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Monday, June 29, 2015

Sloppy Legislation = Tyranny


Please watch this short video before reading the commentary below the fold:

For a moment, let's think about all this in different terms. Because I'm most comfortable discussing this matter in educational terms, allow me to do so for just a moment.

First, note these two examples of dangling participial phrases:
Hiking the trail, the birds chirped loudly.

Wishing I could sing, the high notes seemed to taunt me.
Grammatically correct revisions of the two above examples:
Wishing I could sing, I feel taunted by the high notes.

Hiking the trail, Squiggly and Aardvark heard birds chirping loudly.
You can learn more about dangling participles at Grammar Girl.

Now let's look at an example from the classroom:

A student turns in a composition to me. I find all sorts of errors in logic, dangling participles, and the like. I point out to the student what he has actually said in the essay.

He replies: "That's not what I meant."

I respond: "But that's what you said."

Then we laugh because the errors actually conveyed absurd images: in the first example, the birds were hiking the trail; in the second example, the notes were singing the high notes.

From that point on, the student is more careful to write exactly what he means.  And he proofreads, too.

Words matter — or used to matter.  United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was spot on when he stated in his dissent to the SCOTUS ObamaCare decision of June 25, 2015: "Words [now] have no meaning..."

According to the Roberts Doctrine, which overthrows the United States Constitution, my students no longer have to revise.  They can be a sloppy as they like with their words. HOORAY!  [sarcasm]

Furthermore, the words in all contracts to which you have penned your name mean nothing. Sound farfetched to you? Think again! A few short years ago could you have imagined that America would be in the sorry state which she is in today? And so rapidly?

Congress, packed with lawyers who should know how to write legislation correctly, drafted sloppy legislation and, worse, did not read the final gargantuan piece of ObamaCare legislation.  Of course, President Obama, a Harvard Law School graduate, also didn't read the law. In my view, all of them committed political malpractice.

Political malpractice is tyranny!


  1. The authors of law believe themselves to not be beholden their own law. It's a simple as that.

    1. CI,
      That is a form of tyranny, is it not?

      Orwell's Animal Farm comes to mind.

    2. That is a form of tyranny, is it not?

      Without a doubt!

  2. Redd Battler & Harlette Ohorra said

    All the world's a Burlesque House, and all the men and women clownish ecdysiasts who produce Witless Low Comedy, and little else.

    Vacuousness, Venality and Vulgarity are now a TRIUMVIRATE that reigns supreme.

    The Lord of the Flies has won yet another battle for the Soul of Man.

    If we cease to Fight the Good Fight, ALL will be lost FOREVER.

    Defeatists, Cynics, Naysayers, Complainers and Chronic Crapehangers are the deadliest enemies Righteousness could ever have to fight.

    1. Step one in addressing a problem is to properly identify and categorize it.

      Would you call those who point out that we have a rotten foundation, and then discuss how it happened and what to do about it "Defeatists, Cynics, Naysayers, Complainers and Chronic Crapehangers?"

    2. Daring Darlene said

      I'd call them "ducky."

    3. So, you prefer the Pollyanna, head-in-the-sand approach?

    4. Redd Batter & Harlette Ohorrah said

      We would refer a return to Lexington and Concord where a not-so-well-trained militia was ordered, "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes."

    5. Only now, it would be "Don't fire until you see the whiteys!"

    6. Armed revolution?


      Go fire the first shot and see how many fall in behind you.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. No need to worry, AoW. The experts and bureaucrats will make sure that in the future, nothing really important will be subject to the democratic process. Everything that's really important, like how many American workers will be furloughed this year, will be taken care of in the terms and conditions set in the secret codicil to the TPP, et al.

    1. Upvote!

      It just our own form of the EU; removing decision-making from the ignorant masses.

  5. Even proposing this law was malpractice. The lawyers in congress all think they're smarter then we are (we elected them, after all -- ha ha on us), and can pull the wool over our eyes. Yet we KNEW what was going down at the time, protested the illegality of the illegal parts, and it STILL holds up. We have no constitution any more.

    At least I now know what a dangling participle is.

    1. Baysider,
      As a member in good standing of the Grammar Police, I'm always delighted to teach grammar!

  6. The Muscadins gathered up their "constitutions" and bound them around an axe...

  7. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasces


  8. Spot on!

    The Roberts Doctrine in a nutshell:

    In the matter of the so-called Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court ruled that the law must not say what it in fact does say because it would be better if it were not to say what it says and were to say something else instead.

  9. _____ AUTUMN SONG _____

    Now the leaves are falling fast,
    Nurse's flowers will not last;
    Nurses to the graves are gone,
    And the prams go rolling on.

    Whispering neighbours, left and right,
    Pluck us from the real delight;
    And the active hands must freeze
    Lonely on the separate knees.

    Dead in hundreds at the back
    Follow wooden in our track,
    Arms raised stiffly to reprove
    In false attitudes of love.

    Starving through the leafless wood
    Trolls run scolding for their food;
    And the nightingale is dumb,
    And the angel will not come.

    Cold, impossible, ahead
    Lifts the mountain's lovely head
    Whose white waterfall could bless
    Travellers in their last distress.

    ~ W.H. Auden (1907-1979) - "On This Island"

    1. Pardon me. Wystan Hugh Auden died in NINETEEN-SEVENTY-THREE not 1979

      Incipient blindness and arthritic fingers make for poor copy.

  10. As concerning as the ruling is, the additional ruling of turning our neighborhoods into ghettos has me more concerned. The Court is totally out of control and is simply a political branch at this point.

    ‘Disparate Impact’ Ruling Emboldens Obama’s Diversity Cops

    Racial Preferences: Armed with a Supreme Court-licensed shakedown weapon, President Obama’s race cops will wage an even bigger war against lenders, insurers, employers and whoever else fails their “disparate impact” test.

    1. Bunkerville,
      Due to crazy circumstances here in the AOW household, I don't know much about that ruling. Have you posted on the topic?

    2. Oh, you'll LOVE that one :-)
      Sure! Work hard to pay your mortgage in a nice neighborhood? We don't care! We're going to do what Z refers to as ADULT BUSING...it didn't work with your kids, so we're trying it on you adults...we're having poor folks move into YOUR neighborhoods so's ya'll can get to know each other better!"
      Yes, you read correctly. Oh, and I SUPPOSE, 'we' are going to pay for those folks, too!

      Great video; he's got it SO RIGHT.

    3. Obama's promise: "Fundamentally transforming America!"

  11. The tendency for lawyers to always seek to weasle out of something is what is corrupting the Supreme Court. Maybe it's time to put some NON lawyers on the court!

    1. Mike,
      It is not a Constitutional requirement that a SCOTUS justice be a lawyer. A little something that I learned years ago in History class.

      Lawyers are a little club of their own and always practicing CYA.

    2. Of course an alternate interpretation of the ruling on ACA is that Roberts feels legislating from the bench in line with the desires of the Federalist society has simply gone too far.

      You have to accept the Realpolitik of the times.

    3. So Ducky....then you don't believe that the State should be required to abide by the letter of the law [that they wrote], in the same way the average citizen is held to? Instead, they should legislate in accordance to the desires of an Administration?

    4. I believe there is a conflict.

      One one hand you have a group of conservative activists who felt that the legislation should be gutted due to a five word clause stripped of all context.

      On the other hand we have the stance that the court by ruling in favor of the plaintiffs is overturning the intent of the legislative branch.

      So yes, I think the obvious intent of the legislative branch is a critical consideration.

    5. Oh by the way, if you strip a five word clause of context, "letter of the law" becomes a very dicey concept.

      One best left to activists who are in a snit because the ruling didn't go their way.

    6. Of course the tactic used, has been to delegitimize the 'five words' in question. The bottom line that you seem to ignore, is that we have a court that will now rule in favor of the alleged "intent" of the law. Why shouldn't you and I get the same deference?

    7. I hope Ducky doesn't complain when states shut down their marketplace exchanges and cut out their expansions of Medicaid as being unnecessary since the federal government can subvert the ACA, and 7 to 9 million people lose their coverage.

    8. CI,
      Why shouldn't you and I get the same deference?

      Because of activist judges.

  12. ...

    Humpty Dumpty took the book and looked at it carefully. 'That seems to be done right —' he began.

    'You're holding it upside down!' Alice interrupted.

    'To be sure I was!' Humpty Dumpty said gaily as she turned it round for him. 'I thought it looked a little queer. As I was saying, that seems to be done right — though I haven't time to look it over thoroughly just now — and that shows that there are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents —'

    'Certainly,' said Alice.

    'And only one for birthday presents, you know. There's glory for you!'

    'I don't know what you mean by "glory",' Alice said.

    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't — till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'

    'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.

    'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

    'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

    'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'


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