Unplain speaking 

Now we have two company-owned politicians ambling around America calling themselves “mavericks.” This is bad for the country and bad for the language.

John McCain has sailed under false colors for years, with the collaboration of the mainstream media, who themselves follow big-money's orders docilely and pretend otherwise. As soon as Sarah Palin was anointed by corporate America, the media spied her admirably independent qualities too: “Both [McCain and Palin] are considered ‘mavericks' unafraid to fight even those in their own party.”

Don't lie awake worrying that these “mavericks” will be denied campaign assistance by their party's biggest backers, the oil companies, the drug companies, the insurance companies, the defense contractors, et al. They'll flood the airways with advertisements, though none will say plainly that the McCain-Palin ticket is committed to more handouts for the rich and more military service for the poor. Political discourse has been so thoroughly corrupted today that workers and poor people are now “special interests,” and any suggestion for helping them is “pandering.” “Maverick” is reserved for reliably right-wing politicians. A left-of-center candidate who has actually differed with his own party, who has challenged the conventional wisdom, someone like Dennis Kucinich say, is an extremist to the New York Times, a lunatic to Fox News.    


Whatever it takes

Seeing the small headline “A dangerous infestation,” we assumed that here was another report from the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, but closer inspection revealed it to be even more disturbing, and closer to home.

“The black widow spider, Latrodectus mactans, is infesting the state of Arkansas,” a letter to the editor began. The writer went on to say that he'd killed five black widow spiders at the place where he works in Maumelle, two more at his home, and found three more nests outside an El Dorado drug store. He warned that the spider's venom “is 15 times deadlier than the rattlesnake's,” that “they can become aggressive now that their egg sacs are formed,” and that each of these sacs contains “400 dangerous little spiders ready to hatch out next spring.”

We never want to read anything like this again, and to that end, we're urging the strongest possible response. Mobilize the National Guard, Governor Beebe, and order them to ignore and/or club any wacko spider-huggers who try to protect the creatures. Call on the biology departments of the state colleges and universities for expert assistance; movies have shown there are gifted young female arachnologists eager to help in cases like this, often wearing short skirts. Don't anybody dilly-dally.



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