Asked about Title X, candidate for county commission retreats to passive voice

Candidate for Missoula County Commissioner Vicky Gordon

Candidate for Missoula County Commissioner Vicky Gordon—photo courtesy of the Missoulian

In a 2012 letter to the editors of the Missoulian, Vicky Gordon observed that “yes, each of the 56 million aborted children has a soul; each is a person with a job to do, a life to live, and an innate dignity…The unborn are the same as we are. If someone kills us, that doesn’t mean that we never existed.” It was a strong cup of coffee, and not just because it appeared to count pregnancies prevented by IUDs among the number of “aborted children.” I have not been able to confirm the allegation that Gordon is a regular protestor outside of Blue Mountain Clinic. But we all know what she did when the Missoulian asked her whether she might reject Title X funding for Missoula County, as commissioners in Ravalli did last year. She found refuge in the passive voice:

Title X is federally funded and has been administered in Missoula without incident. I do not foresee that this would change.

So close to a definitive answer and yet so far. The vaguely alarming mystery of what Gordon might do if elected to a six-year term as commissioner is the subject of my column in the Missoula Independent this week. You should read it even if you don’t live here, because Montana politics are fascinating. We’ll be back tomorrow with Friday links, including an amazingly disingenuous mailer in support of Lawrence VanDyke. That’s your tease.


On trimming the quotes

The author and an unidentified woman with bad taste

The author and an unidentified woman with bad taste

One of the dark arts I learned as an English major was how to trim a quote. You write an English paper by thinking of an argument and then finding quotes in the text to support it. Your reader will encounter these quotes in the context of your argument, not the original material, so it’s important to crop and frame them in a way that makes sense. Like karate or bagpipes, this skill can be used for good but easily bends to evil. I present Madeleine Holden’s essay in Wondering Sound, Women Don’t Collect Music to Impress You, Dan Brooks.

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Steve King refuses debate unless opponent pulls ad

Still from another advertisement that may also mischaracterize Rep. Steve King (R–IA)

Still from another advertisement that may mischaracterize Rep. Steve King (R–IA)

Tea Party darling and Iowa delegate to the US House of Representatives Steve King has refused to publicly debate Jim Mowrer until the Democrat’s campaign stops running a “misleading” advertisement against him. According to the Sioux City Journal, King withdrew from a Sunday debate on Iowa Public Television over a television ad that alleges he voted against increasing the minimum wage and for increasing congressional compensation. King denies that he ever “voted to raise his pay or get free health care. “When Mowrer comes clean, I’ll clear my schedule for Sunday and debate him,” King told the Journal. Until then, voters can just sit tight and work with the information they have.

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Friday links! Unmitigated pride edition

New York Times illustrator Tom Gauld's illustration for my essay that is totally in the New York Times

New York Times illustrator Tom Gauld’s illustration for my essay that is totally in the New York Times

I know we link to The New York Times a little too often around here, but today it’s completely justified. I wrote this essay for the Riff section of the Sunday magazine, and somehow they published it and paid me for it and everything. Mad, unrestrained props to Riff editor and Combat! reader Willy for making virtually every step of this process happen. Regulars will recognize the theme from previous posts, which makes it all the sweeter. I’ve been kicking around this idea for months, and finally I feel like I’ve articulated it properly. Today is Friday, and you won’t hear me say it often, but I am proud. Won’t you drift through a miasma of serotonin with me?

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