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Volume 55, Number 16   December 3, 2007         

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Reconstructing Russia
Assistant Professor of International Relations Andrei Tsygankov comments on Vladimir Putin's political prospects in a Nov. 23 article in Russia Profile. "I very much doubt that Putin is seeking to be re-elected for a third term, let alone willing to assume the position of the Leader of the Nation if it ever becomes formally established," Tsygankov writes. "A more likely explanation for setting up the For Putin movement has to do with the desire to establish Putin's own network of supporters independently of United Russia. …. One way or another, a movement in support of the current policy course is in the making."

LGBT-friendly retirement
Professor of Gerontology Brian de Vries provided insight into the oldest generation of openly gay men and women in a Nov. 25 Denver Post article about LGBT-friendly retirement communities that are springing up across the country. De Vries noted that while the culture at large has made significant gains in acceptance of homosexuality, those gains are not evident in the 80-plus crowd. "That includes the heterosexuals with whom these gay men and lesbians might otherwise live," de Vries said. "But also the gay men and lesbians themselves, who probably bring forward with them some of the homophobia in which they've spent almost all of their lives."

Peace and pessimism
In a Nov. 26 CBS Eyewitness News broadcast, Dina Ibrahim, assistant professor of broadcast and electronic communication arts, commented on President Bush’s recent peace talks with Israel’s prime minister and the president of the Palestinian authority. "This is the shift forward, particularly with the participation of Syria and Saudi Arabia, that definitely represents a departure from previous pessimism and being completely closed off to the idea of sitting at the same negotiation table with Israel. There’s very little chance of success for these negotiations," Ibrahim said. "I don’t say that because I enjoy being a pessimist about the Middle East, but I believe that if they were better organized, if there were real commitments on both sides to move forward, if they had been planned better, then they could have had better outcomes."

Wide-angle view
In a Nov. 25 letter to the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, Cinema Professor James Kitses strongly recommends the film "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," which he describes as "a deserving film hailed by some of the country's most prominent critics as a masterpiece." Responding to a review by Chronicle film critic Peter Hartlaub, which didn't recommend the film for anyone but "cineastes," Kitses asked, "Why would a pop culture critic want to positively discourage audiences from … creative explorations of a popular genre like the Western by different, modern sensibilities? Even first-year film students are routinely taught to suspend quick judgment that can short-circuit understanding of a work."

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Last modified Dec. 3, 2007 by University Communications.