URLs du Jour


  • A mere few days after Michael Barone wrote about the "Coming Obama Thugocracy", we get another data point for that thesis in the fate of Joe the Plumber who dared question The One on his redistributionist mentality. The link is to Prof Bainbridge, who comments:
    Unwilling to debate Obama’s penchant for wealth redistribution on the merits, the left has engaged in a systematic pattern of distraction, obfuscation, and character assassination. You can’t blame them, of course, since it’s pretty clear that the left’s penchant for high taxes and wealth redistribution is not shared by the populace at large. So they have to change the subject.

    Even so, it’s part of an ugly pattern by the Obamabots, who seem determined not just to win but to crush dissent. It makes you wonder how bad it’ll be when Obama wins. Or, gawd help us, what’ll happen if by some chance he loses.

    "Indeed." Also worth noting is the enthusiastic participation of the MSM (who have been relatively unconcerned with investigating—y'know—the actual candidate and his pals) and the leftwing blogs, supposedly the friends of the working stiff.

  • For other Joe content, read Iowahawk. And Will Wilkinson. And Michelle.

  • People interested in the way Sarah Palin talks will want to check out the mini-debate between Harvard psych prof Steven Pinker and Berkeley linguistics prof Geoff Nunberg. There's a special focus on the way she pronounces "nuclear"; I can relate. Despite being a physics major myself, I get it "wrong", just like Governor Palin.

    Pinker starts it off with an NYT op-ed.

    And no, “nucular” is not a sign of ignorance. This reversal of vowel-like consonants (nuk-l’-yer —> nuk-y’-ler) is common in the world’s languages, and is no more illiterate than pronouncing “iron” the way most Americans do, as “eye-yern” instead of “eye-ren.”
    Aha! So there! But Nunberg, says hold on a minnit:
    I agree with Pinker's overall conclusion that Palin shouldn't be on the hook for this one, but I think both of the claims here are wrong. It's not a phonetic process, and if it isn't exactly a sign of ignorance, it's the legacy of it.
    I love the condescension dripping from it not being exactly a sign of ignorance. But Pinker has the last word, at least for now.
    Nor is it clear that this is a faux-bubba disaffectation (both great words, by the way), or a sign of ignorance. Jimmy Carter, during his 1980 debate with Reagan, boasted that he was a nucular engineer, and both Eisenhower and Mondale have been credited with the pronunciation as well. Last Friday I spoke to the Strategic Studies Group at the Naval War College in Newport, RI, and heard the pronunciation from two of the senior analysts there. According to Merriam-Webster, "Though disapproved of by many, pronunciations ending in [kyələr] have been found in widespread use among educated speakers including scientists, lawyers, professors, congressmen, United States cabinet members, and at least two United States presidents and one vice president. While most common in the United States, these pronunciations have also been heard from British and Canadian speakers."
    I think the bottom line is: say it the way you want, Sarah.

    [Pinker also identifies Sarah's accent as "Minnewegian". I thought so too; it's something Tina Fey nailed well in her SNL skits.]

  • At Forbes, Peter Robinson asks some of his Hoover Institution buddies about how their late colleague Milton Friedman would have viewed the current economic wackiness. To me, educated guesses on what Friedman might have thought are more persuasive than what—say—Paul Krugman actually thinks.

    Bottom line: the current implementation of the large-bank bailout via equity stakes is probably the best move, provided government sheds them quickly.

    So maybe we're not doomed, although we're probably in for a world of hurt. I'm more optimistic this week than last, anyway.

  • At the WSJ, Kimberley A. Strassel examines my own state's senatorial contest between the incumbent John E. Sununu and ex-governor Jeanne Shaheen. Her conclusion:
    Mr. Sununu is still running single-digits behind Mrs. Shaheen in the polls, though GOP strategists say he has tightened the numbers this past week. The Republican is known for coming from behind. Pulling out a win in this brutal electoral environment may be a long shot. But if Mr. Sununu -- with his record of reform and pro-growth policies -- can't hold his seat, it's hard to imagine what GOP Senate candidate can.
    Sununu was right on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, he's semi-decent on matters fiscal, and taken some semi-libertarian stances even against the general flow of the GOP. For a major-party politician, he's about as good as it gets. I'd be very disappointed if he lost.