Volume 6 (2009)

State Policy Response to School Shooting Tragedies

Heath Brown, PhD

This paper contributes to the literature on state policy change and gun policy. Through the use of aggregate grades of state gun policies, this paper overcomes the tendency in the literature to examine policy adoptions and neglect post-adoption policy change. The paper finds that, despite mass media coverage and open discussion about gun policies, school shootings such as the ones at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech do not lead to any real change in policy at the state level.

China’s Energy Efficiency Dilemma: Challenges in Achieving State Mandated Targets for Improved Energy Usage

Christine Osowski

Faced with rising energy costs, energy supply shortages and increasing environmental and health impacts from pollution, the leadership in Beijing appears to have reached a consensus on the need to improve the country’s energy usage. This article explores four key challenges the Chinese central government will contend with as it aims to improve energy efficiency: the competing objective of economic growth, an array of agencies with overlapping responsibilities for energy policy, limited central government control over local governments, and a weak regulatory environment. Without addressing the underlying problems of policy enforcement, the extent to which China will be able to achieve its energy goals remains uncertain.

The Oregon Health Plan–From Boom to Bust

Linnea Laestadius

In 1993 Oregon received permission from the U.S. Health Care Financing Administration to reform its state Medicaid program through the use of a prioritized list of services. The movement away from market based rationing in favor of rationing services based on shared community values remains a unique experiment in U.S. Medicaid reform. This article explores the politics and policy involved in the development and evolution of the Oregon Health Plan, as well as the challenges to sustaining reform in the face of a financial downturn.

Azerbaijan at a Crossroads: Unlocking the Caspian’s Natural Gas Wealth

Brian Holuj

Countries throughout the world are increasingly reliant on a limited cohort of suppliers to meet their natural gas needs. Azerbaijan, which has long been a source of oil, is just beginning to exploit its vast natural gas reserves and potential as an energy corridor. It may serve as the catalyst for a new alternative to Russia’s vast natural gas network, thus allowing Caspian producers to directly meet the needs of European consumers. This prospect would stabilize Eurasian energy markets by diversifying trading partners and pipeline routes, as well as link countries that had previously been divided along Cold War boundaries in an unprecedented economic and strategic relationship. The following is an assessment of Azerbaijan’s central role in the emerging geopolitical contest for Caspian gas.

The Status of Amelioration at U.S. Law Schools: Opportunity for Advocacy

Naomi Goldberg and Malisa Lee

In 1993 Congress passed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which made official the U.S. military’s policy of refusing to recruit and employ openly gay individuals. Some law schools barred military recruiters’ access to campuses, and in response, Congress passed the Solomon Amendment, making the receipt of federal funding conditional on the equal treatment of military recruiters on campus. Because “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” violates nondiscrimination policies adopted by American Association of Law Schools (AALS) and its member institutions, AALS requires member schools to mitigate the presence of military recruiters on campus. This paper evaluates the status of amelioration efforts to alleviate the effects of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and makes recommendations for additional action. Furthermore, the authors argue that post-secondary institutions should also engage in efforts to challenge the constraints of the Solomon Amendment and ultimately advocate for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

After the Tigers: Moving Beyond the Legacy of Violence in Sri Lanka

Josh Linden

In 1976, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) began their ascent toward becoming the most powerful and influential Tamil separatist organization in Sri Lanka. The Tamil separatist movement aspired to achieve an independent state in northern Sri Lanka for ethnic Tamils, a minority on the island. Among their many grievances against the Sinhalese majority, Tamils separatists cited exclusionary politics, repressive policies, and human rights violations. The LTTE, acting ostensibly on behalf on the larger Tamil community, engaged the Sri Lankan Army in civil war in 1983. However, after nearly 26 years of separatist struggle, the LTTE surrendered in 2009, ending the war. But Tamil grievances remain, and new policies by the U.S. and Sri Lankan governments must be considered to foster a successful reconciliation.

The Nationalization and Commercialization of Ghanaian Folklore

Kathleen Ludewign

Folklore is an integral component of a nation’s cultural identity. For over thirty years the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) have advised developing countries to implement special protection for folklore within their local copyright legislation. In 2005, Ghana passed its second copyright act that enacted such protection for folklore and became the first country to extend that framework to include a domestic tax on folklore. The 2005 law attempted to enforce stronger penalties for unauthorized foreign use of Ghanaian folklore. The same law, however, discourages commercial adaptation of Ghana’s folklore by its own citizens. The controversial law, which has yet to be enacted by the Ghanaian president, demonstrates the legal, political, and economic challenges in using copyright law to safeguard folklore both domestically and abroad. Overall, the law’s vague definition of folklore, inactive national folklore inventory, and lack of reciprocity for foreign folklore render Ghana’s copyright exception for folklore ineffective in its present form.