Never thought I’d thank the Washington Post

The Post printed a fabulous editorial piece on Sunday, though.  By Christopher M. Fairman, the piece was headlined “Saying it hurtful.  Banning it is worse.”  The piece presents a thoughtful response to the do-gooder movement to remove the word “retarded” from the English language.

I have such an emotional response to this issue that I have quit supporting the ARC of Northern Virginia (oh, by the way, ARC comes from Association of (for?) Retarded Citizens) and their rabid stance on it.

Yes, I understand.  Being called “retard” hurts,  as does being called “fatso” or “four-eyes”.   But people need to understand sometimes the meaning of a word is separated from a faddish use.  Legislating away the use of the word “retard” may make some feel good, but it will not change the fact that some people have a retarded intellectual, social, emotional, or multi-faceted development.

I sympathize with the effort in the pledge “I pledge and support the elimination of the derogatory use of the r-word from everyday speech and promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.”  (The pledge is from http://www.r-word.org (as if that isn’t patronizing … like I can’t understand what the word might be?)  The kicker is in “… the derogatory use …”.  If you can’t tell the difference, legislation is not going to help you.

As the parent of a retarded son, I feel it important to retain the distinction.  My son is retarded … his intellectual capacity is significantly less than that of most of his peers, and his social development lags.   He is not stupid in any way, though.  No, he can’t read or write.  He doesn’t understand a cold shoulder, or the concept of what most people consider personal space.  He has difficulty with any number of abstract concepts.  But he understands his world, and in a way, is probably much more fortunate than many of us.  He doesn’t question his abilities, or doubt himself, or long for impossibilities.

But as much as I would challenge anyone who derogatorily call him names, I also challenge those who think they’re “doing something” to get over their paternalism and offer a supportive hand instead.

Explaining my faith (?!) in elected officials

Earlier I posted about the issues with entering Fairfax County courthouse – a taxpayer-funded, publicly owned building – with a cell phone, recorder, camera, etc.  I sincerely do NOT understand how this makes anyone any safer, where the authority to ban these items comes from (though I quoted the code sections that are posted), and I wrote my supervisor.

The supervisor’s aide answered, with poor grammar and spelling.  I posted that as well, and invited him to read that post.

Now it appears I should accept the staffer’s word because he is or was a Captain in the Marine Corps.  Whether he thinks I should be shamed into accepting his position out of patriotism, intimidated by a (big-shot, I suppose) Captain, or simply impressed by a lot of words after his name, I don’t know.

Looks like spell check didn’t run before I sent the e-mail.  I believe all cell phones and PDAs will be restricted in the future since most have cameras on them in order to protect the identity of people testifying in court.  Feel free to post this online as well.
Semper Fi,
Captain Brett W. Kenney, USMC
Operation Iraqi Freedom

Still hasn’t answered the question about how the ban makes us safer.  Still hasn’t responded to what gives the authority; I asked how these code sections give authority for a ban.

Now, somewhere in this answer is a response I could almost understand – protecting the identity of those testifying.  That is not the cited reason, however, in either their first response or the posted code sections.   It would justify, in my mind, a ban on video – perhaps even audio – recording in courtrooms, but not in the courthouse as a whole.

‘Nother question.  Should a Marine be using his official title in conjunction with a paid position as a staffer?  I think it unethical, if not contrary to regulation.  Might have to check that one out.

By the way, I tried to copy my response to Supervisor Hyland.  His e-mail is not listed; clicking on his e-mail link takes one to a form.  Please, if you’re so inclined, you might also request of Supervisor Hyland a response.

But it doesn’t apply to the elite

Governors, mayors, and all officials were asking people to stay home so plows could get through.  This is one of the heaviest single snowstorms to hit the DC area since recordkeeping began.

But the Democrats held a winter meeting.

Obama thanked Democrats for being “willing to brave a blizzard. Snowmageddon here in D.C.”

During the Christmas snowstorm, some were so hot to vote on their health insurance bills (not healthcare — we haven’t seen a healthcare bill yet), both Jim Webb and Barbara Mikulski touted their willingness to drive (or be driven, in Mikulski’s case) through snow, against advice.

Response from Supervisor Hyland

I wrote Supervisor Hyland regarding the issue of phones/cameras in the courthouse.

A staffer responded; Hyland apparently doesn’t care.

The response:

“Ms. xxxxx – I have shared your email with the Court.  The Chief Judge in cooperation with the Clerk to the Court and the Sheriff propogate rules to keep our resident’s safe at the Fairfax County Courthouse Complex.”

Aside from not answering the question, expecting me to buy the security theater answer, and blowing me off, he blew me off with a staffer who can’t spell and doesn’t understand the rules of grammar.

The word is “propagate” and the plural of “resident” is “residents” — no apostrophe.

If this isn’t a “shut up and color” response, I don’t know what is.

Asking the wrong question

I love pollsters.

That’s said only partly tongue-in-cheek.  They provide such amusement.

Today another asked the wrong question.

(Paraphrasing) The caller said “Sen. Harry Reid’s health care reform bill will raise taxes and costs and bring nothing new to the American consumer.  Do you agree Congress should defeat this bill and start anew at health care reform?”

You could almost hear the disappointment in the caller’s voice when I said “no”.

Not that I don’t want this bill defeated; I do.  I think it’s full of nonworkable “solutions” that only congressional staffers and special-interests (not necessarily even health-related special interests) could devise.

But Congress?  Come on.  The same organization that gave you TSA, which proved last weekend how well it can do its job?  The same organization that gave us the IRS, the Department of Education, the Department of Homeland Security, and two constitutionally ineligible Cabinet secretaries?  The organization that oversees the notoriously bureaucratic and inefficient Department of Veterans Affairs medical system?

Surely you jest.

Now, had the caller asked the right questions:

– Do you agree with the Senate’s Health Care proposal? (No)

– Do you think the Congress should start over? (A big YES, but that’s separate from “Do you thing Congress should start anew to devise a health care plan?”)

– Do you want Congress to pass a health care reform?  (Maybe, but I want to see what they define as “reform”.)

He might have had very, very different answers.

Rules don’t apply to politicians

Saturday, the DC area had a major snowstorm, with up to 23 inches of snow in most areas.  The Virginia Department of Transportation responded to over 2900 accidents; I don’t have figures on the District and Maryland.

Governors of both Maryland and Virginia asked people to stay off the roads.  DON’T GO OUT.  Nowhere in the warnings did I see “unless you’re a politician.”

But Barbara Mikulski and Benjamin Cardin of Maryland are proud of the fact they went to the Capitol for a vote that could have been taken later.  Jim Webb and Mark Warner “braved the elements” — (“Webb, who lives in Falls Church, used his Jeep to plow through the snow, his office said.“) To vote on a bill that no one but the politicians want — that is really the pet project of  a few senators (see how Sen Nelson held things up — and he is only one person.)

Braving the elements is not the honorable thing to do here, folks.

What’s the hurry?   Were the politicians so worried they’d lose a vote if they waited until streets were clear?  Maybe that should tell them something.

I guess THEY don’t have to listen to governors.  After all, they’re the elite.

Hypocrisy

You can’t rail against rationing health care, then pass laws that outlaw medical procedures because you don’t like them.  That’s rationing the health care people can get.  Or if you decide your medical plan can’t cover certain procedures, that’s rationing health care.

You can’t argue that the “other party” will stand between a doctor and patient, then define which medical procedures that doctor and that patient have as options.

You can’t insist your tax dollars won’t pay for one thing without allowing there are lot of things that are an anathema to many, even most, taxpayers.  Therefore, you can’t single out abortions without singling out plastic surgery, war, congresscritter staffs, bailouts, government takeovers of private industry, and myriad other things.   When you’re ready to present a menu from which ALL Americans can pick and choose, you’re free to not fund health care.

Why women should abandon the Republican party in droves, immediately.

Talk about a disrespect toward women.  The national Republican party has directed its health insurance provider that it will  opt out of abortion coverage.  No one who works for the party can elect a perfectly legal procedure, making her own choice, and have it covered by insurance.  (Want to bet they can have breast implants, face lifts, or liposuction, though–things that make the little woman more attractive?)

Because, of course, the little women can’t make the choice for themselves.

Because the little women need to be “protected” from their own decisions.

Republican party chairman Michael Steel said “”Money from our loyal donors should not be used for this purpose. I don’t know why this policy existed in the past, but it will not exist under my administration. Consider this issue settled.”  This from the man who thinks Democrats’ power has gone to their heads.  ( He also said [about the NY-23 race] “If you don’t live in the district, you don’t vote there, your opinion doesn’t matter very much.”   Funny how that doesn’t apply if he isn’t a woman and didn’t fertilize that egg.)

Damn, I almost wish I worked for the Republican Party, just so I could publicly resign.

Now it’s up to the General Assembly

We need the Virginia General Assembly to keep the theocrats in check, now that they think they have some kind of mandate.  (It amuses me they’ll assume “mandate” on issues they didn’t mention during the campaign.)

They need to be reminded it’s GOP, not GOD.

Thank the gods it’s almost over

I’ve been listening to campaign bullshit for two years (can’t find an exact date, but it seems one of the AG candidates has been running since the day after his last election).   This became a race between the feel-good-do-something-even-if-it’s-wrong-and-let-the-government-solve-it-for-you crowd and the holier-than-thou-you-must-live-by-my-moral-code crowd.   In an hour and a half, the ads will cease, at least.  By Thursday, most of the crying and recriminations, at least in public, will be over.