Friday, October 22, 2004

Tremulous with anticipation

An Ohio case shows one Bush strategy for “winning” the election in the courts by stopping challenges to election-rigging dead. The Ohio secretary of state, Kenneth Blackwell, has already shown his willingness to use petty rules (the thickness of the paper used in voter registrations) to deprive people of the right to vote. Now he’s decided that voters can’t cast provisional ballots except at their own polling places. Let’s pass over the rights and wrongs of this case and focus on the US Justice Dept. position, which is that individuals and the Democratic party have no standing to challenge such rules, and that only Ashcroft’s merry minions may sue to enforce election laws.

Bush says Kerry “does not understand the enemy we face and has no idea how to keep America secure.” Yes, George W. Bush is accusing someone of knowing less about something than he does.

By the way, note Bush’s newest rhetorical trick: strategic non-use of contractions. This is also on display in “He can run, but he cannot hide.”

The London Times has the correction to end all corrections: “In our leading article of Tuesday, November 14, 1854, we described the Charge of the Light Brigade as a disaster...” Evidently it wasn’t that bad. Also, their correspondent’s sentence “This melancholy day, in which the Light Brigade was annihilated by their own rashness” has bad pronoun-verb agreement.

Not that I would ever condone such behaviour, but some advice to the next people trying to hit Ann Coulter with a pie: study the methods used in the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand.

The Welfare State: A British consultant psychiatrist writes in the British Medical Journal about discussions over whether to find a prostitute for a resident of an old age home in his 80s whose regular one had stopped coming around. The staff refused to help him find a new one (he was hard of sight and hearing, making it difficult for him to do so), so he started asking female staff members. They hired a male orderly to follow him around, full time, to prevent him propositioning the women, before eventually finding a prostitute for him. “Mr Cooper had been tremulous with anticipation, and the cab had already been summoned, when the liaison was called off by social services. There had been a second change of plan. Social services now took the view that the prostitute was a sort of therapy, and they would only continue the ‘therapy’ if it was initiated in an NHS hospital and was shown to have a beneficial effect on his behaviour in an inpatient setting.” Eventually he died unfulfilled. It’s a funny story, of course, but you can read it as human interest or for what it says about the treatment of the elderly in institutional settings.

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