Simple Observations

* Republicans are afraid of Ashley Judd because she has name recognition and can raise a ton of money, so they’re giving her a preview of the two year shitshow (slut, heathen) that would accompany her candidacy. Remember that McConnell had a pretty tight race against a monied nobody in 2008, so facing a monied somebody scares him.

* Jeb Bush’s wimp out on immigration is predictable when you consider that anything that comes out of his piehole is aimed at people delusional enough to believe that the name “Bush” isn’t electoral poison. We call those people “core Republican primary voters and donors”.

* In a just world, Rick Scott and Jan Brewer’s decisions to say “just kidding” about rejecting Medicaid expansion under Obamacare should cost both of those morons their jobs and expose them to hundreds of angry white men wearing “don’t tread on me” t-shirts. Instead, it looks like the Chamber of Commerce is going to save Jan’s bacon, while, as the X-rays clearly show, Scott was broken long ago.






102 replies
  1. 1
    jibeaux says:

    I like how the McConnell campaign publicly proclaims they’re not worried about her, while they’re sending out 26 tweets in a row about her.

  2. 2
    raven says:

    Jeb has retracted the rejection.

  3. 3
  4. 4
    General Stuck says:

    Some of these recent polls ought to scare the bejeevers out of the wingnuts, enough to start doing things different, but the dynamic of crazy has its own rhythm and won’t allow for it.

    A distinct majority of the voting public seem to be hardening into republicans suck on both a specific issue level, and in general, and are witholding the usual Mulligans for the white party . To the point that a perceived liberal and Watergate hero can’t make a dent. So it’s buckle up, the clown car will run its course and we can sort the victims later, before moving on.

  5. 5
    JPL says:

    @raven: Since he is speaking at CPAC, he’ll have the opportunity to retract the retraction.

  6. 6
    mistermix says:

    @raven: That piece I linked to was updated post-“retraction” and points out that Bush’s book backs off his prior support for citizenship. In other words, the book does change his position, but he’s going around blowing smoke to try to have it both ways (being a moderate Republican in front of the MSM while taking a harder line for consumption by donors, etc)

  7. 7
    Suffern ACE says:

    @raven: Well, I guess that’s progress. Normally, they’d go on a venue like the Today show and espouse the moderate position and go to a place like CPAC and talk about the threat to civilization all those Spanish speakers represent.

  8. 8
    jibeaux says:

    @General Stuck:

    To the point that a perceived liberal and Watergate hero can’t make a dent.

    Of course, he was trying to make that dent with a, well, let’ just go with falafel.
    Seriously, that was so self-evidently not a “threat” it just made Woodward look not quite tough enough for Sesame Street.

  9. 9
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    kinda funny to see the alleged smart Bush, and one of the alleged “reformers”, caught up in twisting and spinning and trying to figure out how to appease the Tea Baggers and still maintain the adoration of the Village

  10. 10
    jibeaux says:

    @mistermix: Oh good, Romney II: Electric Bugaloo. Also This One’s Named Bush.

  11. 11
    Petorado says:

    Repubs in Iowa want to make divorce harder to get, in part because of this:

    Representative Gassman said the issue is “near and dear” to his heart because his daughter and son-in-law recently divorced, putting his granddaughter at risk.
    “There’s a 16-year-old girl in this whole mix now. Guess what? What are the possibilities of her being more promiscuous?” Gassman said. “What are the possibilities of all these other things surrounding her life that a 16-year-old girl, with hormones raging, can get herself into?”

    What a crazy ass attitude that government should micromanage peoples lives but do nothing about the macroeconomic workings of a nation.

  12. 12
    General Stuck says:

    @Petorado:

    What a crazy ass attitude that government should micromanage peoples lives but do nothing about the macroeconomic workings of a nation.

    The republican id is let loose, and it’s all day Forbidden Planet.

  13. 13
    aimai says:

    Booman Tribune had a nice piece on whether Judd would prove to be a deft politician in the sense that constituents actually respond and vote for. It reminded me of this priceless description from my new favorite book “You’re Married to Her?” about Ira Wood’s running for Selectman in a small Cape Cod town. A stranger, a newcomer, and a nice frizzy haired Jewish Boy in a town previously run entirely by old timers and locals:


    As to the issues, I was advised to avoid them and concentrate on the one strength that differentiated me from the other canddidates, an unctuous desperation to be liked. It turned out that no one actually cared about my political positions, only that I listened to theirs, a strategy antithetical to Mrs. Hammer’s [one of the other candidates] who viewed every question as a rare opportunity to converse with someone more than 10 yeras old and whose every answer sounded like a warning that Jesus was watching to see if you wahsed your hands after using the potty. The oysterman [other candidate] was armed with statistics about the enviornmental damage caused by tghe building of houses by all the new people in town but this only pissed off all the new people in town, while the natives’ attitude was summed up by one old man who said, “All that may be, but your great uncle knocked up my grandpa’s sister afore he ran off to World War One, so you can go to hell.” “

  14. 14
    Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn says:

    @Petorado: “Yay, Grandpa basically called me a wanton slut in public!”

    Yer there cherished Family Values(TM) at work.

  15. 15
    max says:

    Jeb Bush’s wimp out on immigration is predictable when you consider that anything that comes out of his piehole is aimed at people delusional enough to believe that the name “Bush” isn’t electoral poision.

    I’m stickin’ to my theory: the actual position of the upper-crust R’s since the 1990’s is way more guest workers, way fewer brown voters. Anything else is suckerbait. If you want anything other than that (amnesty!), you’ll have to beat the hell out of them to take it.

    Republicans are afraid of Ashley Judd because she has name recognition and can raise a ton of money, so they’re giving her a preview of the two year shitshow (slut, heathen) that would accompany her candidacy.

    I think we should just figure the campaign has started and the lady is going to need some money.

    should cost both of those morons their jobs and expose them to hundreds of angry white men wearing “don’t tread on me” t-shirts.

    Ah. Those two have principles! ‘ME ME ME ME ME ME!’

    max
    [‘The R’s should just cut out the middleman and make ‘MORE MONEY FOR RICH PEOPLE’ their actual slogan. But then who would have need Tucker Carlson?’]

  16. 16
    NonyNony says:

    @jibeaux:

    Oh good, Romney II: Electric Bugaloo. Also This One’s Named Bush.

    Feh. This is Bush III: The Bushening. The Bush family will change positions on anything in a heartbeat if it means clawing their way into power.

    Romney was like a direct-to-DVD Asylum Studios version of a Bush.

  17. 17

    I think an even bigger sticking point than the path to citizenship is the problem of how to handle future flows of immigrants. The current system is a maze and has not been updated since the mid 1960s. There is no easy path to getting a green card (i.e the immigrant visa which gives you permanent residency) for immigrants who have no family ties (a spouse or an immediate family member who is a US citizen). This is true for both high skilled and low skilled immigrants.

  18. 18
    the Conster says:

    It’s interesting that even Jeb is afraid of the teatard morons – heckuva job Jebbie.

  19. 19
    Robin G. says:

    Also, Ashley Judd is pretty — and she’ll look prettier in a debate against Turtle McConnell. Maybe it shouldn’t matter, but it really, really does. (See: Palin, Sarah.)

  20. 20
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @NonyNony: Charlie Pierce has a too-much-to-quote piece on this very topic, and a healthy reminder that the Terri Schiavo fiasco, which I think is what drove our host out of the R camp for good, wasn’t just a cable TV fight. And another one on how the Village’s mainstreaming of RW crazee during the Clenis affair made it close enough to steal for Dumbya. I hate how short our collective memory is, especially our Village Betters.

    On a not totally unrelated note, I flipped on CNBC a few minutes ago to see the numbers on this record-breaking DJIA, and there was Rick Santelli with a white board. I had it on mute so I don’t know what he was yelling and hopping about, but I feel safe in guessing he wasn’t pointing out that all the bullshit about Obama’s hostility to “business” is pretty much bullshit.

  21. 21
    Cassidy says:

    I can’t wait to see Jeb in his “Beach Life” Florida garb, to include the loafers with no socks, trying to impress all the jeebus crazy wingers.

  22. 22
    Eric U. says:

    I am starting to see a wider recognition of the fact that the republicans are the punchline to a joke that nobody thinks is funny.

  23. 23
    Petorado says:

    @Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn:

    A grandfather fantasizing about a granddaughter’s sex life is pretty creepy. “Grandpa, why are you looking at me like that?”

  24. 24
    Roger Moore says:

    @JPL:

    Since he is speaking at CPAC, he’ll have the opportunity to retract the retraction.

    Is it too early to start waving flip-flops and throwing waffles?

  25. 25
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Ashley Judd once served on the Starship Enterprise.

    This means she pwns the vile Pakled-Ferengi hybrid McConnell.

  26. 26
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Petorado: “Grandpa, what big eyes you have.”

  27. 27
    jibeaux says:

    @Petorado: I admit I don’t speak conservative, but “My daughter should have to stay with a man she doesn’t love any more because otherwise my granddaughter will be a slut” just flat doesn’t make sense.

  28. 28
    Roger Moore says:

    @max:

    I’m stickin’ to my theory: the actual position of the upper-crust R’s since the 1990′s is way more guest workers, way fewer brown voters.

    No way. They don’t want legal guest workers, they want undocumented workers. Legal guest workers have rights and complain about stuff like minimum wage and sexual harassment. Undocumented workers have no rights, so you can totally screw them- sometimes literally- with no consequences.

  29. 29
    JPL says:

    @jibeaux: You are over analyzing.

  30. 30
    Roger Moore says:

    @NonyNony:

    This is Bush III: The Bushening Sickening.

    FTFY.

  31. 31
    Redshirt says:

    @Roger Moore: I think this is the thread you have to follow for ALL republican “policies”. Everything boils back down to slaves – or, getting the most production for the least amount of money.

    Globalization, the Drug War, Immigration, Taxes, War, on and on, it’s sadly all about cheap freaking labor.

  32. 32
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roger Moore:

    DING DING DING DING DING.

    They want undocumented “illegals”, simply because they can be treated like shit with no consequence, the way they want to treat ALL workers.

  33. 33
    Tripod says:

    They’re putting my BiL on furlough.

    I just called my congressman and told the call taker they needed to stop acting like petulant jack-asses and govern.

  34. 34
    Roger Moore says:

    @jibeaux:

    “My daughter should have to stay with a man she doesn’t love any more because otherwise my granddaughter will be a slut” just flat doesn’t make sense.

    That’s just because you can’t speak in tongues. If you could, you’d understand and believe exactly what he’s saying.

  35. 35
    jrg says:

    @JPL: I agree. There doesn’t have to be any sort of logical, causal connection for a “conservative” to link 2 things together. It’s always “X scares me, and I don’t like Y, so X causes Y”. Purely emotional.

    Like “gays caused 9/11” or “race mixing is communism”. That’s just how idiots think.

  36. 36
    scav says:

    @jibeaux: Sometimes I hear it along the lines of “If I had to endure a loveless marriage then everyone must endure a loveless marriage because my life is the best of all possible worlds because everyone else is doing the same!” Circular proof I know, but that seems a constant glitch in the system. Right up with “Homosexuality is so unnatural and repulsive that merely hearing about the possibility will turn everybody gay!”

  37. 37
    Roger Moore says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    It’s not just that they get to treat undocumented workers that way. It’s that the undocumented workers serve as a threat to legal immigrants and citizens that they need to accept crap working conditions or the MOTUs will drop them like hot rocks and hire people who are willing to tolerate them. It’s like offshoring, but for service jobs that can’t be offshored effectively.

  38. 38
    Tripod says:

    Jeb is a loser.

  39. 39
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @scav:

    It’s amazing how they cannot stop thinking about the icky gay sex. Ever.

    “Puritanism – the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” – H.L. Mencken

  40. 40
    maya says:

    Let’s see. A little math..(carry the 1,divide by 4)… We can have Jenna Bush-Hager up and running for the presidency in 2020. Weeeee

    Added bonus: She knows where all those WMDs are hidden in the Oval Office.

  41. 41

    @jibeaux:
    This is the 1950s fundie line. ‘Premarital sex is bad, so bad that all slippery slope arguments are justified.’ My mother described how this was their objection to abortion, because they wanted a world where ‘you play, you pay.’ This included forcing young men to marry any girl he got pregnant. They really hated unauthorized sexytimes.

    I’m not surprised they’re going back to this. They’re retreating all across the board to 50s positions. The young folks today don’t just find it offensive and threatening, they find it insane.

  42. 42
    Shrillhouse says:

    Since he is speaking at CPAC, he’ll have the opportunity to retract the retraction.

    I’ll look forward to Jeb’s passionate advocacy of a path to citizenship, then.

    I suspect I’ll be able to hear the tortured cries of “RINO!!” even up here in SoshulizedMedicineStan.

  43. 43
    Mister Harvest says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: If it wasn’t for the crapload of horrible legislation we may get on the way, my reaction would be, “Please, by all means, tell us more about your fascinating opinions on sex, rape, and abortion. We’re all ears.”

  44. 44
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Tripod: Good for you. If more people were doing the same, perhaps the obstinate politicians would feel pressure and actually do something positive.

  45. 45
    The Red Pen says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Ashley Judd once served on the Starship Enterprise.

    She appeared in the episode “Darmok.” This featured an alien race who spoke entirely in references to mythology, so even the universal translator couldn’t figure out what they meant.

    I think the aliens were called the Republiconians or something.

  46. 46
    MattF says:

    There’s a WaPo story this morning about how the ‘balance the budget in ten years and cut taxes for the elite’ pledge might, just, somehow, conceivably, ultimately look bad to voters. Tsk. And Oopsie.

  47. 47
    Cassidy says:

    @jibeaux: It helps if you stop thinking of anything with a vagina as a person that can maek their own decisions.

  48. 48
    bemused says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Easy for them to say, “You play, you pay”. They never pay because they know they are the chosen who get forgiven.

  49. 49
    shortstop says:

    @jibeaux: I wonder if his daughter’s husband didn’t leave her. And the only way he can think of punishing the bastard is by publicly speculating on the possible sex life of a 16-year-old girl to whom he’s related. Creepy doesn’t even begin to describe it.

    @Villago Delenda Est: Because I am following (and helping in a small way with promoting) the Illinois marriage equality bill, which may pass the house later this week, I happened to be reading the National Organization for Marriage’s Facebook page last night. I was crying with laughter at the lovingly detailed descriptions of “deviance,” “perversion” and “abomination” that were going on in the comments. How people can type so much with one hand is beyond me.

  50. 50
    Robin G. says:

    @Roger Moore:

    No way. They don’t want legal guest workers, they want undocumented workers slaves.

    FTFY.

  51. 51
    shortstop says:

    @bemused: Or have the money to avoid being found out.

  52. 52
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Robin G.:

    Yes.

    These people are parasites. Deal with them accordingly.

  53. 53

    @bemused:
    It is a hateful and cruel philosophy. I’m just describing its historical context for those who seem surprised.

  54. 54
    kindness says:

    Tucker Carlson is afraid of Ashley Judd because of the awesomness of her hoo-hoo’s, or something like that apparently.

    In all honesty I think Tucker is on to something there. Were I to live in the wonderful (god forsaken political wilderness) state of Tennessee I certainly would much rather pull my handle for Ashley Judd over that mouldering wrinkled closet case McConnel any election day of the week.

  55. 55
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @The Red Pen:

    That’s the hybrid Pakled-Ferengi race I was referring to.

  56. 56
    Robin G. says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I truly think that, in 160 years, they haven’t recovered from the fact that they’re required to pay their workers.

  57. 57
    bemused says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Yes, and I was just adding to the context. I’m sure they truly do believe they have a right to a “moral” free pass.

  58. 58
    Yutsano says:

    @The Red Pen: Heh.

    She played a character named Robin Lefler, and she actually came back for several episodes. I think there were rumours about having her do more but her movie career was taking off about then as well.

    /nerd

  59. 59
    Kay says:

    So, obviously, Jeb Bush is running.

  60. 60
    Roger Moore says:

    @Robin G.:
    I think they know they aren’t going to get slaves, at least not in the numbers they need, so they’ve lowered their sights a bit. What I find most frustrating about the whole situation is that the people who hate illegal immigration and want to adopt the most punitive approach possible toward undocumented immigrants don’t seem to realize that they’re playing into the hands of employers. Increasing the penalties to undocumented immigrants without doing the same for their employers just gives the employers more leverage and paradoxically makes undocumented immigrants more attractive as employees. If we really want to do something about illegal immigration, we have to attack the demand side of things rather than supply.

  61. 61
    Cassidy says:

    @kindness:

    I certainly would much rather pull my handle for Ashley Judd…

    Lots of guys feel that way.

  62. 62
    Robin G. says:

    @Roger Moore: I think that a company caught with undocumented workers should be required by law to sponsor and pay for those workers’ immigration expenses.

  63. 63
    Hoodie says:

    @Robin G.: Guest workers are the next best thing to slaves, arguably better because you don’t have to feed ’em to protect your investment. It’s like indentured servitude without ultimate release. Just give ’em pink drivers’ licenses to make sure they don’t get uppity.

  64. 64
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roger Moore:

    What I find most frustrating about the whole situation is that the people who hate illegal immigration and want to adopt the most punitive approach possible toward undocumented immigrants don’t seem to realize that they’re playing into the hands of employers.

    These people are natural serfs. They are unfit for American citizenship.

    In marked contrast to the “illegal” immigrants who simply want to have a shot at the American dream.

  65. 65
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Robin G.:

    Until the executives of these companies start going to jail, nothing will change. It will simply be a “cost of doing business”.

    Time to get medieval on their asses.

  66. 66
    Cassidy says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:…with pikes and boiling pitch.

  67. 67
    The Red Pen says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    That’s the hybrid Pakled-Ferengi race I was referring to.

    I wondered what that was about. I completely forgot that they were Pakled-Ferengi.

    I didn’t particularly like that episode. All it did it point out that the universal translator should almost never work.

    (Much like most Treknology when exposed to even the slightest technical scrutiny.)

  68. 68

    Even if Ashley Judd doesn’t win the Senate race, every time some winger talks about her sluttyness and boobs, we win.

    I suspect she knows this.

    Bring it on.

  69. 69
    Roger Moore says:

    @Robin G.:
    I think that any undocumented immigrant who successfully rats out his employer should be bumped to the head of the queue for a green card.

  70. 70
    Redshirt says:

    @The Red Pen: UT chat – why shouldn’t it work? Trek posits that most aliens are related and thus share a common biology, and thus language skills. Languages all follow patterns, and so with super advanced tech the UT seems like a logical tool that could work.

  71. 71
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @The Other Bob:

    “They’re real, and they’re spectacular!”

  72. 72
    Joey Maloney says:

    @Petorado: Wow. And how thrilled must that girl be to have her grandfather speculating publicly on the traffic level in her coochie?

  73. 73
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: But she kissed Wesley. I hope her position on that has changed.

  74. 74
    WereBear says:

    @The Red Pen: (Much like most Treknology when exposed to even the slightest technical scrutiny.)

    Well, maybe the explanation is pure Unobtanium, but the end-objects turn out to be not only logical and possible, but among us as we speak.

  75. 75
    gene108 says:

    her a preview of the two year shitshow (slut, heathen)

    (a) Warn us that the ‘heathen’ link up top goes to the Daily Caller
    (b) No one at the Daily Caller has ever bothered reading Tolle, with regards to what Tolle’s preaching.
    (c) It’s pretty non-controversial, with the caveat that you assume solving problems without invoking Jesus would not be controversial. A situation that is controversial for many so-called Christians and/or Republicans trying to get the Christian vote.

    I really would love to see what a flamin’ liberal like Judd could do in Kentucky.

    The Republicans ran Schwarzenegger in CA because he’s a celeb, with name recognition.

    I’d say turn about is fair play.

  76. 76
    johnny aquitard says:

    @Petorado:

    “There’s a 16-year-old girl in this whole mix now. Guess what? What are the possibilities of her being more promiscuous?” Gassman said.

    My god, these people are obsessed with controlling womens’ sexuality.

    The first thing this pervy prude thinks of regarding the welfare for a female minor teen whose parents are divorcing is how often she’s gonna fuck.

  77. 77
    Redshirt says:

    @Another Halocene Human: Don’t be Wesley hating! Kid got a bad rap. Also, Wil Wheaton is awesome.

  78. 78
    Cassidy says:

    @Redshirt:

    Kid got a bad rap script.

    Although, that describes the whole show.

  79. 79
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Those asshats couldn’t hack it as a serf. Pff. More like petty bourgeois dumbshits who will be first against the wall when the revolution comes. Oh, there will be those that are more deserving, but when the rabble lose their fear of regicide, the ones loyally standing in the way of the big prize because they can conceive of no other universe will be tossed under the chariot with relish.

  80. 80
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @WereBear: Still waiting on that transparent aluminum.

    Would come in handy on those iPod screens that shatter so easily. :)

  81. 81
    Yutsano says:

    @Cassidy: Patrick Stewart, to his credit, relished every second of being Picard. But I’m certain it was nothing compared to the Shakespeare he lives and breathes every day. There never was an explanation for the slightly Scottish accent however.

    Wesley was meant to be a twit. I think Wil did the best job he could there.

  82. 82
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Redshirt: Well, when I was 14, Wesley trying to kiss Robin made me want to puke! Also, too, Wil Wheaton’s blog had not yet been born.

    His was one of the first popular blogs (that wasn’t just cat pictures) although it was pretty immature when it started. His fans used to engage in Something-Awful/4chan-style raids on other websites. (Yeah, that’s right, /b/ didn’t invent that any more than it invented memes or the internet. Scriptkiddiez, and I do mean kiddiez, need to get over themselves.)

  83. 83
    Cassidy says:

    @Yutsano: I could never get into Star Trek. No Aluminum Falcon, no Luke Solo, and the Borg were a horrible replacement for Vader. Seriously, what kind of Star Wars tv show was this? Not even an X-Wing? Complete fail.

  84. 84
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Yutsano: Someone named Jean-Luc Picard would obviously have a Scottish accent. Right?

  85. 85
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Yutsano: I saw an interview once where Stewart said he was shocked the way being on TV, specifically in sci-fi, had hurt his credibility as an actor in the US. In Britain, acting is acting.

  86. 86
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Yutsano: Just imagine if they had gone with Bob Justman’s suggestion that they make Wesley a girl. Roddenberry completely refused, as Wesley was supposed to be his self-insertion character. Yup, Wesley is a Mary Sue. I wouldn’t have minded Leslie Crusher kissing Robin at all, I think.

  87. 87
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    @Roger Moore: geez I wonder if the same thing is true for the economy as a whole.

    I know, I know… crazy talk.

  88. 88
    Redshirt says:

    Remember future Wesley?

  89. 89
    scav says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Another thing I love about actors in the UK is how many of them continue to do stuff on the radio — there’s some stellar audio drama / comedy to listen to.

  90. 90
    The Red Pen says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    “They’re real, and they’re spectacular!”

    Christina Applegate, who lost both breasts to cancer, has a t-shirt that says, “Yeah, they’re fake, but my reals ones tried to kill me.”

  91. 91
    Roger Moore says:

    @Redshirt:

    Trek posits that most aliens are related and thus share a common biology, and thus language skills. Languages all follow patterns, and so with super advanced tech the UT seems like a logical tool that could work.

    Because one of the patterns they follow is to make cultural references as a way of compressing information. If you lack the cultural references, you lose the meaning they’re associated with. We don’t do this to the same extent as the aliens in “Darmok”, but we do it enough that we can baffle other English speakers when we use cultural references that they don’t share. People on this very blog are complain about this all the time. Think of DougJ’s song-based post titles, the need for the Balloon-Juice lexicon, and the repeated complaints that wingnuts are speaking a different language because they’re referring to wingnut talking points that we aren’t up on.

  92. 92
    Mike in NC says:

    Jeb Bush will be the savior of the GOP. I read that on the Internet so it must be true.

  93. 93
    Redshirt says:

    @Roger Moore: OK, I’m gonna nerd out.

    First, for any known language (Vulcan, Klingon, Spanish), a UT is easily possible. We’re close to having them now.

    For an unknown language, IIRC, in Trek they had to get samples of the new language before the UT would work. It’s a fictional invention, of course, but there’s reason to believe this could work. I saw a linguist who developed software which analyzed any language based on pattern repetition – the idea being every language is based on repetitions. Of course of letters, but also words. For example, consider the repetitious use of the word “The”. Thus, patterns are quickly deduced.

    With Trek tech, these patterns are then translated into English. I’m sure it had to be fined tuned over time, though.

    The Darmok episode was an example of the UT being trumped by a very different way of communicating.

  94. 94
    The Red Pen says:

    @Redshirt:

    Languages all follow patterns, and so with super advanced tech the UT seems like a logical tool that could work.

    This is why you never make it back from away missions.

    So, let’s look at Japanese. Japanese grammar is incredibly simple, and there are a whopping three irregular verbs in the entire language. Simple, huh?

    The problem with auto-translating Japanese are:

    1. Like most languages, the idiomatic usage of words very common and cannot be deciphered cross-culturally. If you were trying to make a decision and I said, “50 steps, 100 steps,” you wouldn’t have any idea what I was talking about unless you knew Japanese idioms. Japanese also overloads its basic vocabulary a lot. “Kore” means “that,” but if someone says, “How’s that?” or just “that?” they’re asking you about your mistress.

    2. While formal Japanese has clear language rules, spoken Japanese is almost entirely devoid of them. In fact, it is almost word-order independent (or “non-configurational”) when spoken. Non-configurational languages such as Walpiri (which has this syntax formally) can omit a lot of things assuming that the listener will fill in the blanks. Lots of languages do this and the rules for filling in the blanks tend to be culture bound.

    Let’s say you run into a Klingon speaker. That should be easy because Klingon steals its grammar from the South American Q’chua language. It takes these concepts and tweaks them to fit the Klingon culture and mindset. For example, verb conjugation takes into account whether the subject is or is not capable of speech (IIRC).

    You might be able to figure this out based on a lot of examples, but the UT seldom needs any training (it would be annoying for the show if it did). But even if you did figure this out, how would you translate it? This reminds me of an anime movie I saw which had been subtitled by anime nerds. The subtitles had footnotes.

    The Universal Translator needs a footnote feature. This would also be hilarious.

  95. 95
    The Red Pen says:

    @Redshirt:

    For an unknown language, IIRC, in Trek they had to get samples of the new language before the UT would work

    Dear God, how little Star Trek have you watched?

    Every Star Trek: Voyager episode not centered on a spacial anomaly which changes time, starts with a first contact.

    Tuvok: Captain, we are being hailed.

    Janeway: On screen.

    Alien: Get off our lawn!

    Janeway: I am Captain Janeway of the star ship Voyager, and we need to cross your space to get to the other side.

    Alien: Very well, but first you must brings us A SPACE SHRUBBERY!

    No samples, just instant dialog.

  96. 96
    shortstop says:

    @The Red Pen: Hilarious.

  97. 97
    Roger Moore says:

    @Redshirt:

    The Darmok episode was an example of the UT being trumped by a very different way of communicating.

    The point is that this isn’t a very different way of communicating. We do this stuff all the damn time, but because we’re immersed in a common culture we miss how prevalent it is. We talk about Trojan Horses, sour grapes, Good Samaritans, pigs in pokes, elastic clauses, and bringing on the Brawndo, and we just sort of assume that our listeners will know what we’re talking about. Some of that stuff will translate across human cultures because the cultural referent has also been translated, but some of it is quite narrow. Unless you have access to the whole culture, you’re going to miss a lot of important stuff in ordinary speech.

  98. 98
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Yeah, but the Tamarians (the race in question) took the cultural metaphor to an extreme in everyday speech that is a quantum leap ahead of the references you cite. “Full speed ahead” was expressed in a manner such as “Admiral Halsey, his expectations met”…a metaphor that simply doesn’t register unless you’re fully immersed in the culture. It’s a full step beyond even idiom.

  99. 99
    Redshirt says:

    @The Red Pen: Yeah, but Voyager sucked.

    Let’s reflect on the similarity of technology on the far side of the galaxy – highly unlikely!

    I might be thinking of the horrid “Enterprise” and super linguist Hoshi.

    UT related Trek question: Are all the humans speaking English, or are they speaking their natural language and the UT is translating for everyone?

  100. 100
    The Red Pen says:

    @Redshirt:

    Yeah, but Voyager sucked.

    Mostly, yeah. For me, their greatest crime was introducing Species 8472 — a really freaky alien that was scarier than the Borg — and then having them turn themselves into humans who are not so bad once you get to know them. Someone should be doing hard time for this.

    I might be thinking of the horrid “Enterprise” and super linguist Hoshi.

    Ugh.

    UT related Trek question: Are all the humans speaking English, or are they speaking their natural language and the UT is translating for everyone?

    It’s rarely clear, but apparently, the post-TOS UT has the ability to change your perceptions. For example, in Babylon 5, you could hear the alien talking over the English machine translation. In several instances in Star Trek, people note how they hear their own native language.

    Except when you don’t. If a Klingon calls someone a p’tach, why do they hear “p’tach”? Also, could you have a married couple who literally do not speak the same language and literally don’t realize it? (Marriage counselor: Um, you guys need to turn off the UT and get Rosetta Stone.)

  101. 101
    Roger Moore says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    OK, they spoke only in cultural references rather than using them only part of the time. The point still stands. A translator that understands syntax but not culture will leave out whole levels of meaning that can be critical for real understanding.

    This isn’t something that’s limited to mechanical translation, either. Things written for cultures that are very different from ours require extensive explanation and footnoting just to bridge the gap of basic cultural assumptions embedded in the original. This is part of the reason we really don’t know what the Bible is telling us, especially the Old Testament. There are just too many inscrutable Hebrew cultural assumptions baked into it for us to know exactly what they’re talking about.

  102. 102
    Lurking Canadian says:

    @Roger Moore: Shaka, when the walls fell.

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