Dr. Jamie Aroosi: Looking Beyond the Scorecard Approach to Politics
In this midterm election season, media coverage is dominated by numbers. As the science behind public opinion research advances, this only makes sense, as statisticians are increasingly able to predict electoral outcomes. Moreover, a focus on the numbers is an easy way to add drama to an election, as the complex debates that might ideally characterize our political life, but which are less telegenic, are transformed into events with all the drama of the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, while this focus on the numbers might build interest in the election, it can also work against a deeper understanding of its meaning.
Dr. Jamie Aroosi, visiting assistant professor of political science
If politics were little more than a scorecard, we might expect that a win for one team rather than the other might really have significance for our political future. After all, a tremendous amount of time and money is spent on winning, not to mention that citizens themselves often become deeply invested in one party or the other, so that a particular outcome really seems to matter a great deal. And yet, in the case of the 2014 midterm elections, it’s quite possible that not much would have changed regardless of who won, at least in terms of national politics. Read the rest of this entry…
In Inaugural Lecture, Joe Lieberman Reflects on His Past Work and The Future of Jewish Politics
Former U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman may have retired from politics, but his eye hasn’t strayed far from the political scene. On October 28, 2014, at Yeshiva University’s Wilf Campus, Lieberman addressed hundreds of YU students, faculty and staff in a lecture titled “Judaism and Public Service.” The lecture, the first of a three-part series, inaugurated Lieberman’s role as the Joseph Lieberman Chair in Public Policy and Public Service at YU, a position made possible through a gift from University Benefactors Ira and Ingeborg Rennert.
President Richard M. Joel delivered introductory remarks.
In his introductory remarks, YU President Richard M. Joel called Lieberman’s appointment, along with the recent addition of other prominent visiting professors such as Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks and Ambassador Danny Ayalon, “the icing on the cake of a fabulous faculty.”
Lieberman sees the new chair in public policy and public service as a significant part of YU’s mandate to provide a comprehensive education, secular and religious, to its students. “I believe that this chair has a unique and important mission in the years ahead, which is to help YU educate coming generations of Orthodox Jewish women and men in public policy and inspire and prepare them for public service.” Read the rest of this entry…
Social Psychologist Jonathan Haidt Discusses the Moral Psychology of Political Polarization at Event Sponsored by Honors Program and Psychology Department
What is the most serious problem facing the United States today? According to Dr. Jonathan Haidt, Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business, the answer is “hyper-partisanship,” the extreme, unprecedented polarization between Democrats and Republicans that Haidt says has been escalating since the 1980s and 1990s. Haidt considers this growing gap—between politicians and citizens alike—a “national crisis.”
NYU Professor Jonathan Haidt speaks about how morality varies across cultures, religions and political groups.
Haidt, a leading researcher of moral psychology and how morality varies across cultures—including American liberals, conservatives and libertarians—spoke to a packed Wilf Campus lecture hall on September 16, at an event titled “The Moral Psychology of Political Polarization and Paralysis,” co-sponsored by the Yeshiva College Department of Psychology and the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program.
Hyper-partisanship, explained Haidt, the New York Times bestselling author of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, “turns politics into a zero-sum game: if the other side fails, you win.” Read the rest of this entry…
MK Rabbi Shai Piron Discusses Halachic, Political and Educational Challenges Facing Israel
“The greatness of Yaacov was his capacity to convene the sacred to empower everyday and to realize that without the everyday there is no need for the sacred,” said YU Vice President of University and Community Life Rabbi Kenneth Brander of the biblical forefather before introducing Rabbi Shai Piron, Israel’s current minister of education and former Rosh Yeshivat Hesder Petach-Tikva. “Rabbi Piron’s personal and professional life has always been about bridging holiness to the everyday.”
Education Minister Rabbi Shai Piron addresses social and domestic issues facing Israel.
Rabbi Piron was greeted by a packed room of several hundred students and faculty members in Yeshiva University’s Furst Hall on Wednesday, November 13. His visit came only days after Danny Ayalon, the former Israeli diplomat and politician, was announced as the Rennert Visiting Professor of Foreign Policy Studies at YU for the spring 2014 semester. Read the rest of this entry…
Bob Woodward to Discuss Origins and Impact of Washington’s Dysfunctional Politics at Nov. 13 Robbins-Wilf Program
With the government shutdown and debt limit crisis still fresh on people’s minds, and immigration reform and other issues embroiled in partisan politics, Yeshiva University will host a discussion on “Washington’s Broken Politics” featuring two-time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Bob Woodward. The lecture, part of the Dr. Marcia Robbins-Wilf Scholar-in-Residence program, will be held on Wednesday, November 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues.
Bob Woodward will address Washington’s dysfunctional politics at the Nov. 13 Robbins-Wilf program.
“Politics in Washington has become so dysfunctional that public approval for Congress has sunk to nine percent and more than six in ten Americans would like to replace their own member of Congress—an unprecedented low opinion of Congress—while approval for the president is at 42 percent, an all-time low for President Obama,” said Bryan Daves, clinical assistant professor of political science at Yeshiva University and moderator of the event. “Just at a time in which Americans expect their leaders to deal with difficult problems, their leaders seem unable to put politics aside. To understand how we got here, the consequences of the dysfunction and the way forward, we invited one the nation’s most respected and experienced journalists to offer his unique insights.” Read the rest of this entry…
Utku Sezgin: Can President Obama’s Proposals Succeed in a Gridlocked Congress?
State of the Union addresses are the annual wish-list presentations of American presidents, mixed with appeals to rally behind the leader of the nation.
The addresses stem from the once-obscure mandate the Constitution gives presidents to submit proposals, recommendations and their political views to Congress. Until the 20th century, presidents mostly sent Congress written messages without any of today’s media-savvy pomp. In recent decades the speeches have become widely-anticipated political theater to be parsed for a sense of where a president aims to take the country. However, despite the modern presidency’s inflated powers, proposing bills to Congress and getting to sign bills containing those proposals later on is not the same thing.
President Barack Obama delivered the first State of the Union address of his second term last night, doing his best to lay out his vision—emboldened by an electoral mandate—before a partisan, polarized, divided and oft-gridlocked Congress. But the future looks uncertain. Read the rest of this entry…
James Kahn Explains the Components and Consequences of the Looming Fiscal Cliff
As 2012 draws to a close, the United States government faces a financial crisis that has Republicans and Democrats divided. But what exactly are they fighting about and what is at stake for the country? Dr. James Kahn, the Henry and Bertha Kressel University Professor of Economics at Yeshiva University, breaks down the political and financial components of the fiscal cliff and explains how taxpayers could be affected if Congress fails to act.
Student Medical Ethics Society Examines Controversial Health Care Bill from Practical, Ethical and Halakhic Perspectives
American health care is facing its most comprehensive overhaul since 1965, and everyone from doctors to patients to employers will be affected. Often referred to as “Obamacare,” the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) became one of the most contested topics in this year’s presidential election, and its political, financial and ethical implications are still widely debated. On November 26, Yeshiva University’s Student Medical Ethics Society sought to debunk the myths and misconceptions about the controversial health care bill at an event that provided students with a practical walkthrough of the complex bill and analyzed it through the lens of ethics and halakha.
From left, Dr. Kevin O’Halloran, Dr. Herb Leventer and Rabbi Yosef Blau address students at “Obamacare: The Enigma Unveiled.”
Titled “Obamacare: The Enigma Unveiled,” the event began with a crash course in American medical history by Dr. Kevin O’Halloran, a senior resident at the Montefiore / Albert Einstein College of Medicine Department of Orthopedic Surgery who recently published a review article on Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), a facet of PPACA. O’Halloran highlighted the factors that set the stage for health care reform in 2010, noting that more than 16 percent of the population was uninsured that year, private and public health care expenditures in the United States had totaled more than 15 percent of the country’s GDP, and America ranked seven out of seven developed countries for “quality, efficiency, access, equity and healthy lives” according to the Commonwealth Fund. Read the rest of this entry…
How Social Media Helped Shape the Presidential Election
This year’s election night set new records in social media history. Twitter peaked at 327,000 tweets per minute and President Barack Obama announced his own reelection by tweeting a photo of himself embracing his wife with the caption “Four more years”—which quickly became the most shared image since the platform’s inception. Election night also doubled the previous record of 10 million tweets during the first presidential debate. Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms experienced similar surges throughout the election season—surges Robert Longert, adjunct instructor of English, monitored closely with his social media class at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women.
Using the presidential campaign as a model, Robert Longert and his Stern College class closely monitored engagement and trends in social media.
Longert’s class, Topics in Communication: Social Media, used the United States presidential election as a model to study the usage and spread of information over social media platforms. YU News spoke with Longert about how social media impacted the election and how it will continue to impact American culture in the future. Read the rest of this entry…
From Welfare Reform to Taxes, Richard Caputo Explains Hot Button Issues of 2012 Election
With the debates over and the presidential election around the corner, YU News sat down with Dr. Richard Caputo, professor of social policy and research and the director of the PhD program in social welfare at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, to sort through all the campaign rhetoric. Breaking down each candidate’s stance on issues ranging from Social Security and Medicare reform to income inequality and tax cuts, Caputo provides an in-depth look at some of the issues that will weigh on the minds of voters on November 6. Read the rest of this entry…