Rantchet – A misuse of language, Chinese Think-Tanks

I watched the live coverage today as the President attempted to clarify that when he said the Cambridge Police acted stupidily, he did not intend to malign them (worsening an already sensitive issue.  He needs to understand it is not about a “racial” issue, it is about the President usurping Law Enforcement’s authority)

Then he went on to say, twice, things were rantcheting up.  Huh?  Since when did ratchet become rantchet?  It would be one thing if he just stumbled over some words, but since he did it twice, it sounds like he doesn’t know the word, or at least is not familiar with it enough to use it correctly.

This has been an on-going issue with me – his misuse of language.  I have heard him use double negatives, I have heard him speak slang (during “polished” speeches), and this disturbs me.  As an employer seeing college applicants who cannot write well, cannot speak well, I can’t help but wonder if the President’s misuse of language isn’t a sign of a breakdown – dummy down style – of our system.  I fear it is.  I have read he is well-educated, and I have to believe this, but I am beginning to question the quality of that education.

As an industrialized nation, we are continually falling behind on the educational front.  We can claim “strategic innovation” as a direction for our country, but truth is, we are not producing an educated population that can build or lead innovation.  Face it, our bench strength is not very deep.

Over-population can have its advantages.  I have read that an advantage China’s think tanks have is that there are so many people making contributions.  Couple that with a strong education, and the writing is on the wall for us (no pun intended).  The old saying about winning the war without firing a single bullet may very well take place during our lifetime – on our watch.  Not a pleasant thought.

From March 2008 article:


Wang Luolin nodded politely and smiled, then told me that his academy had 50 research centres covering 260 disciplines with 4,000 full-time researchers.

As he said this, I could feel myself shrink into the seams of my vast chair: Britain’s entire think tank community is numbered in the hundreds, Europe’s in the low thousands; even the think-tank heaven of the US cannot have more than 10,000. But here in China, a single institution—and there are another dozen or so think tanks in Beijing alone—had 4,000 researchers.

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