Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lighthouses of Maine: Portland Head Light


State: MAINE
U.S.C.G. District: 1
Year Station Established: 1791

NPS photo by Candace Clifford, 1994
Existing Historic Tower:
Year Light First Lit: 1791
Is the Light Operational? YES
Date Deactivated: N/A
Automated: 1989
Foundation Materials: NATURAL/EMPLACED
Construction Materials: RUBBLE STONE W/BRICK LINING
Markings/Patterns: WHITE W/BLACK TRIM
Relationship to Other Structures: ATTACHED
Tower Height: 80
Year Original Lens Installed: 1855
Present Optic: DCB-224
Year Present Lens Installed: 1991
Height of Focal Plane: 101
Has tower been moved? NO
Previous Tower(s): N/A

Modern Tower? NO

Existing Sound Signal Building? YES (ORIG. 1880 STRUCTURE DESTROYED IN 1975)
Year Constructed: 1975
Construction Materials: BRICK
Architectural Style: REPLICA OF 1880 STRUCTURE
Fog Signal Type: HORN
Existing Keepers Quarters? YES
Year Constructed: 1891
Number of Stories: 2
Architectural Style: DUPLEX
Construction Materials: WOOD FRAME
Other Structures: GARAGE, OIL HOUSE (PRE-1891)

Teaching Kids To Be Resilient

Icelanders are a famously hearty lot. Norwegian Vikings trying to escape the rule and taxation of Norway’s king first inhabited the land that is now Iceland in the 9th century. So they had pluck from the start. But you simply have to be resilient to survive in such frozen, forbidding territory.

Margrét Pála (PopTech 2012) is a groundbreaking educator from that rugged country. Starting back in 1989 she was first somewhat infamous, and later more famous, for developing her own rigorous pedagogical model for educating young Icelandic kids. Pála emphasizes resilience, in part, because it is a key component to surviving and thriving in a challenging world.

It's all very Icelandic, and her ideas can seem a bit rugged to the uninitiated. But that makes sense, given that since the Vikings arrived on that isolated island in the North Atlantic, Iceland's history has been marked by wrenching poverty, volcanic eruptions, poor farming conditions, avalanches that wiped out entire villages, and repeated economic collapses.

"We are hard-wired in our resilience," Pála said in her 2012 PopTech talk, which is now available online. "'We have seen it worse,' we always say."

In practice, this means emphasizing decision-making and creativity. Rather than traditional toys, classrooms are populated with open-ended, natural materials that require children to improvise. Exercises include instructions about breaking norms and rules: "Go through the window," Pála exclaims. "Why are you always using the door?" And her kids get a bit of tough love. "Go out with your bare feet," she says to them. "Maybe it hurts a little bit. That's great."

Classrooms are also segregated by sex, children are required to wear uniforms to encourage discipline, and the curriculum includes exercises in jumping off cushions to help very young children learn the value of a little courage in life. That's something every Icelander has needed since at least the 9th century.

The Acadian flag will be flown at Province House

The Acadian flag will be flown at Province House during the 22nd annual Provincial French celebrations taking place from March 8-24. Events will be held across the province celebrating the richness and diversity of the Island's Francophone community.

The provincial celebrations recognize the vitality and distinctiveness of the Acadian and Francophone community and its contribution to the quality of life in our province, said Premier Robert Ghiz, Minister responsible for Acadian and Francophone Affairs.
“I encourage everyone to take part in the provincial celebrations by participating in the school and community activities taking place Island wide,” said the Premier. “These activities are an opportunity to celebrate our diversity, our rich Acadian heritage, as well as the vitality of the French language in Prince Edward Island.”
This year’s Provincial French Celebrations (Rendez-vous de la Francophonie 2013) will take place March 8 to 24. This is the 22nd annual edition of the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie which celebrates the French language and Acadian culture on Prince Edward Island. The theme for this year’s celebrations is “Joie de vivre,” an expression that means a good mood, a sense of humor and fun times. Starting March 8, the Acadian flag will be flown at Province House for the duration of the celebrations.
The “Carrefour de la Francophonie” will be taking place at the Confederation Centre of the Arts on March 11. All Islanders are invited to this event to celebrate the richness and diversity of our provincial Francophone community. School and community activities, including outdoor family events, movie presentations, and more, will continue through March 24.

New rescue boat for Lac-Baker

The provincial government is investing $16,200 to help purchase a rescue boat for the Village of Lac-Baker. From left: Louis Nadeau, fire chief, Lac-Baker Fire Department; Lac-Baker Mayor Alpha Nadeau; Premier David Alward; and Madawaska-les-Lacs MLA Yvon Bonenfant.

LAC-BAKER (GNB) – The provincial government is investing $16,200 to help purchase a rescue boat for the Village of Lac-Baker.

“This investment will enable the municipality, local emergency responders and fire department to rapidly deploy to serve the residents of Lac-Baker and surrounding communities as well as visitors and anglers who use area waterways, in case of emergency,” said Premier David Alward. “This new piece of equipment will help keep the community safer.”

Alward joined Madawaska-Les-Lacs MLA Yvon Bonenfant and Lac-Baker Mayor Alpha Nadeau for the announcement.

Funding provided through the Regional Development Corporation will be used toward the purchase of the boat. The Village of Lac-Baker is also contributing toward the project.

Retaining the Best and Brightest from Around the World

Photograph taken by Jared Grove

Canada Welcomes Record Number of Immigrants through Canadian Experience Class

Ottawa, February 28, 2013 — Canada’s fastest-growing immigration stream welcomed a record 9,353 newcomers in 2012, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.

“The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) makes Canada more competitive in attracting and retaining the best and brightest individuals with the skills we need. These are people who have already demonstrated their ability to integrate into the Canadian labour market and society,” said Minister Kenney. “The CEC allows these skilled and educated individuals to bring their skills and talents, contribute to our economy and help renew our workforce so that Canada remains competitive on the world stage.”

This is 34 percent more than the 2012 target of 7,000. Admissions in the CEC, which targets skilled immigrants, are up 55.2 percent from 2011.

Introduced in 2008, CEC is an immigration option for international student graduates and skilled foreign workers with professional, managerial and skilled work experience in Canada. Unlike other programs, CEC allows an applicant’s experience in Canada to be considered a key selection factor when immigrating to Canada.

Recently, Citizenship and Immigration Canada streamlined the CEC work experience requirement to make the program faster and more flexible for applicants. As of January 2, 2013, applicants require 12 months of full-time Canadian work experience and now have more time, up to 36 months, to earn it.

Successful Tourism Mission to India

From left to right: Mr. Stewart Beck, High Commissioner for Canada to India; the Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism); and Mr. Guldeep Singh Sahni, President of the Outbound Tour Operators Association of India, participate in a round table with Indian tour operators.

The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of State
 (Small Business and Tourism)(left), with the
 Honourable Dr. K. Chiranjeevi, India's Minister
 of State for Tourism.
Harper Government seeks to build on record number of Indians travelling to Canada

Ottawa, February 28, 2013—Today, the Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism), concluded a successful tourism mission to New Delhi and Jaipur, India. He led a tourism delegation to promote Canada as a destination of choice for Indian travellers while highlighting Canada's bilateral relations with India.

"Indian travellers represent a significantly growing market for Canada," said Minister of State Bernier. "Our government is working with industry to welcome even more Indian travellers, creating jobs and growth in Canada while strengthening our relationship with our Indian visitors."

In 2012, Canada received a record number of Indian travellers. In recent years, Indian travellers have been among the top 10 international travellers to visit Canada, ranked 8th last year. International travel and tourism research predicts that India will account for 50 million outbound travellers by 2020.

During his visit, the Minister of State attended Focus Canada–India 2013, hosted by the Canadian Tourism Commission. This annual business-to-business marketplace showcases Canadian tourism operators and attractions to Indian tourism buyers.
The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of State
 (Small Business and Tourism), addresses Indian
tourism industry leaders at a networking event in
New Delhi.

Minister of State Bernier also met with his counterpart, Dr. K. Chiranjeevi, Minister of State (Independent charge) of India's Ministry of Tourism, to discuss ways India and Canada can work together to facilitate travel and trade between the two countries. He visited a Canadian visa application centre and participated in meetings with key Canadian and Indian tourism operators to better understand the opportunities and challenges facing the industry.

"We will continue to build momentum in promoting Canada as a destination of choice to the Indian market," said Minister of State Bernier. "As part of Canada's Federal Tourism Strategy, our government will continue to work toward positioning the Canadian tourism industry to become more competitive and seize new opportunities in emerging travel markets like India."

The MaineSail Journal :"Mary Day on Penobscot Bay"

"Mary Day on Penobscot Bay" By Doug Mills
The Windjammer Mary Day on Penobscot Bay.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

This Week in Naval History

28 Feb 1893: First true US Navy battleship, USS Indiana launched

On 28 February 1893, the first true US Navy battleship, USS Indiana (BB 1), was launched. During the Spanish-American War, she operated in the Caribbean and participated in the Battle of Santiago, Cuba. During WWI, Indiana served as a training ship. Decommissioned in January 1919 and with a name change to Coast Battleship #1, she was used for ordnance tests and sunk in November 1920.

1 March 1942: VP-82 Hudson bomber sank German Submarine U-656

1 March 1942, Ensign William Tepuni, USNR, piloting a Lockheed Hudson, PBO, of VP-82 based at Argentia, Newfoundland, attacked and sank the U 656 southwest of Newfoundland—the first German submarine sunk by U.S. forces in World War II. Before being sunk, U 656 served on two war patrols but didn’t sink any Allied vessels. 

2 March 1973: 1st 4 Women began US Navy flight training

On 2 March 1973, the first four women began US Navy flight training to become Naval Aviators. The women were: Lieutenant Junior Grade Barbara A. Allen (Rainey); Lieutenant Junior Grade Judith A. Neuffer; Ensign Jane M. Skiles, and Ensign Kathleen L. McNary.

3 Mar 1915: Chief of Naval Operations Rank Established

On 3 March 1915, the Office of Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) was established by Congress. Under the direction of the Secretary of the Navy, the CNO is charged with the operations of the fleet and with the preparation and readiness of plans for its use in war. Admiral William S. Benson was the first CNO. Currently serving as the 30th CNO is Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert.

4 Mar 1825: US Navy captured Caribbean Pirates

On 4 March 1825, the schooner Grampus, commanded by Lieutenant Francis H. Gregory, captured a pirate sloop off the southern coast of Puerto Rico. Also on this date, Lieutenant Junior Grade G. Pendergast, sailing in a prize sloop with 26 men, engaged a pirate sloop in a 40-minute action. The sloop was captured after much loss of life. Some of the pirates escaped ashore to Boca del Inferno, West Indies, where they were imprisoned by the Spanish.

5 Mar 1942: Seabees name and insignia authorized

On 5 March 1942, the "Seabees" name and insignia were officially authorized. Rear Admiral Ben Moreell personally furnished them with their official motto: Construimus, Batuimus -- "We Build, We Fight."

6 Mar 1822: USS Enterprise captured 4 pirate ships

On 6 March 1822, the schooner Enterprise captured four pirate ships in Gulf of Mexico. During her time in the Gulf, Enterprise took 13 vessels while suppressing pirates, smugglers, and slaves.

Emerging Trends Two Years After The Arab Awakening.

Emerging Trends Two Years After The Arab Awakening.

Presented by Marwan Muasher 
26th Camden Conference
Doug Mills
World and National Editor
RCN America Network

Marwan Muasher is a Jordanian diplomat who currently serves as Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. He began his career as a journalist with the Jordan Times before serving with the Ministry of Planning and in the office of the Prime Minister of Jordan. Foreign postings began as Director of the Jordan Information Bureau in Washington, D.C. In 1995 Muasher was Jordan’s first Ambassador to Israel. A year later he was Minister of Information and government spokesman in Amman. From 1997 to 2002 he was Jordan’s Ambassador to the United States. For two years he was Foreign Minister and then served as Deputy Prime Minister leading a reform and planning agenda for the government. From 2007 to 2010 Muasher was Senior Vice President for External Affairs at the World Bank. He is the author of The Arab Center: The Promise of Moderation (Yale University Press-2008) and is writing a book on the Arab Awakening.

Two years after it's beginning the Arab Awakening has yet to be defined. True, lasting change could take decades. We do , however, see six emerging trends in the Middle East.

  1. A battle of ideas. For the first time in 100 years the political space is open. The previous governments ruled with no checks and balances and little regard for the common man. Now the landscape is open. This battle needs to be about more than just the secular vs. Islam, it must be about the people and rights for all regardless of their beliefs.

  1. The Secular need to work on the ground. In the past the secular governments have been elitist and looking out for their own interests, apart from the common man. The new secular groups need to work with the people, create a plan and follow through on that plan.

  1. Secular Religious Holiness is over. In the past to criticize the government leaders was considered a crime against god. Now the landscape is open and leaders are being held accountable. You are able to openly criticize the leaders.

  1. Political reform must accompany Economic reform. Previous economic reform was to benefit the leaders not the common man. The people need to know that they will have a say in this reform and that they will see benefit from it.

  1. The need for a 3rd political party who is willing to pursue a true democratic process to benefit all. In the past there have been to parties, The Political Elite and the Islamist. They both talk democratic change but only what will benefit them and their views.

  1. Talk of change alone will not work any more. The people are looking for results.

In light of these trends what should we the western world be doing? Marwan Muasher stated that we should stop trying to pick the winner and try to work with all to help produce an environment where each person and viewpoint is important. This may take decades but, the process has started and is very exciting.

Program Helps Aboriginal Youth Offenders get Back on Track

Outreach workers and Mi'kmaw elders will help young Aboriginal offenders get their lives back on track by strengthening their connections with their culture and community.

The province will offer the Bringing Culture Inside program at the Nova Scotia Youth Facility in Waterville over the next three years, in partnership with the Mi'kmaw Legal Support Network.

Justice Minister Ross Landry announced the new program today, Feb. 27, at the Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre in Halifax.

"Reconnecting Aboriginal youth with their culture is extremely important," said Mr. Landry. "Bringing Culture Inside will help offenders reconnect with their community, which in turn will make our communities safer and stronger.

"This project has the potential to positively impact every Aboriginal community in Nova Scotia."

Outreach workers and Mi'kmaw elders will go into the facility and work directly with Aboriginal offenders to explore and celebrate their culture. The youth will be exposed to various cultural elements such as sharing circles and one-on-one time with elders.

Cultural programming will be designed and led by the Mi'kmaw Legal Support Network, in consultation with staff from the facility.

"We are pleased to partner with the provincial and federal governments to offer this important program," said Paula Marshall, executive director of Mi'kmaw Legal Support Network. "In order to tackle root causes of crime, we need to engage our Aboriginal youth in new and meaningful ways."

The program is supported by Justice Canada's Youth Justice Fund for Guns, Gangs and Drugs.

"The government of Canada is proud of the innovative work done with our partners to help rehabilitate youth in conflict with the law who have unique needs," said federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson. "Supporting these programs through the Guns, Gangs and Drugs component of the Youth Justice Fund helps keep our communities safe by working with youth and addressing complex issues like youth who are involved in gangs or are at risk of gang involvement in a very direct way."

Bringing Culture Inside supports Nova Scotia's crime prevention efforts. The province invests annually in initiatives that support crime prevention and community safety, including the Lighthouses Program, Additional Officer Program, mental health and domestic violence courts, internationally recognized Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Program and Mi'kmaw Legal Support Network.

Provincial government champions Pink Shirt Day

Pink Shirt Day, Wednesday, Feb. 27, is a day to take a stand against bullying. Randy Dickinson, chair of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission, says bullying is an educational issue as well as a human rights issue. Commission employees are shown wearing anti-bullying pink shirts, following a tradition started at a school in Nova Scotia in 2007. From left, front row: Kathryn Edgett; and Francis Young. Second row: Carl White; Martha McClennan; Ashley Camplin; and Ryan Adams. Third row: Jennifer Young; Donnell Willis; and Seamus Cox. Fourth row: Erika Young; and Tracey Benjamin. Back: Alex Abbandonato.
FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government is reaffirming its stand against bullying within schools, communities and workplaces by encouraging New Brunswickers to observe the sixth annual national Pink Shirt Day, today, Wednesday, Feb. 27.

"As a government, we believe everyone enjoys a better quality of life in a society where people are respectful of one another despite differences and are willing to accept others as they are," said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Jody Carr. "That is why we are proud to support Pink Shirt Day once again this year.  I encourage all New Brunswickers to wear pink on Feb. 27 to send the message that as a society we are against bullying."

Pink Shirt Day began in 2007 after two Nova Scotia teenagers encouraged their fellow students to wear pink T-shirts in support of a pupil who was being bullied. Since then, schools, businesses, communities and governments across Canada have recognized the last Wednesday in February as Pink Shirt Day.

The provincial government has been taking a multi-phased approach to address bullying:

●    in April 2011, creating a ministerial advisory committee on reducing bullying through the development of positive learning and working environments;
●    in May 2012, introducing amendments to the Education Act that place greater emphasis on prevention, reporting, investigating and taking action when bullying occurs in schools;
●    in November 2012, naming two provincial anti-bullying co-ordinators;
●    fostering safe, healthy, positive and inclusive learning and working environments by working with school districts, schools, principals, teachers, students, parents and communities;
●    creating an annual Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week, the first of which was held last fall;
●    observing New Brunswick's annual Anti-bullying Day in December; and
●    annually promoting Pink Shirt Day.

Carr said he hopes New Brunswickers' participation in Pink Shirt Day will raise awareness throughout the province of the need to reduce and avert bullying. It is important for people to take the aims of Pink Shirt Day to heart each day, he said.

"Bullying is a complex problem that requires a multi-faceted solution," Carr said. "It is a solution in which there is a role for everyone, including educators, administrators, social workers, psychologists, mediators, parents, community organizations and students. As more New Brunswickers choose to be part of the solution, we will build a more positive and more inclusive society together."

NB Power awards contract for $30-million investment in Quebec interconnect

FREDERICTON (GNB) – NB Power has awarded a contract to the Swedish firm ABB to begin investing $30 million in an upgrade to the Eel River high-voltage direct current converter station, located near Dalhousie. 

The bidirectional station transfers up to 350 megawatts (MW) and is one of the two facilities that allows for power exchange between New Brunswick and Quebec, providing access to Maritime and New England markets.

"This is another investment in ensuring we keep New Brunswick power rates the lowest in Atlantic Canada for the foreseeable future," said Gaëtan Thomas, president and chief executive officer, NB Power. "Maximizing our geographic advantage as we both buy and sell power is absolutely key to staying profitable and starting to pay down $1 billion in debt during the next decade."

The $30-million investment will replace original equipment that is now at the end of its useful life. The main driver for construction of the station in the early 1970s was the development of the Churchill Falls hydro project, which provided a large block of inexpensive surplus energy to eastern Canada. 

The 350-MW transfer capability between Quebec and New Brunswick through Eel River enabled NB Power to participate in the movement of energy from Quebec and Labrador to New Brunswick and other neighbouring markets. 

In addition to the import/export functions, the Eel River station is capable of providing various ancillary services that are important for stabilizing the New Brunswick grid with the current amount of wind generation. 

"New Brunswick benefits in many ways from this facility,” said Thomas. “When energy in Quebec or Labrador is relatively inexpensive, we can buy that energy through the station. When we have excess energy, we sell it at a profit and transfer it through the station. When Nova Scotia or Maine buys energy from Quebec, they pay us a fee for transmitting the power through the station and over our transmission lines. Upgrading the station will allow our customers to continue realizing all these benefits while helping us keep our rates stable over time."

The Eel River station was recognized as a technology milestone by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in 2011 for being the world's first commercial high-voltage direct current converter station to be equipped with solid state high-voltage, high-current-silicon thyristors (solid-state semiconductors) based on fibre optics, an emerging technology at the time, replacing the previously used mercury-arc valve-based systems. 

ABB pioneered high-voltage direct current converter technology almost 60 years ago, and it remains the world leader in this highly-efficient technology with more than 70 such projects around the world, providing a transmission capacity of more than 60,000 MW. Many of the early high-voltage direct current links are now reaching an age where availability, reliability and efficiency can be improved through system upgrades. 

ABB was chosen for a variety of factors but most notably for having taken responsibility for the engineering studies, installation, testing and commissioning of some 17 similar upgrade projects around the world since 1990. 

The station will be worked on during an outage extending from spring to fall 2014 and is expected to be fully operational in the late fall of 2014. During this time, NB Power will also be replacing other end-of-life plant equipment that will interface with the new ABB-supplied equipment.

Coast Guard conducts overflight of Kulluk tow from Kiliuda Bay, Alaska

The tugboats Corbin Foss, Ocean Wave and Lauren Foss, escorted by the tugboat Aiviq begin the tow of the conical drilling unit Kulluk from Kiliuda Bay, 48 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Alaska, to Dutch Harbor for further transport to Asia, Feb. 26, 2013.

The tug warrior, tugboat Guardsman and vessel Nanuq were also on scene to assist.

U.S. Coast Guard video by Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis.

The Aiviq (blue hull) escorts the tug boats Corbin Foss, Ocean Wave and Lauren Foss as they tow the conical drilling unit Kulluk from Kiliuda Bay near Kodiak Island, Alaska, Feb. 26, 2013.

The Kulluk is being towed to Dutch Harbor where it will be loaded aboard a heavy lift vessel for transport to Asia.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis.

The tug boats Corbin Foss, Ocean Wave and Lauren Foss begin the tow of the conical drilling unit Kulluk from Kiliuda Bay near Kodiak Island, Alaska, Feb. 26, 2013, with the tug Guardsman, tug Warrior, Nanuq and Aiviq on scene to assist.

A safety zone has been established around the Kulluk and an Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew overflew the area to confirm there were no security concerns.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis.

The MaineSail Journal: "In The Fog"

"In The Fog" By Doug Mills
The 140 year old Stephen Taber sails from Rockland in the fog.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Middle East What Next? 2013 Camden Conference Part 1

26th Camden Conference
by Doug Mills
World and National News Editor
RCN America Network

As a writer I am always happy When I cover a convention or meeting with high expectations and those expectations are met. Then there is that rare instance when those high expectations are not only met but are blown away! Such was the case for the Camden Conference this past week. So often the hype does not match the reality.
The 26th Camden Conference included an amazing array of speakers who were the best in their field from Egypt, Israel, Iran and many others. If you think these were long dry speeches you should have been there when R. Nicholas Burns one of our former top diplomats in the State Department sat down on the same stage with Seyed Hossein Mousavian Iran’s former diplomat in charge of nuclear negotiations with Europe you would be dead wrong, the fireworks had everyone in the auditorium on the edge of their seats. But I am getting ahead of myself.
As a writer I am always happy When I cover a convention or meeting with high expectations and those expectations are met. Then there is that rare instance when those high expectations are not only met but are blown away! Such was the case for the Camden Conference this past week. So often the hype does not match the reality.
The topic for the 26th Annual Camden Conference, “The Middle East - What Next?”. The keynote address was presented by Robin Wright. Robin Wright is a journalist, author, and foreign policy analyst. She has reported from more than 140 countries on six continents for the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Sunday Times of London, CBS News, and the Christian Science Monitor. She won the National Magazine Award for The New Yorker. She has also written for The Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times Magazine, TIME, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and many others. Wright has been a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and spent several years as a roving correspondent in Asia and Latin America. She most recently covered U.S. foreign policy for the Washington Post. Besides a long career in journalism, Wright has been a fellow at the Brookings Institution, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Yale, Duke, Stanford, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the University of Southern California. She received her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Michigan. Wright has held a joint appointment as a United States Institute of Peace Senior Fellow and Wilson Center Distinguished Scholar during which she produced three books: The Iran Primer: Power, Politics, and U.S. Policy (2010), Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World (2011), and The Islamists Are Coming: Who They Really Are(2012).

Rock The Casbah: What Next In The Middle East?
It had been two years since the Arab Spring movement. What is the state of the Middle East today? Are things better or worse? Robin gave us 5 Positives of Change in the Middle East.
  1. Music: Music has helped to fuel change especially in the rap community. Music very often plays a part in social change.
  2. New Roll Models: Young people are being presented new positive roll models to follow.
  3. New Muslim Comedians: A new crop of Muslim comedians have emerged providing comic relief and pointing out some of the more negative aspects of jehadism.
  4. New Muslim Theater: Many new theater productions are being produced teaching the positive side of the Muslim religion.
  5. Women are on the front lines of the change that is taking place.
However after two years there is still very much to be concerned about.
  1. 120,000,000 are now struggling to gain rights. The old order is gone and the new order has not taken shape. It is “the law of the jungle” in the streets of the Middle East.
  2. Every one of these countries is worse off economically today than it was two years ago.
  3. The proliferation of democracy. This new freedom has caused the rise of hundreds of political parties, all with different priorities.
  4. The proliferation of Islamist ideas. Many new Islamist groups have emerged and with the old line groups are all seeking to foll the vacuum left by the Arab Spring Movement.
  5. Security of the region has been affected by the rise of new militant groups.
  6. Tribes are reemerging as a defining forge in society.
  7. Demographics, government leaders are older, the population is young and the economy is down.
  8. Corruption is rampant.
  9. Women are not fairing well and are often targeted for violence.
  10. The map of the Middle East could change drasticly as countries break up into tribal factions.
Bad news? Scarey news? Robin reminded us how long after the American Revolution it was till all people in this country were truly free. “Change takes time.”