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Words: "Exceptional for his mediocrity"



"So dominant was Jackson's brand that James K. Polk, elected in 1844, styled himself 'Young Hickory', and Franklin Pierce, who won in 1852, was 'Young Hickory of the Granite Hills.' The dilution of that political bloodline became evident in more than nicknames; Pierce is generally regarded as one of the most mediocre presidents in history."

Mediocre means "commonplace; neither good nor bad." There are no degrees. Being "one of the most mediocre presidents" is the same as being "one of the least mediocre presidents."

Unlike the author quoted above, Wikipedia doesn't mince words. It says that Pierce is regarded as "one of the worst presidents." Sounds like the George W. Bush of his day, except that Pierce served his country on the battlefield, with distinction. (Wikipedia also says that Pierce was a "doughface," which is defined as "a Northerner with Southern sympathies.")

n Senate Bill 206, now before the legislature, says "The General Assembly recognizes that language used in reference to individuals with disabilities shapes and reflects society's attitudes toward people with disabilities. Many of the terms currently used demean the humanity and natural condition of having a disability. Certain terms are demeaning and create an invisible barrier to inclusion as equal community members." The bill would require that state statutes and regulations avoid use of such terms as "disabled," "developmentally disabled," "mentally ill" and "mentally retarded," and that they instead use phrases such as "individuals with disabilities," "individuals with developmental disabilities" and "individuals with mental illness."

I have no real objection (not that my preference would matter anyway) but the bill seems pointless to me. Is "developmentally disabled" really more demeaning than "individuals with developmental disabilities"? Why? (And why, incidentally, this insistence on individual and individuals rather than person and people? The latter terms are more humanizing.)

One-man gang:

Michael Klossner found this on-line. "Roubini, a New York University economist nicknamed 'Dr. Doom' for his famously bearish predictions, is in Davos, Switzerland, this week, hobnobbing with other world elites at this year's World Economic Forum."

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