Notre Dame ReSources

Author: Dennis Brown

Notre Dame ReSources
March 9-15, 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” />

Dollar Bill: From his 1992 campaign slogan “It’s the economy, stupid” to his “Show me the money” reelection effort last year, President Clinton has kept fiscal considerations first and foremost, says Robert Schmuhl , professor of American studies at Notre Dame. “Taken together, these two phrases do much to explain Bill Clinton and how he sees the world,” Schmuhl wrote in an op-ed for the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Since assuming office in 1993, the president has often been criticized for vacillation and inconsistency. He sails, the charge goes, with prevailing winds of public opinion. Viewed more comprehensively, however, there’s a Clinton constant – a compass, if you will – and it’s the significance of economic or money-related concerns to almost everything he does in terms of policy and political activity. In short, a dollar sign isn’t far from any decision he makes.” (219) 631-7316; schmuhl.1@nd.edu. * .p. *Staples/Office Depot: The Federal Trade Commission’s decision this week to block the announced merger of Staples and Office Depot is a “no-brainer,” says Joseph Bauer , professor of law at Notre Dame. “If the FTC didn’t enforce this one they would have to go out of business,” said Bauer, an expert in the areas of antitrust and trade regulation. “There have been several studies in this case that make it clear the presence of competitors brings down prices. When you take the largest and second-largest office supply companies and merge them, you are simply going to lose all the competition that provides. This is a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned.” (219) 631-6519. p. President’s Summit: The President’s Summit for America’s Future, April 27-29 in Philadelphia, promises to be an “exciting event in which those of us in higher education can work together with business, government, religious groups, service agencies and other sectors of society to coordinate community service opportunities nationwide,” says Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C. , president of Notre Dame. “I know personally the value of community service; that it can, in fact, be a life-changing experience,” says Father Malloy, whose participation in a Notre Dame summer service program led to his decision to become a priest. “The President’s Summit is an ideal opportunity for all of us who share concern for the less fortunate in this country to bring our collective energy together for the common good. I am looking forward with great optimism to participating in this event individually and institutionally.” (219) 631-6755 p. Note: Six organizations at Notre Dame – the Alumni Association Community Service Program, Community Relations, the Alliance for Catholic Education, Holy Cross Associates, the Center for Social Concerns and the athletic department’s Life Skills Program – have made specific service and programming commitments to the summit. For more information, call (219) 631-7367. p. Oklahoma City case: The faked confession planted by the attorneys of Oklahoma City bombing suspect Timothy McVeigh is a violation of the legal profession’s code of conduct, says Thomas Shaffer , the Short Professor of Law at Notre Dame. “The rules of professional conduct were most recently established by the American Bar Association in 1983 and were adopted by most states,” says Shaffer, one of the nation’s leading legal ethicists. “As they apply to this situation, the rule states that in the ‘course of representing a client, a lawyer shall not make a false statement of material fact or law to a third person.’ In other words, you’re not to deceive people. Of course, if you’re really honest about it, many people who are able to get to the root of a dilemma do so by tricking someone. This kind of deception puts a squeeze on everyone in American culture.” (219) 631-7250 p. Cloning: President Clinton’s decision to impose a ban on federal funds for human cloning experiments is “responding in a visceral way” to the issue, says Harvey Bender , professor of biological sciences at Notre Dame and director of the Regional Genetics Center in South Bend. “Cloning, or nuclear transfer, is much ado about nothing,” he says. “Even though it is a technical tour de force, the practicalities are such that it is not going to move forward. This is tough work to do; it’s very laborious and a technical tiger. Not many research groups want to gear up for it because the cost is so prohibitive. I’m impressed with the technical skill that has been shown, but I’m not worried that there will be some new paradigm for replacing the modalities of human reproduction.” (219) 631-7075 or 631-5582 .p. Other sources: Rev. Richard McCormick, S.J., O’Brien Professor of Christian Ethics, (219) 631-7513 ; Phillip Sloan, professor in the Program of Liberal Studies and director of the History and Philosophy of Science Program, (219) 631-5015; sloan.1@nd.edu. * .p. *Jackie Robinson: While marking the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s breaking the color barrier in major league baseball, fans also should take a moment to remember where Robinson and other African-American baseball stars came from, Notre Dame historian Richard Pierce says. “Robinson’s destruction of the ‘color line’ also was the beginning of the end for the Negro Leagues,” says Pierce, a specialist in African-American history. “Robinson not only took the hopes and aspirations of his race, he also took the fans and black media with him to the major leagues and away from the Negro National and American Leagues. It is no coincidence that the Dodgers set National League home and road attendance records for the 1947 season. Attendance by blacks at Ebbets Field rose 400 percent in Robinson’s first season. It is impossible to overestimate the pride African-Americans have for Jackie Robinson. But the ultimate demise of the Negro Leagues was a loss of one of the most visible cultural elements of black communities.” (219) 631-7191; pierce.15@nd.edu * .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 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

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