Currently viewing the tag: "politicians"

The ability to deceive someone by telling the truth is not only possible, it has a name — paltering — it’s common in negotiations and those who palter can do serious harm to their reputations, according to research published by the American Psychological Association…

Paltering is used by politicians commonly, according to Rogers. “Politicians often palter when the truthful answer to a question would be harmful,” he said. “When candidates get questions they don’t want to hear, they often focus on continuing to make truthful statements, but try to mislead listeners.”

One famous example Rogers cited was when President Bill Clinton said “there is not a sexual relationship” between him and former White House intern Monica Lewinski. The Starr commission later discovered that there had been a sexual relationship but it had ended months before Clinton made that statement — thus, it was technically true but clearly misleading. –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use a scene in which paltering is used to skate consequences of a previous decision.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about politicians paltering?

Art Prompt: Paltering

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the problem with paltering and how it allows politicians to maneuver behind the scene.

Photo Credit: National Constitution Center on Flickr

friday newspeak

newspeak n
  • A mode of talk by politicians and officials using ambiguous words to deceive the listener.

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the word of the week in whatever you write today.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about politicians and officials using newspeak?

Art Prompt: Newspeak

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt:Use the word of the week in your article or speech.

Photo Credit: enchantiva on Flickr

bribe his way into office

suborn verb (used with object)
1. to bribe or induce (someone) unlawfully or secretly to perform some misdeed or to commit a crime.
2. Law.
a. to induce (a person, especially a witness) to give false testimony.
b. to obtain (false testimony) from a witness.

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the word of the week in whatever you write today.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about politicians? Do you trust them? 

Art Prompt: Suborn

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt:Use the word of the week in your article or speech.

Photo Credit: Tom Simpson on Flickr

 Agents pour liquor into sewer

The streets of San Francisco were jammed. A frenzy of cars, trucks, wagons, and every other imaginable form of conveyance crisscrossed the town and battled its steepest hills. Porches, staircase landings, and sidewalks were piled high with boxes and crates delivered on the last possible day before transporting their contents would become illegal. The next morning, the Chronicle reported that people whose beer, liquor, and wine had not arrived by midnight were left to stand in their doorways ‘with haggard faces and glittering eyes.’ Just two weeks earlier, on the last New Year’s Eve before Prohibition, frantic celebrations had convulsed the city’s hotels and private clubs, its neighborhood taverns and wharfside saloons. It was a spasm of desperate joy fueled, said the Chronicle, by great quantities of ‘bottled sunshine’ liberated from ‘cellars, club lockers, bank vaults, safety deposit boxes and other hiding places.’ Now, on January 16, the sunshine was surrendering to darkness. … -Daniel Okrent, Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story set on the eve of Prohibition.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about drinking alcohol?

Art Prompt: Prohibition

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about a political decision made during your lifetime that you believe will turn out to backfire. Compare and contrast with Prohibition.

Photo Credit: dewarsrepealday on Flickr

Gay Marriage - Opposing Headlines

“Most public policy is based on offering people incentives and disincentives,” Berns says. “Our findings indicate that it’s unreasonable to think that a policy based on costs-and-benefits analysis will influence people’s behavior when it comes to their sacred personal values, because they are processed in an entirely different brain system than incentives.”

Research participants who reported more active affiliations with organizations, such as churches, sports teams, musical groups and environmental clubs, had stronger brain activity in the same brain regions that correlated to sacred values. “Organized groups may instill values more strongly through the use of rules and social norms,” Berns says…

“As culture changes, it affects our brains, and as our brains change, that affects our culture. You can’t separate the two,” Berns says…

Future conflicts over politics and religion will likely play out biologically, Berns says. Some cultures will choose to change their biology, and in the process, change their culture, he notes. He cites the battles over women’s reproductive rights and gay marriage as ongoing examples. –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write a story, scene, or poem based on a cultural shift that challenges people’s sacred values.

Journaling Prompt: Write about your personal values and how you feel if they are challenged.

Art Prompt: Brain and Societal Change

Photo Credit: mariopiperni on Flickr

40+318 Snack

syc·o·phant [sik-uh-fuhnt, -fant, sahy-kuh-] noun
a self-seeking, servile flatterer; fawning parasite.

Writing Prompt: Write a scene, story, or poem using today’s word.

Journaling Prompt: Write about someone you know who is always sucking up.

Art Prompt: Sycophant
Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Use the word of the week in your article or speech today.

Photo Credit: bark on Flickr

Busy working

boon·dog·gle [boon-dog-uhl, -daw-guhl] noun, verb, -gled, -gling.
1. a product of simple manual skill, as a plaited leather cord for the neck or a knife sheath, made typically by a camper or a scout.
2. work of little or no value done merely to keep or look busy.
3. a project funded by the federal government out of political favoritism that is of no real value to the community or the nation.

Writing Prompt: Write a scene, story, or poem using the word of the week.

Journaling Prompt: Write about one of your experiences related to the word of the week.

Art Prompt: Boondoggle

Nonfiction / Speech Writing Prompt: Write about a boondoggle and give details about how you believe it should be changed.

Photo Credit: ytang3 on Flickr


People always claim that they want the truth, but most people only want a truth that fits their beliefs. Of course, they like to delude themselves that they make up their minds on the facts, but they really just select the facts that back up what they already believe. -L.E. Modesitt Jr., Flash

Writing Prompt: Write an inner monologue for your character illustrating how he or she chooses the facts to pay attention to in making a decision.

Journaling Prompt: How do your biases affect your decisions?

Art Prompt: Delusion of Reality
Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the delusion of reality and give them strategies for how they can become more aware of how they create it themselves.

Photo Credit: martinhoward on Flickr

Prison Planet

This quote is almost prescient, isn’t it?

The best doctrine may become the worst, if imperfectly understood, erroneously interpreted, or superstitiously followed. -Anna Harriette Leonowens, “Memoirs of an English Governess at the Siamese Court – (The King and I)” [Illustrated]

Writing Prompt: Create a world where a good doctrine has gone bad.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a doctrine that you think was originally good but has been stretched by extremistes.

Art Prompt: Mind Control

Photo Credit: AZRainman on Flickr


“Go big or go home.” “No risk, no gain.” Google quotations about the benefits of taking risks and you’ll find a boatload. But what’s the downside?

…overconfidence frequently brings rewards, as long as spoils of conflict are sufficiently large compared with the costs of competing for them. In contrast, people with unbiased, accurate perceptions usually fare worse.

The implications are that, over a long period of time the evolutionary principal of natural selection is likely to have favored a bias towards overconfidence. Therefore people with the mentality of someone like boxer Mohammad Ali would have left more descendents than those with the mindset of film maker Woody Allen.
The evolutionary model also showed that overconfidence becomes greatest in the face of high levels of uncertainty and risk. When we face unfamiliar enemies or new technologies, overconfidence becomes an even better strategy.

Dr Dominic Johnson, reader in Politics and International Relations at the University: ‘The model shows that overconfidence can plausibly evolve in wide range of environments, as well as the situations in which it will fail. The question now is how to channel human overconfidence so we can exploit its benefits while avoiding occasional disasters.’ –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write a scene where the character takes a big risk with two different outcomes – one where the risk pays off and one where the risk leads to massive failure.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when you took a big risk.

Art Prompt: Overconfidence

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell a humorous story of how overconfidence got you into trouble.

Photo Credit: John C Bullas BSc MSc PhD MCIHT MIAT on Flickr