Monday, January 29, 2007

what makes me dangerous

* Dinesh D'Souza in wapo:
"It is that the far left seems to hate Bush nearly as much as it hates bin Laden. Bin Laden may want sharia, or Islamic law, in Baghdad, they reason, but Bush wants sharia in Boston. Indeed, leftists routinely portray Bush's war on terrorism as a battle of competing fundamentalisms, Islamic vs. Christian. It is Bush, more than bin Laden, they say, who threatens abortion rights and same-sex marriage and the entire social liberal agenda in the United States. So leftist activists such as Michael Moore and Howard Zinn and Cindy Sheehan seem willing to let the enemy win in Iraq so they can use that defeat in 2008 to rout Bush -- their enemy at home.

When I began writing my new book, this concern was largely theoretical, because the left was outside the corridors of power. Now I fear that the extreme cultural left is whispering into the ears of the Democratic Congress. Cut off the funding. Block the increase in troops. Shut down Guantanamo Bay. Lose the war on terrorism -- and blame Bush.

Pointing this out is what makes me dangerous."

* Observer via TPM:
"Despite Iran being presented as an urgent threat to nuclear non-proliferation and regional and world peace - in particular by an increasingly bellicose Israel and its closest ally, the US - a number of Western diplomats and technical experts close to the Iranian programme have told The Observer it is archaic, prone to breakdown and lacks the materials for industrial-scale production.
The detailed descriptions of Iran's problems in enriching more than a few grams of uranium using high-speed centrifuges - 50kg is required for two nuclear devices - comes in stark contrast to the apocalyptic picture being painted of Iran's imminent acquisition of a nuclear weapon with which to attack Israel. Instead, say experts, the break-up of the nuclear smuggling organisation of the Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadheer Khan has massively set back an Iran heavily dependent on his network.
Yet some involved in the increasingly aggressive standoff over Iran fear tensions will reach snapping point between March and June this year, with a likely scenario being Israeli air strikes on symbolic Iranian nuclear plants.

The sense of imminent crisis has been driven by statements from Israel, not least from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who has insisted that 2007 is make-or-break time over Iran's nuclear programme.
It also emerged last week in the Israeli media that the country's private diplomatic efforts to convince the world of the need for tough action on Iran were being co-ordinated by Meir Dagan, the head of Israel's foreign intelligence service, Mossad.

The escalating sense of crisis is being driven by two imminent events, the 'installation' of 3,000 centrifuges at Natanz and the scheduled delivery of fuel from Russia for Iran's Busheyr civil nuclear reactor, due to start up this autumn. Both are regarded as potential trigger points for an Israeli attack."

* athenae:
"I swear to God I've never seen people's convictions unravel so fast. Three months ago there was a grave threat to marriage and all us married straight folk were going to be forced into gay re-education camps or something. I mean it was going to be disaster and the generous folks at Focus on the Food on Your Family or whatever the fuck it's called needed the president and Congress to save us from that. Activist judges were going to kill us all in our beds. Help us, President Bush!"

* bill kristol on FNS: "The threat of the surge is working"

* lhp @ fdl: "
Maybe I have lost my mind or am just high from WAY too much popcorn, but I think that this means that Team Fitz gambled that Ari had something huge to tell. The fact that whatever it is that PatFitz is saying he does not have to turn over to the defense even exists, to the extent it may exist, suggests to me that the investigation is not over and that maybe, just maybe, that gamble has paid off.

Please understand, this is ONLY tea leaf reading, but no other explanation suggests itself that accounts for all factors. I think maybe there is something out there, that came from Ari, that is NOT part of the proof relating to the crimes Libby is charged with (does this also explain why Libby's charges were so narrowly drawn?) that Team Libby is dying to know about and Pat is fighting hard to keep a secret. If it was all going to be over after the Libby trial, why fight so hard to keep this info secret? Why say that defense lawyers ask questions to try to find out things they are not supposed to find out?

Is Pat suggesting that Team Libby has gone to trial in an effort to force Pat to disclose what else he has found out? After all, a defense lawyer should not be asking questions that are designed to elicit information to help some other criminal, only those which are designed to help his own client. Asking questions and seeking info that does not help you client but instead benefit someone else, is a prohibited conflict of interest."

the whole thread is good. check it out (thnx LeeB)

* murray waas used 'irregardless' in a sentence, apparently without irony. (i'm not really having a go at waas, but i have a dear friend whose head explodes when he sees/hears 'irregardless' - so this is for him)

Update, Waas corrects, and gives me a shoutout!

* (speaking of friends, happy birthday)


Kathy W said...

(makes my head explode too....)

Anonymous said...

Irregardless, "irregardless" is a word.

Inflammable means the same as flammable, 'liable to catch fire', 'easily ignited'. Because it is often taken to mean the opposite, it is best to avoid using it at all; in official use flammable and non-flammable are the preferred terms.

Yeah, but did they declare "inflammable" as a non-word?
As noted below, "irregardless" intensifies the sentiment of "regardless".
Whereas, I don't know that "inflammable" denotes a lower flash point than "flammable".
So the language police can stuff it:


[Q] From Randall E Larson in Tucson: “I have more than once seen the corruption irregardless used in some standard writings and with a straight face. Has it become acceptable?”

[A] The word is thoroughly and consistently condemned in all American references I can find. But it’s also surprisingly common. It’s formed from regardless by adding the negative prefix ir-; as regardless is already negative, the word is considered a logical absurdity.

It’s been around a while: the Oxford English Dictionary quotes a citation from Indiana that appeared in Harold Wentworth’s American Dialect Dictionary of 1912. And it turns up even in the better newspapers from time to time: as here from the New York Times of 8 February 1993: “Irregardless of the benefit to children from what he calls his ‘crusade to rescue American education,’ his own political miscalculations and sometimes deliberate artlessness have greatly contributed to his present difficulties”.

But, as I say, it’s still generally regarded by people with an informed opinion on the matter as unacceptable. The Third Edition of The American Heritage Dictionary states firmly that “the label ‘nonstandard’ does not begin to do justice to the status of this word” and “it has no legitimate antecedents in either standard or nonstandard varieties of English”. Some writers even try to turn it into a non-word, virtually denying its existence, which is pretty hard to do in the face of the evidence. The level of abuse hurled at the poor thing is astonishingly high, almost as great as that once directed at hopefully. It seems to have become something of a linguistic shibboleth.

That’s strange because, as Professor Laurence Horn of Yale University points out, the duplication of negative affixes is actually quite common in English. Few users query words such as debone and unravel because they are so familiar. In earlier times there were even more such words, many recorded from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: unboundless, undauntless, uneffectless, unfathomless and many others.

Grammarians of the eighteenth century and after — who had a greater sense of logic than feel for the language — did much to stamp them out. They argued that, in language as in mathematics, two negatives make a positive: putting two negatives together cancels them out. This has been the basis for condemnation of statements like “I never said nothing to nobody”, which aren’t standard British or American English. But in many other languages — and in some local or dialectal forms of English both today and in earlier times — multiple negatives are intensifiers, adding emphasis.

Irregardless has a fine flow about it, with a stronger negative feel than regardless that some people obviously find attractive. Indeed, the stress pattern of the word probably influenced the addition of the prefix, as the stress in regardless is on gar, which makes it sound insufficiently negative, despite the -less suffix.

So the precedents are all on the side of irregardless and — despite the opinions of the experts — I suspect that the word will become even more popular in the US in the future. For the moment, though, it is best avoided in formal writing.

lukery said...

kathy - lovely to see you. it's weird to see a journo use such a term (i'm sure that i've made many similar mistakes - so i'm cautious of criticizing)

anon - thanks for that. i never take a 'language police' position - and i was only highlighting this one because it's a particular bugbear of a dear friend (and for his benefit, and amusement) - some of my dear journalist friends make similar types of mistakes, and i feel embarassed for them when they do, and i'm sure that i also make similar mistakes all the time. still - i'm not sure i'd ever defend 'irregardless'

LeeB said...

Heh . . .
. . . and it clearly, thanks to Anon, serves the extremely useful purpose of distracting us from the madness of King george. ;-)

lukery said...

Update, Waas corrects, and gives me a shoutout! i'm famous!

steven andresen said...

D'Souza said,

"...In my book, published this month, I argue that the American left bears a measure of responsibility for the volcano of anger from the Muslim world that produced the 9/11 attacks. President Jimmy Carter's withdrawal of support for the shah of Iran, for example, helped Ayatollah Khomeini's regime come to power in Iran, thus giving radical Islamists control of a major state; and President Bill Clinton's failure to respond to Islamic attacks confirmed bin Laden's perceptions of U.S. weakness and emboldened him to strike on 9/11. I also argue that the policies that U.S. "progressives" promote around the world -- including abortion rights, contraception for teenagers and gay rights -- are viewed as an assault on traditional values by many cultures, and have contributed to the blowback of Islamic rage..."

My first reaction is to challenge each and every one of these charges.

I am not persuaded that 9-11 was a crime committed by Muslims, or at least planned, organized, and carried out by Muslims. I am deeply skeptical of the official story.

I think one big reason to be skeptical of the official story is that the bombings were not treated as crimes. There was no concern to look at the murders as a crime with suspects, with evidence to be gathered, with a trial to be prepared for, and so forth. The idea that this 9-11 event was an act of war committed against us by Afghanistan, or the government of Afghanistan, or Iraq,, etc, seemed then and is now innappropriate.

D'Souza is such a liar. He forgets that the CIA overthrew the government of Iran in order to make the Shah the ruler there. The fact that Carter withdrew support from the Shah, if he did, was a result of how the people of Iran rejected the Shah's rule. Well, there might be people in Iran who might have wanted the Shah to remain in power. There might be people in Iraq who still want Saddam Hussein in power. Hell, there might still be people in the United States who support the Confederacy. So what. That D'Souza complains that we aren't still supporting a dictator in someone else's country shows how much of a putz he is.

The idea that Iran then came to have a government and a culture that rejected the United States is understandable given the fact we meddled so outragously in their affairs. Seems we had it coming.

The claim that Clinton wasn't vicious enough to prove our strength suggests the inhumanity of this line of criticism. I fault Clinton, as well as most all the other Presidents of my lifetime, with being too much wedded to the use of force and intimidation to get our way. Now, when we don't have the cash to buy off all the governments who trouble us, people like D'Souza start complaining.

Does D'Souza believe that we should protect ouselves by smashing people in the mouth first, last, and always?

noise said...

The corporate media, with message points from the RNC and Karl Rove, have made the characters of Bush and Cheney off limits, as if they were born with some sort of eternal dispensation that keeps their motives from being questioned.

This, of course, keeps them from being accountable for their endless broken promises, lies and abysmal performances.

D'Souza merely extends this one small step by suggesting that those who question Bush should be considered Bin Laden supporters. D'Souza is an authoritarian which means he probably believes that anyone who questions his authority figures should be considered an enemy.

lukery said...

D'Souza is indeed out of his mind - he has been appropriately fisked by everyone - but he gets oped space in the wapo.

i'm with D'Souza - blame Teh Gay. it's EASY.

Kax said...

Amen and then some to Steve Andresen. Talk about hitting a nail on the head!!!

I.M. Small said...


A populace that hearing Homer
Thinks of a bloke cartoonish,
Instead of Greece, but by misnomer
May be called not buffoonish:

Those people as refuse to heed
The lessons of the past,
Improperly pursuing greed,
Tread through a minefield vast.

A people ought not be averse
So to well-tempered thought,
Or, heedless its philosophers
May foolishly get caught,

Trapped in some situation far
Beyond what it imagined,
Believing, for example, war
Could be a simple pageant--

All history but controverts
That so simplistic notion:
It is the truth, I know it hurts,
But spare me the emotion!