NYT: Justices Are Pressed for a Broad Ruling in Campaign Case

There seemed little question after the argument in an important campaign finance case at the Supreme Court on Wednesday that the makers of a slashing political documentary about Hillary Rodham Clinton were poised to win. The open issue was just how broad that victory would be.
Justices Are Pressed for a Broad Ruling in Campaign Case – NYTimes.com

The idea that corporations or other groups have constitutionally-protected rights by way of their corporate personhood is ludicrous on the face of it. Corporate personhood is a legal fiction that is convenient for business matters (esp. contract law and torts), but ought not be taken too far.

If we discard the notion that corporations have constitutional rights above and beyond the rights of their human constituents, then we can see that Congress should have broad leeway in regulating corporate participation in our political process.

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Quote of the Day

“No man is an island, and rules made for imaginary islands ignore the fragile ecology of the actual archipelago.”
Adam Gopnik, The Return of the Native, The New Yorker, Sept. 7, 2009

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Worst Television Companion Ever

John McWhorter must not have a lot of friends. Not a lot that care to watch a television show or movie with him at any rate. In a recent blog article in The New Republic, McWhorter opines about Mad Men’s allegedly inaccurate speech patterns of the 1960s.

Is it anachronistic idioms at which McWhorter takes aim? Nope, it’s their diction. His examples: someone said “I want to” rather than “I wanna”. The characters apparently use too formal an elocution even in informal situations.

As if we needed to be convinced that people spoke just as “slovenly” in the ’60s as we do today, McWhorter offers this newspaper ad for a grammar book:

How many of these frequent errors in English do YOU make? Do YOU say KEW-pon for KOO-pon, ad-ver-TISE-ment for ad-VER-tise-ment, or AD-ult for ad-ULT? Almost everybody makes these blunders in English: between you and I, it’s me, those kind of books.

In which circles, I wonder, does McWhorter socialize where the predominant “blunders” of English are someone stressing the third syllable of advertisement rather than the second (for the record, the only people I’ve ever heard stress the second syllable were British). In the age of “where you at?” and “lemme axe you somefin'”, where one places the stress on a word, or whether they use “kew” or “koo” to pronounce coupon (note: both are listed as acceptable pronunciations at the Free Dictionary).

Perhaps McWhorter is correct that Mad Men’s characters speak with unnaturally formal speech patterns. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on that. But lemme axe you this: who wants to have to hear him complain about it? How enjoyable can a person be to be around when he is dissecting the difference between “I want to” and “I wanna” on a television show? The same snobbish folks who decide such a discussion is important enough to include in The New Republic, I suppose.

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this morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US department of energy.
I then took a shower in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility.
After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC regulated channels to see what the national weather service of the national oceanographic and atmospheric administration determined the weather was going to be like using satellites designed, built, and launched by the national aeronautics and space administration. I watched this while eating my breakfast of US department of agriculture inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the food and drug administration.
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Economist Laffer on CNN: “Just wait till you see Medicare, Medicaid … done by the government”

File under Boneheaded comments:

Economist Laffer on CNN: “[J]ust wait till you see Medicare, Medicaid … done by the government” | Media Matters for America

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From BBC Persian:

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Fortune 40: The best stocks to retire on, or die trying

After a bleak 2008, equities are looking up. But whatever the market, our trademark long-term portfolio can help you build a nest egg for a secure future.
Fortune 40: The best stocks to retire on

Isn’t it time to throw in the towel on stock picking, Fortune? How about some advice that regular people (you know… the kind that might read your magazine) could use without getting themselves in trouble?
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They Can’t Kill Us All

They Can\'t Kill Us All

Photo by Gary Godfrey

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Letters from the Front

I’m just catching up with Nico Pitney’s live-blog of the ongoing protests in Iran. (Funny enough, I’m seeing him being interviewed by Rachel Maddow in a repeat of today’s show right now.)

In his 2:21PM ET entry, Nico reports a reader’s communication with family in Iran, an excerpt of which follows:

He said that probably half the stores are closed, but that unemployment is 40% anyway, so its not like protestors have anything better to do. These people are mostly young, unemployed, have poor access to higher education, and no foreseeable future prospects.

My thoughts while reading this were (in this order):

  1. 40% unemployment?! No wonder they’re rioting!
  2. It’s about time we saw some masses of young, unemployed, under-educated men in the Middle East with no future prospects fighting for the forces of good. In that respect, I guess thanks are deserved to Iran’s oppressive theocrats.
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Howard Kurtz defends CNN on the lack of coverage in Tehran

Twitter was all aflutter yesterday with criticism of CNN for its lack of coverage of the on-going protests in Tehran (see #cnnfail and
#IranElection on Twitter, also this article from the NY Times).

Howard Kurtz, of CNN’s Reliable Sources offered a defense CNN via Twitter itself:

Maybe CNN should have taken CNNi feed last evening. But it was middle of the night in Iran, and even journalists have to rest sometimes.
Howard Kurtz, via Twitter

If you ask me, CNN should take CNNi feed every day, all day(*).

(*) Except for the cricket scores. They can leave those out. 🙂

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