Duke Digest — June 16

In this week’s issue:

  • Duke Faculty Expertise on Crisis in Iraq: No Good Alternative
  • FACULTY COMMENTARY: Top-two primary could ‘tame the Tea Party threat’
  • CFO Survey: Threat of Severe Russian Sanctions Impacting Global Economy
  • Duke Expert on Gun Policy in WaPo Q&A
  • Duke Researchers Investigate Childhood Toxic Stress in Federally Commissioned Reports
  • Duke in Washington Hosts Panel on Big Data and Fine Arts
  • Dukies on the Move

Duke faculty members Charlie Dunlap, Jr., Ret. US Air Force, and Bruce Jentleson, professor of public policy, weigh in on the ongoing situation in Iraq. Dunlap says, “This is another international crisis where the Obama administration has no good alternatives.” Jentleson, meanwhile, says that the famed surge of military strength in Iraq nearly a decade ago was meant to provide Iraq with the time to create political unity. It hasn’t lasted, and he pointed the finger at Maliki.

Read More:
No Good Alternatives (Duke Today)

FACULTY COMMENTARY: Top-two primary could ‘tame the Tea Party threat’
Writing in the Washington Post, David McAdams, professor of economics at the Fuqua School of Business, says, “[House Majority Eric] Cantor’s defeat shows how times have changed. There are no longer any completely safe seats. Gerrymandered districts can eliminate the risk of a successful Democratic challenge, but there is nothing to stop primary challenges from tea party candidates.

The good news for Republican incumbents is that there’s a simple way to change the game and tame the tea party threat: the top-two primary.”

Read More:
Could the top-two primary tame the tea party threat? (Washington Post)

CFO SURVEY: Threat of Severe Russian Sanctions Impacting Global Economy
Chief financial officers around the world indicate that public mistrust of business and political leaders has harmed the business environment. They also say that severe sanctions on Russia would hurt the economies of their home countries. Most companies with business connections to Russia believe that stepped-up sanctions would have a negative to a severely negative effect on their businesses (U.S., 53 percent; Europe, 82 percent; Asia, 51 percent; Japan, 82 percent; Africa, 78 percent; Latin America, 62 percent.)

“A large number of firms are either considering reducing their footprint in Russia or already actively pulling back. This includes 22 percent of U.S. firms and 31 percent of European firms,”  said Campbell R. Harvey, founding director of the survey.

Read More:
CFO Survey: Public Distrust, Threat of Russian Sanctions Impacting Global Economy (fuqua.duke.edu)

Phil Cook, ITT/Sanford Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics and Sociology at Duke University, discusses in a Washington Post online-blog what what might be done to reduce gun violence in the wake of recent shooting in Santa Barbara, California. Cook recently co-authored The gun debate: What everyone needs to know with Kristin Goss, assistant professor of public policy. When asked what proposals had a decent chance to become law at the federal level, Cook said “Even federal action to reduce violence (regardless of weapon type) seems unlikely to be forthcoming, but there is a somewhat better chance there:  I would suggest expanded financial support for local police departments through the COPS program, and an increase in the federal alcohol excise tax rates, for starters.”

Read More:
Why law enforcement was powerless to stop Elliott Rodger from buying guns (Washington Post)

Research shows that early life adversity can “get under the skin” to cause lifelong health problems, yet child policy often lags behind the science. A team of scholars from the Sanford School and the Center for Child and Family Policy (CCFP) hopes to bridge that gap with a trio of federally commissioned reports on “toxic stress.”

The project could have large-scale practical impact. The reports were commissioned by the federal Administration for Children and Families, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The trio of reports will suggest how ACF can use the science of toxic stress and self-regulation to improve children’s services.

Read More:
policy engagement: Childhood Toxic Stress (Sanford Insights, page 15)

Faculty members from the Information Initiative at Duke (iiD) joined the chief conservator from the North Carolina Museum of Art for a briefing at the Capitol Visitors Center on June 9 to discuss research projects at the intersection of mathematics and the arts.

“Big Data to Big Insights: Mathematics Revealing Art” featured work by Guillermo Sapiro, professor of electrical and computer engineering, who shared his work utilizing emerging technologies like 3D printing to create an interactive exhibit at Duke’s Nasher Museum of Art, as well as the collaboration between mathematics professor Ingrid Daubechies and William Brown, chief conservator at the North Carolina Museum of Art, on replication and rejuvenation projects.  Robert Calderbank, director of the iiD, moderated the panel.

Read More:
Big Data and…the Arts? (governmentrelations.duke.edu)
Van Gogh and the Algorithm: How Math Can Save Art (Time)


Ann Davison (T, ’86) joined the global public relations and communications firm, Burson-Marsteller, as Chair, U.S. Public Affairs and Crisis Practice.

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