…I don’t read legal filings for the sheer fun of it.
But this one’s worth it.
…I don’t read legal filings for the sheer fun of it.
But this one’s worth it.
Death Panels don’t exist Death Panels always existed, citizen. And They are a wonderful thing!
(Note to anyone who’s ever worked in health insurance: you know that Death Panels have existed for decades. It’s called “Care Management”, and HMOs have been doing them since the seventies or eighties. And while the linked article relates to Canada, Obamacare is no different. I present this mainly as an academic exercise, so you can see if your lefty friends start changing the spin they put out…)
So sue me – my dad was a speech teacher. So I get frustrated at the complete inability of too many Republicans to not only state any message at all, but state is in a way the resonates with people who don’t live and breathe politics for a living.
And so does Thomas Sowell, who is frustrated by the fact that the GOP leadership seems to think the mission is to convince the Beltway:
When Speaker Boehner today goes around talking about the “CR,” that is just more of the same thinking — or lack of thinking. Policy wonks inside the Beltway know that he is talking about the “continuing resolution” that authorizes the existing level of government spending to continue, pending a new budget agreement.
But, believe it or not, there are lots of citizens and voters outside the Beltway. And what is believed by those people whom too many Republicans are talking past can decide not only the outcome of this crisis but the fate of the nation for generations to come.
You might think that the stakes are high enough for Republicans to put in some serious time trying to clarify their message.
As the great economist Alfred Marshall once said, facts do not speak for themselves. If we are waiting for the Republicans to do the speaking, the country is in big trouble.
The Dems – at least the party as a whole – get it:
Democrats, by contrast, are all talk. They could sell refrigerators to Eskimos before Republicans could sell them blankets.
What they “get” is the first cousin of the old saying, “repeat a big lie often enough and people will believe it”:
Indeed, Democrats sold Barack Obama to the American public, which is an even more amazing feat, considering his complete lack of relevant experience and questionable (at best) loyalty to the values and institutions of this country.
The Democrats have obviously given a lot of attention to articulation, including coordinated articulation among their members. Some years ago, Senator Chuck Schumer was recorded, apparently without his knowledge, telling fellow Democrats to keep using the word “extremist” when discussing Republicans.
Even earlier, when George W. Bush first ran for President, the word that suddenly began appearing everywhere was “gravitas” — as in the endlessly repeated charge that Bush lacked “gravitas.” People who had never used that word before suddenly began using it all the time.
Today, the Democrats’ buzzword is “clean” — as in the endlessly repeated statement that Republicans in the House of Representatives should send a “clean” bill to the Senate. Anything less than a blank check is not considered a “clean” bill.
The Constitution gives the House of Representatives the responsibility to originate all spending bills, based on what they think should and should not be funded. But the word “clean” is now apparently supposed to override the Constitution.
In the battle for the low-information voter, who leaves the last buzz phrase in the voter’s ear before polling time is the winner.
And Republicans just don’t do buzz-phrases well.
And in a perfect world, where voters and taxpayers paid attention and had, as P.J. O’Rourke put it, “the infinite good sense to give a s**t”, we wouldn’t have to.
That is why I get so impatient with conservative pundits who talk and write about politics like everyone is a member of the Center of the American Experiment. Lots of good, smart people with conservative inclinations but “independent” politics aren’t.
I can’t stop laughing at this.
But you’d have to be a real language geek to know why.
“But overwhelmingly for the American people, this [Obamacare] is a liberation,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said on CNN today.
Words mean what they say they mean, dammit.
If you had “within minutes” as your entry in the ”When will the Democrats blame their Colorado rebuke on GOP perfidy pool, you’re a winner.
Democrat National Committee chair
Fran Drescher Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is blaming the crushing rebuke at the polls on “Vote Suppression”.
“The recall elections in Colorado were defined by the vast array of obstacles that special interests threw in the way of voters for the purpose of reversing the will of the legislature and the people. This was voter suppression, pure and simple,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.
This has been part of the extremist Democrat playbook since 2000; things that go well for them are signs that democracy works; reverses, on the other hand, are signs that democracy is rotten to the core.
It’s a play for the low-information voter that still gets their information from CNN – and giving her extremist special interest base an “out” for having been humiliated by Real Americans even after outspending them 3:1.
To: The World
From: Mitch Berg
Re: This Say I
This is in re the phrase “What Say You?”. It’s been popping up a lot in conversation over this past few years.
What say me? Me say “It’s a linguistic anachronism that’s become a pretentious cliche”, that’s what me say.
Me say kill with fire.
That is all.
(SCENE: A lecture room at an esteemed university. As 30-odd students take their seats and set up their laptops, Professor Evelyn MUNCHENBERG-SCROGGINS welcomes an older man, Avram COHEYN – a frail 80-something man with thin white hair covered by a Yarmulke. COHEYN sits on a chair next to the professor’s podium.
MUNCHENBERG-SCROGGINS: Class? (Din gradually subsides). I’d like to welcome Mr. Avram Coheyn to the class. He’s a native of Poznan – do I have that right? (COHEYN smiles and nods), and he’ll be talking with us about his experiences in the Holocaust. I’d like you to give him your undivided attention, and come up with some good questions for him at the end of his talk. Mr. Coheyn?
(Class applauds politely as COHEYN rises)
COHEYN (speaks with faint Polish-Yiddish accent): Thank you, Professor Munchenberg-Scroggins. And to all of you, also, my thanks. I am Avram Coheyn. In Sosnowiec, Poland I was born, in 1929. And from 1941 through 1945, in a variety of concentration camps I was kept. By the Nazis…
(Corey KRETINOWSKI, a 21-year-old political science major, leaps to his feet).
KRETINOWSKI: Godwin’s Law!
COHEYN: (Stops, puzzled).
KRETINOWSKI: Godwin’s Law! He mentioned Nazis! (MUNCHENBERG-SCROGGINS shifts uncomfortably in her seat)
COHEYN: Er – what is this “Godwin’s Law” of which you speak? Of this I have not heard…
(Jane PLATT-WANCKER, a severe-looking 22 year old anthropology major, rises): “It’s a law on the internet or something. When you mention the Nazis you get banned”
(Ian BIMMLER, a 21 year old Victimology Studies major in a “Che” T-Shirt): It’s the law that says when an argument goes along, there’s going to be someone who wrecks it with a Nazi reference”
KRETINOWSKI: So, dude, your argument is shut down because you mentioned the Nazis.
(Stacy KREEFELD, a 21 year old Womyn’s Studies major with a “Question Authority” button on her Mao cap): I think it means that your argument is done.
KRETINOWSKI: Whenever you mention Nazis, everyone gets to tune you out because mentioning Nazis means you don’t have an argument!
(A few students clap, while a few others look on, confused, and others stare blankly at their desktops)
(Bree EPSTEIN, a 20 year old Sociology major, speaks up): Mr. Coheyn, I don’t mean to lecture, but perhaps you should try to tell your story without any references to Nazis. It might make your argument better.
COHEYN: An argument? What is this, argument? I’m telling my story! When I was 13 year old, my family and I were rousted from our home in Poznan, and force-marched through the cold to the railyard, and packed onto trains by the Nazis…
(KRETINOWSKI, KREEFELD and BIMMLER simultaneously yell): Godwin’s Law! Godwin’s Law!
KREEFELD: You keep mentioning Nazis! Godwins Law says that means whatever you’re saying is invalid!
COHEYN: What? What is this madness? Do you mean that saying the name of the…(catches himself)…National Socialist German Workers’ Party (a few students trade puzzled looks) means I get you crazy kids yelling “Godwin whatsis” at me? This do I have right?
(A few students nod).
COHEYN: When I was 15, I escaped from a concentration camp. A year in the woods I spent, fighting with the Partisans, fighting so that what we went through, my children and their children and my childrens children freynde would never forget – and now, to me you say I can’t say “Nazi”…
(Several students): “Godwin’s Law!” (A few titters of juvenile mirth follow)
COHEYN: …without your verkachte yapping? Distinguished professor Munchenberg-Scroggins, for this you have to say what?
MUNCHENBERG-SCROGGINS (Looks up from iPhone): I can see both sides, here.
BIMMLER (Shouts): This is what democracy looks like!
(A few students clap and cheer).
COHEYN: What? Millions died, my family along with – and because of some stupid internet rule, their names I can not mention?
(Students fidget, looking amongst themselves)
COHEYN: Because from what happened there are probably some things we can learn! That there are things we, today, can learn about that ordeal, do you not see? Huh?
COHEYN: With this I am finished!
(COHEYN stomps from the room, as the shadows and sun form, completely at random, a series of shapes on the window that read “While invoking Nazis can be lazy rhetoric, lazy invocations of “Godwin’s Law” are, if anything, a bigger hurdle to effective communication, in that they give the invoker an unearned sense of intellectual accomplishment” before disappearing. )
To: You know who you are
From: Mitch Berg
Re: A Peeve, A Mission
If you have ever used the word “disrespect” as a verb, we are probably enemies.
That is all.
WOMAN: You’re “mansplaining”.
WOMAN: “Mansplaining”. When a guys gives a condescending and inaccurate explanation that the assumption that I’m entirely ignorant on the subject matter or topic.
GUY: You are utterly ignorant of the subject matter and topic. Our discussion has shown you haven’t the foggiest clue about the subject. 90 degrees removed from literacy.
WOMAN: You’re doing it again. You’re mansplaining.
GUY: You’re being a whineanist. You need to unisexshushupandlearnsomething.
In German, if you need a new noun, you just cram other nouns together. It makes for some long, long words.
But even German has its limits. They just dropped the longest official word, “Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz” from their language.
The word – which refers to the “law for the delegation of monitoring beef labelling”, has been repealed by a regional parliament after the EU lifted a recommendation to carry out BSE tests on healthy cattle.
It is interesting that many of the longest, least-decipherable words come from the bureaucracy…
I’m a language geek. I also minored in German in college,und weil ich noch mehr Übung brauche, spreche ich’s noch gern.
So I’m rosenkitzelt to report that Germany’s latest official word (according to their equivelent of the Oxford English Dictionary) is…
The word appears to have caught on in Germany during a scandal involving Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg .
The word appears to have caught on in Germany during the financial crisis and a plagiarism scandal which claimed the job of Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, the then defence minister.
In Germany, the phrase is used to denote a public outcry, especially one that gathers pace on the internet.
…but that words can apparently officially enter the German language through the most delightful back channel:
The phrase won ‘Anglicism of the Year’ in February last year, with a jury saying: “S—storm fills a gap in the German vocabulary that has become apparent through changes in the culture of debate.”
It added that established German words, including ‘Kritik’, meaning criticism, were not descriptive enough.
We can learn from the Germans. I propose the following noun:
Schitzkrieg: the Alliance for a Better Minnesota’s patented smear campaign.
Pass it on.
I love this stuff.
Can you imagine what would have happened if Michele Bachmann, rather than Sonia “The Wise Latina Woman” Sotomayor, had said this:
Mr. Olson, the bottom line that you’re being asked — and — and it is one that I’m interested in the answer: If you say that marriage is a fundamental right, what State restrictions could ever exist? Meaning, what State restrictions with respect to the number of people, with respect to — that could get married — the incest laws, the mother and the child, assuming they are of age — I can — I can accept that the State has probably an overbearing interest on — on protecting the a child until they’re of age to marry, but what’s left?
…I offer that should a certain Japanese megacorporation ever have to file bankruptcy, I’ve already filed my claim on the blog post title “Tempus Fujitsu“.
That is all
Now, this is one of those stories where there are really a couple of levels.
At the surface, this is a story about liberal hypocrisy; a Pennsylvania NAACP leader blames a rape victim for tempting a couple of football players into perfidy:
In shocking comments, the president of the Steubenville chapter of the NAACP places the blame for the rape case that has shocked the nation on the 16-year-old victim.
Royal Mayo, a lifelong resident of the Ohio city that gained national infamy following the rape of the girl by two Steubenville High School football players, says that attention should be focused on the role of the young woman, whom he calls the “alleged victim,” saying she was drunk and wanted to go out with one of the football players. He also claims that other teens involved in the incident were let off easy, because they were “well-connected.”
Yes, yes, I know – official for a liberal organization violates PC kashrut with great gusto, exposing the left’s deep-seated hypocrisies, yadda yadda. An example of the left’s war on women. Same as it ever was.
But I’m here to issue a challenge to conservatism’s assembled linguists, the movement’s neologic engineers.
These stories are with us always. They are constant blog fodder, and have been ever since most people still thought “blog” was a sound associated with gas-station burritos. And these stories almost always need to plod laboriously through explaining something along the lines of “if a Republican or conservative would have said this, the media and the left’s chanting-point-bots (ptr) would be howling for blood, but since it’s one of their own, they’re silent”.
We need to come up with a snappy, dismissive word or short phrase to wrap up that meaning. If I were a lefty and this were twitter, I’d make it a hash tag with an acronym: “#IAROCWHSTTMATLCPBPTRWBHFBBSI1OTOTS”, but that’s almost worse than having to type out the explanation.
So set to it, real men of linguistic genius! We need a single word or short phrase that goes Alinsky on this pattern, and does it with style!
To: Everyone in the USA
From: Mitch Berg, Peasant who’s been through it all before
You may not remember this, but we’ve been through all this before. Remember the “partial government shutdown”, back in the nineties? It was a whole big nothing-burger.
Oh, the Clinton Administration tried to make sure that the people felt whatever pain was generated – closing parks, cramping down on the voters. But as a rule, the whole thing affected nobody.
And here in Minnesota, we had a “complete” shutdown two years ago (which, again, wasn’t – the courts kept most of the government going as “essential”). It lasted a few weeks. Then Governor
Messinger Dayton abandoned it, when he realized Minnesotans, for all his efforts to squeeze and scare them – shutting down state parks and highway rest areas, threatening to lay off teachers – barely noticed any difference. While the media did its best to prop up the Messinger Dayton line, the people of Minnesota heard the gales of calumny but saw and felt a big fat nada burrito. Even Governor Messinger Dayton – as cosseted and isolated from reality as his staff keeps him – noticed; on his trip around the state to whip up support for the DFL budget, he saw tepid crowds of union droogs, and a few professional protesters, and realized he had nothin’ (which may be why Dayton makes so few public appearances these days).
So it’s time for “sequestration” – the “radical” budget cuts that Obama and the super-di-duper commission agreed to as a stick to lead everyone to the “carrot” of an actual federal budget. We’ve been waiting nearly 1,400 days for a budget from the Democrat-addled Senate, so Washington figured a “stick” was needed.
By the way – how radical and drastic are those cuts?:
Yep. They’re not even cuts. They’re reductions in the increase. Indeed, almost completely worthless, if cutting spending is your goal, but really nothing but a fart in the wind; sort of like “dropping HBO” in your family budget, even though your gas bill is rising and your teenage kids are costing more and more.
Obama will try to make “sequestration” hurt; he’ll slow down the TSA lines, he’ll gundeck some ship overhauls and clamp down some military maintenance budgets, he’ll inveigle some big cities to lay off a few cops and teachers, he’ll shut down Yellowstone as the cameras record photos of crestfallen children. Hell, Joe Biden may even personally try to close the gates at Disney World.
But there is no there, there. It’s a scare tactic, engineered by Obama and his compliant media.
It needs to be ignored.
That is all.
Over this past six weeks of fairly constant writing about Second Amendment issues, it’s occurred to me that I’ve been letting the Orcs drive the discussion by controlling the language involved.
It’s time to roll that back with extreme prejudice.
So from now on on this blog and in all personal and public discourse on the matter, the following terms shall be used, with the following meanings:
|Keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the insane in a meaningful way that results in actual impact on crime||(Media uses no current term)||Gun Control|
|Restricting the access of law-abiding citizens to firearms||“Gun Control”||Victim Disarmament|
|Weapons with collapsible/folding stocks, large-capacity magazines and bayonet lugs||“Assault Weapons”||Ugly guns|
|People who favor restricting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans||“Gun Safety Advocates”||Orcs|
|Heather Martens||“Leader of “Protect Minnesota”"||Pathologial Liar|
That is all.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Godwin’s Law says the first person to bring up Hitler in a debate, loses. Is there a comparable law for playing the race card?
“The person who attributes opposition to a public policy proposal to racism is presumed to have no valid arguments in support of the public policy proposal and the opponent no longer need participate in the discussion, having won by default.”
Well, we should at least try to get this generally accepted.
This next bit worries me almost as much as last week’s story (about Minnesota’s “social studies standards” being turned into nothing more than lefty indoctrination).
I was a teacher in the inner city between 1992 and 1996 and immediately realized that those unfortunate kids could not read anything, because nearly every sentence had at least one word they had never seen before. This went for magazine and newspaper articles as well as traditional English stuff. I was not shoving college chemistry texts or The Fall of the House of Usher at them. (Read Poe to a 16 year old today and you will get the glassiest stare imaginable; in Usher, there are 20-25 words in the first paragraph, as well as a round-about way of expression, that would totally defeat all but the brightest teen.)
Now, I”m not sure how many teenagers could follow Usher even 30 years ago. Still, there’s no question; literacy is receding in our country:
They said they don’t like black and white films, and they didn’t, but I truly believe they didn’t like how much people talked. Watch a Bogart film and see how much of the action is moved by dialogue, sophisticated and adult dialogue, and compare the number and length of words to a contemporary film.
And it’s not just schools or pop culture:
Or, my personal favorite annoyance, my church sings all Contemporary Christian Music, what I call Sesame Street music. There are few words of more than one syllable. I
It’s one of the reasons I seek out churches whose hymnals include no music written after 1880.
How does one reverse this? I spent a long time encouraging them to see the value of having more tools in their linguistic tool box, but when f*** is their primary adjective and adverb, when using “big” words is excoriated, and every “art” form they enjoy diminishes rather than exalts language, what could I do? Read to them, put lists of words they would never see again on the board, encourage expression with some complexity. Not generally fruitful options.
On the one hand, while it was an awful movie, I did like the Leonardo DiCaprio/Claire Danes MTV-friendliy version of Romeo and Juliet if only because it demanded its audience keep up with Shakespearean vocabulary and pacing (which may be why it flopped, but work with me here).
On the other? I despair of anything getting any better. Our nation’s media, academia and too much of our ruling class benefit from dumb subjects.
The came via email yesterday:
In Greece, rioters are throwing Molotov cocktails at police. The cops who are not on fire are responding with tear gas.
CNN calls setting cops on fire “minor scuffles,” and the rioters/attempted murderers “protesters” and “demonstrators.”
A “student” throwing a molotov cocktail at a cop halfway around the world is a “protester”.
Someone throwing one at, say, CNN headquarters is, I suspect, a “terrorist”.
I’ve always wanted to create a new word for the English language .
And I think that word is going to be “Inshgoogle” (pronounced ”Insh-GOO-gle”).
It’s a corruption of the Arabic “Insh’allah”, meaning “If it’s Allah’s will”. Its meaning, essentially, becomes “If my Google information is correct…”
That is all.
One of this blog’s most enduringly-popular features is the “DFL Dictionary“.
First written in 2002, it’s been updated bit by bit over the last nine years, to serve as the greatest single lexicon of DFL-to-human and Democrat-to-citizen translation in existence.
And we have a new entry:
Fact-checking: Noun: To check the congruency of a Republican’s statement with Democrat conventional wisdom. Verb: The act of consulting the list of Democrat chanting points for such congruence.
Admiral Sir John Arbuthnot Fisher – known to generations of naval historians as “Jacky” Fisher – was one of the most consequential men of a consequential era.
Fisher served in one of the most technologically transformational eras in history. He started his service in the Royal Navy during the Crimean War, on a sail-driven wooden ship of the line armed with muzzle-loading cannon. Over the next 40 years, he led in the tactical and technical developments that turned the British (and, by extension, American) navies from wind-driven wooden fleets to steam-powered steel ones.
He helped develop the torpedo for use in Royal Navy ships:
In 1906, he was instrumental in the construction of the first modern battleship, HMS Dreadnought, which defined the basic outlines of the battleship from that day in 1906 until after the Gulf War.
And then, thinking that speed was more important than armor, he developed a new class of warship, the “Battlecruiser”, with the firepower of a battleship but the armor and speed of a (faster, much more lightly-armored) cruiser, intended to be faster than anything that could kill it and stronger than anything that could run with it.
Fisher, and the battlecruisers’ crews, discovered to their immense chagrin that while outrunning a battleship was one thing, it didn’t allow the battlecruiser to outrun the battleships’ shells. On one day in 1916, at the Battle of Jutland, three of Fisher’s battlecruisers exploded, victims partly of too-thin armor (an intentional part of the design, to keep the ships relatively light and fast) and unstable British cannon propellant (which was not intentional, and also led to the destruction of many other British ships during the war); the Invincible, Indefatigable and Queen Mary all blew up like fireworks, leaving about 30 survivors among combined crews of over 3,200 men.
And HMS Hood continued the streak; the greatest battle cruiser ever built, the epitome of Fisher’s theory and redesigned to reflect the lessons at Jutland, the Hood was in its day the fastest and most powerful battleship in the world, the very symbol of British naval might in the twenties and thirties:
And on 1941, as it chased and caught the German battleship Bismarck somewhere between Greenland and Iceland, the German ship’s gunfire blew up the Hood, killing all but three of its crew of 1,200.
However, the dozens of other fullly-armored battleships of both the British and German navies, the vast majority of which were descendants of Dreadnought, survived to serve as the templates for every battleship in the world built between 1906 and the end of World War 2.
But today? With the last of the battleships (The USS Iowa, New Jersey, Missouri and Wisconsin) retired and serving as museum ships, it may be that Jacky Fisher’s most well-known, if not most significant or enduring, contribution to the world may be that in 1917, in a letter to Winston Churchill, he was the first person ever recorded using the abbreviation “OMG” as a shortcut to writing “Oh, My God”.
The lesson? You never know what it is that you’ll be leaving to posterity.
…is someone who, given a choice between being killed or living, says “Let’s compromise on massive internal bleeding or some mid-level brain damage”.