Patterico's Pontifications


Steev and Cokee Robberts Cant Spel

Filed under: Grammar — Patterico @ 7:43 pm

Instapundit noticed that Cokie and Steve Roberts called John Hinderaker “John Hindrocket” in a recent column. But nobody seems to have noticed that within the space of that short column, the Roberts duo also made reference to a Sen. “Lindsay” Graham, and someone named Joe “Leiberman.”

I don’t know if Steve and Cokie would approve of the spelling reform noted earlier today by guest blogger See Dubya. But they need some kind of help.

Blogroll Additions

Filed under: Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 7:28 pm

Added to the blogroll today:

Pigilito: ex-Californian living in Switzerland. One of the few commenters around here who weighs in when I pontificate about classical music.

Doc Rampage: faithful Patterico reader who recently made a nice catch about David Greenberg’s filibuster piece in the L.A. Times.

Welcome to both.

UPDATE: A gentle hint reminds me of an oversight in not adding The Unalienable Right, a blog from the editors of the American Federalist Journal. That mistake has been corrected.

L.A. Observed on Mailander

Filed under: Blogging Matters,General — Patterico @ 5:42 pm

Kevin Roderick has a few choice words about Martini Republic blogger Joseph Mailander:

My post yesterday about the Daily Breeze story on Fernando Guerra prompted a blast at me from blogger Joseph Mailander, suggesting my motivation for linking to the story was—get this—anti-Latino racism because I’m supposedly “a suburban white guy.” In two years of blogging, nobody has written more inaccurate trash about me than Mailander’s tripe. I know from his email and the timing of his rants that he’s bitter I don’t link to him more. Lately he invented the racist thing, apparently to attack posts that did not sufficiently praise Antonio Villaraigosa. I know we’re supposed to laugh this stuff off—especially from idiots like Mailander—and when I get legitimate criticism I usually note it and move on. But I don’t take talk of racism lightly, and I also don’t want to encourage Mailander to tell more lies. So this time, I called him on it, pointed out he’s the most unethical blogger I’ve ever encountered, and asked that he back up his words with facts. He declined, but an exchange ensued here where I made my point, if sloppily. For background, here’s some history, some of Mailander’s legacy in the comments here that prompted a few L.A. Observed readers to call him anti-Semitic, and Marc Cooper’s post about earlier Mailander antics. Sorry, I don’t usually do personal stuff here—and believe me, I won’t be making a habit of it. [* But thanks to everybody who emailed their support and shared tales of run-ins with the village idiot of the L.A. blogosphere. He’s deleting critical comments today and posting bizarre stuff on other websites, and I’m starting to think he might even be a bit dangerous. I regret sending the new traffic his way—won’t happen again.]

There are links in Roderick’s post if you’re interested in seeing more detail. I’m not including them here because many of them are links to Mailander’s blog, which I don’t link to. So you’ll have to go to Roderick’s site for the links.

The crazy thing is, compared to the Martini Republic twin named Alex, Mailander is a gentleman and a scholar.

UPDATE: Bonus amusement: follow Roderick’s link to the Marc Cooper blog, and peruse the commenters there. Veteran Patterico readers will recognize another troll in that thread. He will not be named here, but his last name rhymes with “Mork.”

Metrik Spelling Now!

Filed under: General — See Dubya @ 3:04 pm

Being P-dog’s in-house religious-right theofascist Cromwell, I like to drop by the Fundie Forum (aka World Magazine’s Worldmagblog) now and then to see what my fellow Jesus-freaks are up to. It’s an interesting blog in that almost every post seems designed to provoke debate in the comments section, which it usually does, and the debates are often quite interesting. Of course, it runs completely counter to the stereotype that there is such lively debate in evangelical circles, and that their opinions aren’t shoveled directly into the faithful’s brains by Jerry Falwell, but that’s another rant for another time.

Today they’re talking about the idiots who are protesting the National Spelling Bee, demanding an end to idiosyncracy within English spelling. Enuf, they say, is Enuf. As if the National Spelling Bee people are just going to call a press conference and say “These idiots have a point. This is the last Spelling Bee ever. We hereby abdicate all responsibility for the maintenance of traditional orthography.”

This is dumb, or dum, in all kinds of ways. Linguistically there are three I can think of: First, we already have too many houynonyms homophobes words that are sound alike or spelled alike in English and this would only create more. It’s already hard enough to hear the difference between lead, the element, and led, the past tense of “to lead”. Read/red, Pray/prey, cock/caulk, all these useful distinctions would disappear in print as well as in spoken language. The second is mnemonic: having had some success in these spelling bees myownself, I know that the odd spelling of particular words is part of their charm and part of the reason they come to mind when you need them. My vocabulary is much greater because I spent some time as a child memorizing the uniqueness of crazy words like “snood” (okay, that’s actually spelled pretty straight, but it’s funny) and “syllabub”. And the third, XRLQ would be forced to reveal his true identity.

Besides the language problems, though, there’s a cultural issue. We’re not France, and we’re not Quebec (nor Quebek). There is no language police in America imposing top-down rules of expression on our speech. We talk the way we talk and most of us who enjoy reading and writing cherish the odd word and the odd turns of phrase that characterize regional dialects, foreign influences, and even spontaneous neologism (like “immedia”). Diversity really counts for something here, and it is something to be conserved.

I’m not worried. I think they’ll have about as much success with this newfangled spelling system as the government did in trying to force us to adopt the metric system for our own good. If there is a need for it, the language will evolve, from the bottom up.

New Blog by Appellate Judge

Filed under: Blogging Matters,Judiciary — Patterico @ 11:34 am

Howard Bashman links to a new blog by an appellate judge: Have Opinion, Will Travel. The judge remains anonymous, so (as Bashman notes) we have to take his word for it that he’s an appellate judge. But (as best as one can gauge such things) I think his posts have the ring of truth. And besides: why would anyone spend a lot of time pretending to be an anonymous appellate judge?

As I was poking though the blog, I was pleased to discover that the judge apparently reads Patterico — or, at least, has stumbled across this blog before. That shows good taste.

Go pay a visit.

That Wonderful Filibuster Compromise

Filed under: Judiciary,Morons — Patterico @ 10:17 am

Power Line points out a Washington Post article that buries the lede with a revelation that (while not unexpected) proves that the filibuster “deal” amounted to a Republican capitulation:

After that, Republican leaders are considering whether to try to force votes on one of the other four not covered by the deal, William G. Myers III of Idaho, to test Democratic resolve. Democrats said they believe they have a united caucus — excepting Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.) — to block the other judges, meaning they would have enough votes to maintain a filibuster.

You read that right. Democrats are going to filibuster all four of the judges not covered by the deal. Even Kavanaugh.

Calling Lindsey Graham. Calling Mike DeWine. Are you going to stand for this?

My guess is: you will.

It’s going to take more than a single free bottle of wine to drown the sorrows I am going to feel when this “deal” provides cover for a successful filibuster of a highly qualified Supreme Court candidate.

Maternity, Feminism, and Unintended Consequences

Filed under: Accepted Wisdom,General,Law,Real Life — See Dubya @ 5:11 am

I ran into someone from a place I used to work the other day, and caught up on some office gossip. Moe Green had taken over the Tropicana club, Fredo was in Havana, etc., etc. But the interesting part, in a fairly conventional way, was the story of a woman (whom I’ll call Shirley McZoobooboombah-OnStar, which is her real name) who arrived not long before I left and became pregnant soon after she arrived, or possibly she was pregnant when she started the new job. She continued working up till nearly her due date and then went on maternity leave about the time I moved on. Well, it emerged from my interlocutor that she returned to work for a month or three after she had used up her leave, and then gave her notice that she was quitting.

I gather that this is a fairly common story and a bit of a problem for employers, who obviously don’t want to hire and train an employee, only to immediately have to subsidize her pregnancy and fill her spot with a temp, and then after all that to have her move right along and need to repeat the process. The problem here is that employers begin to turn the gimlet eye on all female applicants of a certain age who might present a risk of doing something similar.

That’s where labor law comes into it. For example, employers can’t just ask someone in an interview whether she’s planning on having kids. That would be discriminatory. If a woman thought she didn’t get a job (or lost a job or was passed over for promotion) because she might get pregnant, she would probably have grounds for a lawsuit. Nonetheless, women are often scared that exactly this sort of discrimination will occur and they won’t be able to detect it or prevent it. I don’t doubt that this fear is quite reasonable.

The thing is this: I think businesses would be less likely to discriminate against women in general, or married or cohabiting women aged 23-36 in particular, if they could be assured there is less of a likelihood of someone pulling a Shirley on them. Some ruthless companies might prefer never to hire women because of the risk that they may have to pay a maternity benefit, but I think they’re the exception. Most companies will, I think, gladly hire talented women and won’t mind paying out maternity benefts and letting them raise a family, as long as the company gets a reasonable return on their investment in the form of a few years of loyal service. But they gotta watch out for Shirley. And so Shirley, by cashing in on the system, adds a drop of poison to the well for all other women with careers.

It’s a ‘tragedy of the commons’ problem for women. There exists a perverse incentive for individuals to do what Shirley did, even though it’s against the interests of women as a group.

I’m not sure that there’s anything particularly original in my analysis up to this point. But like Pat O’Brien said, “This is all new to me; I don’t do this for a living.” I’m curious about this tension between a woman’s short-term interests and women’s long-term interests. It seems that there ought to exist a strong social sanction among women, or at least among career-oriented women, against doing what Shirley did. If there is such disapproval, though, I haven’t really heard of it. Why not? Seems like it ought to be an affront to Sisterhood or feminine solidarity or some such. There ought to be an amusing, snarky nickname for people who exploit maternity benefits, because “pulling a Shirley” just isn’t going to catch on. Well, here’s your chance to invent one, if you’re so inclined, and leave it in the comments. (more…)

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