Former defense secretary James Schlesinger dies

James R. Schlesinger, a hawkish and erudite Republican who straddled the partisan divide to serve in Cabinet-level posts under three presidents, has died, a Washington think tank said Thursday. He was 85.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies, where Schlesinger was a trustee, confirmed his death.

The onetime University of Virginia economics professor built an impressive national-security resume as defense secretary for Republican presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and was the nation's first energy secretary under Democratic President Jimmy Carter. Earlier he was a top White House budget official, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and director of the Central Intelligence Agency — all under Nixon.

In later years, he served on a host of defense and energy-related task-forces and advisory committees and continued to push for more sophisticated nuclear weapons systems. He was a longtime member of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board and was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Homeland Security Advisory Committee.

Schlesinger was "a remarkable public servant," said former Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., who sparred with him as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"He left an astounding mark on American security and energy policy," CSIS said on its website. "After leaving government, Dr. Schlesinger continued to promote a stronger and more prosperous country through his work at many policy institutions, nu skin including CSIS."

The Harvard-educated Schlesinger gained a reputation as a perceptive thinker on nuclear strategy, advocating a retreat from reliance on mutually assured destruction as a means of avoiding nuclear war with the Soviet Union. "Deterrence is not a substitute for defense," he said.

Becoming defense secretary in 1973 at age 44, Schlesinger was well-liked among military leaders, consulting with them frequently and aggressively lobbying Congress for more money for the armed forces. His pro-interventionist foreign policy also brought him favor with the new-right coalition of the day. He worked to rebuild military morale and revamp nuclear strategy in the turbulent period after the Vietnam War era. He opposed amnesty for draft resisters.

But his bluntness and tenacity in military budget struggles made for often prickly relations with Congress and he clashed frequently with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. President Ford fired him in 1975 and replaced him with his White House chief of staff, Donald Rumsfeld.

"Schlesinger has been extremely ruthless and irritating," Kissinger confided to James Reston of The New York Times shortly thereafter. "I think the president just decided he had had enough."

But Schlesinger wasn't gone for long.

He was back in the senior ranks of government roughly two years later, serving first as Carter's energy "czar" and then as the first secretary of the new Energy Department, created amid severe fuel shortages and soaring prices spawned by oil embargoes and tensions with Iran in the 1970s.

Schlesinger easily made the transition from national security posts to overseeing energy policy, seeing many similarities and supplying Carter with the phrase "moral equivalent of war" for describing the national energy emergency nu skin hk.

That gave him some grief. "The phrase became abused later on, was misunderstood," Schlesinger said later. "The Wall Street Journal referred to it as MEOW and that caught on."

The pipe-smoking, sardonic Schlesinger sometimes exasperated his congressional critics, who viewed his frequent and often-lengthy congressional testimony as lecturing. He often drew criticism from Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike as he labored on the sidelines for months in nudging along Carter's multi-faceted energy program.

A House-Senate conference committee negotiating a natural gas pricing compromise proved particularly tedious to him. "I understand what hell is," Schlesinger said then. "Hell is endless and eternal sessions of the natural-gas conference."

But, with Schlesinger's help, Carter finally got most of his big energy program through the Democratic-controlled Congress, including strict new conservation standards, a since-expired tax surcharge on "gas-guzzler" autos and gradual oil and natural gas price deregulation.

In 1979, Schlesinger was abruptly replaced by Carter as part of a broader Cabinet shakeup.

"I told Jim Schlesinger it was time for him to step down, since he had submitted his resignation on two previous occasions," Carter wrote in his White House diary, which he published years later. "I offered him a major diplomatic post, but he said he couldn't take seven children overseas. We parted company in a very friendly spirit."

Carter eventually regretted his forced exodus of multiple Cabinet members, calling it "a mistake" on his part that damaged his reputation for competence and weakened the authority of those who remained.

Schlesinger was never one to mince words. He said he liked Carter personally, but felt he was "just not a natural leader."

"He had a way of discerning things that needed to be done, and yet he was a poor leader in that he did not know the arts of keeping the public with him," Schlesinger said in a 1984 interview with the University of Virginia's Miller Center presidential oral history project.

At the Pentagon, Schlesinger strove to keep the United States from falling behind the Soviet Union in conventional and nuclear forces. He promoted a nuclear strategy that called for precision in hitting military targets without causing huge losses of civilian life and outlined the importance of maintaining forces capable of surviving and responding to nuclear attack.

Pentagon-watchers saw Schlesinger as the rare defense secretary who put a priority on long-range strategic thinking.

"Incisive, brilliant, thoughtful," said Andrew Krepinevich, of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. But he said Schlesinger had "little patience for people who can't keep up with him intellectually."

While at the CIA in 1973, Schlesinger was angered to learn that the spy agency had provided support to ex-CIA agents E. Howard Hunt and James McCord, who were convicted of burglary in the Watergate break-in. He ordered "all senior operating officials of this agency to report to me immediately on any activities ... outside the legislative charter" that barred the CIA from spying inside the United States.

The result was 693 pages of memos about spying on Americans, opening their mail and plotting to kill foreign leaders — made public in 2007.

Also, at Schlesinger's direction, a new highway exit sign publicly identifying CIA headquarters for the first time was hung outside its sprawling suburban Langley, Va., campus across the Potomac River from Washington. Previously, the complex had been disguised — not very convincingly — as a federal highway-research agency.

In his earlier stint at the Atomic Energy Commission, Schlesinger brought his wife and two of his daughters to Amchitka Island in the Aleutians to witness a 1971 nuclear-bomb test and prove to critics that it could be carried out without harm to people or the environment nuskin hk.

James Rodney Schlesinger was born in 1929, in New York City. He graduated with a bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. degrees in economics from Harvard.

From 1955 to 1963, he taught economics at the University of Virginia and in 1960 published "The Political Economy of National Security," a study of the economics of foreign policy. The Rand Corp. think tank hired him and later he became director of its strategic studies.

Schlesinger traveled through western Europe, Africa and Asia in 1950-51 on a fellowship. Some years later, he said, "I learned that the world was a very complicated place and that the narrow discipline of economics gave a narrow insight into the social life of man."

In recent years, he served as chairman of the board of the Mitre Corporation, a nonprofit defense contractor that operates federally funded defense research and development centers. He also was a counselor to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington policy institute.

He was also a senior adviser to Lehman Brothers until the giant U.S. investment bank collapsed in September 2008, an early casualty of the Great Recession.

In 2008, Defense Secretary Robert Gates picked Schlesinger to lead a task force that made recommendations on improvements in the handling of nuclear weapons. In 2009, he joined six other former CIA directors in asking President Barack Obama to end the Justice Department's criminal probe into the harsh interrogations of terror suspects during the Bush administration.

His wife, born Rachel Mellinger, died of cancer in 1995. She was a concert violinist and board member of the Arlington (Va.) Symphony. They had eight children.

Less than 1/5 of the company in Ireland

WOMEN ARE STILL struggling to make an impact on the upper echelons of Irish business, a new survey by global accounting firm Grant Thornton has found.

The Grant Thornton Women in Business report found that just 18 per cent of Irish boards have a female member. While this is an increase of 1 per cent from 2013, it is below the EU average and significantly below European Commission targets to have 40 per cent female board representation by 2020.

Grant Thornton partner Sinead Donovan said that there was “little or no chance of Ireland hitting the level targeted by the European commission”.

Minor gains were also recorded in women’s representation in senior management positions, which stands at 23 per cent nu skin, up from 21 per cent in 2013. However, just 8 per cent of companies plan to proactively hire more women into senior management this year.

Donovan said companies needed to think creatively about solutions that enable upward mobility for women.

“There are no simple solutions, but increasing support for working mothers and enhanced opportunities for female graduates are likely to play a crucial role in making sure that we have more women coming through in younger age cohorts to take senior positions.”

Nosedive in support for quotas

In a marked departure from previous years, the report found that support among executives in large listed Irish companies for gender quotas is on the wane g-suite cardinal manchester.

Just 31 per cent of those surveyed are in favour of quotas, down from 37 per cent last year and running contrary to an upward trend in other jurisdictions that has seen support rise by 8 per cent to 41 per cent in the EU and to 45 per cent from 37 per cent worldwide.

Donovan said:

Personally I have mixed feelings about quotas – if they shine a spotlight on the shortfall of women on boards then that is helpful, but we certainly do not want to get to a point where women are simply brought in to make up the numbers.”

The report found that Irish companies are offering a more supportive environment for working mothers, g-suite manchester with 71 per cent of companies now offering flexible working arrangements, up from 53 per cent in 2013.

Former President George H.W. Bush joins Twitter

George Herbert Walker Bush is the third current or former president to join Twitter, tantric massage hong kong after Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

George H.W. Bush has joined Twitter and in his first tweet the former U.S. president said he wished he could have attended the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in South Africa.

Bush, 89, who had a health scare a year ago, was the only one of the four former American presidents still living who did not attend Tuesday's memorial service in Johannesburg.

"Barbara and I wish we could have joined the U.S. delegation honoring President Mandela today. He, and his countrymen, are in our prayers," Bush tweeted cardinal manchester.

President Barack Obama led a delegation that included former presidents Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush, Bush's son.

Clinton, who has grown close to the elder Bush while working together on Haiti earthquake relief and other projects, welcomed to Twitter the man he beat in the 1992 election.

"Congratulations on joining Twitter, Mr. President! Easier than skydiving!" Clinton wrote, referring to Bush's past habit of celebrating milestone birthdays by parachuting.

Bush is the third current or former president to join Twitter, nu skin after Obama and Clinton. Carter and George W. Bush have yet to join the popular social media service.

In the United States of America is keen to impress

It is also one of the major factors behind the decision to uproot his young family and move to the US.

Growing up in Cork, his boyhood dream was similar to so many others in that he fancied a career in professional football. At schoolboy level Avondale were his team before going on to feature in Munster Senior League and with Cork City’s reserves.

At 18, however, the defender picked up an injury that would see him sidelined for a couple of months. He may not have known it at the time, but the decision to sit a referee beginners course would eventually result in him realising his ambition — albeit as a ‘man in black’.

Given his family background, a career officiating the game rather than playing in it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. Grandfather Tim was a League of Ireland referee as was his father Pat, who took charge of two FAI Cup finals — an achievement his son would go on to emulate.

That said, Kelly says he was never pushed into following in their footsteps.

“Playing was always what I wanted to do,” Kelly told The Score this week. “I was playing a semi-decent level at youth level. While I got injured, I was out for a couple of months and signed up for the course just to do it otterbox iPhone 5/5S case.

“That was it. I went back and played for a little bit but I had been bitten by the bug. There was no pressure from my dad or that but it was in my head and when I returned to playing I wasn’t able to kick and chase as much. Not that I stopped enjoying playing but I just didn’t have the same buzz as I did before the injury.”

Beginning in Cork’s schoolboy leagues, Kelly swiftly worked his way up the ladder and joined the newly-formed FAI School of Excellence. He recalls getting a late call-up to make his League of Ireland bow in 1999.

“I wasn’t even on the League of Ireland panel at that time but was launched in as an assistant referee or a linesman as we were called then. We were down in Buckley Park in Kilkenny and there was a chap, I think his name was Paul Mooney, who got injured the night before a Premier Division game between Kilkenny City and St Pat’s.

Now 38, Kelly is widely-regarded as the country’s top referee. As well as featuring in several high profile internationals, he was also officiated in European competitions including the coveted Champions League.

When the current domestic season draws to a close in two weeks, however, Kelly will wave goodbye ahead of a switch Stateside. With a wife who has her own career in Ireland and two young kids, the decision was not taken lightly but his thirst for a new challenge proved too great Casing Otterbox Commuter.

Once myself and my wife had discussed all the pros and cons, we believed that it was the right decision,” he explains. ”It’s a brave one but we’re confident that it’s the right one from a professional and personal point of view.

“I’ve grown up with LOI football in my blood. There’s a well-documented family history there. But the more my career took off, I looked at the possibility of going to the UK.

“That was never really a runner because there was too much red tape involved OtterBox Defender Series. I didn’t think the opportunity to work in a full-time refereeing environment would present itself.

“I was very happy to operate from an international point of view within UEFA. I generally thought that was the way it would go until I asked that question myself last year.”

Gay rights bill

The vote reflected the nation's rapidly evolving attitude toward gay rights nearly two decades after Congress rejected same-sex marriage. The final tally was 64-32.

WASHINGTON — The Senate approved legislation outlawing workplace discrimination against gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, g-suite cardinal manchester demonstrating the nation's quickly evolving attitude toward gay rights nearly two decades after Congress rejected same-sex marriage.

Fifty-four members of the Democratic majority and 10 Republicans voted Thursday for the first major gay rights bill since Congress repealed the ban on gays in the military three years ago. The vote in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act was 64-32.

Two opponents of a similar measure 17 years ago, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, the presidential nominee in 2008, and Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, backed the measure this time.

"We are about to make history in this chamber," Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine and a chief sponsor of the bill, said shortly before the vote.

The enthusiasm of the bill's supporters was tempered by the reality that the Republican-led House, where conservatives have a firm grip on the agenda, is unlikely to even vote on the legislation. Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, maintains his longstanding opposition to the measure, arguing that it is unnecessary and certain to create costly, frivolous lawsuits for businesses.

Outside conservative groups have cast the bill as anti-family.

Senate nears historic vote on gay rights bill: Map of states and D.C. and their position on workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.MCT: Judy Treible
President Barack Obama welcomed the vote and urged the House to act.

"One party in one house of Congress should not stand in the way of millions of Americans who want to go to work each day and simply be judged by the job they do," Obama said in a statement. "Now is the time to end this kind of discrimination in the workplace, not enable it."

Gay rights advocates hailed Senate passage as a major victory in a momentous year for the issue. The Supreme Court in June granted federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples, though it avoided a sweeping ruling that would have paved the way for same-sex unions nationwide. Illinois is on the verge of becoming the 15th state to legalize gay marriage along with the District of Columbia.

Supporters called the bill the final step in a long congressional tradition of trying to stop discrimination, coming nearly 50 years after enactment of the Civil Rights Act and 23 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"Now we've finished the trilogy," Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, a chief sponsor of the disabilities law, said at a Capitol Hill news conference.

The first openly gay senator, Democrat Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, called the vote a "tremendous milestone" that she will always remember throughout her time in the Senate.

Democrats echoed Obama in pushing for the House to act, with Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois reminding the GOP leader of the history of his party.

"The Republican Party in the United States of America came into being in the 1980s over the issue of slavery, and the man who embodied the ideals of that Republican Party was none other than Abraham Lincoln, who gave his life for his country to end discrimination," Durbin said. "Keep that proud Republican tradition alive."

Esteban Roncancio and other protesters make their views known as they stand outside a President Barack Obama fundraiser in Miami, 2012.Getty Images: Joe Raedle
Esteban Roncancio and other protesters make their views known as they stand outside a President Barack Obama fundraiser in Miami, 2012.
In the Senate, opponents of the legislation remained mute through three days of debate, with no lawmaker speaking out g-suite in oldham. That changed on Thursday, as Republican Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana said the legislation would force employers to violate their religious beliefs, a direct counter to rights embodied in the Constitution.

"There's two types of discrimination here we're dealing with, and one of those goes to the very fundamental right granted to every American through our Constitution, a cherished value of freedom of expression and religion," Coats said.

The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania that would have expanded the number of groups that are covered under the religious exemption. Opponents argued that it would undermine the core bill.

If the House fails to act on the bill, gay rights advocates are likely to press Obama to act unilaterally and issue an executive order barring anti-gay workplace discrimination by federal contractors.

Backers of the bill repeatedly described it as an issue of fairness.

"It is well past time that we, as elected representatives, ensure that our laws protect against discrimination in the workplace for all individuals, that we ensure ... some protections for those within the LGBT community," said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who described the diversity in her state.

Murkowski's support underscored the generational shift. Seventeen years ago, when a bill dealing with discrimination based on sexual orientation failed by one vote in the Senate, the senator's father, Frank, voted against it. That was the same year that Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act.

Current federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race and national origin. But it doesn't stop an employer from firing or refusing to hire workers because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

The bill would bar employers with 15 or more workers from using a person's sexual orientation or gender identity as the basis for making employment decisions, including hiring, firing, compensation or promotion. It would exempt religious institutions and the military.

Related: 2013 'gayest year in gay history ' rights advocates say

By voice vote Wednesday, the Senate approved an amendment from Republican Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire that would prevent federal, g-suite cardinal state and local governments from retaliating against religious groups that are exempt from the law.

Likely Senate approval of the overall bill reflects the nation's growing tolerance of gays and the GOP's political calculation as it looks for support beyond its core base of older voters. A Pew Research survey in June found that more Americans said homosexuality should be accepted rather than discouraged by society by a margin of 60 percent to 31 percent. Opinions were more evenly divided 10 years ago.

Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have approved laws banning workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and 17 of those also prohibit employers from discriminating based on gender identity.

About 88 percent of Fortune 500 companies have adopted nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation, according to the Human Rights Campaign. About 57 percent of those companies include gender identity.