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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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In the leadup to President Obama's win over Mitt Romney, a number of political commentators described the presidential race as not just "tight" but "razor-tight." Ultimately, the razor-tight description was apt in such battleground states as Ohio, Florida, and Virginia, but not so much in the overall electoral results. But wait a minute: why razor-tight?  Continue reading...
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In the third and final presidential debate, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama ended up agreeing on many foreign policy points. Despite all the heated rhetoric of the campaign, both candidates are making a play for undecided voters in the middle of the political spectrum. But for those who are disillusioned with the two-party system, Obama and Romney seem interchangeable: you might as well call them Robama and Obamney.  Continue reading...
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In last night's presidential debate, Barack Obama said that Mitt Romney's economic plan amounted to a "sketchy deal." Soon thereafter, #SketchyDeal was a trending topic on Twitter (in part thanks to the Obama campaign's own Twitter account), used to question or criticize various aspects of Romney's proposals. With sketchy in the spotlight, it's worth sketching out how the word came to prominence, and how it can mean different things to different people.  Continue reading...
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In last night's vice-presidential debate, there was one clear winner: the word malarkey. Joe Biden used it not once but twice against Paul Ryan. First, in responding to Ryan's criticism of the Obama administration's handling of last month's attacks in Benghazi, he told Ryan, "With all due respect, that's a bunch of malarkey." And then later, Biden euphemistically called Ryan's rhetoric "a bunch of stuff" before clarifiying, "We Irish call it malarkey."  Continue reading...
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3 4 5 6 7 Displaying 29-35 of 122 Articles