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There is talk at the convention about the lack of a Republican minority vote, and of course almost no visible minorities can be found on the floor, which appears instead to be a stimulus program for bow tie shops and purveyors of seersucker fabric. One stat you hear, but no one laughs about, is that according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, Mitt Romney is losing the African-American vote by a margin of 94 percent to 0 percent. Statistically speaking, Romney is pulling a zero. (John McCain earned 4 percent of the African-American vote, George W. Bush 9 percent.) So, yesterday, far away from prime-time television, Herman Cain raged before a Republican audience about the number. “I am not,” he said, “a zero.” The third-string gag writers were invited to take over from there.
More from Jack Hitt:
Political Asylum — November 6, 2012, 2:01 pm
Obama’s data-driven approach may decide today’s race—and determine the future of the G.O.P.
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.”