Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spring Cleaning Resolved

In the third and final installment on Spring Cleaning, through an inventory of things the world might be better off without, this writer examines the list of the items themselves, to see how they rate.

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Fine print    YES

Any contract between two parties, no matter how explicit, presumes the good faith intention of both parties to endeavor to live up to its terms. Elizabeth Warren, a professor of contract law at Harvard, identifies a cause of bad faith through misleading information, however unintended.

Virginity    NO

Every civilization from the beginning of time, has associated the breaking of the woman's hymen with a change in her biology, and with it the accompaniment of marriage, and her place in society. Like most radical feminists, however, Jessica Valenti would reduce biology to an artificial construct. Then there's that thing about divine law, maintaining the social order ...

Exit polls    YES

Karl Rove may have been an advisor to presidents, but when it comes to this subject, he joins the ranks of everybody else who is sick and tired of the mainstream media trying to manipulate an election before it's finished.

Tactical nukes    ???

The use of atomic weapons is morally questionable in the eyes of the Church, as their use pushes the envelope at the expense of what constitutes a "just war." Yet it was during the Cold War, that possession of such weapons was the best assurance we had that no one else ever used them. Have conditions changed to force us to reconsider such means of deterrence?

"Washington Week"    YES

I used to love watching CNN's Crossfire. But we don't have old-school journalists like Robert Novak anymore. These posers couldn't cover a house fire. Hostess Gwen Ifill was an obvious mouthpiece for Obama during the last major election. The length of experience is not the problem here; they've ceased being journalists in favor of being propagandists.

Internet memes    YES

There must have been a reason why I never paid much attention to this phenomenon, and who better than the editor of The Onion, Joe Randazzo, to underscore its absurdity? I could live with e-mail replacing writing letters. At least letter-writing is still a pastime, if now delivered differently.

Lawns    YES

Ed Begley Jr is right. Click here.

Pundits    YES

When political strategist Donna Brazile throws out the same Bill of Rights guaranteeing a free press, to refer to "mad hatters from the 'tea party' preaching their views ..." she makes the best case against pundits. Way to keep it classy there, Donna!

High-stakes testing    ???

I never saw the point to tests like these when I was young, and education historian and former assistant secretary of education Diane Ravitch doesn't see the point to them either. But she seems to have a problem with basing any solution to the problems in public schools on the problems themselves (like the teachers' unions). She doesn't HAVE a point, so I don't see any in deciding.

Computer keyboards    NO

It is possible that technology journalist Kara Swisher used voice-activated text messaging on her smartphone to write this piece, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it. Remember, Steve Jobs thought the mouse would make the arrow keys obsolete. He was wrong, and he was, like, Steve Jobs, ya know?

Carbon offsets    YES

Environmental activist Mike Tidwell has discovered, that getting the Have Nots to compensate for the excesses of the Haves, is a lot to ask of the Have Nots, and it doesn't change the bad habits of the Haves. So much for trying to control the universe from an ivory-towered think-tank.

The Congressional Budget Office    ???

James K Galbraith has been on the money before, and he makes a good case here, until he says that "If we'd had a CBO in the 1930s, Franklin Roosevelt could never have gotten the New Deal off the ground." We also wouldn't have a legacy of deficit spending. If we didn't have a CBO, we'd have to establish an alternative. You won't find it here.

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A non-scientific poll among online WaPo readers shows that "fine print" gets the most votes for the dustbin of history. Sadly, virginity places fourth.

Good thing it's not scientific. (By the way, here's last year's list.)

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