Who knew that Chris Collins, the businessman turned congressman, was so fluent in Trumpese?
This week, he made the case for himself as Donald Trump’s policy interpreter, observing with a straight face that when Trump said he was going to build a wall to keep those pesky Mexicans out, he was really talking about a “virtual wall.” Whatever that is.
He also noted that when Trump promised he would deport 12 million illegal aliens – roughly equal to disappearing every man, woman and child in Pennsylvania – what he really meant was a “rhetorical deportation.” To wit: “They go out that door, they go in that room, they get their work papers, Social Security number, then they come in that door, and they’ve got legal work status but are not citizens of the United States,” Collins said. “So there was a virtual deportation as they left that door for processing and came in this door.”
His newfound linguistic contortionism has got to be good training for something.
It may sound like an unnecessary area of concern, but the truth is that Western New Yorkers have a clear interest in protecting the diminutive emerald shiner, a species of minnow whose numbers appear to be rapidly diminishing in the Niagara River.
Without them, we lose the larger fish that are the mainstays of the region’s sports fishing industry. Eagles and other birds lose a source of food. The river’s ecology changes. This tiny fish is a big deal.
No one, as yet, seems to know why their numbers are 75 percent lower than they were just two years ago, but we can’t help but thinking of that darned common tern whose flight path helped to deep-six an attractive new signature Peace Bridge. What if they’re the culprits and all we needed to do was … oh, never mind.
Sometimes, it’s the most unassuming people who make the biggest impacts. That’s how it was with Morley Safer, the Toronto-born newsman who reported for CBS News’ “60 Minutes” for almost 50 years.
He wasn’t as brash as his colleagues Mike Wallace and Dan Rather, but the erudite sophistication he brought to stories ranging from the Vietnam War to wrongful convictions to the Muppets ranged from incisive to charming. Few journalists can bridge that gap, but Safer made it look easy.
He died on Thursday at age 84, barely a week after he retired. He was in declining health, according to CBS. As of Thursday, so is television news.