blog postsWords don't lie: semantic mapping of presidential debate shows what's really on candidates' mindsSep 28, 2008 12:51 am1167 views With the global economy imploding and the United States mired in two wars of attrition, the presidential candidates met for their first debate Sept. 26 at the University of Mississippi. By counting their words we can create a semantic map for each candidate, a map which shows just how skillfully Sens. McCain and Obama skirted these pressing issues.Correcting other people's English leads to conviction on federal conspiracy chargesSep 21, 2008 10:30 pm2081 views The Comma Bombers, better known as Jeff Michael Deck and Benjamin Douglas Herson, both 28, both English majors, both graduates of that hotbed of compassionate conservatism, Dartmouth College, were sentenced to a $3,000 fine and a year's probation by a federal judge last month for correcting an apostrophe on a historic handpainted sign at the Watch Tower, near Arizona's Grand Canyon.Pig-gate: any way you spin it, lipstick on a pig is politics as usualSep 10, 2008 10:45 pm1248 views When Barack Obama said of rival John McCain's economic plan, "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig," Republicans loudly complained that he was attacking vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, who had connected lipstick, hockey moms, and pit bulls in her speech at the Republic Convention. But lipstick on a pig is an insult used by Democrats and Republicans alike, and it's been a political staple at least since 2004. The real issue isn't whether Obama was insulting Palin, McCain's economics, or both. Instead, the media circus that we might call pig-gate has become an object lesson in how interpretation depends more on attempts to control what words mean than on what their dictionary definitions say they mean.English, brought to you tonight by the Republican PartySep 6, 2008 1:30 pm1032 views The 2008 Republican Party Platform supports English as the official language of the United States. That fact may have gone unnoticed this week as speakers at the Republican National Convention spent most of their time celebrating war, teen pregnancy, creationism, subprime mortgages, and the constitutional right of Americans to ignore any inconvenient truth they like.