Steve Bullock is not John Hickenlooper, and John Hickenlooper is not Jay Inslee, but they do blend seamlessly into a haze of slight jowls and ruddy whiteness, such that if you puree their chromosomes in a laboratory, you might get Michael Bennet, who is also running for president, even though you can’t remember who he is or what he looks like. It is also important to note that Seth Moulton is not Tim Ryan, and Tim Ryan is not Eric Swalwell -- but they might as well be, because each of them is an avatar of ish-ness: young-ish, handsome-ish and nonexistent-ish, with each polling close to zero in the 2020 Democratic presidential race, which feels like it started a generation ago and will probably continue until your uncle declares, too, sometime during Thanksgiving dinner later this year. Now add Bill de Blasio to the mix, because Bill de Blasio added himself to the mix Thursday, because what we need right now is Bill de Blasio in the mix, running for president...This expresses at the tonal level of contemporary punditry-qua-celebrity-gossip a comparable and far more serious mediocrity of policy substance or imaginative heft across the sprawl of these pale, stale, male also-rans. A feeling of eerie unequalness to the urgent tasks we truly and collectively face. Now, I'm still personally quite impressed by Elizabeth Warren's campaign and I'm still keeping my eyes on Kamala Harris' superior organization, and I guess it is edifying that they are both settling into the middle of the pack of Democratic contenders for now, well beneath Biden and Bernie (neither of whom excite me at all, except my occasional disgust, tho' of course I will instantly vote for either against the execrable authoritarian bigot Trump), but well within contention as campaign vicissitudes begin to tell. The Republicans are terrifying me, the Democrats are disappointing me (in ways that are also a bit terrifying): this has been true since I came into political awareness in the 80s, of course, but like everything in Trump-stage, that is to say probably terminal stage, America everything is just that much more surreally worse.
Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
The 2001 AUMF has been used to justify military action in more than 40 countries. It’s past time for us to hold a debate & vote #StopEndlessWar – especially since more than 80% of current members of Congress weren’t in office when we voted on it in 2001. pic.twitter.com/cRy4jibUiI— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) May 22, 2019
Washington has become the first state in the US to legalise human composting. Under the new law, people there can now choose to have their body turned into soil after their death. The process is seen as an alternative to cremations and burials, and as a practical option in cities where land for graveyards is scarce. At the end of the composting, loved ones are given the soil, which they can use in planting flowers, vegetables or trees. The bill was signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee on Tuesday... Katrina Spade, who lobbied for the law to be introduced, founded a company that could be the first to provide the service. "Recomposition offers an alternative to embalming and burial or cremation that is natural, safe, sustainable, and will result in significant savings in carbon emissions and land usage[.]"Sign me up the minute it is legal in California. Feed me to a plum, ginkgo, apple-pear, or maple tree, and I might manage to facilitate after death some small beauty in and healing of the world. Would go some way to compensate my many ineptitudes trying the same in life.
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Monday, May 20, 2019
Sunday, May 19, 2019
Saturday, May 18, 2019
Summer 2019, Session A, 2-4.30pm., Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 88 Dwinelle Hall
Instructor, Dale Carrico: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;
Course Blog: http://whatiscompelling.blogspot.com
Participation/Attendance/In-Class Activities, 25%; Reading Notebook, 15%; Mid-Term Exam, 30%; Final Paper, 5-6pp., 30%. (Rough Basis for Final Grade, subject to contingencies)
The arc of the moral universe is a longing... and it bends from just us.
This course provides students with tools they can use to make better, more compelling, arguments and also to read arguments in better, more critical, ways. We will draw the tools for our argumentative toolboxes from the long history of rhetoric, from sophistical dissoi logoi, to the Aristotelian appeals, to Quintilian's four master tropes, to the rich archive of formal and informal fallacies, to argument modeled on litigation via Toulmin's schema, to argument modeled on mediation via Rogerian synthesis, to the pragmatism of the ends of argument. All the while we are workshopping these technical skills we will also be reading and discussing a range of texts that tackle questions of the reach and forms of violence and nonviolence in historical struggle and in everyday life. These texts will likewise draw from a long history, from Immanuel Kant, Martin Luther King, Jr., Frantz Fanon and Hannah Arendt to Arundhati Roy, Judith Butler, and Ta-Nehisi Coates. We will also talk through a play by Euripides, an essay by Nietzsche, a novel by Octavia Butler, a film by Cronenberg… The crucial thing to understand about the course is that we will not be taking on two separate projects, one practical and another theoretical. This course proposes that there is an indispensable relation between the traditional focus of rhetoric as instruction in the art of making compelling arguments and the theoretical preoccupation of many rhetoricians with questions of what violence or compulsion ultimately consists. It is commonplace to see Persuasion offered up as an alternative to the violent adjudication of disputes or hear Argument idealized as a space "outside" of violence. But the truth is that many arguments rely on the acceptance of a violent status quo or depend on conventional assumptions that deny marginal testimonies to violation. Also, many arguments stealthily threaten violence while at once congratulating themselves on their peacefulness. Ultimately, the course proposes that it is rhetoric's definitive concern with the traffic between the literal and figurative dimensions of language and its situated understanding of truth-telling that connects the work of rhetoric with a project of reconciliation that resists violence even as we cannot help but risk it.
A Provisional Schedule of Meetings
May 28 SKILL SET: Key Definitions
 Rhetoric is the facilitation of efficacious discourse as well as an ongoing inquiry into the terms on the basis of which discourse comes to seem efficacious or not.
 A text is an event experienced as arising from intention, offered up to the hearing of an audience, and obligating a responsiveness equal to it.
 An argument is a claim supported by reasons and/or evidence.
Introductions: Rhetoric as occasional, interested, figurative; The literal as conventional, the figurative as deviant.
May 29 SKILL SET: Reading Critically/Writing Critically; Audience/Intentions -- Audiences: Sympathetic, Unsympathetic, Apathetic; Intentions: Interrogation, Conviction, Persuasion, Reconciliation
Euripides: Hecuba (Here is a link to the last few lines of the play, cut off from the online version for some reason)
May 30 SKILL SET: Aristotelian rhetoric; Ethos, Pathos, Logos; Writing A Precis
Immanuel Kant, Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose
June 4 SKILL SET: Four Habits of Argumentative Writing: 1. Formulate a Strong Thesis, 2. Define Your Terms, 3, Substantiate/Contextualize, 4, Anticipate Objections; Performativity
Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence
June 5 SKILL SET: The Toulmin Schema
William May, "Rising to the Occasion of Our Death" (In-Class Handout)
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
Logan Rimel, My "Nonviolent" Stance Was Met With Heavily Armed Men
supplemental/referenced texts this week:
Henry David Thoreau, A Plea for Captain John Brown
Howard Zinn, On Henry David Thoreau and When To Resist An Immoral State
Ella Baker, Bigger Than A Hamburger
Combahee River Collective Statement
June 11 SKILL SET: Logoi Dissoi
June 13 SKILL SET: Literal/Figurative Language; Figures, Tropes, Schemes; Four Master Tropes
Nietzsche, On Truth and the Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense
supplemental/referenced texts this week:
Angela Davis, Abolition Democracy
Nietzsche, selections from The Gay Science
June 12 Mid-Term Examination
June 13 Screening and Discussion of the Film, "A History of Violence," dir. Cronenberg
June 14 Hannah Arendt, Reflections On Violence and "Must Eichmann Hang?" (In-Class Handout)
June 19 Octavia Butler, Kindred (Purchase in time for class. ISBN-10: 0807083690 ISBN-13: 978-0807083697)
June 20 SKILL SET: Debate
Correspondence of Tolstoy and Gandhi
Jane Addams, New Ideals of Peace: Passing of the War Virtues
supplemental/referenced texts this week:
Mohandas K. Gandhi, The Meaning and Practice of Ahimsa
Karuna Matena, The Power of Nonviolence
Gene Sharp, How Nonviolent Struggle Works
June 26 Rob Nixon, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor (Introduction, pp. -44.).
Friday, May 17, 2019
Only 20 states have laws protecting LGBTQ Americans against discrimination. DespiteTrump’s attempts to stonewall our progress, the #EqualityAct will move our country in the right direction.— Barbara Lee (@BLeeForCongress) May 16, 2019
.@HouseDemocrats took a huge step forward today by passing the #EqualityAct, ensuring that everyone has equal rights — regardless of who they are or who they love. Let's keep working #ForThePeople! #HR5 pic.twitter.com/SrenszTEUr— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) May 17, 2019