Friday, August 28, 2020

for a world beyond throwaway words


This is part 2 of the project “being an American (with conceptual issues)

In pre-recorded presentations for the Democratic National Convention, the week of August 17, historian Jon Meacham, Michelle Obama, and Barack Obama were obviously not speaking spontaneously. Likewise for Joe Biden, the final night.

Yet, the engagement with us was more than wanting to be heard heart-
fully, more than assuring the viewer that they cared deeply about our politics; and that you should care about electing Biden.

Who took to heart the words they chose? Indeed, who will long remember the themes they invoked?

Thursday, May 14, 2020

“genius” on the street



Quote marks: so-called.

It’s certainly so-called in journalism. David Brooks did a column 11 years ago (I’m an obsessive archivist) that’s typical, titled “Genius: The Modern View.” He riffs off a couple of books about building expertise through practice and persistence, focusing especially on child development. Alas, you too can someday be called a “genius.”

Saturday, May 9, 2020

VE Day in a pandemic



Yesterday’s VE Day observance caused me to recall that American isolationism after WW-I led to the League of Nations failing. There’s an epochal lesson in that, re: the Trumpist withdrawal from collaborative global relations in the face of mounting severities: tipping points in climate risk, desperation-driven militarism, the current pandemic.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

originalism as phony approach to constitutionality



This week’s NYTimes Magazine article on juristic originalism, “How Will Trump’s Supreme Court Remake America?,” seems to provide a definitive context for thinking about Constitutional interpretation.

The title is misleading in that the article is not really concerned with consequences of the given SCOTUS bench, but rather with conceptual issues of originalism. Ms. Bazelon’s long article is a fabulous mix of anecdote, references to keynotes of legal theory (largely undiscussed, but made available in one set of links), emphasis of central themes of originalist controversy, and synopses of some past SCOTUS decisions. (Particularly interesting is that there is recently-available evidence which decisively undermines the gun libertarianism of the NRA: The Founders and their ratifying contemporaries had only military concerns in mind.)

I was eager to comment, but what can be useful in 1500 characters or less about a very elaborate discussion of legal hermeneutics?

So, I made my comment a diluted version of detailed dwelling with the article, which my eventual comments would implicitly trope or allegorize: I copied every fleeting phrase and paragraph segment that essentially pertained to the article’s examination of originalism, for and against, and grouped it all into 13 foci. Then, I posted a distilled version.

Friday, January 24, 2020

journalism of integrity for educational leadership



The day of Jim Lehrer’s death, the PBS News Hour posted an excellent article on the site, “Remembering Jim Lehrer.” Note midway down, right sidebar, “Jim Lehrer’s Rules.” Today, there were on-camera remembrances. (It’s much better to see the video than to read the transcript.)

Mr. Lehrer’s exemplarity is worthy of lasting admiration, and the public virtue of journalistic integrity is essential to our humanity.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

for progressive engagement with corporate concentration



An article today in the NYTimes about progressively engaging corporate concentration showcases resourcefulness that 21st century democratic politics needs: “America’s Top Foundations Bankroll Attack on Big Tech,” by David McCabe.

But its fabulous mix of efforts—constructive, critical, and oppositional—don’t intend to be considered in an integrative way. Progressive politics requires prospecting such ways while needing new kinds of resources.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

a venture in progressive pragmatism



I want to enter here my comment at Tom Friedman’s review of Samantha Powers’ The Education of an Idealist because it encapsulates my sense of politics.
Friedman’s review provides a fine excursion into what progressive pragmatism is.

We commonly counterpose “Progressivism” with “Conservatism,” but the basic dyad is idealism and realism that remains highly aspirational. That is a hallmark of America: progressive pragmatism.