Friday, April 15, 2011

Done in by Communication

The inability of the right and left in America to agree on a single thing is the new political reality.  I say it's by design. And the right have won by stalemate. They have rendered us ungovernable.

Time was that the two parties cooperated even when they disagreed. The leadership traded horses in the back rooms of congress, laws were enacted, and, in a sausage factory-like way, the country was governed.

All that has changed, and the major change is the kind of messaging from the right. It's very, very smart, and it's aimed at the very, very dumb. And it's effective.

Compare an explanation of why making Medicare available to everyone is a money saver, that one might hear from someone on the left. It might be a few paragraphs long. It might require greater than an 8th grade reading level to understand.

The right's message in response? Socialism! One word, carefully picked to be easily (mis)understood and feared by anyone of any intellectual capability.

There are other examples: the various and constant lies told to inflame the republican base - Obama is not a citizen; the country is broke; Medicare will run out of money in seven years; Obama moved "In God We Trust" to a place of lesser import on our currency - and all manner of other ridiculous made-up crap designed to appeal to weak-minded people who are incapable of critical thinking.

The right's strategy is to message to the lowest information people in the electorate, outrage them, drive them hard right, make them unreasonable, that is, unable to be reasoned with.

That strategy has worked.
Republican Safety Net?

And how do you reason with a right wing electorate that has no capacity for reason, because it has been trained to react to everything emotionally? You can't. Real discourse is impossible. The right wins, by default.

I want to live in a country with a real federal government that can do some good. So what do we do about this mess?

I wrote this piece a while back, somewhat tongue in cheek.

Now I think we really do need to break the country up. I'm completely serious. Let the tea baggers and others on the right secede, and form a country with their vision of a federal government. Encourage folks to move there. Grant liberal access to our highway system so that states that secede but don't have contiguous borders (and those states that didn't secede) have easy lines of communications. Do everything we can to encourage states like Texas, Louisiana, Arizona and others to leave. Do everything we can to make it easy to emigrate from the US to those states, and easy to renounce one's US citizenship. Form a NATO-like treaty with the new Red US to protect them.  

What do we get? We get an electorate comprised mostly of people who can compromise, argue rationally, and who don't want to abolish the federal government. In short, a country I want to live in, and I don't have to move to England (although I still want to).

Steak and kidney pie

Thursday, April 07, 2011

The News From Couch Central, 4-7-2011

This week I'll be home, working from my headquarters at Couch Central.

My partner is talking to a lot of vendors of specialized athlete monitoring equipment, so I'm looking at different specifications for bringing their data into our database. GPS, heartrate, that sort of thing.

Port experimentation continues. Port of the week is this one:

More Port from Douro, Portugal

This is a Harris, better then last week's Morgado. Really lovely stuff.

I hate to be a cheese snob, but the "blue cheese" I bought last week turned out to be a pale, crumbly mess. From now on it's English Stilton or nothing with the porto. Trader Joes has a nice one.

In the past week, songbirds have appeared here in Pueblo Poajoaque, finches mostly. Since we arrived in November of last year, there have been nothing but crows and ordinary pigeons. And nothing else. I do miss the tufted titmice, cardinals, woodpeckers, hawks, and all the great variety of birds we had back east.

Here in the spring comes wind, and lots of it. It's tiresome, blows up a lot of the desert, and sends the tumbleweeds a-tumblin' past our place.

I'm playing around with cloud databases, and continuing a weekly sprint on the big project.