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Snappy Verbal Dresser

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Writer's Block: National Pi Day [Mar. 14th, 2012|07:44 am]
Snappy Verbal Dresser

How many digits of pi have you memorized?
43. I'm a bad nerd. 3.14175... I even screwed up the fourth digit.
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Santorum on my screen again... [Mar. 4th, 2012|12:11 pm]
Snappy Verbal Dresser
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In my last post about politics, I mentioned three core values in the current Republican running:
  • Looking backward
  • Fear
  • Ignorance
I'm going to highlight the last one again, even though the first could arguably (and only in a literal interpretation) be relevant here:
The last core value is to try to remain ignorant.  For example, Santorum has been repurposed. And, for some reason, it seems that Republicans and those covering him simply use terminology that makes those aware of this practically vomit.
Now, even though this article is written by a liberal, it still seems the media is ignoring this alternative definition, and I read the following (click to see the original):

Having sex for [the purpose of creating] the mixture of fecal matter and ejaculation

(Rooting for Santorum)

Some may not get that 'rooting' equates to 'fuck'. Well, that's my own personal knowledge of Australian English. It may be a stretch (ew?) for the majority of the population to get it, but still, in my own world, this was a highly offencive title for a blog post in the New York Times.
Root (verb and noun) : synonym for f*ck in nearly all its senses: "I feel rooted"; "this washing machine is rooted"; "(s)he's a good root". A very useful word in fairly polite company.-Source

OK, all that said, the article analysis probably needs to be done, instead of all this personal whining about word choice and obscure Australian terminology.

So, in this article, Nocera is hoping that Santorum Rick wins the contest (I guess you just can win when Santorum has been repurposed, can you?  Let's just hope that Rick won't be repurposed!  It's up to Rick.).  He's under the false belief that because the extreme wing of the Republican party has wrested it away from the moderate angle, having Santorum as their leader will snap them out of it!  Will make them wake up and see that this position is untenable [huh huh], and that the loon-jobs running the show make it so that they cannot win.

...the Republican Party has largely been captured by its most extreme flank. Santorum is their standard-bearer.

But that is also where I see a glimmer of hope. During the McGovern-Mondale era, the Democrats were exactly where the Republicans are now: the party had been taken over by its most extreme liberal faction, and it had lost touch with the core concerns of the middle class, just as the Republicans have now. When I spoke to Whitman this week about what the Republican Party needed to do to become a more inclusive, less rigidly dogmatic party, she said, “It’s going to take some kind of shock therapy.” Those terrible losses in 1972 and, especially, in 1984 were the Democrats’ shock therapy. Just eight years after Mondale’s loss, Bill Clinton was elected president. -Nocera
The difference, though, between the history of the Democrats and the future of the Republicans is that Democrats aren't backward facing and Republicans are.  Republicans will not learn from this in the same way that Democrats did. The mentality is different.  What they will do if they lose is that they will get more extreme.  As they lose more and more, they will double down harder and harder until they are burning witches on stakes in the Salem, MA town square.  Nocera, this is wishful thinking that losing will ameliorate the extreme Republican party.  It will not.  It will just make them angrier.  It will just mean more guns at rallies and more extreme behaviour, until there are frothing unwashed masses beating at your entrance demanding fire and brimstone [ew!].

For any moderate Republicans reading this, I must apologise to you.  But the likes of you and I and most reasonable people generally know when to give up when something has gone awry.  The problem with our political system, as we're seeing, is that only the extremists stay in the game.  The rest of us bow out.  I don't have any issues with Roosevelt/Eisenhower-style conservatism.  I will respectfully disagree in a lot of ways about the tenets of governance, but generally you and I can have that dispassionate debate.

On the other hand, the extreme wings of the two dominant parties (I am registered Green for the record, so am technically an independent) will continue to do battle, and with every loss in the Republican sphere, they will double down, rally more troops, have more children, train and brainwash more people, and relentlessly bash, scream, and claw their way back into power until we have a theocracy whereby women are relegated to only spend time in kitchens and bedrooms, men will reestablish dominance and power in society, the rich will prosper on the backs of the poor, the middle class will disappear, public services will be cut entirely (including public transportation), and it will be practically impossible to earn a living in this country.  Immigrants will be systematically demonised, deported, or killed, and race wars will likely flare up again.  It will be like the good old days of the 1920s in New York, where people had 15 children in a 300 square foot apartment, women couldn't vote, and the man worked 15 hours a day, 6 days a week for the wage that could buy you no more than a couple of loaves of bread.  And if you don't like it, there is a long line of other desperate people who will happily take your job.  That is the dystopian vision of extreme Republican/Santorum politics in my view.  Is it inaccurate?  I certainly hope so.

If Mitt Romney takes the nomination and then loses to Obama, the extremists who’ve taken over the party will surely say the problem was Romney’s lack of ideological purity. If, however, Santorum is the nominee — and then loses in a landslide — the party will no longer be able to delude itself about where its ideological rigidity has taken it.

An alcoholic doesn’t stop drinking until he hits bottom. The Republican Party won’t change until it hits bottom. Only Santorum offers that possibility.

I like where you're going with this, Nocera. I just don't think anyone should really count on it. When extremists with only ideology hit bottom, the look for more ideology. When extremists with scientific method, education, and rational thought hit bottom, they reevaluate their strategy. An extreme liberal is very different from an extreme conservative in background, thought, knowledge, and orientation. I highly doubt that if Republicans hit bottom, they're going to soften on extremism. What may happen is that a libertarian party strengthens in this nation, but that is a long, slow climb and would mean a brutal few years for conservatives splitting the vote a la Perot. Politics in this country doesn't have the stomach for that. And the runaway debt cutting, America-apologising-and-restoring-relations-with-other-nations, elimination of enemies of state, pulling out [huh huh] of military quagmires, rebuilding of our internal infrastructure, and focus on uniting the population behind the banner of equality will not fly for the Republicans we currently know under a Democratic rule of the next 12-20 years that it would take for that libertarian wing to muster enough strength to be a contender.
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Writer's Block: Every Four Years [Feb. 29th, 2012|09:50 am]
Snappy Verbal Dresser
[music |Efterklang - I Was Playing Drums | Powered by Last.fm]

Celebrating?  I'm working... an extra day.
How are you celebrating Leap Day?
linkeverything is quiet now

The Republican debate worldview [Feb. 24th, 2012|02:09 pm]
Snappy Verbal Dresser
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I've been minimally keeping track of the Republican debates, mostly because I'm starting to see patterns.  The worldview of Republicans and mine simply differ immensely.  So, I can't fault them for it, but I can respectfully disagree.

The first core value of Republicans is looking backward.  Note that Romney says 'restore America'.  Note that this is possibly code for "An America run by Evangelical Christians", or, on the surface, it means regression to the 'good old days' when women were barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, knew their place in the world, and men have the freedom to smoke and drink themselves to death in their offices. Ron Paul wants to restore America to a place that has no taxes, which is both backward looking, historically inaccurate, and unrealistic.  Santorum wants Catholicism to rule, which has been disrupted by Henry the VIII and Luther (that's looking backward 5 centuries!), so that women have no reproductive rights.

The next core value is fear.  In the clip above, Gingrich was pushing the fear angle hard.  The reason this works is because when people are run on fear, they lose their rational compass and default to emotional decision-making.

The last core value is to try to remain ignorant.  For example, Santorum has been repurposed. And, for some reason, it seems that Republicans and those covering him simply use terminology that makes those aware of this practically vomit.

Other than that, examples have to do with a lack of religious freedom, thinking that Obama is a socialist, spreading fear that socialism itself is scary and bad, denial of climate change, evolution, science, thought, and rationality, and simply misunderstanding how the world works.  The reasons this works is that the vast majority of people in the world tend toward ignorance: it is our default condition.  Therefore, the numbers game (statistics) will tell you that there are more ignorant people in the country than learned.  And if you're playing a popularity contest, a game of emotional, thoughtless decision-making, tribalism/competion (SPORTS! WAR! KILL!), and identity politics, you're likely to win.  Appealing to the learned doesn't work, because there are fewer learned people in the world: that requires money, time, and effort.  Not everyone has those things.

In short, the values are base, but statistically, this explains how Republicans win.  Brilliant job!  Sad for the world, but brilliant job.  This explains why they want people to stay uneducated (increases their base), unhealthy (so they stay poor, and therefore don't have time or money to be educated), and underpaid.
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(no subject) [Feb. 8th, 2012|08:29 am]
Snappy Verbal Dresser
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What does Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, or any other Republican (generally) do with money: They do what is 'smart' and roll it over into making more money.  There are notable exceptions, such as the real Christians who give their money to charities and to help people.  But rich republicans generally espouse capitalism.

Brad Pitt, on the other hand, as well as the other liberal rich (like Gates), see the big picture and do what is 'stupid': they give their money away to help people.

La la land:
Brad Pitt will never play you, Newt.  You're too... shitty.
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Writer's Block: Human Nature [Feb. 7th, 2012|05:11 pm]
Snappy Verbal Dresser
[music |Ramona Falls - I Say Fever | Powered by Last.fm]

Its propensity to adjust to any situation.  On one hand, we can weather anything, inhabit anywhere, etc.  On the other hand, we can deal with an immense amount of pain and even inflict it on others.
What is the best and worst quality about mankind?
linkeverything is quiet now

Writer's Block: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day [Jan. 16th, 2012|09:06 am]
Snappy Verbal Dresser

I hope that you don't have to have children to have a dream for a sustainable future, where people aren't at odds with one another over resources, where the best technologies and collaborative techniques win, and where justice is prevalent throughout the globe.  I hope that all of us can attain awareness, forgiveness, and self realisation.

What is your dream for your children?

linkeverything is quiet now

Writer's Block: Occupied [Jan. 5th, 2012|08:46 am]
Snappy Verbal Dresser

I haven't directly participated.  While I support the cause, I find that protest has become a thing that I don't feel authentic taking part in.  Whenever I look at other places in the world, I see everyone, unified, protesting against a cause.  Here in America, I find that there is a certain subsect of people who protest; it is practically an identity.  I also feel that, since it is a certain group of people, the protests aren't taken seriously by anyone outside of that sect.
This is deeply troubling on so many accounts.  America was practically founded upon the ability to protest.  The rights of free speech and, importantly, press made America great.  But America has lost much of this.  Protesters are routinely tortured by police and the majority press sweeps it under the rug; there is no outrage for pepper spraying people anymore.  And the Tea Party people are upset by the OWS movement, although they practically espouse the same values.  I'm perplexed, I'm troubled.

And the bottom line is: I am working.  Much of OWS has happened, rightfully, during work hours.  To me, the whole point of the movement is that there are thousands of idle hands and if they had jobs, they wouldn't have time to protest.

That's where I sit with it.  Go (as in, your turn, comment away!).

Have you participated in Occupy Wall Street? Why or why not?
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Writer's Block: Trivia Day [Jan. 4th, 2012|10:02 am]
Snappy Verbal Dresser

192, I think...
Don’t cheat. Do you know how many countries there are in the world?
linkeverything is quiet now

Jumping into the right wing brain [Dec. 5th, 2011|09:25 am]
Snappy Verbal Dresser
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As some who read this blog may or may not know, I have a conservative Christian step-father.  This always makes for interesting and candid conversations when either of us visit one another.  And the bonus about all of this is that we trust one another immensely, so we both know that we're just arguing about details.

Many times when we have these discussions, I note a real flailing about and I almost always find a heavy dose of hypocrisy involved.  It seems to be undirected anger, which is almost teen-like in its form.  The reason he considers himself conservative is because he dislikes government waste and was fired from a government job in the past (I think)... As if I love government waste. But he's well-meaning, good-hearted, and a very honest person.  In fact, when he says he's a conservative, I don't believe him, because we agree on so much, such as taxation for the rich, more money for education, welfare and social supports for the poor, regulations on banks, etc.  Yet he's angry with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

This weekend, he actually got sauced on gin and tonic.  This makes for some interesting observations as well.  In our talk, his rage at the OWS movement was due to them "leaving messes in parks for the rest of us to clean up" and "costing him money", such as (theoretically, here) if he needed to pay his bills at the bank (which I have never heard of) and they, again theoretically, shut down that bank branch.  I told him he was missing the point and that his rage was misdirected.  He also mentioned that every Tea Party protest has always left no trace of even garbage.  That is Fox News-level lying right there, but whatever.  

So the Tea Party is perfect in every way, and the dirty hippy OWS people are a failure and deserve spite.

What I found most interesting, though, was the difference between our perspectives.  I kept arguing that the OWS and Tea Party are both standing up for our rights as citizens and that the rage should be directed at the banks.  It is the banks that are costing you money with fees and bullshit timing charges, not the OWS protesters.  But he couldn't get past the way it (again, theoretically) affected him directly.  There was a real self-centredness there that I just couldn't get him out of.  It was really an all-about-me thing.

To me, that is mental simplicity.  And I'm not saying he's a moron in the slightest.  I'm just saying that he can't seem to walk a mile in someone else's shoes or see a longer term picture.  What I mentioned was that both the Tea Party and OWS are showing a crack in the façade: this system isn't working for anyone, Right or Left.  There is so much we agree on: shouldn't we focus on that? 

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