The U.S. is sending arms to the Nouri al-Maliki regime as assistance for recent crises, an act that critics say will perpetuate the violence; the American Studies Association’s Israel boycott is dividing academia; meanwhile, politicians are worried about American students’ poor performance in the sciences. These discoveries and more below.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

The New McCarthyites: BDS, Its Critics, and Academic Freedom As the attacks on the BDS movement and the ASA boycott escalate, the arguments grow wilder.

Most Palestinians Applaud Academic-Boycott Decision, but Some Are Skeptical The recent decision by the American Studies Association to boycott Israeli universities has sharply divided American higher education.

4 Points About the 1971 FBI Break-In Just as is true of Daniel Ellsberg today, these activists will be widely hailed as heroic, noble, courageous, etc. That’s because it’s incredibly easy to praise people who challenge governments of the distant past, and much harder to do so for those who challenge those who wield actual power today.

US Rushes Weapons to Iraq Crisis It Unleashed Amid an escalation of fighting in war-torn Iraq, the Obama administration announced Monday it will accelerate the shipment of Hellfire missiles and surveillance drones to the Nuri al-Maliki regime, a move critics charge will only worsen the cycles of violence set in motion by the U.S. invasion.

Improve Obamacare By Removing Insurers There is an ongoing media obsession with the number of young people who sign up for health care insurance through Obamacare.

The Paratext’s the Thing As the last episodes of Breaking Bad were counting down, AMC’s promo pop-ups kept badgering viewers to partake of something called “the two-screen experience.”

A Florence for the 21st century Like all first-year Stanford students, Peter Kurzner is obliged to study the arts.

Listen to Pandora, and It Listens Back Pandora, the Internet radio service, is plying a new tune.

Seattle Swears in a Socialist Across the United States this week, new mayors and city council members are being sworn in as the leaders of the cities that elected them in November.

Distinguishing Science From Nonsense As Americans enter 2014, there is grave concern among our political leaders that we are lagging behind other nations in terms of our children’s scientific literacy.

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