On the Opinion Page: April 24, 2008

24Apr08

In which The Gay Recluse scores selected opinion pieces in The Times.

Gail Collins/Hillary’s Smackdown

The Short Version: Don’t panic, it’ll be ok.

In her words: “If you want to worry about something, worry about the way both of them have been pandering themselves over the edge.”

Score: B (Benign)
Although we don’t want to be reading about Obama and Clinton at all these days — wake us up when it’s over! Zzzzzz — Collins brings some needed perspective to the table.

Nicholas Kristof/Better Roses Than Cocaine

The Short Version: Oh, and have I mentioned that I’m friends with the president of Columbia oops (see comments)! Colombia?

In his words: “I asked President Uribe on Monday if there was concern among Latin leaders that Democrats in Congress are tugging the U.S. away from its historic commitment to free trade.”

The Score: F (Failure)
This column is a standard “Mad-Lib” for free trade that appears every week or so in The Times. (Roger Cohen likes this one, too!) Except they’re not funny because you basically fill in a country (Columbia Colombia), an industry (flowers) and a worker making 10 cents an hour (Norma). Zzzzz. But at least Norma’s not starving to death or being gunned down by drug lords! Go free trade!

Roger Cohen/Bring on the Right Biofuels

The Short Version: Biofuel is not the problem but American tariffs that prevent Brazilian biofuels from entering the U.S. market.

In his words: “What sense does it make to have a surplus of environmentally friendly Brazilian sugar-based ethanol with a yield eight times higher than U.S. corn ethanol and zero impact on food prices being kept from an American market by a tariff of 54 cents on a gallon while Iowan corn ethanol gets a subsidy?”

The Score: D (Distraction)
We actually agree with Cohen that American farm subsidies for ethanol are a complete sham, but we would still make biofuel a low priority when it comes to “environmentally friendly” policy of any kind. On the fuel front alone, increased MPG, no new highways (and hello! better public transportation) should go at the top of the list, and as we all know, that’s been a big priority the last twenty years. And — here’s a good idea — what about congestion pricing in NYC?

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4 Responses to “On the Opinion Page: April 24, 2008”

  1. 1 jesus

    Colombia is the proper spelling for the country. Columbia is the university, or the district.

  2. Thanks for pointing out my dipshit spelling mistake, Jesus. I’m officially embarrassed. Or maybe I should say: Jesus, I’m embarrassed.

  3. 3 jesus

    eh, it’s not really a dipshit mistake. it’s one of those mistakes that many non-spanish speakers–though i’m being presumputuous here, i realize–make even when they know the proper spelling. since “colombia” is a spanish word and i’m a native spanish speaker, i can’t look at it and not pronounce it “in spanish” or, accordingly, think about it and spell it with a “u.” the difference is always glaring to me because i would never look at “columbia” and think “colombia;” the latter would be pronounced “coloombia” in spanish, and that’s just weird. and now that i think about it, many spanish speakers pronounce “columbia” as they would “colombia.” so i’m guessing the mistake is fairly common in the reverse direction too.

    the real dipshit mistake/practice is the historical habit of translating proper names that were written in the same script–“columbus” was never called “columbus” (or for that matter, christopher)–but we won’t get into that.

  4. Thanks–and wow–you’re totally right about “Christopher Columbus,” which is one of those things that’s been ingrained for sooo long that I haven’t ever really considered the true idiocy of it. But hey! He’s a “hero” and so must have an English/American sounding name! Otherwise he’s just some Italian guy, so whatever… Seriously, I’d be curious to see a list of people who have received similar treatment in the American mythology.


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