The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America


Pax americana

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 20, 2006 - 11:25am

This is one of the best things I've read recently on the current crisis (thanks to Jen Mercieca for the link). The idea of "old Europe" mounting its own peacekeeping force makes a lot of sense; circumvent the US and Israel entirely: Also: Michael Walzer on just war theory and the current conflict. The points about the consistent Palestinian use of civilian shields is an important argument related to Adria's original question about strategy/violence: But: the other reasonable side: and the more radical, yet persuasive side:

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Something controversial for ye old agora, perhaps?

Submitted by Adria on July 19, 2006 - 8:29pm

This evening, I was reading adbusters online and came across this article on Who Owns the Word 'Terror?' This made me remember some (well-established) colleagues of mine who recently expressed frustration with the difficulty in publishing an article on political assassination attempts. It has been rejected continually for publication, at least in part because people read it as condoning assassination attempts as social change tactics (despite added disclaimers). It seems to be difficult for communication fields to grasp violence as rational, methinks.

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Emma Goldman Papers: Please Help

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 19, 2006 - 6:35pm

From Candace Falk: Emma Goldman Papers -- Summer 2006 Dear friends, When we first launched our website we received an award for our "web appeal." This is a very different kind of web appeal! Our funding crisis at the Emma Goldman Papers Project is now so dire that as of July 1, the staff of the EGP has dropped to only two of us at just half-time salary, scrambling around for other work to support us--while our pressing publication deadlines remain the same. It will take years and years to replace the talented and loyal researchers at the Project who have had to leave, and sadly, in the next few months, we are in danger of having to close our doors and books built on years of research. I've held on through thick and thin, have remained the point person for ensuring the continuity of the work. Somehow I believed that when our volumes started to come out, our financial woes would vanish, the value of the work would be obvious, not only to those interested in Emma Goldman but also to those fascinated by the historical richness of the material, and struck by the resonances between her time and ours. . . . We ask you to lend a hand today--if you can. A tax-deductible gift would make an enormous difference to our small, non-profit, collaborative historical project. You can mail a contribution to: Emma Goldman Papers Project/UCB 2372 Ellsworth Street Berkeley, CA. 94704. Or send it on the web:

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My Neck, My Back. . . .

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 19, 2006 - 10:04am

Bush gropes Merkel: Here

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Small Reforms

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 19, 2006 - 8:29am

There's a good bit of social-science evidence that sometimes small changes can have larger benefits--the "fixing broken windows" theory of crime, for instance. American politics might change dramatically with a few fixes like same-day voter registration (as in Minnesota and other states), a simplified union election system (as in Canada), or non-partisan redistricting (as in Iowa). After reading the thoroughly infuriating second draft of the Higher Education Commission's recommendations, I began pondering what reforms might help the Higher Ed Industry. Here's one: change teaching loads. Assistant professors should teach 1-1 on a semester system; associates, 2-2; and full professors 3-3. One would need to adjust the numbers for teaching versus research institutions, but the proportions seem about right. It would free up the faculty with greatest research obligations and in turn give students access to faculty with more teaching experience.

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Submitted by jenny on July 18, 2006 - 9:03pm

Since corporations are so willing to get all up in your grill during those private moments (the bathroom at my favorite bar advertises women's products, and the ATM shouted an add at me as I was withdrawing cash--perfect timing!), we figured that we might just start cutting out the cat-n-mouse game. Corporations want your attention, you want their stuff, so what's the problem? Ask directly! Ridiculous request? No such thing! With this in mind, my partner and I figured Starbacks would be game. After all, it seems like they're everywhere we go. They're clearly interested in us--always sending us signals, winks, and whatnot. Now that we're planning a wedding, what better time to ask Starbucks for some return on some of the eyeball time? Economies of attention. Hence, the following message exchange. ---------------------------- Date: Tue 11 Jul 18:49:06 EDT 2006 From: “J.Rice” To: Cc: edbauer@... Dear Starbucks: I saw a story tonight on ABC News regarding corporate sponsorship of weddings. Weddings are now a wonderful opportunity for corporations to share their support in this joyous time as well as share their company message, like, for instance, the joys of drinking coffee. On September 8, my partner and I are getting married at State College, Pennsylvania. We would like to invite you to buy a small sponsorship of our event. For a mere $1,000, we would serve only Starbucks coffee and publish your logo and name in the wedding program as well as hang a large banner in the reception tent. For only $500, we would serve Starbucks coffee and publish your name in the program. Our wedding can be a joyous time for us and for Starbucks coffee. We welcome the opportunity to work with you, Sincerely, Jeff Rice ---------------------------- Date: Tue 18 Jul 10:55:56 EDT 2006 From: “Lisa Pomerantz” Subject: request To: jrice@... Dear Jeff and Jenny, Thanks so much for considering Starbucks Coffee. At Starbucks, we recognize the relationship between the success of our stores and the thriving communities in which we operate. We support local community organizations and events that promote arts and culture, literacy, diversity, education, AIDS awareness and environment…just to name a few. Our ability to provide support to the many community endeavors we partner with is limited by the amount of resources we have available each year. While unfortunately we cannot support your wedding at this time, we sincerely wish you the best and hope you truly have years of health and happiness ahead. Thanks again for your interest in Starbucks Coffee Company. Sincerely, Lisa Pomerantz

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Submitted by Jim Aune on July 18, 2006 - 1:48pm

These lyrics seem appropriate today, somehow: from Leonard Cohen, "Anthem" The birds they sang at the break of day Start again I heard them say Don't dwell on what has passed away or what is yet to be. Ah the wars they will be fought again The holy dove She will be caught again bought and sold and bought again the dove is never free. Ring the bells that still can ring Forget your perfect offering There is a crack in everything That's how the light gets in.

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Visual Aid

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 18, 2006 - 1:18pm

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Straw Poll

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 18, 2006 - 10:20am

The New Republic is having a Hillary Clinton yes or no poll this week. Just to see if I can stir up some more comments (and check the comments feature again), here's the question: Whom should the Democrats nominate for 2008 and why? (If you are anti-voting, libertarian, Republican, or whatever, please feel free to post as well, although I was thinking of having a separate question for non-Dems). My pick: Gore/Obama. Followed by anyone but Hillary. And, for your viewing, the film by Spike Jonze that Al should have used in 2000 (a big thanks to Erik Johnson at Northwestern):

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Blogging Theory

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 18, 2006 - 8:50am

An interesting discussion from Bad Subjects (thanks to Lucaites for the link) on blogging and "free speech": The Blogora has been free of the sort of problems mentioned there; I miss the dude from the Acton Institute in Michigan who took me to task on religion a few times in 2005--he was totally polite and reasonable. I've received political hate mail, largely via the Mises Institute hissy fit about me, but it hasn't reached the levels of abuse Professor Cloud gets. (The odd thing, though, is that sometimes things I design to be provocative fall like lead, and then something innocuous generates multiple comments.) At some point this late summer we (the Blogora "collective") need to make some decisions about: 1. including the aesthetic quality of the blog (which will mean moving to a different server), and 2. working on the discussion/comments aspects. We clearly haven't reached our potential; I'm trying to decide whether it's time for me to sign off and move to emeritus status in November 2006 (my original commitment to RSA).

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