This Week in Words: February 2 - 8, 2019

February 7, 2019
News flash! We’ve rounded up the top words heard, debated and discussed in the news this week. Take a look back at the week that was, vocabulary style.
The State of The Union Address was this week. Although President Trump was at the podium, many viewers were just as interested in the "performance" of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who was pictured just over the president's shoulder during the 82-minute televised speech. The press had a field day analyzing Pelosi's body language and facial expressions, which conveyed everything from approval, to unease, to bemusement.
And although she mostly smiled politely and respectfully, at times Pelosi seemed to make no effort to hide her displeasure or bemusement.
- Los Angeles Times (Feb 5, 2019)
Scientists in Sweden have figured out a new way to store the energy created from solar panels in the form of a liquid. This liquid can then be converted back into useable energy, like steam heat. The researchers say that the technology should be available for wide use in ten years.
When the energy is needed, it can be drawn through the catalyst so that the liquid heats up.
- Good News Network (Feb 4, 2019)
As mentioned, the President delivered the State of the Union address this week. Trump emphasized how the two political parties must work together to get things accomplished. He also addressed issues that bitterly divide the government, like his controversial proposal for a border wall. Like all presidents, Trump will need Congressional lawmakers to show the spirit of conciliation to achieve his goals.
In a nationally televised speech that toggled between conciliation and confrontation, Mr. Trump presented himself as a leader who can work across party lines even as he pressed lawmakers to build a wall along the nation’s southwestern border that leaders of the newly empowered congressional Democrats have adamantly rejected.
- The New York Times (Feb 5, 2019)
According to scientists at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA, 2018 was the fourth-warmest year the planet has seen since the records have been kept, going back some 140 years. The scientists say that the speed at which the planet is warming is clear evidence of climate change caused by human processes. Extreme weather phenomena, like rapid swings in temperatures and the recent polar vortex that affected much of the nation, are also seen as effects of climate change.
While this planet has seen hotter days, and colder ones, what sets recent warming apart in the sweep of history is the relative suddenness of the rise in temperatures and its clear correlation with increasing levels of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane produced by human activity over the same period.
- The New York Times (Feb 6, 2019)
David Malpass is President Trump's choice to be the President of the World Bank, which lends money to poor, developing countries. Since the U.S. is the largest shareholder in the bank, which is made up of 189 other nations, it traditionally nominates the head of the organization. Malpass, if confirmed, is expected to cut back on lending to China, a U.S. rival and a nation which many leaders view as too wealthy to receive financial aid.
Malpass, Treasury undersecretary for international affairs, has criticized the World Bank and other multilateral institutions for growing larger, more “intrusive” and “ entrenched,” and targeted the bank for its continued lending to China, a country he sees as too wealthy for such aid.
- Reuters (Feb 6, 2019)
In addition to the official Democratic response to the the State of the Union, which was delivered by Stacey Abrams, Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders also gave a response. Sanders is being criticized for obscuring the official message of the Democrats, the party he is most often aligned with. Sanders is considering running for President again in 2020, as he did in 2016.
Sanders also endorsed Abrams, who garnered more votes than any other Democrat in a Georgia statewide race.
- USA Today (Feb 6, 2019)
Big changes are being considered for the upcoming baseball season. The sport, which is known as America's pastime, has been steadily losing viewers, fans, and money, for years. Many think making the game shorter and more exiting is the key to renewing its popularity. One proposal is to only allow the pitcher to have twenty seconds between pitches. We hope they keep the 7th inning stretch so we still have time to scarf down a hotdog then take a quick nap without missing any of the game.
One of commissioner Rob Manfred's major initiatives during his tenure has been to improve the game's pace of play, something the pitch clock and three-batter minimum for pitchers would theoretically address.
- USA Today (Feb 6, 2019)
The New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams in the 53rd Super Bowl. This marks the sixth time that Patriots coach Bill Belichick and his quarterback Tom Brady have won the biggest game in football. To some fans, it seems preposterous that Brady and Bellichick are still playing, and still winning, so late in their careers. With this victory, the duo became the oldest QB and the oldest coach in history to win the championship.
To anyone given to rational, fact-based thought, that might seem like an increasingly preposterous notion. A growing pie of inescapable realities is stacked at New England’s doorstep.
- The Wall Street Journal (Feb 4, 2019)
Stacey Abrams, who ran for governor in the state of Georgia last year, delivered the official Democratic response to the President's State of the Union address. Abrams wove her criticism of Trump into her own personal story. She also lashed out at the President's immigration policy, and blamed him for the recent government shutdown. A tenet is a core belief that is considered central to a religion, philosophy, or world view.
“The shutdown was a stunt engineered by the president of the United States, one that defied every tenet of fairness and abandoned not just our people, but our values,” said Ms. Abrams—adding he made federal workers’ “livelihoods a pawn for political games,” calling it “a disgrace.”
- The Wall Street Journal (Feb 5, 2019)
Print media has been having a field day lately with the supposed rivalry between Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle. Now TV is getting into the act, with the TLC Network airing a program called Kate v. Meghan: Princesses At War? Careful viewers will note that the women are duchesses, not princesses. Very few people actually know for sure what goes on in the life of the royals, but lots of people sure seem interested in speculating about their ultra-exclusive lifestyle.
Is there a vicious feud raging between everyone's favorite royal sisters-in-law, Duchess Kate of Cambridge and Duchess Meghan of Sussex? They'll never say. But that doesn't stop TV networks and media from whetting fan appetites with speculation.
- USA Today (Feb 5, 2019)

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