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Thread: Ranting & Blithering

  1. #1 Ranting & Blithering 
    Forum Freshman Tiassa's Avatar
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    Ranting & Blithering

    Some days bring stunning disappointment. And it's usually subtle. To wit, last week I actually went to the seemingly-ridiculous measure of actually writing my U.S. Senator. It's not that one shouldn't, but even I chuckle at the idea that anything short of sheer volume gets their attention via snail- or e-mail.

    Nonetheless, I figured if I was going to complain, I might as well complain to someone who can do something about it.

    And while I defer on the specific politics--those included are necessary to the tale--what happened is that upon learning that Judge William Pryor's nomination to a permanent seat on the 11th Circuit had moved from committee, I simply lost it.

    So I spent a bit over twelve-hundred words explaining to the e-mail boxes of Senators Cantwell and Murray why I would beg their strongest possible opposition to Judge Pryor's confirmation.

    It's not that the words were for naught; I expected that. I knew that the whole time I was writing them. I wrote them for myself, to see if I could put it together at all. After years of enjoying great rhetorical liberty online, I do admit an aspect of perceiving a challenging audience. In theory, were the Senators to actually read my words and give them consideration, my online standard is simply insufficient.

    And I also admit that I did, in fact, feel better for having gotten it out and gone on with my day.

    I didn't expect much in return.

    On the one hand, I got exactly what I expected: form-letter responses. This is not problematic.

    The content of the form letters, however, is just shattering:

    As you may know, the U.S. Senate has a tradition of unfettered debate on all bills, treaties and nominations brought to the Senate for consideration. The term filibuster is often used to refer to Senators holding the floor in extended debate. More generally, however, "filibustering" includes any tactics aimed at blocking a measure by preventing it from coming to a vote ....

    .... The Senate has the constitutional duty to advise the President and decide whether to consent to his nominations to the federal bench. I believe that this role is one of the U.S. Senate's greatest responsibilities. It is critical that Senators work with the President to find judicial nominees that meet the standards of fairness, even-handedness and adherence to the law that we expect of judges in our communities ....

    .... Rest assured, I have no reservations about voting either for or against President Bush's nominees to the federal bench. In fact, during the President’s first term, I voted for 90 percent of the President's judicial nominees that came to a vote before the Senate (189 of 210). However, I have also not hesitated to vote against those individuals who I do not believe are the right choice to serve on the federal bench. Whatever the views of these nominees; the Senate must be allowed to fully review a nominee, and the Senate and the Judiciary Committee's decisions must be respected ....

    .... There has been a suggestion that some Senators may attempt to eliminate the ability to filibuster judicial nominees .... You should know that I am opposed to unilateral actions that would change the rules and traditions of the Senate.

    I appreciate the time you have taken ....

    Sincerely,
    Patty Murray
    United States Senator
    It just seems like the form letter pretends that there's a chance in hell that any given vote will deviate from party lines in such a fashion as to refuse consent to any of these appointments.

    I reject that pretense in the current conservative campaign demanding an up or down vote: I don't even try to imagine that there is any substantive debate. Such a presumption would require me to abandon long acceptance that our federal legislators are largely gasbags who can waste scads of hours without actually saying anything useful. (What? Who else noticed that Tim Burton received no substantial flak over the slaughter of the entire U.S. Congress in "Mars Attacks": Grandma Florence shouting, "They blew up Congress! Ha!"?)

    No, I don't expect a detailed analysis of my complaint. I don't even expect a detail of how the Senator intends to vote. But something of her criteria, something remotely resembling a position, would be nice.

    The response from Senator Cantwell's office is even worse. I can turn on "Hardball" or "Hannity & Colmes" and hear the same crap. The highlights include how seriously she takes judicial appointments; pointing out how many of Bush's judges have been confirmed; recalling a May, 2004 agreement that traded actual confirmations for no appointments during the Congressional recess; thanks and please sign up for the newsletter.

    This simply isn't encouraging. Is substance so rare in Washington, D.C.? Certainly, we joke about such maladies, but what is its actual cost?

    If the anti-filibuster movement succeeds, does that mean the Senate has just shirked even more discretionary obligation to the voters? Because what happens when we next have a Democrat in office and a majority in Senate? Should Democrats "stick it to 'em" the same way, or is there really any benefit to the American people if the judiciary becomes the hot-potato the GOP rejection of the filibuster would make it? Perhaps if more than two political parties ran the show, the idea of playing that way wouldn't seem so dangerous.

    So it seems that the form letter ought to be more than mere pabulum designed to accommodate the sensitivities of people who would vote against them no matter what they do; why the Senators feel so obliged to give the appearance of stroking the undefined swing, all to the benefit of their concrete political opposition, is beyond me.

    What it comes down to is that neither of the Senators actually needs to play that role right now. It comes off as desperately disorganized. Go ahead and be accusatory, go ahead and rip into your opposition like it was the apex of your electoral cycle. Filibusters? Shutdowns? Go for it. Yes, it would be better to have rational debate and consideration of these issues, but I don't perceive that an option according to the Republican majority. To reiterate, I just don't think there's a chance in hell that any given vote will deviate from party lines in such a fashion as to refuse consent to any of these appointments. And in the case of Judge Pryor, I feel there is no room for compromise or bargaining. I have such serious doubts about the man that I don't believe him fit for any bench save Little League.

    So don't tell me about the process. Don't tell me about the things I already know. Don't tell me what I can hear from pundits and talking heads. Tell me you're going to be Democrats, if only for a day.

    On the one hand, I sympathize with the swingers that end up supporting Republicans. But still, I can't quite figure how we've gotten to the point that people will endorse things at the ballot box that they would otherwise consider evil simply because they know at least what evil stands for.

    Am I to pretend that either of these Senators truly doesn't know how she will vote? What's left to decide? Bargains? Backroom negotiations? What's the selling price?

    Vamp on this: Tomorrow never happens. Hop on the train and find out for yourselves.


    "A red rose absorbs all colours but red; red is therefore the one colour that it is not." (Perdurabo)
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  3. #2  
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    I salute anyone who made it past the first paragraph.


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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kestasjk
    I salute anyone who made it past the first paragraph.

    Huyck huyck!
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kestasjk
    I salute anyone who made it past the first paragraph.
    That's just sad.
    And know what's even sadder? Your post shows ridicule to Tiassa for writing a post of longer than sentence. And you seem to think that only superhumans are somehow capable of making it past a single paragraph. How small the mighty human has become.

    I suppose Tiassa should have found a way to encapsulate his thoughts into a sound byte for you? How's this? "Politicians suxxorz, d00d!!!11!11! W00t! I'm on tv!!11!!11!"
    Better?

    There. I kept it short so that you can actually read the whoooooole thing.

    Or was this too many words for you?
    (I really hate people with your attitude. I guess I should be thankful that you didn't overload us with smilies.)



    Well. I guess since I was drawn into posting in this thread, I'd better at least say something on topic.

    So. As to the topic. No real surprise that politicians are smarmy, conniving, backstabbing bastards, is it?

    There is really no difference between Republicans and Democrats anymore so it's pointless to even think there is or should be. They both are parasitic elements that require the other to maintain the system in which they feed. They can pretend all day and night to be other than siamese twins joined at the wallet, but only the foolish actually believe that.

    But what can you do? Vote Libertarian? Ha! Sure. Throw your vote away, pal. (Remember the indie candidates getting arrested to keep them away from the presidential debates? Ha!)

    I sure as hell don't have any answers. The only solution I can think of is a short term beneficial dictatorship to shake out the bugs, but the only problem with such things is that the odds of it being short term and benificial are pretty damn small. The world's going to hell in a handbasket, so I guess you just gotta learn to enjoy losing.
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  6. #5 And what's new? 
    Forum Freshman Tiassa's Avatar
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    .... They both are parasitic elements that require the other to maintain the system in which they feed ....

    .... The world's going to hell in a handbasket, so I guess you just gotta learn to enjoy losing ....
    There is some sort of disconnection in American society between the individuals and the collectives they compose. For instance, I don't contest either of the statements quoted above, but I can't shake the feeling that this is what we, the people, choose, even though very few of us would ever spell out such a vision for society.

    The oft-pejorative phrase, "committee thinking", is nothing more than Bureaucratically Suitable language for "mob mentality", although the committee thinkers generally don't set such poor aims for their endeavors. The degradation occurs in the exploitation, but we, the people, tend to endorse that exploitation, because at the end of the day, we have a poor attitude toward even the slightest efforts, such as letters to editors or public officials, and certainly activisim is generally and hypocritically denounced (e.g. activists are idiots without a real job or clue, unless of course they're activists for the individual's preferred cause, but even then people seem locked in an addictive cycle of talking points and confusion; I, for instance, can't stand the most vocal and identifiable edges of feminism and environmentalism, and am waiting impatiently for liberal economists to settle where they stand on fair/free trade, especially in this age of exploitatively roving definitions).
    "A red rose absorbs all colours but red; red is therefore the one colour that it is not." (Perdurabo)
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  7. #6  
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    Well, thats what you get for having an outmoded two party system. And Kestasjk demonstrates perfectly the apathy most Americans have to the fact (thankyou, kestasjk).

    It will take many more screw ups and at least another republican term before people have enough interest to make change happen.
    where oh where is sciforums?
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by invert_nexus
    Quote Originally Posted by kestasjk
    I salute anyone who made it past the first paragraph.
    That's just sad.
    And know what's even sadder? Your post shows ridicule to Tiassa for writing a post of longer than sentence. And you seem to think that only superhumans are somehow capable of making it past a single paragraph. How small the mighty human has become.
    LOL invert, your just jelous because we have lives other than readin sum stupid internet stuff..

    Why dont you go and get laid, loooooooooooser. I bet your like a 40 year old virgin that drivesd a truck!
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  9. #8 But it's just not that smart, is it? 
    Forum Freshman Tiassa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perfect
    LOL invert, your just jelous because we have lives other than readin sum stupid internet stuff..

    Why dont you go and get laid, loooooooooooser. I bet your like a 40 year old virgin that drivesd a truck!
    (chortle!)

    Come on, dude. If you don't have any respect for your own opinion, what do the rest of us owe it?
    "A red rose absorbs all colours but red; red is therefore the one colour that it is not." (Perdurabo)
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  10. #9 Re: But it's just not that smart, is it? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiassa
    Quote Originally Posted by Perfect
    LOL invert, your just jelous because we have lives other than readin sum stupid internet stuff..

    Why dont you go and get laid, loooooooooooser. I bet your like a 40 year old virgin that drivesd a truck!
    (chortle!)

    Come on, dude. If you don't have any respect for your own opinion, what do the rest of us owe it?

    i respects my homies YO!
    so dontcha come to me tellink how i dont gots respect!!1

    aight?


    ima fucked up nigger an' im backing heat
    so dontcha knock on my door cuz imma drill u deep!
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  11. #10 Can the threats and bullshit 
    Forum Freshman Tiassa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perfect
    ima fucked up nigger an' im backing heat
    so dontcha knock on my door cuz imma drill u deep!
    Can the threats and bullshit, Perfect. Nobody's impressed.
    "A red rose absorbs all colours but red; red is therefore the one colour that it is not." (Perdurabo)
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  12. #11 Re: Can the threats and bullshit 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiassa
    Quote Originally Posted by Perfect
    ima fucked up nigger an' im backing heat
    so dontcha knock on my door cuz imma drill u deep!
    Can the threats and bullshit, Perfect. Nobody's impressed.
    I was not addressing you, pimply one.
    But you’re starting to cling on the crippled wigger shit - so I’m going to stop.

    At least learn to recognize sarcasm when you jump in as the unimpressed savior.

    You know, I was ridiculing the unmitigated stupidity of the 'paraphraser'.
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  13. #12 This love needs no sharing 
    Forum Freshman Tiassa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perfect
    You know, I was ridiculing ....
    Your attitude, your problem. Nobody's asking you to share that wealth.
    "A red rose absorbs all colours but red; red is therefore the one colour that it is not." (Perdurabo)
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  14. #13  
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    I suppose that if your insults and attitude had a shred of creativity to them, and were also based on something said instead of just pulled out of thin air you might be mildly amusing. At this point, you need to work on your skills. Girls like skills.
    Come join the Babbling Incoherents
    A forum of the humanities/philosophy/arts variety.
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    Quote Originally Posted by arditezza
    I suppose that if your insults and attitude had a shred of creativity to them, and were also based on something said instead of just pulled out of thin air you might be mildly amusing. At this point, you need to work on your skills. Girls like skills.
    Fuck off, stud.
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  16. #15  
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    Tiassa and Arditezza,

    Hey now. Lay off the lad. He was just funnin' ya.
    He could have at least tried to dredge something up on topic, tis true, but you're attacking shadows...


    Anyway...

    There is some sort of disconnection in American society between the individuals and the collectives they compose.
    Just so.
    The thing is that most people don't even feel part of the 'collective' which claims them. They're outcasts and they've given up on it.

    It's sort of a middle ground. A land of being aware that revolutions seldom bring improvement, more often they bring tyrants. And of being aware that as the system is now it's just a cruel and sick joke. A make believe land. A "let's pretend we're a representative democracy."

    It's all lies and we all know it.

    But, then again, perhaps that's exactly what we want us to think...
    A defeated public is a quiet public...

    I really don't care much about politics myself, it's basically a situation of 'meet the new boss, same as the old boss'. So what's the difference? The only difference is if you become the boss. But, then, you're still somebody's boss. So the system hasn't changed. Just your position within it.

    Take your letter writing, for instance. How many people actually have ever considered writing their congressman? Very few, I imagine. Proportionally speaking.



    Now. What of the 'two-party' system we're caught up in?
    Well, it has its pros and cons, doesn't it? Systems with too many parties have problems getting anything done because a majority is hard to come by. But when you end up with too few you get the parasitical brotherhood that we're stuck with today in the US.


    Meh. Can't really win for losing.
    But that's just my upbringing.

    We're all raised to view politicians as amoral scumbags. Moneygrubbing filth. Or idealistic patsies. Are we a product of our system? Or is our system a product of us? A mixed bag, I'd guess. But, the system has been around far longer than I have. And that's telling.
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  17. #16  
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    Mr. Tiassa:
    Such a presumption would require me to abandon long acceptance that our federal legislators are largely gasbags who can waste scads of hours without actually saying anything useful
    Do you read as you write?
    Excellent.

    In that case, read that whole sentence again and answer one question:

    Do gasbags who waste 'scads' of hours without actually saying anything useful ring a bell?.

    We can use 'hours' and 'text' interchangebly.
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  18. #17  
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    Couldn't you at least offer a "Good to see you, gasbag"?
    Shame on you.
    Oh. Wait. That's what you meant, isn't it?
    Hee hee.

    Anyway. I take offense at the attention-deficit people who dare to ridicule what they don't even have the patience to read. Don't you?

    You, for instance, actually read what you're ridiculing, yes? So. Kestsajk should be saluting you.
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  19. #18 Nostalgia 
    Forum Freshman Tiassa's Avatar
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    Once upon a time, Abraxas, someone actually got mad at me for writing things that were too hard for them to read. Now ... we need not ask who here thinks I'm a genius, as we both know the answer is generally very few people, if any at all. So if a gasbag dimwit like me is too complex for the smart, reticent people with chips on their shoulders to understand, what fault of mine is it?

    I mean, at some point, you had to see the title that says, "Ranting & Blithering". After all, it's up there twice.

    As far as I'm concerned, you were warned at the outset what to expect, and so I fart in your general direction.

    When I woke up today, I was a human being. How about you?
    "A red rose absorbs all colours but red; red is therefore the one colour that it is not." (Perdurabo)
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  20. #19  
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    When I woke up today, I was a human being. How about you?

    A hymen with legs


    SNAP!
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  21. #20 Re: Ranting & Blithering 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiassa
    Tomorrow never happens.
    Lol, and I thought I was the only Joplin fan here.

    I empathize with your sentiments. Personally my only hope is that the current administration pushes us so far to the right that there is a retaliatory backlash. (Sort of a Trotskyite perspective…) The problem is that the Democrats don’t leave us much to get inspired with and the other options do seem to amount to “throwing away” votes.

    Oh well tomorrow never knows.

    It was later than I thought
    when I first believed you.
    Now I cannot share your laughter
    ship of fools.
    Terrapin
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  22. #21  
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    Perfect:
    A hymen with legs
    You've just complimented what you swear is a whore
    Tiassa:
    When I woke up today, I was a human being. How about you?
    A termagant.

    But to answer your post, its not the "blathering and ranting" I'm looking at- ranting is as common as blogs and those writing them. Its something more.

    Michael Savage- ever heard?

    I hear this man ranting everyday from 5-6 on my radio. As all gasbags, he
    doesn’t talk with but just at and to.

    Yet in all his extremist, self-righteous noise can be made out a supra-conservative adamant that Islam is a fundamentalist threat and that Mexicans are the scourge of his country and all his grammar is a colorful red white and blue..
    Point being, that I know where he stands because he wants me to

    And here you are apparently mourning the incoherence of bureaucracy and that a senator was so detached and vague you could not gauge her position.

    Yet, you sent people something you wrote just to see yourself writing, and don't like that one of them wrote you something they wrote just to see themselves writing.

    And I, not knowing if I speak for others as well, can't even weed out from your rant where you stand.
    See the difference?

    I can't even tell if you're for or against filibustering. Its like you don’t even care to let others know what you think but that you think. Filibuster. *grin*

    Therefore, do you even have a legitimate right to complain about ambiguity?


    Invert:
    Anyway. I take offense at the attention-deficit people who dare to ridicule what they don't even have the patience to read. Don't you?
    Come on , don't tell me you fully understood his complaint.
    I doubt anyone did.
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  23. #22  
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    Abraxas,

    Come on , don't tell me you fully understood his complaint.
    I doubt anyone did.
    Well. I'm not much into politics, and his post did meander a bit, but what I gathered was that he didn't like a certain judge being appointed by Bush and he wanted his congressman to do something about it. His congressmen sent back form letters which basically said that they may or may not do anything or nothing. They may act on party lines, but probably won't.

    I think the filibustering stuff was all tangent.

    Could be wrong on that.

    Anyway, even if his point is hard to find in there, it's impossible to find by those who can't make it past the first paragraph.
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  24. #23  
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    Vert:
    I think the filibustering stuff was all tangent.
    I think T'd make an excellent fillibuster.

    Mnyeh..
    In a bad mood, what can't I pick on the innocent?

    And your math thread grows silent....
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  25. #24  
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    Abraxian,

    I think T'd make an excellent fillibuster.
    Ha!
    I was thinking the exact same thing.

    And:

    In a bad mood, what can't I pick on the innocent?
    Pick away. I never faulted you for your actions. At least you read the damn thing, yes?

    And. Bad mood? Cheer the fuck up. Do you want me to start quoting Nietzsche? That always cheers you up, yes?

    And your math thread grows silent....
    Grows? Grown. Was always. Except for one brief and beautiful day when a lovely young lady happened by.

    How goes it? Homing in on Diagram G, perchance?
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  26. #25 Re: Nostalgia 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiassa
    Now ... we need not ask who here thinks I'm a genius, as we both know the answer is generally very few people, if any at all.
    I don't know if I would say you are a genius, but I will most certainly say that you are a very intelligent, and seemingly educated individual. However, I will agree with the others when I say that, at times, your posts are a bit of a pain to get through. I honestly say that I took the time to read it in it's entirety. Twice, actually. It seems as if you are annoyed that it's business as usual in the U.S. political system.

    You rant a bit about everything being the fault of the republicans. I'm not against the ranting. As you said, we were all amply warned. However, do you actually think things would be so much better if democracts were in power? Our political system doesn't function on the practice of elected officials doing what is right, that is just the utopian ideal that the corupted reality is built upon. Republicans or democrats; either way we've addendums being tagged on the end of unrelated bills as a compromise to get them through. We have lobbiest with enough money to make sure that they get their way. Honesty, morality, self respect, and consistancy have nothing to do with being a cog in our political machine.
    I agree, this is unfortunate.

    Now, I know you asked us not to tell you what you already know, and I know I just did exactly that, yet that was the only response that came when reading your rant.
    ==============
    You admitted you got what you expected, and in expecting such you've proven that you area at least somewhat realistic in your views on politics. Despite this, your post seems to carry with it the odor of political activism; of someone that actually believes that the system can work and that one man can make a difference. I may be wrong in this assumption. It could simply be that that is what I got out of it and I am alone in that.
    My point being, if I can be said to have one at all in this, is to say that some of what you said struck me as being niave, if not downright foolish.
    Supporting evil at the ballot box?
    Are we talking about politics or religion? Yes, I realise that morality effects all areas of life, yet to say that someone supports evil because they support different politics than you do is a tad narrow, don't you think?
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  27. #26 Re: Nostalgia 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiassa
    Once upon a time, Abraxas, someone actually got mad at me for writing things that were too hard for them to read.
    actually got mad?! I believe you.

    I fart in your general direction.
    The senator(s) also know it when it happens.

    Next time, ask them just few specific questions.
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  28. #27 Sorry to be so long about it, but .... 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tafkam Aruhpe
    You rant a bit about everything being the fault of the republicans .... However, do you actually think things would be so much better if democracts were in power?
    Not particularly, "so much better". To start with, my liberal sympathies put my ideal form of society somewhere to the left of the Democratic party, a blend of liberal anarchist acknowledgment and communitarian endeavor. The true evil, as I see it, lies admittedly to the right of the GOP mainstream. However, to take a winding path for a moment:

    <blockquote>• When I was in junior high, one of the political issues pertaining to the schools had to do with the abstract notion of playing to the lowest common denominator; the conservative accusation was that liberal inclusiveness "lowered the bar" and held back the brightest end of the curve.</blockquote>

    The sarcastic, apolitical part of me says, "Yeah, and?" The historical detail is beside the point; more immediately, what of our commercial society, which must necessarily play to broad denominators?

    The conservative American political vision is simplistic, and this is a symptom of appeal. The first four years of the Bush administration romanced Americans with fear: terrorists, gays, and liberals alike want to steal your children. The 2004 election, reputedly about "God, guns, and gays", demonstrates this fear: for your bank balance, your children's identity politics and life decisions, and eventually your very life.

    "If you're not with us, you're against us." The uniting mantra of power-hungry governments of all stripes. From Nazis to Star Wars, there is a taboo against such "opposition", yet how is it that those who would advocate the nobility of American history and vision should be called traitors and worse?

    Liberalism is inherently more complicated. Show of hands, maybe? Two similar concepts, both religious-philosophical assertions:

    <blockquote>• "God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap." (Galatians 6.7, NASB)
    • "Whatever you do returns to you threefold." (Wiccan Rede)</blockquote>

    Because of the nature of the Judeo-Christian heritage, one of the first lessons young rebels turning to witchcraft learn can be found in Starhawk's Spiral Dance. (I haven't known where my copy of that book is for years, so there's no specific citation.) The explanation encourages people to look past superficial, instant-karma considerations and look simply at practical effects. As I recall, the example used was shoplifting: prices rise, which affects the thief; the thief invokes a state of constant vigilance and suspicion; the thief confesses absolutely a failure of legitimate means of acquisition. The rule is not meant to prescribe a moral absolute similar to the curiously simplistic theology many carry with them. There is no hand of God, no ultimate arbiter by this scheme; nature itself cannot play arbiter because the natural is inherently neutral.

    I've found in practical terms that people who look to an absolute arbiter, e.g. "God", often stand on their moral declarations "just because". Something is simply right or wrong, just or unjust, and "God" is the idealistic standard against which those judgments are compared. To the other, though, people who make more practical considerations--e.g., "By the time I count three functional drawbacks, I ought to reconsider the plan"--are often ignored or else derided as obscure, nonsensical, elitist, confusing, too complicated, ad nauseam.

    In the abstract, that's a challenge facing liberal politics: in a sound-bite world, playing to people who think it's not worth figuring out if it requires explanation in the first place, it's tough to pitch the more-complicated plan. You'll notice one recurring circumstance under which Democrats look especially ridiculous comes when they try to stoop to meet the Republicans. It's something I ask of any "proper", "correct", or otherwise allegedly-just cause: If you're right, what's with the horsepucky? (e.g., We know cigarette smoke is really bad for people, and even I have no doubts whatsoever about the poison of secondhand smoke, but why did the EPA run such extreme, unrealistic tests in order to justify their position? All they did was give the tobacco flaks ammunition; appropriately, orange juice would kill you with proportionately similar exposure. Bacon? Ye gads, is there any blood left in our arteries?)

    Likewise, I don't see why the Dems, whose position is allegedly (or so says my politics) more closely-aligned with propriety, should buckle and stoop. Oh, yeah. Polls. For some reason, the voters seem to like dirt; even after the Swift Vets were shown false, the story kept damaging Kerry because the discredited critics kept up their barrage.

    It's tragic, and while it certainly does not wash clean the sin, it is a contributing factor to something I noted in the topic post:

    <blockquote>• ... the form letter ought to be more than mere pabulum designed to accommodate the sensitivities of people who would vote against them no matter what they do; why the Senators feel so obliged to give the appearance of stroking the undefined swing, all to the benefit of their concrete political opposition, is beyond me.</blockquote>

    To phrase it with a tone of blame: there has been much talk of Hillary Clinton's "shift to the center", although a recent Washington Post article pointed out that there's no shift afoot. To demonstrate a shift plays to the conservatives' anti-Hillary position that she's a Clinton, and thus will do anything to win office, including sell her principles. To the other, though, if Hillary Clinton stands unabashedly on her liberal history, she is accused of elitism. The more delicate reality, naturally, is too complex for a sound-bite.

    In more general terms, it's the disadvantage of proclaiming an evolved, enlightened, or otherwise more-developed message. One inherently invites a higher standard. (Watch proactive atheists tack Christianity to the wall on that aspect; what hath become of the shining star at Bethlehem?)

    And the Democrats have responded poorly to this challenge, especially in the post-Nixon years, which are marked by conservative definitions: issues, morals, people, and even the Democrats themselves. So no, we can't expect a tremendous difference if the Dems run the show, but as recent history shows, we can expect some. Part of that is simply that, as I believe the Democrats stand closer to the ideal, when a Democrat is a Democrat and screws up, the error is usually toward the advantage. When a Republican is a Republican and screws up, it's called a policy success. It has nothing to do with the labels, but rather the principles defining them. When an American political conservative fulfills a platform ambition, the odds are that its momentum carries away from the perceived ideal.

    If it seems like I hold Republicans responsible for everything, it's merely an unfortunate appearance, a tragedy of circumstance. Republicans can't help it. If they weren't the embodiment of psychospiritual poverty in America, they wouldn't be conservatives.

    And I am sorry if the post is a bit of a pain; subtle lines are not well drawn with broad strokes. But to close on a slightly cosmic note, and bearing in mind the notion of psychospiritual poverty, I would ask you to consider a humble, beautiful book that has enthralled young readers for over forty years: Madeleine L'Engle's, A Wrinkle In Time (1962). In the story, our heroes stand off the forces of a menacing, utopian villain named "IT". The society is frightening, bureaucratic, and uniform. A scene depicts a mother in a panicked state after her child drops a ball. The neighborhood, attuned to ritual and participatory conformity, has not experienced an "aberration" for a long time.

    Even into my youth in the 1980s, IT represented a red menace, a communist-utopian specter in which everyone looks and dresses and acts the same. The tyranny of total equality, as such. Indeed, the Glencoe Literature Library study guide for Wrinkle explains in its introduction:

    <blockquote>The nobel also reflects political themes of the time. For example, life on the planet Camazotz is similar to what Americans thought life in the former Soviet Union was like at the time ... The two nations had very different political systems. Then, as now, the United States was a democratic country in which the individual rights of every citizen were protected by the Constitution. In the Soviet Union, however, many aspects of life were controlled by a central government. Soviet citizens did not have freedom of speech or freedom of religion. This novel presents L'Engle's views on a society without freedom and individuality. (10)</blockquote>

    Indeed, page 17 of the study guide, suggests an organizer "to keep track of what happens on the dark planet"; the sample entry for "Camazotz" reads, "they arrive and find town of complete conformity". Page 19 asks of students:

    <blockquote>Is life on Camazotz similar to life on Earth? In your group, make a list of things about Camazotz that remind you of our society. In what ways does modern life ask us to think like the red-eyed man?</blockquote>

    In the late 1990s, picking through the net with relatively fresh eyes, I once came across a complaint against the book that it promoted witchcraft, promoted lesbianism, and promoted communism. Now, I try to be understanding: yes, if you choose to disregard recurring Shakespearean themes, one might miss the literary tradition exploited by the three old witches. But this bit about communism caught me completely off-guard. Has the rest of conservatism undergone a similar transition?

    I don't know. But I did see an advert today pitching for George W. Bush and Tom DeLay. Something about circling sharks. If you catch a glimpse, pause to watch it. When they get to the part about less-intrusive government, or whatever, it's fair to fall over laughing. Some more traditional (not necessarily "traditionalist") conservatives are very uncomfortable with government expansion and intrusion under Bush, but to me there's nothing about that sense of intrusion that is new; it is common to what conservatives have argued throughout my life. My music, my drugs, my sex life, my birth, and now my death. I'm not sure there's actually been a shift, but rather that, having won the day, conservatives aren't looking around and wondering, "What have we done?"

    The 1990s understanding of the problems of L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time is a symptomatic problem of a relatively-narrowing focus. Ask some folks in theological circles, and they'll argue about what "virgin" means, in either a modern ("Madonna") or traditional/ancient ("the Madonna") context. We must always bear in mind what the story tells, not what we read into it according to such transient fancies. Sometimes it seems that many are now "afloat in history", awash in a sea of information, aware of much but familiar with little.

    But go back to Zell Miller's speech at the GOP Convention and follow up the "John Kerry voted against the military" punch. What history suggests is that John Kerry voted against a general appropriations bill that was crowned, on the one hand, "Bush's budget" (Poppy Bush), and to the other "bad for the military". Most of the 15 points targeted by Miller's speech and GOP talking points came from a single vote in 1990. Further exploration of the issue also reveals Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney testifying before a House committee, explaining why certain programs ought to be terminated. Coincidentally, it's the same list of programs (F-15E, AH-64, &c.) that Miller and the GOP raped Kerry for.

    When I go back and clear away the muck and litter and hear the stories history tells, conservatives come up short, standing on the wrong side of the river. Liberals themselves often drown in it, but liberalism itself is supposed to be defined by the lessons we learn from history.

    In the end, though, no matter how viciously I might indict Republicans, I can only blame the voters. History might show the Republicans to be liars, but sociology shows them to be successful because of it. We can only blame the Democrats for so much, namely failing to live up to their own principles:

    <blockquote>• So don't tell me about the process. Don't tell me about the things I already know. Don't tell me what I can hear from pundits and talking heads. Tell me you're going to be Democrats, if only for a day.</blockquote>

    Hmm. Maybe I should have split that post into two.

    But that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    <blockquote>Starhawk. The Spiral Dance. San Francisco: Harper, 1999 (1979).

    Glencoe Literature Library. "Study Guide for A Wrinkle in Time". New York: Glencoe McGraw-Hill, 19__. See http://www.glencoe.com/sec/literatur...le_in_time.pdf (PDF download)</blockquote>
    "A red rose absorbs all colours but red; red is therefore the one colour that it is not." (Perdurabo)
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  29. #28  
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    No, no. this does not qualify for a fart. Not a dart either, yet. I appreciate your effort and time taken for the transformation process. Please keep it up.
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  30. #29  
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    Wow.

    Yes.

    I really like the river metaphor.




    [I don't think you posts are too long or too difficult, but you might keep your paragraphs a bit shorter; more than 5 or 6 lines is hard to read on screen.]
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  31. #30  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiassa
    ... the challenge ... in a sound-bite world, playing to people who think it's not worth figuring out if it requires explanation in the first place, it's tough to pitch the more-complicated plan...
    That is their job, and they better get better at it.

    We sit around in our elistist funk, deriding the popular sound-bite press and the decrying the lazy and ignorant electorate, but look to your own post:

    • "God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap." (Galatians 6.7, NASB)
    • "Whatever you do returns to you threefold." (Wiccan Rede)

    These are slogans, sound-bites; people respond to slogans as catch-phrases for, but that doesn't mean they are unwilling or unable to comprehend, more complicated political and social philosophies.

    People are capable of exploring the subtle implications of a policy; what they are less capable of it listening to arguments presented in complex sentences with learned vocabulary. [Reading is different; reading complicated expositions is easier.]

    Many people suspect they are being manipulated and deceived by complicated, subtle, extended, and erudite explanations. [Not me; I always suspect simple explanations to be simplistic and manipulative.]

    Developing a coherent policy is only half the work. The presentation of the policy must understood by people driving in rush hour traffic and making dinner, exhausted by a full day's work and looking forward to a full night with the family.

    All of which has nothing to do with your main point.
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  32. #31 I know there's something missing, but .... 
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    Quote Originally Posted by j
    All of which has nothing to do with your main point.
    Maybe. Maybe not. For instance:

    That is their job, and they better get better at it.
    I'm not sure I could agree with you more.

    We sit around in our elistist funk, deriding the popular sound-bite press and the decrying the lazy and ignorant electorate, but look to your own post:

    • "God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap." (Galatians 6.7, NASB)
    • "Whatever you do returns to you threefold." (Wiccan Rede)

    These are slogans, sound-bites; people respond to slogans as catch-phrases for, but that doesn't mean they are unwilling or unable to comprehend, more complicated political and social philosophies.
    Yes, they are slogans. And I'm of a notion with Mr. Spock (Wrath of Khan): the Reliant is either unable or unwilling to respond. Neither of these conditions must necessarily speak poorly of an individual. As you, yourself note:

    Developing a coherent policy is only half the work. The presentation of the policy must understood by people driving in rush hour traffic and making dinner, exhausted by a full day's work and looking forward to a full night with the family.
    Communication is transaction. It involves a minimum of two parties: one to broadcast, one to receive. If we start with a condemning image, the stubborn fool of any stripe who just won't listen, well, by the time we work back to the "average joe", there is a common theme: priorities. Other things take priority with the people as you describe them; confusing, sticky details of politics are not something they want to put up with. Ask around, says I; more people than I would have otherwise guessed have admitted during election seasons that they don't read even the state voter's guide.

    Take "middle America", that undefined, "red state" body politic that felt its values were offended by American liberals. How are Joe and Mary in Kansas injured by Adam and Steve getting married in Massachusetts? Or, come the day that the Fourteenth Amendment is properly recognized in an issue I consider one of gender discrimination, in Kansas itself? No real injury can be shown, only perhaps a bruising of fragile egos. And yet twelve states, according to their priorities, went ahead and made a stand against falsely-founded fears. Essentially, they tilted windmills and won.

    I see this as an extraneous issue: we have news readers pretending to be journalists and complimenting guests on lies and distortions; take the issue I mentioned about Zell Miller's speech and the damage it did to John Kerry. The question never asked was, "If we're outraged about 'a vote against these programs', why should we vote against a candidate who voted against a general appropriations bill while simultaneously voting for a candidate who campaigned before Congress to have the programs permanently terminated?"

    And if the audience doesn't want to hear it, how do you communicate it? It's easy enough to say that the Democrats, or any other politicians, had better get used to their jobs, but if irrationality is the only thing the audience will accept at the end of the day ...? Perhaps if Americans weren't documented to be overworking themselves to the detriment of their families, I would have less sympathy for Democrats and other liberal politicians. But if the simplistic Democrats are too complicated for the voters--and there is some degree of this sentiment afoot--what chance would any more-exacting liberal scheme have?

    In the meantime, whether time is money or merely the passing of our lives, compressions of larger data are part and parcel of our communication. In terms of the slogans and sound bites, what I tried to point out is that some represent more complicated schemes than others.

    In the examples used:

    <blockquote>• Commit a sin, God will punish you.
    • Commit a wrong, and its effects will echo around you, and will not leave you unscathed.</blockquote>

    If the child asks how or why, the one can always just say, "God is in charge". The other requires some social science to explain. With the one, further questions cease. The other invites further exploration, a more detailed representation, a deeper understanding. One focuses on the individual. The other looks at the individual within the larger society, world, or Universe.

    Take a phrase like "gay agenda". Have you ever heard of the "Swift manifesto"? When conservatives speak of the "gay agenda", they are usually referring to a satire piece that was taken seriously and read (incompletely) into the Congressional record by a conservative politician. But explaining this history to a conservative is interpreted as "liberal elitism": apparently, such a respectable Congressman was either dishonest or simply stupid, and that's all liberals ever say about conservatives, right?

    Perhaps the statistical assertions? A fun one to track down is the oft-repeated conservative argument that children of gay parents are more likely to be sexually abused. Picking apart the statistical distortions still leaves folks in uncomfortable territory, and conservatives seem to resent "liberal elites" lecturing them on the finer points of depressing sexual deviancy. Like the focus on gay men: only if we turn a stat into something it doesn't represent can we conclude that gay male parents are more likely to abuse their children. The conservatives will point to multiple "studies" and "reports", and then you ask, "But have you ever gone into the source material and looked at what those sources say?" And there the discussion folds in on itself because once again we come back to "liberal elitists" claiming conservatives are either deficient or dishonest. And in the morning, Joe America wakes up with the same fears because nothing ever receives substantial address.

    Or "feminism". Before real issues of gender relations can be undertaken, we must first assuage many that Rush Limbaugh's "feminazis" have nothing to do with the issues. Of course, that is taken as elitist condemnation, similarly to the "gay agenda". Apparently, only red-state, middle America deserves tolerance of idiocy. Think of how upset they get when similar distortions are thrown back at them. This morning, for instance, I heard on the news that a "Hosanna Church" in Louisiana has just been busted for--get this--pedophilia and bestiality. Should we make the leap made with gays? How about with feminists? Combined with the Catholic Church's scandals, could we fairly represent Christianity as stalking children? (And while some of us would say yes in the Tom Tucker mode, "Molesting children ... with bad ideas," no, we cannot fairly make the argument that Christians are sexual deviants preying on children. The case can be made, but, like most everything else, reality is more complicated than most people care to put up with.)

    And yet, whether it's a Democrat or other liberal, this is part of the challenge. Not only must they help people learn and understand issues, they must also correct the wrongs of prior "education", a mission viewed with more than a few wary eyes in middle America.

    When I was younger, the argument about religion in schools was whether "the Bible can be taught". What this meant at the time was that the Bible should be used to teach, among other things, history and morals in public schools. After years of accusing liberals of trying to keep the Bible out of schools, conservatives needed to change tactics because the standard liberal line has long been, "It can be taught alongside other religious histories somewhere in the social studies curriculum." After a while, it was impossible to make the argument that liberals wanted to keep the Bible out of the schools; we just didn't want it treated as unnaturally authoritative. And that issue is alive today in the creationism debate. Sure, teach creationism. In social studies. Although, admittedly, cultural anthropology, sociology, and semiotics are not common among high school curricula, so it might be tough to find a place. What is unacceptable to liberals, obviously, is that an untestable hypothesis should be given the same scientific credibility as what has been tested, or what can be tested.

    And yet, in the red-state rhetoric, in the sound-bite culture, how do you fit that explanation into seven seconds or less?

    All of this ties back to my response to Tafkam Aruhpe, which was intended to rant and blither about my focus on conservatives.

    We don't have a cure for HIV yet. Should we blame Democrats? In other words, against what absolute standard do we view "their job"? Understanding the body politic is an ongoing endeavor, and it is the burden of liberalism to claim progress: one cannot sit by and expect superstitious sound-bites and fallacious appeals to false factual assertions to alter tremendously the inertia of self-serving, superstitious folly.

    For Democrats, redemption comes, as I noted, rather simply: Just be Democrats, if even for a day. (For now, we can work on tomorrow when it comes.) For conservatives, redemption comes when they abandon their foundation and become something else. This liberal did not write the founding documents of the American mythos; nor did this liberal write the conservative doctrines that so openly and disingenuously exploit that mythos.

    People often rip liberals for constantly criticizing the United States. Well, at least those liberals are paying attention, and not sitting back on their haunches comfortably ensconced in myth. People often rip liberals for a lack of solutions, yet I maintain that the solutions are too complex for their tolerance.

    And the waves roll on. Nothing says the voters are going to pay any closer attention next time 'round.

    'Tis a mighty challenge, indeed. And for the record, I'll fall over laughing if the person to meet that challenge really is Hillary Clinton. Of course, that fall will be less painful than the one that comes with asserting our current President is the person to meet that challenge. It's almost like we got to Kennedy and said, "That's it. If a Catholic can be president ...." I mean, look at the list we've had since: Nixon ("not a thief"), Ford ("watch your step"), Carter ("peanut farmer"), Reagan ("not a traitor", "not exactly present"), Poppy Bush ("no new taxes"), Bill Clinton ("define is"), and Dubya ("_____"; fill in the blank).

    Seriously, the most "disastrous" presidency in history is the most outwardly-respectable man in the bunch; how Poppy comes through looking so clean is largely thanks to Reagan before him and the GOP response to Clinton afterward, in addition to the recklessness of his son; and Clinton, despite the cigar, also shows through. What are the high points? A botched hostage rescue, vomiting on a Japanese government official, and "Blowjobs-blowjobs-blowjobs!"

    People, what have we done?

    If I tune out the letters to the editors, the vociferous condemnation on the bulletin boards, and the loose declarations of morals and principle, instead viewing only the content of our decisions as a public body, Americans are freaking nuts. Our politicians are supposed to be leaders, and thus are empowered to stop some of the madness. This, of course, is simply inconvenient to many or most of them.

    To attempt to tie the whole thing together: Democrats can be part of the solution just by being Democrats. Their great sin, the point at which they forfeit the primary portion of their progressive momentum, is in playing ball with the "middle American", "red-state" mentality that is visibly and inherently more superstitious and simplistic than the needs of reality. Such pandering only lowers the bar even further, accommodating conservatives.

    And we can stand around mocking the doctor for incompetence, but who's treating the patient? And who the hell shot the patient? Ah, but we can mock the doctor for being unable to stop the bleeding, so we need not worry about those issues.

    The only encouraging note in all of it is that despite our literature, music, theatre, and cinema, we don't have quite a real appreciation for charismatic, disorganized heroes shooting from the hip and banking on blind luck. We could have had it all in Ross Perot ... er ... um ... yeah.
    "A red rose absorbs all colours but red; red is therefore the one colour that it is not." (Perdurabo)
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    Tiassa,


    I challenge you to take up writing for a newspaper. Apply for a job as a journalist. You can be a free-lancer and work for home, so that you still get to watch your daughter.

    Meet the real world. Meet opponents who will pay you back in the same coin. Because apart from the few analyses and the regular jibes and pokes, noone really bothers to reply to your posts here -- and certainly not with an effort as yours.


    Go out and kick some ass. There are none here.
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  34. #33 Thank ye, Water .... 
    Forum Freshman Tiassa's Avatar
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    Thank ye kindly, Water, but while I enjoy the speed of my composition, I still suffer grave inaccuracies that, theoretically, are not tolerable among journalists; my lack of formal education would not forgive me in such circumstances.

    For instance, in my prior post there is at least one grievous syntactical error, and nobody has yet mentioned that I left out a president: Lyndon Baines Johnson ("tell me it smells like roses!").

    On the one hand, reader perception is often affected by the length of my posts, but beyond the world of such internet posting boards, it becomes worrisome when people miss details of similar magnitude in the general news, government press releases, &c.

    Something both FOX and MSNBC are very good at is masking poor grammar in the writing and subsequent reading of the news. Listen carefully, and it's easy to understand why Democrats and Republicans alike think the media is out to get them.

    Now, personally, I worry about data compression because people seem to think it's the whole story. I don't know if people actually believe it; I don't know if they actually think about it that way. But given the chance, they'll show it in their behavior. After all, I didn't mean to say that solutions are too complex for Democratic tolerance. Most people reading that line would probably know exactly what I was suggesting, but the fact remains that what I wrote came out the exact opposite of what I intended, and that error stands despite others being corrected. I personally noticed it only during my last reading, while reviewing the post in preparation for this response.

    And people tend to know what each other mean until they perceive an elevated stake. Getting back to conservatives for just a momentary digression, one surprising aspect of election cycles is the amazement that comes when conservatives push it even further. While many conservatives are upset with jabs taken at President Bush's poor communication skills, it was right-wing radio that created such a critical atmosphere, and indeed that same broadcast force lent to the circumstancs under which Bill Clinton got away with parsing "is".

    I've often thought about spending a week posting in style by which I choose to not grant anyone any leeway and hold them as gramatically and syntactically accountable as I can. The purpose would be lost, though, because people would just be confused.

    And, being wary of that confusion, it would seem disingenuous of me to attempt to enter professional journalism while my habits still bear such a strong tendency to cause or allow such confusion.

    Nonetheless, I do thank you.

    Or, to quote Lisa Simpson: "It's not your fault. You don't control the birds. Someday you will, but not now." (#3F22)

    Someday, kind Water. Someday.
    "A red rose absorbs all colours but red; red is therefore the one colour that it is not." (Perdurabo)
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  35. #34 Re: But it's just not that smart, is it? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiassa
    (chortle!)
    You just love those portmanteaus.
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  36. #35 They work well enough 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee
    You just love those portmanteaus.
    They work well enough, and generally have one or two up on the alternatives.

    After all, I haven't decided which valence of "elitism" to ride. Once I have a better feel for the forum, I intend to rectify a mistake I've made in the past, and will thenceforth simply ignore what I consider pointless, stupid, or worthless.

    The plus side for those folks, of course, is that they can pretend it's like discussions I drop for having lost track of them. Of course, those folks whose discussions I've lost track of might, perhaps, wonder if I'm stiffing them for being pointless, stupid, or worthless, but history suggests it's not so bad an idea to take that risk. Many of those lost tracks will involve participants who are either smart or secure enough to not worry about it.

    I spent a couple weeks discussing the news over at WashingtonPost.com; it was relaxing to know the idiots were outnumbered by the literate and thoughtful: you could safely ignore a ridiculous point without the risk of revisiting it weeks later.

    I'm satisfied with the outcome of the earlier exchange in this topic; in fact, I hadn't known there was any outcome until earlier today. That outcome suggests the portmanteaus themselves might be sufficient in the future, and the subtly poisonous--

    <blockquote>poisoned! poisoned! poisoned! (Sorry, I just had to get that out of my system.)</blockquote>

    --one liners intended to define the them can disappear altogether.

    Sing it with me: "Wouldn't it be nice ...?" Oh, wait. I guess that doesn't quite work here.

    Whoops.

    Or something approximately like that.
    "A red rose absorbs all colours but red; red is therefore the one colour that it is not." (Perdurabo)
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  37. #36  
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    Indeed. Poisoned. I enjoy that.

    Poisoned. Poisoned. Poisoned.

    Thank you for reminding me. Poisoned.
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  38. #37  
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    And now everyone not from Sciforums is scratching their head in consternation, and likely half the Refugees also have no idea what you're talking about.

    You do realize why poisoned was not allowed, yes?
    I always thought the reason was somewhat petty, but it was Dave's choice to make.
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  39. #38 Poisoned 
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    I don't recall ever hearing the reason why.
    "A red rose absorbs all colours but red; red is therefore the one colour that it is not." (Perdurabo)
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  40. #39  
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    http://gottsilla.net/

    Poisoned is a filesharing app for the macintosh that is competition for Dave's Acquisition.
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  41. #40 Sounds about right 
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    Sounds about right, I suppose. Perhaps it's not so petty. I can't count the number of spammers I never saw, the number of spam-bannings I never heard of. I'll give that benefit of the doubt.

    I recall that during the interim between the Sciforums crash and my arrival here, I tripped across a topic over at P/F lamenting that Dave had censored the name of their website in Sciforums posts. Then again, that only happened after two or three interforum "wars" involving flames, spam, and general rudeness.

    Although it's not the same topic, I did go a-googlin' and come up with an old reference to those times: "It's war!!!". Goes back to 2002, at least.

    Indeed, the issue with "poisoned" could be similar.

    Curious. Did Dave cop to that in a PM, or did I just miss the topic?
    "A red rose absorbs all colours but red; red is therefore the one colour that it is not." (Perdurabo)
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  42. #41  
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    I may be wrong, but I think Dave said it was the default word for the filter, and that it could not be removed.
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  43. #42  
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    Ha ha.
    Default word?
    Chortle.

    And. Nah. Dave never admitted to it. I forget which particular time that the censorship was chanced upon and made into a thread that this particular idea came from and I forget who is the one to actually mention the file sharing aspect. For some reason... I'm thinking Spidergoat... but I may be way off.

    Anyway, it fits. And, it's true that it needn't necessarily be a petty thing. I can easily see spammers causing this particular piece of censorship.

    And, as to the physics forums thing. Yeah. I chanced across several threads at physics forums about the war between Sciforums and them. Really funny, actually. The threads piss me off because all the uptight physics forums guys are constantly ranking on Sciforums as a bunch of crackpots and blah blah blah. But, it's them with the complex. I don't think that you can go back in Sciforums thread history to find all these war threads.

    There was one or two. I know that. I remember one recently where a spammer showed up and posted mass links to physics forums and it sparked an abortive war. A thread where people were gathering to plot revenge, but Chroot showed up and formally apologized and the 'war' was headed off before anything began.

    Personally, I think that they're jealous of Sci.

    And, they constantly show the crackpots that show up their the door and point them towards sci. The bastards.

    Fuck em. That's what I say.
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  44. #43  
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    I couldn't agree more that we have a really poor legislative body. Having read many "responces" that have come from both the senate and the house it is pathetic that very rarely will one get off the fence and actually say something both pertinate and relavent to the letter that a citizen takes the time to send. Whether this is because they are afraid to lose a vote or if it is because if they don't say anything definate they can go either way I have no idea. I get the impression that it isn't even the head of the office doing the answering but rather the helpers and interns that are doing the reading and answering. Problem is that it is as rampant from either party and you get the same thing. Basically a "I am concerned over your issue, thank you for sending me a letter", and no more than that.

    Since both parties are playing the same game with Joe Citizen it really shows that we do need a valid third party just to shake the system enough that political gamemanship isn't the issue when dealing with bills and subjects of concern. At present they have managed to sell the idea (which was mentioned earlier) that if you are voting for an independant you are wasting your vote. At the same time, the political parties are doing their best to convience the independants that they are taking votes from the major players. With all the crap pulled, it is a wonder this country is functioning at all. Without the vote those that love these sort of games can't pull them. Once they have the vote, till next voting time, they barely know Joe Citizen, if at all. The for the people and by the people has been supplanted with, "What can the office holder milk out of the deal for himself or the party". At the same time just how well can he do the misdirection required to make it look benefical to the public. Our politicans are so busy playing party politics, they can't run the country for the benefit of the country.

    Face it, we have the best laws money can buy. What a shame...
    "Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo."
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    Tiassa,


    Now, personally, I worry about data compression because people seem to think it's the whole story. I don't know if people actually believe it; I don't know if they actually think about it that way.
    /.../
    And people tend to know what each other mean until they perceive an elevated stake.
    I've often thought about spending a week posting in style by which I choose to not grant anyone any leeway and hold them as gramatically and syntactically accountable as I can. The purpose would be lost, though, because people would just be confused.
    You think way too much about what you think people think.


    And, being wary of that confusion, it would seem disingenuous of me to attempt to enter professional journalism while my habits still bear such a strong tendency to cause or allow such confusion.
    Your perfectionism will kill you.
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    *chortle*
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  47. #46 You're not the first to say so 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Water
    You think way too much about what you think people think.
    I confess you are not the first person to say so. And in certain ways, it's true.

    Your perfectionism will kill you.
    Not as quickly as lapses thereof. And certainly not as quickly as cigarettes.
    "A red rose absorbs all colours but red; red is therefore the one colour that it is not." (Perdurabo)
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  48. #47  
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    Cigarettes won't kill you, Tiassa. The cancer that it causes will.
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  49. #48 True 
    Forum Freshman Tiassa's Avatar
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    Neither would a bullet. Or a nuclear bomb, for that matter.
    "A red rose absorbs all colours but red; red is therefore the one colour that it is not." (Perdurabo)
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  50. #49  
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    Neither would a bullet. Or a nuclear bomb, for that matter.
    You're stoned right now. Aren't you?
    A bullet blowing a huge hole in your brain, heart, or lungs wouldn't kill you? Ok. So in fact, it would be shock or blood loss that might kill in some cases. Brain damage in the other, but the bullet is the direct cause of that.

    A cigarette is only one factor among many that slowly build towards a carcinogenic state. The food, air, and water also contribute. As does just being alive...

    Now. The bomb is a bit more true to the point. The explosion is a secondary effect of the bomb, but if a nuclear bomb were dropped on you (without detonating) you'd be deader than shit. Yes?

    It'd be more proper to say that a gun wouldn't kill you. (Although, you could be pistol whipped to death.) And, there is the topic of intent to delve. Ever read the Dark Tower series by Stephen King?
    <BLOCKQUOTE>I do not aim with my gun,
    He who aims with his gun has forgotten the face of his Father;
    I aim with my eye.

    I do not shoot with my gun,
    He who shoots with his gun has forgotten the face of his Father;
    I shoot with my mind.

    I do not kill with my gun,
    He who kills with his gun has forgotten the face of his Father;
    I kill with my heart.</BLOCKQUOTE>
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  51. #50 Follow-up 
    Forum Freshman Tiassa's Avatar
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    I never did get back to the rest of Tafkam's post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tafkam Aruhpe
    Now, I know you asked us not to tell you what you already know, and I know I just did exactly that, yet that was the only response that came when reading your rant.
    You need not justify yourself on that count. The "don't tell me" line is mostly aimed rhetorically at Democratic politicians, specifically my state's U.S. Senators. After all, not everybody here or elsewhere is a Democrat.

    You admitted you got what you expected, and in expecting such you've proven that you area at least somewhat realistic in your views on politics. Despite this, your post seems to carry with it the odor of political activism; of someone that actually believes that the system can work and that one man can make a difference.
    Actually, I'm rather disappointed at the idea that they're just sending form letters without paying any attention; for instance, how hard would it be to write two, or maybe three form letters: one for your supporters, one for your opposition, and one for the fence-sitters?

    The form letters read as if they're intended for fence-sitters. Hell, I'm trying to send members of the party I most often favor encouragement to continue their vociferous opposition and obstruction. The last thing either of these Senators needs to do is make excuses or seek subtle justification.

    The problem, and one that plagues Democrats more than Republicans, is actually liberal internecine strife. If either of the Senators were to take a stand--

    <blockquote>Dear Voter,

    I remain committed to proper advice and consent in the Senate, and will continue to oppose the appointment of unfit candidates. Thank you for your letter.

    Sincerely ....</blockquote>

    Admittedly, it is idealistic to wish for such a declaration, but the danger among liberals is that if you make such a stand, and then vote to confirm an appointment like, say, Pryor's, you lose massive support among liberals, who don't always come back to vote for you in order to stop the Republicans.

    I may be wrong in this assumption. It could simply be that that is what I got out of it and I am alone in that.
    I wish it was true. But we must be realistic.

    My point being, if I can be said to have one at all in this, is to say that some of what you said struck me as being niave, if not downright foolish.
    It's frustrated idealism. Americans have a great thing going. I wish they cared.

    Supporting evil at the ballot box?
    Yep. It hearkens back to the election, when there was talk of how undefined Kerry was. Of Bush it was said, "At least we know what he stands for."

    And on that merit, some people who would, any other day, describe the actions of this president as wrong, went ahead and endorsed him.

    Hence:

    <blockquote>• I can't quite figure how we've gotten to the point that people will endorse things at the ballot box that they would otherwise consider evil simply because they know at least what evil stands for.</blockquote>

    Yes, I realise that morality effects all areas of life, yet to say that someone supports evil because they support different politics than you do is a tad narrow, don't you think?
    The assessment is a comparison of what people tell me. Yes, I do know people who had nothing nice to say about Bush for four years, yet turned around and voted for him. Not many, but even they seem to orbit around this issue of definition. At least they knew what the man they despised for four years stood for. Indeed, it seems the antithesis of what they claim to believe, and I do occasionally wonder why.

    For instance, what explains Bush's low approval rating? Is anyone actually surprised by the conduct of his new term? It seems people are getting exactly what they expected, and yet they don't approve.
    "A red rose absorbs all colours but red; red is therefore the one colour that it is not." (Perdurabo)
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  52. #51  
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    God love the liberals.

    They drive me batshit.

    They do not know how to take a stand, they do not know how to make their case, they do not know how fight back.

    They lost the working poor, for [insert own deity here]'s sake!

    You know why I loved Clinton? He was a politician!

    He's a smart guy [when he remembers what head to think with], but did he try to win on his brains? No, he ran on his charm and his accent and he won. Think that wasn't so great? Look what brackets him, two stupid wars for oil combined with nasty deficits and rotten job markets.
    Did anyone ever think they would vote Democrat on the grounds of fiscal responsiblity?

    We can blame the incompetent press, we can blame the corporate press, we can blame ignorance, or stupidity, or selfishness, on the part of those who support the current administration.

    We can even blame ourselves.

    Or we can blame the party that can not fight back.

    And make sausages.

    Well, that felt good.

    Me, I blame the corporate press.
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  53. #52 But ...? 
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    But isn't the corporate press a symptom of what we, the people want? Admittedly, few would say they want it this way compared to some idyll, but in the end it seems to be what enough of us are willing to accept.

    To borrow a couple of famous quotes:

    <blockquote>• "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." (Wendell Phillips)

    • "Free government is founded in jealousy, not confidence.* It is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind those we are obliged to trust with power." (Thomas Jefferson)</blockquote>

    As much as I want to blame anything, I haven't run for Congress, haven't picked up a rifle or thrown a Molotov at a federal building. I vote and participate daily in inconsequential (from a political standpoint) civil disobedience. I occasionally write a letter, and I spend thousands of words in fora like these. None of it exchanges for political currency; if it's that important, I suppose I could be doing something more. For as much as I would like the people in power (both political and commercial) to actually be decent by their conduct, it ain't happening anytime soon. Or ever, perhaps. Nor am I alone. Is the price too high for Americans? The way I see it, it's a no-bid contract.

    One more famous quote, though:

    <blockquote>• "Are those morons getting dumber or just louder?" ('Diamond' Joe Quimby)</blockquote>

    Yes, we Americans are morons. To wit, I listened to a feminist yap on Hardball about judicial nominees and the compromise struck by fourteen senators. She didn't mention sexual consent, which I think is one of the obvious issues with one of the nominees being confirmed. Perhaps I'm just stereotyping, but it seems to me a blurring of the lines around sexual consent would be an important blip on the feminists' radar. The current national political discourse could be used as the model for a book ... Missing the Point for Dummies.

    Hey, now that's an idea.

    Inspiration is a strange nymph, indeed.
    "A red rose absorbs all colours but red; red is therefore the one colour that it is not." (Perdurabo)
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  54. #53  
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    I can not quite figure out if our disagreements are stylistic or fundamental.

    Maybe the corporate press is a symptom of what we want. But I want to live on chocolate and chardonnay and cigarettes. Fortunately, I have lots of healthier alternatives and a massive government supported campaign to choose them. Can you imagine this government publicly promoting The Christian Science Monitor or NPR over FOX? I'm surprised this administration hasn't found a way to ban the BBC.

    I think the corporate press is the only thing we get that we don't deserve. We were taught as babies [well, fourth graders] of the importance of a free and impartial press, and we internalize this concept to the point that we can not realize it is now a myth. Many people really do not believe the press mis-represents facts and events; these are not idiots, they are just ...
    actually, I suppose they are idiots.

    As for those with political power, I don't want them to be decent. I want them to be underhanded manipulative deal-makers. This isn't the end justifying the means. Look, if I don't want to change the oil in my car, I go to Jiffy Lube. If I don't want to compromise my ethics, I elect a politician.

    I just want the ones I elect to be more effective. I think a republic is the best form of government; I don't want to make every decision myself. I want to elect someone I can trust to make the deals that best reflect my beliefs.

    I do not understand why those with economic power to not realize that employees are also consumers.

    And the judicials appointees? I think the Democrats compromised [or rolled over and played dead] so that they can stop an arch-conservative Supreme Court appointee. But when that vote comes up, they'll find another reason to roll.
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