Simply the Best Public Speaker in America Today


If you haven’t listened to or read former President Bill Clinton’s speech at the Democratic Convention last night, you’ve missed a treat. You may or may not like Bill Clinton as a man, as a politician or as a president, but his public speaking skills are absolutely extraordinary. Not only does he has an exceptional…

Lies, Liars and America, Part 1


The late Robert Heinlein, writing in Time Enough for Love, said that there were three kinds of lies: (1) the simple statement of an untruth, by far the most common lie; (2) telling part of the truth and stopping, creating a lie by omission, and (3) the most difficult and least common, telling the truth…

Helping Readers Be Smarter: Sarcasm. Really.


WC’s frequent – one reader called it “unrelenting” – sarcasm  turns out to distinctly helpful to WC’s readers. Seriously. Smithsonian Magazine reports, Sarcasm seems to exercise the brain more than sincere statements do. Scientists who have monitored the electrical activity of the brains of test subjects exposed to sarcastic statements have found that brains have…

Unsuck It


WC is a lawyer. He knows doublespeak when he reads it or hears it. Telling someone to abjure obfuscation is doublespeak. But WC also recognizes that all WC’s readers may not have the skills so, as a service to long-suffering readers, WC offers this link to Unsuck It This handy tool will help you understand…

The Palin Follies Never End


In a very real sense, WC is tempted to declare a permanent ban on All Things Palin here at the Conscience. Alaska’s Shame is such a narcissist that she craves any attention anyone gives her, even unfavorable attention. Criticizing her, demonstrating the silliness or hypocrisy of her arguments, even calling out her lies; it all…

Fallacies: The Big Lie


In an editorial titled, “How the House Bill Runs Over Grandma,” in Investor’s Business Daily, arguing against a U.S. national health care policy, the editor said, People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his…

Rhetoric Is Getting a Bad Rap


From before Aristotle’s time, rhetoric was an important area of learning. The word derives from the Greek ῥητορικός (rhētorikós), “oratorical.” Aristotle’s treatise, The Art of Rhetoric, is still a rewarding read today. Many of the Founding Fathers studied rhetoric as a formal course or schooling. Until the late 20th century, most colleges offered course is…

Fallacies: The Non Sequitur


Probably the second most common logical fallacy plaguing American discourse, after the ad hominem fallacy, is the non sequitur fallacy. Examples are everywhere: Palin Critic: “Former governor Palin is a poor public speaker.” Palin Fan: “Well, President Obama is a socialist.” The Palin Fan’s comment doesn’t address the argument made by the Palin Critic. It’s…

Fallacies: The Ad Hominem Fallacy


New York Times reporter Andy Revkin’s innovative Dot Earth blog is one of the best assemblies of climate and population data on the Web. I’m a big fan, and comment there from time to time. Revkin spoke recently to the Woodrow Wilson Center on the impact of population growth on climate change. He suggested, as…

Civil Discourse


In his recent column in the New York Times, Pulitzer Prize-winning Thomas Friedman points to the dangers of the increasingly shrill attacks on the President from the far Right. He draws a frighteningly possible parallel to the assassination of Israel Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. The late Dominic LaRusso used to point out that…