Glenn Greenwald is Not the Story; The Surveillance Is

The New York Times has an article on Glenn Greenwald, who has broken two stories on the NSA surveillance programs that now occupy most thinking people’s attention, which is titled thus: ‘Activist Blogger Is At The Center Of A Debate‘ on its front page. (The article’s title reads ‘ Blogger, With Focus on Surveillance, Is atContinue reading “Glenn Greenwald is Not the Story; The Surveillance Is”

The Spying Will Continue Until Morale Improves

The New York Times, picking up on a Guardian story by Glenn Greenwald, reports that: The Obama administration is secretly carrying out a domestic surveillance program under which it is collecting business communications records involving Americans under a hotly debated section of the Patriot Act, according to a highly classified court order disclosed on Wednesday night. The order,Continue reading “The Spying Will Continue Until Morale Improves”

God as Therapist, Existent or Non-Existent

In ‘When God is your Therapist‘, (New York Times, 13  April 2013) T.M Luhrmann suggests that the evangelical relationship with God often resembles that between client and therapist: I soon came to realize that one of the most important features of these churches is that they offer a powerful way to deal with anxiety andContinue reading “God as Therapist, Existent or Non-Existent”

Op-Eds and the Social Context of Science

A few years ago, I taught the third of four special interdisciplinary seminars that students of the CUNY Honors College are required to complete during the course of their degrees. The CHC3 seminar is titled Science and Technology in New York City, a moniker that is open, and subject to, broad interpretation by any facultyContinue reading “Op-Eds and the Social Context of Science”

Ethnocentricity, Moral Beliefs and Moral Truth

Adam Etinson writes in The Stone on ethnocentrism (defined as ‘our culture’s tendency to twist our judgment in favor of homegrown beliefs and practices and against foreign alternatives’), skepticism about universal morality and the existence of moral facts as  a response to it, and finally, on whether such skepticism is warranted. To wit, concern aboutContinue reading “Ethnocentricity, Moral Beliefs and Moral Truth”

Michelle Rhee Shoulda Gotten An Education

Late last night, I stumbled across an ‘interview’ with Michelle Rhee (linked to by John Protevi on Facebook). (‘Michelle Rhee Gets an Education,’ New York Times Magazine, 2 February 2013). The comments section is absolutely priceless, and well worth a read. Here, I want to address a couple of her responses, because they offer usContinue reading “Michelle Rhee Shoulda Gotten An Education”

Narrowing the American Dream to Exclude the American Worker

My sister-in-law works as a labor organizer for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). I’m proud of the work she does and remain resolutely convinced that her efforts to facilitate the unionization of workers count among the most important contemporary attempts to reform the American workplace and reduce income inequality. ButContinue reading “Narrowing the American Dream to Exclude the American Worker”

Please, Can We Make Programming Cool?

Is any science as desperate as computer science to be really, really liked? I ask because not for  the first time, and certainly not the last, I am confronted with yet another report of an effort to make computer science ‘cool’, trying in fact, to make its central component–programming–cool. The presence of technology in theContinue reading “Please, Can We Make Programming Cool?”

‘Write As If Your Parents Were Dead’

Phillip Roth is said to have tendered the following advice–on the art of writing–to Ian McEwan : ‘Write as if your parents were dead.’ By this, I take it that Roth meant for McEwan to write with a distinctive  fearlessness, one not courting parental approval, not apprehensive of parental disapproval of writerly indulgence, of libertiesContinue reading “‘Write As If Your Parents Were Dead’”

2012’s Top Five Posts (Here, Not Elsewhere)

2012, the year that was (or still is, for a few more hours), turned out to be a busy one for blogging at this site. I wrote three hundred and twenty-four new posts, bringing the total for this blog to three hundred and fifty-five. The blog finally crossed fifty thousand views. (A humbling figure, ifContinue reading “2012’s Top Five Posts (Here, Not Elsewhere)”