The Wall Street Journal recounts the history of the federal government's war on the apostrophe:
The no-apostrophe rule has been reaffirmed five times, yet punctuationists fight on. At a 2009 meeting with place namers from the states, the names committee was flayed for its "isolationist stance" toward "the perpetually punished apostrophe."
"The apostrophe has a function," says Thomas Gasque, an English professor who spent years on South Dakota's Geographic Names Authority. "It can imply things other than possession," he says. "We talk about a winter's day. The day doesn't belong to winter."
As Prof. Gasque sees it, map makers should prize locally used apostrophes as mainstays of history. "Place names are the autobiography of a nation," he says.
This should be fairly obvious, but can we not spend the next year so filled with rage that we forget to offer the public an agenda of our own? Kudos to National Review for urging caution among the conservative ranks:
[T]hough the AP story has angered some progressives, and the IRS story some vulnerable Democrats, it will fall on the Republicans to lead the way.
We urge them to do so with vigor, but also with a keen sense of the limits of political scandal. Republicans must guard against the temptation to count on scandal to deliver election victories in 2014 and 2016.
It is a lesson they should have learned in 1998.
Republicans expected to make large gains in Congress that year but ended up losing five House seats and standing pat in the Senate. The problem was not so much that Republicans “overreached” in pursuing the impeachment of President Clinton, as the conventional wisdom has it. The Republicans that year did not really run on a promise to remove Clinton from office — or on any other agenda. Their strategy was to assume that the scandal would redound to their benefit, and that they merely had to sit back and let victory rain o’er them. It didn’t.
I'm not sure I'd pay this much for KFC's subpar fried chicken, but ok:
The French fries arrive soggy, the chicken having long since lost its crunch. A 12-piece bucket goes for about $27 here — more than twice the $11.50 it costs just across the border in Egypt.
And for fast-food delivery, it is anything but fast: it took more than four hours for the KFC meals to arrive here on a recent afternoon from the franchise where they were cooked in El Arish, Egypt, a journey that involved two taxis, an international border, a smuggling tunnel and a young entrepreneur coordinating it all from a small shop here called Yamama — Arabic for pigeon.
I wish everyone reacted to impolite cell phone usage like Kevin Williamson.
The lady seated to my immediate right (very close quarters on bench seating) was fairly insistent about using her phone. I asked her to turn it off. She answered: “So don’t look.” I asked her whether I had missed something during the very pointed announcements to please turn off your phones, perhaps a special exemption granted for her. She suggested that I should mind my own business.
So I minded my own business by utilizing my famously feline agility to deftly snatch the phone out of her hand and toss it across the room, where it would do no more damage. She slapped me and stormed away to seek managerial succor. Eventually, I was visited by a black-suited agent of order, who asked whether he might have a word.
In a civilized world, I would have received a commendation of some sort. To the theater-going public of New York — nay, the the world – I say: “You’re welcome.”
I think Jennifer Rubin missed the context on this Steve King remark:
Yesterday, he was shooting his mouth off again, claiming proponents of reform aren’t “true conservatives.” And — get this — he said, “I would take Obamacare” over the Gang of Eight plan. This is, quite simply, nuts from a conservative perspective and entirely at odds with the wishes of conservative voters. ...
As for Obamacare, there is no objective among elected Republicans and GOP voters more dearly held than repealing Obamacare. But that enormous expansion of government, its intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship, its expansion of the corruption-ridden and inefficient Medicaid and all those taxes are fine with King, so long as he keeps Hispanics here from becoming citizens. That is many things, but it does not reflect conservative values.
Here's the fuller context of the quote:
The bluer the country, the fewer the percentage of people who answered "people of another race" for people they wouldn't want as neighbors. Thanks to Max Fischer of the Washington Post for bringing this to light.
Note: the "Most" in the headline is due to the outlier here, the shockingly high results from India.
Read Newsweek's Daniel Klaidman on President Obama's Gitmo problem:
For anyone who has followed the saga of Guantánamo Bay over the past few years, Obama’s words were nothing short of shocking. It had been a long time since his efforts to close Gitmo had collapsed—done in by congressional obstruction, by political realities, and even, to an extent, by Obama himself. During the intervening period, there had been little evidence that Obama cared to return to the issue. He hadn’t uttered the word Guantánamo in a State of the Union address since 2009. Nor was there even anybody in charge of quarterbacking the initiative. The prevailing attitude toward Gitmo within the administration seemed to be “out of sight, out of mind.” Like the 166 prisoners languishing in the facility, the president’s policy seemed entirely stuck in limbo.
Now Obama, with no public warning, had suddenly committed himself to making another run at what had thus far proved to be the most Sisyphean of all his policy goals. Could he possibly have meant what he said? Was he really ready to restart this particular political fight?
If there's one group of people who should understand what it takes to achieve political goals, I hope it's the political scientists. POLITICO reports:
Political scientists are about to test some of their research in the field. The American Political Science Association has hired Barbara Kennelly Associates and Maria Freese. The association will lobby on “appropriations for State, Justice, Commerce — to eliminate restrictions on political science funding through the National Science Foundation.”
Apologies for this, but the tech people here at the Daily Beast are up to something:
Relax guys, it’ll be back. We have had to turn off comments for the time being while we try to roll out a new user management system. The length of this outage is not yet determined, but we hope it will be at most until tomorrow morning. Thanks for your patience.
I agree with John Boehner: the dairy program in the farm bill is "Soviet-style." Therefore, it's a huge disappointment that a bipartisan effort to streamline the program just failed in the House of Representatives:
An amendment to gut the dairy program sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) was defeated on a 20 to 26 vote. ...
Goodlatte argued that dairy should have access to margin insurance without a requirement that farmers participate in a program to limit production. He cited the opposition of House GOP leaders to the dairy program as being a reason the farm bill effort failed last year and an extension of the 2008 farm bill was needed.
With much love for the fine folk who work in the dairy industry, you're all basically a bunch of communists. Seriously, read this paragraph from a letter the dairy lobby sent to Congress:
The Washington Post's Brad Plumer recaps a report on border enforcement:
The best outside estimate is that the U.S. government now stops about half of all illegal border-crossings from Mexico. The apprehension rate appears to have increased in recent years as a result of stepped-up border security:
“Based on the best currently available evidence,” the report says, “the apprehension rate along the southwest land border between the ports of entry is likely in the range of 40 to 55 percent.”
That's an improvement, but there's a long ways to go.
I'm working on a little less than all cylinders this week, but I don't want to overlook an important piece by Derek Thompson in The Atlantic. Thompson contrasted the decisive and effective government response to the financial crisis of 2008 to the weak and exhausted response to the unemployment problem.
You might begin this story in 2011, when Congress (led by Republican obstructionism) embarked on a historic quest to crush deficit spending by any means necessary. Hold the economy hostage over the debt ceiling? Check. Kill the American Jobs Act while scheduling a too-awful-to-be-a-real-law sequester? Check. Allow the too-awful-to-be-a-real-law sequester to become a real law? Checkmate.
The deficit fell fast. As unemployment ebbed, the ranks of long-term jobless calcified, creating two separate job markets. One broken market for people out of work for more than six months. And another slowly healing market for everybody else. But the combination of a thermostatic recovery and a deep aversion to stimulus crushed any hope that the long-term unemployed would get the help they needed. Long-term unemployment isn't special just because it's longer; it's special because it's self-perpetuating. Skills atrophy, networks dry up, and employers discriminate, creating a vicious cycle of joblessness that can't be cured by normal economic growth.
There is little question that, in the last two years, Washington has essentially left the long-term unemployed to fend for themselves -- and permanently scarred the labor market.
Last night, the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis was lit to celebrate gay marriage coming to Minnesota. Considering that we were worried back in November about a constitutional referendum to ban gay marriage, this came incredibly fast.
Congratulations to the citizens of Minnesota. Change is here.
A 2,300 year old temple in Belize is being destroyed so its limestone bricks can be used for raw material in road construction, reports CNN:
Local media in the Central American country of 334,000 people report the temple at the Noh Mul site in northern Belize was largely torn down by backhoes and bulldozers last week.
"This is one of the worst that I have seen in my entire 25 years of archaeology in Belize," John Morris, an archaeologist with the country's Institute of Archaeology, told local channel 7NewsBelize. "We can't salvage what has happened out here -- it is an incredible display of ignorance
It's really tough to say "you should be more willling to trust the government" when the government is so effective at being terrible.