This post contains my patented Tort Reform Quiz For Dummies. At last you can find out if you support tort reform or not! You’ll find the short quiz after the introductory crap. Wade on!
The punch landed bone-jarringly hard and the boxer in the red trunks suddenly ate canvas, a little puddle of drool forming quickly under his bloodied face. The referee counted it down then, with so sign of movement, called the fight. It was a knockout!
The blue corner jumped up and down ecstatically. “Way to go, champ! Way to go!”
The red corner carried their fighter back to their corner, balanced his lifeless body on his stool, and also began jumping up and down. “Wow, what a fight! You took ’em to the cleaners, champ! You really flayed ’em!”
Erm, what? Meanwhile the monkeys are flying in from the East chanting, “Oh wee oh! Oh wee oh!”
Such is the way of politics these days. Is my example a little extreme? Perhaps, but sadly not by much.
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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?
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I am not a pundit or an especially keen observer of things political. I’m an entertainer. Even so, I still have my political feelings and leanings, and I can’t help, from time to time, to inject a bit of that into my blog offerings. At the end of the day, I’m only human.
In fact, politically speaking, I find myself on the short end of the stick the vast majority of the time. Apparently I like to be different from those around me. That decidedly makes me a poor choice for armchair editorializing.
Even so, I’ve been thinking a lot about the latest brouhaha about the reaction to the shooting in Arizona and Sarah Palin. It’s one of those things that I just can’t shake and I find it back on my mind again and again.
I admit, my first response to the shooting was reflexively visceral. I remembered Palin’s tweet about “reload” and how it directly referenced a Facebook post with bullseye symbols denoting candidates for office in the United States.
Never have I suspected a causal relationship between these facts, but I did think it was highly unfortunate that a person Palin had labeled with a bulleye icon had been shot. I remember thinking, “I sure wouldn’t want to be in Palin’s shoes.”
If it was me, being in that sort of circumstance would have left me feeling bad.
This is when I had an idea and decided to take another approach. Maybe it’s the part of me that takes a bit of pride in being unbiased and considers itself to be, at least on some level, a scientist. What if, I surmised, we chucked politics and identities out the window? I decided to strip things down, to deconstruct the situation and try to examine some basic facts.
What we have in this case is a person’s comments and symbols directed at another human being who ended up being shot. I submit that most people in that situation would feel bad about something like that. I know I would.
But how did Palin respond? With an eight-minute video that initially attempted to portray understanding and compassion but clearly switched gears to make the point that opinions about her were a “blood libel.”
Again, forget about the content of the “blood libel” thing. There are those who will take great umbrage to that on the content-level. That’s not pertinent to my point here.
I don’t think it should work like this. Understanding and compassion are fine, but how can you include the “blood libel” response in the same message? That effectively makes the whole video a me-oriented thing. It’s like including the word “but” in a compliment, statement, or apology.
“I’m sorry about what I did but …”
“I like your cooking but …”
“I feel for your loss but …”
“I love you but …”
What could possibly come next in these examples that won’t impact and minimize the tone of the initial statement? I read something about this recently, but alas I can’t remember the specifics or where I saw it. Basically it was about the falseness of statements that begin with an overt message and then subtly change tone in the middle. This results in the overall message not matching what was initially said.
In other words, at least with the persona she projects to the public, she doesn’t feel that bad. In fact, she takes a line in the sand approach and makes it about her. In that light, the portions of the video that pertain to understanding and compassion ring hollow.
This is a trend with Palin. Her approach is part “in your face” and part “never back down.” She takes pride in doing what others perceive as being “politically incorrect.” Then, if there happens to be any fallout, she ups the ante by taking a position that is basically the kindergarten equivalent of, “you push me, I’ll push you back.” That projects a certain image and makes it easier to forget who really pushed first.
Forget the specifics of what she actually said and try to look at her behaviors and overall patterns. To me this is what scares me about the possibility of Palin in the White House.
Last Saturday night Sarah Palin delivered a speech to a “tea party convention,” whatever that is. The tea party movement, as we all know, is a bunch of Obama-hating right wing conservatives. It was reported that they were even registering people as Republicans right on the floor of this “convention.”
All the talk about the tea party movement being non-partisan and having no leadership and not being tied to any one party is just a smokescreen. When you talk about the tea party movement you are talking about the conservative right-wing and you are talking about Republicans. Just dump all that plausible deniability crap about being “non-partisan,” okay? It doesn’t suit you.
Palin, in her speech, asked the crowd a version of the question I’ve been hearing from rightie wingnuts for the last six months:
As you can see she spruced up the the standard talking point question with her own unique personalized stylings and flair.
“Hopey changey stuff.” Does anyone really talk that way? I mean, really?!?!?
Even someone on the national stage using crib notes sloppily written on her own hand? Really?
That irony was delicious. While she stood there addressing the tea party crowd and criticizing Obama for his usage of teleprompters she had handwritten notes on her hand. ON HER HAND!
Personally I could care less if she had something written on her hand. I wouldn’t cross the street to criticize her for that. But the hypocrisy of criticizing Obama for his teleprompter usage at the same time is simply unbelievably stunning. The phrase “unmitigated gall” comes to mind.
But don’t you dare criticize her for it. Oh no, then of course you’d be one of those people that seem to unfairly nitpick her every move. The kind of person that makes her ask, “Golly gee. Don’t they have anything better to do?” Never mind that she was in the act of nitpicking Obama. That’s different. Nitpick them = good. Nitpick me = bad.
The thing about writing crib notes on your hand is that it seems to me it’s either your habit or it’s not. Personally I’ve never written notes to myself on my own body. Ever. Not even a phone number for a hot woman in a bar. I’d rather go without. 🙂
It seems to me, though, that if you are a famous woman in her mid-40’s writing crib notes on your own hand then chances are pretty good it’s something you’ve probably been doing your entire life. It’s probably a lifelong habit. It’s probably something you learned early and used often, like in elementary school, junior high, high school, in a beauty contest, college, while governor of a state and maybe even while running for vice president of the United States.
And what’s the all-time number one reason for using crib notes in the first place?
Now that is something that wouldn’t surprise me one little bit.