Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Spin Meister

Up just before 9:00, less the 7 hours rest. Being in a “fish bowl”, my blinds are always closed at night, so usually in the morning the sun fails to wake me. Unsatisfactory, but it’s the present reality.

Went through the normal routine. Breakfast listening to "Democracy Now!", shower, dress, prepare to head out. Then the question: "where am I going?" It’s strange. There’s nowhere I must go.

I stayed in and worked on the "PowerPoint" presentation from my travels, but there are so many pictures, my computer was bogging down.

So, by default, I headed towards downtown, either "Flying Goat" or the library, not sure which, until the “moving brain” decides: "Flying Goat". Got set up with coffee and a bagel, then discovered that "RSS" (upstairs) had disconnected their wireless from the network. So no internet connection. “That’s a waste." (Not much bang for my coffee shop buck.) So, I ate and moved on to the library.

In the library, I explored the various downtown open-access wi-fi sites. The library internet service is poor, certainly not broadband. The others in the area are similar. (Perhaps the same provider.) Programs barely run. Frustrating. "But it’s free, right? What do you expect?"

I sat there with the homeless, a couple who smelled of alcohol. Libraries have become a refuge. At least no one kicks them out. Santa Rosa offers the homeless few options.

"De-fragged the hard drive" to see if it would improve operations at all. Supposedly, I have 33% of the 32-gigabyte hard drive still available, so capacity shouldn't be causing problems.

I'm drawn out of my preoccupation by a voice. “Sir, sir. You have to leave the internet terminal if you’re going to sleep. There are too many people waiting to use it.” (Why is it the librarians who always seem so loud here?) Ah, humanity! In our struggle to accumulate wealth, this is exactly what we hope to avoid: seeing the human condition.

Spent hours at the library, too much time cleaning out computer files. I've been a "pack rat" when it comes to saving stuff, even cyber stuff.


Tonight, I listened to the radio program, "Fresh Air”, featuring an interview with pollster Frank Kuntz, author of Words that Work.

According to "Fresh Air's" notes
"Republican pollster Frank Luntz advises politicians on the language they should use to win elections and promote their policies. Although he works on one side of the aisle, he says that what he does is essentially nonpartisan, seeking clarity and simplicity in language. His critics disagree, and have accused him of using language that misrepresents policies to 'sell' them to the public."
In the interview, Luntz reiterates that he “seeks clarity and simplicity” in his language. He promotes the use of “Death Tax” instead of “Estate Tax” (on estates over $2 million.) “Everything I do in terms of language has to be accurate. It’s to those who believe in clarity…”

Teri Gross, the host of "Fresh Air" mentions "you recommend Republicans refer not to 'drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Preserve', but rather ‘energy explanation’,” to which Luntz explains "exploration is more 21st century. It’s cleaner."

“There are no oil wells...when they’re done, there’s a small pipe in the ground." (He conveniently leaves out the extraction and transport process that would likely follow.)

“If 90% of Americans, 88% to be precise” look at a photograph (of exploration in the Arctic) "and say that’s exploration, that’s not drilling” why should you call it "drilling"? (I'm amused at the presentation of "unassailable statistics" to support his position.)

He tells us the term "environmentalists" is seen as extreme, while a "conservationist" is seen as "someone in the mainstream." So, pick your term according to the effect you want to promote.

Speaking of the environmental community in California, Luntz mentions that it “opposes every opportunity, every program to build affordable housing.” (Where is the "clarity and simplicity" in this obvious exaggeration?)

On the subject of global warming versus climate change, Luntz says “climate change is less…it creates less hysteria.” It's “more thoughtful, more reasonable”, it “says let’s deal with the issue and come to some agreement.”

He promoted the use of the term "gaming" instead of "gambling". "Gaming" makes you think about entertainment, the restaurants, the whole aspect.

The "art" is not in telling obvious lies. It is in telling partial truths. It's something we each engage in, wittingly or unwittingly, but I suspect few of us can match this man's skill.

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