September 26, 2008

not to belabor the point

How does she say 'I don't know'? Let me count the ways:
Couric: You've said, quote, "John McCain will reform the way Wall Street does business." Other than supporting stricter regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago, can you give us any more example of his leading the charge for more oversight?

Palin: I think that the example that you just cited, with his warnings two years ago about Fannie and Freddie - that, that's paramount. That's more than a heck of a lot of other senators and representatives did for us.

Couric: But he's been in Congress for 26 years. He's been chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee. And he has almost always sided with less regulation, not more.

Palin: He's also known as the maverick though, taking shots from his own party, and certainly taking shots from the other party. Trying to get people to understand what he's been talking about - the need to reform government.

Couric: But can you give me any other concrete examples? Because I know you've said Barack Obama is a lot of talk and no action. Can you give me any other examples in his 26 years of John McCain truly taking a stand on this?

Palin: I can give you examples of things that John McCain has done, that has shown his foresight, his pragmatism, and his leadership abilities. And that is what America needs today.

Couric: I'm just going to ask you one more time - not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.

Palin: I'll try to find you some and I'll bring them to you.

i don't know, you know?

I'm not really a believer in the theory that clarity of thought and clarity of expression always go hand in hand. On the other hand, consider this:
Couric: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

Palin: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and, on our other side, the land-...boundary that we have with ..Canada.'s funny that a comment like that was ...kinda made to … cari-...I don't know, you know … Reporters....

Couric: Mocked?

Palin: Yeah, mocked, I guess that's the word, yeah.

Couric: Well, explain to me why that enhances your foreign-policy credentials.

Palin: Well, it certainly does, because our, our next-door neighbors are foreign countries, there in the state that I am the executive of. And there…

Couric: Have you ever been involved in any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

Palin: We have trade missions back and forth, we do. It's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia. As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state.

Update: Just in case you're struggling to interpret Gov. Palin's answers. The Times asked Brian Rogers, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, to clarify her comments: “Russian incursions near Alaskan airspace have occurred and when they do, she is briefed on them by the Adjutant General of the Alaska NG. Jets scrambled would likely be active duty, possibly Guard.”

September 22, 2008


Another word coinage on -ize, this one by Nicholas Kristof in an op-ed for the Times:
The push to "otherize" Obama
Here’s a sad monument to the sleaziness of this presidential campaign: Almost one-third of voters “know” that Barack Obama is a Muslim or believe that he could be. ... When I’ve traveled around the country, particularly to my childhood home in rural Oregon, I’ve been struck by the number of people who ask something like: That Obama — is he really a Christian? Isn’t he a Muslim or something? Didn’t he take his oath of office on the Koran? ...
What is happening, I think, is this: religious prejudice is becoming a proxy for racial prejudice. In public at least, it’s not acceptable to express reservations about a candidate’s skin color, so discomfort about race is sublimated into concerns about whether Mr. Obama is sufficiently Christian.
The result is this campaign to “otherize” Mr. Obama. Nobody needs to point out that he is black, but there’s a persistent effort to exaggerate other differences, to de-Americanize him.Kristof also points out:
(Just imagine for a moment if it were the black candidate in this election, rather than the white candidate, who was born in Central America, was an indifferent churchgoer, had graduated near the bottom of his university class, had dumped his first wife, had regularly displayed an explosive and profane temper, and had referred to the Pakistani-Iraqi border ...)

September 15, 2008


No, this is not about insurance. It's about M&Ms.

Premiumize or Perish

The premium chocolate segment, which more than doubled in size to a $2 billion market between 2001 and 2006, is still growing “twice as fast as mainstream.”... This is the world of “premiumization,” a buzzword among global corporations at a time when the luxury market is still expected to jump more than 70 percent to $450 billion by 2012.

I suppose anything can be called "premium". Even artificially flavored chocolate ("simply tantalizing mocha").

September 05, 2008

the nouns they used

From the New York Times:

This is all very well, but what about the verbs they used? For example, how much does it tell us if a candidate brings up "Iraq", if we don't know what he is going to do about it? (And if someone could explain to me why the Times files this graphic under "interactive", I'd be grateful.)

September 03, 2008

waxing poetic -- project runway dvf challenge

what was he thinking
unacceptably homemade
but shanghai joe stays

crotch is a nightmare
no visible tailoring
goodbye, rockstar girl

print captivating
international and pretty
korto should have won

a lot of design
with limpy dragon ruffles
leanne takes the win

September 02, 2008

maverick, shmaverick

We hear a lot about mavericks these days. It's supposedly a good thing to be a maverick or to make maverick decisions. Where does the word come from? Here's the story:

The word goes back to the name of Samuel Augustus Maverick (1803-70), a U.S. politician and the owner of a large herd of cattle in which the calves were unbranded. Its earliest meaning was "an unbranded calf or yearling". The OED lists the following excerpt from the Overland Monthly from 1869:
One Maverick formerly owned such immense herds that many of his animals unavoidably escaped his rouanne in the spring, were taken up by his neighbors, branded and called ‘mavericks’. The term eventually spread over the whole State, and is in use now, not only to denote a waif thus acquired, but any young animal. No great drove can sweep through this mighty unfenced State without drawing a wake of these ‘mavericks’.
Only 10 years later, the word's meaning had been extended from unbranded calf to "
unorthodox or independent-minded person; a person who refuses to conform to the views of a particular group or party; an individualist". However, it can also mean "A thing obtained dishonestly" -- probably not the meaning the McCain campaign is going for.

September 01, 2008

whom cares?

We have been blessed with five wonderful children who we love with all our heart and mean everything to us. (Sarah Palin, Gov. of Alaska)
Bristol Palin's pregnancy does not worry me, but this sentence does.

Let's look at it in more detail: The relative clause after children contains a coordination structure. What causes the ungrammaticality (at least I think the sentence is ungrammatical, not just odd) is that who is an object pronoun in the first part of the sentence, i.e. one could also say whom ("...five wonderful children whom we love"), and a subject pronoun in the second part of the sentence, i.e. one could not say "...and whom mean everything to us". Coordination does not just care about words, it cares about structure, compare the following examples:
  • Peter walked in and ___ greeted me.
    (Peter is the subject in both verb phrases)
  • BUT NOT: Peter walked in and I greeted___
    (Peter is the subject of walk but the object of greet)