This is the first of many, many posts. As I indicated yesterday, I am committing to post as often as I am able to small actions that are totally manageable that all of us can do. Individually, the actions will be insignificant, but collectively they could be profound. Not all of them will require money, and in fact, many will be about ways to save money, and divest from the regime’s sources of support. But today, I am suggesting that we all spend money, just a little money.

Join the American Civil Liberties Union. As little as $35 will make you a member, but if you can afford to donate more, I encourage you to do so. The ACLU is an established, robust organization with a record of fighting for the rights of all citizens. Their track record is proven, and their infrastructure for fighting unconstitutional laws and actions is in place. They are gearing up to resist all of the regime’s illegal actions, which we anticipate will be many. At a time when our most vulnerable citizens are literally under assault, the ACLU will fight on their behalf, and effectively. Donate. It is a sacrifice, I know. Also, follow the ACLU on social media like Facebook and Twitter. If you are already an ACLU member, go kick them a little extra cash–even $5 or $10 is meaningful.

“The ACLU has been at the center of nearly every major civil liberties battle in the U.S. for over 90 years. We’ve participated in more cases before the Supreme Court than any other private organization.”

When I worked in intelligence I was aware of the “Enhanced Interrogation” program that our nation had implemented, wherein we tortured terrorists and suspected terrorists. The intelligence derived from that program was often worthless, because a tortured man will say anything to stop being tortured, and revelations about the program and its horrors have reduced America’s moral authority in the world. When I became aware of that program is when I first joined the ACLU. Once a fellow analyst joked about “card carrying ACLU members” and I whipped out my membership card. It gave him pause, because he knew that I was a patriot, knew that I worked every day to protect American troops and American citizens, and then knew that I was a proud supporter of the ACLU. It probably didn’t convince him of anything, but that’s not the point. It caused a moment of recognition and contemplation for him, and that is a start.

I joined the ACLU then because I knew we needed a strong institution resisting the unconstitutional behavior of our government. On the morning of 11/9/16 I renewed my membership, after a period of lapse. My membership will never lapse again. Thousands of people have joined since 11/8, and thousands more need to. We need to give the ACLU a war chest with which to fight to preserve our Constitutional Rights. Join today. It takes 5 minutes, isn’t very expensive, and it concretely helps to resist the regime.


Imagine that you are on a ship. The ship is sinking. Water is pouring in at the rate of 100 gallons per minute. You have only a measuring cup to bail with. What do you do, bail, or give up? If you give up, the ship definitely sinks and you die. If you bail, you only remove a fraction of the water that is coming in to drown you. Do you bail? Goddamn right you bail. You bail because it buys you time, time for someone else to fix or lessen the leak, time for rescuers to arrive, or even just more time on our wonderful planet before your demise, attempting to control your own fate. You bail. You bail furiously with your tiny measuring cup. You bail because the ship is big and the ship is strong, and even with the water rushing in, it will take some time to sink. And you bail because you’re not sure, but there might be other people on other parts of the ship bailing with their tiny measuring cups too. You bail because you insist in contributing to your own rescue, and because you refuse to be a victim. You bail because some people on the ship might be too weak or too wounded to bail. If you put on a life jacket and swim away, you have started to doom the ship. You stay, and you bail, because, after all, there are only a few lifejackets anyway, all owned by the very richest, most privileged passengers with the luxury of contemplating escape. If you can bail water until 2021, the Coast Guard has a shot to come to the rescue. With lots of people bailing with their tiny little cups, their teeny tiny but totally doable actions, the ship stays afloat. The people live. The ship can be towed to port and patched up, and the passengers say to one another, “Let’s find a captain who won’t steer right to a fucking iceberg on fucking purpose!” You can bail, or you can drown. If we all drown, it will be because not enough of us bailed. But we *can* bail.

The dumbest, stupidest thing you could do is to yell at the other passengers who you think might have caused the hole where the water is rushing in. Sooner or later they will see they water, and feel it. They are going to need to bail too, and you’ll definitely need them to help fix the hole later on.

As often as I am able to, I will use this site to post small, daily actions that each of us can do to bail the ship. Concrete, real, normal person things that if one of us does alone will be totally insignificant but that, when executed by many, many people, can keep some real water in the ocean, where it belongs.

The ship has a name. The ship is the Unites States of America, and the water is rushing in.


Collin Brooke, editor/compiler of Rhetsy, asked some folks to contribute some lists of 5 things on a set list of topics that he sent out. Here’s my curmudgeonly contribution.

5 Most Recent Adds to Your Amazon Wishlist

“5” (8) Books Currently on my “Nightstand” (Coffee table–I don’t read in bed)

5 Songs in Heavy Rotation on Your Device of Choice

5 Apps You Can’t Live Without (I don’t really use many apps at all)

  • NOAA Info
  • Google Maps
  • OpenSignal
  • my road bike
  • my mountain bike

5 Books You Want to Read This Year, Come Hell or High Water

5 “Comics” (magazines) You Are Glad You’ve Been Reading (I read lots of magazines, but no comics)

5 Names You Need to Learn to Pronounce Correctly

  • I don’t worry about this. I take a George W. Bush approach to this issue and simply give people whose names I cannot pronounce nicknames like “Sweet Tea” and “Curly.”

5 games you’ve played on your device recently

  • I don’t play games on my device. Ever. But I have been playing some games on my Wii lately, most tennis and Don King Boxing.

5 Snack Foods in Your Cupboard

  • Beer
  • peanut butter crackers
  • Olli Salumi
  • dried figs
  • olives

“5” (1) movies you saw this summer

  • Inside Out

5 shows you “intend to try out” (already watch) this fall

  • Halt and Catch Fire
  • Bob’s Burgers
  • Squidbillies
  • Better Call Saul (whenever it returns)
  • Project Smoke (which I haven’t caught yet)

5 Lifehacks you’ll almost certainly stop doing by October

  • I can’t stand the phrase “lifehack.” I agree with many criticisms contesting that this terms simply refers to lost ingenuity that would have likely been second nature to many of our grandparents. I don’t intend to hack life at all. Instead here are 5 things that I’m committed to doing because they improve my quality of life in a variety of ways: 1) work out at least 6 times a week; 2) cook and preserve my own food; 3) do my own home improvement projects; 4) try to be better about keeping in touch with friends; 5) try to abandon my electronic devices more frequently and not be beholden to email. The first three are habit at this point, and the second two remain to be mastered.




Lists of 5 for Rhetsy

I’ve been slack in the past months about keeping up with my inventory of Inside Higher Ed columns. As always, most recent columns, and all columns, can be accessed through the Tyro Tracts node of IHE’s site.

I think the “hits” this go round were “Teaching Writing is Your Job,” “The Math Doesn’t Work,” and “Writing to Not Print.”

Advising Outside Our Experience (10/28/13)

Writing Letters of Recommendation (9/25/13)

Time on Campus (9/4/13)

Writing to Not Print (8/19/13)

Guide to Administrators (7/31/13)

Benefit of the Doubt (7/10/13)

How to Attend a Conference (6/24/13)

Summer Retooling (6/14/13)

Have a Contingency Plan (5/29/13)

Owning Our Mistakes (5/15/13)

The Math Doesn’t Work (4/22/13)

Teaching Writing Is Your Job (4/10/13)

Blood and Urine ONLY

Mario Untersteiner PRE/TEXT Call For Papers/Participants

Mario Untersteiner was a prolific Italian classicist (arguably philosopher) who focused on the ancient Greeks, and primarily on the origins of tragedy, the sophistic tradition, and the works of Plato and Aristotle. Even though influential within continental European circles during the mid-20th Century, Untersteiner’s works remain relatively unknown to English-speaking rhetoricians. With the notable exception of his most important and widely cited book, The Sophists (translated by Kathleen Freeman,1954), the bulk of Untersteiner’s essays have yet to be translated into English.

This Call for Papers announces a forthcoming double volume of PRE/TEXT: A Journal of Rhetorical Theory (Victor J. Vitanza, Editor and Publisher) that will focus on the work of Mario Untersteiner. The first volume will consist of a series of translations of previously untranslated works by Untersteiner, and the second volume will consist of critical essays that make use of the new translations.

In addition to the goal of making more of Untersteiner’s work available to a broader English-speaking audience, the first volume will also serve as a collaborative experiment in the process of translation and in the rhetorical act of translation. The work will consist of three major phases. Once contributors to the translation volume have been assembled, the translation team will, through a collaborative process, decide which of Untersteiner’s works should be prioritized for translation and inclusion in the volume. Once works have been selected, translation strategies will be devised and executed, and finally, the translations will be reviewed for accuracy both internally and externally.

The subsequent volume of PRE/TEXT will be comprised of critical essays that make use of the translations to contextualize, comment upon, critique, and explore Untersteiner’s place within and contributions to Western rhetorical theory, inquiry, and specifically his contributions to interpretations of the sophistic tradition. Contributors to this second of our two-part Untersteiner series will have access to the set of new translations prior to their publication.

To participate in the compilation, translation, and publication of the first volume in this two-part series, e-mail Nate Kreuter, P/T, Guest Editor (nathankreuter [at] gmail [dot] com) with a brief statement of your interest in Untersteiner and a frank assessment of your own preparedness to translate from Italian to English. We seek the participation of Italian-speaking rhetoricians and rhetoricians with a theoretical interest in the act of translation, as well as the participation of Italian language experts with an interest in the rhetoric of translation, or specific interest in the ancient Greek rhetorical tradition and/or Untersteiner and his work. Suggestions for which Untersteiner essays to include in the translation volume are also welcome at any time, even from those who may not wish to or be able to participate in the actual translation work.

A formal CFP for the second volume of critical essays will be issued at a later date.