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Laura Weir - Graduate Student and Lecturer in Political Science at Case Western Reserve University

Friday April 25, 2008
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Crawford Hall - Room 9
Inamori Center
Case Western Reserve University

The headlines out of Iraq refer to Shi'a and Sunni, Kurds and Arabs. In the past they would have referred to nationalists and communists, or perhaps "conservatives" and "reformers." In Jordan, the labels include Palestinians and non-Palestinians, West Bank-ers and East Bank-ers. Yet labels based on ideology or even national and geographic origin may disguise the true bases of loyalty, alliance, and rivalry. The most stable bases for loyalty and rivalry are personal obligations and exchanges within social groups. In much of the world, the basic unit of loyalty within much of society is still the tribe.

Laura Weir is completing her Ph.D. research on Jordanian politics. Her case study of Jordanís recent election provides a snapshot for understanding why tribal politics is important; in what ways and to what extent tribes facilitate or retard political interaction; and how the tribal aspects of politics are developing over time. Her case study explores how tribal politics has contributed to the longevity of authoritarian rulers. At a time when the U.S. military is cutting deals with sheikhs to stabilize sections of Iraq, her research on Jordan should provide a good basis for discussion of the broader challenges facing U.S. policy in the region.

The Friday Lunch is a brown-bag event open to all.  Cookies and some beverages are provided

Our gathering on April 25 concludes the Friday Public Affairs Discussions for the 2007-2008 Academic Year. We will meet again at the beginning of Fall Semester 2008, on August 29. Joe White would like to especially thank the generous participants who contributed for the costs of refreshments this year. He is also extremely grateful to the speakers who so kindly led discussions; to colleagues who have moderated discussions; and to our regular participants who keep the discussion going.

Please contact Joe at to suggest any speakers for the 2008-2009 series of discussions, or to suggest any ways to improve as we near the 20th year. We will resume sending out weekly announcements in August. When we begin again, if you have announcements that you would like us to add to the sidebar, please send the information to Joe. If you would prefer not to receive the announcements, please inform Dr. Andrew Lucker, Associate Director of the Center for Policy Studies, by e-mail (

Friday Lunch and Other Public Affairs Upcoming Topics and Speakers:

The Friday Lunch discussions are held on the lower (ground) level of Crawford Hall.  Visitors with mobility issues may find it easiest to take advantage of special arrangements we have made.  On most Fridays, a few parking spaces in the V.I.P. lot in between Crawford Hall and Amasa Stone Chapel are held for participants in the lunch discussion. 

Visitors then can avoid walking up the hill to the first floor of Crawford by entering the building on the ground level, through the garage area under the building.  The further door on the left in that garage will be left unlocked during the period before the Friday lunch.  On occasion, parking will be unavailable because of other university events.

For more information about these and other Center for Policy Studies programs, please see

April 21, 2008

A weekly newsletter published by the Center for Policy Studies, Case Western Reserve University. If you would like to not receive this weekly e-mail or you would like to submit items for inclusion please send a notice to:

Check out the university’s community outreach activities

Upcoming Events

Global Warming Discussion with Christopher Horner

College Republicans are hosting Christopher C. Horner on Tuesday, April 22nd, in Nord 310 at 7:30 p.m. He serves as a Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute where he is Counsel for the Cooler Heads Coalition. A frequent contributor to the Washington Times, National Review Online and TechCentralStation opinion pages, Mr. Horner has testified to the U.S. Senate Committees on Foreign Relations and on Environment and Public Works; has represented CEI and Members of the House and Senate in environmental litigation in the federal courts including the Supreme Court; and has represented CEI and members of the House and Senate on matters of environmental policy in the federal courts, including the Supreme Court. Mr. Horner is also the author of and is the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism (Regnery, 2007), which spent many weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List and was rated a Top 100 Customersí Favorite for 2007 on

Newborn Screening for Nontreatable Disorders

Donald B. Bailey Distinguished Fellow RTI (Research Triangle Institute) International; Jeffrey R. Botkin, MD, MPH Professor of Pediatrics University of Utah School of Medicine; Ellen W. Clayton, MD, JD Rosalind E. Franklin Professor of Genetics and Health Policy Vanderbilt University; R. Rodney Howell, MDProfessor of Pediatrics Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Florida; Marvin Natowicz, MD, PhD Vice Chairman, Genomic Medicine Institute Pediatric Geneticist, Clinical Pathologist, Neurologist
Cleveland Clinic

May 2, 2008, 1:00-5:00 p.m., Whitehall Room, Renaissance Hotel, 24 Public Square, Cleveland, OH 44113; Registration is required.

Newborn screening began in the 1960’s after physician Robert Guthrie developed a test for PKU, a disorder that can be treated effectively if detected soon after birth. Massachusetts adopted newborn screening on a voluntary basis in 1962, but after President Kennedy’s Advisory Committee on Mental Retardation recommended mandatory screening, states began to require it, and it is now compulsory in all states.

Historically, newborn screening has been done for conditions which, if not treated immediately or at least early in life, can be serious or fatal. But the development of faster and cheaper technologies enable screening for far greater numbers of disorders and now, public health experts are calling for newborns to be screened for non-treatable disorders -- disorders that either are not treatable at all or that can be treated successfully later in life when they show up. Advocates argue it could spare families years of uncertainty once symptoms emerged; alert them to be on the watch for discoveries of treatments; provide children with adjunctive interventions; and facilitate participation in research. But there is a further rationale they offer that is more controversial: it can cause parents to avoid having another child with the same disorder.

This rationale is troubling in that it has eugenic overtones. Screening is mandatory, and the state may impose it on parents over their objection. The Nebraska Supreme Court has even held that parents may not object to screening on religious grounds. Nontreatable disorders would be included in part to discourage parents from giving birth to additional children who might become a burden on society. This is the same excuse that was given in the past to justify forced sterilization programs and other ethically unacceptable practices designed to rid the world of undesirable people.

Cosponsored by the Law Medicine Center at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence & Center for Genetic Research, Ethics & Law (CGREAL)

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