Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Israel at 58

A very thought-provoking read, from Haaretz a mindboggling and dispiriting eight years ago:
In short: Israel, in the world's eyes, is a normal state, but one behaving in abnormal ways. It is in control of its fate, but the victims are someone else. It is strong, very strong, but its behavior is making everyone else vulnerable. And so, shorn of all other justifications for its behavior, Israel and its supporters today fall back with increasing shrillness upon the oldest claim of all: Israel is a Jewish state and that is why people criticize it. This - the charge that criticism of Israel is implicitly anti-Semitic - is regarded in Israel and the United States as Israel's trump card. If it has been played more insistently and aggressively in recent years, that is because it is now the only card left.
via AZspot

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Maybe

In this week's Washington Times "Third Century NRA", Olympic champion Kim Rhode (another in the series of good-looking white women the NRA is using to change its image) complains that people keep asking her about things like Aurora. "You don't hear NASCAR drivers interviewed about drunk driving deaths. So why do they have to link gun owners with criminals?"

Here's a thought, Kim. Maybe it's because NASCAR drivers don't go around talking about how wonderful cars are and how everybody should be able to drive as much as they want. Maybe it's because NASCAR drivers don't get their newborns "Life Memberships" in NASCAR. Maybe it's because they don't glorify "car culture", or drive like they're racing when they're not on a track, or accuse people who don't like to drive of being "un-American."

Maybe it's because NASCAR, the organization, doesn't spend millions lobbying for everybody in the country, regardless of age, to be able to drive whenever and wherever they like - to drive around kids' playgrounds or in shopping malls, say. Maybe it's because NASCAR doesn't fight licenses and registrations and insurance regulations. Maybe it's because NASCAR doesn't publish a magazine glorifying military drivers with "a raw look at their real missions", or a television show hosted by a convicted felon who lied to Congress.

Maybe it's because NASCAR and NASCAR drivers don't think their sport is a Way Of Life, and don't aggressively conflate themselves with every car nut out there who's run over a couple of people, or driven drunk, or just smashed up somebody else's car, arguing that those people too are entitled to drive.

Maybe.

What do you think?

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1 Comments:

At 10:09 AM, July 30, 2014 Anonymous Mark P had this to say...

I think the comparison between cars and guns is apt. Everyone in the US has equal access to a driver's license, and virtually everyone has a car. And yet everyone who drives has to follow restrictive laws, and the police enforce those restrictions. Police even set up checkpoints and stop people without reasonable cause, and yet no one seems to be worried that the government is going to take our cars away from us. I think one of the reasons gun nuts are so nutty about that kind of thing is that they know in their hearts that guns should be controlled.

 

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Monday, July 28, 2014

4th Circuit Court rules: Marriage Equality!

rainbow virginia4th Circuit upholds marriage equality, strikes down Virginia's ban. Yay! And more:
The 4th Circuit covers Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

...

The ruling makes the 4th Circuit the second appeals court to decide that state bans are unconstitutional following the Supreme Court rulings in June 2013 in favor of gay rights groups. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, based in Denver, has struck down bans in Utah and Oklahoma.
Maryland (my Maryland) has marriage equality already, but the others don't.

Oh, by the way:

book cover 'I'm Not Tired'

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A few things to read

A few things to read about Gaza.

the big lie: But let us imagine, just for a moment, that their deceitful narrative was true. What if Hamas just woke up one fine, clear peaceful morning and said, "Hey, let's start firing missiles at Israel, fellas! Won't that be a hoot?" The fact is that even in that scenario, it would not be an "unprovoked attack," but a legitimate act of self-defense.

what would you do: Indeed, I would like to ask, ‘What would you do’ if a belligerent military occupation sealed you and everyone you love into a small enclave, whereby the most basic requirements of living were banned from entering? Where you could not leave or hope to leave, ever? Where naval ships shoot at you and sink your boat if you try to fish in God’s sea? Where you must burrow tunnels in the earth and crawl in treacherous conditions like rodents to smuggle books, diapers, pasta, and pencils? Where you are subject to extrajudicial executions, regular bombings, polluted drinking water, kidnappings, and arbitrary arrests? What would you do if you were subject to night raids, endless checkpoints, and constant daily harassment from soldiers and rabid settlers from Brooklyn who come to claim your home and heritage as some divine real estate prize because God loves them more?

the tactics: “I look forward to surviving. If I don’t, remember that I wasn’t Hamas or a militant, nor was I used as a human shield. I was at home.”

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Week in Entertainment

Film: Snowpiercer, which is brilliant (not perfect, just brilliant). Watch it. And the National Theatre's broadcast of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I'm calling this a movie, because although it was a film of a live performance, it was a film. The camera takes your eye and puts it where the director wants you to watch (watch Christopher during this exchange, not his father! Here, have an extreme closeup!) and also in this particular filming, the camera went a lot of places your eye couldn't - overhead shots, for one thing. But it's a wonderful adaptation of a terrifically good book. (It's opening on Broadway in September and I've already got my ticket!)

TV: Vicious continues to be entertaining, but Last Tango in Halifax is getting very, very soapy.

Read: Some more of Parting the Waters; boy, it's weird to find yourself tearing up over a history book! This thing is really intense - the Bull Connor first-pass-in-Birmingham chapter sent chills down my spine as well as tears to my eyes. The Forbidden Library, a very nice first book in a YA series with an interesting spin on magic. Started two (The Ways of the Dead and The Great Banana Peel Mogul) that I just can't be bothered to finish.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ummm, not the functions

She writes to Amy about her husband and high-school-aged stepkids:
The kids are asked to do very little in the way of chores (i.e. do their laundry, take out the garbage, unload the dishwasher and walk the dog).

My husband now tells me he doesn’t care if the kids do their jobs and doesn’t want me reminding them, though the kids have no problem with the gentle reminders.
Amy advises her to speak to her husband (who, by the way, works 60 hours a week).
An analogy your husband might grasp is you coming into his workplace and letting the employees know that their functions aren’t really important and that the boss’s directives are really only suggestions.
I've got to say, unless husband has said he doesn't want the kids' laundry done, dishwasher unloaded, garbage taken out, and dog walked, this analogy is off. It's not that the "functions aren’t really important", it's that he's decided he doesn't want his kids doing them. The analogy would be her coming into his workplace and telling his employees that he'll be doing everything from now on while they loaf around and get paid.

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Never had a source... wait, what?

An article I'm using is about the problems with the Aral Sea. In discussing the paradoxical low salinity of this "closed basin lying in the middle of a country which is completely impoverished in terms of precipitation" the author says: Единственно возможным предположением является то, что Арал некогда имел исток. All of my students translated that as "The only possible explanation (suggestion) is that the Aral never had a source."

What?

There are actually two problems here. One is некогда (nekogda) which looks very much like никогда (nikogda) but actually means "once" rather than "never". The other is the word исток (istok). This is etymologically "from-flow" and usually - almost always - means "source" but in geographic or geologic usage can also mean "outlet". How do you know?

Well, partly you know because the next few paragraphs discuss the Aral's being occasionally connected to the Caspian. In fact, it says
При превышении уровня моря на 4 м от 1905 г оно получит исток в Каспийское море через Аарыкамышкую котловину.
When the sea's level increased by 4 meters in 1905 it gained an outlet into the Caspian Sea via the Sarygamysh basin.
Even if you're still thinking "source" (and most of them are), the phrase исток в Каспийское море would have to be "into the Caspian" not "from" it. Partly you know because it makes sense to suppose the Aral is low-salt because it used to drain off into the Caspian. Partly because the article has already referred to "the sea and the rivers flowing into it" so saying it "never had a source" isn't supported by the text. And partly because it just doesn't make sense to say a lake "never" - or indeed "once" - "had a source."

So once again you, as a translator, have to look at a sentence that is seemingly correct and yet cannot be, and then decide where you went wrong. Checking more than one dictionary (in this case perhaps the геология (geology) header in Multitran, or a good scientific dictionary) is called for. Because sense is called for, always. "The lake never had a source" just cannot stand.

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4 Comments:

At 8:59 PM, July 24, 2014 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

Is Multitran something like Linguée? I sometimes find the translation examples there useful as a reference when a word of phrase has me flummoxed. In your case, you can enter either English or Russian at:
http://www.linguee.com/english-russian/search (doesn't have Ukrainian, however).

 
At 12:46 AM, July 25, 2014 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

Multitran is an online dictionary, so less like Linguée and more like AbbyyLingvo. It doesn't have Portuguese, though Abbyy does.

 
At 1:28 PM, July 25, 2014 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

In a short story I'm translating, the main character takes a cab to another town in order to attend a wedding, but soon realizes something is amiss:

Original text: "Estou no casamento errado".

My translation: "I’m at the wrong wedding."

Google Translate: "I'm in the wrong marriage."

Nope, not much difference, huh?

 
At 1:33 PM, July 25, 2014 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

Hahahahahaha. That's so perfect.

 

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Facebook should talk with Bing...

Again, Bing is way off. So is Google (though it doesn't have Bing's problem of converting any noun-noun set into a genitive string!) (but didn't get the verb "put off, postpone" right! - "puts sanctions" != "puts off sanctions"):
"На словах политики обещают все новые экономические кары России, на деле — торгуются между собой, кто должен первым начать карать": почему Евросоюз откладывает санкции против России

Bing: "In the words of politicians promise more economic cars in Russia, in fact, are traded among themeselves who should firs begin to punish": why the EU postpones sanctions against Russia
Google: "In words, politicians promise all new Russian economic punishment, in fact - are traded among themselves, who should be the first to begin to punish": why the European Union puts sanctions against Russia

Really:"In words, politicians promise more new sanctions against Russia; in fact, they dicker with each other over who should be first to begin to punish" : why the EU is holding off on sanctions against Russia
(edited to correct the error noted in the comments)
And really, Bing - кар (kar) = car? Really? You got the verb (to punish)!

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2 Comments:

At 5:13 AM, July 24, 2014 Anonymous Adrian Morgan had this to say...

Your transcriptions for Bing and Google are identical. Is this a copy-and-paste error?

 
At 2:10 PM, July 24, 2014 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

Er, yes. I meant to edit the Google one to match the text in the image and forgot.

 

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A lovely man

Here's a great picture I found on Facebook: James Garner and Diahann Carroll at the March on Washington in 1963.

James Garner and Diahann Carroll at the March on Washington in 1963

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At 2:07 PM, July 23, 2014 Anonymous Mark P had this to say...

That photo looks so familiar. I wonder if I could have seen it sometime before. I would have been only 13 at the time, so surely I'm not remembering it from the actual time.

 

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Silver lining?

Re the decision killing the ACA subsidies, several people - like Kevin Drum over at Mother Jones - suggest that, even if the Supreme Court upholds that ruling instead of the other one, things might work out kind of okay:
What happens is that people in blue states like California and New York, which operate their own exchanges, continue getting their federal subsidies. People in red states, which punted the job to the feds, will suddenly have their subsidies yanked away. Half the country will have access to a generous entitlement and the other half won't.

How many people will this affect? The earliest we'll get a Supreme Court ruling on this is mid-2015, and mid-2016 is more likely. At a guess, maybe 12 million people will have exchange coverage by 2015 and about 20 million by 2016. Let's split the difference and call it 15 million. About 80 percent of them qualify for subsidies, which brings the number to about 12 million. Roughly half of them are in states that would be affected by Halbig.

So that means about 6 million people who are currently getting subsidies would suddenly have them yanked away. It's even possible they'd have to pay back any tax credits they'd received previously.

The key point here is that people respond much more strongly to losing things than they do to not getting them in the first place. For example, there are lots of poor people in red states who currently aren't receiving Medicaid benefits thanks to their states' refusal to participate in Obamacare's Medicaid expansion. This hasn't caused a revolt because nothing was taken away. They just never got Medicaid in the first place.

The subsidies would be a different story. You'd have roughly 6 million people who would suddenly lose a benefit that they've come to value highly. This would cause a huge backlash. It's hard to say if this would be enough to move Congress to action, but I think this is nonetheless the basic lay of the land. Obamacare wouldn't be destroyed, it would merely be taken away from a lot of people who are currently benefiting from it. They'd fight to get it back, and that changes the political calculus.
So, who knows?

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Well this is bad news

A federal court has killed subsidies for federal exchanges.

On the other hand, the appeals court struck down that ruling and upheld them. Rather cheekily, in fact. Sweet.

Still, next stop, the Supreme Court? Oh joy

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Hmmmmm

I don't know if Ted thinks What's-his-face,Whos's-her-name (a new one on me!), and the Whatchamacllits are pronouns, or if he means the neighbors are lucky they aren't called worse things than "you". (Probably the former.) But while What's-his-face does indeed stand in for a proper noun, that doesn't make it a pronoun...


ted doesn't know the neighbors' names

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1 Comments:

At 5:02 AM, July 24, 2014 Anonymous Adrian Morgan had this to say...

According to the Cambridge Grammar analysis, "What distinguishes [pronouns] from other nouns [...] is that they permit a much narrower range of dependents" (page 425).

The cartoon itself uses "whatchamicallits" with a definite article, so it's out, and although introducing someone as "The Amazing Whatshisface" would be unlikely, it would not be grammatically wrong. So indeed, these are not pronouns.

Related trivia: The Cambridge Grammar does classify "yesterday", "today" and "tomorrow" as pronouns. I remember being intrigued by this when I first got my copy.

 

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Trivial but ...

Today's "Dogs of C-Kennel" just misses ... but annoyingly (to me, anyway).

dog takes picture with phone

How hard would it have been to draw the dog with his mouth shut?????

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Such sad news

James Garner has died. What a wonderful actor he was.

Mary McNamara writes of him:
It wasn't humility so much as a sense of proportion, something so unusual in a lead character or a lead actor that it became a hallmark of a Garner performance — he didn't think too much or too little of himself because he'd rather not be thinking of himself at all.
Elaine Stritch just died, too. Here she sings "I'm Still Here":



And here "The Ladies Who Lunch":



And "The Little Things You Do Together":



(I hope we don't lose a third one...)

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