Dictionary Authors Want to Fleech You Into Saving Obscure Slang Words

As a writer, one of the best things about the English language is its speakers love of borrowing words from other languages. If English speakers don’t have a word for something, we’re happy to borrow some one else’s. Perhaps a more unique characteristic of English is the enormous number of unofficial slang words spoken throughout the vast areas in which English is a native language. Many of these words — such as Appalachia’s whistle pig for groundhog — are basically unknown to English speakers outside of particular…

Evan McMullin’s Presidential Run Could Potentially Blow Up the Republican Party

Ever since this morning, political obsessives have been scrambling to find out any bit of information they can on Evan McMullin, a little-known former CIA officer who has decided to run for president on a platform vaguely similar to the one that Mitt Romney ran on in 2012. With no name recognition and no executive experience, there is no chance that McMullin could win. But that isn’t the point of the exercise. The McMullin candidacy, which is being pushed by the remnant of the NeverTrump…

Trump Voters Like Crime and Remodeling, Clinton Fans Prefer Strong Women

Earlier this week, I wrote about how conservative political junkies have become trapped in a political echo chamber that marginalizes them. A left-wing echo chamber exists as well (another day and another article). Regular Americans are also split in terms of their political preferences, of course, and it reflects sometimes in weird ways. According to an analysis from the DVR company TiVo, supporters of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have different preferences for entertainment shows as well. Might it be a televised version of the…

Gary Johnson on Race and Poverty: ‘My Head’s Been in the Sand’

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson has been making a heavy play for left-leaning voters in his second run for the White House. On Wednesday, he turned that effort up a notch when asked about racial issues, a subject that has long been a difficult one for libertarians given their tendency to support almost no role for the federal government in ending private racial discrimination. Asked by a questioner during a televised town hall discussion about his thoughts concerning the “Black Lives Matter movement,” the former…

The Conservative Echo Chamber Is Making the Right Intellectually Deaf

One of the more interesting developments since the emergence of the web as a mass medium is the establishment of a conservative media presence. Prior to the internet, there were basically no large-audience right-leaning media operations aside from a few talk radio programs. Since the 1996 establishment of Fox News and the popularization of the web, it has now become possible for a conservatively inclined people to consume all kinds of news and opinion catering to their specific tastes and viewpoints. Many right-leaning people have…

Do Political Campaign Ads Actually Work? Research Suggests Not Really

Ever since Spiro Agnew’s 1970 speech blasting “nattering nabobs of negativism” in the media, attacking the political neutrality of the mainstream press has been a frequent activity of conservatives. By and large, however, the right-wing response to the media unfairness has been merely to complain about the situation rather than do something about it. Instead of buying, boosting, or starting mainstream media outlets, the primary response of conservatives to counter perceived bias against them in the press has been to purchase television, radio, and direct…

How Do You Poll With a Candidate Like The Donald?

Within the political polling business, the greatest challenge is getting a representative sample of the people who will turn out to vote. Different demographics have different voting patterns which can be difficult to predict. In this year’s presidential race, that challenge is still in place but an even greater one is emerging: survey respondents might be lying when asked to give their opinions. Lying or confused respondents is a common challenge that social scientists have consistently had to deal with over the decades. That’s why the…

Donald Trump Took the American Right Into Parts Unknown Last Night

In Walt Whitman’s famous poem “Song of Myself,” the unnamed gestalt narrator boasts that he “contains multitudes.” There are few actual people about whom that can be said other than Donald Trump. The billionaire real estate developer has encouraged some of the worst racial and religious characteristics of the American Right but he is also the first truly 21st-century Republican presidential candidate. He made it official in the speech he delivered accepting the GOP’s nomination Thursday night in Cleveland. That dual identity was on display…

Ted Cruz Just Made the Same Mistake Ted Kennedy Did in 1980

After a long and bitter primary battle, businessman Donald Trump is now officially the Republican nominee for president. Despite promising to support whoever the eventual nominee was, many of his vanquished opponents stayed home instead of attending the GOP’s national convention in Cleveland. That reaction is not exactly a surprise considering that Trump essentially used an insult comic shtick as one of his prime arguments against his competitors. Given Trump’s constant lying and his continual reversals of his own positions, refusing to endorse him is…

Fox News Will Be Better Off Without Roger Ailes

Several news outlets have reported that Roger Ailes will be or already has been terminated from his position as chairman of the Fox News Channel. On Tuesday, Matt Drudge reported it as fact and a Fox representative initially confirmed the report to the Daily Beast before retracting the confirmation. Drudge even provided a copy of what he said was the legal separation agreement between Ailes and FNC’s parent company, 21st Century Fox. (Drudge later removed the document and his headline touting it, however.) The writing…