Modern American English: A Usage Note From Melissa Chen

Thanks to Melissa for this usage note. Speaking of notes…

Also of note:

  • I have had it with my CongressCritters. Especially when they tweet things like this:

    Yes, finally we're "cracking down". We're "doing something". Picture Chris Pappas slapping his forehead, saying "It's so simple! All we need to do is crack down!".

    And then read Jacob Sullum, who will remind all of us: Prohibition Gave Us Tranq-Laced Fentanyl

    The emergence of the animal tranquilizer xylazine as a fentanyl adulterant has prompted law enforcement officials to agitate for new legal restrictions and criminal penalties. That response is fundamentally misguided, because the threat it aims to address is a familiar consequence of prohibition, which creates a black market in which drug composition is highly variable and unpredictable.

    Sullum points out the folly of drug warriors like Pappas: "As usual, they think the solution to a problem created by prohibition is more prohibition."

  • "As clear as mud" would actually be an improvement. James Freeman nominates Another Biden Speech in Need of Clarification. Specifically, the one he gave in Arizona setting up a large national monument.

    The confusion lies in the fact that the president is locking up nearly a million acres and the principal result is to limit potential uranium mining in the region. Uranium fuels nuclear power, a rare technology that can efficiently generate lots of energy while generating zero greenhouse-gas emissions. With this designation he’s just made it harder to meet his climate goals but seems to be under the impression that he’s done the opposite.

    Don't worry, I'm sure we can get all the uranium we'll be needing from Russia.

  • One comparable to the 2023 Boston Red Sox. David Harsanyi pitches a bad movie idea: 'Bidenomics' Has Been A Disaster

    After 40 years of “trickle-down economics,” Joe Biden says, “Bidenomics is just another way of saying restoring the American Dream.”

    It’s not often that a politician openly pledges to bring the country back to a time of crippling inflation, high energy prices, and stifling interest rates. But this president is doing his best to keep that promise.

    Unsurprisingly, “Bidenomics” is failing to gain traction among voters. This has caused consternation in the media. One thing to remember, though, is that “Bidenomics” isn’t really a thing. Unlike, say, “Reaganomics,” which helped bring about the largest expansion of the middle class in world history, the president does not subscribe to any coherent or tangible set of economic theories or principles. The White House defines its economic policy as being “rooted in the recognition that the best way to grow the economy is from the middle out and the bottom up,” which is just platitudinous gibberish.

    Someone needs to point out that there's nothing more "trickle-down" than:

    1. Joe Taxpayer sending cash to Washington.
    2. Washington, after taking its cut, spending it on stuff it likes.
    3. Washington trying to tell Joe that it's done him a great favor.

    (Yes, the Red Sox are back in the AL East cellar once more. It was tough dislodging the Yankees, but they managed.)

  • A good question. WaPo writer Andrew Van Dam did some research, finding The average doctor in the U.S. makes $350,000 a year. Why?

    By accounting for all streams of income, they revealed that doctors make more than anyone thought — and more than any other occupation we’ve measured. In the prime earning years of 40 to 55, the average physician made $405,000 in 2017 — almost all of it (94 percent) from wages. Doctors in the top 10 percent averaged $1.3 million. And those in the top 1 percent averaged an astounding $4 million, though most of that (85 percent) came from business income or capital gains.

    Much, much more at the link.

    I'm not one to begrudge people making a lot of money. But we've heard ad nauseam how American health care is—gee whiz—so darn expensive, and American health outcomes are relatively mediocre.

    This is a big reason why. Occupational licensure, restriction of supply, a pricing system opaque to the customers… all conspire to drive up prices with no improvement in quality. Read the article, and have your blood pressure meds handy.

  • RIP… Wait a minute, is "RIP" a vim command? Reader, every single post on this blog, going back to 2005, was entered through the Linux text editor vim. As was the blog software itself. And… well, you get the idea. Vim has been my go-to editor since I started using Linux (sometime in the mid 90s). And before that, Bill Joy's vi.

    So some sad news: Rest in peace Bram Moolenaar, author of Vim and hero of many developers

    Computing as we know it today was built in no small part by individuals who have written open source software—often for little to no personal financial gain—as well as by developers who use those tools. Few tools like that are as legendary and impactful as the Vim open source code editor, the first version of which was written and released by Dutch engineer Bram Moolenaar in 1991.

    According to a note published by his family to Google Groups this week, Moolenaar passed away on August 3 at the age of 62. The post did not share his cause of death, stating only that he had been suffering from a medical condition for a few weeks.

    I will try to think a little about Moolenaar every time I successfully insert an obscure Unicode character into a text file.

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Last Modified 2024-01-11 2:56 PM EDT