PHILADELPHIA –- Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania, has been selected by President Obama to chair the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. As head of the commission, Gutmann, president of Penn since 2004 and a prominent political scientist, will advise the President on a range of bioethical issues.
The commission will work with the goal of identifying and promoting policies and practices to ensure that scientific research, health-care delivery and technological innovation are conducted in an ethically responsible manner.
As Penn's president, Gutmann has been a forceful advocate for access to higher education, for dismantling the boundaries among academic disciplines and for increasing student and faculty engagement with communities both domestically and across the globe.
The official White House announcement of Gutmann’s appointement is at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/president-obama-establishes-new-presidential-commission-study-bioethical-issues-nam.
Book overview (from Google Books)
"We are all familiar with the image of the immensely clever judge who discerns the best rule of common law for the case at hand. According to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a judge like this can maneuver through earlier cases to achieve the desired aim--"distinguishing one prior case on his left, straight-arming another one on his right, high-stepping away from another precedent about to tackle him from the rear, until (bravo!) he reaches the goal--good law." But is this common-law mindset, which is appropriate in its place, suitable also in statutory and constitutional interpretation? In a witty and trenchant essay, Justice Scalia answers this question with a resounding negative.
In exploring the neglected art of statutory interpretation, Scalia urges that judges resist the temptation to use legislative intention and legislative history. In his view, it is incompatible with democratic government to allow the meaning of a statute to be determined by what the judges think the lawgivers meant rather than by what the legislature actually promulgated. Eschewing the judicial lawmaking that is the essence of common law, judges should interpret statutes and regulations by focusing on the text itself. Scalia then extends this principle to constitutional law. He proposes that we abandon the notion of an everchanging Constitution and pay attention to the Constitution's original meaning. Although not subscribing to the "strict constructionism" that would prevent applying the Constitution to modern circumstances, Scalia emphatically rejects the idea that judges can properly "smuggle" in new rights or deny old rights by using the Due Process Clause, for instance. In fact, such judicial discretion might lead to the destruction of the Bill of Rights if a majority of the judges ever wished to reach that most undesirable of goals.
This essay is followed by four commentaries by Professors Gordon Wood, Laurence Tribe, Mary Ann Glendon, and Ronald Dworkin, who engage Justice Scalia's ideas about judicial interpretation from varying standpoints."
Book overview (from Google Books)
"Written by one of America's leading political thinkers, this is a book about the good, the bad, and the ugly of identity politics.Amy Gutmann rises above the raging polemics that often characterize discussions of identity groups and offers a fair-minded assessment of the role they play in democracies. She addresses fundamental questions of timeless urgency while keeping in focus their relevance to contemporary debates: Do some identity groups undermine the greater democratic good and thus their own legitimacy in a democratic society? Even if so, how is a democracy to fairly distinguish between groups such as the KKK on the one hand and the NAACP on the other? Should democracies exempt members of some minorities from certain legitimate or widely accepted rules, such as Canada's allowing Sikh members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to wear turbans instead of Stetsons? Do voluntary groups like the Boy Scouts have a right to discriminate on grounds of sexual preference, gender, or race?
Identity-group politics, Gutmann shows, is not aberrant but inescapable in democracies because identity groups represent who people are, not only what they want--and who people are shapes what they demand from democratic politics. Rather than trying to abolish identity politics, Gutmann calls upon us to distinguish between those demands of identity groups that aid and those that impede justice. Her book does justice to identity groups, while recognizing that they cannot be counted upon to do likewise to others.
Clear, engaging, and forcefully argued, Amy Gutmann's Identity in Democracy provides the fractious world of multicultural and identity-group scholarship with a unifying work that will sustain it for years to come."
Book overview (from Google Books)
Faculty from the University of Pennsylvania's School of Arts and Sciences, School of Law and School of Medicine discuss emerging issues, ethics and options related to recent advances in neuroscience.
Sloan, Dan. "The Wizard of Oz Unmasked at the President." The New York Times, 25 December 1990. Published November 25, 1990. 28 November 2008 <http://proxy.library.upenn.edu:2101/us/lnacademic/auth/checkbrowser.do?ipcounter=1&cookieState=0&rand=0.7210335993701273&bhcp=1>.
This article, published by The New York Times, in 1990, is a reflection on the network television program entitled "The Dreamer of Oz." This show intended to discover the man behind the story, L. Frank Baum, and the origins of Dorothy's magical adventure through Oz. The author of this article, however, was disappointed with the limited references to Baum's political stances in the program and, therefore, proceeds here by exploring them himself. Sloan predominantly references Littlefield's work "The Wizard of Oz: Parable on Populism," and points out the allegorical symbols represented by each of the main characters in The Wizard of Oz. The second last line of this article, however, is the most significant. It reads: "Had Baum lived exactly one century later, his ‘Wizard of Oz,' with just about all the same characters in place, would be as timely." Sloan suggests that Baum's work, and specifically his representation of the President through the Wizard, is timeless.
Sloan's article helps allow for the application of Baum's symbolism in other eras. While this article addresses 1990 as a year in which the political landscape possibly mirrored that of the late 1890s, this article is also relevant to the 1930s/1940s. Sloan says that the Wizard "acted and spoke in a manner that made him appear just as the people wanted him to," which mirrored "Baum's cynical view of all politicians." In 1939, when the film was released, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President. He aimed to be everything to everyone and solve everyone's problems; therefore, it is possible to conclude that the Wizard in the film represents the then current President of the United States, just as in Baum's story the Wizard symbolized president McKinley. The timelessness of The Wizard of Oz is part of what makes the story so alluring. No matter the era in American history, it is feasible to apply at least some of the symbols from the book to the current decade.
On July 29, 2008, Joe Kennedy, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Pandora Media, Inc., gave a testimony on “Music and Radio in the 21st Century: Assuring Fair Rates and Rules Across Platforms.” Pandora has become the largest internet radio service in the US with more than 15 million registered users. It is located in Oakland, California, and employs about 140 people. Pandora uses a unique music taxonomy known as the Music Genome Project, which aggregates songs with musical similarities. Pandora treats all artists equally and relies only on musical relevance to connect songs.
Kennedy testified on behalf of Pandora and the Digital Media Association. He urged a revision to the Copyright Act that would ensure fairness among all participants in the music industry. Kennedy’s testimony gave a description of the four main problems Pandora and other internet radio services currently face. The first is the matter of basic fairness in determining royalty rates. Kennedy strongly recommends the four factors standard test found in Section 801 of the Copyright Act, which has proven successful in the past. Kennedy emphasizes that internet radio services have the smallest of all radio revenue streams, but they are the ones who pay the highest royalties. Kennedy states, “There is no possible way that Pandora or our sophisticated investors would be a "willing buyer" of sound recording performance rights at a cost equaling nearly 70% of our revenue – because that royalty level is simply unsustainable and will bankrupt us and force the layoff of our 140 employees.”
The second problem Kennedy reports is consumer recording. SoundExchange and recording industries claim “streamripping” is an issue, although Kennedy states there is no evidence or justification for this. Pandora is a business aimed at programming and promoting music, and no additional technological fees should be made for this purpose. The third issue Kennedy brings up is resolving the confusion of “interactive service.” The definition of this term should allow programming based on the listener’s preference. Kennedy defends Pandora by explaining that listeners have no control over the song or artist that will be played, therefore they are not violating statutory law. The fourth point Kennedy discusses is the royalties on sound recordings reproductions. While typical radio stations require only one copy of the sound recording, webcasters need several copies in order to accommodate different technology services and access speeds. Kennedy remarks that internet radio services should not have to pay a fee for these copies, since they do not have any additional value.
Kennedy concludes his testimony with a last plea for the equalization of royalty standards. “…so that fair competition prevails and Pandora and other DiMA member companies can grow and realize the full potential that Internet radio offers.”
This testimony is an extremely useful source for my paper. It offers a complete description of the royalty issues Pandora is facing directly from the point of view of the president of Pandora. The four main points that Kennedy brings up are also key topics for my paper, since I am defending that the new royalty ruling is unfair. It was extremely interesting to read this direct testimony from Kennedy, and it will definitely help defend the argument of my paper.
In May 2008, Dr. Amy Gutmann, Penn President, met with students from the Harlem Village Academy to talk about student financial aid and the Penn Compact, Penn's efforts to increase access, integrate knowledge, and engage locally and globally with communit