Commutation of Manning’s Sentence a Setback for Transgender Troops

“The message to the troops may well be that transgender soldiers get special, indulgent treatment they did not earn simply because of sympathetic politicos and misguided civilian thinking,” writes law professor Charles Dunlap, a retired Air Force major general. “That is not a formula for transgender soldiers to get authentic respect, real trust and true equal treatment from their comrades-in-arms.”

Read More in Lawfire

Future Uncertain for Clean Power Plan

Legal challenges and the recent U.S. presidential election have left the future uncertain for the Clean Power Plan, which regulates greenhouse gases from existing power plants under the Clean Air Act. A new working paper from the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and UNC’s Center for Climate, Energy, Environment and Economics examines possible responses.

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Two Little Words for Trump Appointees: If Confirmed …

This is a period of high risk for the nominees, writes Douglas Brook, a visiting professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy, who worked on the outgoing transition teams for both Bush presidencies. “The Senate takes its constitutional prerogative seriously. A misstep can sink a nomination. Think only of failed past nominations of John Tower for secretary of defense by George H.W. Bush or of Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood for attorney general by Bill Clinton,” he writes.

Read More in Medium

Federal Environmental Policy Not Easily Changed

An analysis co-authored by Megan Mullin, associate professor of environmental politics, examines President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to be the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. “(Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt) is more deeply skeptical of the agency’s mission than any EPA administrator in a generation,” they write.

Read More in The Washington Post

Trump National Security Team Gets a Slow Start

A Trump official says members of the team had read some of the memos from the Obama administration and praised their quality. But there is an inherent tension in transitions, particularly between two administrations with starkly different political views. “It’s difficult, because you campaigned on how these guys drove the car into the ditch,” says political scientist Peter Feaver, who served on the Bush national security council. “Now, here are memos from the guys who were driving the car, and they drove the car into a ditch.”

Bridging Red and Blue America, Jan. 18-20

During presidential inaugural week, the Sanford School of Public Policy hosts a series of four events Jan. 18-20 to examine national politics and North Carolina’s role in some of the country’s most divisive issues. The events, starting today at 5 p.m., kick off “The Purple Project: Bridging Red and Blue America,” created by POLIS. The event series is free and open to the public, space permitting.

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Some Upset Over National Cathedral Participating in Inauguration

It’s one thing to pray for the president, says Kara Slade, an Episcopal priest and interim co-director of Duke Divinity School’s Anglican Studies, who supports the service. It’s another thing for the choir to participate in the secular act of the inauguration. Slade believes the Episcopal Church’s role in the inauguration causes confusion over religious symbolism.

Read More in The Washington Post

Trump’s Feud With John Lewis Prompts Outrage Among Blacks

The angry reaction is driven not only by President-elect Trump’s Twitter posts but by what many blacks say they reveal about the president-elect’s lack of understanding of the reverence with which the civil rights movement and its leaders are viewed by African-Americans. “I don’t think we have ever had a president so publicly condescending to what black politics means,” says Mark Anthony Neal, an African and African-American studies professor.

Read More in The New York Times


As Trump Presidency Nears, Some Suggested Reading

“These three books are enjoyable reading. They also provide some thoughtful and historical perspectives that can inform our understanding of today’s politics,” writes Douglas Brook, a visiting professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy who has served in four presidentially appointed positions.

Read More in The News & Observer

Obama Legacy Encompasses Character, Democratic Values

“In the end, Obama taught us the importance of character – and of believing in the democratic values that are at the root of our national identity. … And then there is how he gave us a new example to follow of being a father, a husband and a national leader — all at the same time. Not a bad legacy at all,” writes William Chafe, professor emeritus of history.

Read More in The Herald-Sun

Apart, Atop, Amidst: America in the World

“With its insulation stripped away amidst globalization and its dominance disrupted as other countries assert themselves, the United States finds itself neither apart nor atop but rather amidst the world, both shaping and being shaped by global events and forces. As formidable as the policy challenges this poses are, the shock Americans feel to their sense of themselves and their nation is even more fundamental,” writes Sanford School professor Bruce Jentleson.

Read More in War on the Rocks

Forget a Wall. There’s a Better Way to Secure the Border.

“As Gen. Kelly, who will oversee our borders if confirmed, seems to believe, walling off the entire southern boundary at great cost sends a hostile message that could snuff out the very cooperation needed to make our borders truly secure. Innovative and road-tested alternatives clearly exist. The Trump administration should give them a hard look before laying its first brick,” writes Sanford School professor Stephen Kelly.

Read More in The New York Times