Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Do Democrats need wonder-bread crackers?

Letters: Yes, Democrats do need the South! - Salon

[The Latino population of southern states is] still outnumbered by xenophobic,
wonder-bread crackers.

Wonder-bread crackers is a wonderful image. I'm thinking crispy on the outside, gummy-soft on the inside, kinda like a wheaten smore. And all those vitamins!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Rubes, Rubes, I've Been Thinkin' . . .

MyDD :: Regardless of Media Reports, Americans Have No Faith in Bush

While the rubes in the establishment media have been quick to swallow administration spin, both over the past six years and specifically over the past week, the American people decidedly are not, as both the election and post-election polling from the Pew Research Center show.

Rubes are unsophisticated rural folk. In one version, they're purely stupid. In another, they're plenty shrewd, but unacquainted with big-city ways.

(Jack Burns and George Lindsey had an ongoing routine about the latter on the old country-music show "Hee-Haw." It would always start with Burns saying, "Hey, rube. . . " and end with Burns being outsmarted by Lindsey.)

"Rubes in the establishment media" is oxymoronic. In fact, it's their very urbane sophistication that turns establishment media types into credulous dolts. They're terrified of looking stupid, so they blather with the pack.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Chez It Ain't So


It's a perfect example of why Spencer The Apostate won't be attending the annual Stephen Glass Birthday Soiree at Chez Peretz this year.

On ne dit jamais "at Chez Peretz." On dit, "chez Peretz," seulement.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I wouldn't touch her with a 10-foot poll

TBogg - "...a somewhat popular blogger"

TBogg quoting La Malkin:
Police arrested 24-year old Michael Burkett of Boise early Sunday morning after officers with Capitol Mall Security reported spotting him vandalizing two flag polls on the grounds of the Idaho Statehouse.

Michelle, I know we're all a little addled by the election and everything, but even so you probably mean "flag poles." "Flag polls" are what we get when the Republicans in Congress feel a little threatened and start mumbling about a flag-protection amendment to the Constitution.

Maybe she avoided writing "poles" out of deference to the Polish.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Misunderestimate, and other wheezes

Whiskey Bar: The Idiocracy Vote

But if there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's never [wise] to misunderestimate the power of electoral inertia, or the efficiency and effectiveness of the Republican machine.

Can we please have a moratorium on Bushisms like:


The juice is long since all squeezed out and they're not funny any more.

Mangled Hordes

Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald

Right-wing pundits and bloggers have long demanded that the Bush administration make public the hordes of government documents which were obtained from Saddam's files by the U.S. military in Iraq.

Glenn, Glenn. Horde is the word for Mongol invaders that come in very large numbers. You probably mean "hoard," (noun) meaning stash or stockpile.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

GOP's Lackluster Base

Yahoo! News: GOP Seeks to Motivate Lackluster Base

Lackluster. adj. dull, not shiny (i.e. lacking luster).

Lackadaisical. adj. unenthusiastic, uninterested (Wikipedia).

I think you mean lackasaisical, a word apparently describing your headline writers as well as the GOP base.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Breaking Records

Daily Kos: House poll cornucopia

Not to sound like a broken record, but none of these leads are worth a damn if they can do better GOTV.

OBSOLETE. We're getting old. To people born since about 1980, "broken record" connotes an athletic performance, not a line of dialog or music that's repeated and repeated and repeated. . .

Friday, October 06, 2006

elevating an act

Media Matters - Here's how dishonest Beltway journalism has become

Indeed, Halperin and Harris elevate the act of playing dumb to Olympian heights. Note how they fawn over Bush and Rove in 2000 for deftly handling curiosity about the candidate's previous drug use by simply announcing they would not answer reporters' questions on that touchy subject.

I'm pretty sure that Eric meant "elevate the art of playing dumb," but "act" almost works. "Elevate the art. . . " is overused; a deft change of one letter would be just the ticket to rejuvenate the expression. Unfortunately, "elevate the act. . . " is a head-scratcher. "Act" as a single event or action, or "act" as a tried-and-true script for a performance?

The former doesn't work in context -- Eric is saying that Halperin and Harris, in their new book, The Way to Win, deliberately omit events such as the Monica Lewinsky feeding frenzy and the Bushies' cynical manipulation of post 9/11 patriotism from their analysis of the genius of Karl Rove. That's not a single act. But in the latter sense, "act" as "schtick", "act" means almost the same thing as "art" and changing the word jars the ear to no apparent purpose.

Stick with ". . . elevate the art of [whatever] to [clever adjective] heights."

Syn tax on evangelicals

New York Times

“I’m looking at the data,” said Ron Luce, who organized the meetings and founded Teen Mania, a 20-year-old youth ministry, “and we’ve become post-Christian America, like post-Christian Europe. We’ve been working as hard as we know how to work — everyone in youth ministry is working hard — but we’re losing.”

Is Teen Mania a 20-year-old ministry, or a ministry catering to 20-year-old youths?

Don't write like they do at our newspaper of (garbled) record.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

dead letters: 21st Century feces


But I came upon another quote from him saying something even more absurd:

Rear Admiral Harris is adamant that the people in his care are well looked after and are enemies of the United States.

He told me they use any weapon they can - including their own urine and faeces - to continue to wage war on the United States.

"Faeces?" Do you mean Rod Stewart's old band? (Actually, it's more accurate to say that Rod left "Faces" to record decades' worth of "feces.")

The standard ASCII alphabet doesn't include those weird Latin combined letters looking like "ae," "oe," etc. That's because they're, pardon the pun, dead letter. Their Germanic equivalent, an "a" or "o" crowned by an umlaut, is still in use in Germany and Scandanavia, and hangs on as an option in English, but by and large it's a pedantic affectation.

The English spelling of the Latin "faeces" is "feces." Highly recommended for use in e-mails to those vaporish Beltway types who grow faint when crazed liberal bloggers use the Anglo-Saxon "shit."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Stationary stationery

Sirotablog: This is what a party serious about taking back power looks like

A few years back after writing this piece in the American Prospect, I received a letter in the mail on congressional stationary from Rep. Tim Ryan (D).

Stationary. adj. immobile, still, not moving.
Stationery. n. paper used to write letters and memos on.

Remember: You write letters on stationEry. That is:

Stationery is not stationary. Stationery moves.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Jane H. + Keith O.


Jane Hamsher was on Keith O's show and did a wonderful, wonderful job -- facts at her fingertips, telegenic (and how!). In fact, she's more telegenic than a liberal ought to be. Maybe she can replace Katie Couric at CBS.

Icing on the cake was this comment, in a thread that had somehow strayed to Busholini's pronunciation of "nuclear":

Q. I’m watching Anderson Cooper 360, and Bush keeps saying “nukuler”…has anyone tried to explain to him that he’s saying it wrong?

A. I was watching “Dr. Strangelove” the other night and Slim Pickens says “Well, boys, I reckon this is it. Nookler combat, toe-to-toe with the Rooskies.”

I thought “nookler” sounded better than “nukular”. I mean, if you want to sound like an ignoramus, at least sound like an ignoramus with some class.

Hear, hear.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

best suited

Ned Lamont for Senate | "Downright Confounding"

This is the third “thumbs down” the Connecticut Post has given Sen. Lieberman for his campaign’s tactics in just the past two months. The first was for their fabricated bumper sticker ad (about which they asserted, “if Lieberman wants to attack his challenger, he would be best suited to keep his criticisms based in reality”). . .

Lieberman would be well-advised, possibly best-advised, to keep his criticisms based in reality, because reality-based criticisms are the kind best suited for winning elections.

See the difference? Lieberman, who despite all his flaws is a still human being, is well-advised to use tools, or some other noun, that are well-suited to the task. Human, well-advised; tool, well-suited.

A human might be well-suited for some tasks: At 5'1", 102 lbs, Charlie was well-suited for his work as a jockey. He's the right tool for the job.

their antecedent: singular or plural?

Daily Kos: More on The Republican Revolt

The takeaway message is that more and more conservatives, from William Buckley to Andrew Sullivan, are losing their taste for supporting this President and their policies.

I've avoided the ambiguity over whether to use "their" when referring back to a singular antecedent of unknown gender (Will everyone please take their chair?), because the traditional fixup of using masculine pronouns is so clearly obsolescent.

But here, the antecedent is well-defined and singular, unless you think the President is the Trinity. It should be "this President and his policies."

BTW, go read the whole post. Dynamite. Somebody calls Bush "an empty vessel filled with equal parts Rove and Rousseau."

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Spouting off

Firedoglake - Pull Up A Chair

I’ve actually corresponded with Peter on this issue — I thought checking with someone who might actually know what DID happen would be prudent before spouting my mouth off – and it is my understanding that they hope to do a few more meetings with more bloggers in the future.

Christy, I agree with everything you say but must tell you it's "shooting [one's] mouth off," not "spouting." You're mixing up "shooting. . . " with the shorter "spouting off."

"Shooting my mouth off" perfectly fills your bill. "Spouting off" also connotes poor information, but with an added dollop of drunkenness, anger or political passion.

I should know, I shoot my mouth off all the time.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Is Anthony Averse Risk Adverse?

Hullabaloo: tristero

Historically, and today, conservatives minimize or ignore potentially serious problems (eg global climate change) until they are so serious that it is nearly impossible to do much good about them. And they are so adverse to government solutions - unless it props up monopolies and other practices benefitting business management - that they fail to understand that failure-of-government-to-act is quite often the problem.

adverse, adj. unfavorable, hostile (Wiktionary); An adverse ruling by the judge stymied our best hope of acquittal.

averse, adj. disinclined, unwilling, reluctant (also Wiktionary) cf. Sherlock Holmes: "There are many men in London, you know, who, some from shyness, some from misanthropy, have no wish for the company of their fellows. Yet they are not averse to comfortable chairs and the latest periodicals." (Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter)

For sure, conservatives give adverse treatment to lots of good-government legislation, but that is because they are averse to government solutions, not adverse to such solutions.

* * * *
Today's chronically misused jargon is "risk averse." Risk averse does not mean cautious. One is risk averse when confronted by two courses of action, one more risky than the other, she will not choose the riskier one unless it is also sufficiently (to her taste) more potentially lucrative. Short version: A risk averter is someone who demands payment for bearing risk.

Just ask Anthony Adverse.