#oh politics!
LectureHop: Mormons in Morningside
Mormon temple

Closest thing to SIPA west of the Mississippi

For the past two days, SIPA’s penthouse has played host to a conference entitled “Mormonism and American Politics,” and Bwog was there in the form of honorary Salt Lake Citizen Clava Brodsky. Lucky she attended, since this topic seems rather, well, topical! What follows are her notes from the field.

Birds probably have the best view of New York City, but for us humans, we’ll have to make do with the 15th floor of SIPA. The Empire State Building shimmers in the distance, the campus lies far below like a stately forum, and the sky looks positively scrapable. What better venue to host the conference on the Mormon religion and its place in American life than this room in the heavens!  The conference, hosted by CDTR (Center for the Study of Democracy, Tolerance and Religion) and IRCPL (Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life), was entitled, “Mormonism and American Politics: A Conference.”

Separation of church and state may be a fundamental tenant of American political life, but it doesn’t stop us from closely associating Republican candidate Mitt Romney with his Mormon faith. (Indeed, the organizers of the event, Jana Riess and Randall Balmer, had originally planned the event to fall on the weekend before the New Hampshire primary.) Many of the speakers mentioned Romney and his faith, but this was not the main focus of the conference. Instead, the papers predominantly focused on how the Church as a whole fits into the larger American context.

Westward ho after the break!

No Labels Launches Today

You may have noticed several news vans near campus this morning. They are here to cover an event taking place in Lerner today, whose speakers include Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Senator Evan Bayh, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator Joe Lieberman, columnist David Brooks, and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. Over 1,000 people are expected to be in attendance.

Those are national NBC and CNN vans

The event is the official launch of No Labels, a nonprofit organization dedicated to nonpartisanship. In their own words, “to creating a new voice that encourages politicians to lay aside the ‘labels’ of party politics and address problems on practical common ground. The idea is to create a voice from citizens all over the country—Republicans, Democrats, and independents—who want to break through the extreme polarization of Washington and bring a less partisan, less ideological, more pragmatic approach to the table.” You can watch the launch live online, and read the full information about the event here.

Representative Rangel Convicted of 11 Ethics Violations

"Charles Rangel, Official Portrait" Forrealz.

NYTimes reports a House ethics panel has found Democratic Representative Charles Rangel guilty of 11 out of the 13 alleged ethics violations. “I am not being treated fairly,” the Morningside Heights and Harlem representative told the ethics committee yesterday before he walked out of his hearing. The committee ruled Rangel had violated House rules for improper fundraising and failing to disclose more than half a million dollars in assets. The Daily News reports the Congressman boycotted his own hearing and wasn’t even present for the final ruling. The full House committee will now debate the verdict.