Tagged: politics

Wild Coincidence

Big KnifeOn politics, we may not see eye to eye, but I’m still a fan of the Governator!  What’s not to love?   Arnie knows how to handle a knife.  The Terminator kicks ass.  And, above all, his pickup lines can’t be beat!  My personal favorite is six words of pure captivation:

I want to penetrate your body.

Go low and slow, with the trademark Austro-Hungarian accent, pulling “body” into a pair of separate utterances – baw and dee – otherwise, it doesn’t translate!  Also, to maximize success, win four Mr. Universe titles beforehand.

Earlier this October, Schwarzenegger and a gala of local Democrats intersected, by chance, at a San Francisco hotel.  Always the prankster, the Governator crashed the party, where, inexplicably, former councilman Aaron Peskin invited him onstage.  In the ensuing hell that broke loose, California Assembly member Tom Ammiano delivered assorted pleasantries, including “you lie!” as Arnold took the podium, and “kiss my gay ass!” on his way out.

A few days later, seemingly punitively, Arnie vetoed Ammiano-sponsored State Assembly Bill 1176, an inoffensive piece of legislation concerning the finances of the Port Of San Francisco.  As sometimes happens, he issued a statement that explained why, a portion of which is reproduced below:

Veto Statement for AB 1176

Veto Statement for AB 1176

We’ve highlighted the letters on the left margin, that, when read from top to bottom, spell a not-so-nice phrase.  Holy moly!  Did the Governator really mean that?

A Schwarzenegger spokesman calls it a “weird coincidence.”  But statistical experts disagree and have determined the odds of those words appearing at random: approximately one in 10,000,000.  Tsk tsk, Arnold!

However, hold the phones, for the creative insulter has a variety of tools at his disposal.  “FU” is great, but merely one of many pairings of Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words with pronouns.  There’s the milder, classic options: Damn You, Bite Me, etc.  Go homophobic, and you’ve got Fag Hag and a slew of filthier slurs.  And there’s more — all together, by my rough estimates, two-hundred-or-so foul and/or demeaning phrases of seven letters or less, depending upon the context.

Given that, and the Governator’s prodigious press output, we calculate the chance of him issuing an inadvertent insult, vertically along the left margin, in some document, over the span of a year, at about one in 50.  Still improbable, yes, but not one in 10 million, either.

For truly shocking levels of unintentional rudeness, go global!  From the billions of paragraphs created each day, an accidental left-letter insult is born once a minute.  Generalizing a bit, and counting what’s spelled in the verticals and diagonals throughout the entire text, an unplanned vulgarity enters the world every second!

Viewed as a “word search,” the Internet becomes a vast, angry sea, foaming with unpremeditated abuse and profanity!  Can someone upgrade their content filters to “bleep” this kind of thing, ASAP?  Please?!?!

Quick, Ammiano, draft some legislation to that effect, and Arnold, sign it this time!  We’ve got to save the children!

Gerryminder

The Gallup folks recently ranked Congressional districts across the nation on the criteria of well-being, and California’s 14th, encompassing the tony enclaves of the western Silicon Valley, topped the list.

My own district, which abuts the 14th to the south, also harbors lots of apparently happy people - the kind that tend to exercise a lot and eat vegetarian and make love in yurts and refer to where they live as “Paradise” and stuff like that.  Intrigued, I pulled up my district’s stats and a map of its boundaries from the National Atlas’ handy 110th Congress catalogue to see how it compared.

A quick glance at the map of California caused my forehead skin to involuntarily crinkle.  The boundaries of some of the districts were obviously hinky - in a geographically-distorted sort of way.  My curiosity piqued, I pored over maps of the other states.

Nine years into the 21st century, I’d thought that gerrymandering, the act of drawing voting districts to unfairly influence the political process, had long been dead and buried.  But, apparently, the rumors of its demise have been greatly exaggerated.

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Illinois' 4th District

In a Miss Gerrymander pageant, our judges would select four states for the finals: Illinois, Texas, Maryland, and North Carolina.  Each has a compelling claim to the tiara: Illinois for the exquisitely headphone-shaped 4th district, Texas for the full-scale and systematic disenfranchisement of urban voters, Maryland for maintaining a consistently-high level of bulbousness, and North Carolina for the baldfaced racial motivations of the 12th district.

North Carolina's 6th District, where it meets the 12th and 13th Districts.

North Carolina's 6th District, where it meets the 12th and 13th Districts.

Amongst our finalists, we find that North Carolina consistently draws our attentions with its multitude of breathtaking endowments.  We hope that it’s not inappropriate to say that we can’t keep our eyes off its disjointed 6th and 13th districts, both consisting of two geographically separate parts that jump over each other at a single point where the corners meet, checkboard style.  We describe such aberrant flouting of the contiguous requirement with two words - positively magnetic!

In honor of such scantily-clad monkey business, offensive to decent citizens and mathematicians everywhere, we hereby crown North Carolina as Miss Gerrymander 2009!

We realize that not every state is blessed with the advantages of a corrupt political regime.  So, in the interests of charity, let’s spread some love to the ugly ducklings with our Booby Contest For Simpletons.  For the most straighforward districting of any state containing a major metro area, Minnesota receives an Honorable Mention. Georgia, a previous contender for the Gerrymander tiara, wins the award for Most Improved.  And to kudos to Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, Alaska, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, Guam, South Dakota, Wyoming, and the Virgin Islands, for keeping it simple, stupid!  Gold stars for the bunch of you!