Douglas Engelbart, legendary inventor dies

by Eszter Hargittai on July 3, 2013

Douglas Engelbart, an extremely important contributor to so many computing technologies that make possible so much of what we do today passed away last night. I hope we’ll see more coverage of this than is currently out there, he certainly deserves to be celebrated for his many contributions.

Half-Poulantzas, Half-Kindleberger

by Henry on July 3, 2013

“My contribution”: to the _Jacobin_ seminar on Panitch and Gindin is up. Extract:

s Panitch and Gindin’s book shows … there’s a lot that they could learn. And if most standard issue international political economy scholars don’t know much about Marxists, the opposite is not necessarily true. Panitch and Gindin not only know the debates among radicals, but have read very widely across the field of IPE, engaging with (and often usefully repurposing) the ideas and empirical material that they find useful.

I learned a lot from their book, and will be assigning it to my students. Still, I think there’s room for useful argument. To be clear, Panitch and Gindin are clearly far better read in the debates that I follow than I am in the debates that they follow. This means that some (and perhaps most) of the disagreement below is of the ‘why didn’t you write the book that I would have written if I were you’ variety, so discount it as you think appropriate. I’m almost certainly not the audience they imagined that they were writing the book for. Yet their account of the entanglement between American imperium and neo-liberalism conceals as well as reveals. There are some causal relations — arguably quite important ones — that are invisible to it.

The Strange Case of James Cartwright

by John Quiggin on July 3, 2013

That’s the headline on my latest piece for The National Interest. It looks at the case of (retired) General James Cartwright, former vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, under investigation for a leak relating to the Stuxnet worm, a US-Israeli cyberwarfare exercise directed against Iran. The key points

* Like most leaks, the one for which Cartwright is being investigated revealed nothing that wasn’t known to the Iranian targets of the exercise or easily inferred by anyone who had followed the story in public media

* Unlike the leaks for which whistleblowers like Manning and Snowden have been prosecuted/persecuted, this was an absolutely standard Washington leak, done for personal gain. Assuming the facts are as alleged, Cartwright, an insider, gave information (classified as secret, but actually well known) to a journalist, in return for favorable coverage. This is such standard practice that it would be hard to find anyone in government (in DC or elsewhere) who hasn’t done it

But, Cartwright had made lots of enemies and so appears excluded from the general immunity that covers such leaks. Moreover, thanks to Obama, the stakes are high. Based on the Manning precedent, he could be charged with aiding the enemy, a crime that carries the death penalty. The only comparable case of an insider prosecution is that of Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, who leaked the identity of an active CIA agent for political gain. He was sentenced to thirty months, which was immediately commuted. Even then he was prosecuted for perjury, not for the actual leak.

Having reached the point where the weapons of the security state are being turned against insiders, it will be interesting to see how things play out. Hopefully, those involved will look over the precipice and pull back.

CUNY Petraeus Battle Heats Up

by Corey Robin on July 3, 2013

CUNY administrators are coming under increasing fire for their decision to hire General David Petraeus to teach one course next year for anywhere from $150,000 to $200,000. The American Association of University Professors has denounced the decision. And now Republican State Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a Marine vet who fought in the Iraq War, has issued a scorching letter to CUNY interim chancellor William Kelly.

Lalor focuses on two issues. First, he charges CUNY with dishonesty. [click to continue…]

And the culture marches on …

by John Holbo on July 3, 2013

Andrew Sullivan laments Ed Whelan’s dead-endery.

“I don’t think that the word marriage can properly apply to a relationship between two persons of the same sex, just as I don’t think that a circle should be called a round square.”

Alas, the culture rolls on.

“Families can come in all shapes and sizes. Even rectangles.”

(No, really. Watch the trailer. No major studio would have put out a trailer like that 10 years ago, or five – or three.)

I’m a big fan of Laika studios. Coraline was good. ParaNorman had the most stunning stop-motion ever, plus a good story (even though my daughters refused to watch it – too scary. So I had to watch it by myself.) The Boxtrolls looks … I’ll wait and see. It could be good.