October 2012

The End of American Democracy

October 31, 2012

. A dissenter will call it hyperbole, an opponent hysterical, some of its targets sensational. We will all or we will not find out – any of us today, I mean, for confirmation may take far longer to receive than the length of our short lives. Rome, you know, word is, was not built in [...]


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Writing Paradise

October 25, 2012

. I learned at an early adult age, with only minor but memorable pain, not to hero-worship. When we lionize people, we tend to forget the natural inclination of the lion to consume the person. I prefer admiration. Admiration works from the muck up. While hero worship sets up the faithful for a fall, admiration [...]


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The Israeli-Palestinian Enthymeme

October 22, 2012

. This commentary first appeared in the Algemeiner on on October 18, 2012. In rhetoric, an enthymeme is an argument that contains an unarticulated premise. Commonly this is because the conversation is among a group of people with shared values, among whom one or more of those values — premises to an argument — it is assumed, [...]


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Jazz Is: 43 – Treme: Funeral Scene & Second Line

October 21, 2012

. The audience and appreciation are starting to build, in its third season, for Treme, just as it did late for the brilliant David Simon‘s earlier The Wire. Whether it is the worlds of the inner city drug trade, policing, municipal government, unions, education, or journalism in Baltimore, or of high end chefs and dining in Treme, [...]


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The Gentleman & the Boor

October 19, 2012

I didn’t even know last night was the night of the Al Smith Dinner, with which, of course, I am familiar, as the Washington and Catholic Church insider that I am. But fate set me down in front of Rachel Maddow at just the right time, so I was in virtual attendance. I’ve seen them [...]


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Preventing Romney: Mediating the Laughter and the Lies

October 16, 2012

. The challenge for supporters of Barack Obama, tonight and after, is to mediate the media’s mediation of reality. Mediating the mediation: in politics that’s called “spin.” Spin is a conceptually sexy, pop-cultural term for influence. It is a method of persuasion. But as the nature of the expression suggests in its physical metaphor, it [...]


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Reason and Rationalization

October 11, 2012

. Happy day when theory can be considered in the light of immediate actual events. Let’s consider, shall we? First the theory. At The New York Times’ The Stone, philosophers Gary Gutting and Michael P. Lynch responded separately to psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s recent book, The Righteous Mind, in which Haidt argues for the primacy of [...]


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Faking Foreign Policy

October 9, 2012

. From David Sanger in yesterday’s New York Times: But beyond his critique of Mr. Obama as failing to project American strength abroad, Mr. Romney has yet to fill in many of the details of how he would conduct policy toward the rest of the world, or to resolve deep ideological rifts within the Republican Party and [...]


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How We Lived On It (54) – “Scrabble with Matthews”

October 7, 2012

. The kind of poetic conceit etymologicon that delights in the service of deep feeling. Scrabble with Matthews BY DAVID WOJAHN (Poetry magazine October 2002) Jerboa on a triple: I was in for it, my zither on a double looking feeble as a “promising” first book. Oedipal & reckless, my scheme would fail: keep him a couple drinks ahead, [...]


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Subversive American Conservatism

October 5, 2012

. Much talk of “red lines” these days. There are fine lines, too. That means their crossing is not always clear, and people of good will who wish not themselves to appear the creators of ill will, the stokers of social distemper, will refrain from stating that others have already crossed and created and stoked. [...]


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Conspiracies

October 4, 2012

. I was talking with my class the other day about the methodology of fully-developed conspiracy theories and my general skepticism toward them. The undeveloped conspiracy theory works off a form of radical skepticism. How do you know we really landed on the moon? Have you been witness to any of the reality of the [...]


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Amnesty’s Arrogance

October 1, 2012

. For those whose vision is not obscured by their own committed advocacy, the map of how Amnesty International lost its way over the past decade and more is there to be read. From irreproachable defender of human rights to clearly ideological activist on behalf of one vision of political development, an organization now easily [...]


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