Notre Dame ReSources

Author: Dennis Brown

Notre Dame ReSources
February 16-22, 1997

Please feel free to call the following Notre Dame faculty for additional comment on these people and events in the news: <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />

p. Kenneth Starr: The sudden announcement by Kenneth Starr that he will step down as special prosecutor does not signal an end to investigations into Whitewater and other matters surrounding the Clinton administration, according to Douglas Kmiec, professor of law at Notre Dame. “I am confident, knowing Ken and the dean appointment process at Pepperdine, that Ken’s appointment as dean does not signify a premature conclusion of the Whitewater investigation, nor even Ken’s continuing involvement in that investigation should the integrity of the investigation warrant his personal involvement beyond August 1 of this year,” says Kmiec, who served in a visiting chair in the Pepperdine Law School in 1995-96. “It’s far too early to break out the champagne glasses in the Oval Office.” (219) 631-6981; * p. *James Earl Ray: There is no good reason to try James Earl Ray for the murder of Martin Luther King; he’s already been proved guilty, says G. Robert Blakey, O’Neill Professor of Law at Notre Dame and chief counsel for the House Select Committee on Assassinations that concluded in 1979 that Ray killed King on April 4, 1968. “The only interesting thing about a trial would be if Ray revealed he had conspirators,” Blakey says. “To determine if he’s guilty, that’s already been done. In addition, we firmly concluded that it was not true that the government contributed to Dr. King’s death. We could never connect James Earl Ray to the FBI, the CIA or any other government agency.”p. “There are two levels to discuss in this case. One is legal, and that’s over. He’s been found guilty. The other is the politics of it, and my view is that instead of a trial we should be spending our time and resources working on poverty, discrimination, education, jobs, opportunities and other areas of injustice against African-Americans.” (219) 631-5717 p. Academy Awards: The large number of “art-house” films nominated for Academy Awards reflects a new dualism in Hollywood, says James Collins, associate professor of communication and theatre at Notre Dame. “What’s going on in Hollywood is that for the first time you are seeing two very different kinds of filmmaking enjoying great popularity,” says Collins. "The golden age of the ‘art-house’ films was the 1960s. Then came the blockbuster films like ‘Jaws.’ Then, in the late ‘80s, there were concerns about the costs associated with blockbusters, and you started to see films like ’sex, lies and videotape.’ But this past summer proved the blockbuster is still alive and well, with films such as ‘Twister’ and ‘Independence Day.’ Yet at the same time the ‘art-house’ film has probably never been as popular.p. "Part the reason for this is what has been called the ‘Miramax factor.’ During the late ‘80s and early ’90s, when it was hard to find ’art-house’ films, Miramax specialized in picking up those they thought had some crossover potential – like ‘My Left Foot’ and ‘The Crying Game.’ Then, Miramax was bought by Disney and so now they can not only distribute films like those, but also can produce them – films like ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘The Piano’ and ‘The English Patient.’p. “The other important piece of this puzzle is the whole idea of niche audiences. Hollywood always has known about the teen niche, but now they’ve discovered others. It’s all led to a really exciting period in the film business.” (219) 631-7161 p. Ecuador: The political crisis in Ecuador has brought with it “some very positive developments,” says Scott Mainwaring, chair and professor of government and international relations at Notre Dame. “First, the congress found a way to constitutionally depose a president whose base of support had seriously eroded. The Ecuadoran constitution is flawed in making it so easy to remove a president, but it’s vastly better to be able to remove one constitutionally than to have a democratic breakdown. It’s also healthy to be able to remove a president whose base of support has dangerously eroded. Before the current wave of democracy beginning in 1978 in Latin America, this kind of situation would almost surely have resulted in a coup. Second, the military respected the constitution and didn’t undertake a coup. Not only that, it insisted publicly that other actors follow the constitution. And finally, the congress acted responsibly to solve a crisis in a region where legislatures are often in disrepute.” (219) 631-8530; * .p. *Cuba: The U.S. decision to allow news organizations to open bureaus in Cuba isn’t a “big deal,” according to Martin Murphy, chair and associate professor of anthropology at Notre Dame. “I don’t see this as being very important,” says Murphy, who visits the island several times each year. “The news media have been able to report from Cuba before, so I don’t think this will really change sentiment in the United States one way or the other.” (219) 631-5547


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