Language Liberalism Freethought Birds
Verbing Weirds Language only if you're expecting it to work in a simple way. This is a special case of the more general truth that Language Weirds.
Only when a republic's life is in danger should a man uphold his government when it is in the wrong. There is no other time.
The church says Earth is flat; but I have seen its shadow on the moon, and I have more confidence in a shadow than the church.
If we can't find Heaven, there are always bluejays.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Re the decision killing the ACA subsidies, several people - like Kevin Drum over at Mother Jones - suggest that, even if the Supreme Court upholds that ruling instead of the other one, things might work out kind of okay:
What happens is that people in blue states like California and New York, which operate their own exchanges, continue getting their federal subsidies. People in red states, which punted the job to the feds, will suddenly have their subsidies yanked away. Half the country will have access to a generous entitlement and the other half won't.So, who knows?
How many people will this affect? The earliest we'll get a Supreme Court ruling on this is mid-2015, and mid-2016 is more likely. At a guess, maybe 12 million people will have exchange coverage by 2015 and about 20 million by 2016. Let's split the difference and call it 15 million. About 80 percent of them qualify for subsidies, which brings the number to about 12 million. Roughly half of them are in states that would be affected by Halbig.
So that means about 6 million people who are currently getting subsidies would suddenly have them yanked away. It's even possible they'd have to pay back any tax credits they'd received previously.
The key point here is that people respond much more strongly to losing things than they do to not getting them in the first place. For example, there are lots of poor people in red states who currently aren't receiving Medicaid benefits thanks to their states' refusal to participate in Obamacare's Medicaid expansion. This hasn't caused a revolt because nothing was taken away. They just never got Medicaid in the first place.
The subsidies would be a different story. You'd have roughly 6 million people who would suddenly lose a benefit that they've come to value highly. This would cause a huge backlash. It's hard to say if this would be enough to move Congress to action, but I think this is nonetheless the basic lay of the land. Obamacare wouldn't be destroyed, it would merely be taken away from a lot of people who are currently benefiting from it. They'd fight to get it back, and that changes the political calculus.
Well this is bad news
I don't know if Ted thinks What's-his-face,Whos's-her-name (a new one on me!), and the Whatchamacllits are pronouns, or if he means the neighbors are lucky they aren't called worse things than "you". (Probably the former.) But while What's-his-face does indeed stand in for a proper noun, that doesn't make it a pronoun...
Trivial but ...
Monday, July 21, 2014
Such sad news
James Garner has died. What a wonderful actor he was.
Mary McNamara writes of him:
It wasn't humility so much as a sense of proportion, something so unusual in a lead character or a lead actor that it became a hallmark of a Garner performance — he didn't think too much or too little of himself because he'd rather not be thinking of himself at all.Elaine Stritch just died, too. Here she sings "I'm Still Here":
And here "The Ladies Who Lunch":
And "The Little Things You Do Together":
(I hope we don't lose a third one...)
Sunday, July 20, 2014
The Week in Entertainment
Nothing but reading this week! I DVRd some things but didn't watch any of them... Instead, I read the latest Lindsey Davis Flavia Albia novel, Enemies at Home, which is excellent. I then let myself be talked into trying Saylor's Gordianus the Finder, which is ... okay. Granted I only read one novel and one short-story collection, but still, I can't warm up to Gordianus and his preening himself over his slave woman. Erk. However, when I mentioned that to someone at work they told me to try Rosemary Rowe's Libertus novels, and damn ... I read all fourteen of them. And they hold up under that, which a lot of series don't (cough Sue Grafton cough). Libertus isn't Falco, but he isn't Gordianus, either. I enjoyed them a lot.
Friday, July 18, 2014
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Okay, this is too much
Okay, yes, I freely admit it - ask anyone who plays me in Draw Something - I can't draw. I especially can't draw people. But then again, no one is paying me to.
But this is just ridiculous. Except for their clothes, Tommie and Carol look absolutely nothing alike in these two panels. And I don't mean like each other, either; like themselves in the other panel. Hell, Tommie's hair has even grown. I mean, yes, points for drawing each panel separately, but ... look. The house and the fence aren't even the same!
Watch those pronoun referents!
First: dawwwwwwwww. Baby Stegosaurus no bigger than a cat! Dawwwwwwwwwwww!
But this? Please:
And it was late one afternoon in 2007 when Mossbrucker himself found something extraordinary in the sandstone — the footprint of a baby Stegosaurus dinosaur.No, no, no. I mean, which was it? Larger, if not much, than a house cat? Or no bigger than a quarter? Because while cats are much tinier than adult Stegosauruses, they are indeed bigger than quarters.
“The light hit it just right, and I went, ‘Oh, it’s a track!’” he said. The tiny dino wouldn’t have been much larger than a house cat. Based on its size, no bigger than a quarter, it had recently hatched.
I'm going to bet that paragraph originally read something like:
“The light hit it just right, and I went, ‘Oh, it’s a track!’” he said. Based on its size, no bigger than a quarter, the tiny dino wouldn’t have been much larger than a house cat. It had recently hatched.There might have been a conjunction or two in there, but I'm betting this was it. (Even here, I'd prefer "based on the track's size", but that's just me.) Because in the paragraph as rearranged, there's a severe pronoun antecedent problem.
Once you stick that "tiny dino" and that "house cat" in there in front of "its", it can't mean the track any more.
Bing blows it on the conjunction:
Russian has two words for "and" - и and a. This one, a, is a "contrastive and" (I like cats and he likes dogs), and "and" is rarely the best choice. "But" is better, "while" is my personal favorite for most contexts. Here, "but rather" is what you want.
Again, Google Translate does better: "I want to emphasize, we believe that this is not an incident, not a disaster but a terrorist act."
BUT they neither one do right by Poroshenko's verb считаем; it's really in the "consider, judge, count, reckon, esteem, look upon, hold to be" semantic field. Poroshenko is saying he believes it's an act of terror; he's saying he considers it one. Big important difference.
Here's a story about the KKK doing a recruiting drive in South Carolina. (Yes, I know, John Roberts said racism is over.) A woman in Seneca contacted the station because she was "worried" and "scared" after
they woke up Sunday to find bags of candy on their driveways with literature directing people to "Save our land, join the Klan."A nice touch is that because it's a Fox News affiliate, the KKK is characterized as "classified as a "hate group"" rather than as one, and the group involved is called a "sect". Yeah. Like the KKK is, I don't know, a religion. (The Imperial Klaliff's unchallenged description is "not a hate group but a civil rights organization following the Bible.") For Fox, maybe it is...
The article ends on this cheery note, with a head's up for their neighboring state:
The Loyal White Knights are allowed to speak their minds, protected under the First Amendment the same as anyone else.But here's the really reassuring point:
[Imperial Klaliff] Jones said his chapter is planning a public protest against illegal immigration in North Carolina on August 9, with a cross burning after dark.
He said people in the area will see more of this type of recruitment.
[Jones] said people who receive the candy and literature shouldn't be fearful unless they're doing something that the Klan considers morally wrong.So that's all right then!
ps - I lied. Here's the really reassuring point: the good people of Seneca, SC, have planned a Unity Rally later this month in response.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
The print edition of the Washington Times story is headlined Utah bribery case ensnares Harry Reid, while the online one (now?) reads Harry Reid’s name surfaces in Utah bribery case against two former attorneys general but both resolve to
a court filing that makes tantalizing references to a possible pay-to-play influence scheme involving U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.Not so much a "snare" as a "smear", then.
PS: A friend in Utah writes:
Wow. To anyone familiar with the Swallow-Shurtleff scandal and the actual Harry Reid connection thereto, the Washington Times' implication is beyond mendacious. The Soviets at their worst never waxed this bald in lying innuendo.
Sunday, July 13, 2014
The Week in Entertainment
DVD: Charlie Chan in London, Paris & Shanghai, some of the best of the Sidney Toler years.
TV:The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, which is one of my favorite Wes Andersons. And somehow managed to forget to mention I started Vicious, which is somehow absolutely standard humor despite being about two long-term gay partners - played, of course, by Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi (so good). Also the second season of Last Tango in Halifax
Read: Finished The Three, which was very good. Murder and Mendelssohn, the latest Phryne Fisher, which is my favorite so far. Finished the Kate McCall series - reread the first three (Kate McCall, Private Eye; One Little Lie; Road Trip) and then the last two, Just a Con and Happy Endings. It's a nice goofy series. Shattered, the latest in the Iron Druid series, which takes a couple of hard turns. Shadows Beneath, the Writing Excuses Anthology, which gives us the stories and then discussion and drafts of each one. The Stories We Tell, an intriguing story. Asylum Harbor, a quick read that holds your attention.