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Is this a great country, or what? Even though Alabama’s Jeff Sessions was blocked from a federal judgeship because of kooky statements about the NAACP and the Ku Klux Klan, he could still go on to become a U.S. senator, and lead a racially tinged charge against the first Latina Supreme Court nominee. Equal opportunity, indeed!
I thought that Sessions’ bullying and blundering in the first two days of the Sonia Sotomayor hearings might get the GOP to ask him to hide his light under a bushel for a bit, but there he was on Wednesday, holding a quick press conference in the hearing break to announce he continues to be “troubled” by Sotomayor’s views on race, as if there was any doubt about that.
Not to be outdone by Sessions, though, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn shamed himself with an unbelievable reference to Desi Arnaz’s ancient Cuban stereotype, Ricky Ricardo, husband of Lucille Ball on “I Love Lucy.” During a surreal exchange on gun rights, in which the theoretical example was what might happen to Sotomayor if she (wrongly, illegally, but maybe understandably) got a gun and shot Coburn, the right-wing senator told her, “You’d have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do,” referring to Arnaz’s refrain when Lucy got in trouble with one of her crazy schemes.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
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.”