Tag Archive for media

McAlister on Vodou’s Rise with Haitian-Americans

Elizabeth McAlister, associate professor of religion and expert on the religion of Vodou, was cited in the South Florida Sun Sentinel on the recent gravitation toward Vodou by many young Haitian immigrants. The popularity of the religion, which blends ancient African religious traditions with the worship of Catholic saints, is said to be increasing because many first and second generation Haitians are looking to reconnect spiritually with their ancestral homeland.

WESU, Youth Radio Project Featured

An article in The Christian Science Monitor features the community outreach being done by 8 student mentors with Middletown youth at WESU. The program, created by Mu Abeledo ’09 and Jessica Jones ’08, involves mentors teaching the participants how to operate equipment, refine their on-air abilities and broadcast their own shows live on WESU.

Kendall ’74 Led Case Against Navy Sonar Use

Richard Kendall ’74, a senior partner in the Los Angeles office of the law firm Irell & Manella, represented the National Resources Defense Council in a case involving whales and the U.S. Navy that recently was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Environmental groups had contended that the Navy’s use of underwater sonar was harming whales and other marine animals. The case arose when the Navy skipped an environmental impact statement for anti-submarine exercises planned from 2007 to 2009. The NRDC sued, and Los Angeles district court restricted the Navy’s use of active sonar. Later, a U.S. appeals court affirmed but eased the restrictions regarding location and timing of the exercises.

President Bush intervened in the case by citing national security as a reason to exempt the Navy from environmental laws at the heart of the legal challenge. In the 5-4 ruling, Chief Justice Roberts spoke for the majority in siding with the Navy, but the Navy agreed to abide by other restrictions on the exercises.

Kendall told CNN: “It is gratifying that the court did not accept the Navy’s expansive claims of executive power and that two-thirds of the injunction remains in place.”

Kendall had argued that sonar can be as loud to marine mammals as 2,000 jet engines, causing them to suffer physical trauma, stranding, and changes in breeding and migration patterns.

The New York Times said the case was the latest in a decade-long dispute between the Navy and environmental groups over the use of sonar. Environmentalists have had some success through lawsuits and persuasion in limiting sonar in training exercises around the world.

The New Yorker Cites Lim on ‘The Speech’

The book, The Anti-Intellectual Presidency by Elvin Lim, assistant professor of government, is cited extensively in the January 12, 2009 issue of The New Yorker. The article, which discusses President-elect Obama’s upcoming inaugural speech and the overall dilution of presidential speech-writing, cites Lim’s work extensively, and includes these passages:

“Lim dates the institutionalization of the anti-intellectual Presidency to 1969, when Nixon established the Writing and Research Department, the first White House speechwriting office. There had been speechwriters before, but they were usually also policy advisers. With Nixon’s Administration was born a class of professionals whose sole job was to write the President’s speeches, and who have been rewarded, in the main, for the amount of applause their prose could generate. Of F.D.R.’s speeches, only about one a year was interrupted for applause (and no one  when he said that fear is all we have to fear). Bill Clinton’s last State of the Union address was interrupted a hundred and twenty times.”

and

“Lim interviewed forty-two current and former White House speechwriters. But much of his analysis rests on running inaugurals and other Presidential messages through something called the Flesch Readability Test, a formula involving the average number of words in a sentence and the average number of syllables per word. Flesch scores, when indexed to grade levels, rate the New York Times at college level; Newsweek at high school; and comic books at fifth grade. Between 1789 and 2005, the Flesch scores of Inaugural Addresses descended from a college reading level to about an eighth-grade one. Lim takes this to mean that Inaugural Addresses are getting stupider.”

The full article can be seen here (for New Yorker subscribers only).

Mangini ’94 Named Head Coach of Cleveland Browns

Eric Mangini ’94 was introduced as the new head coach of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns. Mangini, who had finished the season as coach of the New York Jets was scooped up by the Browns just nine days after he left the Jets. Michael Arce of the Columbus Dispatch lauds Mangini’s roots here at Wesleyan and in Connecticut. More coverage, including clips from Mangini’s press conference and Mangini talking about his start in professional football can be found here.