Archive for the 'One Wondrous Sentence' Category

One Wondrous Sentence: Nuclear weapons

January 18, 2013

This one wondrous sentence, part of a fascinating contrarian take on the historical role of the atomic bomb, explains the prescription one chemist and blogger has for addressing a global danger.

No number of technical remedies will cause nations to abandon them until we make these destructive instruments fundamentally unappealing and start seeing them at the very least as outdated dinosaurs whose technological usefulness is now completely obsolete, and at best as immoral and politically useless tools whose possession taints their owner and results in international censure and disapproval.

Source: Ashutosh Jogalekar, “On the uselessness of nuclear weapons,” Scientific American, date.

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One Wondrous Sentence: Chuck Hagel and the right-leaning GOP

January 17, 2013

This one wondrous sentence, by left-wing novelist and political commentator Steve Erickson, indicates one subtle strategy that President Barack Obama is using to marginalize his Republican opponents.

The more that supposedly seasoned members of the GOP claim that Hagel is out of the mainstream for challenging the buildup in Iraq and potential war with Iran (skepticism with which the public agrees on both counts by large margins), then the more that Republicans lurch rightward in the eyes of the public at large and, in particular, two-fisted guys sitting in front of their televisions curling beer cans into furious fistfuls of metal every time Lindsey Graham opens his mouth.

Source: Steve Erickson, “Obama’s Genius Defense Pick,” The American Prospect, Jan. 14, 2013.

One Wondrous Sentence: The expanded meaning of the Second Amendment

January 17, 2013

This one wondrous sentence shows just how far out of the mainstream the proposition that the Constitution guarantees private citizens the right to bear arms was once considered.

The NRA’s fabricated but escalating view of the Second Amendment was ridiculed by former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger — a conservative appointed by President Richard Nixon — in a PBS Newshour interview in 1991, where he called it “one of the greatest pieces of fraud — I repeat the word ‘fraud’ — on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”

Source: Steven Rosenfeld, “The Suprising Unknown History of the NRA,” Alternet, Jan. 13, 2013. (Quote appears on the second of three pages.)

One Wondrous Sentence: The perils of climate change

January 16, 2013

This one wondrous sentence captures some of the dire news contained in a quadrennial federal report — suspended, incidentally, during the administration of President George W. Bush — about changing meteorological conditions.

The draft Third National Climate Assessment, issued every four years, delivers a bracing picture of environmental changes and natural disasters that mounting scientific evidence indicates is fostered by climate change: heavier rains in the Northeast, Midwest and Plains that have overwhelmed storm drains and led to flooding and erosion; sea level rise that has battered coastal communities; drought that has turned much of the West into a tinderbox.

Source: Neela Banerjee, “Climate assessment delivers a grim overview,” Los Angeles Times, Jan. 11, 2013.

One Wondrous Sentence: The Nazi gun control falsehood

January 16, 2013

This one wondrous sentence, quoting Brown University history professor, Third Reich expert and former Israeli combat soldier and officer Omer Bartov, tears down a prominent fallacious conservative argument against gun safety laws and regulations.

He continued: “Their assertion that they need these guns to protect themselves from the government — as supposedly the Jews would have done against the Hitler regime — means not only that they are innocent of any knowledge and understanding of the past, but also that they are consciously or not imbued with the type of fascist or Bolshevik thinking that they can turn against a democratically elected government, indeed turn their guns on it, just because they don’t like its policies, its ideology, or the color, race and origin of its leaders.”

Source: Alex Seitz-Wald, “The Hitler gun control lie,” Salon, Jan. 11, 2013.

One Wondrous Sentence: Mental health and murder

January 11, 2013

This one wondrous sentence lays the foundation for an argument that a well-intentioned policy has unintentionally and indirectly caused a great number of mass killings and other tragedies.

Since the passage of the Community Mental Health Act (1963) during the Kennedy administration, which mandated the closing of state mental institutions in favor of “community health centers” and outpatient care, and the massive and progressive “deinstitutionalization” of the mentally ill during the 1960s and ’70s, the residents of those old state hospitals have been transferred, almost totally, from the wards to the streets, and with predictable results.

Source: Philip Terzian, “In the Presence of Violent Psychotics,” The Weekly Standard, Dec. 18, 2012.

One Wondrous Sentence: Opposing gun safety vs. opposing slaughter

January 10, 2013

This one wondrous sentence, published on a website that bills itself as being “from the mind of Herman Cain, America’s favorite CEO,” neatly summarizes a key part of the conservative argument against additional gun safety measures.

President Obama’s speech in Newtown last night was mostly pretty good, but I did not like his suggestion that incidents like this keep happening because we as a nation have somehow decided to tolerate them — the clear implication being that not passing new gun control laws equals tolerating more mass killings.

Source: Dan Calabrese, “Don’t get rolled by the gun control juggernaut,” CainTV, Dec. 17, 2012.

One Wondrous Sentence: Religion and slaughter

January 9, 2013

This one wondrous sentence blasts the argument by preacher, Fox News presenter and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee that lack of religion leads to mass shootings.

It suggests that somehow prayer can prevent anybody from being mentally ill, that hetero marriage cures murder, and that having a manger in the town square can stop a gunman from blasting his way into a school.

Source: Mary Elizabeth Williams, “Huckabee blames gays for the Newtown massacre,” Salon, Dec. 17, 2012.

One Wondrous Sentence: Guns and liberty

January 8, 2013

This one wondrous sentence debunks the notion that privately owned firearms are vital instruments in the preservation of liberty.

As long as we are writing science fiction, in the event that a Hitler, Stalin or Mao seized control in Washington, D.C., this American tyrant would worry far more about being murdered by the praetorian guard or overthrown by the military than about the near-impossibility of defeat of the U.S. armed forces by ordinary armed citizens, particularly the kind of pathetic right-wing militia members who would have trouble taking over a trailer park.

Source: Michael Lind, “Guns have never saved us,” Salon, Dec. 17, 2012.

One Wondrous Sentence: The upside and downside of gun safety measures

January 7, 2013

This one wondrous sentence notes both the difficulty in stopping mass murder and the unintended benefits such measures can bring.

The irony is that some of the proposed gun control measures that would have been useless for preventing either Columbine or the other mass school shootings of the late 1990s might be perfectly reasonable measures for preventing ordinary gun violence.

Source: Gary Kleck, “Mass Shootings in Schools: The Worst Possible Case for Gun Control,” American Behavioral Scientist, as quoted by Tom Jacobs, “School Shootings and Gun Control,” Pacific Standard, Dec. 14, 2012.

One Wondrous Sentence: Ammunition counts

December 28, 2012

This one wondrous sentence suggests just how disparate the experiences of two nations with two very different gun control regimes can be.

As many as 100 bullets were fired in Newtown; last year, a total of 85 were fired at people by the police in all of Germany and 49 of them were warning shots.

Source: Michael Winship, “Just a Few Miles From Newtown,” BillMoyers.com, Dec. 16, 2012.

One Wondrous Sentence: On naming the right names

December 27, 2012

This one wondrous sentence urges reporters and their audiences to celebrate the heroes, not the villains, of tragedies such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School slaughter.

Right now, everyone knows the name of the Connecticut shooter — but we should know everything about Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung and Mary Sherlach, who bravely chased down the shooter and tried to tackle him before being fatally shot.

Source: Sally Kohn, “Celebrate the heroes, not the shooter,” Salon, Dec. 17, 2012.

One Wondrous Sentence: A conservative maxim for downsizing Washington

December 26, 2012

This one wondrous sentence by conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg suggests a fundamental — and familiar — principle that should guide Republicans going forward.

In principle, Republicans should look at the monumental clutter in Washington like a boat with too much ballast to stay afloat: When in doubt, throw it overboard.

Source: Jonah Goldberg, “Return to Federalism,” National Review, Dec. 14, 2012.

One Wondrous Sentence: Valueless families?

December 25, 2012

This one wondrous sentence, from a television editorial by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, discusses what’s gone wrong with American family values.

We scoff at the need for mothers and fathers to make it their priority to train their children to be strong in spirit and soul and responsible for right and wrong and exalt instead the virtue of having things and providing expensive toys, games, and electronics that substitute for parenting and then don’t understand why our kids would rather have ear buds dangling from their ears, fingers attaching to a smart phone, and face attached to a computer screen than to have an extended conversation with their family at dinner.

Source: Mike Huckabee, monologue, The Mike Huckabee Show, Dec. 16, 2012.

One Wondrous Sentence: Justice Antonin Scalia and sodomy

December 24, 2012

This one wondrous sentence reflects the opinions — some might say antediluvian opinions — of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on homosexuality and the supposed ills associated with it.

A practiced cultural warrior himself, Scalia wrote that laws “called into question” by the court striking down the sodomy ban were “laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity.”

Source: Dana Milbank, “Scalia blocks the aisle against gay marriage,” The Washington Post, Dec. 11, 2012.

One Wondrous Sentence: Gun ownership rises even as crime falls

December 21, 2012

This one wondrous sentence, part of a fascinating opinion piece by a former advisor to President George W. Bush, highlights the uncertain relation between gun buying and crime.

Gun buying spiked in the Obama administration, pushing the share of households with a gun all the way back up to 47%, near the 1960 peak, even as crime rates tumbled to the lowest levels ever recorded, making guns less necessary than ever to self-defense.

Source: David Frum, “Why Obama shouldn’t lead fight against gun violence,” CNNOpinion, Dec. 17, 2012.

One Wondrous Sentence: Benevolent protection and gun rights

December 20, 2012

This one wondrous sentence presents a conservative view of the “benevolent protection” of the Second Amendment and the way that debate about guns has been affected by supposed media bias.

The practical consequence of living for nearly two-and-a-half centuries under the almost universally benevolent protection of the Second Amendment is a society in which there are hundreds of millions of guns, in which 47 percent of families and nearly as many Democrats as Republicans own guns, and in which the dissent over the sacrosanctity of gun rights is heard largely because of the overrepresentation in the media of the coastal, urban Left.

Source: The editors, “After Newtown, and Before It,” National Review, Dec. 17, 2012.

One Wondrous Sentence: Concealed weapons laws and crime

December 19, 2012

This one wondrous sentence, from a detailed analysis of data in states with concealed carry or shall issue gun laws, helps establish that crime tends not to decrease as guns become more widely available.

Minor changes of specifications can generate wide shifts in the estimated effects of these laws, and some of the most persistent findings — such as the association of shall-issue laws with increases in (or no effect on) robbery and with substantial increases in various types of property crime — are not consistent with any plausible theory of deterrence.

Source: Ian Ayres and John  J. Donohue III, “Shooting Down the ‘More Guns, Less Crime’ Hypothesis,” Stanford Law Review, April 2003.

One Wondrous Sentence: Guns, death and injury

December 18, 2012

This one wondrous sentence, citing 2005 data about gun violence in the United States, captures the extent to which firearms affect Americans’ health.

When we consider that there were also nearly 70,000 nonfatal injuries from firearms, we are left with the staggering fact that 100,000 men, women, and children were killed or wounded by firearms in the span of just one year.

Source: Gregory D. Curfman, Stephen Morrissey and Jeffrey M. Drazen, “Handgun Violence, Public Health, and the Law,” New England Journal of Medicine, April 3, 2008.

One Wondrous Sentence: A moderate’s opinion

December 17, 2012

This one wondrous sentence, from a feature on retiring U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), gives one moderate law-maker’s view on the political process in Washington, D.C., as a deadline approaches.

She’s especially critical of Obama and congressional leaders who are “going to put the country through this emotional travail, whip-sawing Americans, leaving them to wonder as to whether or not they have the capacity to work together” to avoid the impending “fiscal cliff,” the series of tax increases and major spending cuts set to take effect next year.

Source: author, “Olympia Snowe leaving the Senate, but says she won’t stop fighting,” The Washington Post, Dec. 11, 2012. (Link is to second of two pages.)

One Wondrous Sentence: Peace between Israelis and Palestinians

December 14, 2012

This one wondrous sentence shows in detail how a self-described impenitent Zionist, impenitent dove and hawkish dove who has “irritated some of my comrades … with my unglowing view of the Palestinians and their inability to recognize the historical grandeur of compromise” views the long-standing and possibly intractable conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

I am still quite certain that the establishment of the state of Palestine is a condition for the survival of the state of Israel, as a Jewish state and a democratic state, and that for Israel not to be a Jewish state would be a Jewish catastrophe, and for it not to be a democratic state would be a human catastrophe; and that the only solution there has ever been to this conflict is the solution that was proposed by the Peel Commission in 1937, that is, the partition of one land into two states; and that the Jewish settlement of the West Bank was a colossal mistake, and the occupation (and the indifference to it) corrodes the decency of the occupiers; and that the Jewish state is a secular entity; and that anti-Semitism, which will never disappear, does not explain the entirety of the history of the Jews or their state, or exempt Israel from accountability for its actions.

Source: Leon Wieseltier, “Losing Hope on Israeli-Palestinian Peace,” The New Republic, Dec. 20, 2012.

One Wondrous Sentence: War and politics

December 13, 2012

This one wondrous sentence, part of a novelist’s lengthy but fast-reading political memoir, succinctly expresses one contrarian liberal’s view of President George W. Bush’s foreign adventures.

At a social gathering following 9/11, I was dismayed that friends to the left of me condemned what I considered George W. Bush’s legitimate military action in Afghanistan, given the complicity of the Taliban in its alliance with al-Qaeda; the war against Iraq, on the other hand (having nothing to do with al-Qaeda or 9/11 or phantom weapons), made me angrier than anything that any American government has done.

Source: Steve Erickson, “I Was a Teenage Conservative,” The American Prospect, Dec. 5, 2012.

One Wondrous Sentence: Government transparency

December 12, 2012

This one wondrous sentence shows how Barack Obama’s administration is not living up to the president’s promise to lead the most transparent government in history.

Those making Freedom of Information Act requests in 2011 were less likely than in 2010 to get material from 10 of 15 Cabinet agencies, which were more likely to exploit the law’s exemptions.

Source: Dana Milbank, “The open-and-shut administration,” The Washington Post, Dec. 3, 2012.

One Wondrous Sentence: Protecting Social Security (or not)

December 11, 2012

This one wondrous sentence, shows how some conservative strategists are urging Republicans to play a long game, in part by extending the payroll tax cut that will expire at the end of this year, while pursuing an anti-Social Security agenda.

The program should come to be seen (as it has always in fact functioned) as part of the government’s overall budget, and therefore part of its budget problem, rather than being shielded from reform thanks to a misunderstanding of how the government uses the money it raises through a regressive tax that makes the lives of working families harder.

Source:  James C. Capretta and Yuval Levin, “The GOP’s Payroll Tax Opportunity,” The Weekly Standard, Dec. 10, 2012. (Link is to third of three pages.)

One Wondrous Sentence: Fiscal irresponsibility

December 10, 2012

This one wondrous sentence is part of a serious, considered examination of the comprehensive rebuilding job that the Republican Party must undertake.

The unified Republican government under George W. Bush, whatever its other virtues, spent money like nobody’s business, and that generation of Republican leaders managed to singlehandedly destroy the party’s reputation for fiscal restraint.

Source: Kevin D. Williamson, “Beyond Tax Cuts: The GOP needs a broader economic agenda,” National Review, Dec. 3, 2012.

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