November 8, 2009
In Connecticut a furor has arisen over the wording on a memorial for those who were killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks. The town of Kent is putting up a memorial to a young man, James Gadiel, from there who was killed that day in New York City. Work on the memorial has been halted, though, because his father, Peter Gadiel, demands that it say his son had been “killed by Muslim terrorists.” He claims any other wording is “too soft” and would only be caving in to “political correctness.”
I’m no fan of “political correctness” myself, but what the elder Mr Gadiel wants is just not done on monuments of this sort. “Political correctness” is not at issue here … rather, custom and propriety are. If it were, there’d be lots of World War II memorials saying, “Blown up by Nazi bootlickers” or “Shot by imperialist Nips,” and Korean War memorials saying, “Slaughtered by Red invaders.”
I get that the elder Mr Gadiel is angry about his son’s death, but his emotions should not dictate what the town of Kent does with its money. He may appear — as the father of the deceased — to have the moral authority to make this decision, but the cold reality is that he does not.
What has made this case worse than it needed to be, is that the bellicose and sanctimonious Bill O’Reilly has taken up the Gadiel cause and rallied the troops of the Right against the town of Kent, condemning their “political correctness.” Unfortunately — and as usual — O’Reilly’s furor is displaced; his claim is, as I explained, moot.
October 29, 2009
House Minority Leader John Boehner is whining about the length of the latest healthcare reform bill. It’s too long, he says. I agree it’s long, but to assume that all bills that long must, by definition, be “bad,” is not logical.
The truth of the matter, as Slate explains, is that lots of bills are long. The length of many of them is because pork is thrown in, in order to encourage members to vote for it. “Omnibus spending bills,” which are nearly an annual ritual in Congress, typically number well over 1,000 pages.
Sorry Mr Boehner, but the length of this bill has nothing to do with whether or not it’s good or bad.
Concentrating on one aspect of this bill while ignoring the rest is hypertrivia. Opposing the bill because Democrats authored it, is partisanism. Whining about yet another version of a healthcare bill — which has been worked on in Congress in one way or another since January, with none of it going anywhere — is hyperreacting. Appealing to people’s fears of “bureaucracy” … which is not evidenced in the number of pages in the bill, especially if those pages are more Congressional pork than anything else … is emotivism. Let’s grow up, Mr Boehner, and stop being maturity-deprived.
September 28, 2008
If it’s not American-flag lapel pins, it’s bracelets bearing the names of deceased soldiers. Unbelievably, a conflict is brewing over whether or not Barack Obama has permission to wear such a bracelet. As ABC’s Jake Tapper reports, it was given to him by the soldier’s mother. But the soldier’s father (who divorced the mother) is a McCain fan and has apparently decided that Obama doesn’t have permission to wear it.
Exactly where his right to give or deny such permission — aside from the emotional hook of being the soldier’s father — is not exactly clear. Maybe I missed the law that was passed giving fathers of deceased soldiers this permission?
At any rate, the mother is apparently waffling … she gave Obama the bracelet, then later said he shouldn’t wear it, but then was happy he had it at last Friday’s debate.
There’s a lot here I confess not to understand … beginning with the relevance to being president, of whether or not one has “permission” to wear bracelets of this type, not to mention exactly who is entitled to grant it and under what conditions s/he can do so. When you get right down to it, what do bracelets have to do with the Oval Office? Answer: Absolutely nothing whatsoever!
While this probably means a great deal to the two parents (and one of them is confused about it), it really has nothing to do with who should be president, and should play no part in the election.
But it does … because Americans have been fooled into thinking that sentimentality means something. It doesn’t and never will, but most refuse to understand it. Thus the two parties will keep pulling the wool over Americans’ eyes and prevent them from making a bona fide, rational choice based on the facts.
September 21, 2008
Here is a shining example of hypertrivia. The major criterion for the presidency, according to Newsweek, has become … how many cars the candidate owns.
You read that right, the number of cars they own.
September 20, 2008
Politicians lie all the time. Don’t believe me? That’s fine by me, you don’t have to take my word for it, and I don’t expect you will. Go and browse the fabulous Web site FactCheck. They’ll let you know what lies politicians have been telling and demonstrating exactly how they are lies. They even have an Ask FactCheck page where you can ask about something a politician has said.
The St Petersburg Times also offers their own political fact-checking service, called PolitiFact. It’s also very useful.
I recommend frequent trips to both sites, in order not to be swindled by the liars of the Left or the Right.