The Cola Wars 2.0

Posted in Food & Drink, Politics, Society on February 4th, 2014

The Cola Wars have been raging since the 1980s, with Coca-Cola and Pepsi targeting each other in advertisement after advertisement. Given that there were billions of dollars on the line it wasn’t too surprising how vicious the Cola War became for a while. Even so, some of us were surprised and a little concerned about the war over cold drinks “going hot” when, in 1989, PepsiCo purchased: 17 submarines, a cruiser, a frigate, and a destroyer from the Soviets.

NOTE: The fleet’s purchase, along with PepsiCo being the US distributor for Stolichnaya was part of a countertrade arrangement that allowed Pepsi to be sold in the Soviet Union.

The fleet was nearly immediately sold for scrap. Interestingly, however, for a short period of time PepsiCo had the 7th largest submarine fleet in the world. 8-O

Shortly after that the Cola Wars calmed down a bit. Now, however, Coca-Cola has changed the war by politicizing it and bringing America as whole into the conflict. They did this with their 2014 Super Bowl commercial, “It’s Beautiful.”

Coca-Cola’s “America” The Beautiful

Some love it, others loath it. Few have no opinion about it. Coca-Cola’s “It’s Beautiful” almost seems more battle anthem than marketing. Perhaps never before has a simple television commercial so divided a population.

Americans v. Liberals

Whether they intended to do or not, Coca-Cola’s Super Bowl commercial directly pit Americans and Liberals against each other. Americans have, at least, some discomfort with- and qualms about the message “It’s Beautiful” promulgates and/or reinforces and normalizes, while Liberals absolute love that message.

It boils down to whether the viewer loves America and her culture or loathes it in favor of foreign cultures. If the viewer believes that immigrants should strive to become Americans, bringing with them those parts of their birth culture that will add to America, they will likely find fault with the commercial’s underlying message. If, however, the viewer desires for immigrants to keep all or most of their birth culture after relocating to America. they will likely love it.

This is simply because Americans love their country, their culture and language, and convergence. Liberals, contrariwise, loath American culture but love diversity and plurality.

Godless Passive-Aggression

Naturally, the Atheists had to chime in because the song, “America The Beautiful” contains the refrain, “America! America! | God shed His grace on thee,” and any mention of the God(s) anywhere outside of the home or a church that isn’t a denial of the Divinity’s existence sets their teeth on edge. What was interesting about their interjections into the conversations were their acrobatic apologetics.

Reading the various displays of the Godless’ passive-aggression was actually amusing since they had to contort their comments to show support for the various oikophobes that fetishize diversity while still maintaining their Atheist “cred” by bemoaning the Godly reference.

~*~

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2014 SOTU Buzz

Posted in Politics, Technology on January 30th, 2014

Microsoft fired up it’s Bing Pulse tool for the second year in order to record real-time audience sentiment during Obama’s fifth SOTU speech. The online voting tool allowed viewers to share their opinions about the speech using a smartphone, PC or tablet.

This year, Microsoft is added some new functions to the tool, including an annotated graph feature that allowed viewers to click on spikes and/or dips in the real-time graphs to see the issues being addressed during the speech that have prompted major reactions.

SOTU Buzz

BING PULSE – 2014 SOTU

Last years SOTU Bing Pulse registered 12.9 million votes, according to Microsoft, and this year’s should have been at least as popular so these are the broadest political polls in existence at this time. The re results are also quite interesting.

Speechcrafting

Firstly, I have to give credit where credit is due. Whatever team of writers developed Obama’s 2014 SOTU speech did a very credible job.  The Overall Intensity Graph show a solid curve of interest that builds well, peaks, and drops off at the end, indicating a good denouement. The pacing of the peaks and valleys of engagement also shows a good pace to the speech.

A Telling Response

The listeners’ responses, broken out by political beliefs, is very telling indeed. There’s a huge and stark disparity between how Democrats viewed Obama’s speech and how both Republicans and Independents did so. It’s quite a dramatic difference.

Democrats held largely uniformly positive views of each of Obama’s talking points, only dipping below the 50% mark on the issues of the War on Terror and continuing to support Israel.  They’ve approval didn’t waver much throughout the speech either, showing far less mean difference in approval rating and engagement from one talking to point to the next than either Republicans or Independents. For the most part, however, while differing in amplitude, Democrats showed the same peaks and valleys of approval as both Republicans and Independents.

Republicans and Independents conversely were, by and large, quite disapproving  of Obama’s talking points during his speech, rising above 50% only when it came to the War on Terror and providing medical benefits to veterans. They were, in fact, both more disapproving of it than the Democrats were approving of it.

One point to make specific note of is that Republicans and Independents responded to the talking points in Obama’s 2014 SOTU speech almost identically. There was almost no statistical variation between them, whereas both differed greatly from the Democrats’ responses.

Women’s Needs

Interestingly, despite the constant contention that women have different needs and priorities than men, the responses and engagement of the respective genders was, talking point by talking point, almost identical. This largely held true even on those parts of Obama’s speech which would normally be considered “women’s issues.”

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A Bright Red Future

Posted in Politics, Society on September 13th, 2013

The American EagleIn many ways, due to America’s sheer size and population, the nation resembles an empire nearly so much as it does a traditional nation state. That’s not surprising, as each of the different regions have their own cultures and their own economic idiosyncrasies.

What’s interesting is how these joined yet disparate regions are currently fairing.

Forbes magazine has broke the US down into seven distinct regions in their article, “A Map Of America’s Future: Where Growth Will Be Over The Next Decade.” They even went so far as to describe these regions as separate nations.

One thing becomes clear upon researching this article – Both economic and population growth in these regions has a direct correlation with their overall political allegiances. Each region may have it’s own tastes, proclivities, resources and problems but their success or failure seems to break down into which ones are Conservative (RED) and which ones are Liberal (BLUE).

The Inland West

Allegiance: RED
Status: Growing

Over the past decade this region has enjoyed nearly 8% job growth, the strongest in the country, with the highest rate of STEM growth in the nation over the past decade. It has also enjoyed the most rapid population growth in the nation at 21%. Sadly, the western reaches of this region – the inland parts of Washington, Oregon and California – have not done as well due to being resource- and manufacturing-oriented economies within highly regulated, high-tax “blue states.”

The Great Plains

Allegiance: RED
Status: Growing

In the last decade, no region in America has displayed greater economic growth . Since the 2008 recession, it has posted the second-fastest job growth rate in the U.S., after the Inland West, and last year it led the country in employment growth. Its population  growth rate has been 14% over the past 10 years, a rate which is 40% above the national average, and is expected to expand a further 6% by 2023.

The Third Coast

Allegiance: RED
Status: Growing

Since 2001, its job base has expanded 7%, and it is projected to grow another 18% the coming decade. The population is also growing, both natural and through domestic immigration from other economic regions.

The Southeast Manufacturing Belt

Allegiance: RED
Status: Growing

The region is attracting large-scale investment from manufacturers from Germany, Japan, and South Korea and seeing a resultant financial boom.  Both due to birth rates and the migration of families, including immigrants, the population growth has been more than twice as fast since 2001 as in the Northeast, a trend that is projected continue in the next decade.

The Great Northeast

Allegiance: BLUE
Status: Shrinking

The region is financial strong, even today but the population is falling due to sustained domestic out-migration and the fact that it is the most child-free region outside the retirement hub of south Florida.

The Great Lakes

Allegiance: BLUE
Status: Shrinking

The region lost approx. 1,00,000 manufacturing jobs over the past 10 years, making it the only one of the seven economic regions to lose jobs overall during that period, though the pace of job loss has slowed.  It’s population is dwindling, with few people moving to the region and even fewer children being born.

The Left Coast

Allegiance: BLUE
Status: Shrinking

Financially limited but strong, this region boasts the highest percentage of workers in STEM professions – more than 50% above the national average – and the largest share of engineers in its workforce; however, high housing prices and density-centric land use policies are keeping people out of the region.  As a result the population is falling rapidly.

The results are almost disturbingly consistent. The four Conservative region are all experiencing economic and population growth, whereas each of the three Liberal regions are experiencing declining numbers. In both cases these a trends that are expected to continue and, possibly, accelerate over the next decade.

Given these numbers, the 2020 census may see a significant re-apportioning of both the members of the House of Representatives and the electoral votes among the 50 states. In both cases these changes would benefit Conservatives and damage Liberals.

Simply put, if this trend continues as expected and other variables don’t come into play, America can look forward to a bright, red future.

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