Monthly Archives: June 2004

Another Anti Democratic Supreme Court Decision

I thought that the Supreme Court is above partisanship. I was definitely wrong. The court has decided to protect the anonymity of those attending a Cheney ran meeting on energy policy (Yahoo!). This is the same court that stripped away our implied right to anonymity for any other citizen of the United States earlier in the week.

And to top it off, I guess Cheney’s feeling good about himself now, he tells a senator to F— off (Yahoo!).

Going to see Fahrenheit 9/11 is now an act of protest and free speech. Do it and make sure you thank the movie theaters showing it (thanks to fellow Kerry Meetup folk for that idea).

Sexism and Framing

I have only worked closely with four women in my life who are software engineers, in a career that spans almost ten years. I have worked with women in managerial positions who I’ve reported to, trainers, testers, designers and just one sys admin. But only four software engineers. I have yet to read a definitive reason why.

This post has little to do with that.

What pisses me off – always – are attempts to use race, gender and religion as a means to control a conversation and use them to distract from truth. Everyone does it to some degree, but it rarely helps a conversation.

It’s the very same thing in politics these days. Truth be told, it always was so. People are just getting better at it. The practice is called “Framing”.

Here goes an interview with UC Berkeley professor George Lakoff where he discusses the technique.

By grouping a set of opponents together, using a label directly or indirectly to describe them, a label that will have negative connotations within the larger group they are operating in, you have attempted to shut them up and push them down.

“The liberal controlled media hates America”…

“Those right wing Republican nazis want to control everything”….

“These hateful women should just calm down their hysterics”….

Popular applications of Framing are Ad Hominem and Personal attacks.

These techniques have, amongst their many damaging drains on conversation, the effect of placing the victim of them in a position where they feel compelled to answer instead of continuing their original purpose, cause or pursuit.

I will not link to bullshit. I will not help it’s voice. And I will say here and now that you don’t have to either. You have a hidden vote and role in all of this. Your link.

I think it’s a good thing to read words that offend us – after all – I love Howard Stern. South Park is now my favorite TV show with Angel off the air. And fuck the FCC. It’s the offensive voices we encounter that help to open our minds and perspectives.

But we got to remember that we have the right to turn the channel. That sometimes we have the duty to point out the hurtfulness spewing from it. And that we too have the right to protest and speak out.

Don’t let bastards stereotype us into silence.

“Big Government” Is Back, And Brought “Big Brother” With Him

I now have read a second news article pointing to a President Bush initiative that scares me like no other.

Since the second article is at a news magazine I despise, a right wing mouth piece, I want to give you the first story I read on the subject: Bush plans to screen whole US population for mental illness (BMJ.com). BMJ is the British Medical Journal. I had dismissed this as sounding too crazy to be true. But the article did point to the actual the proposal, titled the “New Freedom Initiative” at the Whitehouse! It exists.

Can someone decifer it and give us the facts? The articles make it sound as if every school child is to be screened and marked for mental illness at a young age as a “preventive” measure. What Orwellian world have we entered?!?! Why havn’t we heard more about this in the news?

Boing Boing originally posted about this last Friday and I’m surprised more webloggers who read Boing Boing didn’t pass it around. Too scary ehh?

Ronald Reagan talked of getting government off our backs while growing the defense department to fight Soviet threat. Bill Clinton declared the era of “Big Government” over and actually shrunk the size of the federal establishment. Now “Big Government” is back. But far worst then ever. We have the most intrusive government in the history of the country. One which attempts to legislate our bedrooms, our bodies, our schools, our words, and now our minds.

Oh, I apologize for not linking to the right wing magazine – but whenever you link to something on the internet, you give it visibility on search engines, which means you give it traffic and influence. I refuse to do that.

President Clinton’s Autobiography Out Today

Did you happen to see his 60 Minutes interview? I don’t know about you, but if his book has more about his growing up then about Monica, I’ll be a very happy reader.

I think it’s awesome that I can actually relate to a living President. Yes, that’s right, I said I can relate to him. At least his childhood in major respects.

If that comes as a shock to you, I apologize. I long ago choose to start my public biography when I was on the streets and a teenager. The time before is too hard to discuss. Too hard to capture in writing. Too hard to process.

I have said many times that I am blessed – and I mean it.

Hearing Bill Clinton’s story leaves me feeling both happy and a more then little insecure. Happy that someone from beginnings so similar to mine has done so much. And a little insecure that I haven?t done enough with my life to make a difference.