A Bridge Too Scar: Whitewashing History
TriMet is the public agency that provides transportation services (commuter rail, light rail, bus and streetcar) for most of the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area.
That opening line just screams excitement, right? Stay with me, intrepid reader. We are embarking on a torrid journey of governmental lunacy and polishing turds. Remember, it’s important for us lowly idiots to know how things really work.
This organization really got on my radar recently during the naming process for a new bridge spanning the mighty piranha-filled Willamette River that’s currently under construction. Because, as we all know, the most important characteristic about a bridge is its name. This is followed closely by how many years of neglect it takes before it fails with lots of people on it. Let’s face it. Maintenance is not exactly humanity’s strong suit.
The TriMet decided to enlist the public’s help in naming the bridge. And that’s where things decidedly jumped the rails. And I’m here to tell you about it because, amazingly, their own official website has whitewashed the whole thing from history. It’s almost like it never happened…
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Advertising. Marketing. Sales. These are a few of the things I hate.
Life is meant to be more than simply persuading each other into spending money and consuming goods and services.
The fact that “sales” is the artifice of lies, pressure and Jedi mind tricks to compel people to do things they don’t really want doesn’t help its case.
Advertising can, theoretically, be something good. If you are in the market for a thing and there’s information about that thing at a certain price, that can actually be helpful. Unfortunately, most advertising has devolved into petulant attempts at distraction and attacks on the subconscious. Not just merely advertising, they are better classified as “persuasion attempts.” Some estimates claim the average American is subjected to 15,000 persuasion attempts per day. That’s hinky.
It seems obvious the game has shifted from being informative (advertising) to persuasion warfare (psychology). And it doesn’t have to adhere to the rules of the Geneva Convention or even be honest. Not content to simply remain available in case you might need something, the free market win-based transaction paradigm is now hunting you down to make the kill. The consumer is prey.
Taxes are funds taken by the awesome power of governmental force. As such, they are sacred in my mind. Taxes must not be used frivolously. Taxes must always be respected. Taxes must not be used to benefit some at the detriment of others. There are certain things taxes should be used for and certain things that must never be allowed to happen. Because taxes are monies taken by force that’s just the way it has to be.
What happens when tax dollars are used on advertising? Bad shit.
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Look Who’s Running For Office
It’s that time again. That time when we say, “What the? I didn’t know that guy could comb his hair!”
Yep. People are announcing their intentions to run for public office.
Here are a few notable newbies I’ve noticed so far.
The crooner from American Idol Season 2 lost in the finale by the slimmest of margins to some guy I no longer remember. Yes, he came in second, but he’s the one with staying power. So we’ll call that a wash.
Aiken will be running against incumbent Republican Renee Ellmers in North Carolina’s 2nd District who already took a shot at his “runner up” history.
He’s so serious about this run that he sanitized his Twitter account, but websites are already publishing some of the tweets where he apparently had second thoughts. The internet is forever, Clay.
I’m running for Congress for the same reason I chose to become a special education teacher years ago — to help people in need and to give them a voice.
You might remember her as an adorable cast member from Saturday Night Live. These days Victoria Jackson is a Tea Party conservative who is “very disappointed with the Republican party.” I looked at the list of “memorable characters” she played on SNL but I literally don’t remember any of them.
Jackson has filed to run for an independent position on a board of commissioners in Williamson County, Tennessee.
I think I will fit in quite easily with (the current county commission). I went to the dentist recently and there was a Bible in the lobby of the dentist office. … I love this town [Thompson’s Station]. My two favorite things are here — Jesus and show business.
Technically not a newbie, Wendy Davis is a state-level politician who has announced that she’s running for the Governor of Texas. As a Democrat. In Texas.
She’s most famous for her 11-hour filibuster attempt in 2013 to block abortion legislation.
The incumbent, Rick Perry, has announced he won’t be seeking re-election. That will make this the first open election for governor in Texas since 1990.
I was living as a young single mom. I was 19 when I was divorced, and my daughter was a year old, and I waited tables here three to four nights a week for several years while I was trying to support myself and my daughter and the day I got that acceptance at Harvard Law School was an unforgettable day.
Oops. Apparently Sandra Fluke filed the other day for the California congressional seat currently held by Rep. Henry Waxman. Today, however, it is being reported that she has changed her mind. False alarm.
Fluke, described as “an attorney and women’s rights activist” on Wikipedia, was refused the opportunity to testify to before a congressional committee about insurance plans and birth control. Later, talk show host Rush Limbaugh famously referred to her as a “slut.”
Because we spoke so loudly, opponents of reproductive health access demonized and smeared me and others on the public airwaves. These smears are obvious attempts to distract from meaningful policy discussions and to silence women’s voices regarding their own health care.
Who did I overlook? Are there any other people who have filed for office or potential candidates I may have missed? Which candidates do you find particularly interesting?
It puts it in its mouth and masticates
Yesterday I wrote a Hyppo and Critter about a ballot initiative in The Great State of Washington. (See the clickable inset image top right.) I wish to elaborate.
According to the official ballot measure summary:
This measure would require foods produced entirely or partly with genetic engineering, as defined, to be labeled as genetically engineered when offered for retail sale in Washington, beginning in July 2015. The labeling requirement would apply generally to raw agricultural commodities, processed foods, and seeds and seed stock, with some exceptions, but would not require that specific genetically-engineered ingredients be identified. The measure would authorize state enforcement and civil penalties, and allow private enforcement actions.
The Washington legislature failed to act on this item, so it will be presented to voters on the November 5, 2013 general election ballot.
Let them eat yellowcake! But let no force in the universe require us to tell them what we used as ingredients. (Hint: It rhymes with spit.)
–Yellowcake Producers of Abyss Hidden Crevice Ranch
I live in Portland, Oregon, so I’m a poor son of a bitch getting blasted by big money advertising in regards to this issue. That’s how it pierced my filter bubble. But more on that later.
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The Prostitutional Promise of Presidential Promises
Did you know that some people think it’s naive to expect a presidential candidate to keep his/her word? I promise you, this is true! I’ve been called it right to my face. By no small coincidence the person doing the speaking was one of the most monumental douchebags I’ve ever met. And no, he wasn’t even my boss. He wasn’t quite that bad.
As we gather our collective will, about to commit ourselves to the task of voting, I’m here to ask: What is a presidential promise? Why are they made? Do they even matter? Should we even care? And what, if anything, should happen when they are broken?
Consider this: If it is naive to expect a presidential candidate to keep his/her promises, then what’s the bloody point of it all? If that’s the case, what selection criteria should go into your vote? Why not just vote for the candidate you “like” the most then, when he/she’s all legit, expect him/her to do whatever the hell he/she wants?
Take Romney, for instance. Part of his platform is officially “get me in there and then I’ll fill you in on the rest of the details later.” Some might call that refreshing. Some might call it straight up. At least he’s not trying to fool the naive folk, right?
On the other hand, he does make his share of promises, too. The biggest one I can think of is: “I’ll create 12 million new jobs.” Now that’s a promise. Never mind that a bunch of economists predict that the U.S. will create those jobs either way, over the next four years, regardless of which of the two choices we select in 2012.
Hey, I’ve got a promise for you, too. The sun will come up tomorrow. I promise. If it actually happens, does that mean I’m brilliant? That I had anything to do with it? And what if it doesn’t? What happens then? Well, we’ll all be dead and there will be no one around to give a shit.
It’s a classic win-win.
Some Eistein smartypants will no doubt say, “Whatever. A president doesn’t have ultimate power. He’s not a dictator. Not unless we’re talking about Obama, of course. A president can’t just do anything he wants. He needs help from Congress and stuff. He can’t go it alone.”
True. And precisely because of that fact, I’ll tell you how, in my opinion, promises should matter.
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You’ve got blockage
A year ago today I blogged about Google pulling out of China. Google had redirected google.cn to google.com.hk. I just verified that still holds true as of this morning.
Also being reported is that China has closed 130,000 internet cafes during the last six years in an attempt to control information available to its people.
China, prominently showcased as the site of the 2008 Olympics, initially stated that Internet access would not be censored at the Olympic Village press center. However, journalists that arrived at the press center found that sites containing politically sensitive matter were inaccessible and learned that the IOC had quietly agreed to “some of the limitations.”
According to Wikipedia, China’s internet censorship does not extend to Hong Kong:
The controls come about a year after Google removed its Chinese language Internet search engine from China and relocated it to Hong Kong, where Beijing has few controls.
Now Google and China are at it again. Yesterday Google accused China of “disrupting” Gmail service saying it was due to a “government blockage.”
Beijing has long had some of the world’s strictest Internet controls. But after pro-democracy demonstrations broke out in the Middle East in January, the Chinese government seems to have intensified effort to censor Web content and disrupt Web searches related to calls for similar protests in China.
China currently blocks other social media sites so prominently featured in pro-democracy demonstrations in other countries recently like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
Both quotes are from The New York Times.
Meanwhile, China has intensified condemnation of Libyan air strikes and Libya’s top oil official in Tripoli said that oil contracts could be offered directly to China. Along with Russia, China abstained from a U.N. resolution calling for a ceasefire in Libya. India has also criticized the attacks on Libya.
As if that wasn’t enough, China recently was targeted in the crosshairs of none other than Sarah Palin:
I personally have huge military concerns about what is going on in China. What’s with the buildup? You don’t see a tangible outside threat . . . to that country. Is that just for a defensive posture? How can that be? Stockpiling ballistic missiles, submarines, new-age ultramodern fighter aircrafts. It certainly means America needs to be vigilant looking at what China is doing.
–Sarah Palin, speaking in India, March 19, 2011 (Source.)
The destinies of the United States and China seem to be converging in a variety of ways. The question is, how will that all play out? Will we ever so pro-democracy demonstrations in China like we’ve seen in Egypt and other countries? It sure seems unlikely but 2011 has been a strange year so far. Who knows?