Posted by: lawrhetoricanddebate | June 25, 2013

Decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin

SCOTUS handed down their decision in the affirmative action case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin yesterday.  The decision amounted to a punt.  The case will go back to the lower court for the application of a different legal standard.  What does that mean?  It means this issue is far from over.

The PDF of the decision.

News and opinions from the Huffington Post, the Faculty Lounge, Slate, the ACLU, the Heritage Foundation, and SCOTUSBlog.

Where do you think affirmative action is going?  Did you expect this decision?  What will happen next?

Posted by: lawrhetoricanddebate | June 19, 2013

Happy (belated) Birthday Jurgen Habermas

Jurgen Habermas, theorist of the public sphere and communicative action, celebrated a birthday yesterday.  Habermas has of course had his critics.  His public sphere seems to be awfully bourgeoisie.  Yet, the way Habermas has thought of publics remains central to the work many rhetoricians d0, including those like Michael Warner who write about counterpublics.  So, no matter where you fall on the spectrum of Habermas lover or Habermas hater, you probably fall somewhere.  That’s what we in the business call a truism.  Three cheers for Habermas (and his critics)!  Happy birthday to you.  Happy birthday…

Posted by: lawrhetoricanddebate | June 19, 2013

Yale Law School and Rare Legal Books

Check out this interesting story by the folks at the National Law Journal.  From the beginning of the article:

Forget what’s new.  It’s all about what’s old at Yale Law School—really old.

After five years of talks, the New Haven, Conn., law school has acquired some important historical legal manuscripts and books from England that date as far back as the 13th century.

The manuscripts and books were collected by Anthony Taussig, a London barrister and legal historian who during 35 years amassed one of the most impressive collections of historical materials about English law.  Yale is taking just a portion of his library.

Posted by: lawrhetoricanddebate | May 25, 2013

Review: Pervert’s Guide to Ideology

There’s a great review of the Fiennes and Zizek collaboration over at the  Read the review.  Check out the movie.  Let me know what you think.  Is Zizek a rhetorician?  Would he have been a good debater?  What is Zizek’s relationship to law?  These are the questions before you dear readers.

Posted by: lawrhetoricanddebate | May 23, 2013

Thanks to more followers!

While I also seem to be followed by quite a number of bots, there are some real people out there following me.  I applaud them for their shrewd ability in picking blogs to follow (kidding of course).

John Wilder at MarriageCoach1 is following me.  While I don’t write about marriage, I do write about psychoanalysis and the intersections of philosophy and psychology sometimes, so I hope you’re strapped in for the ride.  If you dear readers are having marriage difficulties, maybe you should check him out (I am in no place to endorse him nor his services, but there’s no harm in looking.).

Lateral Love Australia has also followed me.  These folks seem to be heavily involved in Aborigine culture and society and are promoting community, love, and tolerance.  Those are all good things friends.  Check out the people who work there.  If you’re not familiar with Australia’s Stolen Generation, you should be.  It is tragic, horrible, and genocidal.  Here are some oral testimonies of the Stolen Generation.

Ventopix deals with current events mostly related to U.S. politics.

The Socratic Narrative is just getting started.  Check back here to see how this blog develops.  There’s only one post as of my writing.

Prophet Brahmarishi writes about the Christian God.  This is not my area of expertise  but based on comments alone, quite a few people are following this blog.  I’m appreciative of any followers, so in that vein… keep on blogging.

Valerie Visual is a good friend in the Ph.D. program in the GSU English Department.  She writes about digital stuff that is far beyond me, pedagogy, rhetoric, composition, and has made an increasingly productive turn toward materialism.  You can learn more about her here.

Thanks again to all you followers.




Posted by: lawrhetoricanddebate | May 23, 2013

Is legal education ruined?

Time to break out that mixtape of ominous thunder crashes (if you haven’t already).  As if enough people weren’t reporting the need to change legal education, there’s still more to be said.  The National Law Journal recently published a piece by Douglas Kahn at Michigan’s Law School arguing for a Bachelor of Law degree.

Much of this hubbub (yes, that’s a word people still use occasionally) is the result of Brian Tamanaha’s book Failing Law Schools, which has received no small amount of attention: Jay Silver’s UCLA Law Review Discourse book review and Paul Campos with the response, David Fontana in The New Republic, Charles Lane in the Washington Post, Bill Henderson at The Legal Whiteboard, Ronald Goldfarb in Washington Lawyer, and Stephen Diamond’s longer working paper on SSRN.

If you’re interested in these issues, check out American Law School Reform, a blog I recently stumbled upon.

What do readers think are ways we should improve law school and legal education?  It seems that there are certainly issues in affordability.  I’d tackle those before the curriculum.  Some people go to law school without the intention of practicing law because of the tremendous skill sets it provides you (reading, writing, critical thinking, oral advocacy, rhetoric, yada yada yada).  There’s no reason we need to see law school as either not practical (too many “law and” classes, little relationship to the practice of law, just a bunch of liberals trying to produce liberal drones) or as a fancy trade school (over reliance on clinical programs, work experience, internships.  Both sides of this debate are wrong.  Law school can and for many people is both an intellectually enriching activity as well as a time to get acquainted with what it means to practice law or use legal skills in business.  Of course there should be more clinical opportunities and more classes about law firm management.  And, there should also be more law and psychology, law and critical race theory, law and economics, and law and literature classes.  Both help enrich and expand the minds of law students.

Maybe moving away from the either/or rhetoric would be helpful in seriously addressing improvements to law school.

Posted by: lawrhetoricanddebate | May 23, 2013

Check out

This is an interesting blog about, well, life in the 1800s.  Here’s an interesting entry on Foucault and hysteria.  This page will tell you a bit about the author, Jen, who recently graduated with a M.A. in English.  And here’s a story about Jesse James.  Happy reading!

Posted by: lawrhetoricanddebate | March 20, 2013

Originally posted on dark ecologies:

Even though Slavoj Zizek and someone like Graham Harman are diametrically in opposing camps, there is something I’ve discovered along the way. Harman is an avid reader of Zizek even if he opposes his base line materialism. You can find scattered throughout his oeuvre references to Zizek’s works from Tool-Being onwards. I often wondered why he was so interested in Zizek, and confronted the ideas Zizek upheld.

Both philosophers were at one time deeply influenced either oppositionally or  friendly toward the work of Martin Heidegger. You find references to Heidegger strewn through both philosophers works. Of late I’ve seen many people castigate Harman for his use of the notion of ‘withdrawal’, and yet, in other respects, even as late as Less Than Nothing (LTN), I see Zizek intensely working that term as well in alternating passages. In one of the notes in LTN Zizek remarks on Heidegger:

When Heidegger speaks of the “concealment…

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Posted by: lawrhetoricanddebate | March 9, 2013

Law and Rhetoric Colloquium at Stetson Law

I’m currently at Stetson University’s School of Law participating in the Law and Rhetoric Colloquium and it’s a remarkable facility.  If you’re an applicant and looking for somewhere to apply that features amazing facilities (1920s era resort hotel, pool, gym, etc.), I’d recommend Stetson.  Of course there are great faculty here and more generally worse places to be than Gulfport, Florida.  It’s certainly worth the visit and treatment and accommodations have been superb.  Back to the palm trees and birds… and law and rhetoric of course.

Posted by: lawrhetoricanddebate | March 7, 2013

Quoth the Raven . . .

Originally posted on Seeker of Truth:

Dénouement:  the final outcome of the main dramatic complication in a literary work; the outcome of a complex sequence of events; the end result

Nothing is more clear than that every plot, worth the name, must be elaborated to its dénouement before any thing be attempted with the pen. It is only with the dénouement constantly in view that we can give a plot its indispensable air of consequence, or causation, by making the incidents, and especially the tone at all points, tend to the development of the intention.

Edgar Allan Poe - Portrait

In 1846, a year after “The Raven” was published, Edgar Allan Poe wrote “The Philosophy of Composition”, a prose essay explaining his famous poem. A friend and former employer of Poe’s, George Rex Graham (who had declined to be the first to print “The Raven” — a poem he didn’t like — the previous year), would publish the essay…

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Posted by: lawrhetoricanddebate | March 7, 2013

The New American Dream: An Obsession with Property.

Originally posted on philogames:

“There are thousands of people out there living lives of quiet, screaming desperation, working long, hard hours, at jobs they hate, to enable them to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.” -Nigel Marsh

 I recently found the show “Horders.” I’ve been fascinated with TV shows about individuals afflicted with obsessive-compusive disorders manifesting as a need to gather and retain physical objects, even far beyond the point of any reasonable ability to store the objects. It seems to me to be a perfect metaphor for the obsession of most of the first world: more stuff.

It seems tied to the general root of most of what we call “First World Problems”: an overabundance that destroys. (See also: obesity.) The book Guns, Germs, and Steel was written in answer to a question posed to Prof. Jared Diamond by a curious New Guniea leader: “Why do whites have…

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Posted by: lawrhetoricanddebate | March 7, 2013

Debating The New Jim Crow

Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow, has received much applause since it’s release two years ago, but now it seems that some are questioning Alexander’s take on mass incarceration, law, and race.  The debate has taken place across sources and discplines.  Here are some links that present critical interpretations (not necessarily condemnations) of Alexander’s book:

I reviewed the book favorably for the Texas Law Review Dicta and also suggested that if fit into a larger discussion of prison politics and critical penology.  I also note several minor problems with the text.

James Forman has been at the forefront of scholars more critical of her work.  His New York University Law Review and book review in the Boston Review both present compelling arguments.

C.S. Malerich has a new review of the book, notable primarily because it was completed so long after the book was published.  Malerich gives it 5 of 5 stars.

The Huffington Post Live presented a new post suggesting that The New Jim Crow might be over.

I’d be interested in your opinions.




Posted by: lawrhetoricanddebate | December 17, 2012

CFP: Prim@ Facie issue on legal education

Prim@ Facie – No. 21 – Legal Education Graduate Program of Law at UFPB


Prim@ Facie calls for submissions of scholarly papers dealing with legal education: current trends, challenges and crises.

The deadline is January 10th, 2013.

Thank you for your interest in publishing in our journal. We always appreciate to receive material from potential new contributers, in particular, from abroad.

Papers should be submitted in accordance with the author guidelines available at:

As the Planning Committee will use a blind review process, an online submission system has been set up. It requires you to create an account for signing in. Please go to

We deeply regret that the submission system operates only partially in English. We are fixing the problem. In case of any doubt, please feel free contact the Planning Committee:

Dr. Gustavo Rabay Guerra

Dra. Maria Creusa Borges

Editor-in-chief – Dr. Armando Albuquerque


Universidade Federal da Paraíba Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Jurídicas/CCJ Cidade Universitária-Campus I João Pessoa, Paraíba – Brasil 58059-900 Email: Visit the website at
Posted by: lawrhetoricanddebate | November 19, 2012

Danner on the Politics of Fear

Mark Danner has written an interesting piece in the New York Review of Books entitled, “The Politics of Fear.”  From the beginning of the review:

Amid the clamorous controversies of this election campaign, what strikes one here on the West Bank of the Jordan is the silences. Though the issue of Palestine promises to have a much more vital part in the volatile, populist politics of the Middle East’s new democracies—whose vulnerable governments actually must take some account of what moves ordinary people—here in Ramallah we have heard virtually nothing substantive about it, apart, that is, from Mitt Romney’s repeated charge that President Obama, presumably in extracting from Israel a hard-fought ten-month freeze on settlement building early on in his administration, had “thrown Israel under the bus.”

Posted by: lawrhetoricanddebate | November 19, 2012

Blogs of Note (aka recent followers)

Check out Philosophy & Theology, a blog by J. Leavitt Pearl (Ph.D. student in Theology at Duquesne University).  He’s following me, so others should follow him. Great writing over there.  And, who doesn’t love anything to do with Pittsburgh?

The Blah Blah Blog is following Law, Rhetoric, & Debate.  If you like (or hate) grammar, check her out.

Ephraim Percy Kenyanito at The Diary of a Global Citizen is also following.  If you’re interested in East Africa, world citizenship, travel, or poetry; it’s worth more than a few clicks.

And, last, but certainly not least, one of my very own GSU debaters has a blog where she seems to post the same randomness she shares in squad meetings.  She’s hilarious and her blog is too.  Check Megan out at Uncharted Journeys of a Lost Girl.

Posted by: lawrhetoricanddebate | November 19, 2012

Parish in Kairos with a Graphic Novel on Socrates

In case you were simply dying for a graphic novel about Socrates and had not been able to find one at your local Barnes & Noble, Rachel Parish (Illinois State University – M.A., Writing) has published one with Kairos.  Here’s the link.

Posted by: lawrhetoricanddebate | November 19, 2012

Kairos Book Review of Who Owns This Text?

Erin M. Presley (Eastern Kentucky University – Department of English and Theater) has published a review of an edited collection by Carol P. Haviland and Joan A. Mullin entitled “Who Owns This Text? Plagiarism, Authorship, and Disciplinary Cultures” in the Fall 2012 edition of Kairos.  From the review:

“[T]his study challenged faculty members from a variety of disciplines—including computer science, sociology and archaeology, the biological sciences, the visual arts, and university administration—to think about their own ideas about ownership….”

Posted by: lawrhetoricanddebate | August 16, 2012

The New York Review Of Books on Žižek

The NYRB has a new review article, by John Gray, reviewing Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialetical Materialism and Living in the End Times.  From the article:

Few thinkers illustrate the contradictions of contemporary capitalism better than the Slovenian philosopher and cultural theorist Slavoj Žižek.  The financial and economic crisis has demonstrated the fragility of the free market system that its defenders believed had triumphed in the cold war; but there is no sign of anything resembling the socialist project that in the past was seen by many as embodying capitalism’s successor.  Žižek’s work, which reflects this paradoxical situation in a number of ways, has made him one of the world’s best-known public intellectuals.

Posted by: lawrhetoricanddebate | August 4, 2012

New Law Journal: Michigan Journal of Environmental and Administrative Law

If you’re interested in environmental law or administrative law, you should check out the new Michigan Journal of Environmental and Administrative Law.  There are many great articles available and the editors also post regular comments on the website with an open forum for your comments.  Articles are available for download in PDF format, for free.  The reason for the journal found in the fine opening essay in the first issue can be found here.

Posted by: lawrhetoricanddebate | August 4, 2012

Helpful Website for Legal Scholars

Ever have that moment where you can’t find your Bluebook?  When it’s in the office and you’re writing on the coach?  When you loaned it to a friend and that friend happened to take it to another state?  Great news!  The Gallagher Law Library at the University of Washington has an excellent website, updated as of June 27, 2012, with abbreviations for the vast majority of law reviews.  It’s a great asset, I’d bookmark it.

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