Browsing "politics"

And the Lights Went Out, All Over the ‘Net.

This is fiction. Maybe:

“This morning, people around the world are waking up to a new internet.  A different internet. An internet where we at last can reap the benefits of the diligence, expertise, and forethought of our benevolent leaders who, guided by the selfless work of the great media engine and those in power over it, saw with crystal clarity the need for a strong response to the insipid cancer that is intellectual property piracy. No longer will the hard-working creatives who produce the great works of art and information be trodden underfoot by the lowlife, belly-crawling, bottom-feeding thieving scum that are everywhere, into everything, and beholding to nobody. Today, we take back what is rightfully ours. A clean internet. A pure internet. A safe internet…”

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“That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

So says Juliet (Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2).

If you look back through history at various mystical or metaphysical belief systems (Pagan, Wiccan, Druid, etc.) you find an interesting common belief:  all things, visible and invisible, have 2 names:

  1. The name everyone knows that thing by (rock, tree, wind, sky, etc.)
  2. The “secret” name known only to that thing and the supreme deity.

It’s the secret name (the “name of power”) that interested early mystics, as they believed that once you learned a thing’s secret name, you had total control over the thing.  Another example would be knowing the “secret name of God”, and the power that knowledge afforded those who knew that name.

As a species, we’ve carried that belief forward to this day.  Look around you:

  • The words “new and improved” seem to magically make products better.
  • How often have you found yourself in a discussion where the phrase “I wouldn’t use that term …” has come up?
  • Doesn’t “pro-life vs. pro-choice” imply that “pro-choice” is “anti-life” (since it’s on the opposite end of the argument?
  • We have no more handicapped, only “differently abled”.
  • It’s Windows XP … no Windows 2009 … no Windows 7 … no Windows internal version 6.1 …

In other words (quoting a colleague), “Names is important”.  Hold on to that thought as we fast forward to back to the present and current political events.

Newt Gingrich got another 15 minutes in the spot light when he called Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor “racist” (or since she’s Hispanic, a “reverse racist”).  He’s since recanted the use of the “R word” but still clings to his fear that her decisions, should she join the highest court in the land, could very well be biased because of her ethnic background (and an ill-played attempt at humor).

While the media (and the GOP, and the DFL, and anyone else who thinks they’re opinion is important to the mass public …) are all having a field day analyzing and speculating, and pointing and counter-pointing, we’re overlooking an important point here:  Newt’s opinion of her has not changed … just the term he’d (publicly) use to describe it.  Stop and think about that for a moment, and ask yourself the following question:

“Which is more important:  The word or it’s definition?”

Many may argue that the word itself is the key.  All we have to do is eradicate (or replace) the word and we’ve solved the problem (at least, that’s what Newt seems to be saying).  Sound familiar?  It should. as it’s the philosophy driving the “politically correct” movement.

George Carlin was a great student of language, repeatedly putting our use of English under his comedic microscope.  More than once he opined that words by themselves are just words, having neither innate good nor evil.  It’s the associations we tie to them that render them bad or inappropriate.  Sadly, we’ve become so wrapped up in the words themselves, we completely ignore the definition that drives them.

So, to say “Sotomayor is not racist” but she could render ethnically-biased opinions is call her potentially racist without every using the word.  And, somehow to Newt, that’s alright: don’t use the word and the problem goes away.  Idiot.

Looking at it another way, isn’t the act of insinuating that someone could be biased because of their racial background an act of racism itself?  In order to make that statement, aren’t you assuming that (since they are of a different race than you) they aren’t as unbiased as you (and your race)?

Perhaps I was wrong, but I thought we were getting away from the “because you don’t think the way I do, you’re un-American, evil, and dangerous” mindset of the last 8 years.

Aug 20, 2008 - politics, technology    No Comments

Net Neuter-ality

In the emotional whirlwind which is our current political campaign cycle, there are many issues that wax and wane with the tide of public opinion.  “Net neutrality” has been on the waning side (haven’t heard much about it recently) and, because of that, I’ve not paid much attention.

Lawrence Lessig, on the other hand, has been watching and he’s summed up his perspective on John McCain’s technology policy brilliantly in this video.

Isn’t it curious how the Republicans always serve up geriatric candidates with archaic stances on evolution, while Democrats serve up youthful alternatives interested in changing the world?  Now, before you go off whining about one party or the other, I’m not loyal to either of them as I think both have faults.  Yes, both parties are generational, both have good basic principals.  The problem is neither follow them, though that’s as much the fault of the populace as anything else.

But, I digress.  Check out Lessig’s video and draw your own conclusions.  As for me:

John McCain:  EPIC FAIL

Barack Obama:  Verdict still out

Feb 29, 2008 - local, politics, rocket surgery    No Comments

MN politics in action takes my breath away

Yep, they’re at it again. That wacky, madcap band of senators and reps in St. Paul are out to extend our 2nd Amendment rights, and finally give the sellers of ammunition a break (by increasing sales).

I’ve only one question: I thought it was illegal to discharge a firearm in the city limits. Does this legislation trump that, or do I still get charged with a misdemeanor after killing the frightening clown who was trying to give me a balloon animal?

Jun 26, 2007 - netradio, politics, riaa    No Comments

Internet Radio Day of Silence

If you believe, truly believe, in the RIAA’s extortion tactics, bald-faced lies, and petulant “we’re protecting the artists” statements … do nothing today.

If, however, you want to enjoy music the way you want to, not the way some overpaid, under-endowed media mogul wants to sell it to you, call your congressman today and get them to listen to the silence:

Act now, or don’t whine when the silence becomes permanent.

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