Saturday, April 30, 2005

An interview with George Lakoff


Transcript: Interview with George Lakoff on PBS’s “NOW with Bill Moyers”
July 23, 2004
Interviewed by David Brancaccio
Transcribed by Meghan Baker


DB: Tonight you’re going to meet a fellow who has a hand in the ways that some Democrats put their ideas. His name is George Lakoff. Four years ago, he and colleagues at the University of California-Berkeley and UC Davis decided to start a think tank, called the Rockridge Institute. They felt Republicans were awfully good at winning the battle of words. They wanted to come up with new rhetorical weapons for the other side. Lakoff is a noted linguist, and the author of 8 books, including Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think. We began our conversation with ways in which language builds the frame, in which we view political issues.

DB: You say “frame,” that’s a key to understanding this. What kind of frame?

GL: Well, uh, frames are everywhere. Think of what happened on the very first day that George Bush took office. A press release came out using the words “tax relief.” Now, a linguist who looks at the word relief would say “Aha, there is a frame in which there is an affliction, an afflicted party who’s harmed by this, a reliever, who takes away this affliction, and if anybody tries to stop them, they’re a bad guy.” You add “tax” to that, and you get taxation is an affliction, and if the Democrats oppose the president’s tax relief plan, they’re the bad guys.

Bush clip: “We need tax relief now. In fact, we need tax relief yesterday. And I will work with Congress to provide it.”

GL: So, the word “tax relief” goes out to every radio station, every TV station, every newspaper, day after day after day. Soon, everybody’s thinking tax relief with the idea that taxation is an affliction, unconsciously automatically.

Bush clips: We’re gonna talk about some of that tax relief right quick. What was in the tax relief package. If you pay taxes, you’re gonna get relief. Tax relief. Tax relief. Because of the tax relief package we passed.

GL: And then the words become part of normal everyday language, and the conservative’s frame becomes part of the way you think about it. If you’re a Democrat, you want to really change the frame. The problem is that there is no existing frame out there. You have to create it. How do you think about taxes? Taxes are what you pay to be an American, like paying your dues to have democracy and freedom and opportunity and all the infrastructure that America provides.


Full Story
George Lakoff at Chelsea Green Publishing
Don't think of an elephant!

Friday, April 29, 2005

Media

"When the Republicans ran the Congress and Clinton was in the White House, there was no accusation too small for them to pursue. Now that President Bush is in power, there's no scandal so large that they have any interest in examining it."

US Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA)

DeLay 3: Culture of Sin and Suffering

This is a direct cut and paste of an article posted on Common Dreams


Published on Friday, April 29, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
Delay’s Ethics Make a Difference
by Stephen Mucher

It’s been almost a decade since I last saw Tom Delay. I was a high school teacher on the small Pacific island of Saipan. Delay was on a fact finding mission. I’m sorry to say that we didn’t get a chance to talk.

A visit by a sitting member of Congress is still extremely rare on this tropical outpost, over 3000 miles west of Hawaii. Saipan is the capital of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a U.S. territory created after American marines expelled Japanese forces in WWII. Today, Saipan welcomes tens of thousands of tourists annually. Visitors tour battle fields, snorkel crystal waters, and golf the island's world famous links.

I’m sure Mr. Delay, joined by his wife, daughter, and staff, enjoyed their stay at the island’s finest resort. But it was government business, not tourism, that brought the then Majority Whip to Saipan. Like many residents, I was pleased to see that Delay had made a personal effort to assess our situation. The island was experiencing remarkable changes. By the mid nineties, the territory's lenient labor and immigration laws had created a free-market haven for a burgeoning garment industry. Unlike Guam and Puerto Rico, the CNMI was authorized by Congress to maintain its own minimum wage laws and non-resident worker expectations.

These conditions were perfect for powerful garment magnates, including the Hong Kong-born Willie Tan. Tan used his money to build factories, employee barracks, and, most importantly, political connections. Much like some 19th century West Virginia Miners, Tan employees lived in guarded compounds where they were required to purchase room, board, and store supplies at company rates. Capos discouraged these workers from exploring their legal rights, despite their status as guest workers on American soil. Hourly minimum wage seemed permanently fixed at a dismal $2.90. Such arrangements helped Saipan garment factories produce tariff-free "made in the USA " clothing at a fraction of the mainland cost. Given that garment industry officials controlled a local TV station, the island's largest newspaper, and a number of CNMI legislators, the possibility for reform looked grim.

Our optimism about Delay's visit stemmed from a belief that the solution to Saipan’s problems transcended political partisanship. The Department of the Interior had recommended a gradual annual increase in minimum wage over the next decade and encouraged vigorous enforcement of labor violations. With Congressional action, these moderate and necessary steps could proceed.

Many of the indigenous peoples on Saipan supported these moves. Sold out by their leaders, native islanders had watched helplessly as foreign labor made them a minority group on their ancestor’s land. Many felt powerless as their culture collapsed around them and employment options for their children dried up.

Surely, we thought, Delay would agree with us that these existing practices were harmful, unsustainable, and downright un-American. Among Saipan residents who were familiar with mainland labor laws, the question of federal intervention was a no-brainer. Regardless of our political leanings, we believed that pressure from Washington was needed to challenge vested interests. Even the island’s community of conservative southern Baptist missionaries—not known for their love of market regulation—shared this conclusion. Indeed evangelical and Catholic leaders pointed out that the lack of federal oversight made it easier for efficiency-minded factory managers to continue the common practice of forced abortions on female employees.

We now know that Delay was blind to these injustices. Earlier this week, the Associated Press used an open records request to confirm what many of us suspected after Delay’s 1996 visit. The congressman's trip was a political favor for lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a man he called "one of my closest and dearest friends." Abramoff, now under criminal investigation, remains at the center of an ongoing ethics investigation into Delay's travel expenses and close relationship with lobbyists.

Such relationships made Delay a particularly useful ally after the CNMI governors office, working in concert with garment industry officials, hired Abramoff. Over the course of one year, the CNMI paid out $3 million to Abramoff's firm Preston & Gates. Not coincidentally, the legislation aimed at reforming island labor practices never saw the House floor.

In the weeks ahead, we will hear more about Delay and "possible ethics violations." This language is unfortunate. For many Americans, ethics violations are viewed as technical oversights, fiscal improprieties, or personal abuses of power. Such thinking ignores the profound impact a leader’s decisions can have on real people.

For the tens of thousands of laborers and native islanders who have suffered under prolonged government corruption, Delay’s ethical choices have had such an impact. Real human beings have been cheated in their pursuit of a livelihood. Real human beings have seen their traditional cultural connections severed. And real human beings have learned that Constitutional rights are too easily skirted.

I still wish I could speak with Mr. Delay. I have no idea whether he broke any House ethics rules when he visited Saipan. But given the renewed interest in his actions, I would like to ask him more about the factors that determine his political decisions. “People know that Majority Leader Delay stands on principles and bases his voting decisions on the merits,” a spokesperson argued earlier this week. I, for one, remain unconvinced.

Stephen Mucher is Assistant Professor of History Eastern Michigan University (Ypsilanti). He can be reached at smucher@gmail.com.


Delay's Ethics Make a Difference, Common Dreams

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

DeLay 2 - Rot Spreading From Within

The rot of sin, corruption, lies and greed begins at the center and spreads to all of the devil's friends.


Donations link DeLay, ethics panel

USA Today
April 27, 2005

WASHINGTON -- All five Republicans on the House ethics committee have financial links to Tom DeLay that could raise conflict-of-interest issues should the panel investigate the GOP majority leader.

Public campaign-finance records show DeLay's leadership political action committee (PAC) gave $15,000 to the campaign of Rep. Melissa Hart, R-Pa. -- $10,000 in 2000 and $5,000 in 2002. Hart would chair a panel to investigate DeLay if the committee moves forward with a probe.

The same political committee, Americans for a Republican Majority, also has donated to the campaigns of ethics chairman Doc Hastings of Washington, Judy Biggert of Illinois and Tom Cole of Oklahoma. They are among scores of Republicans DeLay has contributed to. Cole and the fifth panel Republican, Lamar Smith of Texas, contributed to DeLay's legal defense fund.


full story

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Spy Box Added to Windows

Microsoft to add 'black box' to Windows
By Ina Fried, CNET News.com
Published on ZDNet News: April 26, 2005, 4:00 AM PT

SEATTLE--In a move that could rankle privacy advocates, Microsoft said Monday that it is adding the PC equivalent of a flight data recorder to the next version of Windows, in an effort to better understand and prevent computer crashes.

"Think of it as a flight data recorder, so that any time there's a problem, that 'black box' is there helping us work together and diagnose what's going on," Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said during a speech at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference here.


Personalized experiences of debugging my intellectual property. No thanks! I love the bit about better understanding and preventing computer crashes. They wrote the code and now they have no clue why it sucks so bad. Yet another reason to 'switch' ... to linux.

full story

Culture of No Life

News from republicans up in arms for the culture of life. Jeb Bush signs a murder bill. Maybe next time he leads the national guard to commit crime, he can murder local police officers in self defense? It's up to the courts to decide!


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Reuters) - Florida Gov. Jeb Bush signed a new anti-crime law on Tuesday that allows people to kill in self-defense without first trying to flee.

Supporters say the law is a logical extension of common law that allows homeowners who fear for their lives to use deadly force to defend themselves from an intruder in their homes.

The new law expands that doctrine to include people in public places who feel threatened and could be subject to death or great bodily harm.

"To suggest that you can't defend yourself against a rapist, who's trying to drag you into an alley, or against a carjacker who's trying to drag you out of your car is nonsense," said Marion Hammer, a former president of the National Rifle Association.

"The ability to protect yourself, your children or your spouse, is important, no matter where you are."

Critics of the new law, called the "Stand Your Ground" bill, have few objections to allowing people to protect themselves in their homes but say the bill will create a "Wild West" mentality in public, where residents may shoot first and ask questions later.

"There are going to be a lot of repercussions," said Rep. Eleanor Sobel, a Democrat. "You could have someone reaching into their pocket and if the person felt threatened he could shoot."

Like many states, Florida courts have ruled that homeowners have a right to defend themselves in their homes. Florida courts have expanded the doctrine to include employees in their workplace and drivers who are attacked in their automobiles.

Outside the home, however, courts have ruled that most victims must at least attempt to escape before using deadly force, a provision gun advocates say puts victims at greater risk. The new law removes that requirement if a person has a reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm.

"All this bill will do is sell more guns and possibly turn Florida into the OK Corral," Rep. Irv Slosberg, a Democrat, said during recent debate on the bill.


full story

DeLay 1 - Traitors Unite


Bush Gives Show of Support to Republican Leader DeLay (Update1)
Bloomberg - 32 minutes ago
full story
April 26 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush gave a show of support to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who has been under scrutiny for his ties to lobbyists, inviting him to an appearance in their home state of Texas and praising his ``leadership.'

-----------------------
Bush Backs Rep. DeLay Amid Ethics Allegations
Tue Apr 26, 2005 04:31 PM ET
full story

Bush himself made no mention of the ethics controversy but he praised DeLay's efforts on important legislation. "I appreciate the leadership of Congressman Tom DeLay in working on important issues that matter to the country," he said.

En route to the Social Security event, White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters that Bush supports DeLay "as strongly as he ever has, which is strongly."

McClellan played down the idea that the joint appearance was an attempt to give DeLay a lift because of the ethics controversy.

"This has to do with an event that is occurring in his area and the fact that the president appreciates his leadership in the House and that we work very closely with him, as well as other congressional leaders, on the agenda for the American people," McClellan said.

The Social Security event was held at a medical school in Galveston, which is near but not in DeLay's congressional district.

Reuters-2005


Bush then went on to provide examples of DeLay's admirable leadership skills:
1. Gerrymandering Texas voting districts to favor Republicans, causing Democrats to stage walkout protests and flee to other states, corrupt dishonest and unjust
2. Changing national house ethics rules to save his own ass for violating the ethics rules, also known as breaking the law. DeLay convinced his republican traitor friends to support this change. Illegal, corrupt dishonest and unjust
3. Issuing a threat to judges across America. Illegal and unjust
4. Taking bribes from lobbyists. Illegal, corrupt, dishonest and unjust
5. Laundering bribe money to his family. Illegal, corrupt, dishonest and unjust

I sense a trend here. Oh but wait! Bush just said he loves his leadership. Surprise - King Bush of Torture and War loves an illegal, corrupt dishonest and unjust traitor to America who should be in prison. The trend continues...

Wait! We should be blaming Democrats the whole time.


Officials said DeLay recommended that senators respond to questions by saying Democrats have no agenda other than partisanship, and are attacking him to prevent Republicans from accomplishing their legislative program. One Republican said the Texan referred to a ``mammoth operation'' funded by Democratic supporters and designed to destroy him as a symbol of the Republican majority.


Smoke and mirrors. What would people like Bush, DeLay, Rove (etc) be without them

Other links
Get Tom DeLay to Church On Time
Tom DeLay Threatens Judges: You Will Answer For This
DeLay Urges GOP to Blame Democrats Over Ethics
Tom DeLay Ambushes Texas - And America

Monday, April 25, 2005

Filibust

"Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said it was not "radical" ... as he hardened his effort to strip Democrats of their power "

----

"Republicans have abandoned the long-standing tradition of consulting with the minority party on the more controversial choices"

"Bush took the provocative step this year of renominating seven of the 10 filibustered judges."
""Either confirm the nominees or reject them," Frist said. "Don't leave them hanging." --Frist

----

""Our judiciary must be independent, impartial and fair," said Frist, who was not present at the event. "

"Condolences quickly gave way to anger and accusations, with the top Republican in the House of Representatives warning judges at both the state and federal level they will have to answer for their actions.
"The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior," said Tom DeLay, the Republican leader who moved the Florida case to the federal arena. "

"Frist, speaking at an event organized by Christian groups trying to rally churchgoers to support an end to judicial filibusters, also said judges deserve "respect, not retaliation, no matter how they rule."

-----

"They are seeking to take away the independence of the judiciary — the crown jewel in our system of government — so that they can advance their own ideological agenda of the day," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.). "That is exactly the kind of tyranny that our ancestors fought to prevent."

Sources:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/04/25/politics/main690528.shtml
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0404-03.htm

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Health v4 - Meat gives you cancer

After yesterday's devotion of mental energy to the subject of health, I couldn't help but notice a headline floating around today's News


Meaty Diet Linked to Pancreatic Cancer
By Charlene Laino, WebMD Medical News
Reviewed By Michael Smith, MD


April 20, 2005 (Anaheim, Calif.) -- New studies presented at a major cancer meeting reinforce the old adage that you are what you eat (and drink).

One study shows that green tea may stave off prostate cancer. Another study suggests that eating a lot of hot dogs, sausage, and other processed meats may raise the risk of pancreatic cancerrisk of pancreatic cancer.

Loading up on red meat also seems to increase the chance of developing pancreatic cancer, one of the most deadly of tumors, says study researcher Ute Nothlings, DrPH, MSE.

"The findings suggest that eating less processed meat and less red meat might help prevent pancreatic cancer," she tells WebMD. Nothlings is a researcher at the Cancer Research Center at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu.

Red meat has also been linked to an increase in colon cancer.


full article

The only way it could be more obvious is if the animals fought back when you tried to kill and eat them. ...

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Health v3 - The Food Pyramids

Is a pyramid no longer. The light! Glorious rays of color blinding me!

According to News-8 in Austin, Texas:

News 8 Austin - 1 hour ago
The old food pyramid has been transformed into a plan that better fits American lifestyles.





No, it has been transformed into subtle vegetarianism advocacy. This follows suit with the New American Plate, which empasizes "plant-based foods" (aka vegetarian) meals over meat-based meals. Not only is this better for sustaining humanity, but it's healthier. Just ask your doctor, or any credible published report in the matter.

The new pyramid does emphasize vegetarian health, but beans (aka legumes) are sadly grouped with meat and marginalized to the sparingly-edge. Isn't that cute. They don't outright say "stop eating meat" or to eat *anything* specific, as previous posts of mine have. They empasize the good news but don't provide a fininte diet or message. Fortunately, other groups have made the step and published their own pyramid:





And "legumes & beans" has been ressurected from the death category! Yay

Lalo





Travel - Two-wheeled Perfection



To me, this is the ultimate form of travel.

Top speed: 80 miles per hour
Fuel consumption: 180 miles per gallon
Acceleration: 0-60 mph in 6 seconds
Fuel: Diesel, Kerosene, BioDiesel

180 miles on a gallon of vegetable oil.

Please read the rest, the design is rather straightforward and sensible.
eCycle

Although mechanical engineering, specifically intricacies of motors and vehicles, is not my forte, so please comment with critiques of the design.

If only commuter cars would have the sense to make a BioDiesel self-charging hybrid.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

And a tumor on the side

Ah, the 21st century cigarette.
I've got bad news for all mobile or cellular phone users: They cause cancer. Or tumors. Pick one.

Things that radiate, when transmitting against your body, radiate your body. Cellphones, portable land-line phones, even pagers. To measure this effect of radiation, every cellular telephony device (in the USA, at least) has an SAR rating which stands for Specific Absorption Rate. This is the rating of radiation being absorbed by your flesh.
SAR explaination
Rest assured your radiator is just below government regulated standards for absorption. (1.6 W/Kg in 1g of tissue)

Since cellular phones are always trying to be in better service, and other updates, etc, you must make the assumption they are always transmitting something. But, you can also make the assumption that during a call they are transmitting higher volumes at continuous rates. Telephony calls open a circut which transfers 65kbps - even when you're really really quiet.

From BBC News:

"Mobile phones 'alter human DNA'
Tuesday, 21 December, 2004, 10:35 GMT
The mobile industry says there is no proof phones harm health

Radio waves from mobile phones do harm body cells and damage DNA, a laboratory study has shown.
But the European Union-funded Reflex research did not prove such changes were a risk to human health."

full story

And, in case you weren't aware, your DNA being altered is a significant impact on your health. The study was released with a caveat: State the facts, but your analysis must be 'safe'. These conclusions are typical of medical research, such as Pharma. But that's for another post.

My favorite is a recent study from Danish Cancer Society in Copenhagen, Denmark which claims:

"Cell phones don't cause cancer
April 13, 2005 06:36 IST

Relax! Your cell phone is safe.

Researchers at the Danish Cancer Society in Copenhagen, Denmark, say that they have found no evidence that would link use of mobile phones to brain tumours or to the risk of developing brain cancer.

The researchers, however, said that more such studies are required before concrete conclusions can be arrived at.

As a precaution, the Danish Cancer Society said that rather than holding the cell phone to the ear, everyone must use earpieces in the hands-free kits that usually come with the cell phones.

full story

There's no measured increased risk! But please, you must use your headsets. Long term studies to be conducted in the future, when nobody is using this technology anymore.

Risk mitigation:
---------------
Cellular phone:
-Don't use it - use other communication services as much as possible
-Don't touch the antenna - friends like to *chew* on it! amazing
-Use a headset - and keep the phone away from you

Bottom line... when convenience is capable elsewhere, ditch your cellphone.

"This research is no reason for people to be worried" - Dr Zenon Sienkiewicz, National Radiological Protection Board

You're right, Dr. Z...Why would anyone be worried about a digital cancerbox that you can turn off and nobody needs? At least this one doesn't cause cancer to your adjacents.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Patriotic violence: the beginning of a fascist state?

'Patriotic rally'

Organisers spread the word of the rally on internet bulletin boards, which called for protesters to gather at a shopping centre in the north of the city.

Marchers chanted slogans and burned a Japanese flag, demanding a boycott of Japanese goods.

"Japan doesn't face up to its history," Cheng Lei said, quoted by Reuters news agency.

"We want to express our feelings so the Japanese government knows what we think."

Some smashed windows of a Japanese restaurant and others hurled bottles at a Japanese bank.

Hundreds of demonstrators threw rocks and bottles and shouted abuse at the residence of the Japanese ambassador to Beijing.

Another protester told AFP news agency earlier that the demonstration was a "patriotic rally".

"I am Chinese, I love China," Zhang Daili said.

"... [I]f you are a patriot then you must oppose Japan."

-----------------------------------

The history mentioned is of course the occupation during World War II and the war crime atrocities committed by the Japanese against the Chinese. The history of East Asia is deep with war, including the Korean peninsula as a victim of political and military tension and conflict.

Full article from the BBC-UK: Protesters attack Japan embassy

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Prevent the radical judiciary nominations - Sign now

We all know Bush is a tyrant and a radical activist puppet riding the
PNAC/Neocon/Traitor pony sending us to the clutches of Satan himself.
But now, he's trying to get his radical friends into lifelong positions
that don't involve stealing electionS in the future, including the
supreme court of America.

But what can you do? Check this: Sign petitions supporting to save the
200 year old checks'n'balances feature of the *fillibuster* which is the
only thing that has prevented Bush from getting these radicals into
position to date.

So, what do the traitors do? Spin the Terry Schiavo case to discredit
judges using treasonous phrases while trying to destroy the filibuster
in order to get the judges *they like* into office.

Interesting article here:
Senate Primed for Filibuster Showdown

Take action here:
The Senate Filibuster: Pillar of American Democracy

And here: Don't Let Republican Leadership "Go Nuclear" on Supreme Court

It's the right thing to do to help save America from fascism. If you
want to do more, sign on for email updates from www.afj.org,
www.pfaw.org, and *especially* www.commoncause.org

Peace