Politics In The Pulpit: Where To Draw The Line?

A proposal by President Donald Trump would change a law that says churches and other religious organizations risk losing tax-exempt status if they endorse political candidates. Such restrictions “are designed to keep churches and government at arm’s length,” says law professor Richard Schmalbeck. “We don’t want IRS agents sitting in churches taping sermons.”

Read More in the Asheville Citizen Times

Twitter and Facebook are Politicizing the Military

The military has polled high since the administration of President Ronald Reagan, following a low point in public perceptions after the Vietnam War, says Peter Feaver, a political science professor. “The Supreme Court used to rank high, too. What happened? The Supreme Court increasingly took on a partisan appearance and looked like a group of Republicans and Democrats arguing with each other.”

Read More in Politico

Will Trump Take ‘Brutally Forthright’ Advice From McMaster?

Political scientist Peter Feaver, a specialist in civil-military issues and a national security aide to President George W. Bush, talks about the potential impact of a book written by new national security adviser, Gen. H.R McMaster, that highlighted the consequences of the military not giving candid advice to a president during the Vietnam War.

 

Read More in The New York Times

Oklahoma AG Pruitt Confirmed to Head EPA

“The Senate has confirmed Scott Pruitt to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. As Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt filed 14 lawsuits challenging EPA regulations, including limits on carbon emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants,” writes Tim Profeta, founding director of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, in a summary of the week’s top environmental news.

Reads More in National Geographic

We’re a Divided Nation — That Actually Agrees on a Lot

“It’s not novel to point out that with the election of President Trump, tribalism has reached new and dizzying heights — the “basket of deplorables” vs. “liberal elites.” Many of us feel sickened. And we’re right to worry. Tribal thinking is not just inherently undemocratic — it’s perilous,” writes Dirk Philipsen, associate research professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy.

Read More in The Hill

A New Challenge to Scope of Second Amendment?

“This case goes a little farther than some in that it holds assault weapons fall outside the Second Amendment. Most other courts have assumed that they fall inside and are still subject to ban,” law professor Joseph Blocher says about a federal appeals court in Maryland upholding a law banning military-style weapons.

Read More in The Christian Science Monitor

Podcast: The Smart Border

How can the U.S. increase security along the southern border without building a wall? Stephen Kelly, a visiting professor of the practice in the Sanford School of Public Policy, says more cooperation between law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border is key.

Listen on Policy 360

Trump Taps New National Security Adviser

Political scientist Peter Feaver, a scholar on civil-military ties, says he expects Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster to take a skeptical view of Russia, seeing Moscow as a dubious partner and major potential threat to U.S. security. And Feaver says he expects a similar skepticism toward Iran, whose support for proxy groups across the Middle East many senior military officials say has gone unchecked.

Read More in The Washington Post

Energy Discussions Live on as EPA Rule Faces Death

If there’s an enduring upside to U.S. EPA’s doomed Clean Power Plan, it’s that it spurred some much-needed discussions about energy on the state level, says Brian Murray, director for economic analysis at Duke’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. “There really was not much going on in terms of coordination and dialogue between energy and environmental regulators at the state level before all this.”

Read More at E&E News

DHS Considered National Guard for Immigration Roundups

Historian Gunther Peck says mass deportations would hurt numerous businesses. “Many businesses profit from undocumented workers and would be very hard pressed to replace them. They do work that actual citizens don’t want to do, and they do it for low wages. So, if you were to deport and round up a lot of those hardworking men and women, you would be hurting a lot of American businesses.”

Read More at WRAL

Trump’s Repeal of Stream Rule Hurts Climate, Species

 

When he rolled back a regulation to protect streams from mining pollution last week, President Donald Trump made good on his promise to ease up on coal mining. “This repeal is ignoring a lot of the recent science that clearly documents a lot of these downstream impacts,” says biology professor Emily Bernhardt, who has studied the ecological effects of coal mining.

Read More at Inside Climate News

 

Good Luck Making America Safe Again Without Mexican Military

“Most Americans don’t remember that we invaded Mexico at least three times, and forced it to give up nearly half of the territory they won in their independence from Spain,” says public policy professor Stephen Kelly, who served as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico from 2004 to 2006. “Nowhere is that feeling of invasion, that Mexico has been robbed and violated, more strongly felt than in the Mexican army.”

Read More in McClatchy