Friday, March 29, 2013

Beta Gamma Sigma Ceremony Details with Parking Instructions

Dear Beta Gamma Sigma Inductees:


The Beta Gamma Sigma induction ceremony will take place this Tuesday, April 2nd at 5:00 p.m. in the JSOM Executive Dining Room.  It is expected to last around an hour and there will be refreshments following the ceremony.  The dress code for the event is business casual, do not feel obligated to wear a suit but please no jeans.  Basically, use your best judgment.  The Executive Education Dining Room is on the East side of the building through the double glass doors that are adjacent to the east bank of elevators.


Inductees: Please arrive at 4:30 p.m. so that we can check you in and place you in the lineup. Since parking is a challenge at this time of day, I suggest that you plan to arrive on campus earlier so that you have enough time to park and make it to the dining room. You could also have your guests drop you off close to the building, if possible, to save time for yourself.


I have attached a parking permit for LOT A or B Remote Parking only.  There will be shuttle that will take you directly to JSOM from that lot.  The shuttle will begin at 4:15 and go until 7:15 on a constant loop. I have also attached a campus map marking the shuttle route and a detailed image of the remote parking area.  Please make sure that your guests are aware of the parking rules to avoid getting a ticket. It is also an option for you or your guests could park in the metered parking and pay by the hour, the cost is $2 initiation and a $1 per hour charge.  There are paid meter parking spaces directly in front of our building that are typically open in the evening.


If you or your guests need any special accommodations in the room, please let me know.  We look forward to seeing you all on Tuesday at the ceremony.


Do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.





Jennylind Doyle

Graduate Programs – Dean’s Suite | JSOM 4.616

Naveen Jindal School of Management

The University of Texas at Dallas

800 West Campbell Rd., SM 40

Richardson, TX 75080

tel: 972.883.5840 | fax: 972.883.4095


~Think green, keep it on the screen~

Sunday, November 22, 2009

So Far, So Good

Republican Politics, American Style
Published on December 4th 2008 in Metro Éireann By Charles Laffiteau

Since it looks like my Cabinet predictions regarding the players in the incoming Obama administration came pretty close to the mark, today I want to discuss their implications for the Obama presidency as well as my dear “old” Republican Party.
Some of my Republican cohorts believe I was just another one of those poor souls who fell under Obama’s spell after drinking some Obama “kool-aid”. But when it comes to my country and domestic politics, I have always been a cold eyed realist. As such I am not given to dreamy visions of great things coming to pass as the result of the election of any one individual or the ascension to power of any political party.
The fact of the matter is, I spend very little time celebrating the triumphs of those I have supported politically because I have this annoying habit of immediately beginning to worry about what mistakes they are going to make and how soon they will make them. As a natural optimist, I know this may strike some people as being a somewhat cynical outlook, but it is nonetheless an attitude about American politics that has evolved over the years based on my past experience and many political disappointments. So ever since Obama’s election on 4 November, I have been closely watching the Obama Presidential transition and the Cabinet choices Obama is making for signs of impending problems.
In what I hope is a good sign for the future of the United States, I must confess that I have thus far been unable to find any fault with Obama’s decisions about who he plans to place in positions of power within his Presidential administration. In a notable departure from past Republican and Democratic administrations, Obama isn’t just giving jobs to his friends and political hacks from his party or the special interest groups that supported him. Not since the pre-Civil War day’s selection of William Seward by Abraham Lincoln, has a US President been so bold as to offer an important and highly visible Cabinet position like Secretary of State to his most bitter political rival.
While Obama’s unexpected courtship and selection of Hillary Clinton to be America’s top foreign policy official has been hailed by some as a shrewd political move to neutralize his top political opponent, I suspect it is more than just a savvy political decision. Let’s face it, unlike Lincoln’s pick of Seward; Hillary Clinton also brings a former President named Bill Clinton and all the attendant Clinton baggage with her as well. So I believe picking Clinton for this particular post is actually a clear demonstration of Obama’s confidence in himself as President and his commitment to surround himself with strong, smart political personalities who won’t hesitate to disagree with him.
Given the myriad of complex foreign and domestic crises the US is currently facing, the incoming President will need the best and brightest of its politicians and policy wonks to effectively deal with America’s problems. Some of my Republican colleagues have cynically noted that Obama has been picking the same old Washington DC “insiders” to help him govern instead of the outsiders one would expect from a President who promised he would change the way the US Federal Government operates.
Maybe I’m wrong and they will prove to be correct in this assessment. But I would counter with the argument that these experienced Washington hands are also more likely to get the new legislation the US needs to address its problems passed in Congress than outsiders unfamiliar with the way business gets done in our nation’s capital. Unfortunately many American’s, including those Republican’s who are so enamored of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, cling to the romantic notion that you need inexperienced fresh faces in Washington to shake things up and move the country forward.
They forget that President’s Carter and Clinton went that route and failed miserably while consummate Washington insiders like President’s Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon got landmark Civil Rights and Environmental Protection laws passed. Unlike President Clinton, Obama has decided that Tom Daschle will be both his Secretary of Health and Human Services as well as his White House health “czar”, a strategy that will avoid potential conflicts and ensure something gets done in this policy arena. Unlike President Bush, Obama is also bringing the brightest of both his personal friends and Washington insiders into his administration instead of a bunch of old buddies whose most outstanding qualities were their years of loyalty to him or partisan Republican ideology.
Thus far, none of Obama’s choices have been individuals who are considered overly partisan by most knowledgeable Republicans. People like Rahm Emanuel and Phil Schiliro have demonstrated expertise developing pragmatic solutions to address problems as well as the steps necessary to win support for them from opponents across the aisle. Indeed, they and the other open minded Washington insiders Obama has picked, like Peter Orzag as Budget Director and Eric Holder as Attorney General, are respected by Republicans and Democrats alike for their practicality, professionalism and honesty.
The dilemma for the Republican Party is going to be coming up with viable alternatives to the legislative solutions Obama’s experienced Washington insiders will be proposing in the very near future. But the Republican Party currently lacks leaders who can articulate a vision that addresses America’s foreign and domestic problems that is also significantly different than the failed policies of President Bush as well as those being proposed by President-elect Barack Obama.
While I am encouraged by what I have seen from President-elect Obama so far, I am under no illusions that he and his team have all the answers. In the long run I believe the interests of the American people are best served if President Obama and the Democratic Party have a strong Republican opposition party in Congress to prevent them from over-reaching in their attempts to fix the problems the US is facing. So next week I’ll discuss the Republican Party’s prospects in 2010 and beyond.

Global warming and how it is affecting Ireland’s weather

Republican Politics, American Style
Published on July 24th 2008 in Metro Eireann By Charles Laffiteau

In today’s column I want to discuss one of our favourite subjects here in Ireland….the weather and the impact of global warming on it. As some of you may recall (or may not wish to given how awful it was) last summer was Ireland’s wettest summer in the last 10 years and one of the wettest in Ireland’s history. It was also the coolest summer since 2002, but having said that, it was still one of the 10 warmest summers in Ireland’s recorded weather history, with temperatures averaging more than a half a degree higher than the average for the 30 years from 1961thru 1990.
Fortunately for those of us living in Ireland this year, at the half-way point in July it appears we will be spared a repeat of last summer’s 60 straight days of rain, which stretched from mid-June thru mid-August until we got a bit of “Indian Summer” relief during late August and September. But for those of us living in Dublin and eastern Ireland the summer of 2007 was the most miserable that even the oldest natives can ever remember. Furthermore, the Poulter index, (a more scientific method of determining how good or bad our summer weather was because it uses a formula based on mean temperature, rainfall and sunshine at weather station to quantify Ireland’s summer weather) showed the lowest (i.e. miserable) value for Dublin since 1986 and the fourth lowest value for Birr since they began measurements there almost a hundred years ago.
What I and I’m sure many others living in Ireland are wondering though is this; was last summer just a freak of nature (an aberration if you will) or was it a sign of what we have to look forward to in the coming years as a consequence of global warming?
In an attempt to answer this question I decided to do a bit of research, some of it unscientific, but the vast majority of it was based on real, hard, factual data that it would be nigh unto impossible for anyone to dispute. To put things in perspective lets review what has occurred so far this summer if for no other reason than it would appear to support the contention that last summer was just an aberration rather than a consequence of global warming we can expect to see more of in the future.
Last summer was foreshadowed by a lovely warm April and early June sandwiched around a fairly miserable month of May. Of course it turned out May was a harbinger for what most of the rest of last summer became, wet and wretched. Thus far this summer has been almost the reverse of last in that April was quite cool and the first half of June was both cool and rainy, while May was the driest it’s been in the last 15 years as well as the hottest May Ireland has seen in more than a century. Since the past month has also seen nothing like the 60 straight days of rain we saw last summer from mid-June onward, one could make a reasonable though unscientific case that last summer wasn’t a consequence of global warming but was just a natural seasonal anomaly.
Unfortunately, a closer look at Ireland’s historical weather patterns based on scientific measurements and other factual data leads one to conclude that such is probably not the case however. When viewed from a much broader perspective based on decades of weather research data, last summer is likely to be repeated more often than any of us living here in Ireland would care to see. This is due to the fact that last summer as well as this summer both fit within a pattern that has recently emerged which shows that Ireland is both wetter and hotter than it was 30 years ago. Both of these characteristics, wetter and hotter, are the unnatural consequences of global warming for the Emerald Isle.
But the fact that temperatures have gotten warmer and rainfall has increased over what it was 30 years ago isn’t what people living here in Ireland need to be concerned about. It’s the other consequences that are linked to this changing weather pattern that should concern all Irish residents because dealing with them won’t be as simple as buying a few more umbrellas or some lighter weight clothing.
Our wetter climate will result in increased soil erosion throughout the island as well as an increase in flooding and the damage to homes and businesses that comes with it. Our hotter climate will also lead to water shortages in some areas of the country, particularly when strong high pressure systems settle over the country.
This past May was exceptionally warm, especially over the western half of the country and temperatures rose above 20°C in many places around the country during the second week in May. In fact both April and May were relatively dry except in parts of the west, even though March and June were wetter than normal in most areas of the country.
A wetter and hotter Ireland will also continue to experience more extreme forms of weather just as Ireland’s neighbours to the east in the UK and on the continent are also confronting with increasing frequency. Tornados, which are common in the lower latitudes of my native land, and extremely high non-tornado wind gusts, have become an increasing danger in European countries over the last 10 years. Right here in Ireland the highest wind gust in the last 50 years, 73 knots (135km/hour), was recorded this year at both Valentia Observatory on March 10th and at Belmullet on March 11th.
Believe it or not, this summer’s June downpours and storms also broke long-standing records around the country according to Met Éireann, even though twice as much rain fell in June of last year. Furthermore Dublin was struck with the strongest winds it has seen in almost 30 years dating back to 1980. Next week I will discuss some more consequences.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

All Future Posts will be at The Bigger Picture website

All of my newspaper columns that were published under my byline of "Republican Politics, American Style" from October 2006 up to March 2009 are archived here. Beginning in March 2009 I changed my newspaper column byline to "The Bigger Picture" so all of my newspaper columns published from March 2009 to the current date are posted and archived at The Bigger Picture website. Here is a link for it:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Terrorists are simply Cowards

Republican Politics, American Style
Published on April 16th in Metro Éireann By Charles Laffiteau
Today I want to discuss Irish Republicans instead of American Republicans, even though Irish and American Republicans do share certain affinities including a propensity to use violence to advance their political agendas because they are bullies and cowards.
The word “coward” comes from an old French word coart (the modern French version is couard) and is a combination of the French word for “tail” and an agent noun suffix. It means “one with a tail” or one in the habit of turning it, and it was derived from a dog’s habit of putting its tail between its legs when it is afraid. A person who acts in a cowardly manner is someone who demonstrates a weak or ignoble lack of courage.
Research indicates that adults who bully have personalities that are authoritarian, combined with a strong need to control or dominate and that they use violence as a tool to conceal their shame or anxiety and to boost their self esteem by demeaning others. Risk factors for adult bullies include tendencies towards envy and resentment as well as quickness to anger and use force, addiction to aggressive behaviors, concern with preserving one’s self image and engaging in obsessive or rigid actions.
Bullies use aggressive behavior in an effort to perpetuate the myth that people who act this way are really tough people. But the truth about bullies is that they are weak, cowardly and inadequate people who cannot interact in a mature manner because they lack knowledge, experience, wisdom and emotional maturity. Bullies are actually fearful, dysfunctional, disordered, aggressive and emotionally retarded, which is why they resort to physical and or psychological violence to get their way. But many bullies are also very adept at manipulating the perceptions of other adults, who by their failures and inactions condone the bullying. The sad truth is that only very weak people have a need to bully.
Two thousand years ago the ancient Roman statesman, Lucius Annaeus Seneca, observed that “All cruelty springs from weakness” and “He who does not prevent a crime when he can, encourages it.” Seneca’s observations about the Roman Empire’s bullies and those who excuse their behaviour, square neatly with my own views regarding Irish nationalist bullies and their misguided Irish Republican Army supporters.
Unfortunately bullies or terrorists, call them what you will because there actually isn’t much of a difference, have been with us for thousands of years and so they are likely to still be around many years from now long after all of us have departed this earth. The only real difference between them is that terrorists are bullies who have also wrapped themselves in cloaks of religious, ethnic or nationalistic rhetoric so that they can justify their propensity for violence and solicit weak minded individuals to do their dirty work for them. Real leaders lead by example whereas terrorist leaders are simply cowards who manipulate others to do what they can’t or wouldn’t be stupid enough to do themselves.
Mind you, I’m not saying that there aren’t people living in this world who don’t have legitimate ethnic, political or religious grievances. Many dissident political, ethnic and religious minorities have suffered for centuries from the pernicious effects of overt and covert discrimination by those wielding political and or military power. But it is one thing to protest in a peaceful and non-violent manner against such unfairness and quite another to use these injustices as an excuse for cowardly and criminal violent behaviour.
The suicide bombers used by Tamil rebels, Islamic extremists and other terrorist groups are weak minded individuals who have been manipulated by terrorist leaders into thinking that murdering innocent individuals is a moral and justified act of self sacrifice. Hmmm. If killing others and yourself in the process is so moral and justified then why aren’t the terrorist leaders taking these actions themselves instead of manipulating others to so? Why don’t these terrorist bullies confront soldiers who are capable of defending themselves instead of stealthily attacking unarmed soldiers and civilians, then slinking away before they can be identified with their tails tucked between their legs?
The truth about terrorist leaders and those who do their bidding is that they are no different than drug lords and the criminals they employ. All they really want is power and to be a law unto themselves. They have no use for laws that would protect minorities or that would regard them as equal under the law with others, because they want to be above the law. They care nothing for other people; only for what those people can do for them, which is why they have so little regard for the lives of others and gladly sacrifice them.
There is no difference between Mexican drug lord Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman causing thousands of deaths in Mexico’s drug war and the thousands of deaths bin Laden is responsible for in his pseudo-religious political jihad. So what is the difference between John Gilligan sending his henchmen to murder an unarmed journalist and the IRA sending thugs to murder unarmed soldiers, policemen and pizza deliverymen? What they have in common is neither Gilligan nor these IRA thugs would ever dare to do their dirty work in anything but a cowardly manner.
Courage is the ability to confront fear, intimidation, pain, risk, danger, uncertainty and to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame or discouragement. Courage, real courage, means standing up against something or someone that is unjust or evil knowing that the consequences of your actions might lead to your death or imprisonment. Aristotle also notes that the vice which represents a deficiency of courage is cowardice.
People like Mahatma Gandhi, Veronica Guerin and Dr. Martin Luther King possessed true courage. On the other hand, what the IRA dissidents, Osama bin Ladens, John Gilligans and Joaquin Guzmans of this world have is a deficiency of courage; that vice Aristotle called cowardice. So next week I will discuss why extremists use religious reasons to justify their cowardly actions.

The economic future looks bright for America

Republican Politics, American Style
Published on April 9th in Metro Éireann By Charles Laffiteau
Given the short comings of the French approach to increasing its population (and thus its taxpaying workforce) that I cited in last weeks column, today I want to explore why America’s population is growing faster than that of any other developed country as well as the long term benefits America will realize as a result of this.
Unlike France, the American government doesn’t pay couples to have children, although it does provide parents with income tax deductions that partially subsidize the cost of child care and the expenses associated with raising children. But these income tax breaks are nowhere near as generous as the subsidies provided by France and other developed countries such as our Scandinavian neighbours. So why have America’s fertility and population growth rates now taken an upward trajectory when all the other developed countries’ fertility and population growth rates are on a downward trajectory?
If we take a closer look at America’s current demographic structure and the underlying characteristics of its fertility and population growth rates we can see that it is not skewed in favor of any one ethnic group. As one might expect the fertility rate of Hispanics is higher than that for other ethnic groups at 3.0, but the rate for non-Hispanic whites is 1.9 while the rate for African-Americans is 2.1.
America’s population growth is also fairly well balanced between growth driven by immigration and growth resulting from the birth and fertility rates of native-born Americans. That means America’s population growth isn’t subject to the destabilizing effects the addition of large numbers of immigrant workers and their families can have on a nation’s workforce and its social structures.
America’s steady and fairly balanced population growth will also continue to keep America’s population younger than the aging populations of other developed countries. Currently the median age in America is 36.6, but its 40.4 in Europe and Ireland is the only EU nation with a median age lower than the US at 34.6. According to Bill Frey, a demographer at the University of Michigan, the median age in America in 2050 will only be 37 while in Europe it will be almost 53. In other words, the difference between US and EU median ages is likely to rise from 4 to as much as16 years by 2050.
This means that Americans will have to continue to spend more than EU countries on education, but it also means that US taxpayers will have to shoulder a much lighter burden of retiree pension and healthcare costs than its EU and East Asia neighbours between now and 2050. Retiree benefit costs are expected to skyrocket in America and the developed countries of Europe and East Asia thanks to the retirements of post World War II baby boomers. As a result, US government debts could rise to a level almost equal to 100% of US national income by 2050. But government debts would rise to over 150% of income in East Asia and EU overall, and to over 250% in Germany and France.
A younger population will also result in lower labour costs for companies operating in the US and make American companies more productive and globally competitive. This is exactly what happened in Japan during the 1960s and 1970s when its workforce was younger than the US labour force and those lower labour costs helped Japanese companies become much stronger competitors around the world. Using current demographic trends, the number of people over 65 will be equivalent to 60% of the working-age population in Europe and Asia in 2050, compared to only 40% in America.
These huge economic impacts on countries with declining populations can best be addressed by encouraging more young people to immigrate to these countries. But except for the years between 1920 and 1970 when it was encouraged by France, immigration levels have always been low in European and Asian countries. So even if these countries suddenly decided to throw their doors open to immigrants, I think there is a good chance they won’t get the results they would be hoping for.
America is a nation of immigrants and 75% of all the people in the world who have ever emigrated from their native countries have moved to the United States. That’s why Kenneth Prewitt, former head of the US Census Bureau, argues that “in the struggle to find workers to support growing economies, nations that are hospitable to immigrants will have an advantage.” In other words, immigrants tend to go where they already have friends and or family waiting to welcome them and help them get jobs. So if you were an immigrant where would you prefer to move; to a youthful and multi-coloured America (where you likely know someone) or to an aging Europe with a 90%+ white population?
There are also military and geopolitical implications associated with the declining populations of countries in Europe and East Asia. Despite its promises to narrow its defense spending gap with America to address the military imbalance within NATO, ever since the end of the cold war Europe has chosen to increase spending on social programmes instead. As a result the United States now spends twice as much on military defense than the entire EU spends each year and that military imbalance is unlikely to ever be corrected. Why? Because if Europe is unwilling to spend what is needed on defense when people over 65 are only 30% of the working-age population, what do you expect Europe to do between now and 2050 when the proportion of 65 year olds doubles?
I would contend that anyone who thinks the United States’ economic, military and or political power has peaked and has already begun the same slow but inexorable decline that Rome and England experienced is making a big mistake. Thanks to its positive demographic trends, it is much more likely that America’s economic, military and political power will become even more solidly entrenched during the rest of this century. What other country has America’s potential?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fertility is a Good Thing

Republican Politics, American Style
Published on April 2nd in Metro Éireann By Charles Laffiteau
Today I want to discuss how the developed countries in Europe and other parts of the world can maintain their quality of life and pay for their escalating retiree pension and healthcare costs without raising the taxes of those who are still working.
There are many who will not agree with me or like what I am about to say but the only viable solution that I can see involves the three I’s of Immigration, Integration and Impregnation. That’s right. Immigration, Integration and Impregnation.
“Wait a minute. You mean to tell me that during these tough economic times our government should allow more of those poor people from developing countries into our country, even though they’ll be competing with some of us for jobs?” Yes, that’s right.
“Are you also telling me that we need to be hospitable towards these immigrants and that our government needs to make sure that these immigrants are treated equally with those of us who were born and raised in this country?” Yeah, you’re exactly right.
“Are you also suggesting we might want to consider having more children, which means we’ll have to spend our money raising them instead of on holidays, and that our government should spend more on schools and teachers to educate them?” Yep, sure am.
“Well I think your solution is bollocks! There is no way I’m going to sit by and allow more of ‘them’ into my country, much less allow my government to treat ‘them’ as equals and I’m not about to give up any of me pints or holidays so I can have more kids.”
OK. Then let’s talk about the alternative. How would you like to see your taxes increased so the government can pay for your pension and healthcare after you retire? Does increasing the VAT and or taxes on petrol, alcohol, fags and the like sound ok?
“No way am I going to stand for that. Everything I buy costs too much as it is.”
OK. Then how does increasing the income tax you pay to around 50% sound?
“No. That won’t work for me because my income taxes are already high enough.”
OK. Then what do you suggest the government do to increase its tax revenues?
“Make corporations and businesses pay more taxes and stop wasting money on feeding and housing ‘them’ immigrants. Start taking care of your own instead of everyone else’s and make our government agencies operate more efficiently.”
OK. Do you also have a plan to replace the jobs that will be lost when some of those corporations and businesses pull up their stakes and exit from this higher tax environment? How do you plan to prevent those businesses that remain in the country from raising their prices and passing along some or all of the costs associated with their higher tax bills? What about jobs for the people in the public sector who will be made redundant when the government decides to begin operating more efficiently? Will you tell your children they have to pay higher taxes than you paid to fund your retirement?
“Uh, no I don’t really have a plan to deal with that stuff but I’m sure there is one.”
Hmmm. Seems to me that the truth of the matter is you just want to have your cake and eat it too. Who wouldn’t like that? Unfortunately, the world doesn’t operate that way. There is a cost to be paid for everything and if you don’t want to pay higher taxes then the money to pay for your retirement and healthcare costs has to come from somewhere. But if you raise taxes on businesses, they will pass them along to you with higher prices and or move their jobs (and yours) out of the country. Cut back the public sector and you’ll have to find jobs for them somewhere else or have them go on the dole.
What I am proposing is that you consider an alternative involving increased levels of immigration coupled with enhanced integration and impregnation policies that will boost the population of your country and swell the number of people paying taxes. Those new immigrant taxpayers will supply your government with more tax revenues and they will enhance your country’s overall economic activity, which will then create even more new jobs. Then your government won’t have to raise the VAT or income taxes you pay now or the taxes that your children will be paying years from now after you have retired.
“I don’t know, I still don’t like the idea of letting more of ‘them’ into our country. We have too many of them as it is and the ones that work are taking jobs away from us. Why shouldn’t we just pay our country’s women to have more kids like France does?”
Well you make a good point there. In France, the payments and subsidies for working women and couples to have more children have indeed increased that country’s birth and fertility rates. But there is also a downside to subsidizing childbirth that I think you have overlooked. The government funds that encourage childbirth come from the same basket the government uses to finance pensions and health services for retirees. Since France’s baby boomers will soon be retiring, this means that population growth will have to be large enough to provide for both increasing payments for children as well as retirees. But I doubt it will be enough to cover both because France’s fertility rate still falls short of the replacement level of 2.1 children. This means that a substantial part of the financial burden of paying for both will fall upon future generations in the form of higher taxation.
But there is another alternative to governments paying their nation’s working women to have more children that can also lead to replacement level fertility rates as well as a large enough increase in population to pay for increased retiree costs. I will discuss this American approach in more detail next week.