Open thread below...
At Grist, Chris Mooney does what he says he rarely does, "gushes" over a book. It's Joe Romm's new book, Language Intelligence: Lessons on Persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga. Here's what Mooney has to say:
Everybody who cares about why science doesn?t get through to the public should read it.You can also hear Mooney's interview with Romm here.
Basically, it is a powerful treatise on the neglected art of rhetoric, the technique mastered by Shakespeare, Lincoln, and the writers of the King James Bible. As an English major, I particularly delighted in Romm?s discussion of figures of speech and how they make orators persuasive by allowing them to activate people?s emotions. Indeed, as Romm writes, modern neuroscience now confirms what the poets always knew about getting to people?s heads through their hearts (that?s a metaphor, by the way ? one of the chief techniques that Romm discusses).Joe RommIf you ever want to understand why scientists fare so poorly getting their message across ? and why liberals lose policy debates and, often, presidential campaigns ? this is also the book for you. In essence: Too much higher education, too much wonk sophistication, destroys the common language simplicity of good rhetoric and makes you less persuasive.
Romm ? quite self-consciously ? uses powerful rhetoric himself to get the point across. And he shows how, slowly, climate researchers are coming to recognize the power of figures of speech ? comparing global warming?s influence on the weather to a batter on steroids who hits more home runs, for instance, or to the loading of dice.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2008:
I'm not going to link it directly, but via Boing Boing, one Michael Goldfarb is making the case that progressives who read Daily Kos are like tweeners playing Dungeons & Dragons in mom's basement. Now, the knee jerk reaction here would be to state "But I'm not playing D & D in my mother's basement!" But you know what? I'm not going to play that role and I'm not going to be nice.
Mr. Goldfarb was one of the
originalPNAC boys, the lovable neoconservative guys and gals who dreamed up and then whined for an invasion of Iraq starting in the late 1990s, claiming it would be decisive, quick, cheap, and easy. If that sounds familiar, it's because these are the very same opportunistic assholes who used a bogus WMD threat to stampede a spooked nation into their cherished war on Iraq in the traumatic aftermath of 9-11. When the wheels fell off their experiment and it ground to a brutal halt on the streets of reality, true to neocon form, they scattered and ran hitherto, pointing fingers at the CIA, the Democrats, blaming anyone and everyone else for their giant, massive, bloody Baghdad fuck-up, once it became clear what a colossal fuck up it was.
Mr. Goldfarb, please accept this with all the venom and hostility you can conceive of: D & D players don't scare me. They hang out quietly in dorm rooms and apartments playing their RP game hurting no one. You and your friends at PNAC on the other hand stand guilty of practicing gross fatal global negligence to a degree so grotesque I would not have thought it possible in this modern nation.
Renee DiResta did a project at her blog No Upside so simple and beautiful it is amazing no one thought of it before. It's the kind of effort that when you see it, you think, well -- of course![...]
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Today is my one year wedding anniversary with the amazing blogger Driftglass. And they said it wouldn't last. What songs mean something to you and a past or present significant other?
The Romney campaign has now issued what sounds like a relatively tepid statement saying the team 'disagrees' with Akin and would note oppose abortion in cases of rape. [...]
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Two quick things I want to let you know about coming up soon at TPM. This week we're going to be joined in the Editors' Blog by Rick Hasen, the guy who knows more about the on-going voter fraud / voter ID / voter suppression story than anyone I know. [...]
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Why are so many global corporate CEOs socialists who hate business? Don't they realize that Romney was also a CEO? Perhaps they noticed the poor economic performance of Massachusetts under government Romney or his keen ability to squeeze every cent out of his investments before throwing them away when there was no money left.Reuters:Twice as many business executives around the world say...
Occupy Wall Street invites you, the 99%, down to the Financial District for three days of education, celebration and resistance.[...]
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When she's not tweeting nonsense, Jedediah Bila is one of Fox News' favorite go-to "real feminists are Republicans" spokespersons. And while on "Fox & Friends" discussing why women are
lazy, dependent dupes going to yet again vote for Democrats in November for the 142nd straight election, she did what she's paid to do.
BILA: Well I think historically, if you look back through all the elections throughout time, women have gone Democrat, they do lean Democrat. I think that's because in a large part the feminist movement has been telling women for a long time that Democrats are their alley [sic], ally, and somehow these big government policies have become their friend. They have sort of exchanged the values of self-sufficiency and autonomy in favor of government dependence. Instead of relying on men, now they're relying on government to be their big daddy or whatever you want to call it.
Yes, those devious feminists have tricked women into believing that the GOP is trying to destroy an organization committed to their health, wants them to submit to mandatory vaginal probing, seeks to criminalize abortion, even when the mother's life is threatened, thinks health insurance companies should be able to deny coverage of basic medications -- not to mention, is perfectly content to let women work for less pay.
So are women gullible or just stupid? Jedediah reports, you decide.
For most of the past two weeks, you might have noticed that my byline has not appeared on a single piece here at Daily Kos. That is because I have been blessed with what has been (knock on wood, as we still have two days to go) one of the most trauma-free and wonderful family vacations we have ever experienced.
Now, one of the primary purposes of going on vacation, as anyone would attest, is to leave your job at home and clear your mind. With the first day of school bearing down on me next week, however, I have actually found inspiration for my work even as I was wandering through the Midwest in full tourist mode.
Visiting the Homestead National Monument in Beatrice, Nebraska, on a hot, breezy August afternoon, it was impossible for me as a history teacher not to stare into the distance (in a place where, as Molly Ivins once wrote of West Texas, the world is 87.3 percent sky) and wonder how Daniel Freeman and those that followed must've wondered "what the Hell have I gotten myself into?" as they pondered how to make this patch of prairie a working farm, as per the conditions of the Homestead Act.
As my wife talked to an incredibly nice lady at the quilt shop in Lake City, Iowa (which, endearingly, bills itself as a town that has "everything but a lake"), we got a real feel for just how deeply the rainless summer has impacted folks in her state. The corn is pretty much a goner, she conceded, though they hoped they could salvage the soybean crops. I could see that working its way into a government conversation about the intersection between science, economics, and the role of the government in trying to help its farmers survive when mother nature is doing her damnedest to tie them to the train tracks.
(Continue reading below the fold.)