San Francisco Liberal

January 10, 2007 at 11:46 am | Posted in American politics, Democrats, liberals, Republicans, San Francisco | 4 Comments

Let Republican smear campaigns be sent the way of the Dodo Bird. Here is the real San Francisco liberal.

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America’s Smartest Cities

December 16, 2006 at 1:33 pm | Posted in America, Education, San Francisco | Leave a comment

Forbes magazine has released a report on America’s smartest cities judged by what percentage of the population has at least a bachelor’s degree, as well as more advanced degrees. San Francisco Bay Area has two cities in its mix, the city itself and San Jose. Cambridge, Massachusetts, of course made the list too, as did two places in Colorado, Boulder at number 1. No surprise, they tend to be cities with good schools. It would have been a shocker if Cambridge was not on the list, seeing it has Harvard and MIT plus home to many who work at the Boston area hospitals, some of the best in the nation.

The Dumbing Down of the Political Language

December 11, 2006 at 9:21 pm | Posted in American politics, Democracy, Iraq, King George, Military, neo-conservatives, Republicans, Rumsfeld, San Francisco, Thoughts, War, War on Terror | 1 Comment

“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

—By George Orwell

Orville Schell has a great article in the San Francisco Chronicle about the dumbing down of our political language here in America.

He quotes Thucydides who said:

“What used to be described as thoughtless acts of aggression was now regarded as the courage that one would expect to find in a party member; to think of the future and wait was merely another way of saying one was a coward; any idea of moderation was taken to be just an attempt to disguise one’s unmanly character; ability to understand a question from all sides was taken to mean that one was totally unfitted for action. Fanatical enthusiasm was taken as the mark of a real man, and to plot against an enemy behind his back was viewed perfectly legitimate self-defense. … Indeed, most people were more willing to call villainy rather than cleverness simple-minded honesty. They are proud of the first quality and ashamed of the latter.”

Does that sound familiar? The question of why such rhetoric is even considered, let alone actually used is vital to the health of our nation. Mr. Schell continues:

As words have lost their descriptive power, we have suffered a break in the normative order. Our whole process of describing, thinking, discussing and acting has been corrupted at its source. Indeed, it is hard to know how to break out of this self-perpetuating feedback loop characterized by spin and deception so that political discourse actually conveys truth and meaning.

“If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought,” Orwell continued. “To think clearly is a necessary first step towards political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers.”

So advanced is the degradation of language into artifice, and so confused have so many people become over the verbal deception heaped on them by political leaders, that if our republic is to survive, it is a truly urgent matter that an antidote be found.

He continues by quoting Confucius who said:

“If the names are not correct and do not match realities, language has no object. If language has no object, action becomes impossible — and therefore all human affairs disintegrate.”

I’m learning programming languages like PHP and MySQL right now. These languages have to match exactly their definition and reality, or else they do not work. If you listen to Tony Snow on any given day, any day you choose, can you honestly say his language is correct and matches reality?

Mr. Schell finishes:

The warnings are there, if we care to heed them, that when a country’s democratic leaders lose the ability to describe reality accurately and in a believable way, its people become handicapped in their quest to understand and solve their problems.

Can we ever solve any problem if we cannot even properly identify a problem? If we call Iraq “progress” when in reality it is probably worse than a civil war, are we even helping ourselves? If the purpose of the use of such false language is to bring about victory at election polls, are we not undermining our own national security? Can we ever hold someone accountable for such false words and actions?

On San Francisco Values

November 28, 2006 at 11:25 pm | Posted in American politics, San Francisco | 10 Comments

Bill O’Reilly loves to talk trash about San Francisco and its supposed evil values. Well, Markos on DailyKos shares some of the values that Bill O’Reilly must let go of lest he be called a hypocrite….

Continue Reading On San Francisco Values…

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