2 3 4 5 6 Displaying 22-28 of 119 Articles

CNN Money has announced that it will "steer clear" of the word sequestration, along with its snappier cousin sequester, in reporting on Capitol Hill budget negotiations, branding it esoteric jargon. That might be a good move, considering that, according to a recent poll, two-thirds of voters don't even know what sequester means. How did we get saddled with this bit of Beltway lingo?  Continue reading...
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The Second Amendment of the US Constitution is now specifically interpreted to mean that individuals have a right to possess a firearm for traditionally legal purposes. The Supreme Court case on which this interpretation of the amendment rests came down to arguments over language and definitions.  Continue reading...
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The presidential inaugural address, that quadrennial high point in American political rhetoric, invariably attracts a huge amount of attention. President Obama's address yesterday was the subject of meticulous scrutiny: his word choice, his rhetorical devices, and even his grammar all were analyzed by countless language kibitzers.  Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

Looking Back on the Oath Flub

President Obama was officially sworn in to a second term by Chief Justice John Roberts yesterday in a private ceremony at the White House. Afterwards, Obama's daughter Sasha told him, "You didn't mess up." But four years ago, the oath didn't go so smoothly, thanks to a misplaced adverb. Ben Zimmer covered the oath flub for his Word Routes column. Read it here: "Taking the Oath of Office... Faithfully."
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Americans are approaching an auspicious anniversary: it has been two hundred years since the first known appearance of "Uncle Sam" as an initialistic embodiment of the United States. The earliest example of "Uncle Sam" was found in the December 23, 1812 issue of the Bennington (Vermont) News-Letter. But another town not too far from Bennington — Troy, New York — has maintained that it is the true birthplace of Uncle Sam.  Continue reading...
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Last February, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke warned the House of Representatives that "under current law, on January 1st, 2013, there is going to be a massive fiscal cliff of large spending cuts and tax increases." Now, with the election over, President Obama and the lame-duck Congress are trying to figure out a way to avoid the "fiscal cliff." But where did the phrase come from? And is the cliff metaphor really so apt?  Continue reading...
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With Election Day behind us, everyone in my swing-state household can breathe their respective sighs of relief, savoring the sudden absence of all the recorded campaign phone calls, all the back-to-back TV commercials for Romney and Obama, all the emails pleading that one candidate or another just needs 8 more dollars from each of us by the end of the day. And we can stop hearing about the fact-checking organization Politifact's truth rankings for claims made in commercials, debates, and stump speeches.  Continue reading...
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2 3 4 5 6 Displaying 22-28 of 119 Articles