I had the good fortune to take part in two panels today, the first one was titled The Ethics and Political Implications of the Edward Snowden Document Leaks. The description in the conference program was:
This panel will explore the ethical and political implications of the classified United States documents made public by Edward Snowden. Many of the released documents indicate that government agencies have spied on Americans and foreigners, and the revelations have sparked sharp criticism and anger from several foreign leaders. Reflecting the conference them, panelists will discuss the ethical considerations of Snowden’s and the government’s actions and envision how these revelations might impact both future domestic and foreign affairs.
For my part I recalled what Lenin said about useful idiots. That’s pretty much where we are with Snowden at this point, I think. I talked about how all of this is going over with the American public in surveys, including one I found just this morning about how the security revelations are apparently changing people’s online habits.
Here’s the scene from the second panel, which featured some of the region’s finest political scholars — and me!
The title of the panel was Envisioning the Future: A Roundtable on Themes of the 2014 U.S. Midterm Elections. The description read
Panelists will discuss emerging themes of the 2014 U.S. midterm elections. Among the topics that will be addressed are: political issues facing the electorate this election cycle, political communication strategies in light of changes in campaign-finance regulation, and technological shifts in campaigning. Reflecting the conference theme, panelists will look forward to the upcoming elections based on analyses of recent campaigns and issues.
The word of the day was “Obamacare.” No one will run on anything else in the midterms. We talked about Scott Brown, since he was topical today. It was also important to bring up the Supreme Court’s finding on aggregate limits.
We had a late lunch at a place called Red Gravy, a high end Italian joint nearby. It was tasty. We had dinner at the House of Blues, which was a continuation of last year’s Hard Rock Cafe misadventures. I’m not sure I’ve ever laughed more than at those two tables. This is always a fun conference, no matter the city. It is the people, not the restaurants or the burgers or the panels and papers, but the fun and funny folks we get to visit with for a few days.