Saturday, July 16, 2016

Hashtag Semantics Spells The Difference Between Being A Racist, Or Not

Good Day World!

Let's talk about lexical semantics (word meanings and relations) today.

There's a big controversy about the hashtags #AllLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter.

#AllLivesMatter has been called racist. That may sound odd, but #BlackLivesMatter proponents say #AllLivesMatter is erasing the vulnerability of and dehumanization of black people.

The intention of saying #AllLivesMatter is meant to be about a shared humanity. Not everyone sees it that way however.

According to Joe Feagin, a professor of sociology at Texas A&M University, white people are using the #AllLivesMatter phrase to ignore the black lives movement.

That may be true for some people, but not everyone. There's proponents of #AllLivesMatter who want to be inclusive of all races. They are the peacemakers calling for unity.

In this war of words - or hashtags if you will - the power of semantics is both scary and enlightening. 

As Confucius once said, "Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know more."

Perhaps groups of people who want to bring attention to their cause, should carefully consider the full weight of the hashtag they use to represent their message.

Carefully chosen words can be the difference between success and failure. If the word/hashtag is devisive in any way, then consider alternatives.

For change to really happen we need to unite people in a common cause - not put up barriers that hinder hope.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Friday, July 15, 2016

Fear This: An Inquisition In America

Once upon a time, during the Spanish Inquisition, you could be brutally murdered if you weren't a Catholic.

Fast forward.

The foundations of an American Inquisition are being laid...word by word. 

Fear and bigotry have opened the door to the destruction of Democracy.

A terrorist attack in France has spurred passed over Trump VP choice, Newt Gingrich, to suggest giving a test to every person of Muslim backround in America in order to determine whether he or she believes in Shariah, a legal code based on the Quran and other Islamic scriptures.

If anyone says yes, they are automatically deported. It doesn't matter if they're an American citizen or not. 

Our Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but that doesn't seem to bother Gingrich ((or people who believe like he does).

Have you ever noticed that it's always Republicans calling for extreme measures against segments of our own society? Conservatives like to say they believe in the Constitution, but are the quickest to violate it for political and ideological reasons.

Maybe Gingrich was hoping to make an impression on Trump by showing him they are like-minded. Even though Newt didn't get the VP nod (Trump went with Mike Pence), he still hopes to play a role in our government.

Fear that.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Republician Views on Racial Issues Contributing to 'Yuuuch' Gap in Race Relations

Good Day World!

National polls are pointing to a very disturbing reality in our world today:

Americans' views on issues of racial inequality and policing heavily depend upon what party they belong to. Both parties have really stark differences in perceptions.

For example; Democrats feel the five-officers killed recently in Dallas was a one-off thing. A lone wolf attack. Republicans are sure it's part of a bigger plot to kill white police officers nationally.

What Social Science Tells Us About Racism in The Republican Party

To  further complicate the growing racial divide, whites and blacks views on race and inequality are worlds apart.

Legal segregation in America may have ended more than 50 years ago, but in many parts of the country, Americans of different races aren't neighbors - they don't go to the same schools, they don't shop at the same stores, and they don't always have access to the same services.

Here's another stark reality: if you're a black person in America, you're more likely than a white person to live in an area of concentrated poverty.

Understanding what's happening is key to the solution. The Republican party has taken the low road with Donald Trump, opening up a larger divide between whites and blacks in America.

Instead of unifying Americans, the Republican party has chosen to nominate a racist. The impact of that choice continues to grow each day as Trump promises to build walls to keep out Hispanics, and ban Muslims from entering the country.

Given a chance to be a featured speaker at this year's NAACP convention, Trump turned it down. If that doesn't signal more racial divide, then I don't know what does.

White supremists, and other fringe groups are embracing Trump because they see how he intends to deal with minorities.

Despite the anti-Trump forces within the Republican party, plans to oust the Donald during the Republican National Convention don't stand much of a chance.

The Disturbing Data on Republicans and Racism: Trump Backers Are The Most Bigoted Within The GOP

Republicans are successfully alienating voters in this election - something the party has promised to improve on after their last loss with Mitt Romney.

Worse yet, the Republican party is cementing the accusations against them that they are a racist party.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Ex-Trump Staffer Suggests Trump May Have Violated Campaign Laws

The big question today is not who is going to be Donald Trump's VP, it's...

"Did Donald Trump violate campaign finance laws by using his own resources for his political campaign?"

One of his former staffers, Sam Nunberg, says he may have illegally funneled corporate money into his campaign, and created a fictitious company that was listed as a plaintiff in a lawsuit against Nunberg for breach of confidentiality.

News of the lawsuit and response has upstaged Trump's search for a running mate, according to a source close to the campaign.

Nunberg doesn't plan on stopping there with his accusations against Trump. He contends his endorsement of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R), Trump's former rival for the Republican nomination, sparked the lawsuit against him.

Trump filed the lawsuit against his own lawyer's advise because that's the way he deals with things - bullying people in the courts with his team of unscrupulous lawyers.

Alert! Watch Out For Pokemon Go Zombies!

                                     Good Day World!

There's something deeply disturbing about grade-schoolers, teenagers, 20-somethings, 30-somethings, and 40- somethings walking around in public like zombies glued to a game on their smart phones.

Practically overnight, Americans have embraced a new app for their smartphones - Pokemon Go. 

The augmented reality activity is now the biggest mobile game in U.S. History, according to a report from Survey/Monkey.

Within three days of the games release 23 million Americans were playing it...and running into problems.

Police Fear Dark Side of Pokemon Go

How Pokemon Go Players Could Run Into Real-Life Legal Problems

What's Gone Wrong For Pokemon Players Thus Far

Pokemon Go: U.S. Holocaust Museum Asks Players To Stay Away

And of course let's not forget about the zombie reference I made earlier...

If you thought people walking and texting at the same time was a recipe for disaster, guess what? Pokemon Go players are even more zombie-like!

It's just a game, right? That is, until reality hits and something bad happens.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I'm tired of 'conversations,' it's time to for action!

Good Day World!

I'm sick of hearing the phrase, "We need to have a conversation about..." (Fill in the blank).

Last week, our country was ripped apart when two black men (separate cases) were shot by white police officers; and when five police officers were killed in a sniper attack by a black man who wanted to kill, "as many white cops as possible."

The inevitable response from Black Lives Matters was to protest. Once again, the group's leaders and followers are talking about the need to have a "national conversation," about black men being shot by white cops.

For the record, we have been talking about this problem since the 1960s. So, with all the national conversations we've had over the last fifty years on racial conflict, why are we still talking about it?

Police officers nationwide feel like they're under siege. In 2012, the FBI recorded the deaths of 49 officers killed on duty.

This year, there's already been 58 deaths in the line of duty (as of 7/7/16). That leaves five more months to add to the deadly count.

Where have conversations gotten us?

Pease don't tell me, or a black man, that we've made a lot of progress in race relations the last half century. Facts fracture that notion.

Please don't tell police officers that they shouldn't be worried that each day may be their last one. That every case with a black man may lead to a national incident.

In addition: 

There has been countless conversations about gun control. Everytime a mass murder happens - now a regularity every year - politicians and the public have conversations about gun control. 

Nothing ever happens because the Republican dominated Congress has it's heads so far up the NRA's ass, it can't here the cries of the average American who wants to see some action...any action, that would deter crazies with semi-automatic weapons.

Instead...all we get are conversations in the mass media, and social media. Everyone talks up a storm, but no progress is ever made.

The million dollar question is, "What can we do about it?"

In our last presidential election in 2012, experts say only 57% of Americans bothered to vote. That tells me that a sizeable chunk of Americans aren't voting.

The only way we are going to get action on racial unrest, and gun control, is to elect people who represent a majority of Americans. Not the majority of half of America.

This is a watershed year for politics and progress. The need to get leaders supported by a real majority of Americans has never been greater.

Please vote. Get your friends and family to vote. If you've never voted before, let this be the year you start. We must elect leaders who will take action.

The time for conversations is long gone.

Time for me to walk on down the road... 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Okay, let's talk about nicknames...

Good Day World!
Do you have a nickname?

When I was in elementary school back in the stone age when we used stone tablets instead of texting, there was one kid who literally stood out from the rest of us. 

He was at least a head taller than any other kid in school. He was as tall as the teachers. Everyone but the teachers called him “Bean Pole.” 

We always asked him "what the weather was like up there?” while chuckling at our cleverness. I can’t recall his real name. He was a mild-mannered individual who took the daily razzing, and his nickname, in easy stride. 

Bean Pole’s story illustrates one way we get a nickname: someone gives us one based upon our physical characteristics.

How many 300- pound “Tinys” have you known? 

Sometimes it’s desirable to have a nickname. It can symbolize acceptance, affection, and a form of endearment.

Nicknames have a long history in Indian society where most people have a nickname (call name or affection name) that’s not related to their proper name.

One of my favorite is “Bablu.” I just like saying it. “Bablu…Bablu,“ it flows like poetry. 

And how about those Aussies? From poetic to ironic, they’re known for nicknames like “Bluey” for a person with red hair. 

Usually, someone else gives us our nickname.

Sometimes nicknames come from ethnic backrounds. When I worked at Ford Motor company as an automation tender/welder in 1972, I noticed we had a lot of foreign-sounding (translation: Eastern European) names on the timecards when I punched in and out.

I often called for one electrician, whose nickname was “Ski,” to come see what was wrong on our production line when something wasn‘t working properly. Or, if the line went down for unknown reasons. 

If I’d had to say his full last name every time we needed help, we wouldn’t have made our production quotas! Ski was neatly stitched on his white uniform pocket just above his real name, signaling he was okay with the nickname.

He pronounced his full last name for me once and I asked him if anyone ever got it right? “My wife,” he replied happily.
Right about now you’re probably asking, “Dave, what is the origin of the term “nickname”? Where does it come from?

In a nutshell, after extensive hours of research and repeated caffeine binges, I discovered the compound word for nickname is ekename, literally meaning “additional name,” and first mentioned in European manuscripts in 1303.

It (nickname) came from an old English phrase eaca (increase) and by the fifteenth century, the syllables of the phrase became “an ekename” which led to “nekename.” A spelling transformation over the ensuing years eventually gave us “nickname.

Of course it’s more complicated than that, but you get the idea. I was going to share my wife’s and my endearing nicknames for each other, but when I mentioned that to her the room suddenly got cold!

Did you know that John Wayne’s nickname "The Duke" came from a dog his family owned that used to follow him about?

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Road To Recovery: Compassion and Compromise

Good Day World!

Two of the hallmarks of a great civilization are the ability of elected leaders to compromise and pass laws to benefit the general public, and a sense of unity among a population that produces compassionate acts and attitudes.

Without these two basic foundations, chaos beckons and governments eventually fall apart, victims of internal strife that seizes the country and undermines the mortar that holds it together. 

America is under assault from polarizing forces hell-bent on confrontation, and destruction. 

Congress' inability to function shows it's a victim of venomous partisan propaganda that doesn't allow for any middle ground.

Compromise is dead. It's a dirty word. What all great statesman in every civilization had going for them was their ability to compromise and to move forward. America has lost that.

Instead, our country is like a ship moored at port without a captain to take it to sea.

Racial divide is splitting the seams of compassion and people have quit looking at each other as equals.

The people who are trusted to keep the peace are fighting a losing battle. Police brutality and racial bias are thorns in the side of our society. 

Lack of respect for the men and women who put their lives on the line everyday for the common good, is too common. What happens when that thin "blue line" can no longer function for lack of support?

Chaos. Anarchy. The fall of the Republic. 

It doesn't have to be that way. It's up to all Americans to convince the sloths in Washington D.C. that they want progress, not ideologically babbling that serves no purpose but to put up barriers.

As for compassion...we can make a point of practicing it. Making it a part of our life. We can treat each other as equals instead of enemies of a different color.

It's starts with one person. Will it be you?

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Good News, the Bad News: ISIS Propaganda Under Assault, Still Sliming the Internet

Good Day World!

The good news today; Islamic State propaganda being spread on Twitter has plunged 45% in the past two years.

This image provided by the State Department shows an image of a teddy bear with Arabic writing and message saying Islamic State "slaughters childhood," 'kills innocence," "lashes purity" or "humiliates children." The Islamic State group’s Twitter traffic has plunged 45 percent in the past two years, the Obama administration says, as the U.S. and its allies have countered messages of jihadi glorification with a flood of online images and statements about suffering and enslavement at the hands of the extremist organization. (State Department via AP)

The bad news; Daesh is still lurking on Twitter, FaceBook, and YouTube.

So What Have We Done About it?

The U.S. and its allies have countered messages of jihadi glorification with a flood of online images and statements about suffering and enslavement at the hands of the extremist organization, according to a recent AP report.

Two years ago the U.S. formed an international coalition to fight ISIS. The stated goals are: military action, and cutting off foreign fighters and finances, confronting the group's extremist ideology and stemming the militants' growing popularity in the Arab world.

Information obtained by AP shows a 6-1 ratio of anti-ISIS content online compared with pro-ISIS content. That's better than last year.

To give you an idea, when pro-ISIS accounts are discovered now, they have about 300 followers each. Back in 2014, such accounts had 1,500 followers each. according to data gathered by AP.

One of the reasons I'm bringing up this progress report against ISIS is that I'm tired of hearing some people say this administration isn't trying hard enough to destroy the extremist group.

Unlike what you hear from demogogue's like Donald Trump, we are waging all out war against ISIS. Trump's simplistic bomb ISIS and attack ISIS by leveling half of the Arab world is just a display of ignorance.

We have a long and trying road ahead in this war, because in the end, it's a war of words and extreme ideology - and not a conventional war against an enemy who will stand and fight us.

I think that's something all Americans should be aware of. In this election cycle lies overlap lies to disguise real intents.

It's up to reasoning and mature adults equipped with knowledge, and not with inflamed emotions, to help this country fight it's greatest enemy today.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...