HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

November 19, 2007
Potpourri

Ernest Cassara


Mukasey Confirmed

Despite the fact that he could not say whether water boarding is torture, Michael Mukasey has been confirmed as U.S. Attorney General.  Some Senators voted for him reluctantly, they being afraid of what Dubya might do next, if they didn’t!

Senators are not as imaginative as one of my friends, who suggested that Mr. Mukasey be subjected to water boarding, so that he would be better prepared to answer the question!

Incidentally, it is unfortunate that I do not recall who said that he got more information from prisoners by playing chess with them than was likely to be supplied by torturing them.  After all, someone being tortured is likely to say what the torturer wants to hear, so he will stop.


Red Sox Redux

Some readers were perturbed by the fact that I reported that I came to the conclusion that baseball was just a business when my favorite team, the Boston Braves, left town.

I remember fondly the time years ago when a friend got tickets for the two of us to a Red Sox game.  The Baltimore Orioles were the opposing team.  At one point, the Orioles performed a brilliant play, and I began to applaud, only to be upbraided by my friend, apparently for being a traitor! 


Official Stupidity

It has been announced that the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is working to make it possible to use a cell phone in the tunnels it operates.  Great!  That’s all we need!  Folks steering with one hand while yakking on the phone.  I find it amazing that the Authority considers it unfortunate that one cannot use the phone in the few minutes that it takes to drive through the tunnel.


TV Dumbness

Time after time, we are assured that such and such a program on television is “all new.”  This is patently untrue, since the intro and conclusion of such programs ain’t “all new.”


Marvelous Quotation

I don’t recall who it was who called Dubya “a serial killer of the English language,” but here is a marvelous observation reported by Paul Krugman in the New York Times, on 5 October:

“Mark Crispin Miller, the author of The Bush Dyslexicon, once made a striking observation:
all of the famous Bush malapropisms - “I know how hard it is for you to put food on your
family,” and so on - have involved occasions when Bush was trying to sound caring and
compassionate.

“By contrast, Bush is articulate and even grammatical when he talks about punishing
people; that’s when he’s speaking from the heart.  The animation Bush showed during
the flooding of New Orleans was when he declared ‘zero tolerance of people breaking the
law,’ even those breaking into abandoned stores in search of the food and water that they
were not getting from his administration.

“What’s happening; presumably, is that modern movement conservatism attracts a certain
personality type.  If you identify with the downtrodden, even a little, you don’t belong.  If you
think ridicule is an appropriate response to other peoples’ woes, you fit right in.”


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