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012, and is on its way to having its most significant provisions—including bans on denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions—effective by 2014. All elements of the law are set to be phased in by 2020.

President Obama at a rally in 2009. Photo: Creative Commons license.
President Obama at a rally in 2009. Photo: Creative Commons license.

Over the coming months, Neighborhoods and Nations will present a series related to policy issues in U.S. health care, with a specific focus on the Affordable Care Act and its impact as its provisions take effect. Our community partners and CCNY faculty and students who are studying policy and working directly with the public will provide insight into how the law changes the landscape for health-care professionals, formerly uninsured individuals seeking care, and others.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, validated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012, and is on its way to having its most significant provisions—including bans on denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions—effective by 2014. All elements of the law are set to be phased in by 2020.

With this overhaul of America’s health-care system comes a number of challenges, none more so than for community health centers already straining to meet the needs of local residents. The need for more primary-care physicians is great: they will make up the majority of clinicians seeing new patients, including about 20 million new Medicaid recipients. Yet the rates of doctors choosing to go into primary care are quite low. These clinicians need a broader knowledge base than specialists, but make less money and are generally given less respect.

Continue reading “…With Liberty and Health Care for All”

Social Justice for the Classroom and the Twitterverse: A Two-Part Series

Mother's Day march in the Bronx. Photo by Carwill. Courtesy Creative Commons

By Kanene Holder, Center alumna

Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” April 3, 1968

For Every Act of Injustice, There is A Response for Equality
Last week, April 4 marked the 45th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Paying homage to MLK’s Poor People Campaign, I headed to a march for justice for fast-food workers. This is also the third week of the Stop and Frisk trial. I was stopped and frisked in 2002, hence I stood in solidarity with NYC high school students and activists near the courthouse demanding justice. The week prior, hundreds took to the streets of Harlem speaking against gun violence. The week before that, crowds sat and watched the 10-year anniversary of the award-winning Bowling for Columbine documentary and reflected on how far we have come. After the screening, I listened to the passion of organizers and was teleported back to my idyllic childhood filled with ribbons in my hair and black and white composition notebooks. Ensnarled in my own dissonance, I wondered why, in this land of opportunity I was taught to pledge allegiance to, justice is absent or missing in action.

Continue reading “Social Justice for the Classroom and the Twitterverse: A Two-Part Series”

April 15: Walter Russell Mead on the “Asia Pivot”

Next Monday, April 15, the Colin Powell Center of Leadership and Service will host Walter Russell Mead, the James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and the Humanities at Bard College and former Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Walter Russell Mead
Walter Russell Mead

Next Monday, April 15, the Colin Powell Center of Leadership and Service will host Walter Russell Mead, the James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and the Humanities at Bard College and former Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. His lecture, “America’s ‘Asia Pivot’ in a Time of Upheaval: The Pacific Isn’t Looking Pacifistic,” is co-presented by the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Chair in International Relations in the CCNY Department of Political Science.

Mead’s lecture will focus on America’s relationship with Asia. In February he visited the topic of the so-called “pivot to Asia” on his blog, which runs on the website of the American Interest, a think tank he helped found. The essay discusses the Obama administration’s Asia policy and Chinese commentators’ observations and impressions of the incoming secretary of state, John Kerry. You can read that essay and others at Via Meadia.

The lecture will be held from 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM in the Spitzer Gallery at the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, 141 Convent Avenue. RSVP for the event here.