Who will refudiate the displaced foreign travelers?

We're waiting to hear from the Bard of Wasilla about those who some call "displaced foreign travelers."
We're waiting to hear from the Bard of Wasilla about those who some call "displaced foreign travelers." (Chris Hondros/getty Images)
By Al Kamen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 23, 2010

The ever-evolving English language is expanding at warp speed these days.

On Saturday, Sarah Palin ignited the Twittersphere when she tweeted that "peaceful Muslims" should "refudiate" the mosque being built near the site of the twin towers in Manhattan.

(No, not a typo. She also used the word on a recent television show, Mediaite discovered.)

Apparently in response to ridicule for that tweet, Palin replaced it with one calling on folks to "refute the Ground Zero mosque plan," which made it pretty clear she was, for some reason, refuting to use the word "repudiate."

But that didn't quell what our colleague Matt DeLong described earlier this week as "the vicious Twitter-ribbing." So she tried again: " 'Refudiate,' 'misunderestimate' . . .," she good-naturedly tweeted. "English is a living language." And besides, "Shakespeare liked to coin new words too."

That comparison, naturally, set off more guffawing. The British were especially annoyed.

But words, as George Orwell opined, are critical in political discourse. Take, for example, the long-standing battle over the proper way to refer to folks -- Canadians, Irish, Mexicans -- who sneak into this country to work here. Those sympathetic to their situation say we should call them "undocumented workers." Those opposed insist they are to be called "illegal aliens."

So the blogosphere lit up Tuesday when Redding, Calif., blogger Bruce Ross posted a U.S. Forest Service news release on busts of marijuana growers in national forests that appeared to come up with a new term: "Displaced foreign traveler."

REDDING, Calif. -- A U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement Operation led to the arrest of an individual at an illegal marijuana cultivation site last week where 7,434 illegally grown marijuana plants were confiscated.

On Friday July 9, 2010 a marijuana eradication operation was conducted on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in Trinity County, south of Hayfork. . . . During the raid, a U.S. Forest Service K-9 team located Gauldry Almonte-Hernandez, a displaced foreign traveler from Michoacán Mexico, who had tried to flee the area and hide while officers were performing entry into the marijuana garden.

The defendant was arrested on federal charges in violation of Title 21 United States Code section 841, Manufacturing a Controlled Substance, if found guilty, he could receive a sentence of 10 years in prison.

"Displaced foreign traveler?" Ross blogged. "Makes it sound like he meant to go to Disneyland, got lost, and ended up at a pot plantation in the woods south of Hayfork."

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