York prof deconstructs Obama’s Nobel speech

The National Post on Dec. 11 asked several experts to critique the highlights of US President Barack Obama’s speech accepting his Nobel Peace Prize. Among them were Stephen Newman, political science professor in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. HIs take:

Throughout the speech, Obama attempts to marry a moral commitment to human dignity – a commitment that he affirms is, or ought to be, universal – with a hard-headed realism concerning the inevitability of conflict.

The previous administration was moralistic without being moral and hard-headed without being realistic about the nature of the threats we face. Obama’s idealism is characteristically American, yet uncharacteristically modest.

Couples are too broke to bicker

There may be a silver lining to the recession that’s gutting our jobs and gobbling up our savings. It’s too expensive to divorce, so couples are toughing it out, according to an American study, wrote the Brantford Expositor Dec. 11.

York University sociology Professor Emerita Anne-Marie Ambert, who just wrote a report on divorce in Canada, said the drop in the US divorce rate could be just a fluke. “(The National Marriage Project) may be right but it could just be purely a coincidence.”

Etobicoke-Finch West LRT to open in 2015

There is overwhelming general support for the Etobicoke-Finch West Light Rail Transit line, wrote the Etobicoke Guardian Dec. 10, in a story about the $1.2-billion project.

The 18-kilometre at-grade route will link Finch station with northern Etobicoke, provide direct service to Humber College’s north campus and could be extended to Mississauga, Woodbine Racetrack or Pearson Airport. By late 2015, Etobicoke-Finch West LRT riders will also be able to connect to the planned 8.6-kilometre Spadina subway extension through York University.

Canadian universities look to recruit from China

Representatives from 14 Canadian universities [including York University]…will try to attract Chinese doctoral students to their schools during a recruitment mission in Beijing starting today, competing with institutions from eight other countries, wrote The Canadian Press Dec. 11.

On air

  • Ian Roberge, political science professor at Glendon, spoke about the difficult parliamentary session that just ended for the provincial Liberals, on Radio-Canada Ottawa Dec. 10.
  • Peter Victor, economics professor in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, spoke about discussions around emissions trading at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, on CBC Radio Toronto Dec. 10.