Saturday, November 22, 2014

Still not

And South Carolina joins the list.

south caroina in rainbow

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Hmmmm

Over at Contrary Brin, David Brin looks at the election and asks:
Recall that the GOP controlled Congress for TWELVE years, from 1995 to 2007 and for the last six of those, they controlled every branch and lever of the US government, from presidency to courts to Congress and so on. What did they do with that perfect and complete lock on power? Did they take control of our borders? Solve the “entitlements crisis?” Balance budgets? Deregulate reviled agencies? Offer a plan for health care reform? Can you recall anything they actually did, during those years? Other than deregulate banks and Wall Street?
It's an interesting read, particularly when he starts trying to look for hope.

(Via AZ Spot)

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Cold Gold


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Jet Stream Weirdness

Chris Mooney looks at the idea that climate change - the loss of Arctic ice in particular - is driving the extremes of recent winters by affecting the jet stream.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

We need another name for it, obviously

The writer asks:
It “went through the windshield”… by accident? By magic? Why this use of the passive voice?
Sigh.

"Went" is not in the passive voice. "Go" isn't transitive and can't be made passive, in the first place, and if it could it would be "was gone". (I know, but "it was gone" isn't a passive construction - try adding "by him" to see what I mean - it's a participle used as an adjective.) "The bullet went through the windshield" is an active-voice sentence.

Clearly, what the writer is complaining about is that the reporter seems to be implying that the shooter had nothing to do with the bullet's going through the windshield; it's not his fault somebody ended up dead, the bullet did it all on its own. That implication may be reprehensible; agency may be being denied; culpability may be being covered up; but the passive voice isn't to blame.

Passive != "avoiding laying blame/taking responsibility". You can do that with the passive, of course, but (a) the passive can actually stress blame ("the victim was killed by the criminally careless shooter!") and (b) you can do it with the active, as well. As here.

Perhaps, if people are going to continue using the term "using the passive voice" to mean "avoiding assigning responsibility" we should take Mark Liberman's suggestion and rename it - maybe to "thematic" or "focussing" voice - and let people use "passive" to mean whatever it is they think they're talking about.

PS: If you think this might be just a one-off, I invite you to browse the Language Log archives to see just how often "passive" is used to mean "language I just don't like".

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Lake Effect

snow storm cleanup
Holy cow.

Six feet of snow. I can't even imagine it. (Snow days!)

Stay safe out there!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

You know...

Just sayin':

When only 37% of the electorate votes, the result, even if it were unanimous, is not a mandate.

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Week in Entertainment

DVD: Blithe Spirit, from the "David Lean directs Noel Coward" set. A Touch of Cloth, a very funny British takedown of cop shows - John Hannah as the weary detective with a troubled past and Suranne Jones as his new, ambitious sergeant.

TV: The Futurama/Simpsons crossover, which was funny. Things to Come, still a good movie even if severely overtaken by events. A good print (at last!) and uncut. Big Trouble in Little China - I love this movie! The Douglas Fairbanks silent version of A Thief of Baghdad.

Read: The last of the Libby Serjeants ... and on to something new! First, Undeniable by Bill Nye, engaging (perhaps a tiny bit too much so) but really aimed at people who know less than I do. Good Christmas present material, though. Then A Bicycle Built For Murder, set in a small English village in WWII. Not bad, but I am tired of women falling for men the very first time they see them and spending the whole book obsessing over them. So I won't be reading any more of this series. I did enjoy Under an English Sky, and also the first two Julian Kestrel books.

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2 Comments:

At 10:43 AM, November 17, 2014 Anonymous Mark P had this to say...

Big Trouble is one of my favorite movies, too. It's one of those that holds up to multiple viewings, at least for me.

 
At 11:27 AM, November 17, 2014 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

I've lost track of how many times I've seen it. It's just about perfect.

 

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Amazing ...

It's amazing to me how differently the different brands - or even sub-brands - of throat lozenges work. Ludens is the best, and the orange-flavored ones are better than the cherry...

Yes, I have a horrible sore throat.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Fortunate Son IS pro the troops

Re Bruce Springsteen's singing "Fortunate Son" at that big Veterans Day concert HBO put on, from The American Conservative:
The song is not an “anti-war screed”; it is a song protesting the unfairness of the draft, and how the burden of war-fighting fell disproportionately on members of the working class who were not in college, and couldn’t get, say, five Vietnam War draft deferments, like some former vice presidents we could name. In that sense, performing that song last night was perfectly legitimate, even laudatory.

Even if it were an anti-war screed, so what? The lyrics are written in the voice of someone who stands to be sent to Vietnam because of his class. It criticizes those who mouth patriotism, but who don’t want to send their sons off to die in a war they support. I think it was and is a perfectly valid and appropriate song to play at a concert meant to honor veterans. After all, they served. It is not critical of them, but actually defends them.
Absolutely spot on. And so is this, from the same place:
Fortunate Son is not “anti-military.” It is anti-elite. It is anti-politician. It is anti-Washington.

And yes, it is antiwar.

War is bad. This should not be a controversial statement. Most people of any ideology should be able to agree that even when war is necessary, it is a necessary evil. In 1946, General Dwight Eisenhower delivered an antiwar screed of his own: “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.”

Was Ike antimilitary? He was certainly antiwar.

War is brutal, futile, and stupid. Eisenhower saw battle firsthand. In “Fortunate Son,” John Fogerty asks why middle- and lower-class Americans are forced to see war up close while the political elite gets to keep a safe distance.

“Fortunate Son” is antiwar precisely because it is pro-military. It advocates for regular Americans who fight wars and against elites who make them.
There are all too many people in this country who seem to believe that supporting the troops means cheering the wars. It's good to see that not everyone on the right believes this.

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5 Comments:

At 4:53 AM, November 16, 2014 Anonymous Picky had this to say...

Interesting to choose Eisenhower – no doubt done because of his conservatism and unimpeachable record. I think I may be right in saying he saw no action before Torch, when he was already a general, of course. (I certainly don't mean he avoided action – quite the contrary.) So he will not have experienced the horror from the standpoint of the private soldier; he will have experienced the horror of command, which I would have thought only those of great strength or great stupidity could survive; the horror that had Wellington weeping after Waterloo.

 
At 3:34 PM, November 16, 2014 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

Didn't Ike see battle firsthand during WW I?

 
At 4:08 PM, November 16, 2014 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

Nope. Though he requested to be sent overseas, he was assigned stateside for almost the entire time, and then when he was posted to France, the Armistice happened before he got there.

In fact, his lack of combat experience was frequently used as an attack by people (like Montgomery) who resented his promotion to Supreme Allied commander.

 
At 6:57 AM, November 17, 2014 Anonymous Picky had this to say...

Yep, Montgomery certainly saw action in WWI, indeed he was seriously wounded. And he turned out to be a remarkable general. Whether Eisenhower would have been any good in action as a platoon lieutenant we'll never know, but as supreme commander he was just brilliant.

 
At 11:24 AM, November 17, 2014 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

Thanks for the info.

 

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O fer....

Jeeze Louise.

I know this opinion is being attributed to the guy we're not supposed to like rather than one of the main characters, but honestly. How keen do your ears have to be to hear someone pushing the keys on their phone (or massive tablet, what is that thing anyway?)? And calling it as disgusting and rude and intrusive as second-hand smoke?

Jeeze. Lou-ise.

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