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When thuggery comes home, &c.

Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach

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Speaking of oil, and an appreciation of it: I’d like to recommend an article, here. It’s about fracking, and you’ve read a thousand articles about fracking. But this one is brilliant. It’s headed “Greens don’t like fracking because they don’t like prosperity,” and it’s by Daniel Hannan, the British writer and politician.

I would like to quote the whole thing, but I’ll confine myself to this bit: “[F]racking will cause some disruption in the early stages, as all construction projects do. There will be lorries and workmen and general bustle.” Lorries is British for trucks, as you know.

And Hannan is exactly right: I found this “bustle” in North Dakota, which has experienced a fracking boom for several years. North Dakota has problems, and they are good problems to have — problems of abundance, rather than want. For my report on the state, published last year, go here.

I can’t help quoting one more passage from Hannan:

This morning’s headlines warn us of electricity rationing and coming blackouts. Fracking won’t just solve that problem; it will drag us back to growth, much as it has the United States. The find has come, fortuitously, at the very moment that North Sea oil and, especially, gas reserves deplete. We already have the gas infrastructure in place. Now it turns out that we are sitting on the largest shale hoard in Europe. It seems almost providential.

That is exactly the word a reader of Impromptus used about fracking in America: Providential. (I think he spelled it with a capital P, as I do.) Do we deserve this bounty and bonanza? Sure, I guess. Do President Obama and other sworn opponents of oil — of oil in general and fracking in particular?

Ha!

Care for a little language? Language and sports at the same time? One of the joys of my life is reading what Jim Leyland, the Tigers’ manager, has to say after a game. (It has not been a joy to read about the Tigers lately: They have hit the skids.) Leyland is wise, candid, and eloquent. His eloquence is stocked with idioms.

Let me give you a sample — and I’ll quote from a news story, so you get the context:

Rick Porcello (4-4) allowed six runs on nine hits, giving up a pair of homers for the third time this year.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland lamented that Porcello seemed to get rattled by Ryan Flaherty’s infield hit, which potentially could’ve been an inning-ending groundout in the fourth, that led to Taylor Teagarden’s first homer of the season two pitches later.

“’Rick lost his composure a little bit after Flaherty hit that little nubber to third,” Leyland said. “Groundball pitchers are going to give up hits like that, and they have to bounce back from them.”

I loved that “little nubber to third.” And the concept of a “groundball pitcher.”

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This is from a different story: “Doug wasn’t at his sharpest, but he didn’t get any luck, either.” Leyland was talking about another Tiger pitcher, Doug Fister. “I’m not making any excuses for him, but when they hit the ball hard — and they did hit some hard — they got a hit, and when they didn’t hit the ball hard, they still got a hit.”

Recently, I did some traveling with a friend, who was amused by the TSA process at the airport. He smiled as he completed this process. He said he was thinking of a Sunday School teacher of his, more than 60 years before. Mrs. Smith, let’s call her, was a proper and elegant lady. She was always perfectly turned out, whatever the occasion: gloves, hat, the whole bitsy. She was a model of dignity and decorum.

My friend said, “I just can’t imagine Mrs. Smith going through this process. I mean, it would be an abomination to her. She just couldn’t do it.”

But then we said, No: Today, she would wear exactly the right things to the airport, and handle the process with aplomb. I’m sure that’s true.

A little more language, kind of a bonus item? Okay. Over the weekend, I attended a dance recital, whose star — undisputed — was my niece. One of the songs the students danced to was “I Believe,” whose lyrics include, “I believe in the power of you and I.” This phrase is repeated over and over.

A couple of months ago, I wrote about the dedication of the George W. Bush library in Dallas. (For the article, go here.) When it was his turn to speak — the incumbent and the four former presidents all spoke — Bush 41 said, “This is very special for Barbara and me.”

I wrote, “Is Bush the last person in America to use ‘I’ and ‘me’ correctly?” Bush was born in 1924. He went to Andover and Yale, and those teachers didn’t screw around. Neither did his mother.

Thanks for joining me today, ladies and gentlemen. Let’s end with a letter. A reader writes,

One of the funniest lines I’ve heard about the Paula Deen story came from a guy on the radio in Indianapolis. He said he had to do some research to find out who Paula Deen was, because he doesn’t watch cooking shows for the same reason he doesn’t watch porn: Every time he tried it at home, it didn’t work out very well.



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