Latest Posts

  • Tweet Untweet: Watch Your Language, Boehner!

    Tags: Grammar, John Boehner, Senate, Tweet Untweet, Twitter
  • Newt Gingrich Is Not as Smart as Newt Gingrich Thinks Newt Gingrich Is

    The Professor. The Ideas Man. The Intellectual. These are just a few of the names given to Newt Gingrich, the GOP’s inexplicable new frontrunner. With his PhD and penchant for obscure historical references, Gingrich sounds like the smartest guy in the room.

    But, apparently, it’s just a really small, dumb room

    "He strikes me as a guy who thinks of lots of ideas and never runs them through a sanity test before spilling them on a stage," [the Cato Institute’s David] Boaz said. "I think he has had a tendency to just have idle thoughts occur to him as he’s reading the newspaper and then announce them without even running it by a colleague"…

    "Nobody thinks of Gingrich as a wonky type. Nobody thinks of him as someone who has serious positions, white papers, policies on a wide array of issues coming from deep knowledge and experience," said Roderick Hills Jr., a constitutional law professor at New York University.

    And that’s just what conservatives are saying. According to left-leaning linguist John McWhorter

    "Language is supposed to be a package that carries substance, but Gingrich is sometimes so pleased with his uninterrupted stream of words, that he mistakes it for an actual flow of ideas…

    "Take a close look at what he's saying, and you'll find that he's using artfully constructed rhetoric to cloak ideas that are simply wrong. A favorite of mine was a few years ago when he opined that bilingual education fosters the language of the 'ghetto'… Gingrich was arguing in part against bilingual education, but research has shown quite conclusively that children get a leg up in early learning when taught first in their primary language.

    America needs a leader, not a person-whose-ideas-are-actually-right-er. Like Newt’s brilliant plan to end the "stupid" laws that prevent children from working in factories.

    So what if Newt's long winding speeches amount to nothing more than inflated right-wing talking points? Size matters more than substance. I mean, just look at his head.

    Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Grammar, Newt Gingrich, Primaries, Republicans
  • Quote Unquote: Lingua Cubana

    Herman Cain, after taking a bite of a croqueta in Miami's Little Havana

    "How do you say 'delicious' in Cuban?"

    I'm guessing it's probably etymologically related to the way you'd say it in Mexican and Guatemalan. Probably closest to Puerto Rican, though.

    Tags: Cuba, Florida, Food, Grammar, Herman Cain, Primaries, Quote Unquote, Republicans
  • James P. Hoffa Declares War on Tea Party, Grammar

    Some Labor Day traditions are sacred. For one day, Americans take a break from demonizing the last dozen workers who still belong to a trade union and celebrate the achievements of organized labor by overdosing on red meat and heading to the mall.

    But leave it to a union thug to spoil the bipartisan comity. Serving as a warm-up speaker for President Obama at a Labor Day rally in Detroit, Teamsters chief James P. "Jimmy" Hoffa had some choice words for the Tea Party. Cover your ears, everybody!

    "We've got to keep an eye on the battle that we face — a war on workers. And you see it everywhere. It is the Tea Party," he said. "And there's only one way to beat and win that war — the one thing about working people is, we like a good fight."

    Hoffa called on workers to get involved in opposing Tea Party-aligned lawmakers next November.

    "President Obama, this is your army, we are ready to march," Hoffa said. "But everybody here's got to vote. If we go back, and keep the eye on the prize, let's take these son-of-a-bitches out."

    First of all, "son-of-a-bitches?" Jimmy's late father, the Jimmy Hoffa, would be spinning in his grave if he wasn't encased in concrete under Giants Stadium. Let me drop some Eats, Shoots and Leaves on Mr. Hoffa: it is "courts martial" and "attorneys general," and the universally-recognized plural of "son of a bitch" is always, now and forever, "sons-a-bitches." I'm afraid the soft bigotry of low expectations has taken its toll on the grammatical standards of our nation's union thugs.

    Also, the war metaphors might be a tad extreme, no?  Some conservatives certainly objected to Hoffa's potty mouth

    In a statement, the chairwoman of the Tea Party Express, Amy Kremer, demanded an immediate apology from Hoffa and urged Obama to rebuke him for "his dangerous comments."

    "Jimmy Hoffa's remarks are inexcusable and amount to a call for violence on peaceful tea party members, which include many Teamster members," Kremer said. "We have called on President Obama to condemn this inappropriate and uncivil rhetoric, which has no place in the public forum."

    So an unfortunately-phrased exhortation to get out and vote is taken as an incitement of violence.

    Like I said, the standards for union thuggery really have fallen.

    Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Barack Obama, Grammar, James Hoffa, Tea Party, Tea Party Express, Unions
  • Tom Tancredo's Super PAC Website Has Been Infiltrated by Foreign Words

    Former Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, fearless opponent of all non-English words (including, presumably, 'Tancredo') has just launched his very own Super PAC with which to raise unlimited funds for 2012.

    Now the American Legacy Alliance website is live, complete with a list of scary threats that will not be stopped unless you give money to the American Legacy Alliance. Most terrifying of all: "English will give way to the hodgepodge of languages spoken by those that chose to ignore what few immigration laws remain."

    And as you can see from the American Legacy Alliance website screencap above, it's already happening.



    Tags: Grammar, Money, Tom Tancredo