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President Barack Obama told the American Medical Association yesterday that he believes single-payer health care systems have worked “pretty well” in some countries, but no major U.S. newspaper available in the Nexis database reported the president’s comment in their news stories about the speech. However, three of the nation’s most prestigious newspapers—the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times— did publish quotes from the president’s speech that artfully took language from both immediately before and after the president’s statement that single-payer systems work. “I’ll be honest,” Obama said in his speech to the AMA, “there are countries where a single-payer system works pretty well.” A search of the terms “Obama,” “single-payer,” and “pretty well” in the “Major Newspapers” file of Nexis turned up no hits as of 3:00 PM on Tuesday, June 16. –“Major Papers Expunge Obama’s Comment: ‘I’ll be honest, there are countries where a single-payer system works pretty well’”, Terence P. Jeffrey, CNSNews.com
Of its nature, this is a discourse of division: some enjoy advantages that others do not, and there is no defensible reason for their fortune and our want. Elementary thoughts, but novelties in the establishment politics of the Federal Republic. There, the leitmotif has always been, and remains, consensus— the unity of all sensible citizens around a prosperous economy and a pacified state, without social conflicts or structural contradictions. No other political system in post-war Europe is so ideologically gun-shy, averse to any expression of sharp words or irreconcilable opinions; so devoted to banality and blandness. The quest for respectability after 1945, federal checks and balances, the etiquette of coalitions, all have contributed to making a distinctively German style of politics, an unmistakable code of high-minded, sententious conformism. This was not, of course, a mere ideological mannerism. It reflected the reality of a bipartisan— Christian and Social Democratic— convergence on a corporatist model of development, designed to square all interests: naturally, each according to their station, or Mitbestimmung writ large, as a charter for social harmony. –“A New Germany?” by Perry Anderson, New Left Review
SHOULD THE ELEVATOR DOORS FAIL TO OPEN
DO NOT BECOME ALARMED.
THIS ELEVATOR CONTAINS ENOUGH AIR FOR ONE
PERSON TO SURVIVE FOR UP TO NINETY MINUTES.
DIVIDE NINETY BY THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN THIS
ELEVATOR TO DETERMINE GROUP SURVIVAL TIME.
ELEVATOR COMPANIES ARE ON CALL SO THERE IS
LITTLE DANGER YOU WILL HAVE TO DRAW STRAWS.
–“Foundation Announces 12th Annual Dumb-Warning List,” Kevin Underhill, Lowering the Bar
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”