June 1, 2007
mitt romney -- comic geniusI'm starting to feel a little competition from the Associated Press. At least in the "poking fun at carelessly spoken words" department.
Last night they ran a story concerning an attack by presidential candidate Mitt Romney on presidential candidate Hillary Clinton:
"Her view is the old, classic, European caricature that we describe of big government, big taxation, welfare state," said [Romney].
"She gave a speech a couple of days ago and laid out her vision for America. And as I listened to her I figured her platform wouldn't even get her elected in France," [Romney] said to chuckles and applause
So that's a pretty dumb thing to say, in light of the fact that France recently elected a conservati-- Oh wait. The AP has more. The very next paragraph:
In recent French elections, conservative Nicolas Sarkozy captured the presidency, defeating Segolene Royal in her bid to become France's first female president.
So technically, France is now disinclined to elect the leftist female candidate over the conservative male candidate. So, Romney's point, while probably a big ole applause line (France! Clinton! Har!), is no matter what a pile of hooey.
And the AP even brings the snark that I would ordinarily overuse even though is no longer 2003. In the two bracketed Romneys from the first quote (which were withheld for the purpose of suspense), the AP described Romney as first "the former Massachusetts governor" and then "who was a missionary in France". Really, that's about as scathing as you can get without dropping f-bombs.
Maybe it's not so much that the AP is coming to its senses as it is that Mitt Romney is a hopelessly comic figure, cynically pandering to morons in the hope that the Moron Vote will take the election?
Posted by mrbrent at 11:51 AM
type 'premium beef', cringeMaybe you heard, maybe you didn't: After years of pretending otherwise, the Bush Administration is again trying to kill us all, but this time through our mouths.
The short version is that the Agriculture Department is trying to prevent a small American meat producer from testing all its cattle for Mad Cow (or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, if you must) on the grounds that it might harm the beef industry. No, not harm the beef industry on account of the consumer backlash that will occur in the face of a dedicated and principled effort to safeguard our food supply (though I wouldn't be surprised if this one was trotted out someday). The reason cited by the Agriculture Department:
The Agriculture Department regulates the test and argued that widespread testing could lead to a false positive that would harm the meat industry.
Which is generally the reason we don't test our children for infectious diseases -- if a false positive for whooping cough comes back, then the family dog freaks out.
Actually, the article gives a clearer, better explanation for the really-hard-to-explain-to-your-kids actions of the DoA:
Larger meat companies feared that move because, if Creekstone [Farms Premium Beef] should test its meat and advertised it as safe, they might have to perform the expensive tests on their larger herds as well.
Which changes the impetus of the DoA behind putting the kibosh on the BSE tests from "the public good" to "pressure from the beef industry". The gall of it all is that there is no mandatory result of Creekstone Farms' attempts to test -- this is not the imposition of a new rule of required testing. No, the reason the beef industry has the DoA's arm twisted behind its back is that the pressure that this comprehensive testing would put on the larger players in the beef industry in the marketplace might cause them to have to increase testing themselves (or lose sales), thus increasing the expense of doing business.
So on the one hand, you have a federal agency again, in the light of day, trampling the safety and well-being of Americans because of industry pressure.
On the other hand, if you pull "public health" from the equation, you have a consortium (monopoly? econ was never my subject) of business interests who are using governmental influence to stymie a competitor. It would be as if Frito-Lay talked the USDA into declaring Snyder of Berlin potato chips an enemy combatant or some such, thus cementing Doritos position on top of the snack food world. Which is an appropriation of political power that would be opposed by good people, and the hungry.
I might add that restraining a production method, in a prior fashion, flies in the face of this free market economy that the Good Lord blessed us with -- in fact, a slaughterhouse should be as free to test its beef as it should be to bust a picket line with scab workers! Unfortunately, the orthodoxy of the successful is that there is no orthodoxy -- cheat to win! And we humble cogs in the service economy are stuck with the crumbs at the table, and a healthy dose of BSE.
Posted by mrbrent at 9:43 AM
May 31, 2007
i do not mean to mock the dead pandaTime to parse some non-whale critter news. This morning's ill-advised headline from the Yahoo! mainpage concerns pandas, in some way I'm having a hard time figuring out:
• World's sole human-bred panda in the wild dies
Someone got a hold of that with Babelfish, and ran a little telephone-game on it with random translation. "Human-bred panda" for some reason reminds me of "free-range chicken", just to add a dollop of eww on top of the confusion. And how lonely is the verb there, stranded all the way at the end of the phrase, like it was a German participle or something?
Interestingly enough, as pointed out by Maud a few weeks ago, there are rules about ordering modifiers. You may be averse to rules, but I am averse to misapprehension. Besides, they're mostly intuitive (unless you are an outsourced Yahoo! copyeditor mining headlines with logic bombs).
Posted by mrbrent at 9:40 AM
May 30, 2007
gingrich, delay, adultryThis has been linked to death already, but it is worthwhile. This week's New Yorker runs a Jeffrey Goldberg article on the current Republican implosion, and it's loaded with information (mostly in the form of interviews), hence the linking of relevant portions on your standard array of progressive political websites. Although it will be very popular with purveyors of Karl Rove fanfic, it is also worth the read for we whose thoughts of Rove tend towards revulsion.
Plus also Goldberg gets his hands dirty doing things (like reading DeLay's bio) that you wouldn't want to undertake with your valuable free time, so there's your public service. Which brings us to the best part, which is, DeLay discussing the quantifiable difference between his adultery and Gingrich's adultery.
Oh, there are other best parts, too. That's just the best (and icky) part right now.
Posted by mrbrent at 11:27 AM
i am america's asst vice comptrollerWe have new candidates for America's Mayor. Using a certain logic, you could easily argue that America's Mayor should be Ernie Stull, who was Mayor of Shanksville, PA on September 11, 2001. Or you could argue that it should be Ron Carlee, who was County Manager of Arlington Co., VA on 9/11, though technically he would be America's County Manager, which is not as sexy as Mayor, but now that nerds rule the earth, maybe that will change.
And if we extend the logic in a different direction, America now has an America's Borough President -- C. Virginia Fields.
If each of Stull, Carlee and Fields were shrewd like a certain multiply divorced GOP presidential candidate, they would realize that if they were to pick of the mantel of "America's [X]" solely for the reason of having the bad luck to preside over a tragedy, they too could rake in millions and millions of dollars in speaking fees! Don't think of it as blood money -- think of it as "America's Money".
Posted by mrbrent at 10:21 AM
May 29, 2007
duke sucksIn my daily visit to the sports page, I see that the Duke University lacrosse team lost a championship game. This would be the Duke team that did not finish the season last year, due to some small legal troubles (that have since been withdrawn). Perhaps most disturbing in the news stories of Duke lacrosse team is the portrayal of the players as a bunch of upright young heroes, heroes who have been through a lot and have embarked on a fairy tale season.
Funny, when I think of the Duke lacrosse team, I think of a bunch of rich kids playing under the inspirational slogan "WE DIDN'T ACTUALLY RAPE THE STRIPPER".
There was a Mallard Fillmore (which I can't find online) that whined that the dropping of the charges against the Duke lacrosse players didn't get as much press as the initial charges. If inappropriately touching a stripper while underage drinking and then organizing a racially-tainted smear campaign against the accuser is behavior that Bruce Tinsley wants to glamorize, then fine -- it's a free country -- but I'd like to know if he has any sons, because most of my childed friends have daughters, over whom I am somewhat protective.
I understand that it may be unfair to hold up Mallard Fillmore as indicative of the rest of those conservatives with whom I disagree, as Tinsley is x percent more rational and a world less vulgar than your average everyday Dittohead or whatever cute thing they call themselves. So consider the Mallard Fillmore to be purely illustrative (but not in the sense of pen-and-ink, of course -- Tinsley ain't much in that department.)
My sentiment, though, concerning the debased nature of the Duke lacrosse team and Bruce Tinsley's parental unfitness, stands.
Posted by mrbrent at 10:50 AM