Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "The Bush mandate," Nov. 16, 2002

It's all over the place

"It's all good." That slogan is everywhere, with the three words having become one of America's pet beaten-to-death catch phrases. The phrase usually means "everything's OK." It can also be used as slackerese for "yeah, whatever." "The saying itself is not new," reports Geoff Edgers in the Boston Globe. "Use it and you might draw a dismissive glance from members of the hip-speak elite, the select group that quits a phrase as soon as it lands on prime time. But the reach of 'It's all good' is hard to deny. For the average American, it's the goatee of the language game: so all over the place that it's on the verge of becoming unfashionable."

Gunning for gun manufacturers

Chicago can continue its landmark $433 million firearms lawsuit. An appellate court reversed a previous ruling dismissing the case. In 1998, Mayor Richard M. Daley sued 22 gun manufacturers (including Beretta, Colt, Smith & Wesson, and Browning), along with four gun distributors and 12 suburban gun shops. He accused them of creating a public nuisance with their products. Richard Pearson of the Illinois State Rifle Association called the ruling ludicrous. "They are out to wipe out firearms dealers one way or another," he said. "If this can be done with firearms, what about the getaway car used in robberies or the baseball bat someone uses in a beating or the computer the auditor uses to doctor documents?" The late 1990s wave of city suits against the firearms industry has faced rocky roads. "Though tallies vary depending on the source, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence reports that 24 suits have been filed against the industry nationally," reports Chicago Tribune reporter Gary Washburn. "So far, 13 remain alive, 10 have been dismissed and one-a suit filed by Boston-has been withdrawn voluntarily."

Emily's list of losers

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Are abortion-backers losing their political clout? Voters seem to think so: In last week's mid-term elections, the National Abortion Rights Action League lost 10 of 11 races it backed financially, according to Concerned Women for America. And the pro-abortion political action committee (PAC) Emily's List lost 17 of 21 races it bankrolled. Meanwhile, pro-life PACs scored huge wins in states like Minnesota and Missouri, where winning candidates like Norm Coleman and Jim Talent, who oppose abortion, not only added pro-life firepower to Congress, but also shifted control of the Senate to the GOP. (See p. 16.) Of 30 candidates backed by the pro-life PAC Susan B. Anthony List, 22 won. Concerned Women Political Action Committee contributed money to 14 pro-life candidates, nine of whom were elected. "The pro-life cause was not merely riding the wave of a Republican tide," said CWA vice president for government relations Michael Schwartz. "If that were the case, you would not have seen pro-life Democrats like Tim Holden (D-Pa.) and Mike Michaud (D-Maine) winning highly competitive races while pro-abortion Republicans like Connie Morella (R-Md.) were going down."

Left in fantasyland

The left is "dumbing down," and at least one liberal doesn't like it. Nicholas Kristof contends in The New York Times that many liberals are increasingly spewing vitriol. To wit: the urban myth that Sen. Paul Wellstone was assassinated by an evil conspiracy; singer Harry Belafonte's attack on Colin Powell as President Bush's "house slave"; and the belief that Mr. Bush is a "nitwit boy king." "In the 1990s, nothing made conservatives look sillier than the way they excoriated Bill and Hillary Clinton as traitors and even murderers," he argues. "Yet these days, the intelligent left is dumbing down and showing signs of slipping into a similar cesspool of outraged incoherence. It's debasing and marginalizing itself by marshaling epithets rather than arguments."

One fine Day

Cynthia Day says her job as a public-health nurse was threatened with firing when she refused to hand out "morning-after" pills. Now Louisiana state health officials have agreed to accommodate her, reports Joyce Howard Price in The Washington Times. Ms. Day's attorneys filed a religious discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights. Madeline W. McAndrew, assistant secretary of Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals, apologized and offered to reassign her. "Ms. Day, who has worked for the state health department for nearly a decade, did not object to providing women with contraceptives," Ms. Price reports. "But she refused to distribute 'emergency contraceptives,' or morning-after pills."

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