What Piers Morgan calls the "conspiracy of silence" when it comes to the gun debate in America continues. -I have to give it to the NRA, they really have their game together.- Yet another angry white man went all "falling down" in Texas yesterday, (this one over an eviction notice) and as a result, two innocent people (including a law enforcement official) lost their lives.
So here is the thing, only three people died in this latest tragedy, so we will not be getting wall to wall coverage like we did with the Aurora massacre.
I guess if you are a mass murderer and you get some kind of sick twisted thrill out of your evil deeds, the more people you kill the better. It will certainly get you more notoriety.
Also, where and who you happen to kill also makes a difference on the media kill hype meter. If, for instance, you kill a bunch of poor black people in one of America's inner cities, that will score way down at the bottom of the media interest scale. (How many of you ever heard of the Lex Street massacre? Exactly!) If, on the other hand, you do your killing in suburbia, or you kill certain types of people, that will get you noticed. Just make sure you kill a decent number of them. I suspect that here in America we will yawn at anything less than four. Kill some foreigners with a strange religion in a church will get you midway up on the kill hype meter. This is because of the number of people and the fact that it was...well, in a church. Here in America we are still somewhat sensitive to churches. Unless, of course, that place of worship happens to be a Mosque. Those aren't really churches, just places to hide terrorists.
Of course sometimes, depending on who was killed and where they were killed, the number of people killed doesn't really matter. Seven people were killed on Lex Street. SEVEN! But sadly for them, they were just a bunch of crack heads from West Philly. (Kill hype meter barely moving upwards.) Sorry Shihean Black, you ain't no James Holmes.
Finally, republicans are up in arms about Joe Biden's latest comments while he was on the stump in Virginia.
"Campaigning in Danville, Virginia on Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden adopted a southern drawl when he told an audience of supporters of President Barack Obama?s reelection effort that Republicans aim to put ?y?all back in chains.?
?Look at their budget, and what they are proposing,? Biden said. ?Romney wants to let?he said in the first hundred days, he?s going to let the big banks once again write their own rules. Unchain Wall Street.?
After a pause, Biden said, ?they going to put y?all back in chains.? [Source]
Lord have mercy! O, you might want to put a leech on that Biden fellow between now and November. (Sorry animal lovers, leech might have been a poor word choice.)
Still, I have some news for you; Joe Biden is wrong. Republicans don't "aim" to put folks "back in chains", they already have.
"After weeks of slanderous and baseless accusations leveled against Governor Romney, the Obama Campaign has reached a new low," Romney press secretary Andrea Saul said in a statement. "The comments made by the Vice President of the United States are not acceptable in our political discourse and demonstrate yet again that the Obama Campaign will say and do anything to win this election. President Obama should tell the American people whether he agrees with Joe Biden's comments."
Oh STFU! Calling the president of the United States a thief is "slanderous". Using slavery and chains as a metaphor to make a point about Wall Street going unchecked is Joe Biden being Joe Biden. He said Romney will "unchain Wall Street". I think Mitt himself will admit that's true.
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Paul Ryan was visiting the Iowa State Fair yesterday when he made a peculiar comment, hoping to show "solidarity" with Iowans.Ryan also tried to identify with the voters in this battleground state.?I feel such kindred spirits here,? the Wisconsin congressman, 42, said. ?We are united as upper midwesterners, but, you know what it is? At the end of the day, we are Americans.?Upper...
from the Center for American Progress (download pdf here)
"In 1990 candidates for state supreme courts only raised around $3 million, but by the mid-nineties, campaigns were raking in more than five times that amount, fueled by extremely costly races in Alabama and Texas. The 2000 race saw high-court candidates raise more than $45 million."
-- from a new Center for American Progress report
by Billy Corriher, "Big Business Taking Over Supreme Courts"
"When you enter one of these courtrooms, the last thing you want to worry about is whether the judge is more accountable to a campaign contributor or an ideological group than to the law."
-- retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor,
in a May 2010 NYT op-ed piece, "Take Justice Off the Ballot"
Both of the above quotations come from an important new blogpost by The New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin, "Judges for Sale." Yes, ladies and germs, while we've been watching open-mouthed as all that right-wing money is poured into the presidential contest, and now more and more into congressional and even state-legislative races, it turns out that the moneyed elites have been buying up state supreme courts all over the country at relative discount prices.
Last night, in quoting from Adam Gopnik's new New Yorker piece on the history of Mormonism and how it's expressed in today's Top Mormon ("I, Nephi: Mormonism and its meanings"), in the section about Willard Inc. I focused on the portions that suggested a religious basis for his "any responsibility to his own past -- the consuming sense that his life and opinions can be remade at a moment's need." But I was also careful to include Gopnik's sense that the who-and-what of Willard doesn't require a religious explanation, beyond his own faith's utter congeniality with a culture of money-making.
Yet class surely tells more than creed when it comes to American manners, and Romney is better understood as a late-twentieth-century American tycoon than as any kind of believer. Most of what is distinct about him seems specific to the rich managerial class of the nineteen-eighties and nineties, and is best explained so -- just as you would grasp more about Jack Kennedy from F. Scott Fitzgerald (an Irish and a Catholic ascending to Wasp manners) than from St. Augustine. In another way, though, this is precisely where faith really does walk in, since commerce and belief seem complementary in Romney's tradition. It's just that this tradition is not merely Mormon. Joseph Smith's strange faith has become a denomination within the bigger creed of commerce. It's unfair to say, as some might, that Mitt Romney believes in nothing except his own ambition. He believes, with shining certainty, in his own success, and, more broadly, in the American Gospel of Wealth that lies behind it: the idea that rich people got rich by being good, that the riches are a sign of their virtue, and that they should therefore be allowed to rule.
Then again, almost every American religion sooner or later becomes a Gospel of Wealth. . . .
Thirty-nine states elect judges to their highest courts. (Fortunately, New York does not, though many lower-court judges in the state stand for election.) State courts decide about ninety-five per cent of the cases in American courts. The federal courts, where the judges are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate, hear only about five per cent, though those appointments get far more attention. Criminal prosecutions, civil lawsuits, child-custody matters, personal injuries -- almost all are decided in state courts, under rules established by each state supreme court.As we already know, by 2000 that $3 million had exploded to $45 million.
For many years, these contests were rather sleepy affairs, followed mostly by lawyers (and not many of them). The big changes began in the nineteen-eighties, and the partisan lines were clear. Plaintiffs' lawyers in personal-injury cases funded Democratic candidates for judgeships; defense lawyers in these cases -- especially those representing insurance companies and large corporations -- supported Republicans. For a time, the battle was something of standoff, but Republicans gained the upper hand in the nineties, especially in the South, where they were making big gains across the board. (Karl Rove first became famous because of his victories in Texas judicial elections.)
A new report, issued yesterday by the left-leaning Center for American Progress, shows that the race for control of state judiciaries has become a rout. The report, entitled "Big Business Taking over State Supreme Courts," found that,Fueled by money from corporate interests and lobbyists, spending on judicial campaigns has exploded in the last two decades. In 1990 candidates for state supreme courts only raised around $3 million. . . .
[Then the quote continues as above.]
In the subsequent decade, the numbers have only grown bigger. As the report notes, "more than 90 percent of special interest TV ads in 2006 were paid for by pro-business interest groups. Conservative groups spent $8.9 million in high court elections in 2010, compared to just $2.5 million from progressive groups.?
The systems vary in states without supreme-court elections. Some, like New Jersey, give a great deal of power to the governor; the ?Missouri plan,? which has also been adopted by several other states, uses non-partisan commissions to present finalists to the governor; other states, like California, allow the governor to choose supreme-court justices, who are then subject to occasional retention elections by the voters. Any of these are preferable to the grotesque spectacles that pass for judicial elections in states like Ohio, Michigan, Alabama, and (of course) Texas.
When you enter one of these courtrooms, the last thing you want to worry about is whether the judge is more accountable to a campaign contributor or an ideological group than to the law."
The last few days have been little more than a blur. I have traveled to so many states that I am not entirely sure which one I am currently in. I had thought that this would be nothing more than a relaxing little trip on Mr. Bus, but it was a lie. Most of my travel has been done via air vehicles; my meetings with Mr. Bus have been short and fleeting.
I am severely tired, and do not believe I am thinking clearly at this point. I am beginning to strongly suspect my staff is playing tricks on me. Yesterday I attended a fundraising event hosted by a convicted cocaine trafficking felon, which seemed odd in the extreme. Today I spent the day listening to the owner of a coal mine talk about how the federal government needed to stop having so many regulations against killing coal workers. Am I against killing coal workers? Am I for it? My memory of my policy positions has become increasingly indistinct. For some reason John Sununu is constantly on television talking about me?did I hire him? I cannot remember. I remember visiting a farmer last week, a fellow who lived in a large, disc-shaped house and was only able to weather the current drought due to the income from his convention center. That fellow seemed likable enough, and we were able to chat pleasantly about our mutual love of underground vehicle-related home equipment. This week it is nothing but coal mine owners and cocaine felons and that excruciating little turd of a vice presidential unit. I left a book on Mr. Bus in Florida, then flew off to yet more campaign events. When I returned to Mr. Bus in Ohio the book was nowhere to be found. Even Mr. Bus seems different, though I cannot discern how or why.
I must obtain rest. I have been snapping angrily at the staff. Now they are telling me that we must determine which of the countless past policies of my vice presidential unit we do or do not currently support. Why is this the first I am hearing about this? When choosing him we only discussed his policies on whether or not I and my fellow wealth units should be allowed to pay less taxes, we did not care about any of the rest of his irritating drivel.
More reviews are coming in for my new book, Language Intelligence: Lessons on Persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga.
John Cook at the always excellent blog Skeptical Science has a nice review that concludes:
Language Intelligence is extremely readable, due to the fact that Romm practices what he preaches, employing the full kitbag of rhetorical techniques that he expounds about. The principles of rhetorics are illustrated with colourful examples from some of history?s greatest figures. It?s not just a user manual on how to communicate but also a riveting account of the history of communication. Language Intelligence is a must-read for anyone who seeks to communicate better or safeguard themselves from rhetorical manipulation. If you?re a communicator, a blogger, a public speaker or merely someone with a Twitter account, adopt this book as your user manual in how to tune up your talks, posts and tweets to maximum impact.
A. Siegel at Daily Kos concludes his review, “Learning intelligent Language from Lady Gaga, Lakoff, Lincoln, Luntz, and others …”
While powerful as a political text(book), this is a book destined for the nation’s classrooms. Romm has written something that every high-school debate team would learn from and any English teach concerned about Language Intelligence would be well advised to read it and consider incorporating it into their educational program.
Unusually, after having read a book, my intent is to read it again — soon. I also intend to have my children read it and will recommend other family members read it. I recommend that you do so as well.
I think the readability — and rereadability — is one of the things that distinguishes this book from other books on rhetoric.
Persuasive communications is a subject everyone wants to master — since most of us spend more of our waking life communicating than any other single activity.
While you can’t get language intelligence from reading just one book, I do discuss in the conclusion other strategies you can pursue.
Today?s media environment is a challenging one. Between blogs, social media, 24-hour cable news and endless propaganda campaigns from political organizations, making your message stand out is difficult. In his fascinating new book, Language Intelligence, Joe Romm from Climate Progress lays out the keys to persuasive writing, and speaking.
?In the hands of its greatest practitioners, rhetoric has changed the world. As John F. Kennedy said of Churchill, ?He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle? to see England through to victory in World War II. In a famous 1858 speech, Lincoln paraphrased Jesus, saying ?A house divided against itself cannot stand,? and he extended the house metaphor throughout the speech. His law partner, William Herndon, later wrote that Lincoln had told him he wanted to use ?some universally known figure [of speech] expressed in simple language ? that may strike home to the minds of men in order to raise them up to the peril of the times.?
?Rhetoric is the art of being pithy and profound. In this world of information overload, you have to capture people?s attention. In this media menagerie, you have to stand out like a peacock. So this book will help you ?wow? people with words ? grab them with the most eye-popping headlines, the catchiest catch-phrases, and the sweetest tweets.?
?Once people are paying attention, the goal is to win them over through what I call ?language intelligence.? It is the ability to convince people of something by moving them both intellectually and emotionally, at both a conscious and unconscious level.?
The sad thing about many of the forces that make so many kids feel there is no way out from bullying is that they are universal. They feel alone, that no one can help them. The families, classmates and schools are left behind to think and hopefully learn[...]
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Ha ha! They're totally falling for it!ABC News' Amy Walter:
But there are plenty of voters out there who are more concerned about function than ideology. They aren?t spending their evenings debating the benefits of Hayek or Keynesian economic models. They are just trying to figure out which candidate is capable of getting something done. They will reward the politician who succeeds in getting things moving again.This seems like bad news for the ticket of the guy who has been unemployed for six years and the Budget Committee Chairman who's never passed a budget.
Romney-Ryan. So "bold," they get things done by not doing them.
Yep, you're poor, but we don't care. The rules of austerity mean if you are poor you are on your own. Am I my brother's keeper? Heck no. My brother needs to get two or three jobs in spite of the fact there are three or four applicants for each job. My brother needs to
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As we move into heavy campaigning season, let us reflect on Citizens United. Perhaps the silliest statement in the opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy is the one in which the majority concluded that corporate campaign contributions to no corrupt[...]
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These for-profit colleges are exactly what you would expect: For profit. Students come last. But since these schools have generously donated to both sides of the aisle, nothing will change until ATR (After The Revolution). For-profit schools attract kids whose economic and social background is such that they're not aware of, or feel they can't handle better options (like community college) because these schools work around their schedules and tell them they'll graduate quickly. Except they have a very high dropout rate after and even the ones who do graduate find out most places don't consider their diplomas of much value.
Mike Tracy teaches at the Art Institute of California?Orange County, but not for long. In a note on his Facebook page, Tracy explains that AIC-OC (whose parent company, EDMC, is 41 percent owned by Goldman Sachs) has told him he'll be fired if he doesn't agree to sell a quota of expensive and, in his opinion, unnecessary e-textbooks.Here's the note Tracy posted:
As many of you know, I have been in a dispute with our school, the Art Institutes, for some months now, over their policy of mandatory e-textbooks in classes where their inclusion seems arbitrary, inappropriate and completely motivated by profit. In July I asked the US Department of Education, the California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education and WASC (our accrediting agency) to look into my concerns. Since that time, the school and its parent company EDMC have escalated the pressure on me to select a book for a class I teach that I don?t think requires one.
Today, the President of the school, Greg Marick, presented me with an ultimatum; either choose a book by Tuesday, Aug 14th or the company will terminate my employment for insubordination. My response, of course, is that I will not change my mind on this issue and that I?m determined to resist the policy however I can. I think this means that, as of this week, I will no longer be teaching at AI.
I want you, my students and colleagues to know that it has been my great honor and privilege to have worked with you over the last 11 years, and that I will miss the opportunity to work for you and with you. I have enjoyed my time as a teacher very much, but it appears as though it is now time to move on. Although it aint over till it?s over, it looks like a 99.5% deal, barring an 11th hour change of heart by the corporation, which would surprise me.
Sandra Bernardo is their regional PR manager. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 714-338-1303. Ask her if she knows how this looks.