Notre Dame ReSources

Author: Dennis Brown

The following Notre Dame faculty are available for additional comment on these people and events in the news:
p. IRS reform : A key provision in the new legislation that reforms the Internal Revenue Service will shift the burden of proof from taxpayers to the IRS, which “sounds like a great victory for taxpayers until you read the fine print and think about the likely consequences,” says Matthew Barrett , associate professor of law at Notre Dame. “To qualify for the ‘benefits’ of this shift, a taxpayer must cooperate with reasonable requests for meetings, interviews, witnesses, information and documents and also must provide access to and allow inspection of witnesses, information and documents within his control. Do most taxpayers want the IRS interviewing their children, neighbors and business associates? Would they feel better about giving the IRS a peek at their bank accounts, credit card statements and investments? The legislation will likely lead to both stricter record-keeping requirements and more burdensome, but nevertheless legitimate, requests for information from the IRS. The provision will not create a kinder, gentler IRS.” *Contact: Dennis Brown, 219-631-7367;

  • p. Japan : The resignation of Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto is unlikely to affect the country’s staggering economy one way or the other, says Peter Moody , professor of government and international studies and director of the Asian Studies Program at Notre Dame. "Hashimoto’s party, the Liberal Democrats, have ? with one short exception in 1993 ? dominated Japanese politics since 1955. They continue to hold power even though the party is notoriously corrupt and also, under the current set up anyway, seems incapable of dealing effectively with Japan’s various economic policies. The LDP is able to keep control of the more important Lower House of the Diet (Parliament) not because the party is well respected, but because the system is structured such that the voter selects not really a party but an individual candidate, and because of their access to money and power, LDP candidates are skilled at constituency service and doing special favors for selected groups in their districts. Much of the politics of Japan has consisted of the various faction bosses in the LDP constantly vying with each other to see who will be the big boss. Thus, there are probably few tears shed among other LDP leaders over Hashimoto’s disgrace. I’ve seen speculation that the power struggle in the LDP will take the Japanese political leadership’s attention away from implementing economic reforms ?Ebut my own sense is that they don’t really worry that much about economic reform anyway, and that any new leadership will do pretty much whatever Hashimoto would have done. *Contact: Dennis Brown, 219-631-7367;
  • p. Invading species : Food needed to sustain the invading Eurasian ruffe (pronounced “rough”), a perch-related fish now inhabiting western Lake Superior and moving east, is abundant throughout the Great Lakes, according to Notre Dame aquatic ecologists in an article in the next issue of the Journal of Great Lakes Research. The finding could have dire consequences for native fish species. Ever since the appearance of this invading species in Lake Superior almost a decade ago, researchers have worried that the ruffe will outcompete yellow perch, a popular sport fish whose populations already are in decline in Lake Michigan, says Gary Lamberti , associate professor of biological sciences and one of the project’s principal investigators. “The fear is that the ruffe might put the death nail into perch as they invade into Lake Michigan,” he says. *Contact: Cynthia Day, 219-631-7367;
  • p. Northern Ireland : Tensions flaring up during the marching season in Northern Ireland were “almost inevitable considering the tumultuous events that the province has experienced this year,” says Andrew Reynolds , assistant professor of government and international studies at Notre Dame. “Nevertheless, the peace process remains robust with leading Unionist and Nationalist politicians finding common cause in trying to pour water on the conflict. Incidents, where disgruntled Unionists face off against the British Army and their Catholic charges, are certainly the first test of the robustness of the new Assembly. But the recent episodes of rioting may be little more than the death throws of a truculent strain of Unionism which has had its day and been replaced by a new, more pragmatic, Protestant mentality which recognizes that accommodation and compromise is the only hope for the future.” *Contact: Dennis Brown, 219-631-7367;
  • p. German elections : German Chancellor Helmut Kohl is facing a difficult fight in his bid for a fifth term, but Notre Dame political scientist A. James McAdams says it’s too early to count him out. “Kohl may lose the election, but if he does, it will be by a much closer margin than the polls currently suggest,” says McAdams, who was honored last year as the leading U.S. scholar of German politics. “Since becoming chancellor in 1982, and even earlier as leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Kohl has made a living out of having others underestimate him. German voters typically have been critical of the chancellor and his party in off years because of pronounced shortcomings in the economy ? in particular, high levels of unemployment ? and the CDU’s supposed dearth in political imagination. However, at federal election time, the voters’ conservative instincts repeatedly have led them to support Kohn and his party.” *Contact: Dennis Brown, 219-631-7367;
  • p. Clergywomen : The experiences of clergywomen in Protestant denominations are examined in a new book coauthored by Patricia Mei Yin Chang , assistant professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame. In “Clergy Women: An Uphill Calling” (Westminister John Knox Press), Chang and colleagues Barbara Brown Zikmund and Adair T. Lummis explore the callings and careers of the thousands of ordained women in Protestant churches in the United States. Their findings are based upon almost 5,000 surveys among 16 denominations ? the largest study ever of clergywomen in America ? and include analysis of employment prospects, income and satisfaction. Among their conclusions, the authors found that women clergy have greater difficulty finding employment, are more likely to hold part-time positions, and earn 9 percent less in salary than clergymen in the same denomination with similar experience and qualifications. Based upon an analysis of early career options and decisions, the authors also found that clergywomen are likely to experience very different career paths than clergymen. Despite the difficulties and continuing discrimination, the authors conclude that Protestant clergywomen demonstrate a strong sense of calling and continue to expand the definitions of ministry. *Contact: Dennis Brown, 219-631-7367;

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