“Behavioral International Law”

Opinio Juris is hosting a discussion of the “behavioral” approach to international law, beginning with a post by Tomer Broude. As he begins to describe it,

the behavioral research agenda aims to explore the characteristics of real decision-making processes of different types of actors, under different circumstances.

This approach might be useful for some of my International Law students who are currently working on drafts of their research papers (hopefully!).

Campaign Intern Wanted

I have no connection to this, nor do I know anything at all about Harry Rilling, but this might interest some Wesleyan students:

Harry Rilling’s campaign for Mayor of Norwalk is currently looking for interns and fellows.  This will be a great opportunity for students to become civically engaged, learn how campaigns work, and participate in the most exciting local campaign of 2013.

We wanted to make sure that your students knew about this opportunity; could you please forward the internship information included below?


We have a great internship opportunity available with Harry Rilling’s campaign for Mayor of Norwalk. Our campaign is looking for bright, energetic individuals who want to learn the nuts and bolts of how a campaign works and help elect the next Mayor of Norwalk.

Hours are completely flexible and participants can work with staff to make a schedule that fits with their academic and athletic/extra circular commitments. The Rilling Campaign team is a lot of fun. No experience necessary. Students will walk out the door at the end of the internship knowing how to run a local field program, as well as having met some really great friends.

Additionally, for students who are looking to take their involvement with the campaign to the next level, the campaign is also offering a fellowship program. Fellows will be required to fulfill a greater time commitment than interns and will participate in our Field Organizer Training Program, where they will not only learn the basics of campaign field work, but will also gain in-depth knowledge of grassroots organizing so they are ready to work on, and eventually run, campaigns of their own in the future.

The Rilling for Norwalk Intern and Fellowship Programs are designed to be enriching, educational experiences where participants will engage in daily field activities, learn from and work closely with veteran campaign staff, and hear from a variety of political guest speakers.

For more information about the campaign please visit http://www.rillingformayor.com.

To apply for an internship or a fellowship with the Rilling for Norwalk, visit  http://miniurl.com/9vd0   , call us at (203) 939-9212, or email us at at mayoralinternships@gmail.com

FORUM: Government Shutdown

FORUM: Government Shutdown
Professor Logan Dancey, Department of Government
Professor Jennifer Smith, Department of Government

…will discuss the domestic and international implications of the recent Government shutdown

Thursday, October 10, 4:30 to 6:00 PM
Public Affairs Center 002

Free and open to the public

Colleagues on the Shutdown

Elvin Lim, Government:

On Shutdown Politics: Why it is Not the Constitution’s Fault

So it is not the Constitution that is at fault. It is faction, injected like a toxin into the Constitution, that has caused the separation of powers to go awry. And if so, the short-term solution for shutdown politics is to call faction what it is. Errant and arrogant members of Congress need to be reminded or educated that while they represent their constituents, some of whom no doubt want a stay on Obamacare, each member of Congress also belongs to a chamber of the United States and it is always the national majority (across the nation) that counts more than a factional majority (in a district).

Richard Grossman, Economics:

Republicans’ ideological crusade on health care, causing the shutdown, could lead to economic disaster – Courant.com.

Republicans should take a lesson from history, which has shown time and time again that such ideological crusades, when applied to economic policy, can have disastrous consequences.

Magda Teter, Jewish Studies

A case for history


During his marathon talk on the Senate floor, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, turned to history to help him persuade his colleagues to support his dream of defunding Obamacare, and quiet those saying that it was “impossible,” and “cannot be done.”

Sen. Cruz’s statements were not only outrageous. They were also inaccurate. Britain responded to the German invasion of Poland on Sept. 1, 1939 within hours, and Neville Chamberlain declared that the nation was at war with Germany by late morning the following day.



The shutdown is the Constitution’s fault? Or the Republicans?

A colleague emailed links to these interesting articles on whether there is a Constitutional basis for the current government shutdown. Both are interesting reads from the Washington Post.

The shutdown is the Constitution’s fault.

But it’s not just that Madison’s system is unnecessary. It’s potentially dangerous. Scholars of comparative politics have shown that presidential systems with a separation of executive and legislative functions, like America’s, are considerably more likely to collapse into dictatorship than are parliamentary systems where the executive and legislative branches are merged. That’s because there are competing branches of government able to claim democratic legitimacy and steer the ship of state at the same time — and when they disagree profoundly, there’s no real mechanism for resolving the dispute.

And the rebuttal:

It’s not Madison. It’s the Republicans.

But in my view, the problem isn’t system impasse; it’s that one of today’s parties is attempting to function under a “principle” of rejecting compromise.