From December, 2013

Good for Case Western Reserve University

Its president and provost have denounced the academic boycott of Israel. I won’t excerpt the statement; you should just go ahead and read the whole thing, which is brave, to the point, honest, and worthy of all academics who are genuinely interested in engaging in open, free and vigorous inquiry.

The Intellectually and Morally Bankrupt Boycott of Israeli Universities

You know that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions crowd–which is currently busy targeting academic freedom in Israel–doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on when the best that they can do is cite the likes of Richard Falk for support: It appears no one told the American Studies Association that when attempting to fend off accusations of bigotry, it’s best not to cite a bigot. In a sign that the organization is feeling the heat from outside opprobrium, the ASA’s Caucus on Academic and Community Activism has posted a defense of its Israel boycott. The statement offers tacit acknowledgment of the fact that…

Republican Signs of Intelligence

In what should be absolutely non-shocking news, Republicans have discovered that it is necessary to appeal to centrists, moderates and working-class families if they want to win elections. So a number of them are doing just that, and seeking in the process to undo some of the damage that conservative grassroots organizations have done to Republican party prospects. This is a good thing, I think. I certainly believe that the Republican party needs a conservative (and a libertarian!) grassroots organization, but by now, there really can be no doubt about the fact that conservative grassroots organizations cost the Republican party…

Why Is Rick Perlstein Sliming Lawfare?

On Friday of last week, Rick Perlstein of the Nation, wrote this post, in which he claimed that the New Republic was “taking money from an NSA contractor to run defenses of the NSA.” The post also implicated Lawfare. Perlstein argued that “[t]he National Security Agency has a friend at the Harvard Law School. And at the Brookings Institution. And at The New Republic. And at The Washington Post.” He claimed that Benjamin Wittes, who is the editor-in-chief of Lawfare, has “been blogging on the report on the abuses of the National Security Agency just out from the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and…

Have I Mentioned Recently that Paul Krugman Suffers from Epistemic Closure?

Be sure to read this profile of the great and good Charles Krauthammer, which is very interesting no matter what side of the political divide one finds oneself on, and which makes me feel good that my view on the recent government shutdown was supported by the likes of Krauthammer (I would rather have one Krauthammer on my side in the debates of the day than I would have a million Limbaughs or Mark Levins/Marks Levin). And when you are reading, be sure to take note of the following passage: . . . Paul Krugman, who occupied Krauthammer’s anti-incumbent thought-leader position during…

The Academic Boycott of Israel Is Going Nowhere

Every once in a while, academia gets it in its head to take a stand against Israel by trying to engage in an academic boycott of Israeli institutions. The fact that this kind of behavior only serves to stifle academic inquiry and freedom doesn’t bother the boycotters; the only thing they are interested in is striking a blow against a state that just happens to be Jewish. (Not that any of the boycotters are anti-Semites, mind you; Heaven forbid that any of us think such a terrible thing). Fortunately, for all those interested in keeping academia from going to the…

Alan Turing Pardoned

Took long enough: Queen Elizabeth II granted a rare “mercy pardon” Monday to Alan Turing, the computing and mathematics pioneer whose chemical castration for being gay drove him to suicide almost 60 years ago. Turing was one of the leading scientific geniuses of the 20th century — the man who cracked the supposedly uncrackable Enigma code used by Nazi Germany in World War II and the man many scholars consider the father of modern computer science. By the time he was 23, Turing had hypothesized what would become today’s computers — the Turing machine, which could emulate any computing device…