The National Rifle Association’s willingness and facility with lying about anything that might reduce the slaughter of innocent people by being shot has always been striking. But rarely has a national organization turned its back so completely on its previous positions, ignored the clear and overwhelming sentiment of the American people in general and its own paying membership in particular, and been so willing to depart so totally from facts.Read More
A key skill taught to mediators and negotiators is how to ‘reframe’ issues. This means moving the conversation to a higher level of generalisation. A form of bold simplification that (as the jargon has it) takes all concerned from their obvious Positions to less obvious Interests and Needs. And thereby creates space for strategic compromises.
Thus a haggle over compensation payments: “I think I’m hearing from you that you can be flexible on phasing these payments, but you really need certainty on the total?” The reframing question opens the idea of trading Money against Time.
Framing is all around us these days in politics. Organisation activist Saul Alinsky featured it prominently in his Rules for Radicals: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”Read More »
In June of 1857, Richard Wagner reluctantly suspended work on Der Ring der Nibelungen, his projected cycle of four operas based on Norse mythology. As usual, he was having money problems. The Ring would have to wait. Meanwhile, he would compose a potboiler—a simple love story with a small cast, modest scenery and costume requirements, easy to stage. In short, wrote Wagner, “a thoroughly practicable work” that “will speedily yield good revenues, and help keep me afloat for awhile.”
Poor Wagner. Did he really think that he was capable of composing opera on a small scale? The “thoroughly practicable work” he envisioned soon morphed into Tristan and Isolde, a four-and-a-half-hour-long epic music drama that made such unheard-of demands on both the singers and the orchestra that it was widely dismissed as unperformable.Read More »
By then she was frail but still well able to capture the table with some steely wit and insight. I was struck by how often she cited her Christian beliefs, mustering a heartening consensus that Jesus had been more than ‘sound’ in his stout conservative principles.
As the dinner concluded she wistfully said that she was so grateful to have such friends who appreciated her work, “No-one ever says thank you to politicians.”Read More »
How seriously should we take so-called “near-death” experiences?
Very seriously indeed, says Fr. John Price, an Episcopal priest who has talked to more than 200 “returnees” over the past forty years, and has researched the stories of many more. Fr. Price, whom I am privileged to know personally, has distilled his findings into a startling new book called, Revealing Heaven: The Christian Case for Near-Death Experiences.Read More »
WASHINGTON D.C. — Conservatives in Washington, still smarting over their electoral defeat in November, held a conference Tuesday to offer new strategies to attract the votes of the Hispanic community.
The forum, entitled “Reaching Out: Sharing the Message of Liberty With All Americans,” was simulcast on C-SPAN.
“Our message is simple: it’s freedom and economic opportunity,” said Robert “Red” Flange, author of the best-selling book “Invaders: Why We Continue to Welcome Terrorists and Criminals to Our Shores.”Read More »
The expression “Death by PowerPoint” generates about (sic) 4,220,000 results via Google, with myriad links to horrible examples of PowerPoint presentations and surveys that rehearse the damage PowerPoint can cause to thinking minds. “PowerPoint Poisoning” gives nearly 1,000,000 Google results, not bad for a contrived phrase. Who knows, maybe PowerPoint Death Spiral to Mediocrity will now surge up the Google ratings charts.Read More »
America! Brace yourself! David Miliband is coming to New York to lead the International Rescue Committee.
David Miliband is hailed in British and wider progressive circles as someone with preternaturally high mental powers. On my own brief encounters with him I have found him charming and clever. However, he had the misfortune to serve as UK Foreign Secretary under the doomed premiership of Gordon Brown, and as the creaking Labour ship pushed full steam ahead to defeat he had few opportunities to do anything useful.
One of the things you nonetheless might expect a staggeringly able British Foreign Minister to do is make powerful, interesting speeches.Read More »