Reply to: Desperately Seeking Disclosure: What Happens When Public Funds Go To Private PR Firms?
I'm brand new to this site, having discovered it thanks to Al Franken and Air America. Maybe I'm mistaken, but it appears that I am the only one so far to have commented on this excellent article. I want to increase traffic to the site, so I have linked to it from one of my very busy web sites, http://JesusNoRepublican.Org/ . I am also the creator of http://www.LiberalsLikeChrist.Org =========================================================== . P.S. There appears to be a technical difficulty with the reply form I am typing in, (at least on my computer, which is a very typical PC with Windows XP) as there are about 10 characters at the end of each line which do not appear in the edit box as they are typed. They DO appear, however, in the preview window.
Reply to: The War of the Words
"Take for example the term 'the American people' used by your President endlessly."
Guess what, it's not only the president -- it's every politician in our country.
"Do they presume Americans as so silly that they can't understand an idea or concept using concise speech or is there some other hidden answer that a dumb Aussie like me can't fathom?"
I think you've fathomed it better than most Americans. And sadly, most Americans seem to fall for it -- at least enough to be sold on the terrible policies wrapped in the verbiage.
Also, notice I said "most Americans," not "the American people." You only say the latter when you want to flatter them, like the politicians.
Reply to: The War of the Words
Stephanie Mot makes an excellent comment on a most important issue, and one that does not just apply to Americans. As an Australian I despair at the way 'USA speak' has begun to permeate my own language. From an Aussie's perspective I add two further comments which may, or may not ring true to US readers: 1. When I was in high school my English teachers taught us that economy of language was usually best in the majority of cases. Thus if one could use two, or even one word to say what was being said in 3 or more this normally resulted in a greater level of comprehension by most readers. In the US, and increasingly in Australia this maxim seems to have died. Take for example the term 'the American people' used by your President endlessly. In Australia, we would normally use the term 'Americans' but now even our Prime Minister seems to have been vaccinated by whoever got to the President. 2. This leads to a further point: why is it that President Bush, most of his team and many other politicians and leaders seem to have to speak in 3 word phrases these days? Are they seeking to fill in space/time? Do they presume Americans as so silly that they can't understand an idea or concept using concise speech or is there some other hidden answer that a dumb Aussie like me can't fathom? Let's all work to get rid of this superfluous style of speech and focus on the issues before both our nations using 'simple' English.
Reply to: Confrontational Democracy
So, Bush and Co. now want to spend 20.4 Mil of our tax dollars so that their message can be broadcast to Iranians? Has anyone done a study of how effective these propoganda tactics are? Honestly, they dont seem to be too effective, Iran still considers us to be the "Great Satan". Does anyone in Iran actually listen to US radio? Just a suggestion, how about using my 20.4 mil to re-fund one of the blue bazillion social programs Bush has already cut.
Reply to: The War of the Words
"Male circumcision (the removal of the foreskin) and female circumcision, which involves the removal of the entire clitoris and often all of the labia as well, are in no way equivalent."
This obviously isn't the forum for a knock-down drag-out fight over this issue, but of course they're equivalent. The difference is one of degree, not of kind. Granted that male circumcision is usually -- that's usually! -- not as functionally damaging as the female mutilation you describe, it still constitutes mutilation by any reasonable definintion of that word.
Routine infant circumcision (RIC) as it's done in America --
* Is medically unnecessary and violates the first principle of humane medicine: First, do no harm.
* Is not recommended by any major medical society in the world. The closest thing it gets to a recommendation is the American Academy of Pediatrics' waffling statement that it offers "potential benefits," which translates as no benefit for the great majority of human males and only marginal benefit for most of the remainder. Some medical societies, e.g. the Royal Australian College of Physicians, expressly disparage it.
* Results in loss of the multitude of erogenous nerve endings in the inner foreskin and loss of sensitivity in the glans. Granted, that's not nearly as severe as the worst-case female mutilation you described, but it still constitutes damaged sexual function.
* Can cause complications ranging from mild to severe, even resulting in loss of the entire penis or, yes, death in rare cases. Can you tell me what "benefit" a dead child received that justified killing him?
* Violates the basic right of every human being to the integrity of the body s/he is born with.
* Is done mainly for cultural reasons (so he'll match his daddy; so he won't get teased in the locker room; because the in-laws expect it) with the dubious "medical benefit" as an excuse. The AAP sees no ethical problem in signing off on that, but what other body part are they willing to cut off a child for "religious, ethnic and cultural" reasons? None? Why not?
* Points up the double standard for women's versus men's rights in the U.S. FGM is rightly illegal, but MGM is not only legal but culturally favored. So why are a baby girl's genitals inviolable while a baby boy's are on the chopping block? What about the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection of the laws for everyone?The word "circumcision" is a comforting euphemism. It means "cutting around" but says nothing about what's getting cut or the consequences of the cutting. If you use the more verbose but descriptively accurate phase "cutting the foreskin off the penis," people get nervous -- "Why can't you just use the word that's given?"
You said, "Those who use the term 'genital cutting' rather than 'mutilation' clearly have no idea what they're talking about." With due respect, I think you'd do well to learn more about what you're talking about, too -- re-examine your understanding of "equivalence" at the very least.