An alternative to campaign-finance reform?
[First appeared on openDemocracy on April 22, 2014.] The still fresh McCutcheon v FEC Supreme Court decision, like the January 2010 Citizens United, has again set off the rage of … Continue reading
Should New Media Distinguish Idea from Opinion Journalism?
[Also appeared March 10, 2014 on Truthout here.] Old media separated non-entertainment journalism into a simple dichotomy: news and opinion. Today we—academics, journalists, and laypeople—include internet searches at some point … Continue reading
The Geist of Tahrir & Occupy
[First appeared Feb 10, 2014 on Truthout. Begin there with comments.] The Tahrir Square Revolution turns three this week and Occupy Wall Street follows soon. They both manifested a tangible … Continue reading
Easier to Vilify Team Owners than Question Society’s Complicity
[First appeared Feb 4, 2014 on Truthout/Speakout. Look for comments there.] Taking advantage of the Super Bowl hype, Mother Jones magazine re-publicized an article “Offensive Lines: How Bad Is Your … Continue reading
Review of Democratic Reason: Politics, Collective Intelligence, & the Rule of the Many
This book follows the recent trend in democratic theory termed “epistemic democracy” in a novel way. Rather than rely on liberal philosophy or an analogy with science, it begins with … Continue reading
The Neo-Athenian Revival
[Appeared April 2 openDemocracy. Ideas first appeared Jan 20, 2014 Truthout.] A recent Economist article “What’s Gone Wrong with Democracy” is chock-full of photographs of discontent from places in revolution—Ukraine, … Continue reading
Fourteen Tips for Law School & Life
In summarizing my law school tips to a younger collaborator, I thought they might be helpful for other people too. They are based only on my own experiences, and your … Continue reading
Rowling & Heidegger: Ontological Humility & the Authentic, Ethical Life
A review of Ontological Humility: Lord Voldemort and the Philosophers [Appeared Nov. 26, 2013 on Truthout. Look for comments there: http://bit.ly/OnHuTr%5D What does Martin Heidegger have to do with Harry … Continue reading
The Mideastern Roots of Modern Democracy
[First appeared May 26th Daft Blogger. More on humility soon.] Is it possible that it was not the rediscovery of Greek thought that brought equality, human rights and democracy to … Continue reading
Google Palestine & Sociological Jurisprudence
[First appeared May 13, 2013 on Fair Observer. Start with comments there.] Google’s decision Friday May 3rd to change google.ps’s tagline to “Palestine” implicitly recognized it as a state. It … Continue reading
Equality & Political Ecology: From Spinoza to Politdoche
Feeling and ideas are renewed, the heart expands, the human spirit develops only through the reciprocal action of human beings on one another. Alexis de Tocqueville Referring to the prevalence … Continue reading
The Arabic in Everyday English
Below is a list of everyday, non-specialized words in the English language that are of Arabic origin. They can be put into three categories: 1) words that refer to plants, … Continue reading
InsideOut OutsideIn: Long-Mileage Tips for Language Learning & Beyond
Learning a language we’ve all heard “Don’t translate!” and, the cliché, “only immersion works.” Yet seemingly everyone struggles with “easy languages” like French or Spanish. Why and what can a … Continue reading
Redeeming Rousseau: Politdoche & General Will
Recently on Daft Blogger I fell hard on the word “government” and offered a replacement, “politdoche.” This article demonstrates why it fares better as an ideal and how it would … Continue reading
Is the word “government” the problem?
“The wise know that foolish legislation is a rope of sand…that the state must follow, and not lead, the character and progress of the citizen.” Ralph Waldo Emerson Our prejudices … Continue reading
Citizens United and The Nadir of the Single-member-district First-past-the-post System?
Many people have been saying, ever since I’ve been old enough to vote and long before Citizens United, that we make the best of what we have and vote for … Continue reading
Om Kalthoum “The Lady”: What is it about the Blues?
This post is off topic to ask a (quasi-rhetorical) question. Umm Kulthum (or Om Kalthoum) was an Egyptian singer, notoriously popular during the middle of the 20th century. Her funeral … Continue reading
The Politic: Borrow a French Word to Save the American Republic?
[First appeared March 25, 2013 on DaftBlogger.com] Different languages distinguish different sounds, as everyone knows, but they often pick out different nuances in ideas too. Classic examples of the first … Continue reading
So, tell me about these “real numbers.” Plato, Therapy, Theory, & Ethnography
Last time I related Plato’s “ideas” to mathematics, in particular Calculus and Geometry. The value of Plato, and the “doctrine of ideas,” carries over into other realms as well, from … Continue reading
Plato, Calculus, Law, Alice in Wonderland, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty, & Mind
What is a “point?” Geometry, like Calculus, begins with the seemingly simple ideas of “point” and “line.” Surprisingly, this is where “non-mathy” people begin to get lost–not for the math … Continue reading
Tolerance: A Few Words for a Dirty Word
A more playful title could be “Doing words dirty: de-riddling Derridian derisions.” “Tolerance,” first clichéd, was then dirtied by philosophers of wordplay, philosophers who would hold it only in the … Continue reading
Remembering Mubarak: Tahrir, Zuccotti, & Future Democracy
Today marks the two-year anniversary of Hosni Mubarak’s departure. At the end of 2011, Time’s Person of the Year was “The Protester,” and the issue was wrapped in Tahrir Square. … Continue reading