Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Nearly Good Idea From Ben Carson

"This was the moment," Senator Barack Obama declared in June, 2008 upon clinching the Democratic presidential nomination, for which we will be able to look back and recognize "the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal."

Skeptics might note that with the rate of rise of sea levels growing and the spread of terrorism worldwide, Obama was only slightly more prescient than he was humble. Yet, perhaps the planet has begun to heal, we are leaving our "children a world that's better, kindler, and more just," and we are overcoming egomaniacal politicians and creating nirvana.  It could be- Ben Carson is making sense.

Asked on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" about Hillary Clinton's health, Dr. Carson replied

Well, you know, as a physician, physicians and scientists generally will not make a diagnosis based on something that they see from a long distance.  My diagnosis would be that anybody who is elderly should expose their records. And we the people should know what they are. Because it's a very stressful job.  It's not an eight hour-a day job, it's 24/7 and we need to make sure that is taken care of.

I know, I know. Any nominee for President of either major party should release his or her full medical records. It should not be done based on age, not only to avoid age discrimination but because some people are healthy at 80 years of age and others unhealthy at 40.  Still, Carson wisely suggested both Clinton and Trump should release their medical records.

That should be considered a mild rebuke to  Rudy Giuliani, M.D.  The former New York City mayor, who received his medical degree from The University of Nowhere, had argued on GOP TV that he had witnessed "several signs of illness" in the Democratic nominee and added "go online and put down 'Hillary Clinton illness,' take a look at the videos for yourself."

While you are on online, do a Google search for "Rudy Giuliani gay" and gaze upon "field negro: RUDY GIULIANI'S GAY LOVER COMES OUT AND SAYS....."  It may give your computer a virus, but it's "online" and thus must be true. Rudy says so.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

No Apology Necessary

Jesse J. Holland of the Associated Press reports

Good Morning America co-anchor Amy Robach has apologized for saying "colored people" on Monday's broadcast of the ABC program.

During a segment on diversity in Hollywood, Robach, who was substituting for Robin Roberts, noted recent criticism for casting white actors "in what one might assume should be a role reserved for colored people."

After the broadcast, Robach released a statement explaining she had meant to say "people of color."

She called the incident "a mistake" and "not at all a reflection of how I feel or speak in my everyday life."


Holland continued "her use of the term sparked criticism on soical media." Many Americans are English-impaired.

If you call someone a  "person of intelligence," you're calling her an  intelligent person. If you refer to her boyfriend as "a person of evil," he is an evil person.   And if that makes you a "person of rudeness," you're a rude person.

News flash to fans of "people of color"- you are labeling individuals "colored people."

This shouldn't be so difficult, and wouldn't be if our interests were accuracy rather than using language for strategic purposes.   Deborah E. McDowell, director of the University of Virginia's Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies, responded to the brouhaha by noting "if you are referring specifically to African Americans, people will frequently be specific and refer to us as African Americans."

Presumably that's because such individuals are in fact African-American.  However, McDowell is blowing smoke up our posterior when she claims "the preferred usage is 'people of color' if you are speaking about people of color broadly."

Uh, no. The preferred usage in the USA is "minorities," "ethnic minorities,"  or a more specific term such as "Asian Americans" or Hispanics/Latinos.  "Colored people" was once (unfortunately) acceptable, then recognized as offensive. Hence, though "people of color" often is used when speaking of "people of color" (whomever they are) broadly,  it is sometimes employed to refer to blacks specifically.

But maybe that's just the point. The speaker gets to use it to mean whatever he wants or even to obsure his actual meaning.

In physics, neither white nor black is defined as a color, black because "it is the absence of light, and therefore color."  Hence, it always was scientifically eccentric to refer to black people as "colored" and it is now absurd to refer to them ever as "people of color."

So, please, drop the "people of color" or "person of color" made-up nomenclature.  Given that the majority of people in the USA are considered "white," others may be considered "black." "African-American" is more accurate, assuming the subject is person or persons descended from the African continent. Meanwhile, "people of color" is no more accurate or appropriate than "colored people," at least according to this person absent of color.

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Shortsighted Decision

"Supreme Court justices," according to Think Progress in March, "are nominated by the president and appointed with the advice and consent of the National Rifle Association, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)."

The writer observed

McConnell offered this unusual view of the confirmation process during an interview with Fox News Sunday. In response to a question from host Chris Wallace, who asked if Senate Republicans would consider the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court after the election if Hillary Clinton prevails, McConnell responded that he “can’t imagine that a Republican majority in the United States Senate would want to confirm, in a lame duck session, a nominee opposed by the National Rifle Association [and] the National Federation of Independent Businesses.”

If it is up to former US Representative Gabby Giffords (D-AZ), her husband Mark Kelly, and the PAC they formed, Americans for Responsibile Solutions, NRA ally Mitch McConnell will remain Senate Majority Leader.

That's a little harsh toward Ms. Giffords, who was gravely wounded in the mass shooting incident of January, 2011 in Tucson, in which Jared Loughner killed six individuals and wounded 13 people.  However, having a political blog with no advertising has its advantages.  In an op-ed on CNN's website, Giffords/Kelly write

In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook, Republican Sens. Pat Toomey and Mark Kirk broke from the gun lobby and supported a bill to help prevent felons, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill from obtaining firearms at gun shows and online.

This week, they are earning our organization's endorsement.

They acknowledge

With so many more candidates running on a gun violence prevention platform, in some places the changing politics of gun safety has made our endorsement decision difficult. In Pennsylvania, Katie McGinty is a passionate advocate for gun violence prevention and would be a consistent vote for life-saving gun safety laws in the Senate. Likewise, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois is not only a decorated veteran and an American hero, but has been a champion for commonsense gun laws in the House. We have no doubt she would continue to be a leader on gun safety in the Senate.

Mark Kirk, perhaps the closest Republican in the United States Senate to a "moderate," is a tough call. But Pat Toomey, once the head of the corporate-enamored Club for Growth, should not be, for as the Associated Press reported nine weeks ago

Among the Senate's most vulnerable Republicans, Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey stood firmly with the powerful National Rifle Association on the latest ill-fated attempts at gun control. So did Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson.

Not so Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk....

Toomey, Portman and Johnson — as they did in December after shootings in San Bernardino, California — supported a NRA-preferred measure to deny a gun sale to a known or suspected terrorist, but only if prosecutors could convince a judge within three days that the would-be buyer was involved in terrorism. The three also helped to defeat a Democratic-sponsored bill to close the gun show loophole and expand background checks.

Kirk is an underdog, Toomey probably a slight favorite to retain his seat.  Nevertheless as Pennsylvania's Democratic Party spokesperson pointed out, “Pat Toomey isn't a moderate on guns, period.  He's stood in the way of common sense gun safety laws and he would happily keep Mitch McConnell as the Senate Majority Leader, meaning that gun safety laws have almost no chance in the Senate" (photo from AP/Susan Walsh).

Bipartisanship has its merits as well as rewards, the latter in fundraising, maintaining a moderate image in the mainstream media, not alienating old friends. In this case, however, the fetish of bipartisanship is destructive to the cause Giffords and Kelly (who have supported Democrats as well as Republicans) are interested in.  If Hillary Clinton- as expected- is elected President, Toomey retains his seat, and Democrats end up with 49 Senate seats, the Arizona couple will have a lot to answer for.

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