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US Congress bans word 'lunatic' in federal legislation

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#1 ~Neowin~

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 08:54

US Congress bans word 'lunatic' in federal legislation

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"Lunatic" is derived from the Latin word for moon, and the belief that it could affect mental health
The sharply divided US Congress has been able to agree on one thing at least - that the word "lunatic" should be banned.
The House of Representatives voted 398-1 on Wednesday to strike the term from all federal legislation, after the Senate did the same in May.
The measure is designed to remove language that has become outdated or demeaning from the US code.
The bill will now go to President Barack Obama for his signature.
Senator Kent Conrad, one of the sponsors of the measure, said: "Federal law should reflect the 21st Century understanding of mental illness and disease, and that the continued use of this pejorative term has no place in the US code."
The word still appears in some parts of federal law - a section of financial regulation, for example, addresses the power of a bank to act as a "committee of estates of lunatics".
The only "no" vote came from Texas congressman Louie Gohmert, who said it was madness for lawmakers to waste time on such a measure when more high-profile issues loomed, such as the federal debt.
"Not only should we not eliminate the word 'lunatic' from federal law when the most pressing issue of the day is saving our country from bankruptcy," said Rep Gohmert in a statement.
"We should use the word to describe the people who want to continue with business as usual in Washington."

http://www.bbc.co.uk...canada-20628988


#2 Warboy

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:07

Louie Gohmert is right in a way.

#3 compl3x

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:51

Lunacy to vote against it because you think it is a waste of time. The vote is going to happen, voting against it didn't change the outcome.


There is always going to be more important things to do.

#4 Shane Nokes

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:53

Lunacy to vote against it because you think it is a waste of time. The vote is going to happen, voting against it didn't change the outcome.


There is always going to be more important things to do.


The point wasn't the vote against it. The point was that by voting against it he was making a statement that they need to spend more time focusing on the issues that are about to cause a serious meltdown and put aside the issues like the wording of a document that does not affect it's efficacy.

This is wasting time when right now they need to focus all of their attention on coming up with ideas that will actually work for getting the economy back on its feet.

#5 compl3x

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:58

The point wasn't the vote against it. The point was that by voting against it he was making a statement that they need to spend more time focusing on the issues that are about to cause a serious meltdown and put aside the issues like the wording of a document that does not affect it's efficacy.

This is wasting time when right now they need to focus all of their attention on coming up with ideas that will actually work for getting the economy back on its feet.



As I said, there is always going to be other things that are more important. His standing against it acheived nothing.

I doubt voting on this impacted their ability to deal with the economy. Arguing otherwise seems childish.

#6 Shane Nokes

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:02

As I said, there is always going to be other things that are more important. His standing against it acheived nothing.

I doubt voting on this impacted their ability to deal with the economy. Arguing otherwise seems childish.


Yes it did. It gave him a reason to use his voice to make a statement. He wasn't intending the block the passage, but to make a symbolic point...which he succeeded in. His voting against it also didn't cost any additional time either since the vote had to be made as you said.

So what did he hurt by voting no and stating why? To say that one should just vote with the majority against their conscience is what is childish.


Now if you want to talk about impacting ability...each moment that they focus on something else.


Wait a minute. Why am I even arguing with you...you're not even in the US so this doesn't affect you at all...

#7 compl3x

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:11

Wait a minute. Why am I even arguing with you...you're not even in the US so this doesn't affect you at all...


:huh:

How dare I have an opinion on something going on somewhere else in the world. Sorry for being a nosey foreigner. :rofl:

#8 Shane Nokes

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:14

:huh:

How dare I have an opinion on something going on somewhere else in the world. Sorry for being a nosey foreigner. :rofl:


It's not about that at all. I'm just trying to figure out why I'm arguing when it's not as important to someone in another part of the world that won't be affected by the lack of focus in our government.

It would be akin to me trying to argue with you that something isn't important in Oz when it's something that affects the populace a great deal. It wouldn't make a lot of sense.

I have no issues with you posting as regards the topic at all. I just don't see why you think they shouldn't be putting 100% of their focus on an impending financial matter, that will affect everyone here, that has a deadline coming up in about 3 weeks...

#9 compl3x

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:20

It's not about that at all. I'm just trying to figure out why I'm arguing when it's not as important to someone in another part of the world that won't be affected by the lack of focus in our government.

It would be akin to me trying to argue with you that something isn't important in Oz when it's something that affects the populace a great deal. It wouldn't make a lot of sense.

I have no issues with you posting as regards the topic at all. I just don't see why you think they shouldn't be putting 100% of their focus on an impending financial matter, that will affect everyone here, that has a deadline coming up in about 3 weeks...



Do you think American's economy doesn't affect the rest of the world? Do you have even a rudimentary understanding of economics and the role America's economy plays to the world?


If America's economy goes it the toilet, we all suffer. Fact.

#10 *RedBull*

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 15:38

I'm with you Shane on this one. I think it's a f*cking joke that Congress is wasting their time voting on something so trivial at a time like this. I would expect this type of behavior from Obama. Congress needs a wake up call. Unfortunately that will not happen.

#11 threetonesun

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 15:59

I'm with you Shane on this one. I think it's a f*cking joke that Congress is wasting their time voting on something so trivial at a time like this. I would expect this type of behavior from Obama. Congress needs a wake up call. Unfortunately that will not happen.


Why, it probably got brought to someone's attention by an intern, they realized it was a good idea, voted, done. This refers to older legislation where people with mental illnesses were referred to by a host of offensive names (lunatic, idiot, moron were all considered 'diagnoses' at one point in time). It would be like revising a piece of legislation that referred to women with schizophrenia as witches.

#12 *RedBull*

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 17:13

but...but...all witches are women!!! :shiftyninja:

#13 brianshapiro

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 17:29

Why, it probably got brought to someone's attention by an intern, they realized it was a good idea, voted, done. This refers to older legislation where people with mental illnesses were referred to by a host of offensive names (lunatic, idiot, moron were all considered 'diagnoses' at one point in time). It would be like revising a piece of legislation that referred to women with schizophrenia as witches.


Just a note. You're assuming that the diagnoses were based on derogatory words, rather than the derogatory words being derived from the diagnoses. The word 'moron' didn't even exist until 1910, when it was invented by a psychologist for purposes of diagnoses. Similar to how 'retarded' was a diagnoses that became a derogatory word, even though there was nothing derogatory intended about it, it just meant 'slowed development'. Now 'retarded' is considered offensive, and the preferred language is 'intellectually disabled'/'intellectually challenged'. There was nothing originally offensive about 'lunatic'. Moving to more technical sounding language helps prevent the words from becoming derogatory though.

#14 threetonesun

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 17:59

Just a note. You're assuming that the diagnoses were based on derogatory words, rather than the derogatory words being derived from the diagnoses.


I should have said, "now offensive" names. Also, those words have always been derogatory, it's just a matter of how acceptable their use was. Moron was a "scientific" term, but it was basically just a different way of saying dullard, a much older word.

Either way, I see no issue with these terms being updated, especially in pieces of legislation.

#15 brianshapiro

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 18:02

I should have said, "now offensive" names. Also, those words have always been derogatory, it's just a matter of how acceptable their use was. Moron was a "scientific" term, but it was basically just a different way of saying dullard, a much older word.


Yea, but saying someone was dull was a way of saying they weren't sharp, which isn't necessarily derogatory either; sharpness or dullness in intelligence could be spoken of objectively. The newer terms have the benefit of being more polite and optimistic sounding.