Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Meaning of "Is"

Once upon a time, a popular and competent President was taken to task by Republicans for attempting to evade full disclosure by a careful selection and parsing of the words he used: the famous "it depends what the meaning of 'is' is." I believe that Bush's handlers parse the speeches they write for im in a similar manner before attempting to beat them into his moronic head with a baseball bat.

Bush said: "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." and is now being pilloried [link is to WaHoPo article, registration required but is free and you can give a fake e-mail address to avoid spam] (and he damned well should be pilloried, if not hanged) because of a tape that surfaced showing that many of his minions did anticipate a breach of the levees. But it all depends what the meaning of "anticipate" is...

Check out this dictionary entry for anticipate.


Meaning 1: To feel or realize beforehand; foresee: hadn't anticipated the crowds at the zoo.


It is quite clear from the tape that his minions had anticipated the breach of the levees in this sense.


Meaning 3: To deal with beforehand; act so as to mitigate, nullify, or prevent: anticipated the storm by boarding up the windows.


It is quite clear from what transpired that nobody in the higher levels of the administration anticipated the breach of the levees in this sense.

So there we have it. A lot of people, Bush included, anticipated [foresaw] the breach of the leveees but nobody anticipated [mitigated, nullified, or prevented] the breach of the levees.

Bush told the literal truth. And so did Clinton. Nobody died when Clinton used English carefully in an attempt to cover up getting a BJ and spewing his jizm over a blue dress, but they impeached him anyway. Hundreds died when Bush decided he didn't give a shit about poor blacks in New Orleans...

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