Are you smarter than a fifth grader congress critter?

NEWSFLASH!

The sophistication of federal lawmakers’ speech patterns is on the decline, with members of Congress now talking, on average, at the level of high school sophomores. According to a new report by the Sunlight Foundation, Congress has fallen by almost a full grade-level since 2005.

Yup.  I’m sorry to say, you’ve been feeling so much respect for a bunch of people who don’t speak any better than your kid in high school!  Oh, wait – Congress has an approval rating of 17% – not respected too much!

Let’s look at these congressional findings in another light:

Today’s Congress collectively speaks at a 10.6 grade level, down from 11.5 in 2005. By comparison, the U.S. Constitution is written at a 17.8 grade level and the Declaration of Independence at a 15.1 grade level. The Gettysburg Address comes in at an 11.2 grade level and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is at a 9.4 grade level.

Hmmm….. how about comparing them to NYT writers?

Opinion columnists write, and politicians speak,  to persuade, so it’s interesting to see at what “grade level” they choose to do it. Notably cerebral  conservative Ross Douthat scored 15.08 with his Sunday column. And David Brooks pulled an 11.72. But Gail Collins and Frank Bruni came in below Congress’s score of 10.6 with a respective 9.88 and 10.41. Paul Krugman, (a Princeton professor), scored the lowest of those we sampled with an 8.79.

And when you remember that they seem to have dumbed down the expectations for kids at each grade level, saying that congress speaks at a 10.6 grade level looks even worse!!

The Sunlight Foundation has a great graph up at their site entitled “Grade Level of Member Speeches by Year 1996-2012“, but I can’t reproduce it here because it’s a bitmap.   It shows the relative positioning of all members vs. democrats vs. republicans.  Republicans had a higher grade level in their speech patterns than the level of all members which in turn were higher than democrats – until 2007 when democrats and republicans switched places.

They provide some interpretation of their results:

Another takeaway point from the regression analysis is that the more a member speaks overall, the more simply that member is likely to speak, all else being equal. For just the 112th Congress, going from least to most talkative is associated with a decrease in almost a grade level and a half. For the historic corpus, going from the least talkative to most talkative member is associated with a decrease in a full grade level.

Socioeconomic status of member district does not play much of a role, so there is no story to tell of members speaking to their constituents. If anything, the reverse is true. Having a higher percentage of high school graduates in the district or state is associated with members speaking at a slightly lower grade level (though since half of the districts have high school graduation levels between 82% and 90%, this doesn’t add up to all that much). District median income (which is closely correlated with education generally) has no relationship to speech grade level. There is also no statistically significant difference between chambers. Members of Congress from the Northeast speak at a slightly higher grade level than their colleagues from the rest of the country.

But here is a really interesting interpretation they made of their findings:

Here, a telling pattern emerges. Among the newest members (those with 1-3 years in their seat), there is drop off in speech level as we move from the center out to either extreme of the political spectrum, though the pattern is more pronounced on the far right. For the next cohort (4-10 years of experience), the same pattern continues on both the political right and left, though the relationship is much stronger among Republicans.

For the next cohort (11-20 years in their seat), the pattern on the right (more conservative, simpler speech) remains, but the pattern on the left reverses (there is a slight correlation between more liberalism and higher speech grade level). In the most senior cohort (more than 20 years in their seat), Republicans speak, on average, at a higher level than Democrats, with only the slightest relationship between conservatism and more simple speech.

Aha!  Just as we suspected, the moderates are the smart ones!  The wingers on the left and the right are idiots!!!  Okay, that’s really harsh, especially since the average speech level of Americans is between the 8th and 9th grade level.  Let’s just compromise and say – nah, I like saying “the wingers are idiots!”.

You can look up individual congress critters by name to ascertain the grade level of their speech.  Representative Mick Mulvany, R-SC, scores lowest with grade level 7.95.  Representative Dan Lungren, R-CA, scores highest with grade level 16.01.

The Sunlight Foundation cautions:

All these analyses use the Flesch-Kincaid test, which produces the ‘reads at a n-th grade level’ terminology that is likely familiar to many readers. At its core, Flesch-Kincaid equates higher grade levels with longer words and longer sentences. It is important to understand the limitations of this metric: it tells us nothing about the clarity or correctness of a passage of text.

These speech pattern by grade level numbers also don’t tell us how sharp the speaker may be.  Remember this guy?  Guess what his score is – go ahead, guess!

His grade level score is 12.99!   (The long run-on sentences must have increased his score!!!)

Well, what about our mighty leader, the most intelligent guy in the universe? (parenthetical addition is mine)

Earlier this year, when the University of Minnesota’s Smart Politics noted that Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address clocked in at an eighth-grade level for the third year in a row, and that Obama’s average grade-level of 8.4 was well below the average of 10.7 for the previous 67 (State of the Union) addresses.

OH!  Epic fail!!!  I know,  I know, the bots will say “the Great Communicator” is just trying to speak down to his inferiors, he so cares about us that he wants every one of us to understand what his teleprompter says.  But his scores are not just below the average for the State of the Unions for the previous presidents, it’s below the average of most Americans!!! But to be fair, a good writer is often considered the one who can write the most simply and clearly in their attempt to communicate with the reader.  But since when does snark have to worry about fairness???  lol

Average Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level for Orally Delivered State of the Union Addresses by Presidents Since FDR*

Rank President

Words per sentence

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level

1 John Kennedy

24.4

13.2

2 Dwight Eisenhower

20.9

12.8

3 Franklin Roosevelt

24.4

12.5

4 Richard Nixon

23.5

11.6

5 Gerald Ford

19.3

11.2

6 Jimmy Carter

19.7

10.8

7 Harry Truman

19.0

10.6

8 Lyndon Johnson

20.3

10.4

8 George W. Bush

19.0

10.4

10 Ronald Reagan

19.6

10.3

11 Bill Clinton

19.0

9.5

12 George H.W. Bush

17.4

8.6

13 Barack Obama

16.7

8.4

*go here and scroll to second table to see an expanded list

+++ If you love words, you might like to check out this list.  These are the 100 words tested most frequently on the SAT test, and part of these grade-level scores are based on congress critters’ frequency of using these words.  You can check out which congress critters use the most of these words, and who uses the most uncommon of the words.   I thought it would be fun to pepper this post with as many of these as I could, but… I’m too tired now!  So you guys can use them in the comments!!!!!

Note:  I didn’t see “um” on the SAT list of words….

h/t PMM!!!

103 Responses

  1. “Brieverty is the soul of wit”, it has been said but these bozos don’t even come close. Pols have word testing done to indicate ones that most people respond to and then they use them over and over.

    Sadly, the fact that we don’t seem to realize this shows how well trained we have become as an electorate. “Fetch, Fido, fetch.” “Good boy!”

  2. Nice post, lorac.

    The other day I joked about Rs being the dumbest guys in the room, but all kidding aside, that graph shows how the whole of Congress has declined. I think your point about the fringes bringing down the whole is valid.

    Back when I was in school, the told us that the NY Times wrote at the 11th grade level and the NY Daily News was at a 6th grade level. I was also taught that you don’t want to speak the way you write–that what makes good reading doesn’t make good listening. So, I would expect someone’s speech to be at a lower grade level than their writing (or at least hope). So the NY Times scores are telling too. Still, I used to think of Congress as being smart people talking to other smart people. So much for that. The drop suggests to me that they’re just rattling on, not thinking about what they want to say.

  3. So much to think on in this. The founders documents scores got me to thinking. Obviously very educated writers penned the Constitution and Declaration- and did not dumb them down for “the small people.” No wonder Barry and his ilk hate the Constitution- they don’t understand it. (I have to admit though that I do not like the “new” (read dumbed down) translations of the Bible either- the old language was beautiful – and I wonder when they will do the same to Shakespeare.
    Just another example of the decline in American education- teaching and speaking to the lowest common denominator- and we know how well that is working.

  4. It’s so true that they come up with buzz phrases and dupe their sycophants with them. It’s so obvious when they do it too. You can see their co-morons repeating their buzz phrases everywhere too. hen they retire the phrase and come up with another one before it becomes too big a joke. Some of them stick because they infuriate so well.

    “Kick the can down the road”
    Social security is an “Entitlement”
    “Astroturf”
    “Money Bomb”

    The list is huge.

  5. PMM, so true and I’m with you on the old English bible being beautiful. The new version of everything in life pales in comparison to anything produced in the Good Ol’ Days.

    I am glad to be (55) ancient. I lived in some remarkable times and got to know “the greatest generation” first hand. Their like shall not be found again. They were so well educated despite being mostly from peasant stock. Amazing how far we’ve fallen in so short a time.

  6. Too true Uppity- the one that infuriates me most is
    “O-Bam-A”
    Can’t wait to retire that one

  7. Yeah lorac, that Guam guy is astoundingly ignorant. It is no wonder that guys like that get elected over and over. The people who vote are swayed by any shiny bauble dangled in front of them. There are people who still vote based on what a candidate looks like. They say Kennedy won because of his rugged good looks but it had a lot to do with his charisma and his obvious intelligence and competence too. Not that he deserved all the Camelot hoopla, but he was better than many and not as good as some.

    Compared to obama even Jimmeh Who is a beacon on a hill.

  8. Hopey-Changey – ironically the letters H and C are also for Hillary Clinton.

    One of the tools obama’s camp repeatedly used was to paint the opposition with the very things he himself had as an issue. It was the twisting of the attack and putting the problem falsely on to another person that caused me to shake my head so many times in 08 that I thought my head would fall off. Yet the media bought it and ran with it every time and the obot chorus sang it from the rafters.

    Hopey freaking Changey and those posters by the art thief who got national publicity for his posters even though they were not original. I wonder what happened to that guy? Fairey or something like that? He had something like 4 lawsuits for different thefts of intellectual property. I guess he isn’t in jail or hasn’t been fined or convicted or paid restitution…

  9. Kennedy wasn’t president long enough to judge him either way, they killed him off as fast as they could because he wasn’t playing well with others, if you get my drift. IKE at least waited till he left office, to warn America.

  10. I looked up that Shepard Fairey guy. He will be sentenced on July 6th and faces up to 6 months in jail. He helped cause us to have 4 years in misery…

  11. I take the opposite view. When it comes to salesmen and politicians, word fog is just another way to dupe the public. Smart people can speak plainly and simply and thereby explain difficult concepts in laymen’s terms.
    But I do agree some plain speakers are just plain dumb.

  12. Obama adored his little shepard and his little stolen art poster.

  13. Yes voter, but would you agree that there is a distinct difference in intent between “explaining,” “mansplaining” and repeated subliminal phrase cuts. It’s a lot like the old days of drivein theaters when they would flash a shot of hot popcorn on the screen so quickly nobody knew it was there, but they sure wished for popcorn.

  14. Upps, the subliminal ads are scary. There was a lot said about them many years ago but then the warnings fell silent for the most part since.

    There were some studies done about the way obama used another form of mind control. The words he emphasized and pointing fingers at people while telling them what they WILL do apparently worked for some easily swayed individuals. That and the cult of kewl and the ignorance of the youth he was able to motivate.

  15. hey, lorac! If you still want to move here and swing from a hammock that’s fine with me… but just thought I’d let you know for legal purposes that there was a bear here last night. It bent over my metal poles and ripped apart a suet cage and a hummingbird feeder.

    I have to start bringing them in at night again… the pole is just a few feet from my driveway and deck entrance. We get some great big black bear here. They have golden, cinnamon and/or black cubs. Adorable and scary! They wiggle and jiggle when they walk.

  16. Good morning (((UPPITY’S))))))
    Enjoyed the Post Lorac—-

  17. “Are you smarter than a congress critter?”

    Is that a trick question? 😉

  18. Lorac does the best damned posts.

  19. upps, so nice to see ABC with that commentary and 4 or 5 others that do justice to the fraud that is obama, at least somewhat. They do make it seem as if he changed while in office and not that he was never what he claimed to be, but at least that is a small step towards ending their denial.

    OT: Holy Chit, check out this half mile long pool in Chile:

    http://news.yahoo.com/photos/world-s-largest-outdoor-pool-slideshow/largest-pool-photo-1337710429.html

  20. I love Lorac Wednesday.and the new header FF 🙂

  21. I have wanting to say something all this time and it blew riight out of my mind:—FOXI—that was it—–

    I love the new header, Bill LOOKS absolutely SCRUMPTIOUS !

  22. Yes Bill is quite handsome, isn’t he?

  23. Do you know the story of where publiciy Bill’s picture came from? That photo was found by FF. It was a photo of a lost cat. Here’s hoping Bill’s famous face was found again.

  24. The Kitty next door who (she)comes out of hidding occasionally, looks just like him, Bill is pretty enough to be a girl Kitteh———

  25. Bill says he is NOT effeminate and there will be punishments!

  26. Repeat after me. Bill is Macho. Very Macho. Muy Macho!

    Do it for your own salvation!

  27. Those insulting MKB can wait. I demand to be punished first.

  28. Yep, Karen, Shepard Fairey gets no sympathy from me. The jerk.

    I think it’s ironic that he’s been busted for destroying evidence after infringing a copyright. Just like his painted idol — a cheat, thief and deceiver.

  29. A new Lorac post is always a cause for jubilation! Thank you for another exemplary essay filled with sagacity. You are obviously an assiduous individual worthy of adulation. Wishing you longevity and prosperity.

    Upp, you ain’t chopped liver, either.

  30. Yay! Beata is using words from the SAT list!!!! 🙂

  31. She was just being sagacious.

  32. ……Although I suspect the SAT is dumbed down now, restricted to two-syllable words. And Tweet substitutions.

  33. But Beata, I LIKE chopped liver!

  34. Telling Bill he is Pretty as a girl is not an insult——-although he is Macho, and Handsome, FIRST and Foremost !!

  35. BEATA: whatever you said I agree about Lorac——

  36. I was shocked; those SAT words were so simple. It seemed that all of them should be in the vocabulary of an educated person. As for the NY Times, any paper without a comic section is highly suspect, especially when language level declins. Great post lorac.

  37. Okay now this is funny. Day before yesterday I spotted a woodchuck on my land. I kept my dog inside because I didn’t want to clean up dead woodchuck. So I was talking to a nearby neighbor about it and she was laughing at me, so I said I was going to drive the little bastage off my property and send him down to her place with a note. We laughed and laughed as I did my monologue on this critter and she kept calling him my Chuckie.

    So I consulted with the quintessential critter expert, PMM Mom and she told me to groom my dog and put her fur near the area under the workshop the little bastage was using for his den. So yesterday morning bright and early I want out there with a bag of my dog’s fur, which I might add, my dog enjoyed giving up to me, Primpo that she is — and I stuck some under the workshop. I didn’t see Chuckie all day, I suspect a combo of the fur and the fact that my dog, when she finally did go out there and scent the thing, probably scared the bejesus out of it with her snarling near the opening. So, I was happy. I figured the thing moved on, which was good as far as I was concerned. I wasn’t going to willingly give up my tomatoes to him, that’s for sure. I already hosed down his den area with my hose on most powerful just for spite.

    So late yesterday afternoon, I get a call from the neighbor. I don’t know why but I just KNEW she was going to tell me that Chuckie was on her land. I was laughing hysterically as I told her that it looks like Mi Chuckie es Su Chuckie. Anyways, she got stuck with him and he’s still there. She has no dog. So I told her that if she didn’t find an envelope pinned to Chuckie with a note from me, that this is NOT my woodchuck, and I refuse to take responsibility for the visit.

  38. Just think, Lizzy. Most of Congress doesn’t know those words.

  39. UW: —I have to assume you and your neighbor are good buds, or all that laughing wouldn’t be going on——-What in god’s name will she do, she doean’t have a needle nose or bill to help her

  40. ROFL on the woodchuck Uppity! Assiduous, exemplary exterminator of vermin, Aladdin and I just finished our circuitous perambulation of the hunting grounds. Rodents are exceptionally wary today.

  41. I assume you and Aladdin reconnoitered?

  42. I would offer her some fur, michelina, but then the little bastage might come back up here. She and I have the most land. There is one person who lives not far whom I would love to dump the thing on, but alas, Chuckie does not take instruction well. I know this, because when I told him to get the hell off my land, he didn’t do it voluntarily. Then too, my neighbor does not have tomatoes, which, I might add, she enjoys eating once my crop emerges. So I feel that the least she can do is keep Chuckie.

    She does have cats and they disappeared immediately upon arrival of Chuckie, only to scurrie into the house from under the brush the minute she opened the door.

  43. UW: now that’s funny / adorable, I guess chuckie isn’t too bad of a fella as long as there is no food for him to steal——am I getting this straight ?

  44. That Huffpost article! YES! YES! YES! Thanks for linking that Uppity!

  45. To be honest with you, I think Chuckie is going to get shot. I might feel badly about that, but it will be far more humane than what Chuckie is going to feel if my dog gets ahold of him.

  46. Take Needlenose to the neighbors and let her leave her scent as a barrier- so it does not come back to your side. A continuous program of scenting, every day a bit further toward the direction you want it to go. Sooner or later it will get the idea and high tail it to the land of no Needlenose. lol

    Yes, reconnoitering. We move lanes through the fields and the stupid things come out into the lanes to eat. A bit like Obots- can’t resist the “bait.” And keep doing the same thing over and over- even when it results in mass failure. lol

  47. When you live in upstate NY, you are never far from many trees, even in a city. If you live close to the edge of a city, you are near a veritable forest where there may be a suburb or town or village. To be honest with you, we NEVER had a wildlife problem until this badly thought out Nazi trash and recycle program was implemented, that made it hard work and expensive to dump your trash. Furthermore, the scent of cans, bottles etc is an attractant to vermin. And the poor can’t keep up with the rules because they don’t read newspapers, they can’t afford newspapers, for chrisskes, and if you don’t follow the rules, they just LEAVE your trash there without a word and you have to keep it for a week again. They treat people like they are three year olds, are rude and truly, the antithesis of public servants. Since this program began, the wildlife where it doesn’t belong has increased exponentially by the year. Everything from foxes, bears, racoons, possums, skunk families and woodchucks are showing up and freaking people who have never seen them out. We’ve had deer drinking from swimming pools and it’s all just out of control. There is also no mechanism to report these creatures on your property, unless it’s suspected rabid, and we’ve had that too. Rabid foxes running up to people and biting them, actually. It’s all out of control and there is only one cause. Sorry, but this is bullshit. The environmentalists are killing people, bringing disease to urban areas and they just plain disgust me. Thee program is entrenched as-is because it is a HUGE money maker for the local government and therefore, they don’t give a shit if people have a rabid racoon or not. Cha ching.

  48. Mom, that woodchuck will have to go and letting him move from one place to another is not the answer. This is a city. What if it’s a pregnant female? We cannot afford to have these things running wild around here, they cause too much damage and can be dangerous to animals and children. They carry diseases as well, as you know. It’s better to shoot him than have a dog get him, and I personally do not want to pay a vet bill for my dog, who I am sure will win the fight, but not without a clawing or bite. So I have stopped feeling sorry for these things a long time ago. I have enough to do and so does everybody else, without going to get a humane trap and dropping them off someplace else, after which they will wander back. They have plenty of habitat in New York, they don’t belong in the cities, and it’s these asshole Do Gooder programs that brought them here.

  49. Michelina, woodchucks do not chuck wood, contrary to myth. They are herbivores and will eat every inch of your vegetation. Vegetation, I might add, that I take a lot of pride in. I am not going to have a woodchuck eating my vegetables and flower beds and hanging out digging holes for me to break an ankle in.

  50. I STILL CAN’T
    …..LOL my cat hit the caps lock..no kidding.

    I still can’t forget when my dog killed the possum. It was disgusting, I had to clean the mess and clean her mouth and I just am checking out of this routine. If I wanted to live in the country with these things, I would move there. When they move here, they are in for a world of hurt.

  51. True on the disease Uppity- though through all the years Aladdin has (knock wood, pray to St Francis) never had one fight back. Not one scratch or bite. Lots of them make it back to their dens- which he promptly goes to digging up and pissing on lol. When he gets one it is over in ten seconds or less. They don’t have time to fight, bite or claw. CHOMP. Done.
    We live in a mixed area- small city (a town by MA or NY standards lol) 8 miles away. Farmland all surrounding it. Closer to town there are typical housing neighborhoods- but they have all the usual rural wildlife and nobody gets excited- except when the sow bear comes down off the hill with her cubs into the “city” and wanders along the creek. Happens every ten yrs or so. Then it makes the local news and people take pics from a respectable distance until she wanders off. She has never to my knowledge gone into the city proper- though she has wrecked a few bird feeders as she travels.
    You are correct on the do-gooders. Way back when I am sure some of the early conservationists had good hearts and intentions. Things just did not get thought through to their logical conclusion. Most of the wildlife readily adapts to human habitat. Shrubs and flowers look like a buffet to the deer lol. Skunks, possum, raccoons, woodchucks? Well, they say gee whiz- how nice of the humans top create such lovely inviting restaurants for us!
    We recycle our cans, plastic and bottles- as we have no trash pick up (unless you want to pay a gazillion for it) I rinse them all, and pop them in a feed bag in the mudroom. Take them to the recycle bins once a week. The rest we burn, compost or feed to the dog.

  52. Aw shit I just saw him. The prick is sitting in front of the workshop like he lives here. One of the rescue cats was out there and walked right by him. Oh for chrissakes. Apparently cats don’t give a squat about woodchucks?

  53. ???? It’s back? Even with the dog hair? Or is there one in your yard and one at the neighbors?
    Castor oil is said to repel them- have never used it.
    Empty the contents of the litter pans in the hole if you can. Normally they have an entrance and an exit hole. My guess is that one hole is under your shed/workshop-
    Anyway- to drown them you need to close one hole off and run the hose down the other- it is hard to drown them as they build the dens with shelves (sort of like beavers do) I smoked a hole that was too damn close to the barn once- it was in between the barn and orchard and made the mare and the dog nuts. I cleared all the grass and so forth and found both entrance and exit and stuffed them with leaves, dried grass, small green sticks, dry sticks etc and then built fires on top. That den stayed empty for about four years- not a practical solution for you though.
    Try mothballs, used kitty litter, cayenne pepper. We dump used litter in the holes in the far back field, then cover with dirt. Seems to keep pushing them back.

  54. Yes there’s an enter and exit to that workshop for him. it is under the workshop and spans the width, three ventilation holes on each side, screening constantly ripped out. I guess I will have to get it all blocked. But how will I know if he’s in there when I do it? I don’t want him dying down there or digging his way up thru the floor either. I am just so pissed. I hope somebody shoots him because I am getting very aggravated. My dog is aggravated, VERY aggravated.

    No it’s the same chuck. I called her and he’s not there. Apparently cats leave them alone? Her two did nothing about him. The one outside awhile ago here did nothing. Walked right by it.

  55. Mom, Aladdin is a country dog, a seasoned hunter. My dog has so far bagged one possum. She’s not out there all the time and she is really an urban dog that way, this is the first woodchuck she OR I have seen up close and personal. So she doesn’t KNOW if it has fangs or claws. She just knows she wants to kill it. Maybe I’m underestimating her.

  56. I can’t imagine a cat going after a woodchuck- too big for them- unless you have a lynx or bobcat- they would think it a nice meal.
    Chucks are always in the den at night- always. The neighbor has one that appears in the late afternoon early evening- lives under the back deck there- makes Aladdin crazy.
    You will have to watch and see when it comes out and where it goes- can you get to either hole? There may be a third escape hole- usually close to green cover- bushes, hedges, tall grass along the property line?
    Sorry to say it, but the best thing would be for it to die in the hole- then the relatives won’t move in- and you can fill the holes in after it is dead. With lots of used cat litter, mothballs and then screen- like chicken wire – then gravel and dirt. They hate the chicken wire- won’t dig through it. I know you are worried about the smell- but once it is dead and you fill it in- the smell will be detectable only to other undesirable vermin. There are smoke bomb type things you can toss down the hole- but they only work if you can be absolutely sure you have all the holes covered except the one you are tossing the bomb in. Otherwise the gas just escapes. You toss it in and cover that hole as well.
    Dog poop, dog urine, dog hair, people hair- all down and around the holes. Must be some stupid thing- never had an encounter with a dog or hunter it sounds like.
    And yes- you can break a leg stumbling in the damn holes. Horse and cattle owners go to great lengths to eradicate them for just that reason.
    They are a pain in the ass- acres and acres of woods back there- but NOOOO they want to be in the field. Bastages.

    On a happier note- looks like it is going to be a bumper year for raspberries- they are flowering profusely and the bees are very busy. (All wild- I am pretty sure it is the black raspberries that are flowering and the blackberries are showing buds too) No apples this year- three nights of hard freeze right when they were at the height of the bloom. The warm weather in March caused both the apple and pear trees to blossom too early. I still have plenty of apple and pear butter from the bumper crop last year though lol.

    Gotta go to rehearsal- I will try and think up some more woodchuck defeating things. Someone once told me they hate the smell of rotten eggs- got any sulfur hanging around?

  57. If your dog bagged a possum and killed it without it damaging her- she should be able to dispatch the chuck no problem. Even if she just chases it back to the den barking and growling it will scare the bejesus out of it- after it gets the hint that every time it comes out it is going to get attacked/harrassed- it should depart on its own. Chucks have two big teeth in front- like a beaver- and will normally flee- they will stand up on hind teeth and chatter and screech if cornered. They can and will climb trees too. Aladdin has treed plenty.
    I put my money on NeedleNose.

  58. The openings are not large enough for a human to get in, I would have to break thru the floor to get under there. The holes are big enough for, say, a cat, or a ground hog, woodchuck. I just talked to somebody and he’s coming tomorrow to do a clearing in an area back there that has high grass. He says they don’t like it where there is no high grass, so I’m going to clear it out. It’s actually behind that workshop so it’s perfect for this creature. It’s a usually unseen area. So I’m getting it all cleared out. He’s right too, because I just read this as well. They only like areas with high foliage. If necessary I can gas underneath the place and drive him out. I just hope a neibhors cat isn’t under there at the same time. I’m worried because neighboring cats often visit here. I do not want to hurt them. They like the land and the trees and sunning themselves here. I see them all the time. I’m also going to buy some pinwheels for around the garden. I read i scares them away. They are very skittish, I can see that.

  59. I don’t know why I bother. If it isn’t one thing it’s another. Slugs, rabbits. Now woodchucks. Why the F plant. For them? I used to live in a city. I haven’t moved, but now it’s like being in the country with all these animals all around us. I hate it.

  60. ……Although I suspect the SAT is dumbed down now, restricted to two-syllable words. And Tweet substitutions.
    **********
    That trend started in the 80’s and 90’s because the SAT/standardized testing in general were “racist and sexist”. I remember “serious” meetings of “educators” on C-Span talking about the racist SATs.
    IIRC, by that time the SAT curves had been “re-normalized” at least three times so that the declining scores wouldn’t look bad compared to the 50s and 60s. I think that the highest SATs were in the 61-63 time frame.

    That mind set continues today. One recent proposal was to “dumb down” basic college Calculus. The logic was that since there was a high failure rate of calc. 101-102, then if the courses were made easier then we would graduate more engineers. (who could then join the unemployment lines along with the engineers who could actually do math)

  61. Yes I remember reading an article about the racist SATs. One example was the use of the word “regatta”. They complained that no inner city youth would have ever seen a regatta so how could they have it in the SATs. In all my days in the suburbs I’ve never seen a regatta either! Can you imagine!! But funny, I know what they are.

  62. ‘Yes I remember reading an article about the racist SATs. One example was the use of the word “regatta”. They complained that no inner city youth would have ever seen a regatta so how could they have it in the SATs.’
    —————————-
    not to quibble, but those calling the SATs ‘raaaaaaaaaaaacist” are themselves racist given they seemed to have overlooked the fact that caucasians, latinos, and asians also live in the inner city. I grew up in the ‘inner city’ (what a goofy term). I learned what a regatta was at a camp for “under-privileged” girls. Before then I would have guessed it was an Italian ingredient used in lasagne.

  63. Well, my point was that you don’t have to “experience” something to know about it. Hello SAT people….it’s called “READING!!”

  64. imusthavepie, Exactly!
    Think of all the words they’d have to eliminate if inner city kids hadn’t seen or experience them: assassination, for one.

  65. Hey Uppity is this the little guy?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fm9wUTZt0Zc 😆 😆 😆 he looks really cute…. How about plant one for you and one for him or her? 😯 or, maybe, this a calling? you know one of those fate things…. “Because they are” 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 just saying…. 😉 😯 🙄 🙄

  66. Never been to a regatta in my life, but I sure as HELL know what one is. And I was born in a city too. What a bunch of bullshit. What are we supposed to do, change SATs to street slang?

  67. Well, my point was that you don’t have to “experience” something to know about it. Hello SAT people….it’s called “READING!!”

    Perish the thought

  68. Translation: The SATs are too hard for me. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!! It’s your faullllllllllt!!!!!!!!!!!

    They’re SUPPOSED to be hard. They separate the brains from the……..well, you know.

  69. Mods, please do not let any new commenters in till I take a look first.

  70. Casper he’s not going to be so cute after I arrange his demise. I’m sorry, but I work hard on my gardens and i am not going to put up with this. It’s one of my few pleasures and I’m not letting some rodent take it away from me.

  71. Lorac. Excellent post. Who would have “thunk” that Obama could not speak without a teleprompter.

    Ups, sorry about your woodchuck problem. But, I think you will have some good luck when the tall grass is cut. By the way, are you getting a premonition about the death of the woodchuck?

  72. I’m not getting a premonition, WLM. I am arranging it. lol. He’s got 24 hours to move, he’s evicted. If he chooses to ignore this, I cannot be responsible for his fate at the power of my dog, because I’m giving him to her. Why should my dog be restricted for an uninvited rodent. This is her land.

  73. “I’m not getting a premonition, WLM. I am arranging it.” Ha! So, be it, Uppity.

  74. The new Democrats “eat their own.”

  75. Yes and I find a certain pleasure in that.

  76. Well, I have to hunt for my kitteh who had her teeth cleaned today and also had two removed. I need to give her the pain medicine, but she runs from me. Yep, she is upset with me.

  77. Got home this PM from a road trip and catching up on local news. Yesterday a 19 yo shot two people during a residential robbery, killing one. The robber left the house and then point his gun at a cop, with the predicted result. The robber had been out of jail for two weeks after pleading guilty to felony robbery.

    Today a comment from a neighbor who lives across the street from the scene of the shootings had this to say about the deceased robber/murderer:

    ” “A lot of people need money and that’s the kind of lifestyle he’s used to,” said ********, who lives directly across from where the shootings occurred. “The justice system didn’t help him, or maybe it helped him to become a better criminal.”

    In the neighborhood where the shooting took place, I can be almost 100% certain that the lady that made that comment has an Obama/Biden 2008 bumper sticker on her car.

  78. Aw poor Kitteh. Been there! Her mouf hurrrts. Get her some baby food to tide her over. She’ll be fine. As for her meds, gotta show her who’s boss and use The Boss Grip.

  79. Unbelievable SHV. Just unbelievable. It’s just not his fault that he’s a fucking killer and a cop shot him before he could kill the cop too. Poor baby. You want to know how the system ‘failed’ him? They let his ass out of jail, that’s how.

  80. Uppity, thanks for the pep talk about giving my kitteh her medicine.

  81. I lurv Lorac Wednesdays! Thanks for the great post! You always come up with such inventive topics to write about! But now you’ve made me nervous — should I test at what level I write?? Since I am self taught, I’m scared to know what I’d find out. I don’t even know how to be sagacious!

    You are all right that these pols talk in platitudes and dumbed down slogans. Who’da thunk in the situation we had in 2008, people would go for hopenchange.

  82. Ani, thanks so much, but the credit goes to PMM – she provided the topic to me! But then again, she’s currently a “stay at home mom” for some baby kittens, so when she’s sitting around watching soap operas and eating chocolate (as of course ALL stay at home moms DO! /s), she has lots of time to go searching for topics for us! lol

  83. Hey, I find time for chocolate no matter where I am!

  84. And thanks, PMM!

  85. SHV, I bet you’re right about the obot stickers in that neighborhood.

    You know, my parents were little kids during the depression, and their fathers did whatever they could (legally!) to scrape along, and totally passed the work ethic on to my parents. All my grandparents died young, and my dad (the youngest) went to work shining shoes as a kid in New York to help support his mom, and when he was a teenager he sold ties. Then he worked lots of jobs and went to night school at NYU. After he got his BA, he got a job with his BA and went to night school at NYU for his MBA. They didn’t have their first kid (moi!) until he had graduated college and had one stable job.

    Just because you’re poor doesn’t mean you have to become a criminal. Why don’t these excuse-makers realize that? These people automatically turning to crime want (1) a lot (2) right away (3) with as little work as possible. I blame the parents mostly.

  86. They let his ass out of jail, that’s how.
    **********
    Also while I was away there was a shoot out between two “bounty hunters” (members of the “Association of Louisiana Bail Underwriters”) and a fugitive who skipped out on a Heroin charge. Why wasn’t this guy in prison?

    “The ALBU says Delmore previously was arrested in 2005 on 2 counts of attempted first-degree murder for shooting a Jefferson Parish (New Orleans suburb) Sheriff Deputies during a routine traffic stop. Delmore was convicted in 2008 on 2 counts of manslaughter and 2 counts of aggravated flight from law enforcement. “

  87. “SHV, I bet you’re right about the obot stickers in that neighborhood”
    **********
    It’s not even a betting situation; it’s a white neighborhood that voted 98% for Obama.

  88. SHV…and they wonder why gun sales are up.

  89. Lorac, great post! Congress must do something to to raise their respectablity. Proper speech conveys so much about a person. They obviously missed that lesson in school and at home. As for the SAT, reading is imperative to opening up the doors to the world beyond one’s own. How else do we learn about regattas, if we are landlocked?

    Congress critters probably ae trying to dumb it down so as to not come off as being uppity affluent types in the government. They want to be seen as the person next door so that we won’t see how they are wronging America and miking it for personal gain.

  90. Looks like the panthers finally figured their pied piper led them to the voters booth for his benefit, and not theirs. Voters remorse big time.
    http://news.yahoo.com/disappointed-obama-black-panthers-openly-consider-bullet-165110150.html

  91. Considering he kept a number of their members out of Federal prison for voter intimidation, I would say he did plenty for them right there. Anybdoy else would have been arrested and thrown in a cell on election day and sentenced to prison. Instead, their only ‘punishment’ was to stay away from the polls. But only till 2012, of course, so they could wield heir billy clubs for Barack again. Oh wait, …….maybe they have a point.

  92. More power to your hard-working parents who obviously instilled a strong work ethic in you. If only more parents today passed on such a gift. What pride your parents must feel that you continue in their footsteps.

  93. Billy clubs, bullet.. they are upset they were used for the ballot. Go figure.

  94. Apparently, they are grateful for having Bo Bo’s Justice Dept not go after them for the election harassment. You are right. Anyone else would have been convicted!

  95. They will all go out and vote for him again. Twice, if they can.

  96. Dead or illegal voters included.

  97. Damn cat won’t take his paw off the keyboard. Keeps hitting the caps lock besides. Torturing me.

  98. One time he hit the jackpot and my screen rotated sideways. I couldn’t look up how to fix it because i had to tip my head sideways. Wanted to kill him.

  99. Reblogged this on theconservativehillbilly and commented:
    And it was Kennedy who had the ground work laid to do away with the Federal Reserve…..

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