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Semiformalishmaybe

CEAC 8 June 2012

The usual CEAC news and commentary:

  • Carnegie Mellon University, my former longtime employer (wish I could say alma mater), as you probably know, is based in Pittsburgh, PA. You might have heard that a few years back it opened a branch campus (CMU-Q) in Doha, Qatar, where it offers programmes in Computer Science and something else less worthwhile. You might not have heard that it more recently opened another branch campus (CMU-R) in Rwanda, with a programme in IT. Like with CMU-Q, they started out in borrowed space; now they're planning a more permanent campus. My thoughts on CMU are pretty complicated, but I'm glad to see more educational options available in Africa (and the rest of the world, really; education is crucial to human progress everywhere, and it's a bitter irony that we've come to value it so little in the United States)
  • I've noticed an uptick of people trying to process the Occupy movement; it's far enough from actually occupying anyplace that it's fading back into general activism at this point, although that activism now has new experiences and energy to work with. In the networks that have been built, I'm hearing activists talking about Lessig's ideas, and making use of a lot of the tools for transparency that we've had for awhile; some of this is out of necessity as there's a resurgent conservativism we need to fight, but some of it feels like doors of possibility have opened. I would like to see us question the foundations of capitalism itself; I'm not sure if we're ready for that discussion in the mainstream yet, but we're getting closer. It's Michael-Moore acceptable, but we need to have it be CNN-acceptable.
  • Meanwhile, we're starting to hear nonradicalised non-TeaParty conservatives starting to criticise the current atmosphere in the Republican party, which is a very good thing. Some people would prefer to argue against a radicalised GOP, but I think this is good tactics but bad strategy; the language parties use to push their point are backed with a lot of dollars, and people feel a lot of pressure to conform to a party line; a radicalised GOP will stamp its views more sharply onto people than a more vanilla one, making the long-run efforts of progress harder. We're seeing the fruits of the Democratic party's extremely-nonradical-stance now WRT unions; by not talking about their justification and keeping them at arm's length, they've been left deeply vulnerable to Republican attacks and have suffered for it.
  • I am pleased to see that Labour in the UK is beginning to do some long-needed soul-searching and might be willing to take a less multiculturalist-liberal and more socialist-liberal stance. It's a sign of health of European politics in general that most nations are beginning to rethink these issues, across their entire political spectrums.
  • Netanyahu is a terrible leader and should be removed, but he's not willing to endanger his electoral coalition by supporting illegal settlements.
Personal and less news-y:
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