Posts Tagged ‘debate’

Talking with Dave: thoughts about media blur

I’m part way through an online conversation with Dave, who I like, about hyperbolic opinion pieces masquerading as news (what I call the Glenn Beck/Fox News effect). We’re discussing Dave’s frustration with the “blur” between news and opinion. Dave said: I wouldn’t mind if the media did genuinely report as an opinion piece. At least […]

Good move: recognize inevitability

On a hiding to nothing Sometimes a party to a lawsuit has to recognize they’re holding a losing hand, and put an end to the dispute. Certainly, in my experience, it can take a while for reality to sink in to your opponent’s cranium. A long dispute means both parties are wrong, said Voltaire, which […]


Anyone who ever felt intimidated by a border crossing can be thankful they didn’t get this treatment. Lily Sussman’s story interests me for two reasons beyond the Midnight Express/travel horror story aspects. 1) Wow! The hard drive still works! 2) Look at the discussion on Lily Sussman’s blog about the Israel/Occupied Palestine issue. It gets […]

The overblown role of religion in conflict

I heard a good radio interview today: Radio NZ’s Kathryn Ryan interviewing Rabbi David Rosen — a conversation which opened with the question whether the long running Israel/Palestine conflict is in any way a religious issue. In essence certainly not. It’s a territorial conflict … a conflict between two national liberation movements: The Jewish national […]


Re my earlier post on censorship … look at this. Creepy.

How to protect yourself from extortion: Er, live a ‘clean’ life

David Letterman Reveals Extortion Attempt Over His Affairs – By Bill Carter October 1, 2009 David Letterman, the late night talk show host, said on his show on Thursday that he had been the victim of an extortion attempt over charges of sexual affairs with staff members, claims that he conceded were true. Mr. […]

The power of an appeal to decency

A recent reference to a made-up threat of ‘Death Panels’ led me to recall a famous political showdown. Legend tells us this interchange sparked the beginning of the end for Senator Joseph McCarthy. While McCarthy was not without opponents to his paranoid demagoguery, lawyer Joseph Welch went down in history as a giant-slayer. Welch was […]

Falling into error: when we think we know why…

Fundamental attribution error It’s intriguing how often you will stumble across someone’s hallucinations about another person’s motives for action. In earlier posts I’ve discussed the character attacks that a critic (any critic) can commonly expect to endure in response to them giving their gift: ‘Oh you’re just saying that because you’re … [fill in the […]

The Paradox of Animosity

I’ve been thinking, prompted in part by a comment from Chowbok who said: Hatred is the easiest of emotions to invoke. Is it possible to be trenchantly, even violently opposed to what you perceive as wrongdoing without slipping into HATRED of the perpetrator? If we agree (you and I) that bitterness of spirit is a […]

How to have a FAIR argument

For a number of years I worked as a political reporter at Parliament Buildings in Wellington (New Zealand). During my time in that highly competitive pressure-cooker environment I learned a lot about truth, perception, political ‘reality’, and human nature. I hope I also learned to be careful with what I say. While I was in […]

Moral courage — being willing to stand in scorn

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls […]