The same man who said “God will protect us against gays” and who has done much more for repression of diversity generally in East Africa than the average person has gotten all hot under the collar (or somewhere) about women’s skirts that end above the knees. He wants them banned like cell phones.

James Nsaba Buturo has also served in Uganda as Minister of Information where is he generally known to have been more corrupt than the average government minister in East Africa. Uganda generally needs to be (and I think mostly is) embarrassed by this guy. By the way, gayness is a life in prison deal in Uganada, and has been since the British were in charge there.

The most current story about Jimbo is here.

Headline Complaint: The BBC drop down menu that everyone has on their Firefox said: Mystery of “near death” tackled. Now, where I come from, America, “tackled” is finished, down, end of play — in this context, “figured out.” But apparently in the Land of Rugby, “tackled” has a different reason because Rugby has different rules. So it turns out the “near death experience” mystery is going to be studied. That counts as “tackled” to the BBC.

Getting back to Africa for a moment, you may want to note that Mugabe is slowly on his way out. Very slowly. Too slowly. But we can be hopeful.


  1. #1 MartinDH
    September 18, 2008

    That’s right…tackling is only the beginning of the interaction.

    You don’t understand it because American Rules Rugby Football blows giant chunks. It has made a free-flow game designed for hooligans into a quantised one for overpaid, big girl’s blouses. It’s taken out some of the more interesting parts of the game (e.g. after the tackle comes “the ‘hide-it-from-the-ref’ putting in of the boot” and other generalised mayhem) and replaced them with somethings purely American (e.g. time outs {commercial breaks}, plays {commercial breaks}, team changes {commercial breaks}).

  2. #2 Dunc
    September 18, 2008

    Man, don’t you just hate it when news organisations in other countries use language the way it’s used in that country? I’m going to write to CNN to complain that they’re misspelling “colour”…

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    September 18, 2008

    Ok, I get all these jokes and stuff, but seriously … seriously … is the phrase “We tackled that problem” in Britain the same as “We started to work on that problem” and not (as it is in America) “We finished off that problem” and if so, is it true that this is because of the vast differences between Rugby and US Football? And, on to of that, how long has the phrase “tackled the problem” been in use, and has it evolved as the games have changed (or not) over the years?

    That would be cool. I need to know this.

  4. #4 Dunc
    September 18, 2008

    Well, even the Merriam-Webster dictionary gives the following relevant meanings for the verb “to tackle”:

    2 a: to seize, take hold of, or grapple with especially with the intention of stopping or subduing
    3: to set about dealing with (tackle the problem)

    Are you sure you’ve correctly understood the phrase in the past?

  5. #5 Zeno
    September 18, 2008

    Greg, I don’t think your understanding of the idiom “we tackled the problem” is universal in the U.S. I have always taken it in what you consider the British sense: “we engaged the problem.” When I worked for several years in state government in Sacramento, people who used the phrase did not necessarily claim to have solved the problem they had tackled. There was nothing inherently contradictory in the statement “We tackled the problem but were unable to resolve it” (which I admit I heard more often than I cared to).

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    September 18, 2008

    I’m probably just doin’ it wrong.

  7. #7 Greg Laden
    September 18, 2008

    But wait, hold on one second. The ‘headline’ on the RSS feed was:

    “Mystery of near-death tackled”

    That is not the same as “we are going to tackle the problem. The issue here may be the use of the past tense. Indeed, a story about how you are about to fund a research project is “tackled” vs. “not tackled” because of the meaning of “tackled” as success vs. attempt. Rather, the headline has shifted “tackled” to “got funding for” rather than “are grappling with”

    So, yes, tackled can mean grappling with a problem or having grappled with a problem, but I don’t think it means “have not yet started working on it but got some funding” … here, the only think tackled is the grant, not the problem.

    So, this may turn out to be a case of quirky headline writing but not an interesting example of the evolution of a phrase.

  8. #8 Andrew
    September 18, 2008

    I (from the UK) have always understood tackling in a none-rugby sense to mean something akin to “take on”. Or perhaps even better “come to grips with”.

    So “I’ve tackled my homework” just means “I’ve started doing something about my homework”. Whether the homework will ever be finished or right doesn’t really come into it. 🙂

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    September 18, 2008

    OK, then, I think we are back to there being a difference again. According to Andrew “I’ve tackled my homework” means “I’ve started my homework” but according to Greg “I’ve tackled my homework” means “I’m done with my homework”

    Perhaps we will settle this tonight.

  10. #10 Matt Penfold
    September 18, 2008

    I cast my vote for tackle in the “I’ve started my homework” usage, not the “I’m done with my homework”.

    Actually in the UK “I’m done with my homework” could mean you have finished the homework, but could also mean you have had enough and will not be doing anymore (for now at least).

  11. #11 Winter Toad
    September 18, 2008

    As a Canadian speaker of English, I’ve only ever been aware of the term “to tackle” as to approach a problem with the intent to solve it. I wouldn’t think of it as indicating the end of the problem.

  12. #12 Bee
    September 18, 2008

    Another Canadian chiming in – I also have never heard of using the word ‘tackled’ (outside its use in sports) except in the sense of having begun to deal with a situation. It generally has the connotation of determination to solve a problem or complete a task: “I’m going to tackle cleaning that overflowing closet”, for example.

    Daignosis for Greg: you watch too much sports.

  13. #13 greg laden
    September 18, 2008

    Bee: That would mean that watching about two hours of sports a month is too much. Which could be true.

    But again, your example is “tackle” … so you are saying, just to be sure, that if I say “I tackled the overflowing closet” that this means that I’ve made a plan to clean the closet and may not have started to clean the closet yet.

    I think we need a South African here to chime in here too.

  14. #14 Ben Zvan
    September 18, 2008

    Even in Big American Football, if you tackle a guy it only ends the play, not the game.

  15. #15 Greg Laden
    September 18, 2008

    Ben: Right. It ends the play. If you run at a guy and say “I’m gonna knock that guy down” and then you lung at him and the coach is saying “go go go” and the crowd is cheering and you’re really going to knock him down and then you fall and break something and don’t get near the guy, according to the Canadians, you tackled him. But in American Football, you embarrassed yourself and he got a touch down.

    If I’m understanding this correctly.

  16. #16 Ben Zvan
    September 18, 2008

    Oh, and as far as the naked thing:

    I remember that, a few years ago, the same argument was used to continue the ban on women having to wear tops. The judge said something like “If there’s a man without a shirt on 6th Street and a woman without a shirt on 5th street, you tell me where the accident is going to be.”

  17. #17 Ben Zvan
    September 18, 2008

    From the Oxford English Dictionary (because it’s British):
    Tackle, v.
    1. Make determined efforts to deal with (a difficult task). Initiate discussion with (someone) about a sensitive issue.
    2. (In soccer, hockey, rugby, etc.) intercept (an opponent in possession of the ball).

    In definition 2, I would think success would be expected for the word to apply. But what is a successful “intercept”? Crossing paths? Making impact?

    I’m not sure how you determine who is “in possession of the ball” in hockey.

  18. #18 Ana
    September 18, 2008

    In soccer, it’s a “tackle” when you get the ball away from an opponent, and it’s “clean” or “illegal” depending on the type and amount of contact the tackler makes with the other player. The tackle is judged by a ref who decides if it warrants a “play on”, a “yellow card” or a “red card”. Most of the time, in a fair game anyway, tackles go back and forth with no stoppage of play, just some gains and losses of immediate opportunity.

    As far as closets go, at least for my own, I could say that I have indeed tackled the issue of whether or not I need to clean it out (I do!), but that I have not yet tackled the scheduling of when that will be and the logistics of how it will proceed. I’ll get to tackling that, and then will come the time that I REALLY tackle what I’ve tackled, and on completion I will have ultimately tackled what I had set out to tackle. And then it’s time to tackle the mall!

  19. #19 the real sockpuppies
    September 18, 2008

    Mugabe gone soon? Good riddance.

  20. #20 Todd Sayre
    September 19, 2008

    Can we all just agree to table this issue?