Colin Rule's blog

ODR and Consumers 2010

Sporadic updates on this blog as of late, but that's due to some exciting developments in other places...

Check out the cooperative blog on the UNCITRAL ODR proposal that's kicked off at:
Lots of good information on the recent meetings in Vienna and Buenos Aires, and details coming soon on the Vancouver meeting this November.

New site set up the Environmental/Public Policy Conflict Resolution nerd community:
Should be a great place for public practitioners and agency folk to learn about best practices and tools for mutliparty work. Read more about ODR and Consumers 2010

Addicted to conflict

"There's plenty of evidence to support that we don't need to fight... it's almost like we're addicted to the fight... the media is very conflict driven... that's where the story is, that's where the theater is, that's where the fight is... everyone in this room... if we just put our heads together, even, in this room, we'd come up with some good ideas as to how to stop the fighting and how to move our country forward... it's tempting to do something theatrical for the media, but that just doesn't help us, that just continues the fight."

-- Annabel Park, Founder, Coffee Party USA! Read more about Addicted to conflict

Backstage drama at Wikipedia DE

This is a fascinating case study of an in depth online dispute involving a very tech savvy and high profile team.

Mathieu von Rohr in Speigel Online: "It started one night when Sojka modified the first sentence of the German-language Wikipedia article on the Danube Tower in Vienna. He changed "The Danube Tower is an observation tower" into "The Danube Tower is a television and observation tower." Read more about Backstage drama at Wikipedia DE

The price we pay for civilization

James Carroll in the Globe: "We may dislike the tax bite, but we loathe the destruction of civic pillars and the deliberate unraveling of safety nets. Citizens long for leaders who will remind us that what we do this week has nobility in it. And if we have to do more of it — pay higher taxes — so that teachers and librarians, and those they serve, are not humiliated but enriched, we will." Read more about The price we pay for civilization

How morality feeds poisonous partisanship

Robert Samuelson today: "...the public agenda gravitates toward issues framed as moral matters. Global warming is about "saving the planet." Abortion and gay marriage evoke deep values, each side believing it commands the high ground. Certainly, President Obama pitched his health care plan as a moral issue. It embodies "the core principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health care," as he said when signing the legislation. Health care is a "right"; opponents are, by extension, less moral...

Purging moral questions from politics is both impossible and undesirable. But today's tendency to turn every contentious issue into a moral confrontation is divisive. Read more about How morality feeds poisonous partisanship

Obama and Rush

CBS News: "In an interview with CBS News' Harry Smith yesterday, President Obama was asked if he is "aware of the level of enmity that crosses the airwaves and that people have made part of their daily conversation" about him. Smith noted that the president is regularly called a "Nazi" and a "socialist."

"Well, I think that when you listen to Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, it's pretty apparent, and it's troublesome, but keep in mind that there have been periods in American history where this kind of vitriol comes out," Mr. Obama responded. "It happens often when you've got an economy that is making people more anxious, and people are feeling like there is a lot of change that needs to take place. But that's not the vast majority of Americans. I think the vast majority of Americans know that we're trying hard, that I want what's best for the country." Read more about Obama and Rush

Health Care

Well, I have little to add to the nattering nabobs out there, but I'm pleased we passed it.

As to the post-script, I'm with E.J. : "By temperament, the president is more a consensus builder than a warrior. But he is also a practical man who wants to accomplish big things. On Sunday, he did just that on health care, and he earned a place in history."

It was the right thing to do. We'll have to keep tweaking it, of course, but 30m more people with health insurance is clearly better for the world from a purely utilitarian perspective. Read more about Health Care

Interacting as individuals vs. interacting as groups

Brooks today: "...people are usually pretty decent to one another when they relate person to person. The odd thing is that when people relate group to group, none of this applies. When a group or a nation thinks about another group or nation, there doesn’t seem to be much natural sympathy, natural mimicry or a natural desire for attachment. It’s as if an entirely different part of the brain has been activated, utilizing a different mode of thinking.

Group-to-group relations are more often marked by calculation, rivalry and coldness. Members of one group sometimes see members of another group as less than human: Nazi and Jew, Hutu and Tutsi, Sunni and Shiite. Read more about Interacting as individuals vs. interacting as groups

Taking on Fox News

Howell Raines in the Washington Post:

"Under the pretense of correcting a Democratic bias in news reporting, Fox has accomplished something that seemed impossible before Ailes imported to the news studio the tricks he learned in Richard Nixon's campaign think tank: He and his video ferrets have intimidated center-right and center-left journalists into suppressing conclusions -- whether on health-care reform or other issues -- they once would have stated as demonstrably proven by their reporting. Read more about Taking on Fox News

Coffee Party USA

I'll be at the Santa Clara coffee party on Saturday. Hope to see you all there!

"MISSION: The Coffee Party Movement gives voice to Americans who want to see cooperation in government. We recognize that the federal government is not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges that we face as Americans. As voters and grassroots volunteers, we will support leaders who work toward positive solutions, and hold accountable those who obstruct them." Read more about Coffee Party USA

In a sensible country...

Brooks in today's NYT: "In a sensible country, people would see Obama as a president trying to define a modern brand of moderate progressivism. In a sensible country, Obama would be able to clearly define this project without fear of offending the people he needs to get legislation passed. But we don’t live in that country. We live in a country in which many people live in information cocoons in which they only talk to members of their own party and read blogs of their own sect. Read more about In a sensible country...

Are you a tyrant?

Interview in the NYT:

"Q. You tell business owners to forget about being likable. Is there something wrong with employees liking you?

A. You have to treat your people with respect. If they have a personal problem, you have to help them through it. You have to follow the law. But we also need to get things done as asked. The abandonment of that principle is a large factor in the failure of small businesses to achieve real profitability. Read more about Are you a tyrant?

Obama meets the House Republicans

This video was UTTERLY MEZMERIZING to watch. Really an incredible event in modern American politics.

Partial transcript:

"Part of the reason I accepted your invitation to come here was because I wanted to speak with all of you, and not just to all of you. So I'm looking forward to taking your questions and having a real conversation in a few moments. And I hope that the conversation we begin here doesn't end here; that we can continue our dialogue in the days ahead. It's important to me that we do so. It's important to you, I think, that we do so. But most importantly, it's important to the American people that we do so. Read more about Obama meets the House Republicans

The common ground foundation

Our President, last night:

"I know how unpopular it is to be seen as helping banks right now, especially when everyone is suffering in part from their bad decisions. I promise you – I get it.

But I also know that in a time of crisis, we cannot afford to govern out of anger, or yield to the politics of the moment. My job – our job – is to solve the problem. Our job is to govern with a sense of responsibility... Read more about The common ground foundation


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