“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Saturday, March 18, 2006

d.c. linguistics

There was a story on the radio the other day about a new movie, "thank you for smoking," that features a cigarette industry lobbyist as its hero. The cigarette lobbyist does funny things, like, for instance, trying to brand anti-tobacco programs aimed at children with cigarette company names – this anti-smoking film is brought to you by R.J. Reynolds, for example.

In actual fact, the cigarette lobbyist in the film is a tame and pallid version of the real life wild wild D.C. variety. Example:

There’s a story in the WAPO today about the D.C. Federal court overturning one of Bush’s responses to Global Warming – making it easier for coal plants to pollute.

“Under the revised policy that was rejected by the court yesterday, power plants and other industrial polluters would not have to install new pollution technology if they modernized less than 20 percent of their operations.”

What this means, in layman’s terms, is that coal plants simply cannot shift those costs of operations to third parties. As the court put it about the Bush administration’s argument:

“EPA's approach would ostensibly require that the definition of 'modification' include a phrase such as 'regardless of size, cost, frequency, effect,' or other distinguishing characteristic," Rogers wrote. "Only in a Humpty Dumpty world would Congress be required to use superfluous words while an agency could ignore an expansive word that Congress did use. We decline to adopt such a world-view."

And now, here is where the vocabulary of the lobbyists comes in.

“The EPA's statement did not indicate whether the administration intends to appeal the ruling. Both Walke and Scott Segal, a lobbyist for the utilities industry, said it would be difficult for the administration to forge ahead in light of the appeals court's strong ruling. Walke said the decision is tantamount to the court "burying the rule six feet under, where before it was just in a casket."

Segal said the ruling will make it more costly for plants to operate. "This is a missed opportunity for reform that would have made it easier to improve power plant efficiency and workplace safety, and that's bad news for consumers and the environment," he said. "We believe it is a step backwards for the protection of air quality in the United States."

That last sentence is a joy and a treasure, obviously forged in one of the most advanced laboratories in hell. The WAPO wisely ends the article with these words:

So stretcht out huge in length the Arch-fiend lay
Chain'd on the burning Lake, nor ever thence
Had ris'n or heav'd his head, but that the will
And high permission of all-ruling Heaven
Left him at large to his own dark designs,
That with reiterated crimes he might
Heap on himself damnation, while he sought
Evil to others, and enrag'd might see
How all his malice serv'd but to bring forth
Infinite goodness, grace and mercy shewn
On Man by him seduc't, but on himself
Treble confusion, wrath and vengeance pour'd.

No comments: