March 8, 2009 archive

The Obamafication of Community Moderation, Part One

Note to Dharmaniacs: This is obviously directed towards the Daily Kos community, but the theories and principles apply everywhere and to all walks of life.

The Obama Code is both moral and linguistic at once.  The President is using his enormous skills as a communicator to express a moral system.

For supporters of the President, it is crucial to understand the Code in order to talk overtly about the old values our new president is communicating. It is necessary because tens of millions of Americans-both conservatives and progressives-don’t yet perceive the vital sea change that Obama is bringing about.

The Obama Code by George Lakoff

I think it is safe to say that everyone here admires or at least respects Barack Obama. Among the many reasons there are to do so, none stands out as much as the central one. He is effective. His approach, tactics and methods, above all considerations of style or personal charm…

And a bigger part of that than can be measured in the fact that the Code that Lakoff talks about …works. It is a form of “walking your talk.” It is communicating who you are and what you stand for not just in what you say, but in how you say it as well.

Blogs Are Misleading and Simplistic

Web-savvy Obama ‘rarely’ reads blogs, says they’re misleading

Jeremy Gantz, RawStory, Sunday March 8, 2009

Although he owes his current job in part to the Internet’s unique networking and communications tools – and his campaign’s unprecedented ability to raise money online – President Obama “rarely” reads blogs because he considers some of them misleading and simplistic.

The comment, made during a wide-ranging New York Times interview aboard Air Force One, may surprise those who follow’s own blog or those who followed his transition team’s blog.

Asked about his news consumption habits at the end of the interview, during which he acknowledged that the United States is not winning the war in Afghanistan, Obama said he “rarely reads blogs,” but reads newspapers – in their paper form – and weekly news magazines.

“[P]art of the reason we don’t spend a lot of time looking at blogs is because if you haven’t looked at it very carefully then you may be under the impression that somehow there’s a clean answer one way or another – well, you just nationalize all the banks, or you just leave them alone and they’ll be fine, or this or that or the other,” Obama said. “The truth is this is a very complex set of problems and bad decisions can result in huge taxpayer expenditures and poor results.”

Although bloggers at prominent progressive websites such as Daily Kos and Talking Points Memo are likely annoyed by his remarks, Obama may have a good excuse as to why he isn’t keeping tabs on their posts: He’s busy reading government briefings.

A full transcript of the interview can be found here.

Despite the Obama campaign’s web-savvy skills, – which also has its own YouTube channel – has run into a few snags since January’s inauguration. The website “has been overwhelmed by challenges that staffers did not foresee and technological problems they have yet to solve,” the Washington Post reported Monday. Obama would like to send out mass updates via email and text messages, but the White House does not have the technology in place to do so, according to the newspaper.

Since his election in November, it’s become a near cliche to note that Obama has harnessed the Internet to speak directly to Americans just as Franklin D. Roosevelt used radio and John F. Kennedy utilized television. Clearly, Obama – famously addicted to his web-enabled BlackBerry – has used and will continue to use the Internet to reach an increasingly wired nation.

What’s less clear, however, is how the Internet is influencing Obama’s governing decisions. If his lack of respect for blogs is any indication, the president’s use of the Internet would appear to be more about transmitting his own messages than receiving others’. He may have been the first president to ask an online reporter a question when he called on the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein in early February, but that doesn’t mean he’s visiting the web-only news and opinion site to read what Stein wrote.

C. Peter Wagner & Native American Resource Network

“Mr. Joel’s Army himself,” C. Peter Wagner, is in the video below. The title of it is “Native American Christian Reconciliation Ministry.”

Rick Warren’s (amazingly extensive) connections with Joel’s Army groups

a) Apparently being directly mentored by none other than Mr. Joel’s Army himself (C. Peter Wagner) and actively teaching at Wagner’s ordination mill, Fuller Seminary and cross-promotion of Wagner’s and Warren’s material by the two

Below is the type of rhetoric heard in the video.

Dystopia 4: The Trainee

“The privilege of creating and issuing money is not only the supreme prerogative of Government, but is the Government’s greatest creative opportunity. By the adoption of these principles, the taxpayers will be saved immense sums of interest.”

“The money power preys upon the nation in times of peace and conspires against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country.”

“Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few and the Republic is destroyed … I feel at the moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war.” —Abraham Lincoln

Weekend News Digest

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Recession on track to be longest in postwar period

By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer

Sun Mar 8, 10:54 am ET

WASHINGTON – Factory jobs disappeared. Inflation soared. Unemployment climbed to alarming levels. The hungry lined up at soup kitchens.

It wasn’t the Great Depression. It was the 1981-82 recession, widely considered America’s worst since the depression.

That painful time during Ronald Reagan’s presidency is a grim marker of how bad things can get. Yet the current recession could slice deeper into the U.S. economy.

Café Discovery: selfishness v. egocentrism

I had…or am having (it’s hard to tell sometimes)…a disagreement with someone which turned out to center mostly on our disagreement about the meanings of the words “selfish” and “egocentric.”

I believe that words come with denotations and connotations and that if our sets of either of these differ, we will have different interpretations of the words.  Because of this, all human communication is, in part, a negotiation.

The person with whom I was (or am) conversing believed that the dictionary rules.  I’ve never cared for that view because I don’t believe the language is dead, that words change meaning over time and even the best dictionaries are therefore mostly out of date.

Besides, I’m a mathematician at heart.  When we define words, they mean what we say they mean, no more and no less.  Of course, Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) was a mathematician:

‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,’ it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.’

‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master – that’s all.’

Utopia 4: Movie Day

“The Gods of the Copybook Headings”

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, And their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew And the hearts of the meanest were humbled And began to believe it was true That All is not Gold that Glitters, And Two and Two make Four, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings Limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, It was at the birth of Man. There are only four things certain Since Social Progress began: That the Dog returns to his Vomit And the Sow returns to her Mire, And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger Goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, And the brave new world begins, When all men are paid for existing And no man must pay for his sins, As surely as Water will wet us, As surely as Fire will burn, The Gods of the Copybook Headings With terror and slaughter return. Rudyard Kipling

[This, by the way, catches you up to the rest of the blog sites.  Submissions will be weekly from here out.–TP]

Dystopia 3: Detained

“Every citizen silently, but never the less certainly, sustains the government of the day in ways of which he has no knowledge. Every citizen, therefore, renders himself responsible for every act of his government.”

“No action which is not voluntary can be called moral….Any action that is dictated by fear or by coercion of any kind ceases to be moral….Freedom of the individual is at the root of all progress.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday music retrospective: time change rerun

Menage a folk

We Five: You Were on My Mind

Invisible Thinking

I’ve always been terrible at science – something I blame on my 10th grade biology teacher (that’s a whole long boring story). But recently I’ve been pretty intrigued by what we’re learning about how the brain works. It could be that I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous because I pretty much stick to layman’s interpretations of this information rather than digging in to the actual science. But I’m more interested in the overview anyway.

The whole distinction between how our left and right brains work is the part that has most fascinated me. From the amazing speech that Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor (video link) gave at a TED conference as well as other sources, I’ve learned that the right brain is responsible for taking in all of the stimuli that we gather from our senses. And the left brain is responsible for sorting and naming so that we can make sense of it all.

The tricky part is that our senses and our right brains take in way more stimuli than we can sort. So the left brain has to develop some short-cuts to help us with that. One of the ways it does this is by sorting things into patterns that it has seen before. These short-cuts are what I’m calling “invisible thinking.” Our brains place incoming stimuli into previously developed patterns so that we don’t have to spend so much time analyzing and sorting through the myriads of data that we take in. Of course, the problem with this is that when we want to change our invisible thinking, that can be difficult to do unless we examine the patterns we’ve incorporated.

On “International Women’s Day ’09” and well beyond!!

cheney/bush Legacy: Widows ‘forgotten victims of Iraq’

Study: Iraqi widows struggle in new roles as breadwinners

Docudharma Times Sunday March 8

Republicans Know How

To Look Backwards. They’re Professionals  

Sunday’s Headlines:

The Next Hit: Quick Defaults

Pakistan: The greatest threat

N Korea holds parliamentary poll

Defectors expose plans of Germany’s ‘real’ Nazis

Two soldiers shot dead in Ulster attack

Iraqi women ‘lack basic services’

Premier quits to help unify Palestinians

Zimbabwe Premier Leaves Hospital

Sudan’s Bashir makes defiant Darfur tour

A key to Colombia peace: Reintegrating the ex-fighters

Welcome to Libby, Montana, the town that was poisoned

After an epidemic of asbestos-related deaths, one woman is fighting for justice in the Rocky Mountains

Joanna Walters in Libby, Montana

The Observer, Sunday 8 March 2009

Dean Herreid’s lungs are gradually being destroyed. When he coughs, as he frequently does, his long, wheezing splutter sounds so painful it makes you wince. Herreid lives in Libby, a tiny Rocky Mountain town in Montana that is isolated, beautiful and toxic. Scores of men in this rough-edged, blue collar town have been killed off, poisoned with deadly asbestos from the local mine.

But Herreid is not elderly and he was never a miner. He simply played baseball as a child on a field near the mine and, years later, has developed a lung disease that is destroying the life of this 44-year-old father of two young boys. There are many others like him.

Horrifying stories are emerging at a criminal trial where the corporate giant WR Grace, which owned the mine, is accused of knowingly allowing not only its miners but the entire town to breathe deadly asbestos dust. The US government calls it “the worst case of industrial poisoning of a whole community in American history”.

Big plans in China for revolution’s 60th anniversary

The Oct. 1 festivities promise some of the dazzle of the Olympics shows. But critics fault plans for a huge military display and bring up other dates, such as the Tibet revolt and Tiananmen protests.

By Barbara Demick

9:32 PM PST, March 7, 2009

Reporting from Beijing — The Chinese Communist Party loves its anniversaries, so it comes as no surprise that the bosses in Beijing are planning a blowout to commemorate the 60th year since the nation’s founding.

President Hu Jintao has commissioned an extra-stretch limousine, 19 feet long, for the October festivities. A year before the occasion, the Beijing municipality put out advertisements for women between the ages of 17 and 25 (height between 5 feet 3 and 5 feet 7) to perform in a parade; rehearsals began in December.

“This is the tradition in communist culture. They use these grand occasions to justify their existence,” said Li Datong, former editor of a supplement of the China Youth Daily and now a pro-democracy activist.



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