The Nation’s Pulse

The Nation's Pulse

Misspelled Words Give Me LOL

By 9.9.15

Editor’s note: Peter Hannaford, a faithful contributor to this site for many years, filed this column on Friday morning. On Saturday, we learned yesterday, he died suddenly at his northern California home. His young colleague Robert Zapesochny, with whom he coauthored a number of recent columns, pays tribute to him nearby, nicely capturing Peter’s historical importance and great qualities. Here we present his final contribution, mourning his passing and grateful to him for his service to America and the gentlemanly and resourceful example he always set.

In a new Harris Poll, “Millennials” (ages 18-34) complain more than any other age group about misspelling and bad grammar.

There may be two reasons: (1) having a strong sense of entitlement they may have expected better; and (2) many of them had educations that paid little attention to either spelling or grammar. These had gone out of fashion in the nation’s schools.

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By 8.28.15

Vester Lee Flanagan, who wore an Obama sticker while covering the elections in 2012, never got the memo that becoming the story serves as the journalist’s nightmare, not his dream.

Flanagan offered political, racial, and even divine motivations for shooting two former colleagues to death live on local television on Wednesday. The reasons read more like rationalizations. Crazier than crazy projects reason upon unreason. One of the healthiest developments in America’s collective mental health involves society’s increasing rejection of the stated, often hifalutin, causes for murderous acts in favor of an acceptance of the explanation articulated by a drooling, shiny-eyed nutter’s stare.

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Liberalism and Happiness Don’t Mix

By 8.25.15

Although liberals probably don’t realize it, liberalism and happiness don’t mix. A “happy liberal” is almost an oxymoron.

Why so? The reasons are many. For one, liberals, especially white American liberals, are highly critical and dissatisfied with their country, culture, race, and gender. If you don’t like the society, race, culture, and gender that you’re part of, your ability to feel good about yourself becomes much more challenging.

Liberals are humans, but they think humans are destroying the planet. They’re Americans, but they think that America is primarily responsible for most of the problems in the world. White liberals wallow in guilt about “white privilege,” which diminishes any sense of personal accomplishment they might have. Liberals firmly believe in the importance of the “collective,” yet they don’t like the collectives they’re parts of.

In regard to love of country, conservatives far exceed liberals. If you’re “proud to be an American” you’re probably a conservative. If you’re ashamed to be an American, you’re probably a liberal.

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Jared, We Hardly Knew Ye

By 8.21.15

What does it profit a man to loseth the weight but gaineth the cell-block moniker “chomo”?

Jared Fogle pleaded guilty to child pornography and underage sex charges on Wednesday. The sandwich salesman faces five-to-twelve years in jail, imminent divorce, and, worst of all, a plummeting Q-Score.

If you remember Jared’s first Subway ads that ran around the turn of the century, you long ago aged out of his dating pool. During the Jared-Subway marriage, the eatery’s revenues more than tripled on a campaign that stressed Fogle halving his size on a diet of sandwiches at the fast-food joint. Jared’s unthreatening image appears in hindsight as honest as his dine-out-weigh-less message.

“Jared gave Subway the health halo before any of us even knew the term,” Nation's Restaurant News editor Robin Lee Allen told USA Today in 2013. Subway still offers subs that taste good. They just don’t taste the same.

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Random Thoughts

By 8.18.15

Random thoughts on the passing scene:

Stupid people can cause problems, but it usually takes brilliant people to create a real catastrophe.

President Obama’s “agreement” with Iran looks very much like “the emperor’s new clothes.” We are supposed to pretend that there is something there, when there is nothing there that will stop, or even slow down, Iran’s development of a nuclear bomb.

The endlessly repeated argument that most Americans are the descendants of immigrants ignores the fact that most Americans are NOT the descendants of ILLEGAL immigrants. Millions of immigrants from Europe had to stop at Ellis Island, and had to meet medical and other criteria before being allowed to go any further.

Governor Bobby Jindal: “I realize that the best way to make news is to mention Donald Trump.… So, I’ve decided to randomly put his name into my remarks at various points, thereby ensuring that the news media will cover what I have to say.” Governor Jindal’s outstanding record in Louisiana should have gotten him far more attention from the media than Trump’s bombast.

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Uber and the Democrats’ Old Ways

By 8.6.15

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton doesn’t get it. Obama administration Labor Secretary Thomas Perez doesn’t get it. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio doesn’t seem to get it, either, as he only reluctantly reversed a bad decision on the matter.

In fact, generally, in a somewhat surprising reversal, many so-called Democratic “progressives” want to protect the old ways. But there are exceptions, like Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who worked with Uber to create a legal framework in his state; Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who says that hailing a cab has provided some of his most humiliating moments; and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), a Brooklynite who during Uber’s recent showdown with de Blasio said, in essence, “What’s wrong with a little competition?”

On the other hand, Republicans, who are accused occasionally of supporting “crony capitalism,” have embraced the new way and have been eager to let in new businesses to compete. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a Republican presidential hopeful, gets it. One of the chapters in his recent book is titled, “Making America Safe for Uber.”

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Why Proficiency Testing Matters in Education

By , and 7.31.15

Recent controversies over Common Core standards have intensified the debate over high-stakes K-12 academic testing that became a national issue with President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act.

Holding schools accountable for children’s academic performance is simple common sense. A child who struggles to read in fourth grade is four times more likely to drop out of school; if he cannot comprehend his textbooks he cannot learn science, civics, and history. The student falls further and further behind.

Likewise, a student without an understanding of numbers in the early grades will not be prepared for algebra in later grades. Success in algebra is a key indicator of success in post-secondary education.

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For Your Travel Inconvenience

By 7.27.15

Having created the problem of too many passengers lugging their suitcases aboard airplanes by charging for checked bags, the major airlines are now planning to make checked bags even more unpopular. The are testing various methods for making bag-checkers do their own checking instead of giving their bags to attendants with the attendant putting tags on the bags and sending them on a conveyer belt.

Charging for bags became standard procedure in 2008 for most airlines (Southwest is an exception) when they figured it could contribute to the profits that had long eluded them.

Human nature being what it is, more people then decided to tote their bags aboard. Alas, many aircraft don’t have enough bin space. For example, the 737-900 has 180 seats but only bin space for 125 roll-on bags. Result: a last-minute rush before takeoff for flight attendants to tag the surplus bags for stowage in the cargo bay.

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Liberals, Conservatives, and Abortion

By 7.24.15

There is no issue that divides liberals and conservatives more deeply than does abortion. It is, after all, a matter of life and death.

It would be hard to say what issue is closest to the hearts of liberals — inequality, diversity, labor unions, or maximizing the size and reach of government. What seems to get them most exercised, however, is the issue of abortion. That attitude leaves conservatives in a state of bewildered disbelief. How can liberals, Democrats, the left, be such enthusiastic supporters of something that is, at best, a necessary evil? Why are they so protective of unlimited abortion and paranoid about placing any restrictions whatsoever on it? How do they manage to feel so positive about something that is so profoundly negative?

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The Yankee Taliban

By 7.17.15

A few hours before ESPN honored Caitlyn Jenner with a “courage” award on Wednesday, the University of Texas vice president for diversity and community engagement hosted a public forum on removing Confederate-themed statuary from campus, which includes a likeness of Robert E. Lee.

There’s courage in cosmetic surgery and shame in battle. May I secede now?

Cassi Pollock of Breitbart Texas reports that a UT graduate student claimed at the meeting that the presence of the statues on campus “inhibited students from their full participation.” Several undergraduates, perhaps frustrated at the havoc the inanimate objects played on their GPAs, recently defaced the effigies with spray paint. And unlike the vandals of a monument to fallen Southerners in Charleston, the Austin defacers spelled “Black Lives Matter” correctly. It’s a college town.