Archive for March, 2012

ALEC: Playing A Long Game

March 27, 2012

THE NEW YORK TIMES OP-ED, Monday, March 26, 2012

Paul Krugman Lobbyists, Guns and Money

“Florida’s now-infamous Stand Your Ground law which lets you shoot someone you consider threatening without facing arrest, let alone prosecution, sound crazy– and it is.”  According to Krugman, similar laws have been passed in the nation, not by “yahoos’, but by corporations, who have been given templates by ALEC or American Legislative Exchange Council.  

“And ALEC, even more than other movement-conservative organizations is clearly playing a long game.”

ALEC is going to be promoting conservative issues for a long time or is staying in the game .

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Games: The Long and Short of It

March 27, 2012

The New York Times NATIONAL Monday, March 20, 2012

For Cheney, Pros and Cons in New Heart, by Lawrence K. Altman and Denise Grady

Dick Cheney, former Vice-President under George W. Bush, just received a heart transplant.  “When prominent people receive transplants, questions inevitably arise about whether they somehow jumped to the top of the waiting list, but transplant surgeons insist that cheating is not possible.  Patients are registered in a national system that tracks donors and recipients by medical criteria and informs hospitals of possible matches.

You can’t jump the system, said Dr. O.H. Frazier of the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal hospital in Houston’ …Dr. Robert Michler, surgeon in chief and director of the Montefiore Einstein heart center in New York, agreed, ‘To my knowledge, he said, ‘it is not possible to game the system.”

I have put the sports idioms in italics.  However, jumping ahead of a system or a person is used so much and has become so distant from its metaphorical use that it has almost ceased to be metaphorical.  The same is true of gaming the system, to game the system, and similar uses of game, which can refer not only to sports, but also card games and gambling games.

Goal Posts and The New England Journal of Medicine

March 21, 2012

  SCIENCE TIMES : The New York Times, Tuesday, March 20, 2012

PROFILES IN SCIENCE:  Arnold S. Relman and Marcia Angell

A Drumbeat on Profit Takers:  The former editors of the New England Journal speak in one voice against the commercial exploitation of medicine. by Abigail Zuger

According to this article, from 1977 to 2000 one or both Dr. Relman and Dr. Angell “filled top editorial slots at The New England Journal of Medicine as it grew into perhaps the most influential medical publication in the world…”   Beginning in 1980 Dr. Relman began writing editorials against profit-making hospitals, laboratories, and investor owned medical businesses.  He wrote, “…medicine must serve patients first and stockholders second.”   Later, in 1991, he thought that market forces were influencing doctors’ judgements.  He has continued to write articles and books on this subject.

Dr. Angell has critically focused on the pharmaceutical industry, their influence over studies validating their products, that manuscripts submitted often omitted any mention of a drug’s side effects, or were not submitted because the studies made the drug look bad.  One didn’t know what was suppressed, what selected, “whether the goal posts were changed so that good six-month data was offered for publication instead of bad one-year data.”  

Further on in the article Dr. Thomas H. Lee, a Boston cardiologist  and an associate editor at the journal states “They (Drs.Angell and Relman) were in the right place at the right time…They rode the wave.  They did a lot of good things.  The Journal became hugely prominent in their time…”

If goal posts are changed in a field game, such as football, it changes the game.   The comment about riding a wave, in this case is a surfing metaphor about the prestige and popularity of the New England Journal of Medicine increasing (the wave) and the editors who rode it.

Can Romney Dodge and Feint In the Republican Primary Contest?

March 20, 2012

The New Yorker, March 19, 2012:  THE CRITICS: MONEY POL, by Louis Menand

Lessons of Mitt Romney’s Business Career”

The question posed in this article is whether Mitt Romney is still the moderate Republican business man whose views “place the candidate at some distance from Tea Party and other conservative anti-government groups–the kind of people most likely to vote in a Republican primary.”  

In “No Apology: The Case for American Greatness”, Romney’s campaign book of 2010, Romney “supports antitrust laws, occupational health and safety regulations, equal-opportunity-employment requirements and mandatory unemployment insurance (and) he places some of the blame for the melt-down in the credit markets on a failure of government oversight.”…  He believes in “painstaking analysis: the consultant who crunches a mountain of numbers…”   And that an “analogy might be to the statistical revolution in baseball–the ‘moneyball’ approach…the power of conceptually driven data analysis.”

The author, Louis Menand, concludes with:  “If Romney can dodge and feint his way past all his strange opponents, and discreetly shed some of the culture war rhetoric he is finding himself obliged to mouth…he might arrive in November looking like a plausible candidate of the enter, which is the way all Presidential cndidates aspire to look.”  

Prizefighters dodge and feint their opponents trying to win a match.  

Senate Achievements: The Bar Is Pretty Low

March 15, 2012

The New York Times, OP-ED Thursday, March 15, 2012

Gail Collins:  The Senate Overachievers

“Good news, frustrated American citizens!  Congress is not a clogged up, hidebound legislative slug after all.  Bills were flying through the Senate on Wednesday…”  Ms. Collins states that the U.S. Senate passed legislation to continue to appropriate money for federally financed highway programs, and  to go forward with discussing “easing a bottleneck of uncontroversial judicial nominees.”   Also being considered are consumer protections in financial transactions.  

Should one “applaud whenever our elected representatives manage to accomplish anything whatsoever.  The bar is getting pretty low,” continues Collins.  The bar in this idiomatic usage refers to track and field contests.   Bars are used for high jump participants and for the “hurdles,” a race where runners must jump over bars as they run.  During high jumps or races with hurdles the bars are raised as the jumps or runs become more difficult.  

This is a cynical article:  Although her title would seem favorable to the U.S. Senate, that they have  achieved a lot;  in fact,  Senate achievements have been few. in this session of Congress.

Please see:  DRONES: THE BAR HAS BEEN RAISED for another article about the idioms:  raising or lowering the bar.  

A Level Playing Field: Women’s Issues

March 13, 2012

The New York Times OP-ED, Tuesday, March 13, 2012

One-Way Wontonness, by Frank Bruni

In this article one-way wontoness is directed at “attacking a woman by questioning her sexual mores … by using the terms: “Hussy, Harlot, Hooker”   “Where are the comparable nouns for men?  What’s a male slut?”   (The definition of wontoness is cruelty and maliciousness.)  

The author quotes Rush Limbaugh, the newscaster for using demeaning language about Sandra Fluke, a woman who testified before Congress for insurance covered birth control.  He then states that some liberal calls for “an even playing” field” by “giving Limbaugh a pass” assumes an even playing field where one doesn’t exist.”

A tilted or uneven playing field is not fair.  Imagine playing soccer/football or lacrosse on an uphill field.