Update from the Schemel Forum

It’s now week three of this semester’s Schemel Forum on the American Presidency, and the debates just keep getting more interesting.  Today, we were talking about the extents of executive power, and two of the philosophers present mentioned John Locke‘s views on the power of a sovereign.  Locke wrote in his Treatises of Government that a sovereign could act beyond the law under certain conditions – for example, if no laws yet existed to provide rules for a certain circumstance, or if the preservation of the public welfare were at stake.  The hope was that the sovereign would be a wise enough ruler that these decisions could safely be left up to his discretion.  We talked about how this idea could apply to the American presidency today – how far can the president go beyond stated laws in a time of emergency to protect the public?

We only have two weeks left, and lots of material left to cover.  I’m anxious to hear the debates about executive privilege and “signing statements.” The last session on Guantanamo Bay also promises to be intriguing.

If you’re interested in the Schemel Forum, now is a great time to sign up for two of the upcoming Forums — Dr. William V. Rowe from the University of Scranton’s philosophy department will present a five-week forum in October on “Think World: Reflections on our Times,” and Father McKinney, also from the philosophy department, will present a three-week forum in November called “The Role of Drama in the Jesuit Tradition.”  For more information, or to sign up to participate, contact Kym Fetsko at 570-941-7816.

Twilight… in Scranton

  They’re here!!

  Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series is now available in the Weinberg Memorial Library, in the Ed Lab (3rd floor).  Special thanks to our Cataloging and Acquisitions staff, who got the books in and on the shelves so quickly!  Students have already checked out two of the books in the series, but Breaking Dawn and New Moon are still available – for now. You can see whether or not they’ve been snapped up and checked out by searching our Library catalog at http://wml.scranton.edu/search.

If you haven’t yet heard about the Twilight series, you can read about the phenomenon in a Washington Post article here.

Word on the street is that Stephenie Meyer is the new J.K. Rowling  (author of the Harry Potter series).  What’s the word on campus?  Does Twilight live up to the hype?

Google is all about Chrome

The buzz in the tech world this week is all about Chrome, Google’s new browser.  The browser industry has long been dominated by Internet Explorer (with bits of the market being taken up by Firefox, Safari, and Opera), but rumor has it that Google’s new product might take over.

You can learn about Chrome’s features in a new Google graphic “novel,” and there are also plenty of reviews being published (here’s one from Wired).

I’m downloading Chrome as I type – I’m anxious to see if it can win my heart from Firefox.  It will also be interesting to see if, when, and how Chrome might start to infiltrate The University of Scranton — where the preferred browser is currently Internet Explorer.   If you spot any Chrome users on campus, let us know!

The American Presidency – Schemel Forum

One of the unique programs that the Weinberg Memorial Library offers is the Schemel Forum, a series of lectures and courses that are open to members of the Scranton community.  The idea is that people from all different generations can continue their educations by discussing new ideas together.

There are several different courses being offered this Fall (see the full offerings on the Schemel Forum website) – the one I’m participating in is The American Presidency, taught by Morey Myers.  We just had the first of five sessions this evening on the third floor of the Library, and the room was PACKED – Morey’s reputation preceded him!

Our focus tonight was on the role of the President of the United States, as defined in the Constitution in Article II and Amendments XII and XXV. A lot of good questions came up — what exactly is executive power and how far does it extend?  Can a legal case be made that John McCain, who was born in the Canal Zone, is not eligible to be President?  Could (and should) the Electoral College system be eliminated in favor of direct election by the people?  I also learned a few new tidbits of American history: I never knew that Benjamin Franklin was actually the President of Pennsylvania, or that George Washington has been called the father of the modern expense account.  I had never even heard of Peyton Randolph before tonight!

The best part of the evening, though, was just being in a room with so many interesting people from the community.  The participants included 11 doctors, 6 lawyers, and the CFO of the new Scranton medical school – and I also spotted interim CAS Dean Paul Fahey.  I’m looking forward to meeting more of my fellow students in the next sessions.

Next Wednesday, we’ll be discussing the Federalist Papers.  Care to read along?

New librarian in town


Hi everybody!I’m Kristen, the new Digital Services Librarian here at the Weinberg Memorial Library.I’ll be working on all sorts of digital library projects, from digitizing the University’s archival collections to using new technologies like social networking to better serve the University community– be sure to post a comment below if you have any ideas for me. As a former chemist, I’m also looking forward to working with the University’s science departments – although Katie Duke has left behind some enormous shoes to fill!

I’m originally from the Wyoming Valley, although I haven’t lived here in about eight years, so moving to Scranton feels like coming home. It’s been so fun over the past few weeks to rediscover all of my favorite places in NEPA, like the running path around Lake Scranton and (of course) Manning’s ice cream in Clarks Summit. But a lot has changed since I grew up here, so if you see me on campus, please stop me and let me know where YOUR favorite NEPA place is!