Saturday, December 06, 2008

Bad Santa

Just in time for the holiday, a pair of writers from the Chicago Tribune have published a book featuring photos of terrified children sitting in Santa's lap. Truly heartwarming.

For the record, yes, I have laughed heartily at pictures like these (including one of my nephew), but I really don't understand why a parent would subject his or her child(ren) to this. We took Supa-T to see Santa at the mall (where else?). While he was happy to chat with St. Nick and even accepted a candy cane from him, when it was suggested that he sit in Santa's lap, Supa-T held on to me for dear life with his arms and legs. This kid could be one hell of a horseman.

P.S. If you do a Google image search with the key words "scared of santa," you will discover that lots of people are eager to share these sorts of images. You can find a slideshow here.

Friday Night Humor: Sarah Palin's Musical Rhetoric


I Feel It in My Fingers

This one's for you, Harrogate.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Friday Musical Tribute: Who's Got the Best Girlfriend?

As Tacitus might have put it. Tacitus, of whom Herman Melville's most bizarre fictional creation once observed:

Drop Tacitus. Phrenologically, my young friend, you would seem to have a well-developed head, and large; but cribbed within the ugly view, the Tacitus view, your large brain, like your large ox in the contracted field, will but starve the more. And don't dream, as some of you students may, that, by taking this same ugly view, the deeper meanings of the deeper books will so alone become revealed to you. Drop Tacitus. His subtelty is falsity. To him, in his double-refined anatomy of human nature, is well-applied the Scripture saying--"There is a subtle man, and the same is deceived." Drop Tacitus. Come now, let me throw the book overboard.

So. As Tacitus would have no doubt put it: Fuck It.

There is nothing at all wrong with celebrating the same musical group a lot of times in a row, if that is what happens to be powering your steamboat at the time. Besides, this is all Sweet Toddler J's fault anyway.

And then, Harrogate was suddenly seized with the paralytic, ungraspable fear that Oxymoron has never heard this song. Which must be corrected forthwith.

"As we get older
And Stop Making Sense,
You won't find her waiting long."

Now that right there is worthy of Blake.

Atheist Scrooges....Film At Eleven

CNN reports that Atheists in Olympia, Washington have struck back against a city Nativity scene as a group posted a sign that states religion is a superstition.

I wonder how long it will take for OReilly or Hannity to call out the atheists for their "insensitivity."

CNN reports that there are similar signs and messages in other parts of the country. I guess, all I can say is, "Joy to the World, The War has Returned. Let' O'Reilly's voice pronounce....."

Harrogate's Favorite of All the Videos He, To Date, Has Posted This Year

While getting the ball rolling on the current Retrospective Festival taking place on TRS, oxymoron indicated here that at times, it seemed as though Harrogate preferred Ron Paul to all other Presidential candidates. Reading Oxy's comment, Harrogate was moved to take introspective pause. How much substance, in the end, was there to the claim? It was certainly the case that Harrogate's Award-Winning sequence, "Why Some People Like Ron Paul," included some of the clearest, most passionate prose Harrogate ever placed on these Boards.

But at the same time, while this writing intentionally implied much admiration for the good Dr. Paul, much of it was after all quite hostile, with Harrogate wearing anti-Libertarian bias on his sleeve for all to behold. In the end, the truth is that the thing about Paul that moved Harrogate the most was the incredible response his Call for Liberty evoked in citizens across the country. Paul, unlike every other candidate this season, did not at all come across as having tailored his Rhetoric to Focus Groups. Indeed, he neither hemmed nor hawed. There was never any doubt as to the sincerity of his position, no confusing for anything else his intellectually-grounded Love for the United States of America.

Do many of Paul's convictions nauseate Harrogate? Indeed they do. But one both can and should live with that in the arena of ideas. And the rejection of many of Paul's ideas, by Harrogate, did not thereby insinuate a questioning of his patriotic motives, his Constitutional breadth of knowledge, or his Political Bravery.

Some, by the way, have said that Situationers post too many videos. But Harrogate disagrees. The videos, musical, or political or otherwise, accomplish many important Rhetorical goals, not the least of which is the kind of community-building work that Oxymoron has recently identified with Feminine Sociolinguistics. But the Videos are also expressions of what move each indiviual blogger, and chance to put out into the Blogosphere "stuff {insert name} likes."

The Above Video Homage to Ron Paul, Harrogate posted on two separate occasions in this Year 2008. Now he has posted it for the third and final time. It takes one of our Nation's greatest Musical Pop Anthems, and uses it persuasively on Paul's behalf. This video is all about America, about ideological substance, and it is beautiful.

And so here is another chance for Readers to check it out.


Today's poll is "Who has the best body after baby?" The nominees are Halle Berry, Nicole Kidman, Jessica Alba, Nicole Richie, Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera, and Jennifer Lopez. I'm grossed out. As if these women weren't already obsessed and starving themselves so they look the way they're "supposed" to, now we get to compare them--and vote on it! Disgusting.

"No politics, please!"; Wherein new board member M unsuccessfully attempts to steer the direction of TRS, and Solon pushes back

Yesterday M honored Solon for his post on playground etiquette. The reason his post is worthy of accolade, she explains, is that it "got us away from the election, if only briefly."

While I never wrote too much about the election (and rarely write about politics at all) on our blog, I always appreciate the political perspectives offered here, as they often inform and influence my own thinking. In this regard, TRS is not just an opportunity for me to have fun with friends online, but also and always a chance to learn something new, whether that subject be politics, music, pandas, or stout penes.

It therefore surprised me when our beloved M called for a one-day moratorium on political waxation [coined!]. This was mid-February, right in the heap of primary season, where so much can happen in a single 24-hour period. I mean, just think back to that fateful day when Huckabee won West Virginia. Amid a moratorium, we might never had learned the extent to which Romney was pissed. We might also have missed out on Pot's statement about Kettle.

So, again, M's request was a bit surprising. But what was not surprising was the reaction of TRS bloggers. While no one forthrightly commented on her post, we nevertheless responded in very predictable ways--along gender lines.

Sociolinguistic research tells us that women often use language to build and maintain relationships, while men are usually only concerned with delivering information. What's more, women strive to achieve a communal balance during conversation, whereas men use a more aggressive style that establishes or perpetuates hierarchies.

Following M's call for a momentary change in direction on our Award-winning blog, Solon immediately and aggressively exerted his power to blog about whatever his heart desired. A mere sixteen minutes after M's request, Solon issued to her a giant "fuck you, bitch," publishing a post about Karl Rove and censorship. Luckily, Megs came to the rescue in a womanly way, which is to say that she attempted to maintain relationships and rapport on the blog. She published two back-to-back posts, neither of which was overtly political.

But Solon retaliated against Megs feel-good attempts to foster an egalitarian community on the blog. "No one will tell me what not to write about," his next few posts tacitly screamed. That's right, he continued to deliver the political news and commentary for which he is known across the blogosphere, publishing three more posts on political topics. Yes, you heard right: he delivered three more giant "Fuck You"s.

I chose not to smoke any blog that day, for I was internally conflicted. As man I wanted to be like Solon; I wanted to tell the world that I'm not here to give hugs and affirm the worth of those with whom I converse. On the other hand, as a then stay-at-home dad (with testicles only somewhat intact), I wanted to do my part to build a sense of community on our blog, where everyone's input is valued.

Early Morning Elton John

A clip of Solon's dissertation director singing the "Border Song."

Best Inaugural Post

If I may, I would like to nominate my own first contribution to the Situation as the [see post title] of 2008. Who doesn't love a pantsuit? Or Barbie? Or Supa?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Late Night Thursday Waits

Have a drink. Or not. Hit play either way.

Yes, It's From Shrek

but I first heard it on the L-Word. Don't know which is worse. But what I do know is that I heard Rufus Wainwright's version of Hallelujah today at Starbucks. (What, am I a corporate shill tonight?) And it makes my soul hurt like a Jamesian dull ache. (That's for you, Harrogate. You'll understand.) And after comparing the Wainwright version to Leonard Cohen's, and even Jeff Buckley's, I could finally explain to solon why I love James novels more than Wharton's. So here it is, one for the ages:

Yes, it's way too serious for tonight. But it deserves to be taken seriously.

Oh Harrogate, Part Deux

You can take me to the river, but it may not always be A Good Idea.

Oh Harrogate....

Take me to the river....

Because Girls Blog Here, Too

Hi everyone. Megs here. Frequent reader, first-time poster. I'd like to nominate Supa's Mr. Noodle post. Because, well, it's not only gratifying to think about Harrogate's anger toward Mr. Noodle. It's also important to introduce the phrase "Mr. Noodle" into the dialogue.

A Clarification for Solon's Benefit, but which will Perhaps benefit others as well: Where Sexual Harassment Panda Came From

Oh Say Can You See....

Why the NHL is an inferior product: Part Ad Nauseam.

ESPN reports that the NHL indefinitely suspended soon to be ex-Dallas Stars forward and NHL bad boy, i.e. player without any talent that may be known more for hookers than hockey, Sean Avery because of his comments about his former girlfriend, Elisha Cuthbert. After the morning skate before Tuesday's game with Calgary, Avery walked by reporters, stopped, and stated:
"I just want to comment on how it's become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds. I don't know what that's about, but enjoy the game tonight."

Avery directed his comments toward Calgary defenseman Dion Phaneuf, who now dates Cuthbert. By the way, video is available just in case you do now know what it is like seeing an idiot speak.

Even before Dallas and Calgary dropped the puck, Gary Bettman, the worst league commissioner of all commissioners, suspended because Avery delivered "inappropriate public comments, not pertaining to the game." According to the League Avery's words could have led to a fight in that night's game. I am Shocked! Shocked! A Fight? In Hockey? And the fight might not have anything to do with the game itself? I wonder how much of a hickey game actually concerns hockey these days.

While Avery's comments are beyond ill-advised and deplorable (please reread those words, I am not defending what Avery said), they reveal a few problems with the NHL.

First, in his apology Avery apologized, stated, "It was a bad attempt to build excitement for the game." If your game needs excitement to get fans "up" for the game and you think this will help, then your game is not a real game.

And I'm sorry Michael Farber, Avery has not embarrassed the game any more than the league has embarrassed the game. Just remember: #7 of the Calgary Flames, Todd Bertuzzi, broke another player's neck in an on-ice act of revenge. For some reason, the NHL still allows him to receive million dollar contracts. That is an embarrassment.

Second, the Dallas Stars purged Avery from the team's roster, meaning he will not be back even when the NHL decides to announce how long his suspension will be. Since this is his fourth NHL team, moving form team to team because his previous teams grew to dislike his antics, not many NHL teams may take a chance on him. Maybe he'll languish in the minors. Maybe another team will sign him. Maybe the Dallas Stars will buy-out his contract (i.e. give him $8,000,000 to never play again). Who knows.

Yet, while the league will probably give Avery a heavy punishment, the NHL as an organization and the teams in the NHL fail to deliver this type of punishment to players that attempt to injure other players, especially with hits to the head. While I find Avery's comments inappropriate in so many ways, I do think it is slightly odd that the NHL will punish a player for speech (as most leagues do, especially when players or coaches criticize the league of the refs), no matter how unwise it is, but will allow players to inflict serious injury upon one another each and every game unless a thug deliberately swings a stick at someone's head. Hits that leave people with a concussion or out of the game for a year or prematurely end their career, well, that is part of the game.

Third, this is just another example that there are different standards of justice in the NHL. Most players, especially stars, would not receive a heavy punishment. Useless players, like Avery, will receive a suspension. Imagine that: completing standards of justice. Hmph. That's new.

To see more of Sean Avery's tactics, see why the NHL adopted the Avery Rule (when a player receives a penalty because that player stands in front of the goalie and waving his stick without any intention of actually playing the game).

By the way, Bret "foot in the crease" Hull signed Avery against the wishes of management. I wonder if he will lose his job.

Thursday Musical Tribute: Getting Slippery With It

As Eric Cartman would put it, Harrogate is seriously.

Over the last 24 hours something has happened whereby nothing but stuff like this will do. This song, actually, has long been one of Harrogate's favorites. But it has extra cache today.

Solon waxes parental

In a year when Solon regaled us with his vast knowledge of all things political, he occasionally waxed parental. In what is one of my favorite posts of 2008, Playground Etiquette, Solon contemplated how to teach Sweet Toddler J about sharing at the playground. I rank this among my favorites because it got us away from the election, if only briefly, to an issue that is, while mundane, pivotal to most of us who blog regularly at the Situation. And, frankly, who among us hasn't gotten annoyed because someone has spent too much time on the swings?

Assy McGee Award®: Townhall Blogger and Former Winner of this Award, Amanda Carpenter, Wins Again

Carpenter won this Award on October 20th, Ye will remember, as a Double-Decker Deal. She both levied an Ad Hominem Attack on Tina Fey & Began a Vociferous Defense of Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann.

Verily, Carpenter has been shown to be one of the most deserving recipients of the Assy McGee Award®. Now comes her treatment, on the Townhall Blog, of the Anti Prop 8 Musical Video circulating, which stars Jack Black, Neil Patrick Harris, John C. Reilly, and other Hollywood luminaries.

As to the Actual Video. Harrogate will leave it up to Readers to Determine the Value of its Arguments.

But whatever ye think of the video, Carpenter's little write-up of it exemplifies the kind of Bad Rhetoric that we Situationers are dedicated to defeating. The Piece is Entitled Jack Black Trashes Mormons, Blacks Over Prop 8. What is Wrong with this Headline? Without watching the Video, you might think nothing would be wrong with it, since it is well known that the African-American Community as well as the Mormon Church factored centrally in the Passage of Prop 8. Except there's one little thingy, here. The video Makes Absolutely No Mention, Explicit, Symbolic, Whatever, Of Either African Americans or Mormons.

Does the Video attack Proposition 8? Well of course it does. But it does so by pointing up the Hypocrisies inherent to Biblical Literalists seeking to Shape the Law. Jack Black, for example, offers the familiar counter-argument that the same text which condemns homosexuality also says you cannot eat shrimp cocktail, that a man may sell his daughter into slavery, have his wife stoned to death, etc.

All of which is to ask, WHY does Carpenter lie so overtly in her Headline? Thoughts?

Celebrating Cunt, Revising Gump

As Harrogate pointed out yesterday, February of '08 was an "effusive" month on the Rhetorical Situation. The month gave us a number of excellent posts, many of which centered on the Clintonian pantsuit and fashion in general; it gave us memorable phrases, such as "Romney is pissed" and "Fuck you, Tim Gunn"; and it also introduced us to Paperweight and to the Wisdom of Reverend John Todd [see comments section].

But this particular retrospective is not about those great moments in our Award-winning blog; this post is about the word Cunt. As many of you remember, February is the month that the C-Word officially entered the lexicon of TRS. It first appeared in celebration of Jane Fonda's use of the word on the Today Show, shortly followed by a transcript of Brooke Shields defending Fonda on the O'Reilly Factor. It also appeared in censored form here, where CUNT was the abbreviated name of the anti-Hillary group Citizens United Not Timid (to whose name Solon replied, "Seriously? This doesn't even make sense.").

But perhaps the most exciting use of the C-Word on TRS appeared on February 26 when Harrogate posted a photo from Feministing. Such an overt celebration of Cunt was uncomfortable for some in our blogging community, especially the most conservative and then newest member of our board, Reverend John Todd. The Good Reverend was so bothered by the four women with C-U-N-T written across their bodies that he was moved to revise the photo in a manner that reflected more accurately his traditional values. But, alas!, his efforts were futile, as he soon learned [see his comments] that the offensiveness of the photo could not be circumvented by elementary photoshop skills.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Introducing Proposition 9

Never heard of it? Well, I'm introducing it today. Proposition 9: A ban to prevent military personnel from marrying. The ban extends not only to same-sex marriages within the military but also to traditional marriages. In other words, no marriage. Period.

Why? Let me tell you.

The Associated Press reported today that "[t]he divorce rate among soldiers and Marines increased last year as military marriages suffered continuing stress from America's two wars." It is estimated that there were over 13,000 failed marriages among active duty military men and women in the last year.

I'm not against equality or anything. I don't hate the military. I just don't think that people who choose that lifestyle should be able to marry like the rest of us do. I mean, look how they're undermining and destroying the sanctity of marriage, look at how many of them choose to "cut and run" when things get difficult.

I value the ideals of traditional marriage and don't think that military men and women should have the right to demolish our most precious of Godly institutions.

Vote YES on Proposition 9.

Remember Those Posts You Really Loved But Somehow Never Commented On?

Harrogate has had a few of those.

One that stands out is this one by Solon. In which the Awesome Musical Intro to Hitchhiker's Guide was featured. When Harrogate and Supadiscomama went to see the movie, Harrogate remembers expressing to her afterwards that while he thought the film itself a bit better than okay, he thought that the Dolphin Montage deserved an Academy Award nomination. He was not kidding. And he still thinks that highly of it, because it really, really captured the essence of what is to be loved about Douglas Adams, even as it did its own wonderful thing. Harrogate watched that clip like six times when Solon posted it, and yet somehow, he never wound up writing anything in the comments box.

This, Harrogate suspects, has happened a lot among Readers & Contributors in our brief history as an Award-Winning Blog. The writing, the videos, the pics all get pored over with interest, but sometimes, the comment box is left unvisited. (Although, as ye can see, the particular Post by Solon in question did not go uncommented. Oxymoron came through with his typical penache. All Posts should be so lucky, as to get such feedback).

And verily, another Word about that Post by Solon. Readers, how awesome was it to discover that Sweet Toddler J loves "Once in a Lifetime" by the Talking Heads? That discovery caused a Talking Head Renaissance for Harrogate. Even as he types this, in truth, Harrogate is listening to "Take Me to the River (Drop Me in the Water)."

Annoying M, indeed!

As of late there's has been much said about what does and does not annoy M. In fact, the tag "Annoying M" is apparently Solon's favorite. I feel called upon to respond to this line of analysis.



Oxymoron and Harrogate, discussing the Burkean Pentad over drinks, suddenly found themselves adroitly using the principle of The Rhetorical Situation, to unpack the following Scene from National Lampoons Vacation.

This was the conversation in which the Idea for the Blog was born. But for the Dream to become a Reality, Solon had to grab the reins.

It was Chase's line at the 1:54 mark, that sealed the deal.

Wednesday Musical Tribute

Strolling Down Memory Lane just now, Harrogate watched a performance of Dido's "Here With Me." But that is not the point, Since Harrogate Hath refused to Reprise the "Love Actually Musical Countdown."

The point is, from there the Internet Tubes took him to this Amazing Thing, which Harrogate did not know had ever taken Place. It is pleasing for Harrogate to Know that Eminem and Dido performed "Stan" together in London. And Harrogate hopes Readers will agree, the Performance is excellent.

Speaking of Memories

Harrogate wants to take this opportunity to ask Readers to stop flooding his email box with requests to Reprise the "Love Actually Musical Countdown" he virtuosically performed two years ago. Readers, it was indeed a great Holiday ride. And through the experience we Learned, once and for all, what was In Truth the Greatest Pop Song Ever Written. But it is from the days of Yore.

It belongs in our hearts.


Does any one have a photo of McDermott's party with Gates in attendance? And if they do, can they email it to me?

I'm looking to you Oxymoron....

And now for something completely different....

When Solon Noted, "Romney is Pissed"

As We are already beginning to see, February 2008 was one of this Blog's most effusive months. Southpaw's great jibe at Harrogate's homelife notwithstanding, there were moments when it seemed all the Irony had been drained out of the Situation, leaving only successions of straightforward, impassioned political argument.

But even in the thick of things, there were non-doctrinal gestures of humor that would appear at surprising moments, and which in a very real sense Stood as a Towering Marker of the great friendships on which this Blog has been Built.

And one of the most memorable Posts of that Crazy Season was this one by Solon. The title of the post, "Let the Games Begin," obliterated the line between Cliche and Poignantness. But when Solon wrote:

"Huckabee wins West Virginia. Romney is pissed...."

Actual Art had been achieved.

For months after, Harrogate would think about that sentence in its entirety. And the slight suggestion of a grin that must have played across Solon's mouth as he wrote it: his knowledge that it would delight Harrogate even as it captured the essence of the new Internicine GOP to come.

Solon, ye were on fire this year. Your Constitutional Passion, your Patriotism, and your steady support for Obama all did this Blog a great credit. And through it all, you never allowed yourself to lose your sense of humor.

Harrogate tips his Hat to you, friend.

Southpaw Shows Harrogate at Home

For this third day of our countdown to the new year, we celebrate a post by Southpaw. Because of post like this one, where he offers an exclusive look into Harrogate's homelife, Southpaw will always be valued member of this blog, even if we've already heard his last word.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Top Five Labels

I'll admit it: one of the reasons why I find a lot of enjoyment on the blog concerns the labels. They are too damn funny. SO to start my year-end review, here I my top five labels from 2008:

5. Oxymoron's Listening Room: It's a cult classic.

4. Breaking News!!!: It reminds me of my October visit to Texas and the absurdity of the MSM.

3. Can't Sleep-- Clowns Will Eat Me: It makes me laugh, every time. Honorable mention goes to Kick Me in the Balls just because.

2. Sexual Harassment Panda: I'll be honest, I still have no idea what this means and that's why it finished at Number 2.

1. Annoying M. Well, you know.

The almost imperceptible flaw in the logic

Solon Lightens Mood, Borrows Joke from Playground

Solon always has a finger on the pulse of the Rhetorical Situation. February 14 of this year was no exception.

America was amidst a tough Democratic primary race, and our board members were divided in their choice of candidate: many Situationers liked Hillary Clinton; a few of them supported Barack Obama; and it occasionally seemed that Harrogate was pulling for Ron Paul.

Things would soon get very heated. And I suspect that Solon knew this, for he urged us not to take ourselves too seriously. To help relieve stress on the Situation, Solon offered a funny joke.

Breaking News: Palin Adopted by Academics

The following CFP (call for papers, for those not indoctrinated) has been posted:

An Edited Collection by Demeter Press

The Palin Factor:

Political Mothers and Public Motherhood in the 21st Century

Please see link for more informaiton

Editors: Andrea O'Reilly and Deirdre M. Condit

The nomination of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as the Republican party Vice

Presidential nominee in the 2008 U.S. president election has initiated a public

conversation about the meaning and depiction of Sarah Palin and her role as a

publicly elected, working "hockey mom."

Despite Palin's active embrace of her "hockey mom" image, her public motherhood

remains enigmatic. The election of women to public office has been a central

goal of the women's movement precisely because the voices and experiences of

women and mothers have been, from the outset of our

democracies, simply absent. Whether or not Sarah Palin continues in national

public life following the 2008 election, she is a breakthrough figure for

public women who mother small children. Moreover, Palin's national candidacy

offers an opportunity for public and academic discourse about what it means to

be an elected, and thus public, representative of other women and wage earning

mothers. This edited collection seeks to inaugurate a timely,

interdisciplinary, theoretical and critical discussion of the Palin phenomenon

as an iconic representation of public motherhood. Topics include but are not



Media representations, interpretations or responses to Palin's motherhood;

Public discourse on Palin balancing her work as Governor or Vice Presidential

candidate and being a mother; Her role as a public mother of a child with

disabilities; The impact of her as a wage working mother on voters; Her status

as a policy making mother on disability policy; Palin as an icon for

conservative, Christian-identified non-wage working mothers; The evident

conflict between Palin's self-identification as a Christian Conservative, whose

values include "traditional gender roles," and the juxtaposition of her evident

work and family life style; The sexualization of Palin among white,

conservative, working men and its impact on their discourses about mothers and

motherhood; Her transformational role as the "head of the family," and her

husband's public transformation as the "little man" at home; Discussions of

public or party rhetoric about "working mothers"; The conflicting responses

among liberal women's groups concerning Palin's status as a working-mother

feminist; The commodification of the "hockey" mom identity in politics; Palin's

public/private mothering conflicts; Public displays and deployment of the

motherhood trope; Racialized responses to Palin's mothering style and messages;

Public life and the possibilities of "intensive

mothering"; Palin and political motherhood and the politics of Motherhood; The

transparency of public mothering; in the Palin case; Feminist discourse on

Palin; Sexism, Mother Blame in Politics; Mothers in Politics/Mothers as

Politicians; Public representation of and responses to Palin as the mother of a

teen mom; Political tokenism and mothers; Sexuality, motherhood and politics;

Gendered responses to Palin as mother and as politician; Progressive versus

conservative positioning of mother politicians; The Republican deployment, use

and misuses of Palin (Palin as a sacrificial lamb); Palin and Mothers' Rights;

(Mis) readings of Palin as Pro-Mother; Palin and the (new?)

conservative/religious right feminism; Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin.

Please submit a 250 word abstract and 50 word bio February 1, 2009 to

(Accepted chapters (of 15-18 pages in length) due July 1 2009)

Demeter Press c/o

The Association for Research on Mothering (ARM)

726 Atkinson, York University

4700 Keele Street, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3

Phone: (416) 736-2100 x60366 FAX: (416) 736-5766


Discuss amongst yourselves...

Monday, December 01, 2008

The Problems of US Foreign Policy

While preparing for one of many last classes of the semester in which we will discuss if it is appropriate for social movements to use violence as a legitimate political tactic--I know, great timing-- I found a few videos from 1985.

President Reagan dedicated the Space Shuttle Challenger to the Afghan "Freedom Fighters," those that opposed the Soviet Aggression in Afghanistan.

You can see the video of President Reagan sitting with the Afghan Fighters here.

If anything, I would hope that the Obama administration can alter our foreign policy in a way in which our friends today will not be enemies for the next president in 2012 or 2016.

Old Lions and New Blood: A Rhetorical Renaissance; Wherein Harrogate Credits Solon with Change, and Solon is Portrayed

The first post to be honored in our countdown to '09 was penned by Harrogate. It demonstrates that quality is not always accompanied by comments. In the post, Harrogate welcomes new voices to the Situation. Moreover, he credits Solon for bringing our blog back to life and perhaps more movingly honors him with a photo.

From January 17, "The Rhetorical Situation: A Makeover."

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Unconstitutional Secretary of State

President-Elect Obama and Senator Clinton will make a joint appearance tomorrow in Chicago where the President-Elect will announce that he will nominate the junior Senator from New York for Secretary of State.

I am still ambivalent about the pick. It makes sense politically for Obama and it takes advantage of Senator Clinton's political skills. It makes sense as Clinton is a known international figure though not known for foreign policy. Yet, I still do not care enough about the pick.

Interestingly enough, the nomination is unconstitutional from a textual perspective. As Ben Smith notes, according to Article I, Section 6:
"No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time."That is, if the Cabinet, or other, post got a pay hike during the term of the senator, the senator couldn't take the job. During Clinton's Senate term, Bush raised the Cabinet's pay.

This, of course, will not be the first time that an appointment like this occurred. Ben Smith notes that this same problem occurred when Lloyd Bentsen became Treasury Secretary in 1993 and when Richard Nixon made Senator William Saxbe Attorney General in 1973. Clinton could escape the textual problem since she is not a he but to make this interpretive move would create much larger problems.

I am not sure how to interpret the nomination and, unconstitutionality, of the nomination. Is it more like a deontological position, "it is unconstitutional, hence bad" (similar to you are either pregnant or your not: there is no kinda pregnant) or is it more like a consequentialist position, "it's unconstitutional but it is not like the administration implemented torture or usurped Congressional power to declare war."

In some ways, when an incoming administration chooses to ignore the constitution even before it takes office bothers me as it does not offer a lot of confidence that the administration, or anyone else, will follow the constitution. However, most people just do not care.

Oh well. I think i'll take a nap.