gender, language, other topics, politics

Health Matters – and Other Matters


  1. The D’s DID


Donald J. Trump and his current favorite sidekick, the redoubtable Rudy Giuliani, have morphed into experts on Hillary Clinton’s mental and physical health. How fortunate we are that one of our presidential candidates and his new BFF have so much medical expertise! Clinton, they tell us, doesn’t have the “physical or mental stamina” to fight ISIS, and therefore is unsuitable for the presidency.


As usual contemplating the Donald’s effusions, I find myself at a loss – so much nonsense, so little time! But a few things that stand out. Continue reading

gender, language, politics

The “Scandal” Scandal


OK, the results are in and the word is out: Clinton, while not “guilty” of a “crime” for which she could be prosecuted, nevertheless is deserving of, and has received, a “stinging rebuke” or a “severe scolding” from James Comey, head of the FBI, for her use of a personal e-mail server rather than the State Department’s server. The Republicans have weighed in, predictably, in turn castigating Comey for not castigating Clinton enough; the Donald has tweeted at length of her “crookedness”; a bit less predictably (maybe), the media is also weighing in to the same effect. Just consider the full-frontal headline in the hard-copy edition of the Paper of Record:




The headline presupposes that “charges” would have been normal, and that the “rebuke” was deserved and appropriate, if minimal. The article, by Patrick Healy, begins:


Hillary Clinton may not be indicted on criminal charges over her handling of classified email, but the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, all but indicted her judgment and competence on Tuesday – two vital pillars of her presidential candidacy – and in the kinds of terms that would be politically devastating in a normal election year.


The silver lining for Mrs. Clinton is that this is not a normal election year.


The implication here is that Comey “all but indicted” all her judgment and competence, about everything, which his statement did not. (There is an issue, too, over the conflation of two senses of “indictment.”) But the overall point of this article, and the Times’s lead editorial, is that Clinton is guilty of severe malfeasance and lucky to have escaped the punishment she deserved; that the use of a personal email server by a Secretary of State is seriously bad behavior. But are either or both of these accusations true? And really, what is the whole “scandal” about? Continue reading

gender, language, politics

Clinton’s Email “Scandal”

William Langston has forwarded to me this column by Ruth Marcus from the Washington Post. In it Marcus offers reasonably intelligent and well-meant advice to Hillary Clinton about what she should have done, and should do, about Clinton’s burgeoning email problems. I have a few issues with the column, and some thoughts about what the “scandal” may really be about – something neither Marcus nor any of the other zillion commentators appears to have given any thought. Continue reading