The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America


My New Nightmare

Submitted by Jim Aune on August 9, 2006 - 8:53pm

McCain-Lieberman in 2008. From David Brooks' column tomorrow in the NYT (thanks to Raw Story): "The McCain-Lieberman Party is emerging because the war with Islamic extremism, which opened new fissures and exacerbated old ones, will dominate the next five years as much as it has dominated the last five," writes Brooks. "It is emerging because of deep trends that are polarizing our politics. It is emerging because social conservatives continue to pull the GOP rightward (look at how Rep. Joe Schwarz, a moderate Republican, was defeated by a conservative rival in Michigan)." "It is emerging because highly educated secular liberals are pulling the Democrats upscale and to the left (Lamont's voters are rich, and 65 percent call themselves liberals, compared with 30 percent of Democrats nationwide)," --I suppose any move toward creating a centrist politics should be welcome. . but. . . Update: the emerging argument is that it's deja vu all over again with 1968: There is some truth in this argument, if only that any Democratic candidate for president needs to figure out a way to project "toughness." But somehow turning Joe into a victim of (insert preferred trope about elitism here: latte-drinking, brie-eating, volvo-driving, whatever) is really nauseating.

Jim Aune's blog | 1 comment


I Dig Rabbi Ostrich

Submitted by Anonymous on August 9, 2006 - 12:18pm

Or, How do You connect to God?

I dig Rabbi Ostrich. And so does Mr Diehl, who has actually met him. It -- I know: antecedent unclear ... but "it" doesn't have to do with Rabbi Ostrich but with rhetoric -- doesn't have to be about Plato. Too often, yes, elijah, it is. And anyone who knows me knows I ain't all sweetness and light. But right now this seems right: putting Rabbi Ostrich's most recent Centre Daily Times column on The Blogora. Glad I could still pull it up. Sorry for the other things I've been forwarded that I haven't been able to post yet. We're in Ithaca; Spenser's having surgery: footie biopsy. And so on. Let your laughter fill the room. Let your laughter fill the rheum.

Religions offer varying paths to God

The Biblical story of Balaam (Numbers 22-24) teaches us a good lesson on interfaith relations. Though almost all of the primary figures in the Torah are Hebrews, the prophet Balaam is not. He is a prophet just like Moses or Isaiah, except that he is a non-Jewish prophet. While God sent Jewish prophets to the Jews, God sent non-Jewish prophets to the gentiles -- the Lord has wisdom and insights for everyone. Sometimes, it is hard to understand how a different religion could also be a true path to God, and yet, variety is present in every aspect of God's creation. There are all kinds of birds, flowers and rocks. There are all kinds of humans and human cultures, with languages and symbols that communicate in very different ways. Variety seems to be part of the design specifications of creation. Though different religions differ on details of theology or observance, there are, nonetheless, remarkable similarities among the world's religions. We agree on the need for honesty, righteousness, piety and charity. We agree on the need to set aside certain times or places for religious rites. We agree that God is both beyond our understanding and nonetheless approachable. We also agree that God is invested in our success as spiritual beings. Could it not be that, with all the variety manifest in creation, God created many different kinds of human souls, each better suited for one of the many religious paths available? Could this not be the reason that one religion fits one person perfectly, while another religion fits another person perfectly? Could this not also be the reason that some individuals leave one religion and go searching for one that fits better? The God with whom we want to connect is one, but could there not be many spiritual pathways, each one suited for a particular kind of human soul? These ideas are discussed in many Jewish sources, but the most famous are the following: * Micah 6:8: "It has been told thee, O Human, what is good and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." * Isaiah 56:7: "For My House shall be called a House of Prayer for all peoples." * Talmud Sanhedrin 13:2: Rabbi Joshua taught, "The righteous of all nations have a place in the World to Come." I know that my soul connects to God through the Jewish pathway, but I know other people whose souls connect to God through different pathways. The question is not, "Which religion is right?" but rather: "Which religion is right for me?" God is waiting, and God is hoping for righteousness and spiritual improvement. Let us celebrate the fact that God is available to every human, and let us celebrate that, within God's infinite creation, there are many paths which can bring us into a relationship with our creator. Rabbi David E. Ostrich is the leader of Congregation Brit Shalom, 620 E. College Ave., State College.

's blog | 1 comment


Condi and W.: My Morning Internets Reading

Submitted by Jim Aune on August 9, 2006 - 4:46am

From the conservative publication, Insight, an insight into current infighting inside the Administration (I never thought I'd cheer on Brent Scowcroft): Here is the Republican equivalent to the Lamont/Lieberman conflict; the strategic problem is to figure out how to exploit it. Also, evidence of a peace initiative in 2002 that the Bushies ignored: The nightmare now is that Bush will give the green light for Israel to attack Syria and Iran (the pretext being that both supply Hezbollah, which is true). Daniel Goldhagen proposes it in the LA Times yesterday, and the usual sabre-rattlers at the New Republic and Weekly Standard have been saying it for weeks. Then it really is August 1914 all over again. And Rahm Emmanuel on Lieberman: "This shows what blind loyalty to George Bush and being his love child means," said Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, the leader of the Democratic House Congressional campaign. "This is not about the war. It's blind loyalty to Bush."

Jim Aune's blog | Add new comment


Updike on Said on Adorno and Late Work

Submitted by Jim Aune on August 9, 2006 - 3:51am

A beautifully written essay on Edward Said's posthumous (may his memory be a blessing) book on artists' late work: Those last concerts that Said did with Daniel Barenboim still strike me as one, perhaps, only sign of a--strictly human, strictly secular--hope lying beyond the carnage:,11710,928744,00.html

Jim Aune's blog | 1 comment


Media Fun

Submitted by Jim Aune on August 8, 2006 - 8:55pm

My surreal media experience for the evening: watching Derek Jarman's Edward II, while flipping back and forth from the Connecticut returns (at the moment 55% precincts in, and Lamont leading by a narrow 5 points) to the latest steamy statements on the Middle East on the Blogora. All three make sense together better than one would think. . . Much later (why does politics wake me up at 3 a.m.?): Lieberman loses. Vows to run as independent for "Team Connecticut"? Those of us who thought he was never a Democrat are now completely justified. His stupidest comment this week: "Republicans are anxious to say the left wing is taking over, the antisecurity wing" of the Democratic Party.--Bourgeois Marxists of the world, unite!

Jim Aune's blog | 1 comment


To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.

Submitted by Adria on August 8, 2006 - 12:18pm

This morning, I received the following e-mail from my friend and colleague, the same one whose letter I posted here a couple of weeks ago entitled A Letter from the Promised Land . At first, I hesitated to post her letter: she herself is afraid to post because her broken english may make her seem less credible; I am concerned she will visit our Blogora again only to become angrier. But this shouldn't be about who makes grammatical typos or who feels angry. And after the discussion generated by the UT Petition on the Beirut situation, I cannot help feeling that we end up missing the forest for the trees. So I post her letter here in the hopes that people will stop using body counts and photos as a justification for who's right and who's wrong. I post her letter because honestly, I do not know what else to do. Jenny said this wasn't a black and white situation, and I agree. However, I also must say that after a personal deliberation, I know that not posting her letter out of fear would be very clearly wrong. Until I can think of a more tangible solution, I post this letter simply because not talking about it is wrong. ----------------------------------- Adria, i have just now entered the link u sent me and was sooo sad to see the ignorant and wrong comments people posted there. For example, in Kana village, a great media performance by the way, 23 people died and not over 50 as was intially stated. The entire world was alarmed by the death of over 50 civilans and rushed to condemn Israel, but hardly anyone mentioned to publish that actually 23 people died; that the Israeli army has asked civilians to leave that area; and the building collapsed 7 hours after it was bombed by the Israeli air force. The time difference was probably due to explosive materials that were held in the building. I doubt that they were held there for gold mining or any other peaceful act. 23 people is indeed a large number, but almost the same amount of Israeli get injured by rockets every day. Only yesterday over 100 people were injured in Haifa as a result from a rocket. More than 3000 rockets that contain 10,000 bullets, nails and other "nice stuff" have been thrown at Israel since this conflict begun. If there are less casualties on the Israeli side it has to do a lot with luck and with the fact that most of the population that usually lives in the north has left the area and is staying with families in other parts of Israel or live in tents on the beaches. People are very short sided and see what they want to see: Israel is an agressive country. full stop. Reading a bit more on this conflict will reveal that it is a country that is responding to violence in order to exist. For 6 years Israel didn't retaliate on repeated aggressive actions of Hezbollah! just see what happened as a result. Our attempts to avoid a military action was interpreted as a weakness and increased attempts to destroy Israel were soon to follow. People care for the Lebanese citicens? why don't they care for the Israeli ones? why do they ignore the fact they have allowed the Hezbollah to prosper in their territory? that they allowed them to act from their houses? It is impossible to fight a gerilla organization that makes civilian houses their headquarters without harming civilians. However, Israel is bombing only certain neighborhoods in Beirut. Some Christian neighborhoods in Beirut are safer than large areas in Israel. If the Arab world cares for the Palestinians so much and insists on tying it all together why do they never help them? why is all the help given to the Palestinians is focused on violence and army? why isn't there a single Saudi hospital in Palstinian territories? why isn't there one Iranian elementry school? Sorry to put it all on you, I guess i should find a more effective way to respond to these outrageous accusations. but to be honest, I have already got to used to the fact that people respond to my Israeliness and see us the biggest criminals in the world. forget about the swiss the robbed the money from Jews during the holocaust, the french that welcomed the nazis and subjugated North America, Spain that still has conflicts with the Basks and withsome islands. Let's just put it on the jews. Adria, I think you know I am peaceful and a not a resentful person but I think that every person and every nation has the right to defend itself especially when history proves time and again that no one will come to their aid in time of need. I have some Tibetan friends and the last thing I want is to become a refugee like them.

Adria's blog | 8 comments


CFP: Advertising Anarchism

Submitted by Jim Aune on August 8, 2006 - 8:29am

Artists, activists, propagandists, historians, technologists, psychologists, theorists, and cultural critics are hereby invited to submit essays for an upcoming anthology tentatively titled: Advertising Anarchism:The Pitfalls and Possibilities of Propaganda. Starting with the premise that anarchists do have something valuable to communicate, many provocative and vital questions emerge. Essays should focus on the history, theory, and/or contemporary practice of propaganda and/or practical tips for messaging and advertising in a variety of mediums. In looking at the history, theory, practice, and tips, writers should focus on rhetorical, aesthetic, and practical strategies that create successful propaganda campaigns. After reading the book, anti-authoritarians should be armed with a sound historical and theoretical background to frame their rhetorical strategies and should be provided with an arsenal of specific tips, skills, and tactics for creating successful campaigns. Essays should give readers skills, ideas, and histories that are as practical as they are intriguing. Historical essays should focus on concrete examples of anarchist propaganda and messaging from the past. Theoretical essays should illuminate the economic, ethical, strategic, and tactical issues surrounding anarchist propaganda. Essays focusing on contemporary practice should be concrete, pragmatic, and instructive giving readers skills, strategies and tactics for anarchist messaging. Email complete essays or proposals of 300 words to Kyle Harris at with the subject “Advertising Anarchism.” Proposals are due October 1rst. Complete essays due by December 1rst. [The call is fairly long, so I've cut it; thanks to TBG for the info.]

Jim Aune's blog | Add new comment


Washington Monthly's Anti-US News Rankings

Submitted by Jim Aune on August 8, 2006 - 8:13am

This is really interesting: The top 5: MIT, Cal, Penn State, UCLA, and Texas A&M (whoop!) In the liberal arts listing, St. Olaf is just as mediocre in the US News AND WM rankings. . Tsk. .

Jim Aune's blog | Add new comment


The Neocon Nightmare

Submitted by Jim Aune on August 7, 2006 - 11:06am

One of the few things on war in Lebanon that actually makes sense to me, from Israel's chief negotiator at Oslo:

Jim Aune's blog | Add new comment


50% of US Public Believes Saddam Had WMD's

Submitted by Jim Aune on August 6, 2006 - 7:42pm and: On July 21, a Fox News segment suggested, with no evidence, yet another destination for the supposed doomsday arms. "ARE SADDAM HUSSEIN'S WMDS NOW IN HEZBOLLAH'S HANDS?" asked the headline, lingering for long minutes on TV screens in a million American homes. --I do not know if it is just that Americans are somehow uniquely stupid or not, but it is precisely this problem of civic ignorance that no radical democratic project has yet been able to overcome (and why Madison's republican solution to the risks of majority tyranny is still right).

Jim Aune's blog | 5 comments