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Saturday, March 03, 2018

News Weakly - 3/3/2018

This is what I'm talking about
On one or two (or, if I'm honest, quite a few more) occasions I've voiced my concern about language and definitions or, rather, their demise. This story illustrates it perfectly. I am not saying the ruling in the case was right or wrong, the courts were in error or correct, or any other message. I'm simply pointing to language.

In the story, The appeals court in Manhattan overturned its own previous rulings in a case regarding workplace discrimination. A skydiving instructor claimed he was fired because he was gay. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of "sex, race, color, national origin and religion." (Note: The guy died in 2010, but the court case goes on.) Now, on the basis of which of those factors was the guy discriminated against? None. Not one. Except "'Sexual orientation discrimination -- which is motivated by an employer's opposition to romantic association between particular sexes -- is discrimination based on the employee's own sex,' Judge Robert Katzmann wrote." Now "sex" -- once indicating "gender" -- has been redefined to include "sexual orientation". In the ruling of the court they explicitly acknowledged, "legal doctrine evolves." And that, my friend, is a conscious, intentional redefinition of terms.

When Alice (of Alice in Wonderland) questioned Humpty Dumpty about his use of a particular word, he ridiculed her. "I don't know what you mean by 'glory'," Alice said. "Of course you don't -- till I tell you," he replied. "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less." Welcome to Humpty Dumpty's world. What Lewis Carroll ridiculed in his Through the Looking-Glass in 1872 we are decreeing as law in the 21st century.

Quality of Life
According to a U.S. News study, California is ranked as the "worst quality of life". "Quality of life"? According to the study, "quality of life" "tracks states' air quality, pollution, voter participation, social support and more." So, why does California rank last? The U.S. News suggests it's because Californians are "simply insufferable."

Now, wait a minute. I know (and love) some Californians. They're not insufferable. And, hey, isn't California the "liberal" state, the basis of the "Left coast", the "sanctuary state"? Isn't this the closest we can get to Utopia on Earth today? Hmmm, maybe not.

This is why we need teachers
The story isn't nearly as interesting to me as the story. I mean, the news item is fine: "New satellite photos show Iran establishing another base in Syria." "Oh my! Someone do something!" Great. But I was really disappointed when a professional news outlet released an exclusive story about Iran building a military base outside of Syria's capital city "complete with hangers." Really? They are including devices on which to hang clothes? How dare they??!! Now, if these were hangars, it might be a threat to Israel, but I'm not sure why anyone would be up in arms over too many Iranian clothes hung in their vicinity.

A couple of years back a local school district was mulling the possibility of ditching the teaching of spelling. "Why bother?" they mused. "These kids all have spellcheckers." I have been called homophobic, although it isn't accurate. I think I might be homophonophobic because homophones can be scary. And spellcheckers can't tell the difference.

Filed Under "Must Be True"
I'm not sure which story I liked best. Was it the story about how the nation that calls Trump "Hitler" demands that he take all guns away? Or was it the one about how we're so fed up with the violence that we are demanding "common-sense abortion control"?

Must be true; I read it on the Internet.

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