Saturday, September 26, 2015

Negative vs. Positive Liberty Illustrated

Speaking to a crowd of mostly white Republicans in South Carolina this week, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush mused on his strategy to win over African American voters.
“Our message is one of hope and aspiration,” Bush said at the East Cooper Republican Women’s Club annual Shrimp Dinner. “It isn’t one of division and get in line and we’ll take care of you with free stuff. Our message is one that is uplifting — that says you can achieve earned success.”
The remark echoes a comment made by Mitt Romney four years ago, when he was asked at an NAACP event about his stance on the Affordable Care Act. “If they want more stuff from government, tell them to go vote for the other guy — more free stuff,” Romney said. He soon followed up with the infamous speech to private donors saying Democrat voters “believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.” Romney went on to lose the election, earning just 6 percent of African American votes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Journalism and American Exceptionalism - A Few First Thoughts

English: There are no symbols that represent s...
English: There are no symbols that represent skepticism. This is one symbol that can be used to represent skepticism, skeptical inquiry, critical thinking, critical inquiry, and truth-seeking. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The tension between skepticism and patriotism in news coverage.

Eric Deggans, who writes about the media for the St. Petersburg Times, noted that “the reason critics like myself protested anchors wearing flags on their lapels and using words such as “us” and “we” in referring to the military since 9/11 is because a free press is at its best when it is skeptical.” He added that “classic patriotism demands a suspension of skepticism that is directly in conflict with our role as gatekeepers and professional skeptics.”

A link to a website celebrating the encouragement of young conservative journalists.

Obama and the loaded question.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Nasal, Fast-Talking Brit Sums Up Hume in Three Minutes

 People who admired David Hume.

More from Edinburgh

In the 20th century it was Hume again who inspired first Bertrand Russell's influential reaction against Kantian idealism (leading to the development of modern analytical philosophy) and then the logical positivists of the Vienna Circle and associates such as A. J. Ayer and Karl Popper. Now in the 21st century Hume remains the most fertile and provocative of all the great thinkers, his theories regularly cited by contemporary philosophers, and his name appropriated for enduring fundamental ideas in epistemology, ethics, metaphysics, philosophy of action, language, religion, and even mathematics.

Analytic Philosophy (or sometimes Analytical Philosophy) is a 20th Century movement in philosophy which holds that philosophy should apply logical techniques in order to attain conceptual clarity, and that philosophy should be consistent with the success of modern science. For many Analytic Philosophers, language is the principal (perhaps the only) tool, and philosophy consists in clarifying how language can be used.

Analytic Philosophy as a specific movement was led by Bertrand RussellAlfred North WhiteheadG. E. Moore and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Turning away from then-dominant forms of Hegelianism, (particularly objecting to its Idealism and its almost deliberate obscurity), they began to develop a new sort of conceptual analysis based on new developments in Logic, and succeeded in making substantial contributions to philosophical Logic over the first half of the 20th Century.

A Militia Blog Advocating Another Revolution

Here you go.

Describing the American Revolution in One Tweet

The point would seem to be that you can't. But you can try.

The Brits Look at the American Revolution

Very respectful, I must say.

Few events possess as much historical significance as the rebellion of thirteen British colonies in North America. By successfully defying George III and the British Parliament and winning, with French aid, the War of Independence, the colonies created the United States of America. As a republic in an age of monarchies the new nation challenged the old order.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Journalism's Digital Presence in Jeopardy?

Social Media is a rather tricky platform for Journalism.

With a vast abundance of "so called" journalists posting an ocean's-worth of (questionably valid) stories at will, competition for attention and exposure has remained a serious problem.

So what does the advent of the iOS Operating System mean...?

The Original 13 British Colonies in What is Now the Eastern Seaboard of the United States

British colonies,1763-1776
British colonies,1763-1776 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Here's the link.

NPR Ethical Handbook

I was researching sources to use for my essay and I came across this...
- an example of how ethics is applied to a real life news organization

I was not aware that NPR had an ethics handbook clearly stating what their staff can and cannot do. Just by reading the section of impartiality, I feel like everything a reporter says and does is under surveillance and directly reflects NPR.

I found it interesting and maybe you will to!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

What Founding Fathers Read

Founding Father’s Library

A list of the most read books in the libraries of key figures in the American Revolution and the founding of the American Republic.
Related Links:
Related Links in the GSR:

The Most Commonly Read Books of the Founding Generation

The Founding Fathers of the American Constitution made it clear what authors and texts had influenced their own thinking on the idea of liberty.Goodrich Seminar Room list and a few more besides. Lutz's "top 40" texts (actually 37) by frequency of citation by the founding generation are listed below.
Another source of information about what books influenced the thinking of the American founding generation are the lists of recommended books they themselves drew up. Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson drew up a list of key texts in letters they wrote and, in the case of Jefferson, he actually donated his personal library (twice) to Congress to create the beginnings of what is now the Library of Congress and also drew up a catalog for the University of Virginia library.

The "Top 40" Authors cited by the Founding Generation (with links to material in the Online Library of Liberty)

  1. St. Paul
  2. Montesquieu
  3. Sir William Blackstone
  4. John Locke
  5. David Hume
  6. Plutarch
  7. Cesare Beccaria
  8. John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon
  9. Delolme
  10. Samuel Pufendorf
  11. Sir Edward Coke
  12. Cicero
  13. Thomas Hobbes
  14. William Robertson
  15. Hugo Grotius
  16. Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  17. Lord Bolingbroke
  18. Francis Bacon
  19. Richard Price
  20. William Shakespeare
  21. Livy
  22. Alexander Pope
  23. John Milton
  24. Tacitus
  25. Plato
  26. Abbe Guillaume Raynal
  27. Abbe Gabriel Mably
  28. Niccolo Machiavelli
  29. Emmerich de Vattel
  30. William Petyt
  31. Voltaire
  32. John Robinson
  33. Algernon Sidney
  34. John Somers
  35. James Harrington
  36. Paul de Rapin-Thoyras


The Texts They Read

St. Paul
Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755)
  • Persian Letters (1734)
  • Reflections on the Causes of the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire (1734)
  • The Spirit of the Laws (1748)
Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780)
  • Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765-69)
John Locke (1632-1704)
  • An Essay concerning Human Understanding (1690)
  • The Two Treatises of Civil Government (1689)
  • A Letter on Toleration An Essay concerning Human Understanding (1690s)
  • Some Consideraations of the Consequences of the Lowering of Interest and Raising the Value of Money (1691)
  • On the Reasonableness of Christianity (1696)
David Hume (1711-1776)
  • A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-1740)
  • An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1751)
  • Treatise: An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (1751)
  • Political Discourses (1752)
  • History of England(1754-1762)
  • The Natural History of Religion (1755)
  • Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779)
Plutarch (c. 46-125)
  • Roman Lives
Cesare Beccaria (1738-1794)
  • An Essay on Crimes and Punishments (1764)
John Trenchard (1662-1723) and Thomas Gordon (?-1750)
  • Cato's Letters (1724)
  • Trenchard and Walter Moyle (1672-1721), A Short History of Standing Armies iin England (1698)
Jean Louis Delolme (1740-1805)
  • The Consitution of England (1771)
Samuel, Baron von Pufendorf (1632-1694)
  • Elementa Jurisprudentiae universalis (1661)
  • De jure naturae et gentium (1672)
Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634)
  • Institutes of the Laws of England (1628-1644)
Cicero (106-43 BC)
  • De Legibus
  • De Officiis
  • De Oratione
  • De Republica
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)
  • Leviathan (1651)
William Robertson (1721-1793)
  • History of Scotland (1759)
  • History of the Reign of the Emperor Charles V (1769)
  • History of America (1777)
Hugo Grotius (1583-1645)
  • On the Law of War and Peace (1625)
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
  • Discourse on the Origin of the Inequality of Men (1754)
  • The Social Contract (1762)
  • Emile (1762)
Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke (1678-1751)
  • The Freeholder's Political Catechism (1733)
  • A Dissertation Upon Parties (1735)
  • Remarks on the history of England (1743)
  • The Idea of a Patriot King (1749)
  • A Letter on the Spirit of Patriotism (1749)
  • Letters on the Study and Use of History (1752)
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
  • The Advancement of Learning (1605)
  • Novum organum (1620)
  • De argumentis scientarum (1623)
  • Essays (1625)
  • The New Atlantis (1627)
Richard Price (1723-1791)
  • Observations on the Nature of Civil Liberty (1776)
  • Observations on the Importance of the American Revolution (1784)
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Titus Livius (Livy) (59BC - AD17)
  • History of Rome
Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
  • The Dunciad (1728)
  • Of False Taste (1731)
  • Of the Uses of Riches (1732)
  • An Essay on Man (1733-34)
John Milton (1608-1674)
  • The Ready and Easy Way to Establish a Free Commonwealth (1660)
Tacitus (c. 56-120)
  • History of Germany
  • The Histories
Plato (c. 427-347 BC)
Abbe Guillaume Raynal (1713-1796)
  • Philosophical and Political History of ... the East and West Indies (1770)
Abbe Gabriel Mably (1709-1785)
  • Observations on the Romans (1740)
  • Observations on the Government and Laws of the U.S. (1784)
Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527)
  • Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy (1531)
  • The Prince (1532)
Emerich de Vattel (1714-1767)
  • The Law of Nations (1759-1760)
William Petyt (1636-1707)
  • The Antient Right of the Commons of England Asserted (1680)
Francois Arouet de Voltaire (1694-1778)
  • Letters on the English Nation (1733)
  • Works (1751)
  • General History and State of Europe (1756)
John Robinson (1575-1625)
Algernon Sidney (1622-1683)
  • Discourses Concerning Government (1698)
John Somers (1651-1716)
  • Vox populi, vox dei: Judgement of Kingdooms and Nations Concerning the Rights, Privileges, and Properties of the People (1709)
James Harrington (1611-1677)
  • Oceana (1656)
Paul de Rapiin-Thoyras (1661-1725)
  • History of England (1726-31)

What Journalists Do - In a Different Way. It's Not Fate. It's Editing

Stars of the original reality tv show, colour
Stars of the original reality tv show, colour (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Reality TV has given rise to the idea of "winner edits" and "loser edits."Broadly speaking, they're the ways reality shows are structured so viewers are gently guided to the season's conclusion. There are myriad ways to set up a winner or a loser, but diehard reality fans are used to most of them by now. (Think, for instance, of the blowhard who needs to get his comeuppance, or the quiet person who lurks at the show's edges, always there for big moments but never central to them. The former is a classic loser edit, the latter a classic winner edit.)

This is from a Vox story on Project Greenlight.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

A Famous Interview Using Unconventional Techniques. Ethical?

Portrait of Marlon Brando, "Streetcar Nam...
Portrait of Marlon Brando, "Streetcar Named Desire" 1 photographic print : gelatin silver. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Truman Capote , 1948
Truman Capote , 1948 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The late Truman Capote interviewed the late Marlon Brando. CJR remembers.

The morning after the interview, Brando had little sense of the peril in which he had put himself. Logan, having caught wind of the session, quizzed Brando’s makeup man about it, learning that Brando had “enjoyed the evening immensely.” Later, over cocktails with Logan, Capote couldn’t help but crow. “Oh, you were so wrong about Marlon not being gossipy,” Capote told Logan, noting that Brando had talked about his mother’s drinking and other personal subjects. “I don’t believe it, Truman,” Logan responded. “You must be leaving something out. He just doesn’t reveal personal things.” Capote must have tricked him somehow, he said.
“I didn’t trick him,” Capote countered. “We simply swapped stories. I made up stories about what lushes my family were, and believe me, I made them lurid, until he began to feel sorry for me and told me his to make me feel better.” Capote would expand upon this technique to his biographer, Gerald Clarke. “The secret to the art of interviewing—and it is an art—is to let the other person think he’s interviewing you. . . . You tell him about yourself, and slowly you spin your web so that he tells you everything. That’s how I trapped Marlon.” In an interview with Rolling Stone more than 15 years after the fact, Capote observed, “You remember I told you how startled Marlon Brando was? I hadn’t taken a note. I hadn’t done a thing. I hadn’t even seemed to be interested.”

Scenario: Betraying a Source in the Service of National Security

Typical organisational structure of a terroris...
Typical organisational structure of a terrorist cell. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Greater Middle East
Greater Middle East (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
You are an experienced reporter covering the Middle East. After cultivating key sources for months, you are able to make arrangements to interview a terrorist leader, one at the top of the U.S. list of most dangerous. You will meet your contact in a public place and then, blindfolded, be driven to a rendezvous with the terrorist leader.

The U.S. military somehow learns of this and asks you to have a state-of-the-art tracking device implanted in your buttock. They 'guarantee'  it cannot be detected by any device designed to uncover such trickery.

You will be tracked to the rendezvous. After your interview is over and you are clear, the military will swoop in and kill or subdue the terrorist leader. The military are confident you will never be in danger - or at least no more danger than you have placed yourself by undertaking such an interview in the first place.

Class assignment: What do you do and why, starting with your initial gut reaction?

Not as Dramatic as Our Bug in the Camera But Same Principle

English: Cameroonian journalists at a press co...
English: Cameroonian journalists at a press conference with U.S. Ambassador R. Niels Marquardt in Yaoundé, 19 January 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

from rsf website


Two Cameroonian journalists face military court charges of failure to report a destabilization plot.
Journalists Felix Cyriaque Ebole Bola of the daily Mutations and Rodrigue Tongue of Le Messager, were charged following a 28 October military court hearing in Yaoundé with “non-denunciation” of facts potentially endangering state security. Baba Wamé, a former journalist and professor was accused of the same charges.
“This charge prompts great concern for freedom of information in Cameroon,” said Cléa Kahn-Sriber, head of the Africa desk of Reporters Without Borders. “Journalists should not become assets for state security agents. On the contrary, they must maintain their independence from government if they want to continue working as journalists. To demand that they become informants for government agencies is to destroy the essential quality of journalism. We ask the military court to drop these charges against the two journalists.”
Colleagues of the two journalists appeared in court to support them. They were ejected from the courtroom but gathered in front of the court to show their anger at the proceedings.
The two indicted journalists remain free under judiciary supervision. They must report to the court once a week, may not leave Yaoundé, and are barred from commenting about the case.
The matter began when Ebole Bola and Tongue learned of an Central African rebel chief stationed on the border of Cameroon claiming to be in possession of national security information. The editorial staff of Mutations told Reporters Without Borders that Ebole Bola wrote to the national security delegate informing him of this news and requesting confirmation. In response, the police asked the journalist to share information and to provide any updates he might gather in the future.
Communications ceased at that point. Then, Mutations was ordered to court for not having responded to the police request. But the journalist had never received an official subpoena. Can he be charged with not sharing information, when he was never asked to do so?
Xavier Messe, editor of Mutations, told RWB that the case poses grave worries for the status of journalists and their ability to protect sources. He said: “Cameroon faces a grave security situation. Attacks take place every day on the border with the Central African Republic. People are kidnapped. There are also security problems in the north caused by Boko Haram. The government holds that in these circumstances, journalists must cooperate...We are committed to being responsible. We receive information every day, but we don’t publish it all because some items could disrupt public peace and order. We follow that policy because we are committed to journalistic responsibility, above all in wartime. But journalists cannot be asked to become intelligence agents. If I had wanted to be a police officer, I would have chosen that profession. To each his own. Our credibility and our journalistic conscience are at stake.”
Cameroon is ranked 131st of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders world press freedom index.
(photo: Felix Cyriaque Ebole Bola and Rodrigue Tongue)

Is this Poor Ethics or Human Indecency?

Was it right for this woman to intentionally trip a migrant trying to flee the police? Lauren Frayer reports for NPR's Newscast unit that N1TV is "associated with Hungary's far-right anti-immigrant party," the Jobbik party.