Archive for the Chit chat Category

Welcome back…

Posted in Chit chat with tags on June 9, 2013 by Black Pumpkin

It has been way too long since I have posted anything here. But after talking to the Pope, I have decided to jump back into it. In fact, there will be lots of interesting things happening in the near future. I don’t want to give anything away too soon, but some things are in the works.

We’ll keep you informed. Stay tuned.

I’m Alive!

Posted in Chit chat on October 14, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

Believe it or not, I’m still alive.  I know it has been waaaay too long since I have written anything here.  And from looking at my stats, it has been a while since anyone stopped by.  But who can blame them.  If there is nothing new, then what’s the point.  Perhaps you were able to catch up on some of the older posts, but probably not.

I will not get into the gritty details of where I’ve been.  Suffice it to say, I was in a bad place and I didn’t like it very much.  But sometimes you can’t help being wherever you are.  I would love to say that I am back for good.  But that would be a little too presumptuous.  I will try to stay here for as long as I can and I hope to bring all of you back to the Butter.

A Personal Note

Posted in Chit chat with tags , on August 11, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

This has nothing to do with politics.  So if you are wondering what I think of the town halls full of people that are opposed to health care reform or Glenn Beck and the rest of the crazies, it will have to wait for another time.  But if you are wondering why things have been so slow around here, I am going to explain.

My father passed away in December of 2008, and my family for a variety of reasons that I won’t get into here, decided that this month would be the time that we would go to Minnesota to spread his ashes.  So that has taken my focus away from politics a little bit.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, I got laid off from my job.  I am currently unemployed and looking for work.  Yet another thing that tends to make you focus on something other than those idiots on Fox News.

Also (less importantly) Sport Morty (my brother), decided that he isn’t as much of a political junkie as he thought he was,  so he will probably only post things infrequently from here on out.

So until things stabalize a little bit in my personal life, I will probably write a bit less than I usually do.  I will be back, it is just a matter of when.  So keep checking back, and hopefully things will be back to normal soon.

I certainly hope so.  Having no money is really starting to suck.

Political Narratives

Posted in Chit chat, Environment with tags , , , , , , on July 28, 2009 by Mort the Sport

(Upfront Disclaimer: I came up with many of these ideas after a conversation with the Pope of Walnut.)

It’s no secret that political battles are won and lost based on the stories told by the opposing sides. Each side wants to create a narrative that appeals to the broadest number of voters no matter what the facts are. Moreover, the facts often have little to do with the outcome of a political battle. An excellent example of this was the lead up to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Bush Administration created a narrative wholly divorced from reality, making claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that he would use at any time on the American people. I can remember vividly debating the necessity of going to war with some co-workers. At the time, they felt that the threat posed by Saddam was a good enough justification for going to war. Bush and company put enough doubt in people’s minds that they were able to accept the possibility of a “what if” scenario (i.e., What if Saddam really has WMDs?). This kind of narrative is the easiest to sell. Why? Because there are clearly defined “characters” in the story. The “protagonist” (if you’ll let me indulge in a little stretching of the metaphor) was W, the cocky cowboy/village idiot from Texas by way of upper crust New England. He’s the common man. He’s inarticulate. He’s sincere. That’s why people back then liked him. The “antagonist” was Saddam. He was obviously evil because he was swarthy and had a mustache. And it didn’t matter to many Americans that there was absolutely no link between Saddam and the events of 9/11. They believed it. We went to war, and you know how that’s turned out.

Also easy to sell was Obama’s narrative of hope and change. These themes are often used by politicians trying to oust the incumbent, especially if the incumbent has really f**ked things up. Obama came across as a boy wonder who would, by virtue of his impeccable credentials and his charisma, lead the country to a new era of collaboration. His message was never anything close to the claim that we would have four more years of centrism and wishy-washy policies, and yet that’s exactly what we’re getting with Obama. Many of his moves have been Clintonian (from Cabinet picks to his position on healthcare), but the narrative that he created on the campaign trail was as far from Clinton as it could get.

This leads me to my last point. If we look at the current climate crisis, we see a political battle unfolding. The winner will create the most effective narrative. Conservatives often vote against environmental causes because they see regulation as too much government intervention. (There are many holes with this way of thinking, but I’ll save them for your imagination.) Because of this, for many conservatives, these regulations are a non-issue: they simply will not favor more regulation. However, much of middle America finds regulations fairly neutral (provided they don’t raise taxes or end up costing them too much money in other ways). The only way that Americans in our current political/cultural moment will make any sacrifices whatsoever is with a compelling narrative. As I see it, there are two ways to get Americans to take global climate change (GCC) seriously and begin to give up fossil fuels: 1) Scare the crap out of them by painting a dire picture about impending environmental catastrophes. 2) Appeal to their sympathies for cute little animals that will die if we don’t do something. Neither of these strategies have been all that effective. If I were an ace political strategist, I’d have great plan to get people to care about the environment. But I’m not, so, sadly, I don’t.

I care about the environment for really selfish reasons. The narrative I believe in involves the possible future that will affect my daughter. She’s only a year old, but I am already concerned that the worst effects of GCC will hit her generation pretty hard. I worry about what life will be like for her when she’s forty or fifty in the late 21st century. I may still be alive by then, but I’ll have already lived a fairly full life. If GCC results in a 20-50% species loss or increased incidents of drought, hurricanes, or other extreme weather, the lives of our children will be qualitatively different from ours. This is not a political narrative. It’s a real possibility. What scares me, what ought to be a matter of national security, is that the lives of our children are in real danger if even a handful of the predictions made by reputable scientists are right. Global climate change cannot be a villain the way that Islamic extremists can. GCC doesn’t wear a beard and a turban. But I’m much more scared of it than I am of another Al-Qaeda attack on US soil. I’d love to find a narrative that can push people’s buttons on this issue, but the truth is that the facts are scary enough. But people don’t want facts. They’re too busy looking for more stories.

New Look, Same Butter

Posted in Chit chat on July 9, 2009 by Mort the Sport

If you’ve been to Butter, Not Guns before, you may notice some changes. Please, feel free to leave some commentary about our new look.

I hope you don’t mind…

Posted in Chit chat on June 7, 2009 by Mort the Sport

I added a few things and slightly altered the subtitle of the blog. Gee, I didn’t realize that using WordPress would be so, well, easy.