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Friday, November 27, 2015

Boilerplate


Trey Gowdy on National Security and Refugees

I originally found this on Facebook with the tagline
"What I'm really afraid of is a foreign policy that creates more widows and orphans."
That line struck a chord with me, so I 'shared' the video clip. (The line shows up just after 7:50.)

I just found out that Trey Gowdy was "the chairman of a House Select Committee to investigate the 2012 Benghazi attack." How did I not know that? Because from the git-go the 'Benghazi investigation' smelled like all politics, all the time, and so I turned my filters up and blocked it out. So Trey is a politician. Big surprise. Doesn't mean he's an idiot, or that he's wrong about everything.

Another line from Trey that resonated with me comes just after the 5:50 mark:
"We have no idea what our foreign policy is in the middle east." 
I have asked that same question myself a couple of times, but I have never gotten a satisfactory answer. The State Department had a statement, but I found it vague to the point of useless. I just looked for it and couldn't find it. Crawled off into some deep dark hole. Afraid of the light, no doubt.

Last weekend I came across an essay by Robert Kagan in The Wall Street Journal. I found it impenetrable. Bayou Renaissance Man put up a post about it. He seems to think he understands it.

These two items (the State Dept. Foreign Policy and Kagan's essay) appear to be useless, much like the pages of text (that no one reads) found in legal documents, i.e. boilerplate, which got me wondering how that term came into existence. Could it be because documents made using boilerplate are impenetrable? Not quite.
"Boiler plate" originally referred to the sheet steel used to make boilers.
The analogy between the curved steel used to make water boilers and curved metal used to print prepared text was based both on the curved shape of the plate and to the fact that it had been prepared elsewhere before being incorporated into a downstream producer’s finished product. . . .
In the field of printing, the term dates back to the early 1900s. From the 1890s onwards, printing plates of text for widespread reproduction such as advertisements or syndicated columns were cast or stamped in steel (instead of the much softer and less durable lead alloys used otherwise) ready for the printing press and distributed to newspapers around the United States. By analogy, they came to be known as 'boilerplates'. Until the 1950s, thousands of newspapers received and used this kind of boilerplate from the nation's largest supplier, the Western Newspaper Union.  - Wikipedia
Cast in steel! Good grief, that's pretty serious. Takes a lot more heat to melt steel (1400°F) than it does lead (650°F).


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