Four political science professors will share the Washington Hall stage April 12 to exchange and debate their opinions about the intersection of Catholicism and politics. HolyVotes, an event seeking to open a pathway for political discussion on campus, will replace the God Debate, held in past years. Senior Malcolm Phelan described HolyVotes as a “lighthearted and rational political debate” that needs to take place at Notre Dame in order to counter the political dialogue currently dominating the media. “Most news outlets and political commentators seem to be acting out some form of grotesque tragedy about the death of reason and discourse,” Phelan said. “That’s exactly why we are hosting HolyVotes. We want to lay out our civic beliefs as Catholics, and then discuss which form of government best helps us to achieve those goals.” HolyVotes will feature professors Sebastian Rosato, Eric Sims, Vincent Munoz and Michael Desch. Junior Arnav Dutt, a coordinator for the event, said he was grateful for the faculty members’ willingness to voice their opinions outside of the classroom. “In a way, these professors chose themselves,” Dutt said. “All three were brave enough to tackle the issue in a public forum.” Rosato, a professor of political science specializing in international relations, said he will represent the Democratic position, which is often considered more controversial because of the Catholic tendency to vote Republican. “It’s a very complex issue, one that many people view as black and white,” Rosato said. “The assumption is if you vote Republican, you are going straight to the pro-life argument, and if you’re Democrat, you are going to run straight to the social justice issues. “I think there is a lot of overlap, and I think that the parties are internally divided, and that therefore, this is a debate that really needs to occur on campus.” Rosato said defending the Democratic stances on abortion and gay marriage represents the most difficult task, but he believes his arguments can counter the opposition if received with an open mind. “In these types of debates, people typically tend to give the party line or the Catholic stance, and there is no one on the other end,” Rosato said. “I think the other professors involved in this debate are well-intentioned, and I believe most people in the room will be able to treat it as a debate, but I fear it may devolve into name calling.” Despite advice not to participate in HolyVotes, Rosato said he believes it is his duty to ask the charged questions and contribute to overturning the paradigm of asserting truths rather than debating issues. “I believe I was put on this earth to make arguments and to make them regardless of what people thought,” Rosato said. “As a privileged professor at Notre Dame, I’m meant to inform and contribute to raising the level of discourse. My job is to think, and that’s why I said yes.” Dutt said the event is meant to encourage contemplation and dialogue. “Students should expect an intellectually stimulating debate conducted at a high volume,” he said. Phelan agreed HolyVotes should make attendees think. “My hope is that we all stumble out of Washington Hall, slightly dazed at the brilliance of Rosato, Munoz, Sims and Desch while considering what duties we owe our country and our fellow citizens.”
Star Files View Comments Broadway supernova Idina Menzel recently talked to Access Hollywood about what we can expect from her upcoming world tour, including her song choices. Broadway fans can breathe easy, as she revealed that she’ll be belting “things that you’d be mad at me if I didn’t sing!” And any update on Frozen 2? Just that the creative team are in the “writing stages.” Check out the interview below and if you haven’t managed to get tickets to the Tony winner’s gravity-defying world tour, there’s always the upcoming national tour of If/Then to look forward to! Idina Menzel
If not for the motion of the rotor blades, it would seem that the U.S. Air Force CH-47 Chinook helicopter is floating through air, frozen in a majestic pose. On land, four military personnel attach the thick chains to suspend a 3.26-ton box from the belly of the aircraft. The men check the couplings to make sure everything is in order, and only then does the Chinook take flight with its precious cargo. This time, the trip will be brief. In only minutes, the box will return to Honduras’ Colonel José Enrique Soto Cano Air Base, headquarters of the Honduran Air Force, the country’s Air Force Academy and U.S. Joint Task Force-Bravo (JTF-Bravo). This is an operational demonstration for the Pre-positioned Expeditionary Assistance Kits (PEAK), a modular system designed to provide disaster response teams with sustainable, essential services, such as potable water, communications and electricity. It can enable situational awareness during the first 72 hours after an earthquake, a hurricane, a landslide or any other emergency situation. AN IDEA BECOMES REALITY PEAK originated in an initiative by U.S. Southern Command’s (SOUTHCOM) Science, Technology and Experimentation Division to create a system that could strengthen the capacity of partner nations in Latin America to respond to natural disasters. The idea became a reality with funding from the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense (OSD) and the technical assistance of National Defense University’s Center for Technology and National Security Policy, based in Washington, D.C. Elmer L. Roman, the oversight executive for building partnerships in the Rapid Fielding Directorate at the OSD, explained that the department supports the civilian agencies that offer aid to other countries when natural disasters occur. PEAK enables the U.S. Department of Defense to more effectively assist agencies such as the U.S. Agency for International Development and the State Department when they receive requests for collaboration from other countries. The concept, which was launched in March 2010, focused on the lessons learned during the earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010. Haiti’s earthquake inspired the idea of designing a system that could be pre-positioned in regions prone to natural disasters, such as Central America, or could be sent in advance when, for example, it becomes known that a powerful hurricane is going to strike a particular area. IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE PEAK can provide assistance to disaster response teams during the first three days following a natural disaster. During this critical time frame, a series of common factors come together, such as interrupted electrical service, contaminated water supplies and communications problems, among others. PEAK can provide smartphones and enable responders to take photos, record audio clips and write text messages marked with global positioning coordinates, all of which is sent to a centralized server over a Broadband Global Area Network. “The system enables first responders to collect information that will serve as a guide for the larger response,” said Phil Stockdale, the technical manager in charge of the project on behalf of the National Defense University. From anywhere in the world, authorized users can conduct event searches through the user-friendly Tactical Ground Reporting (TiGR) interface, developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the same agency responsible for the beginnings of the Internet 40 years ago. TiGR marks the location on a satellite map where the responders captured the information. In less than a year, the team headed by Stockdale designed, built, and tested the PEAK system in the Central American country of Honduras. The first version underwent rigorous testing in February 2011 at JTF-Bravo, thanks to the interest showed by the base commanders and the nation’s government, which sent personnel with experience in emergency situations. In late August and early September 2011, after implementing the modifications suggested by the operators of the system, the technical group returned to JTF-Bravo for the final field test. “The PEAK system aims to build partner nations’ capacities,” said Lieutenant Colonel John Ferrell, operations manager for the project with SOUTHCOM, who described the cooperation between JTF-Bravo, the Honduran Armed Forces, and Honduras’ federal emergency management agency to be “paramount.” During the PEAK demonstration in early September 2011, Roman announced that the system’s first two kits will be positioned at Soto Cano Air Base. PEAK supports humanitarian aid, disaster relief, countering illicit trafficking and capacity building of partner nations in Central America. It will be used by JTF-Bravo’s Central America Survey and Assessment Team when circumstances require it and when any of the seven Central American countries requests assistance, according to Lieutenant Colonel Keith Pritchard, U.S. Army Forces Battalion Commander at JTF-Bravo. By Dialogo January 01, 2012 associate the JTF Bravo operation with the emergency of hurricane Mitch Oct-Nov 1998. I was unaware that that term was still existing, whose headquarters is the Republic of Honduras. In those years in Guatemala its counterpart was called Operation Strong Support and there was a complete platoon involved and thus they carried out the mitigation. May these lines help to remember and thank those who at the time left a mark and gave a breath of hope to the most affected communities of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Guatemala.