Archive for October, 2008

New Usage Peeve: Trans Fats (See The Usage Curmudgeon, Top Right-hand Column)

October 19, 2008

Everyone agrees trans fats are bad for you. They’ve been banned in New York City. But almost no one seems to understand what they are. Possibly as a result, mislabeling of foods is rampant. Check out Lets Hear It for Trans Fats (And What Are They, Anyway? in the right-hand column under “Pages”.

Sarah Says She’s Been Cleared!

October 13, 2008

According to Sarah Palin, the Branchflower Report (see Oct. 11 post below) actually clears her of “any legal wrongdoing … any hint of any kind of unethical activity”!!! Check out her dizzying claims on Mudflats, a blog that takes you “tiptoeing through the muck of Alaskan politics.”

Usage Peeves

October 11, 2008

Do words matter? If you’re beyond the Zeitgeist, you probably think they do. It may even pain you to read and hear words inflated, deflated, distorted and twisted into their opposites by usage that reflects massive misunderstanding, if not downright incomprehension. In the right-hand column, under Pages and “The Usage Curmudgeon,” you’ll find some of my pet peeves about the ways in which perfectly good words and phrases are undone by usage. (You’ll also find expanded definitions of Zeitgeist under “More on Zeitgeist.”)

It’s Official! Sarah Palin’s Abuse of Power

October 11, 2008

From the Branchflower Report on Sarah Palin’s ethics:

Finding Number One

For the reasons explained in section IV of this report, I find that Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act. Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) provides

The legislature reaffirms that each public officer holds office as a public trust, and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that trust.

Read more and download the report on the Alaska Politics Blog. (Thanks to Jerry Weinstein.)

Three Documentary Films

October 5, 2008

Patti Smith: Dream of Life

Man on Wire

Encounters at the End of the World

It’s interesting how triangulation creates perspective. I went to see these documentaries in the order listed, was disappointed by the first, enchanted by the second, and found that the third, amazing in its own right, illuminated the first two. (All three will be available on DVD this fall or winter.)

Why do we watch documentaries and docudramas? Aside from sheer voyeurism, we’re always looking for revelation, for understanding, for connection: ‘this is the way it really is; this is what it felt like to be there—or to be this person.’

Patti Smith: Dream of Life

(Directed by Steven Sebring)

What we find in Patti Smith: Dream of Life isn’t the revelation of a life, but the reenactment of rituals—a performance. The filmmaker, Steven Sebring, followed Smith around for years, apparently filming whatever she chose to present. Read more

Pages: 1 2 3

Palin Quotes Reagan Against Medicare!

October 4, 2008

If you’re beyond the Zeitgeist, you’ll get this: Paul Krugman, in his NY Times blog, reports that Sarah Palin’s closing speech in Thursday night’s debate quoted Ronald Reagan campaigning against Medicare! (See Oct. 3.) There’s a link to an article with Reagan’s original 1962 speech, part of a campaign kit distributed to women who were supposed to help the AMA defeat “socialized medicine.” Reagan’s quote, adapted by Palin: “And if you don’t do this and if I don’t do it, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children, and our children’s children, what it once was like in America when men were free.”  

Socialized medicine is portrayed as the thin edge of the wedge of the dreaded socialism, when not just doctors and patients but everyone under any circumstance would be told what they could and couldn’t do by the government. 

Of course, without universal health care, doctors, and their patients not eligible for Medicare, are told what they can and can’t do by the corporate healthcare “providers,”  whose only goal is to minimize expenses (patient care) and maximize profits (through denial of care, ever-higher premiums, drug sales, etc.).