Setting the Record Straight

August 29, 2008

Two Blows to U.S. Sports

Filed under: life,news — straightrecord @ 9:41 am
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Bye, Bye Baseball,

Annyong-Hi Kashipshio Ladies Golf

         In the same recent week, two major U.S. sports took a pair of shameful PR steps, shameful even for an American industry that already should be embarrassed by highly paid “super- stars” and bottom-line team owners more interested in the name on the stadium or tournament than the players who work in them.
          Major League Baseball–don’t say it without adding “Inc.”–has decided to denigrate one of the most valuable aspects of major sports, the referee.
     The league already had brought shame on itself by tolerating steroid usage in the league and tearing down multi-million dollar stadiums and blackmailing municipalities to help replace them with multi-billion dollar venues for some of the world’s highest-paid athletes.
     Because some of those Hollywood-style incomes depend on endorsements, which in turn are based on sports-page statistics, baseball umpires have come under increasing attack when they make the wrong calls; wrong, that is, based on television replays.
     Anyone who has ever played baseball, along with other sports that require umpires or referees, knows they are keys to the games, even when they occasionally make a bad call. As an athlete, you complain, but learn to suck it up and go with the fact the umpire is just as human as you are.
     Well, major league baseball has decided to sell out to the television empire by allowing TV replays to decide if an umpire is right or wrong.
     Next in the same week came the Ladies Professional Golf Association, which ruled that all participants in its tournament must be able to speak English. That apparently is a response to the dominance in the distaff side of the sport by Korean women.
     What does speaking English, indeed, speaking at all, have to do with playing professional golf, either as a woman or a man? We live in a global society; let the international players in our sports speak their own language. Unless their lack of English is preventing them from being articulate spokeswomen or repre- sentatives the LPGA prefers to present to the world, we have to ask, other than being able to translate meters in to yards and centimeters to inches, what the deuce does speaking English have anything to do with playing golf?

(from www.straightrecord.com)

August 1, 2008

Of Pigeons & Peanut Butter

Filed under: life — straightrecord @ 1:56 pm
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More Random Musings from Veritas

 

          ‘Splain to me this:

 
          –It is said that peanut butter sticks to the roof of your mouth. But isn’t that the CEILING of your mouth?

 

Squab anyone?

          –When was the last time you saw a baby pigeon?
          –When a street is level, do we speak of neighbors “just up the street” or “just down the street?”
          –Why do authorities close down a highway, but close up a business?

          –What is the need for so many euphemisms for “died” and “dead?” A friend “passed” or “passed away.” Soldiers were “taken” or they are among the “fallen.” A crime victim was “gunned down.” Our beloved auntie is “deceased.” Some form of “to die” would take care of all these.

 

          –Why do some people, I guess mainly southerners, speak of a week from Saturday as “next” Saturday? To them, the very next Saturday that will occur is “this Saturday.” Go figure.

                               —Veritas

(www.straightrecord.com)

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July 15, 2008

Rants Update

Random Thoughts of a Curmudgeon
     Ben Bernanke, the head of the Federal Reserve, has broken ranks with investors, economists and the Bush administration and stopped sweet-talking the state of the U.S. economy. Now say, “We have stagflation.”
    As we’ve said here before, the average American was aware long ago that economic troubles were afoot. The administration and others took the position, and still do post-Bernanke, that simply talking about a recession would lead to responses by investors and corporations that would just deepen the recession, so everybody kept their mouths shut.
    Now that someone in a high place is acknowledging reality, perhaps somebody in the government will take off the Herbert Hoover hair shirt and try to do something about it before we need another FDR.

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    When this site was first put up last year, it laid out far ahead of the primaries the qualifications voters should seek in a president. We began with intellect, followed by, in order, experience, ability to get the job done, willing- ness to compromise, leadership, concern for the common weal and adherence to the Edmund Burke philosophy: “elect me for my judgment, not for pandering to your opinions.”
    As stupid as Wesley Clark’s recent remark was, he was correct in saying that getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is not a qualification to become president, a shot at John McCain. But neither is being a general in the field as Clark once was, and the only thing he has ever achieved.
    McCain does have, however, some real qualifications that Clark does not possess, including most of the seven points enumerated above, outshining all of his Republican primary opponents. McCain also has more qualifications on our list than Barack Obama, but as we said in that same posting, choosing the best qualified to run is just the first criterion, you then need to pay attention to policy in choosing between the two.
    That is why the American voters need to blow up their TVs, stop listening to trash talk by surrogates and screaming tabloid cable and start learning how to absorb the real news of presidential campaigns.

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    We also ranted about the fact that after nearly 5,000 lives lost and tens of thousands more maimed, billions of wasted dollars and a country in shambles, we still do not know why the Bush administration invaded Iraq.
    Most people speculate, with a great deal of evidence to support the contention, that we invaded for oil. The same people point with fear to the saber-rattling with Iran, noting it also sits on a lot of oil.
    If that is so, it would appear time for Congress to try to pass a law barring any member of the government, once he or she has left that service, from benefiting directly or indirectly from decisions he or she made during those terms in office.
    In the case of Bush and Cheney, that would cover just about everything and force them into retirement. Most importantly, they would not be able to return to the oil business from whence they slithered and which they are seeking to enrich further by taking the shackles off domestic exploration years into the future.

(from www.straightrecord.com)

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July 4, 2008

The ‘Little People’ Say: Stagflation

Time for Trickle Up Economics

         The Great Depression began during the administration of Herbert Hoover, a Republican president who threw up his hands and declared there was nothing the federal government could do to stop it, that it had to just run its course. As we know, his successor proved otherwise.
         It is no accident that Hoover was just one of a long string of GOP presidents (up
to and including the current one) who believed in the “trickle-down” theory of economics. Essentially, it means that if you give big tax breaks to the rich and big business, those benefits will trickle down the economic ladder, eventually reaching and benefiting the little people.
         We suggest that in the current economic situation, the government begin paying attention to what we call the “trickle up” theory. We intend that term to mean the economists, government officials, stock market analysts, etc., need to begin listening to those “little people.”
          More than a month ago, we said inflation and recession, the twin evils of “stagflation” had already arrived. Today, stock analysts, govern- ment and business economists and others are still arguing about whether there is inflation and whether the formal definition of the term means a recession has arrived yet.
          We could say a month ago that stagflation had begun because we live among the “little people.” The “little people” know their fuel costs are rising at the same time their food costs are rising. Those two expenses may represent discretionary spending to the rich, but they are not discretionary to the LP.
          The LP know that jobs are less secure during the current economic situation and they most certainly that even if they are able to keep their jobs, they are not going to receive a raise or added benefits. They see unemployed friends and relatives unable to acquire a decently paying job, much less one providing the health and other benefits they also need.
          The government, Wall Street and others need to stop trying to decide whether two consecutive quarters of no growth and other convoluted definitions are met and begin listening to the “little people.” They know what Franklin Delano Roosevelt knew.
(from www.straightrecord.com)      

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July 1, 2008

Good News is Bad News

A Parade Of Good News is Bad

          Romania, Parade magazine, and network news show-enders all have something in common beyond an attempt to deliver an item on conservative wish-lists: they suggest just the opposite of what they intend.
          A Reuters item from Romania caught our eye about the same time as one of Parade magazine’s worthless pablum pieces, “How to be a Better Voter,” and network news shows were ending with their usual feel-good pieces.
          Each case is an attempt to satisfy a wish by conservatives who, beyond not wanting change, wish to be protected from anything that is not all they would wish it to be, something like sex education.
          In each of these cases, the attempt is made to emphasize the good news instead of the bad news that permeates our lives.
          There is an innate problem with all of these efforts, however. By definition, news is that which is novel, unusual, somewhat rare, not a daily occurrence.
          A hundred years ago, a car crash in which no one was hurt was news. Today, such incidents are so common they no longer qualify as news. A single-fatality is no longer news beyond the immediate vicinity of the incident. Similarly, a death resulting from use of a handgun is not news in a big city and may become so commonplace due to the Supreme Court ruling that such incidents are no longer news anywhere. And on and on.
          Romania’s Senate passed a law that, if upheld, would order broadcasters to balance good news with bad in their newscasts in the belief happier news would make Romania look better.
          Given the definition of news, Romania’s message to the world actually will be, this is such a god-awful, gloomy place where nothing ever good happens,that good events have become so rare they now qualify as news.
          Similarly, more than 10 percent of the 20 minutes on nightly network newscasts is wasted on a story intended to leave viewers feeling good, presumably so they will be encouraged to tune in again the next day. The real message is that whatever the pablum story they are airing is about, it is so rarenow in America that it has become news. That is depressing.
          Similarly, that Parade magazine stuffed into Sunday newspapers, runs only good news, or at least feel-good news stories. We were attracted to the piece on voting, over the name of George Stephanopoulos, who can be somewhat forgiven because he is not a trained journalist.
          Because it was in Parade, the article could not contain anything negative, so it ended up being a 7th grade civics lesson instead of dispensing goodadvice.
          What it didn’t suggest is that potential voters stop listening to tabloid-cable shows and start paying attention to legitimate sources beyond the nightly newscasts that provide little more than headlines delivered by head-bobbing anchors and triple-bylined reporters more intent on making their story dramatic than providing any worthwhile information.
          The Parade piece advised potential voters to pay attention to what candidates say and do, but it does not advise them to be discerning about that is said and done by and about them. For example, if Gen. Wesley Clark says John McCain’s war record is not a qualification to be president, the response should be “so what?” and flip the channel until you find a real news item.
          The item also repeats the old saw, “your vote counts.” Yes it does, but citizens who cast their vote based on no or bad information or for some other worthless reason, they should stay home and do their country a favor. A bad voter is not better than no voter at all, no matter what the civics books and Parade say.
          And good news is bad news.

(from www.straightrecord.com)

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June 27, 2008

The Guns for Self-Defense Myth

Filed under: news,policy,politics — straightrecord @ 10:47 am
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Good Luck On That

News item: Man stabs to death at least five officers inside Shanghai police station. Chinese police are well-armed. If they were unable to defend themselves with their handguns, what chance does anyone else have.  

         Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia rests much of the 5-4 majority opinion of the court in D.C. v Heller on the alleged right of one’s self-defense. Supposedly, if one has a gun, one can protect oneself against attackers, intruders and all sorts of evil-doers.
          A check of blogs and pro-gun Web sites leading up to and including the court’s decision showed this is not an issue for the weak at heart.
         Our take on the D.C. v Heller gun-control issue before the court attracted the ire of so many gun nuts, we were drawn into reading their comments and blogs and checking out their Web sites.
          We were struck by two factors–how borderline illiterate so many of the gun-nut bloggers are (not just on this issue, but others as well) and how many expressed macho boasts, such as “you’ll have to pry my gun from my dead, cold hands,” aping the John Wayne-type boast of the late National Rifle Association figurehead, Charlton Heston.
         If anyone were ever in favor of gun control, knowing such people are out there with guns in their hands is justification enough.
          But since our mantra is to be informed, we checked out to the best we could what is known about the success of gun possession in fending off various criminals.
          The evidence is sparse, and what there is of that is old, but it puts the lie to the claim that personal possession of a gun is an effective defense.
          Although one would presume that a person who uses a gun successfully to repel an intruder or an attacker would then report the incident to the police, if for no other reason than to seek to put the perpetrator in jail.
          A cursory search turned up no research, not even U.S. Justice Department tracts based on voluminous federal, state and local crime reports, that compares the claims of self-defense with police reports of such claims.
          What we are left with is old research, much of it based on telephone interviews in which respondents merely state their experience, with no followup or comparison with other records to determine if the claims fit a pattern.
          The most credible of that research (federal studies of statistics and peer-reviewed journal work) suggest there is no self-defense value to keeping a gun at home.
          The best comparison was reported back in 1986 by the New England Journal of Medicine, which compared police information with stated claims in one Washington county. Of 743 firearm-related deaths over a six-year period (70.5 percent involved handguns), 398 occurred in the home where the firearm was kept, but only seven people were killed in self-defense, and only two of those killed were shot during attempted entry. Nine were accidental (the gun-owner or someone else in the home was the victim). Researchers concluded a gun in the home is 43 times more likely to kill someone other than an intruder, i.e., a member of the household or friends.
         Indeed, there have been incidents where a gun has been used successfully in self-defense, but those cases are rare, and most of those involved a perpetrator who was not armed.
         Justice Department surveys from the mid-1990s show that just over a third of American households contain a gun, but three-quarters of those claim they have one for self-protection.
          Another chant of gun nuts is that if guns are taken away from them, only criminals will have guns. Federal statistics show that 340,000 crimes each year involve the theft of firearms, two-thirds of them during household burglaries. It appears it is legitimate gun owners who are supplying the criminals with guns.

(from www.straightrecord.com)

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June 26, 2008

Scalia’s Pretzels for Guns

 Scalia’s Gun-Control Vote

          The next time you hear Justice Antonin Scalia call himself a constitutional “originalist,” laugh out loud. As we suggested in the previous piece he might, Scalia tortured the words, twisting them this way and that to make them support an ideologue’s view of the Second Amendment. That four others followed him down that road is a shame that has resulted in nothing but turning the Constitution into a pretzel.
          The nation’s gun nuts, and their few rational supporters, are celebrating the decision, but they don’t realize that lower courts are going to be hard put to make any sense of it. Those courts’ conclusions are likely to be in such disagreement with each other, the issue may be back before the Supreme Court in much less than the nearly 70 years it took to review the issue this time.

          One of the first such questions raised by the ruling is its application beyond the District of Columbia, whose laws are within federal grounds, not a state’s. On its face, the ruling applies only there and nowhere else, but similar laws exist in other cities. Does the tortured Scalia explanation justifying the ruling actually have any impact on other jurisdictions? The lower courts will have to sort that out. 
          An originalist view, as we said earlier, would read the same nexus between a right to bear arms and a state-run militia, as all the court’s precedents have read. An originalist view would hold the Constitution to mean only what it meant to the authors at the time they wrote it, with any other interpretation to be embodied only in changes in constitutionally allowed law or changes in the Constitution itself.
          In his majority opinion, as we suggested he might, Scalia has thrown all of that out the window, or as in today’s tabloid-cable vernacular, under the bus. And, as we suggested he might, Scalia has twisted words into pretzels to make them fit his ideology.
          He refers to the opening clause of the Second Amendment as “prefatory” and then ignores its existence, leaving an unrestricted right to bear arms. But with his pretzel words, he then suggests that well, this isn’t actually an unlimited right, that governments can still restrict some gun ownership, but not others, with no support for that conclusion, leaving it to the lower courts to figure out, court by court by court.
          
This is the muddied opinion.  For better writing and better judgment on this issue, we recommend the dissenting opinions of Justices Stevens and Breyer at the end.

Scalia: Activist Justice

          Antonin Scalia calls himself an originalist to explain the reasoning behind his Supreme Court votes. In truth, Scalia is one of the most activist of the justices, a term applied to justices they don’t like by most originalists.
          Being an originalist would be consistent with being a political conservative. Both ideologies reflect a preference that time never change, that everything stay the same, like the Amish attempt to freeze time at the end of the 1600s. Similarly, a U.S. Constitution originalist would freeze time to a point a few decades later, to 1787.
          That view of the Constitution says the document refers only to the situation that existed at the time it was written, 1787. Whatever the Constitution says, it means only what it meant to the authors at the time and has no application to anything that comes later. If society changes after that and changes in law need to be made, then the Constitution needs to be changed to apply to that new situation, and the Constitution itself says how that is to be done.
          That interpretation is somewhat weird, because why would the Constitution have been written in the manner than it was, without references to the present, i.e., 1787 or the situation that was in place at that time. Everything about the Constitution suggests it was intended to be relevant forever, or at least forever as it applies to the existence of the nascent nation.
          Activists are considered those with an opposite view of the Constitution, that the Constitution itself established the Supreme Court to interpret the laws and actions of American governments and whether they comply with the restrictions or powers granted by the Constitution. The term “activists” applies to conservative as well as liberals, but it most often is intended by conservatives as a scurrilous description of a liberal.
          The most activist a justice can be is in overturning a precedent of the court, as in overturning the court’s long-held decision in 1939 interpreting the 2nd Amendment’s right to bear arms as meaning that right exists as part of a militia and that state and local governments are free to control or ban any other type of gun use.
          But let us let Scalia have his weird originalist view of the Constitution and assume it is a reasonable one. If one has a philosophy as well thought out as Scalia at least pretends his to be, then one would expect him to be consistent about it and to take that view down the line.
          Anyone who has watched Scalia during dozens of
oral arguments before the court or has read dozens of his opinions for the court, his agreements with the majority and his dissents with the majority, one knows Scalia is anything but consistent. Where he is consistent is in his arrogance, in hogging the hour-long proceeding, sometimes interrupting his fellow justices, and often bullying the lawyers before him.
          His inconsistency is in his choice of words. He twists them like pretzels to make them appear to mean what he would prefer them to mean so they can support the viewpoint he wants to make fit into his originalist theory. He did the same in the oral arguments in D.C. vs. Heller, probably the most important 2nd amendment case to be decided by the court in more than half a century.
          It is not a stretch to say the justices should, in interpreting a part of the Constitution, should see it only as a part and should interpret that part in relationship to the rest of what the Constitution says.
          The 2nd Amendment at the core of the gun-control issue states: “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
          The 10th Amendment has a bearing because it says that whatever is not restricted by the Constitution, a state is free to restrict if it wishes and if it does not, the people are free to do whatever is not restricted, the idea at the very core of democracy: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
          The militia also comes up early on in the Constitution, in Article I laying out the powers of the legislative branch. It says Congress has the power “to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions; to pro- vide for organizing, arming and disciplining the militia and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.”
          Anyone who has read a newspaper or caught broadcast news has seen all of those actions carried out by an armed force controlled by the states. Those armed entities are universally called the National Guard.
          Since those opposed to gun control do so by rejecting the need, or even the existence of a militia these modern days, another section of the main body of the Constitution, the part laying out the powers of the executive branch, i.e., the president is relevant.
          Article II, Section 2: “The president shall be commander-in- chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States.”
          The current president relied on that specific provision to order the various National Guards of the states to the war in Iraq, sealing the fact state militias do exist today in the form of the National Guard.
          Thus, Scalia brought his originalist view to bear in the oral arguments in D.C. v Heller when he said to one of the lawyers he did not believe there was a contradiction between the personal guarantee of the 2nd amendment and its reference to a militia. But then he ignores the reference in Article II, Section 2 by saying, “not necessarily a state-managed militia because the militia that resisted the British was not state-managed.”
          In his pretzel-word way, Scalia then adds, “But why isn’t it perfectly plausible, indeed reasonable, to assume that since the framers knew that the way militias were destroyed by tyrants in the past was not by passing a law against militias, but by taking away the people’s weapons—that was the way militias were destroyed. The two clauses go together beautifully: since we need a militia, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” He’s trying to say it is not the militia’s needs that guarantees the right to bear arms, but the need of someone who might have to be a member of a militia even if one does not exist.
          Elsewhere in the argument, Scalia said, “The principal purpose here is the militia, but the—but the second clause goes beyond the militia and says the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” He then suggests the second clause is broader than the first.
          In truth, the sentence that is the 2nd Amendment is not written that way. Any grammarian can tell you the clauses are tied and are not separate, that the second one relies on the first. The first clause sets up the second and is not even a complete sentence on its own.
          Thus, Scalia faced a conundrum of his own making when he voted in the D.C. v Heller gun-control case. As an originalist, he had to vote for the ability of a government to restrict gun possession, but as a right-wing conservative, he had to vote against any bans on the individual right to bear arms.
          Thus, Scalia faced a conundrum of his own making when he voted in the D.C. v Heller gun-control case. As an originalist, he had to vote for the ability of a government to restrict gun possession, but as a right-wing conservative, he had to vote against any bans on the individual right to bear arms.

(from www.straightrecord.com)

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June 23, 2008

The Time Has Come

 

 Guns and Flying Pigs                
 

The time has come, the walrus said,
To talk of many things:                   
Of shoes and ships and sealing wax,
Of cabbages and kings                   
And why the sea is boiling hot,       
And whether pigs have wings.

 Columbine, Virginia Tech, Helsinki, Omaha, Kirkwood, Louisiana Tech, Portsmouth, Los Angeles, Lane Bryant, DeKalb — Next?

          The incidents go on and on and what is the National Rifle Asso-ciation’s response? “Guns don’t kill people, people do.” That is a non-sequitur response, as it was intended to be–deflect the question you do not want to answer and turn it to something else. Who ever said guns kill people by themselves?

          The matter that needs to be addressed is the easy access to guns by people who will do stupid things with them, causing far more destruction and death than with any weapon that does not rely on an explosive force.

          These are weapons of destruction, just as deadly as smoking tobacco, and much more efficient and quick about it. It is far more irresponsible to allow firearms to be widely and easily available than to allow cigarettes to be available, yet even the laws that exist to govern guns are far less strict than those applied to tobacco.
          The only tobacco restrictions are decades of “just don’t advertise them on TV” to today’s restrictions on where you smoke, not at all on whether you can smoke at all. Despite all the evidence that smoking tobacco is a lethal cancer-causing addictive, tobacco companies still push them, and change their corporate names so you can no longer identify the perpetrators. The NRA never offers comments about any of these massacres because it pretends that guns are not associated with them, that the events have nothing to do with guns.

          Well, we need to talk about this subject, instead of talking about whether pigs have wings and pretending the world is the reverse of what it is and citing only part of the Second Amendment and pretending it says other than what it says.
          If we do not, there will continue to be Columbines and Virginia Techs and Helsinkis and Omahas and on and on. The why is not the issue for the common weal, it is the how that counts. There will continue to be the pretense that possession of guns is worthwhile because some people can use them to protect their property–the NRA never misses a chance to note those times that such use is successful in one out of the thousand times they are kept for that purpose. It blithely ignores the other 999 cases in which the possession of a gun leads to tragedy befalling the possessor.

          Here are some possible actions that can be taken at the federal level, the only level where any restrictions can be an effective check, beginning with the smallest and building to the ultimate.
          Go ahead and institute those mental-condition checks. One might also include everyone seeking “fame” in today’s society of sycophants.
          Otherwise, do something useful, beginning with what the NRA will label the camel’s nose under the tent, and let us hope it is at least that, and if they don’t work, let’s put the whole camel in the tent:

Ban sales of firearms to anyone under 21, just as selling cigarettes is restricted.
Hold a firearm possessor liable for any damages caused by an under-age person using that firearm.
Ban personal concealment of firearm while not in one’s home.
Require all firearms in personal possession to be kept locked up.
Ban all but supervised and licensed possession of handguns.
Expand the ban to all firearms. 
Ban all handguns.
Ban the private possession of all firearms.
Restrict the possession of firearms by law enforcers.
Restrict even the use of firearms by law enforcers.
Ban all firearms not kept by state militias (National Guard), just to be in compliance with the Second Amendment.   
Choose!!!
 

 

The sun was shining on the sea,  

Shining with all its might.               

He did his very best to make         

The billows smooth and bright.     

And this was odd, because it was

 The middle of the night.                   
 
So said Tweedledum to Tweedledee 
Alice Through the Looking Glass 
(from www.straightrecord.com
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June 22, 2008

StraightRecord Schoolmarm Lessons: Part V

!!STOP!!

     Referring to “war on terror.” It is the “war on terrorism.” Terror can include acrophobia, a fear of heights, or any other fear people may have. “Terrorism” refers to an act designed to instill terror.

              –0– 

     Calling the president “Commander in Chief” unless you mean “of the military.” Collectively, members of the public are the president’s com-mander in chief, not the other way around.
     “The president shall be commander in chief of the army and navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States.”

 

Lay? Shrunk? You’re Not Communicating

     We get positively schoolmarmish in this site about grammar. We do that because clear communication becomes difficult when the speaker is careless with the language. Sometimes it is best to stay on the correct usage, whether it is popular or not.

     It used to be that to adopt a low profile was to “lie low.” Nowadays, you often hear it as “lay low,” which the dictionary defines as the “informal” version of “lie low.” The movie “Honey, I Shrunk The Kids” did not do proper grammar any good. What was wrong with “shrank” as the past tense? Well, some dictionaries are accepting “shrunk.” (Thank goodness we have not gone–yet–to, “He drunk his drank,” “He thunk his thoughts.” “They grinded their coffee.”)                                                                     —Veritas

 

Change? Or?

     To Candidates: Stop running against Washington, D.C. This is a childish tactic, aimed at childish-thinking people. The presidency, vice presidency and all members of Congress are people sent to Washington by people at home. The American public always gets what it deserves. If you send fools to Washington, you deserve to have fools representing you.
     As for the presidency, the reality is, Washington defines the president, the president does not define Washington, no matter who he is. Presidents are elected to head only one of the three equal branches of government.
     In one of the weird quirks of American politics, presidents seeking their second terms strangely run against Washington. Senators who have made a career of being senators run against Washington. How ridiculous can you get?
     Let us hope that some day pandering to a largely ignorant U.S. electorate becomes self-destructive.

 

Who Are The Parties?

     You can tell how far right a member of the Republican Party is by whether he or she refers to the opposing group as the Demo-crat Party instead of its proper name, Democratic Party. Both words are adjectives; the proper names are consistent.
     This reference is more than 40 years old, going back to the days of the John Birch Society when people looked under their beds at night to make sure no commies were lurking.
     If you really think you have to make a distinction between a philosophy and a party’s name, why not just say “capital d” for the party and “lower case d” for the system of government.
     You’d sound far less silly.

 

Fly the Constitution

     Most political conservatives, who generally like to display their patriotism on their sleeves, or on their lapels, cannot stand the American Civil Liberties Union.
     Yet there probably is no more patriotic group in America than the ACLU. Its sole purpose has been since its creation to guarantee Americans have the protection of the
Bill of Rights , the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which in turn is the basis for our democracy since its inception. How much more patriotic can you be.
     Perhaps if those political conservatives showed more respect for the one of the world’s greatest documents, the American Constitution, than they do the U.S. flag, which is only a symbol–a powerful one, but still just a symbol–the solution to our political conflict might be found. Not!!!

(from www.straightrecord.com)

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June 18, 2008

StraightRecord Schoolmarm Lessons: Part IV

Filed under: life,news — straightrecord @ 10:42 am
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Still More Things Your Grammar Shoulda Told Ya

     The fatal heart attack suffered by NBC interviewer Tim Russert brought a spate of an error one would hope Russert learned in some sort of journalism class, or whatever passes for it for TV types.
     Not just a few news reports said “Tim Russert died suddenly,” meaning he suffered a heart attack in his office and died on the spot.
     One of the first things a would-be reporter learns in Journalism 101 is that everyone dies suddenly. It’s a fact of life, er, death. The heart stops beating, bingo. Usually, what is meant is that the victim died unexpectedly, which, of course, Russert did.

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Physics of Compliments 

      If you tell a person he or she is the “wind beneath my wings,” you have offered an insult.
     Any pilot can tell you the wind that provides lift, what a plane needs, is created by a vacuum created by an air foil flowing over the curved wing, not under it. The wind beneath the wing provides drag, just the opposite of lift.

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Verbing Nouns
     It probably occurred earlier, but way back when John F. Kennedy was president, he made popular the word “finalize.” Since then, there has been an explosion of people making verbs out of nouns, apparently as a way to speed up their oral speech, helped along to a great extent by lazy newscasters.
     Some of these verbed nouns are pretty bad.
     Take “reference,” for example. It is not a verb, but a noun as in a type of book or a citation. “Refer to” is even shorter.
     “Impact” is a lousy verb that mostly means to press closely or fill up and should be avoided by all but dentists. Instead, say “have an impact on.”
     And yes, we intended the irony of making a verb out of the word “verb.”

     So, don’t verb nouns at people!

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STOP!

     Saying literally when you mean virtually.

     Saying “period of time.” What else would a period be, but time, if it is not a reference to a punctuation mark.

     Saying “going forward.” If you mean “later,” “after this,” “in the future,” or something else, why not use those veteran phrases, and they are shorter.

     Saying “less” when you mean “fewer.” Tell your grocer to change that sign over the checkout lane. Less refers to quantity, fewer to a number, as in checkout lane with a proper sign: “9 items or fewer.”

     Saying between when you mean among. The “tween” in “between” means two, either individually or collectively. If there are more than three, the proper word is “among.”

     Saying “loan” when you mean “lend.” “Loan” is a noun, “lend” a verb, as in something given to you when a person is in the act of “lending” it to you.

     Using “like” when you mean “as.
     “Like” is used to compare one noun or pronoun with another. If you use “like” instead of “as,” such as in “you are writing or speaking like you are uneducated,” you sound uneducated.
     “I feel like I’ve seen this before” should be “I feel as though I’ve seen this before.”
     Back when there was an appreciation of good grammar, a cigarette company was criticized for an ad that blared “Winston tastes good, like a cigarette should.” Teachers complained, the company demurred and came out with an ad poking fun at its earlier goof.

     And if you can, please stop saying “nucular” instead of “nuclear.” Just because George Bush says it that way does not mean that only intellectual midgets mispronounce the word. So do many people with much more than half a brain, so the habit of saying “nucular” must be akin to having a physical tic.

(from www.straightrecord.com)

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