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Above: Lake Geneva, Switzerland. At Montreux.

Fodderize v.t. 1. To break down individual components; to make fungible; to disregard difference; to render one easily substituted for another 2. To impose sub-quality goods or services upon, with little recourse 3. To cap role choices, hinder access to resources regardless of merit, and so avoid competition 4. To manage perception by propaganda-spin techniques, while concealing dispositive facts 5. To manipulate, lure, exploit, deceive

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Debates, Illustrated. Debater Fodder. True Picture of Wizened. Shells Eggs zactly

Nature and Debates.  

Portents. Epiphanies. See what egg appeared in the carton the day of a big presidential debate.

Look closely, there on the right...


 Then, he looked.


Life's angles. True picture.

The fate of shells
Their fate:
Innards poached; exxards blown out for posterity.
Eggs zactly so.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Memes and McCain: Bellicose Style and the Spread of Current Criticism and Memes

The Spread of Ideas Without Contact:
The Meme Phenomenon in Politics

[McCain bellicosity style analysis separated out to
The Fodder Site, McCain, Bellicose Style Rejected by Military


Is this meme idea occult or what? In old terminology, this review is a consciousness raiser. Has this happened to you. You have company. How else to explain a perceptible reality of cultural transmission that defies normal analysis, that ideas spread in unknown ways. Communicating the incommunicable. We say, "The time is ripe," but what does that mean. For an overview, see ://www.cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/notabene/memes.html

There is indeed a level, or means, of "non-communication" that manages to foster the virtually spontaneous eruption of concepts throughout a culture, and even across cultures. Some call it the "meme" - no words actually shot through space, no model of behavior actually watched. See Joy of Equivocating, Meme. The concept even is computerized. See ://www.vub.ac.be/CLEA/liane/papers/mav.htm

Cultures seem to have a life of their own - and techniques for spread include a notion-spreader's (apt) ability to make the new idea seem congruent to the older culture - reinterpret it, reshape. Then let it go - stop pushing. Let an idea simply move in.

This is a soft technique, a massaging of an idea until you see it may be absorbed without resistance, rather than combative. Some ideas are such cultural anchors that they will not be moved. See this wordy site and wade through ://www.evolutionary-philosophy.net/culture.html
.

In politics, it reveals as the midnight insight.

For example, Palin as the Unfair Lady, or the Eliza Doolittle with too little time to learn the stuff before the debut. It appears unbidden in the head. Leap up, ready the pen, then do a search and find it is already out, and en masse. This is not a matter of spin - spin has to travel through space, substance and time. Do a search for "communicating the incommunicable," - your own idea, you think - and JSTOR stops you in your tracks. Can't touch this. But the idea is there.

The meme as deniable.

A meme - spreading like a virus, brain to brain. A meme is more effective than the written word - a meme can give instructions, without giving instructions. King Henry - Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest? And, lo, it happened. Someone murdered Thomas a Becket. Deniable. "I never said to do that!"

As with torture, the order is eminently deniable. Where there is uber-testosterone unrestrained, is torture ordering likely to follow? See Sassafras Tree, Testosterone Marching>

Memes can shape ideas with or without conscious recognition. Meming would be a fine propaganda technique, if it could be harnessed reliably.

A meme goes whoosh - there it is, here, there. Where? Over there. Gopher bam of the minds.

In caricature.

Caricature memes spread with similar themes, different publications. Think beyond Our Unfair Lady. Think, think of Mary Poppins and supercalifragilis --isti--istic - what was that? Watch where it goes.

And then up pops bellicose and pugilistic, sneering and atrocious, sung to the same tune, just after the debate. Where did that come from? bellicoseandpugilisticsneeringandatrocious - very catchy in this house. See its discussion, in the context of even military standards of leadership changing - at The Fodder Site, Bellicoseandpugilisticsneeringandatrocious, McCain.

In music, Songs do get memed. New words appear to old melodies in many places at once. Rhythm memes have a life of its own. Tap out that one //// //// //// XX

Find someone in the elevator humming what you were just thinking.

On the internet: see the memes. Think you have a new idea, then do the work and see too late that bellicose is a frequent adjective for the Elder, not so new, and move on.

Other memes: Obama the philosopher on the mountaintop, McCain as Mr. McGoo, the aging Pop-Eye with Olive Oyl wringing her hands from behind, word plays, word games. All out there, probably already. Palin the Palindrome - what she says reads the same backwards and forwards - as "redivider."

That concept probably in itself is true - but truth does not make a good meme. A meme has to attach on the spot. Glomp. Palin the Palindrome Redivider takes too much thinking, and by then it has lost out on the immediacy that characterizes the meme.

So: when you get an idea, don't just shove it aside. Run and do a search. Have you been memed?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Names Set the Stage. The Power of Names and Naming

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Labeling and Agenda.
How the Name Sets the Stage
.
1.  The Name Sets the Stage, Affects Behavior. 
.
Name this child:  Done.  Sue.  Man Named Sue - the name there defined a life. See http://www.leoslyrics.com/listlyrics.php?hid=R8Q7Bb9bR6I%3D  Byway of update:  Donald Trump. Donald.  Name of an old Scots ruler: but does the surname impact on the first.  Names of politicians and how they are shaped. See Trump Etymology, Sounds, Roots.
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Names are productive. Name this cow.
.
 What?  Bossie. Yes, name the cows and they  will give more milk - about 6% more than unnamed cows.  See, another update on the topic,  http://www.ingentaconnect.com/search/article?title=cows+name+and+milk&title_type=tka&year_from=1998&year_to=2009&database=1&pageSize=20&index=1/-= this an update looking back.
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Name this creek. Done.  How does the water flow?







Name this woman:  Incubatora? I now pronounce you Man and Incubator. There on the right? 
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Is there a right to choose a role?
 
Marge Piercy, poet, would strongly disagree with defining a person by reproductive capability. She protests the role of any stage in reproduction defining the person. Marge Piercy, fine, sensitive poet, knows what woman is not: these fair use snippets from "Right to Life"

"A woman is not a pear tree
thrusting her fruit in mindless fecundity
into the world.

***
"A woman is not a basket you place
your buns in to keep them warm.
***
"I am not your cornfield,
not your uranium mine, not your calf
for fattening, not your cow for milking.
You may not use me as your factory.
 ***
See also http://www.thewitness.org/archive/april2000/poemrighttolife.html.
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2. Naming in Cultures and customs.
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Mother and child, China
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Name this child. This is a cross-cultural concept.  Naming ceremonies. Legend, myth, all involve naming at some point, even Eden.
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I am No-Name, says Odysseus. And that gives him power, because the enemy cannot muster support to use against a no-name.  See http://www.2020site.org/ulysses/cyclops.html
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What's your name? Says the song. Can you come out tonight?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrZf3vRHmkw
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Chi, Iota, Sigma. No - Chi, Xi, Sigma (That battle still rages. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_of_the_Beast).
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Naming.  Names will never hurt me (Yes, they will) He called me a bad name. Whiner. A naming ceremony. See http://www.folklife.si.edu/africa/start.htm (Yoruba, Nigeria).  Ceremony for renaming your boat. See ://boatsafe.com/nauticalknowhow/rename.htm) (Dangerous to rename a boat, so need special ceremony to appease the gods).  Jewish birth and naming rituals. See http://www.religionfacts.com/judaism/cycle/naming.htm/.  Wiccan naming ceremonies. See http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/paganbabies/ht/Baby_Naming.htm.  Hindu naming ceremony. See http://festivals.iloveindia.com/.
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3. Naming as branding.
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Name-calling, labeling, characterizing the Other: propaganda and marketing. Shape the brand before the other can.
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4. Naming - To name it is to control it.
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Things Category.
As Yours. Whose Name Do You Bear
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Naming has been a central human activity, for better or worse, since religious Beginnings. Name the animals. A label shows ownership, power. Animal hide brands. We burn our identification into our property, other lives. See http://www.barbwiremuseum.com/cattlebrandhistory.htm.

Branding cattle. See our audacity at http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=brand+cattle&go=&form=QBIR&qs=n
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The Brand Defeats the Individual.  Ireland, sheep, dyed for ID
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Sometimes dye will do. Red dots, blue dots. Indelible. Where else?
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Women: until recently, if you marry, you lose your Name. Horrendous.
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4. Naming. Name the brand, sell it, you win.

Brand name - the story of what makes your product different, better, we hope, See http://www.brandidentityguru.com/brand-name.htm - "keys in on the kind of appeal that can touch the hearts and mind of your market in a way the world may have never seen".
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5. Identifying species - Is this the same as Adam's ancient mission: naming?
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See bugs (name each individual if you like) ://www.einsteins-emporium.com/life/animal-info/insects/insect_identification.htm Categorizing - not the same as naming; this is like sorting - the sorting hat - or http://olc.spsd.sk.ca/DE/PD/instr/strats/categorizing/index.html
.
C.  If you See a Name or Label, Vet it.
Check Its Street Creds -
Its Source
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1. Abortion:  A Constitutional Issue?
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Label it and will people believe it.
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Name the constitutional issue.  Non-fostering of pregnancy. The woman's right to choose her role in life, despite biological capacity otherwise. What does the Constitution say about pregnancy? Nothing.
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That isn't to say we can't try to add it, but it is not there now. A strict constructionist has no ground to put it in without an amendment, and that is not being a strict constructionist. See http://writ.news.findlaw.com/commentary/20020924_rubin.html; see also http://lsolum.typepad.com/legal_theory_lexicon/2004/05/legal_theory_le_3.html

2. Abortion:  A Biblical Issue?
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Bible before the patriarchy - Creation's Bible.
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What does Genesis 1-4 say (Creation) about pregnancy - quick clue - not a word. Eve's conceptions increase (say year-round, from ages 12-55 or so) but no word that she has to keep them all going at all. No obligation. That's Biblical.
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Name thte role.  How did that work out? And Adam is to work by the sweat of his brow at tilling the ground, and that became, through Cain and Abel,  farming or herding (note, no hunting in Genesis 1-4) - he hasn't done stayed with that. So, do we conclude that neither gender is Biblically bound by Genesis as stuck with the punishments inflicted for whatever happened? Interesting. Is that being a Creationist?
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2. Turn to Informative Component Naming. 
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Promote the communications use, the information function. See samples of components in the right to force fostering area at FN 1.
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E. Weapons of Mass Naming.
Name the Components of Right to Life, for example. 
Whose right, to whose life?
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Go back to Marge Piercy: Marge Piercy, Poem - Right to Life
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1. Examining a right to life
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The zygote's right to life?
Where does that right of the zygote come from. How does that right compare to the right of the hostess? Who has standing to assert that right for the zygote, against the hostess. What is the source of the standing rule so the asserter wins and the hostess loses. For Standing Rules, see Joy of Equivocating, Standing. Who Can Seek Legal Force.  The issue is not whether or not the decision can be to seek an abortion:  the issue is the right to decide, a religious freedom?
  • The foetus' right to life, before it can possibly breathe? You Biblical Scholars, look up whether abortion is a culpable "killing".
Where does that right come from. Who has standing to assert that right for the foetus before it can possibly breathe? What is the source of the standing rule, or the right. The foetus' right to life when it is developed so it can possibly breathe? Where does that right come from. Who has standing to assert that right for the foetus before it can possibly breathe? What is the source of the standing rule, or the right.
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If a Zygote or Any of the Above Have Right to Life, What Are Those Rights
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To name a movement, a position, is to frame it: Brand it.  But this is not sales. This is humanity. Whose rights are in issue, and who says. That is why we do this. It isn't easy. Rebranding, relabeling, renaming: abortion? Nobody is "for" abortion. People are for the right to be the one to decide. To be free of force by others.  Balance, balance.  No absolutes.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Swiftboat by Literalism: Lipstick on Pigs. Current Manifestations. All Propaganda Reactions.

  Swiftboat by Literalism
.
The Propaganda of Pretending 
that a Figure of Speech is Literal

Update to 2011; from a post related to an earlier 2008 election cycle.  Recycling is good.



1.  Michele "Public Trough" Bachman in 2011 objects that, as may or may not be true, 
Tea Party activists were called Terrorists - Oh, shock! Called terrorists!
  • by somebody, or some people present;
  • in private Democratic party folk discussions;
  • describing extreme tactics including stated willingness (literal as stated) to bring the country to economic disaster (who hacked the conversation? or is it falsified?)
  • for the sake of ideology.
Is there a problem?  Whether it was said by the person attributed (VP Biden denies, see http://www.politicalforum.com/current-events/200466-vp-biden-says-he-didnt-call-tea-party-terrorists.html), the issue remains, as it appeared earlier in 2008 as a propaganda tool.

Our newest Cinderelly is in a flap.

2.  Is Bachman's misplaced tirade worth a 21st Century ersatz Cinderelly flap? 

No.

Instead the objection shows the ignorance of a basic function of rhetorical speech, calling for national Education; as well as showing a suspicious denial of the If The Shoe Fits defense.

Concepts paralleling one issue with another is METAPHOR!

Tea Party is Terrorist is a metaphor, like:
  • My love is a rose! Now, that is a metaphor.
  • That means my love is not a floral fetish, but, oh, so aromatic, soft to the touch, a hue to attract the eye, a common figures of speech dating back to the rhetoric expertise of Greece and Rome, to use one concept to describe another.  
  • As a rhetorical device, the concepts are not, therefore, "identical." 
Should not a person with a reasonable education recognize that?

The undue flap response of people who claim a reasonable educaton,  to a simple metaphor, that any English Language student could recognize,  invites a solution:

  • A free online and otherwise available course in rhetoric so people can vet for themselves what was meant, from what was said.

3.  Look at Rhetoric traditionally in human discourse.

In power battles, anger, inspiration, and elections, and in love, people fling descriptions of each other across the airwaves, and recipients responded by taking it literally.  And sounding delighted or offended.  My love is a rose!  Ah, yes.  So, I am.

When it is not flattering, watch the Propaganda of the Ignorant take over, disregarding common sense for the sake of political manipulation.

4.  In 2008, Look at the Use and Abuse of Metaphor

Example: Trying to make this candidate look qualified is like "putting lipstick on a pig."

 
Put lipstick on a pig. Is it more qualified?


Obviously not literal.

Shall we fund a course in rhetoric, so that all voters can learn that some expressions are not, as the fake-offended would claim, literally true, but a way of expressing an idea. Lipstick on a pig does not overtly mean someone is a pig, although there are liberties. Propaganda: learn to spot it.

Propaganda-spotting is vital for every citizen.  See Sassafras Tree, Propaganda Spotting.
  • Hordes of the fake irate raise their collective fists. They tell voters that the words instead deride She Who Must Be Protected, and not the McCain policies after all.  And they attack the speaker for Failure to Defer. She never speaks for herself or answers questions without a script, however, so had no comment.
5.  Voter choices:

a. Believe the illiterate or exploiting advertisers. That the words are to be taken literally, so ordinary people will react as the propagators demand, and then the people will attack the speaker personally.

In this choice, to follow, voters are likely unaware of the propaganda techniques at work using them, in persuading them to do so;

or

b.  Recall past English classes and see the words as a figure of speech. Voters can get the idea, weigh it, and continue with independent judgment.

 There are classical methods of persuasion dating at least from Aristotle, FN 1, whether seen as
  • a simile (the McCain policy is like putting lipstick on a pig); or 
  • a metaphor (the McCain policy is putting lipstick on a pig); 
  • or an analogy (efficacy is to the McCain policy as lipstick is to a pig).
See http://ask.yahoo.com/20030623.html.

6.  Voter Choice in detail

1. First Voter Choice. Believe the literalist.


a. This shows a failure of analytical education, that exposes voters to varieties of seedy persuasion.

This choice, to believe the literalist, may well be involuntary, not a "choice" at all  - the voter just has inadequate information.  That shows a failure of our educational system. The example here: Why do voters think that the figurative is to be taken literally. This is an analytical education issue. Our system lets people down; FN 2.

This failure to educate leaves people open to various kinds of  propaganda.  Propagandists use the voters'  lack of analytical language experience against them. It has a long history.

 b. It opens the door to propaganda opportunities.  Voters who cannot spot figurative language can be manipulated - minds open to those who persuade by using methods the voters probably won't even recognize as manipulative. The propagandists can just slip under the defenses, the force shield. See Propaganda Techniques.

The propaganda opportunities:

1)  Swiftboat by Literalism.

Watch the hordes take figures of speech, and instead push literalism to rev up the emotions. This is a propaganda technique -  Swiftboat by Literalism; and it has happened before in this election campaign, and will again unless people can defend

Swiftboating attaches to an idea and repeats it over and over until somebody Believes.  The idea gets absorbed, a miasma out there, see ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miasma_theory_of_disease, regardless of the evidence otherwise.

Swiftboating by literalism attaches a literal meaning to a figure of speech, and repeats that over and over until somebody Believes, regardless of the evidence.

In an earlier case in the campaign, it was Swiftboat by Literal Interpretation of Metaphor. This technique was first used, as we recall, against somebody saying Hillary Clinton was a "monster." That, too, was a figure of speech, see Swiftboat by Literal Interpretation of Metaphor, with a similar inordinate response. The fake irate won that time. Enough.

Here, it would be Swiftboat by Literal Interpretation of Simile.

Swiftboating by Literalism is a tactic of persuasion designed to take advantage of a voter's lack of awareness, of the rhetorical uses of metaphor and simile, as words as figures of speech. Any use of any figure of speech is for the purpose of persuasion. That is easily recognizable, or should be. It has its place in any sales effort. And has for thousands of years.  Look up Aristotle's Rhetoric.

2)  The Fake Irate - This is the propaganda of theater for effect.

If all these people are making a brouhaha * it must be important. They are probably right because otherwise why would they be so worked up.  This also serves to waste time, take time away from the merits of issues, while entertaining people flipping remotes looking for entertainment. It is also catching. See somebody worked up, get worked up yourself.

3)  Propaganda by Emoticon dominance.

Engaging people's emotions before they have the facts is another propaganda technique - How Emotional Attachment Supersedes Facts: Emoticon Dominance. Once an attachment has formed to an idea or a person, later facts may well be disregarded. Probably will be disregarded. Many minds cannot change. Remember falling in love, people? The dreamboat was it and no-one could persuade you, once you fell, to consider that you really knew nothing here and your life is at stake.  While the hormones are in full bloom, don't anybody dare criticize.

Is this the script that She Who Must Be Not Be Questioned is following - get voters to attach to her emotionally, by blitz of image, with weeks going tantalizingly by and she never once spontaneously speaking, answering; unaccountable; and that attachment with the wooed being firm before the facts can come out? 

4) Propaganda by Personal Attack. Issue Deflection.  

The propagandist sees the idea being laid out, and instead of responding to the idea with the merits of another idea, attacks the speaker. Personally.  The issue arises when the response moves away from the topic, the item or idea being sold, to attack the speaker.

That step distorts, propagandizes, manipulates the hearer - and the hearer may not even recognize that he or she is being manipulated. We are a culture of sales. Merit gets lost in it where there are attacks on the speaker, a deflection from the issue.

Voter beware.  If you don't or can't spot the initial persuasion, and see it as a technique, you will never spot when the spinners use the fake irate tactic in response to get you.
 .
2. The Second Voter Choice: Spot the figure of speech as a usual persuasion technique, and weigh it.

Voters who can spot the traditional rhetorical techniques and persuasion that have been around since Aristotle, get it.  They get the point of the discussion, and move on with the analysis for themselves. They also can defend against those who would push literalism and shift to personal attacks against the speaker, instead of addressing the merits of policy.
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B.  What Voters Can Do To Protect Against Manipulation
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1.  Look up meanings.  Here are a variety of Bona Fide Meanings for Lipsticking Pigs:

    • Superficial change. To put lipstick on a pig is to make a superficial or cosmetic change, all in hopes that the original product will  be more attractive.  See ://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/put+lipstick+on+a+pig.html
    • Exercise in futility. It means a "lost cause, a futile gesture" - nothing can make a pig more attractive - see answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qiod=2008021905813Aat3cK1
    • McCain does it. The phrase was used by Mr. McCain about Hillary's health care plan - see answers.yahoo.com/questions/index?qid=20080910045708AAkr8oQ
    • Moody does it. It was also used by economist Richard Moody about interest rates and the Federal Reserve, see ://www.wordwizard.com/phpbb3/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=20695
    • Lipsticking pigs serves the common good. Lipstick on pigs is different from putting lipstick on a pitbull, but not by much. Sarah Pallin says she is like a pitbull with lipstick. She hides from questions, or else she is following a Rovian script to lay low until people have emotionally attached to her, and then facts won't make a difference. Either way, she ain't talkin', so we assume she is right. A lipsticked pig is far more to the common good. We put down pitbulls for attacking. At least we can dine on the pig.
    Are those cites still there? I went back to look and Yahoo said it was taking a breather. Too many of us self-educating; or else, somebody doesn't want us educating ourselves.
    .
    2.  Use common sense.   To say that "lipstick on a pig" actually means the person is a pig, would require a different statement entirely, and knowledge of the context; and even then the statement may well have been intended figuratively. As a metaphor. Figurative language and literal language are different.

    3. Self-educate.  Protect yourself. Start with an everyperson's overview at ://grammar.about.com/od/rhetoricstyle/a/20figures.htm; and ://dictionary.reference.com/browse/simile

    ................................................... 
    * Brouhaha.  See http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/brouhaha.  Hullaballoo over a ridiculous cause.  Word derivation:  French, 16th Century, a distortion of Hebrew, and phrase used by the devil impersonating clergy. What? What?? Phrase is at Psalm 118:26. Do look it up.  Do we have more brouhaha going on in this election than we thought?
     .........................................................
     

    FN 1  History of uses of Rhetoric.  Rhetorical persuasion was studied and expounded upon by Aristotle in ancient Greece - and others - see http://www2.iastate.edu/~honeyl/Rhetoric/oneindex.htmlAristotle notes that appeals to the emotion warp the judgment, for example. There at Index I. Knowledge of the techniques of persuasion enable a hearer to continue to make independent assessments even when emotions are being appealed to.

    Start on this area with an everyperson's overview, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhetoric_(Aristotle). Spotting the techniques is the first step to defense. Remember any of this from your English classes? If not, add rhetoric and figures of speech to the curriculum in No Child Left Behind, because without knowledge of rhetoric and figures of speech, we fall prey to propaganda yet again.

    Voter, beware. Propaganda will take advantage of any gap in voters' information, or recollection.

    FN 2 Analytical Education.  We need it. Yet, our government funds only fill-in-the-blanks No Child Left Behind. Our educational approach is fatally flawed:
    • Our young people - and adults - have not been adequately exposed to an analytical education; and that is needed more than memorizing if people are to foster a democracy.  Fostering people to open their mouths and be spoon fed what to think and say, promotes dictatorships. This little lipgloss bit on piggies (complaints that a figure of speech was used as an illustration of the surface quality of Palin's positions) has to do with that kind of analytical thinking, voters obviously can't do it, and that is not their full fault because voters get none of that in school. All to government's benefit.  Is that so? Keep people uneducated in analytical tools, then take advantage of it by propagandizing. 
    • Our educational system is so lacking in analytical training that we open doors for propagandists. This is not the fault of the voter who never had an in-depth English class.  It is the fault of the voter if the issue is raised, spotted, and then the voter does not self-educate.
    We were trained as a teacher, then got deflected.  Should have stayed with teaching.

    Tuesday, September 9, 2008

    The Farce. A Stage for the "Democracy Play." Political Theater 101.

    Catalogue Course Offerings

    POLITICAL THEATER 101

    Semester I: The Farce

    Students are invited to focus on political acting out in American culture 2008. Compare the dramatics of our era, with other eras of stagecraft, smoke and mirrors; and the uses of simple groundling entertainment (all of us), in prior centuries.
    Farce Defined: "A coarsely comic dramatic work based on ludicrously improbable events; ***** absurdly futile proceedings, pretense, mockery." See ://www.leonardrossiter.com/Frontiers.html
    Course description: Students will learn the various dramatic forms and stage settings of western culture. See ://www.answers.com/topic/theater. Required readings include the plays themselves, where available; and synopses of action where the actual words have been lost.


    • Crafts component: Finals project. Students will be required to research and present a research paper on an unresolved issue or unknown aspect of the period's theater in that culture; and to construct a sample stage or diorama from an era of choice, using only wooden materials and environmentally friendly glue, and natural dyes. The size of the project stage or diorama shall not exceed 24" x 4" and must be so fastened as to be easily and safely portable. Students must also create an actual play for performance, character limit, 5.
    • Forms of theatrical performance:
    Farce:
    Genre Description

    See ://www.fwafa.org/staff/darla.jones/Farce.htm


    The farce is a comic, rather than tragic theater form; and probably the precursor to comedy. It is more like circus than real life. A chaotic, interwoven, highly unlikely plot, even illogical; cartoony stock characters (the kind often seen in other dramatic works, successful thus used repetitively, type-cast), and physical "humorous" (bawdy?) situations, not intellectually challenging. The character motivations are unfathomable; Logic hath no place.

    Sample farce plots: the chase, hide-and-seek, disguise, misunderstandings, spirit of the rebel, the violent. Characters stay static - little development. Appeal to the audience: Let frustrations out without consequence.

    The premise is that the powerful rule for their benefit, so the farce enables those with lives suppressed by culture to show anger, and contempt, in a setting where they will not be punished.

    Targets: any form of pretentiousness, anything valued by those in power as they order their world (sex, morals, religion, race, ethnicity) but there has to be some set of community values before the "farce" is effective - South Park, Beavis and Butthead, Road Runner, etc. are given as examples) Those in power dismiss farce - they believe in what the farce targets.

    Sample farce actions that can include the values targets: the French bedroom chases, the slip and fall, drop or dribble the drink, the gaffe, then on to physical or heavily wordy assaults that make much noise, but the audience understands that there is no harm going on; much "slapstick" - a term from the 17th Century, where a flat, thin board produced great noises. A continuum, a series of events, linked but not connected.


    Examples in western culture: Many TV cartoons, sitcoms,Three Stooges, Keystone Kops, Laurel & Hardy. Less stage farce now, perhaps because film can get the same effect more safely. The form is largely non-literate, as representing those at the lowest rung, and repressed, but non-literate can include written forms. Earliest may be the Italian "Commedia dell' Arte."

    Farce is not "satire." See ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satire

    Play Requirement. Is Farce current politics? Create your response through plot components, characters, and the ultimate unresolution. Prepare and execute the performance. Students may not import any performers by name of Biden, Palin, Obama, McCain, Bush, Cheney, Don, Katrina, Eye-rack, or any person born before 1970. Characters may be based on such persons, however (not by name). Classmates will critique the action as it unfolds, in traditional farcical sound bites that keep the audience a) in stitches, or b) progressively and inexorably gravely ill. Classmates will provide to you their vote in writing. Bring that critique to your final study-group for discussion.

    Friday, September 5, 2008

    Ask Sarah: Shishmaref Village. Lohachara Similarity. Watch, for 2012.

    Global Warming,
    Climate Refugees in America,

    Voting Assistance, Native Language Speakers:


    Accountability, Information - Watch for 2012
    Our newspapers do not tell us.  We understand that the news media is owned - multiple media outlets owned by private people who serve their shareholders and only put out what their shareholders and they want us to know. They have control over what is explored, what is highlighted, what is not. See Presenting: Sam Zell and the Shareholders. With that in mind, is it up to us at home to get our own answers, ask our own questions.

    1. Here, we ask about global warming, permafrost, wildlife. Government's objection to considering it a reality. Tracking of Arctic sea ice melts has been going on for years, see the 2000 conference at ://www.arctic.noaa.gov/workshop_summary.html. Who has been listening to the people, see ://www.arctic.noaa.gov/essay_pungowiyi.html
    • Shishmaref Village, on Sarichef Island, inhabited for 400 years, inundated, site updated 2006. Status of the refugees? Status of other barrier islands. See http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/detect/human-shishmaref.shtml. Shishmaref loses 50 feet a year to the sea. See the photo essay at ://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2007/09/sea-change-26.html. It was small, 600 Inupiak, but they count and they are a signal. They need to be relocated, and the cost is some 180 million -
    Surplus available. Oil revenues this year for Alaska with the latest tax increase on the oil companies: 11 billion, nearly twice what is needed to run the government there. That leaves 5.5 billion. Hartford Courant at A2, 9/6/2008 article, "Palin Raised Oik-Profits Tax."

    What is the status of the Relocation Project and its funding needs. See://www.shishmarefrelocation.com/resources/documents/support_shishmaref__relocation_project.pdf . This is an ancient, ongoing culture, see ://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2006/1206alaska.shtml. Sometimes spelled Shismaref. "Alaska natives left out in the cold," says this BBC article, 2007, ://www.thewe.cc/weplanet/news/sea_engulfing_alaskan_village.htm.

    Todd Palin is Eskimo, by the racial standards of our time. See ://joyofequivocating.blogspot.com/2008/09/americas-heritage-ongoing-meet-todd.html. Is he helping here? That alone is not an issue. The issue is that these neglected indigenous people are not only Alaska's State charge, but are part of the governor's indigenous-roots family. Still no interest? Were indigenous people included in the supposed 80% (80% of what?) approval rate of the governorship?

    Funding immediately available. Plenty to address the refugee relocation needs of the Shishmaref Inupiaks. If not, perhaps Alaska needs to adopt the usual income, sales and real estate taxes appropriate to meet the needs of all the state's citizens.

    These are like the situations of Lohachara in India, people heading to Sagar, but over there, there are 70,000 needing help. Water's up.

    Aleuts, Aleutian Islands - culture decimated. Look them up. Do a search.The poverty. Our first discovery of this issue was in looking at Todd Palin's Eskimo heritage, in the Yup'k and Curyung tribes, see America's Heritage, Meet Todd Palin; Sarah's Policies, Global Warming. See the distribution of poverty at maps given at the Todd Palin site.

    We have populations of Native Americans at risk, as refugees in their own country. Sarah. What did you do, when, with what effect. These are your people. Your family.

    2. What happened to the Voter Assistance Report due September 26, 2008.

    We ask about progress in complying with federal court order re assisting voters who speak Yup'ik: the translation supposed to be uniform, the bilingual ballot, then letting the voter actually see what is marked down on his or her ballot if it was read to him or her. See America's Heritage site above. Voter registration just is not getting done. Minorities, indigenous voters. Do people only get your support when they are Christian right and white? Earmarks for those who directly benefit the governor.

    What is the governor's record on financial, educational, shelter, healthcare assistance to others in need, those whose backgrounds or beliefs do not directly benefit the governor.

    Funds available. With the 5.5 billion surplus in Alaska's revenues over funding government, Hartford Courant at A2, 9/6/2008 (oil tax revenues 11 billion, government needs about half that), this should be easy. Do it. Alaska looks like the old South when it comes to voting rights for minorities. Even the ones who were there first.

    Thursday, September 4, 2008

    The Classics and Leadership Ideals. Ongoing. Is Endurance the Same As Heroism? Does Self-Interest as Motivation Tarnish Leadership

    Frequent updating with new information, or deleting if an issue becomes stale. Read fast.
    ................................................................................

    CLASSIC LEADERSHIP IDEALS
    AND ANALYSIS OF THE PRESENT

    Topics and Comment
    The Magical Changing World of Salesmanship -
    Selling
    Candidates


    Endurance v. heroism. Does endurance in captivity equal heroism? Not in the classical definitions of leadership and merit. If you survive, and persist in the classical sense, that is fine and shows strength of will, even great courage in adversity, but it it not heroism as in battle where you are also striving to save others.

    Heroism is battle oriented. Survival, endurance, courage, is endurance and strength of self-will, but not helping anybody else survive. McCain? Reassess.

    See the rest: who is a leader in our time?



    A. Topics:

    1. What are America's Ideal Leadership Qualities, compared to our heritage in Greek and Roman classics. How do Palin, McCain, Bush - [and later, Obama, Biden] measure up. Palin critique mostly here.

    Leadership issues and qualities: Refer back to the high citizenship ideals in our Western roots, the classical and patriarchal Greek and Roman eras, as the backdrop, see Joy of Equivocating, Leadership, Greeks and Romans. How does the current government, and current candidates on both sides, measure up? Here are the leadership qualities, and other Roman virtues of the citizen - many included in "Stoicism"-

    • virtue - service to the state, a "watchfulness over the city" idea, without pridefulness
    • gravitas
    • justice - iustitia - fairness
    • courage - an active confrontation, battle issue (not the same as endurance)
    • "manliness" (women as rulers were measured also by this standard - see Dido, Queen of Carthage, who lost points for an emotional outburst) - must be free of seeking a legacy, promotion of one's own reputation
    • honor - service above self, to fulfill destiny, follow the gods, no self-serving no unjust enrichment, no ill-gotten gains
    How do these play out in the issues of our time? Note the theme of the fiduciary, no exploiting, no self-dealing. How do we teach our children these kinds of values, if we agree they are valid; do we demand those qualities in our leaders.

    2. The Classical Virtues and Education: A way to start teaching values without stepping on religious toes.

    If we do not teach our children the classics, the classical virtues, where do they get their measures of leadership, virtue?

    Some may say religion - but if we do that, we have to ago to those sources closest to religious origins, not those later sources as spun by individuals and groups with special interests in organization or in their own power. We do that - like the displaced Romans with nowhere else to put their administrative and power drives except in the new religion of their time, and shape it in their old mold. Is that so? Is that what happened, then and now?

    What should be taught. Creationism? Sarah Palin believes so.

    If we do Creationism, let's really do it. Examine it as an approach.

    To do that, we need to address issues of translations and transliterations at Martin Luther's Stove, Creation by Transliteration. those in Genesis 1-4. We can also examine "family values," as from the earliest translations and transliterations of Genesis 1-4 (the Creation era) and the Gospels (for our purposes here, not Paul - he did the Roman overlay and wasn't even there), and the context and changes from version to version, see also the materials excluded from the Gospels for various good and bad reasons; and other religious roots, other cultures. Complex area. Any topic can be a springboard for individual analysis, critique. Find the best scholars to take us to roots. The study is study of roots, however, not an ideological indoctrination from later spin.

    3. The Classical Virtues and the Virtue of Service.


    How to gibe with the Cultural issues of our day. Ideology as law? Self-serving or common good?


    3.1 Wary of Opportunism.

    a. Grandstanding Down Syndrome. Suddenly. There is the dear baby right there at the convention. Little girl also there stroking is little head. This issue happens to affect her and her family now. Those of us with handicapped children appreciate support, but she has had years to support the handicapped. It happens now because it affects her. Thanks, but there is a downside.

    We hear tonight that Sarah Palin is about to support services for the intellectually handicapped, like Down Syndrome.

    Zero points. Appreciate the interest, but its sudden appearance looks like political reasons only. That gets no points, but again, we appreciate any funds raised. A mixed bag.

    Her making this point instead highights the extensive services already in place for decades Joe Biden's Delaware, where we lived then. Delaware provided infant and early childhood and specialized schooling services years ago that changed all our lives. That was in the '70's-80's.

    Where was Alaska that Sarah Palin and others are only waking up now?

    Convenient issue now. Was it even on her radar? What was her position before she was for it? When the lives of the handicapped was somebody else's problem, what did she do? Alaska? What is her record? We are not neutral here. Our son has that - he is fabulous. So we support any help to others and us in this regard.

    b. Compare this sudden surge of interest with the continuing personal values-based put-downs for other family issues - pregnant teens. Where is Palin's support for services for girls in her daughter's position?

    c. Concern: Personal benefit and belief determining the course of public office.


    Role of personal beliefs in public positions. The media is shoving aside the candidates' personal beliefs, that are in the wings, ready to become entrenched if she prevails, in the form of any judicial or political appointment. Is that so? Is she is an ideologue. We can't even ask. The media instead has focused only on Palin's other image issues; while the campaign has prevented her so far from even meeting with reporters. Media has not even focused on their exclusion from interviewing her. Who owns the increasingly-privately owned media? See Sam Zell and the Shareholders.

    In particular, these beliefs: Fundamentalism, Creationism, big government interference in people's personal lives, tax supported enforcement, miscellany. These also relate to likely Supreme Court nominations if Palin becomes President, and influence if any on the decision of Mr. McCain, if she does not: at ://watchingthewatchers.org/news/1444/mccain-seems-have-put-his-political. The media focuses on none of these. More media purpose driven spin. Go back to the education section - if ideological positions are taught in the public arena apart from the study of their roots in the education field, that is an inroad to coercion.

    d. Personal beliefs and government: Creationism example.

    More on Creationism here, because most people know one story of it; apparently the claim is to take it literally and teach it as "truth." See ://www.creationism.org/

    If it is studied as to its roots, many people would be surprised at the outcome. Its later spin may bear little relation to what "creation" texts actually say, or even probably say. As a Creationist, has she considered that patriarchy was not part of Creation (Genesis 1-4 or so)? And that Eve was never banished? And that was for good reason? And what is the impact of the fact that there were no hunters in Eden or immediately thereafter, only herders and farmers? Hunting was never part of anyone's job description, and look here - animals have souls. See Martin Luther's Stove, Creation.Only later, with the patriarchy, did the hunters come in. Has she curiosity about what Creationism means if we really get literal and omit the later spin? See Martin Luther's Stove, Creation by Transliteration. What do the Gospels have to do with the earliest original transliterated Hebrew texts and other texts on Creation?

    Does Palin have an inquiring mind?Or does she absorb?

    4. Justice, Injustice, and The Partial Disclosure Plague and Big Government, Higher Taxes. Look at the extent of our culture's love of competitive misrepresentations, partial representations, puffing, hide-the-ball.

    Those all lead to the need for bigger government, higher taxes, huge regulatory efforts, monitoring, courts, all because we accept the big lie in the name of worshipping buyer-beware capitalism. How does this pattern and acceptance of competitive nondisclosure show in Palin:

    4.1. The partial-disclosure plague and Palin's additions:

    a. Palin experience "effect" - inadequate preparation. Whatever experience is claimed, see ://www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/mixed-media/2008/09/04/karl-rove-pundit-pads-palins-resume, the experience has prepared her for nothing national or global. Her handlers keep her away from reporters and personal appearances - and this with 60 days to go until the election. Keep the voters ignorant? Partially disclose even your own candidate?

    Those reporters who went to Alaska for citizen and employee response were told that Republican handlers there told them to filter all media requests through the party so that all responses would be positive.


    a. Pregnancy of the daughter is not the issue; the handling of it is.

    Terrible judgment in handling this, Sarah Palin. We are concerned with Sarah Palin's continuation of the secrecy-hide-the-ball, fool the voters, approach to hiding matters voters may well see as relevant, in hopes she can get away with it. And, in this case, the concealment was to the detriment of her own child, who then bore the full brunt of single spotlight publicity. The girl was then thrust on stage with a teen boyfriend in ways that would not have resulted if her facts had simply been revealed with others.

    Here, the pregnancy of the daughter is not the issue. The handling of it by the mother is.

    The mother purposefully delayed the news in hopes it would not come out until far later, and that would help her candidacy. But it was predictable that a pregnancy of 5 months, and a teenager, would be news; and it came out. It then caused the predictable furor. The mother then, instead of quietly asking for privacy, furthered her own career with it. Bring 'em up front!

    How are those kids to make up their own minds with all this going on? Mother, where is your child's best interest. In publicity or privacy? Where is your judgment.

    Reciprocity, please. And, why should you get privacy on your family's reproductive issues when you stand for governmental intrusion into other people's. Sarah, we hardly know ye - and perhaps this is enough.

    Proposed Legislation for the Candidate's Belated Consideration: See PoseJuxta: Uncondomized Activities Prevention Act.

    Family management: Is that a permissible inquiry? Yes, if the candidate herself orchestrates a family issue so that it comes into the spotlight. She opened the door. Or else passively permitted it to be orchestrated. It is fair game for us now..

    Her choices reflect how she will treat others in office, we think. What are the priorities: Sarah First, and her career. Then may come People - even the best interests of her children, not on the chart. She exploits.

    New ticket-mates. Wary elephant: Alarmed rest of us.

    b. Abuse of power. Partial disclosure. Honor carries with it no self-serving. How has Palin measured up?


    You know about that - using the power of the governor's office to influence other governmental areas decisions - to try to get them to fire her brother in law. See that and other issues at ://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/06/the_vp_case_for_gov_sarah_pali.html. Some pro, some con. Then go to YouTube at ://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pak-rH0dCeA. Naive, naive.

    This is not justice.

    Shabby, Sarah, shabby. Get all the information out now, save us taxpayers the time and money it takes to regulate abuses of power. You are adding to big government, higher taxes by nondisclosure. Read again the Greek and Roman ideals, at Cornerstones of Leadership. Base motives, self-serving motives, remove the virtue from an otherwise good act.

    While you are there, note that classical "courage" was not to be used where there was "endurance' instead. A POW while in battle shows courage, perhaps; once captured, it is endurance or something else. Just the classics.

    5. "Administration" Experience. Her experience is in administration is in Malfeasance.Virtue is service to the State, selfless service. How has Palin measured up?


    Not 20 months in office in a major way. Not even two years, and she is up for ethics investigations, has lobbied for and gotten huge earmarks to benefit a little town of 6,700, near Anchorage, while now saying she is against earmarks, see the Bridge to Nowhere below, and on and on, fired longstanding employees in questionable ways, the litany of someone who uses her power for her own gain. Attitude and sass. That is the first impression.

    a. Her experience is parochial. Nothing outside Alaska.

    Has she any position papers, any statements existing on her own views of policy, foreign affairs, international relations, urban issues, native American needs in the cities in Alaska. What services has she fostered even in Alaska for the needy, the pregnant teen, the addicted native American?
    Putin. Can't wait.

    The Anchorage Daily News came out with a No - on Sarah Palin for Vice President as a "total beginner on national and international issues," see Anchorage Daily News, at ://www.adn.com/opinion/view/story/510705.html. Now the handlers and the packaging are taking hold, so we will not see the same spontaneity, and neighbors and friends and employees are being buttoned up. Even all that "reform" and "maverick" talk are a sieve. Alaska needs Sarah, if she is serious, there. See everyperson's beginning information site, at ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska_political_corruption_probe.
    b. Her experience is in self-service. Getting what she wants. She has shown no fiduciary inclinations regarding the country.

    This country is for We The People. Not the gain of the Winnah of an election. If she cared for her progress in Alaska, if it is real, she would remain in Alaska to see that whatever reforms she initiated stay there. Watch how fast it will be business as usual when she leaves. Is that responsibility, or opportunism? See related issues, where a matter of national, even global importance, is trumped by parochial interests:

    c. Examples of parochial commitments:

    Environment comes second to oil, polar bears not endangered, no global warming, no support for sex education in the schools, even when she and her husband failed to provide their own daughter with sufficient information, motivation and means to deflect that pregnancy.

    6. "Reform." A premature description. Her "experience" with reform is illusory until it has passed the time test. This is a cut and run reformer.

    She is leaving good old corrupt Alaska too soon to ensure any changes she did make will stick. See everypersons general source as a beginning, at ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska_political_corruption_probe

    It is like Al Qaeda and the surge - the surge did nothing but cause them to strategically go elsewhere, and lay low, or pick up in a new area or country. That is not victory. Pushing your adversary to another forum is not victory. No numbers are down. Nothing taken away. No control over what they do. They just move down the block. It just moves the battle area.

    She is a cut-and-run "reformer." She is leaving that battleground too soon to declare it "reformed." Did her bits take? This is not honor. This is pursuit of career.

    7. Gravitas: None. Ridicule, Attitude and Sass.

    Is Palin the original TOFU candidate.

    Palin, from what we have seen and researched in this little week - all that we have, so far, for this important position - is no dignity, no measured thinking - only TOFU - ready to absorb whatever the old soys can manage to pump in there. Are we willing to entrust our lives to someone with no articulated analysis or positions of her own. No carefully mulled and researched positions on her own at all. No interest, no statements. Hide her so she can memorize. The New Charlie McCarthy Candidate Pairing Syndrome. We see nothing in Palin's record that shows any interest or even curiosity about the world beyond Alaska. Like W.

    We see, again: Attitude, Ridicule and Sass. See the mockery, instead of substance and program, starting already at ://www.9wsyr.com/mostpopular/story.aspx?content_id=4a3709a5-10d9-458f-8c5f-92a3c1b19c29. The trouble is, ridicule works because it hits an emotional response that digs in before facts are out - and folks are buttoning down the facts already, out of sight. See how to implement "groupthink" at Groupthink, Implementing Propaganda For Group Persuasion.

    Ridicule is a propaganda technique. See Mocking Heads, Campaigns Amok. Women running for office too often fall into ridicule, when they need to show gravitas. Hillary fell into the ridicule trap, and for this household at least, that was a turning point against. We yearn for a level of dignity, perspective. Attitude and sass, Sarah? Crowd pleasers at the time, but no good in the real job of global and national work.

    TOFU - a nice analogy for the housefolk out there. Tofu does what the surroundings want. Absorbs happily whatever surrounds. That is what McCain needs right now. And Palin is effective there. Give her a speech (so far all written by others) and she can deliver it. No need for the tofu to have independent taste - that is not what it is there for.



    Talking tofu. Absorb and parrot. That fits. No ideas of her own in national or foreign policy.

    More analogies: Can't keep the brain down. Cockles and mussels. Image for sale. Even wisdom in old word figures of speech - "palindrome " - see ://www.fun-with-words.com/palin_explain.html. A palindrome is a word that reads the same backwards and forwards. Palin led us to the palindrome "redivider" Palin the RedivideR.

    That should not to sell a vice president. Then again, we have no standards for leadership, only whether something sells or not. Sales requires that the emotions be engaged before all the facts are in so that later facts will be disregarded - we are on the way. See Emoticon dominance.

    8. Opportunism; Lobbying; Earmarks. Bridge to Nowhere. Perhaps this is ok, in the climate where everyone is doing it - like powerful Ted Stevens now indicted. Is her duty as governor to the state of Alaska or is there an obligation to the larger whole? Difficult issue.

    The change in position is not difficult. Blow with the winds. Palin was for it before she now is against it. See http://digg.com/2008_us_elections/Palin_Professed_To_Renew_Funding_For_Bridge_To_Nowhere. Now we see that issue disregarded, the line being that she was against it. Media's purpose driven spin. And as to Sarah Palin, no honor is the self seeking - but here we deal with a cultural practice - use government to profit your little bit, not the whole. So, we have our plates full.

    And the infant at the convention. Sheer central casting. And offensive.

    9. McCain - Courage - Mavericking. McCain - endured much as a POW. Beyond his control. We are grateful. He has shown courage in his political career. But he has betrayed even those positions of confrontation, to fight for the right, once taken. He also is falling into the ridicule trap. Where is the gravitas. Sleep-dozers, awake. See Podium 101, Required Course, Speech Dozers. Palin balances that out but she will not always be at his side. That's for Lieberman? A tender? What is the virtue for that.

    10. Conclusion so far: We have been looking at Palin mostly here - failed in large measure to produce "leaders" with the classical sense of the fiduciary: service for the common good. Government has become a prize - win office, and you can have it all. Is that the idea?
    Are we then surprised at look at our present system. Here we look at the elements we take for granted - government secrecy, office-holder enrichment, manipulation, misrepresentation, sales over disclosure, qualities of attitude and sass in public speaking that demean, bring on roars of laughter, ridicule, over long-term wisdom and balance, to feed the country.

    Attitude and sass. If that weren't so tragic in our public life, it would be comic.