Washington, DC, July 29, 2009 -- NLE'09 in the FEMA Sim Center.  FEMA/Bill Koplitz

Master, Peer, Ward, Puppet

In 1886 a terrible drought turned the plains of Texas to a vast expanse of dust. The United States Congress responded by appropriating $10,000 for seed for Texas farmers, who were in dire straits. This proposal was not folded into some enormous all-or-nothing bill, but was its own thing, to be voted for or against, [...]

Why Words Matter When It Comes to Homosexuality

We can all agree that gaining understanding is at a premium when it comes to the topic of homosexuality. So what are we to make of (the words) "homosexual" and "gay"? Are these two words alike? Are they synonymous in meaning? Perhaps they are. Then again, there are such differences in people's minds when they [...]

What’s in a Name?

The Montagues and Capulets placed great store in their brand names, even to the point of stabbing one another, but the Capulet girl was a wistful voice: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet." Move from Verona across a few centuries to the [...]

Gay Pride: A Politically Incorrect Dialogue

CRANSTON:            I detect a certain weirdness about the annual “gay pride” parades in our city. TURNER:                    These celebrations seem appropriate to me, at this turning point, after centuries of branding homosexuality as abnormal. CRANSTON:               If we extend the concept of “normality” too far, the meaning becomes hopelessly diluted.  The result is that hardly anything is [...]

“Talibans of Austerity”

A sentence in the French newspaper Le Monde recently caught my eye: Il y aura toujours des talibans de l’austérité, there will always be the Talibans of austerity. It was uttered by the economist Jean Pisani-Ferry in an interview in the newspaper about the crisis in the Euro zone, and it made me think at [...]

The Queens English No More

On the last day of June a sad event in the long and noble history of the English language is scheduled to take place: the Queen’s English Society will formally be wound up. Forty years of trying to raise the awareness of fellow Englishmen about the misuse of apostrophes and semicolons, the overuse of the [...]