Language is a many-splendored thing, and we should applaud those who explore its farther reaches in search of the most descriptive, interesting, or ear-pleasing variations to use in their speaking and writing. But sometimes, esoteric language is used to obscure and exclude rather that to enlighten and illuminate.
Though I'm not much of a fan of Chief Justice John Roberts, I have to give him credit for something he did in court yesterday, calling attention to the scourge that is "orthogonal":
Supreme Court justices deal in words, and they are always on the lookout for new ones.
The latest high-profile entry into our Washington media universe, Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller, launched yesterday. With millions of dollars in venture capital, a staff numbered at 21 (a huge number for an online start-up), and plenty of publicity, the site hopes to be a conservative combination of the Huffington Post and Politico. Out of the box, there are certainly things you could criticize, like the pedestrian design ("Hey, what if we use a lot of bold, blocky capital letters, and everything will be red and blue? No one’s seen that before!"). But there is one thing that really stands out.
Over the weekend, Fox News chief Roger Ailes was profiled in the New York Times, and some people have mocked Ailes' contention that he might be a terrorist target:
As powerful as he is within the News Corporation, Mr. Ailes remains a spectral presence outside the Fox News offices. National security had long been a preoccupation of Fox News, and it was clear in the interview that the 9/11 attacks had a profound effect on Mr. Ailes. They convinced him that he and his network could be terrorist targets.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu looks at prototype magnets for the National Synchrotron Light Source II. (Flickr/Brookhaven National Laboratory)
As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama warmed the hearts of progressives when he promised to change "the posture of our federal government from being one of the most anti-science administrations in American history to one that embraces science and technology." And when he got into office, he took a number of steps that demonstrated his sincerity.
Is it too early to start speculating about the 2012 GOP presidential primaries? Of course not! The race promises to be a chaotic free-for-all of backbiting and recrimination, flip-flops and opportunistic conversions, feigned outrage and vicious attacks over meaningless non-issues. Throw in the fact that the force within the party with the most energy right now – the teabaggers – are not exactly known for their restraint, and it should be a hoot.