Archive for ‘Politics’

October 25, 2020

Nanny State

seat belt law

Nanny state is a term of British origin that conveys a view that a government or its policies are overprotective or interfering unduly with personal choice. The term likens government to the role that a nanny has in child rearing. An early use of the term comes from Conservative British Member of Parliament Iain Macleod in 1965 edition.

The term was popularized by the British and American tobacco industry – especially by their touring celebrity-lobbyists Bernard Levin and Auberon Waugh – and later by PM Margaret Thatcher. Some laws considered nannying at the time, such as mandatory seatbelts and smoking bans, were later accepted as common sense.

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October 16, 2020

Rotwelsch

Thieves' cant

Rotwelsch [rut-velsh] (German: ‘beggar’s foreign language’) or Gaunersprache (German: ‘crook’s language’) is a secret language, a cant or thieves’ argot, spoken by groups (primarily marginalized groups) in southern Germany and Switzerland. The language is based primarily on German.

Rotwelsch was formerly common among travelling craftspeople and vagrants. The language is built on a strong substratum of German, but contains numerous words from other languages, notably from various German dialects, including Yiddish, as well as from Romany languages, notably Sintitikes. There are also significant influences from Judeo-Latin, the ancient Jewish language spoken in the Roman Empire.

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October 12, 2020

Brooks Brothers Riot

hanging chad

The Brooks Brothers riot was a demonstration at a meeting of election canvassers in Miami-Dade County, Florida, on November 22, 2000, during a recount of votes made during the 2000 United States presidential election, with the goal of shutting down the recount.

According to investigative reporter Greg Palast, author of ‘The Best Democracy Money Can Buy’ in 2002, conservative lobbyist Roger Stone organized the demonstration, and political activist Matt Schlapp was the on-site leader. At least a half dozen of the demonstrators were paid by George W. Bush’s recount committee, and a number of them went on to take jobs in the incoming Bush administration.

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October 8, 2020

Copaganda

Officer Friendly

Copaganda, a portmanteau of ‘cop’ and ‘propaganda,’ is the phenomenon in which news media and other social institutions promote celebratory portrayals of police officers with the intent of swaying public opinion for the benefit of police departments and law enforcement. Copaganda has been defined by cultural critics as ‘media efforts to flatter police officers and spare them from skeptical coverage’ and ‘pieces of media that are so scarily disconnected from the reality of cops that they end up serving as offbeat recruitment ads.’

The term has gained more popularity in the wake of the George Floyd protests as the United States’ media structure publicly reckons with its role in perpetuating overly fawning or unrealistic portrayals of the police, which activists believe has contributed to downplaying the effects of police brutality in the United States.

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September 12, 2020

Blowin’ in the Wind

The Gaslight Cafe

Blowin’ in the Wind‘ is a song written by Bob Dylan in 1962 and released as a single and on his album ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’ in 1963. It has been described as a protest song, and poses a series of rhetorical questions about peace, war, and freedom. The refrain ‘The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind’ has been described as ‘impenetrably ambiguous: either the answer is so obvious it is right in your face, or the answer is as intangible as the wind.’

The song was published for the first time in May 1962, in the sixth issue of Broadside, the magazine founded by Pete Seeger and devoted to topical songs. The theme may have been taken from a passage in folk singer Woody Guthrie’s autobiography, ‘Bound for Glory,’ in which Guthrie compared his political sensibility to newspapers blowing in the winds of New York City streets and alleys. Dylan was certainly familiar with Guthrie’s work; his reading of it had been a major turning point in his intellectual and political development.

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August 15, 2020

Karen

Central Park birdwatching incident

Karen is a pejorative term used in the United States and other English-speaking countries for a person perceived as entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what is appropriate or necessary. A common stereotype is that of a white woman who uses her privilege to demand her own way at the expense of others.

Depictions also include demanding to ‘speak to the manager,’ anti-vaccination beliefs, being racist, or sporting a particular bob cut hairstyle. As of 2020, the term was increasingly being used as a general-purpose term of disapproval for middle-aged white women.

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July 1, 2020

Chief Wahoo

Chief Wahoo

Chief Wahoo was the primary logo of the Ohio-based Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise the Cleveland Indians. As part of the larger Native American mascot controversy, it drew criticism from many people including Native Americans, social scientists, and religious and educational groups, but remains popular among many fans of the team. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and Indians’ owner Paul Dolan announced that Chief Wahoo would no longer appear on uniforms or stadium signs following the end of the 2018 season. The team’s primary logo is now a block ‘C.’

The logo was last worn by the Indians in a loss to the Houston Astros on October 8 in the 2018 American League Division Series. News outlets noted the irony of the logo’s final appearance being on Indigenous Peoples’ Day/Columbus Day.

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June 29, 2020

Testilying

Brady Cop by Jaik Puppyteeth

Police perjury (or testilying in U.S. police slang) is the act of a police officer giving false testimony. It is typically used in a criminal trial to ‘make the case’ against a defendant believed by the police to be guilty when irregularities during the suspect’s arrest or search threaten to result in acquittal.

It also can be extended further to encompass substantive misstatements of fact for the purpose of convicting those whom the police believe to be guilty, procedural misstatements to ‘justify’ a search and seizure, or even to include statements to frame an innocent citizen.

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June 25, 2020

Boogaloo Bois

2020 boogaloo killings

The boogaloo movement, adherents to which are often referred to as ‘boogaloo boys’ or ‘boogaloo bois,’ is a loosely organized American far-right extremist movement. Participants generally identify as a libertarian citizen-militia and say they are preparing for, or seek to incite, the ‘boogaloo,’ a second American Civil War that will overthrow the United States government.

While use of the term has been found on the fringe imageboard website 4chan since 2012, it did not come to widespread attention until late 2019. Adherents use the term (including variations, so as to avoid social media crackdowns) to refer to violent uprisings against the federal government or left-wing political opponents, often anticipated to follow government confiscation of firearms.

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June 21, 2020

Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone

George Floyd

The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), Free Capitol Hill, the Capitol Hill Organized Protest, and the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP), is an occupation protest and self-declared autonomous zone in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. The zone, originally covering six city blocks and a park, was established by George Floyd protesters on June 8, 2020 after the Seattle Police Department (SPD) vacated its East Precinct building.

Local governance in the zone is decentralized, with the goal of creating a neighborhood without police. Purported demands associated with the zone include rent control, the reversal of gentrification, the abolition or defunding of police, funding of community health, and releasing prisoners serving time for marijuana-related offenses or resisting arrest, with expungement of their records.

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June 11, 2020

Gypsy Cop

Tulia

In law enforcement in the United States, a gypsy cop is a police officer who frequently transfers between police departments, having a record of misconduct or unsuitable job performance. The term is slang, referencing the stereotypical nomadic lifestyle of the Romani people, pejoratively ‘Gypsies.’ Some dictionaries recommend against using the word gypsy as a modifier with negative connotations, because such use could be considered a slur against the Romani people.

In use since the 1980s, the phrase entered public parlance in the 2000s after the infamous Tulia drug stings, where itinerant lawman Tom Coleman allegedly set up innocent people, most of them black, as part of a long-term undercover operation.

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June 9, 2020

Guano

Guano Islands Act

Guano [gwah-noh] is the accumulated excrement of seabirds and bats. As a manure, guano is a highly effective fertilizer due to its exceptionally high content of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium: key nutrients essential for plant growth. Guano was also, to a lesser extent, sought for the production of gunpowder and other explosive materials.

The 19th-century guano trade played a pivotal role in the development of modern input-intensive farming, but its demand began to decline after the discovery of the Haber–Bosch process of nitrogen fixing led to the production of synthetic fertilizers. The demand for guano spurred the human colonization of remote bird islands in many parts of the world, resulting in some of the first examples of U.S. colonialism and the expansion of the British Empire.

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