That title was a sign on a faculty door in the Texas A&M University English department when I worked there (was it yours, Anita?), and it said everything worth saying about the daily classroom wars over correct English. These days, I tell my students that I know the battle over the apostrophe will be lost, but I will fight it to the grave. Now the world as we knew it has ended.
Marvin Granger passes along a New Republic article that poses an interesting question.
I heard Mike Huckabee’s new show for the first time, and it was not encouraging. Right off the bat, his first three items were (1) Hilary Rosen attacks stay-at-home moms; (2) the Black Panther Party hates white people; and (3) 92 percent of the jobs lost during the Obama administration were lost by women.
Sigh. Just quickly:
1. Who the hell is Hilary Rosen? Turns out, she is a talking head on CNN. She is not, as some early reports indicated, an adviser to the Democratic National Committee. She is not an elected official. She is not running for an elective office. She does not work for anybody who is running for elective office. She is, in the ubiquitous and, as far as I can tell, meaningless cable news patois, a “Democratic strategist.” So even if what she said was as bad as it sounded, it wouldn’t be important. And it wasn’t even as bad as it sounded. From the context, by which I mean the very next sentence, it was clear that she was saying that Ann Romney had never had to hold down an outside job while also raising kids. None of the above stopped Hannity from venting fake outrage for nearly two hours on this story on Thursday, and Glenn Beck vented for about 40 minutes. Pretty silly, and sad to see Huckabee wasting time on this, too.
By the way, you can tell when Hannity is faking outrage when he interrupts every sentence spoken by someone who disagrees with him. When he thinks he is right, he allows people to talk. When he’s just playing politics, he cuts others off. I can’t tell when Beck is faking outrage because he is pretty much in a state of rage 24 hours a day. I think the rage is genuine, but it doesn’t necessarily bear much relationship to the topic at hand.
2. To listen to Huckabee and fellow Fox contributors, you’d think the Black Panther Party was a greater threat than the Nazis in 1938. But the Panthers are a tiny, irrelevant splinter of a splinter, and they in no way represent, as Huckabee seemed to imply, the views of liberals or even extreme leftists. As Bill Maher said, he can’t take a terrorist group seriously that has fewer members than the Spinners.
3. The claim that the Obama administration has been especially tough on women workers has been widely and definitively shot down. Even Chris Wallace called out a “Republican strategist” who used it on Sunday morning. Did Huckabee bother to point out how misleading that statistic was? Actually, I’m not sure because I had to go teach a class. But I’m not brimming with hope.
Later in the show, after my class was over, Huckabee said, “Anytime you tell a partial truth as if it’s a whole truth, it becomes an untruth.” Wise words. I hope he starts abiding by them.
The good news, at least, is that Huckabee displaced but did not replace Michael Smerconish, who was on during Neal Boortz’s old slot. Not sure what became of Boortz, but I won’t miss him.
Ed Kemmick (warning: Gazette link) rends the final shred of my faith in mainstream media.
Warning: Here’s a link to The Gazette, so careful if you are hoarding your monthly Lee Enterprises hits: It’s coming up … right about … here.
I think the linked article’s premise is fundamentally misdirected. She notes the reaction to an alleged white-on-black crime and responds by mentioning the prevalence of black-on-black crime. That’s a serious problem, to be sure, but that has nothing to do with the Trayvon Martin case. The concern here is primarily that police seemed to give short shrift to this case until it began to attract national attention. I don’t know whether the slow reaction has anything to do with racism, but this country has a long history of ignoring crimes against blacks (just ask Shirley Sherrod), and it’s understandable that people got riled up.
Worse, the author alleges that President Obama “ramped up the race narrative when he said: ‘If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.’” That’s just bizarre. Obama expressed a thoroughly normal, quite factual, and very human sentiment. I don’t see how it’s his fault that some people will see race in that.
The author concludes by citing a case of black-on-white crime. It sounds like a horrific case, but the alleged perpetrator is charged with first-degree murder. There is no evidence (or at least she doesn’t cite any) that law enforcement in any way dragged its feet in investigating the crime.
The law can’t undo crimes, but it can try to hold those responsible to account. That is what’s needed in the Trayvon Martin case.
Pete Talbot reflects on Billings.
I went to see the “SpOILed” documentary last weekend and wrote about it for The Outpost.
AM730 announced it would start carrying Mike Huckabee’s new show at 10 a.m. Monday. That’s when Michael Smerconish’s show now airs, and it wasn’t clear whether Smerconish would be replaced or simply displaced. Too bad if it’s replaced: Smerconish annoys me in certain ways, but he is the one talk show voice here that isn’t predictably right wing. Huckabee, in contrast to Limbaugh, comes across as a decent human being, but I can’t recall having ever heard him say anything remotely interesting about politics.
Hannity was in “It’s a tragedy, all the way around mode” two weeks ago on the Trayvon Martin case. Last week, he was in the “Zimmerman is being framed by liberal racists” camp. This week, he seemed to retreat a bit. Now he’s the objective observer who just wants all the facts out. Mostly, he seemed to favor facts that suggested Zimmerman’s innocence, but it’s a step forward for Hannity when he even pretends to be objective.
As always, NPR trumped them all. Last week, NPR did it with a heartbreaking account of a North Korean who as a child had overheard his mother and brother talking about trying to escape the country. As a loyal, brainwashed young fan of tyranny, he turned them in. He and his father were both arrested and hauled off to prison where they were beaten and tortured for a few months. Then, one day, they were taken out and forced to watch his mother being hung and brother shot. He said he could not bear to look at his mother’s face.
Eventually, he himself escaped, alive and well, but with this story to haunt him.
This week, NPR triumphed with an interview of Jonathan Turley, the law professor who is generally a staunch defender of liberty. He used to appear a lot on MSNBC when he was attacking the Bush administration for its assaults on freedom. I don’t see him much anymore, perhaps because he is now attacking the Obama administration for carrying on the same practices.
This week, he was highly critical of Obama for his remarks about the Supreme Court in connection with the Affordable Health Care case. I have a lot of respect for Turley’s opinions, but I have to say I don’t quite see what the big deal is here. While lots of critics see Obama’s remarks as an attack on the justices, I don’t. Strictly speaking, he was just expressing his confidence that they would do the right thing by agreeing with him.
I can see why a lawyer would consider it bad form for his client to give judges advice. But I’m not sure why Obama should be the only citizen in America who doesn’t express an opinion about how the court ought to rule. Heck, Gingrich got less criticism for saying that the president and Congress should just ignore judges’ decisions they don’t like. And it didn’t take Jon Stewart long to find tape of Mitt Romney blasting “unelected judges.”
Some critics said Obama was trying to intimidate the court. But how? By refusing to sign their paychecks? By ordering drone attacks against them? If justices can’t stand up to that bit of mild exhortation, they don’t deserve to have the job.
Pretty depressing column in The Billings Gazette today by U.S. Sen. (and physician) John Barrasso, R-Wyo. (I’m not linking to Lee Enterprises websites because of the paywall problem, but you should be able to find the column in the Sunday opinion pieces).
Barrasso is rooting for the Supreme Court to knock down the Affordable Care Act, which, he says, would allow Republicans to “lead on this important issue.” So what would Republicans do, given a clean slate and legislative majorities?
Not much, apparently. Barrasso list three things:
1. Allow insurance companies to sell across state lines.
2. “Restore [Americans'] freedom to make their own health care decisions.”
3. “End junk lawsuits,” presumably with nationwide tort reform.
Barrasso doesn’t mention that Point 1 interferes with the states’ 10th Amendment powers to manage their own affairs. Or that Point 3 not only interferes with citizens’ rights to seek redress of grievances but also, according to accounts I’ve seen, would have a very minor effect on costs. Point 2, so far as I can tell, means nothing at all.
Barrasso isn’t unaware that health care problems exist. He says the country will face a shortage of 63,000 doctors by 2015. He says that nearly half of all doctors won’t treat patients on Medicaid because of low reimbursement rates.
What would he do to fix these problems? Not a darn thing, or at least nothing he mentions in his article. The much larger problems — the millions of uninsured, the crippling costs of health care, the steady decline in employer-provided coverage — aren’t even mentioned. Unfortunately, this is all standard Republican rhetoric on this issue: sell insurance across state lines, enact tort reform, and try not to get sick.
You don’t have to like Obamacare to realize that it is the only game going. Maybe it will never work, but the Republican alternative is nothing. We already know how well that works.
An even lovelier day for baseball on Saturday than last weekend, and another splendid day at the ballpark. MSU Billings fell behind 15-4 in the opener, then got the winning run on base in the ninth before losing, 15-12.
In the nightcap, Matt Comer hit two home runs, and the Yellowjackets rallied from a 5-4 deficit to win 6-5 in the final inning.