A Public Sphere Development Site
Dear Habermas Sites:
All underlines represent HOT LINKS. Just click on them.
University of Wisconsin, Parkside (UWP)
California State University, Dominguez Hills(CSUDH)
Created: April 12, 2011
Latest update: April 17, 2011
E-Mail to Jeanne in L.A.
E-Mail to Susan at UWP.
What's Happening? We're Back
Susan and I have taken up again the cyclical publication of Dear Habermas. We have come increasingly to understand the extent to which the formalized educational institution can and does belong to the entire movement of community development. That means, in plain English, that learning is an integral part of the whole community, not just the institutionalized, public or privatized, schools and colleges. The world has changed. We have spent the last two years struggling to understand what we can take of our univeristy professorships into the world at large, contributing the skills we have honed over decades of teaching to developing a new model of citizenship that suits the multiple and overlapping communities to which we all belong, in the 21st Century, for all humans, creatures, and living things on this planet, in the universe we inhabit.
Maybe I can keep up our old pattern of a Weekly Journal and Forum. I have much to learn about new technology, like Go To Meeting, that permits us to meet over our computers instead of across the skies. Weekly might work. I have much to learn about Facebook and Twitter, and the extent to which they can help us in our hands-on approach to working with everyone who wants better governance, justice and respect for all. I did try opening a Facebook page, but I'm having an awful time trying to fit that concept into the field experiment in community development that Susan and I have just launched. I already spend hours every day writing. Perhaps some of you out there will be able to make useful suggestions. Many of our former students are now, themselves, teaching, in high school, community college, university level. As soon as I got the Facebook page up, many of them contacted me. You're all welcome back to take up your own part in this field experiment.
First thing is for me to build consistency back into a format that will effectively help us all function, over time, over distance, and with some sense of the values we all share and a theoretical base that serves us all, from younger children, through graduate students, and on into our working lives and after.. So I'm taking that as my first task. I may not manage to add material every day, but I'll try."
Jeanne's first Description of Dear Habermas' Raison d' Etre
Here's my first version of a description of what Dear Habermas represents to us. Susan's students, my former students, all of those participating in the formation of the Los Angeles Project in Community Development, in Cats who Crochet, and those who have been trying to find me on Facebook, which I rarely have time to get to, are welcome to join in making sure that this description fits what we all want."Dear Habermas, Volume 38, Number 1, posted on April 16, 2011. Dear Habermas, a journal and forum created and maintained interdependently with faculty, students, and community folks interested in sharing community-focussed activities while engaging in conversation on local-to-international social and economic justice issues that matter to us all. The site's founders and moderators, Jeanne Curran and Susan Takata, are committed liberals, equally devoted to social and economic fairness and justice, and to Juürgen Habermas' overriding concern that we humans should learn to live without killing one another over our differences: ethnicity, color, technical superiority, geographical origin or nation-state allegiance, or ll the other differences we seem to be able to dream up. Dear Habermas, dedicated to that Habermasian principle, is devoted to furthering understanding and respect for all of us, through our public sphere conversations, both within the academy and in our everyday encounters."
For now, use Dear Habermas to follow the project as it begins to take shape. Those of you who want to start community development projects based on our Dear Habermas experiences. should let me know, so that I'm sure to include you in our teaching information. Later we may want an Internet group, Yahoo or Google, of Facebook or Twitter, or all of the above, if someone else is willing to keep up with the correspondence there, to make communication more effective.
Any of you who are joining us for the first time, from various local community groups, Welcome! For example, if there are those who want to start such groups in New Orleans, Michael Katz, once at CSUDH, is now teaching college there. And Peter A. Aliguera is teaching at CSUDH. Hopefully, as the community develop project grows, we can all collaborate in these efforts. For now, e-mail me at E-Mail to Jeanne in L.A.
Of course, you can e-mail Susan, too. But please remember that she's chairing the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Wisconsin, Parkside. Her plate is already full. If it's something I can do, send it to me. I'm retired, remember?
Sorry, but you'll all have to learn to work collaboratively, across thousands of miles, like Susan and I have had to do for so many years we quit counting.
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- Nature Governed?
Scanned image of a tomato plant. It reminded me of a halloween ghost when I scanned it. What might it represent in relation to issues of age? of poverty? of land? of optimism? It kind of grew on me, so I brought it back to this issue. I'll bet I could make my plant into a great string doll. Hmmm . . . . . . Look at one of the string dolls I made for a sample:
A sample string doll, dressed. She even comes with a hat, but it wasn't here at the computer when I scanned her in. jeanne
How would age; poverty; wealth, designer clothes; field work, harvesting plants; or many other things you could think of affect the memories such a doll would bring to mind as a "recuerdo" of things we've talked about, or as a gift to share with someone else whom you could tell what she reminds you of?
- age - delicacy of what look like limbs, the darkness of what might be a head? skull? that then gives way to an eye we can see right through, like a skull?
- poverty - unnatural thinness, adequacy of diet? but onw might see apparent joy and celebration in the pose?
- land - the importance of land to produce food, and the dependence wrought by not having land on another who may control food and necessaries
- optimism - a scary, dancing death's head? or a clebration of life with those who went before us - consider the mexican Day of the Dead
I could imagine that my tomato plant creature is on wheels. I wonder what that would tell me. By the way, I wouldn't try to save the plant itself, but would photograph or scan or draw it to make a "recuerdo". For example, I might make my tomato plant into a note card. I could even put a little poem inside. Or make it a simple frame. jeanne
- On tomato plants? Or on string dolls? Or on "recuerdos"? I'll have to think about this. jeanne
- How about a reference on "recuerdo?" Did you know what it meant, as the title of Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem, Recuerdo.? I read it in my sophomore year at Wright High School, with Mrs. A. B. Brown, who lost her newly-wed husband as a young woman, when they were on their honeymoon. She was very close to retirement age when she taught me. I don't think either one of us ever forgot this poem.
American Poems Recuerdo.
Yahoo Answers on the poem, Recuerdo.
- The poem, Recuerdo, repeats in each verse "We were young . . ." An increasing number of marriages reported in the New York Times in 2011 are performed when the bride and groom are in their middle to late twenties to their early thirties. How many plausible interpretations could you suggest for this, remembering only that you would have to find evidence to support your interpretation?
- The poem is a remembrance of Edna St. Vincent Millay's youth. What would you have to do to support this interpretation?
Consider where you might find out that Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote about her own experiences? Biographies, yes? That would be one plausible approach.
Consider that you might argue that all poets write about their own experiences in the sense that those experiences have shaped their emotional and cognitive outlook. What would you have to do to support this interpretation? Consider looking in some books about poetry for explanations of what inspires poets.
- The poem is from the last century. Love and marriage have changed. Now that last statement is a conclusion. How might you support that conclusion, since I can't tell whether I agree with your conclusion when I have no idea what facts you are basing it on?
Consider that you might want to visit a library (or, in the spirit of 2011, a private bookstore) for books to see how marriage is said to have changed by those who perform marriages, study marriages (psychologists and sociologists), and/or report on the public wisdom about marriages (journalists, how to succeed in marriage or make your marriage work - newspapers, magazines, how to books, etc.)
- Consider the economic situation that goes along with the current age of marriage. There are still lots of marriages:
royalty and celebrities, like Chelsea Clinton's, like Prince William and Kate's
- impressive less well known participants, but on the same scale as grand,
sometimes with all the guests flying to and staying in a single location for the wedding
- less expensive but well beyond the wealth of many . . . . . . . . . .
- right on down to a few friends and a cermony in the civil court house or at someone's home.
(of varying levels of grandeur).
Now, if you want to defend the idea that love and marriage have changed, what might this range in cost and elaborateness of weddings add to your argument? Consider that we have the greatest wealth gap in the U.S. since the days of the Rockefellers and all the other "robber barons." Wouldn't that suggest that we might have a wide gap also in the ways love and marriage are perceived? Spend a lot of money and out-impress everyone else, if you can? And maybe wait until you or your family can afford to either spend a lot on the wedding, or support the additional family members that might come along because of the wedding?
With all this, I'll bet you could write a term paper on marriage, as it is changing, in the Twenty-First Century. But what on earth would you need a term paper for? How about adding a few facts to the next conversation you have with family, friends, or just plain folks you work with or see frequently. What Habermas stands for is meaningful conversation, supported by facts and evidence, so that we can understand how the Other reached his/her conclusions, and understand better whether we agree or disagree with them. Only when we go past the "Rhetoric of Reaction" that Albert O. Hirschman described way back in 1991, do we begin to understand that living together and compromising on how we distribute the economic, political, environmental, and human potential resources that government oversees in "good faith" for the sake of us all, can we ever get beyond the shouting of the rhetoric of reaction. Posted by jeanne on April 18, 2011. Well, almost posted: won't be able to post it until tonight at the earliest. jeanne
. See references in this file for links to Hirschman. jeanne
- Article by Nocera of the New York Times Business Section in which he discusses ideas like those of Hirschman, Albert O. 1991. The Rhetoric of Reaction: Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy
Topics for Discussion
- "The Truth about Paul Ryan"
Article in the Progressive about Paul Ryan. By Roger Bybee, March 2011 issue. Remember that one version of truth is a merging of what the hearer hears with what the sayer says, their combinative truth being how the perspective of each influences what he is willing to hear. Sartre would call such hearing the result of "listening in good faith." And I would call "good faith" listening with all the skills you have acquired to help the Other present his/her arguments, so that you can come closest to understand the Other's meaning. In this case, the sayer is the Progressive, a very liberal website. You must take that fact into consideration. One explanation I have for what André Gide said in "Je déteste" is that those who understand me too quickly haven't taken the time to really hear me and process fairly what I've said. That's also what Albert O. Hirschman is saying in the rhetoric of Reaction: Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy.
Ryan wishes to preserve all tax cuts for the very wealthy, and privatize medicare. I'll try to put up a conservative piece on this. How do you feel about taking from the unemployed, the ill, the uninsured, the elderly, but giving even a greater share of the country's wealth to the very wealthy? What problems might he need to anticipate?
Now, I stuck in a snide remark in the blurb on Edan St. Vincent Millay's Recuerdo: "Consider that you might want to visit a library (or, in the spirit of 2011, a private bookstore) for books to see how . . . . " What was snide about the remark? Especially given that a snippet on Congressman Paul Ryan from the Progressive Website follows that blurb immediately in this issue of Dear Habermas?
Well, first, you need to recognize the name Paul Ryan as the Chair of the House Budget Committee, who has just proposed eliminating MediCare as we know it, and replacing it with vouchers. He says we can't afford MediCare anymore. He's gonna be the Budget policeman, and cut spending with little regard for eliminating waste and focusing on taking the spending cuts from so-called "safety nets." Now, I have an agenda. I'm a committed liberal. So you have to take my biases into account. But no one objected to the trillion dollar debt to China when Bush was giving two wars to promote democracy and the freedom it brings with it, and these budget police didn't bother to pay for either of the wars. They borrowed every penny, from foreign countries. They object only now, when we face financial ruin, based on the wars and on the dishonest wagering on loans for property they didn't even own (derivatives). (Needs reference from one of my financial books. jeanne) Hmmm . . . .
Paul Ryan has an agenda, too. He believes in philosophy, as told in the novel, Atlas Shrugged, by the libertarian of fifty years ago, Ayn Rand. Reference up later. (jeanne) It's a novel, Mr. Ryan, from a time when being a libertarian had a whole different meaning for most of us. Along with vouchers with which to buy insurance, for which most of us elderly are not eligible because of pre-existing conditions, like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc., Mr. Ryan wants to restore permanently the tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, because Ayn Rand's view of philosophy is that those who make the most money are the most successful, and therefore, the wisest and most ethical of all. I do have a few questions about her premises, although I admit that politicians of the Atlas Shrugged period weren't nearly as corrupt as those today whose campaigns are financed by the new billionaires whose tax cuts they continuously enact. Sure, democrats take those campaign funds, too. That brings into question their morals, too. Corporations, whose sole mission is to increase profits for their shareholders are not citizens, pace Justice Roberts and the Supreme Court, for they have no mission to benefit and support any particular nation, sovereignty, people (as any group other than shareholders and directors like CEOs)., and that's just for starters. Corporations are not social creatures. They cannot and do not form human communities. They are nowhere held accountable for the extent to which they contribute to the moral, ethical, and humane values of the communities in which they thrive. 'Nuff said.
It's time to hold our representatives accountable for the soundness and fairness and justice of the arguments that support their agendas. No more shouting of "perversion, futurity, xxxxx" (Hirschman reference). Arguments, not just conclusions. Facts, clearly stated facts, so we can negotiate over how to distribute all these very limited resources for all of humanity. jeanne
Having summarized, albeit briefly, the differing perspectives between me and Mr. Ryan, I hope, you will be able to judge at least tentatively how you feel about our differing conclusions. My conclusion is that there are two groups, the very wealthy and the rest of us. One of the facts on which I base this conclusion is that the billionaires and corporations get richer and richer, while the rest of us are barely making it. (Needs reference on actual income distribution. jeanne) And because we are barely making it we have a hard time affording health care, police, first responders, education, environmental safeguards (Japan's 2011 nuclear disaster), etc. That fact has resulted in most of Los Angeles librairies having cut hours, or closed down, and having less access to both Internet and books. If you can't subscribe to major newspapers or the Internet or afford to effectively choose and buy the myriad books coming out, you just don't have access to information. Not the kind of information journalists, professionals, and academics afforded us in the past, through our 20th Century media. And that's really, really real scary. jeanne
I haven't yet posted a Republican argument for Ryan's budget. My computer crashed, and won't be up again until tonight. Please forgive the temporary lack of balance. jeanne 04/18/2011.
- America's War Without End Refers to the Civil War and the racism which lay beneath it.
America's War Without End
April 10, 2011
. . . 71Share
NAACP members and other demonstrators protesting December's Secession Ball in South Carolina. [Photo: Alan Hawes]
"As the nation prepares to mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War this month, we are learning anew the truth of William Faulkner’s observation that the past is never dead; it isn’t even past.
"In Mississippi, the Sons of Confederate Veterans has provoked controversy by proposing a commemorative license plate honoring Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was also a leading member of the Ku Klux Klan. In Marshall, Ark., a mayor was ostensibly rebuked by his own city council after he flew the Confederate flag to honor Robert E. Lee on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. And at Georgia’s Gainesville State College, a painting showing a Confederate flag with Klansmen and a lynching sparked weeks of debate and was eventually removed from a faculty art show.
"No one refights the Revolution or World Wars I or II, but what President Abraham Lincoln termed our “fiery trial” has proved to be an American war without end. From Appomattox forward, how we see the Civil War reveals much about what Dr. King called “the content of our character.”
"Following World War II, with Jim Crow under attack, many Southerners reached back to the 1860s for imagery to lend historical drama and credibility to their resistance. After South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond defected from the Democratic Party in 1948 to form the pro-segregation Dixiecrats, he was greeted by supporters in the South waving Confederate flags. That same year, Ole Miss added the playing of “Dixie,” the unofficial anthem of the Confederacy, to its football pageantry. During the integration decisions of the 1950s, Georgia altered its flag to include the Confederate battle emblem. Ultimately, though, the bigotry and brutality of white authorities could not withstand the forces of justice and equality, and the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964.
"Today, a new battle for history is being waged, with political conservatives casting the Civil War as a struggle against Big Government, with only tangential connections to slavery. These neo-Confederates contend that one can honor the South’s heritage without condoning its institutionalized racism. But as a historian and as a Southerner, I believe that is a losing cause. Without what our seventh vice president, John C. Calhoun, called the South’s “peculiar domestic institution,” there would have been no Civil War. There can be no revision of this inescapable reality.
Placed here for backup so that students could find the article in the future. Jeanne found it at the Parade.com archive. Please try to locate the article there, but if you can't find it, you can rely on this copy, made by jeanne on 04/16/2011.
Range of Online News Resources for Issues on the Site
- Newspapers: Labeling here is based on an article by Ashley K. Vroman on the impossiibility of labeling newspapers by ideology. I personally go along with the conclusion of the conservative Media Research Center's L. Brent Bozell III: if the paper never met a conservative cause it didn't like, it's conservative, and if it never met a liberal cause it didn't like, it's liberal. But then, what about the Wall Street Journal whose news staff is considered liberal and its editorial staff considered conservative? jeanneLiberal Newspapers:
New York Times - Los Angeles Times - The Washington Post
The Boston Globe - The Chicago TribuneConservative Newspapers:
The Wall Street Journal - The Washington Times - The New York Post
Manchester (N.H.) UnionLeader - The Oklahoman
Dictionary, PolitiFact.com, and Google - (Ctrl End)
- Farlex Free Online Dictionary:
PolitiFact.com - Tries to give balanced opinion of facts expressed in politics as to their truth value.