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ELDER NEWS: Cultural and Political Notes

I've resurrected Elder News today for some short takes on what has caught my attention in the past week or so.

If, as court watchers expect, the Supreme Court of the United States removes the few remaining spending restrictions on election advertising by corporations, unions and advocacy groups we can kiss away “of, by and for the people” - or what's left of it.

The court's decision, which is expected soon, concerns Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, regarding the 90-minute documentary, Hillary: The Movie, a scathing attack on then-presidential candidate Senator Clinton during the campaign of 2008. At question is whether it is political advertising, on which there are restrictions, or protected free speech. According to The New York Times,

“...if the court strikes down the restrictions on outside spending, some legal experts say, the remaining restrictions on direct contributions to campaigns would mean much less because it would be easy to support a campaign through an outside group.”

And it would give even more control of elections and government to corporations. You can read more details about the case and some commentary here.

Time Goes By readers have worked hard over the past months to understand health care and to lobby our representatives in Washington to do the right thing. We lost out on single payer from day one. I doubt the public option in the House bill will survive. And most of the final bill will not go into effect until 2013 or 2014.

We have discussed our disappointment in these and other points in the House and Senate bills that will be merged this month, but I believe this bill is an important beginning: the principle of universal health care, with the passage of the final bill, becomes national policy. There will be many tweaks over the coming years and decades, but there is now no going back.

In his weekly address to the nation on Saturday, President Obama listed the changes in health coverage that go into effect this year – 2010. (There is probably some quibbling to be done, but he is generally correct.) In spite of my disappointment overall, I am impressed. These will help a lot of people.

Watch the video below. There is some self-serving blather at the top, then the health care list of immediate 2010 changes begins at about 2:30 minutes into the speech and concludes at about 5:15.

Since 1975, Lake Superior State University has issued its annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness. The title says all you need to know. The “winning” words and phrases this year are:

  1. Shovel-ready
  2. Transparent/transparency
  3. Czar
  4. Tweet
  5. App
  6. Sexting
  7. friend, as a verb
  8. Teachable moment
  9. In these economic times
  10. Stimulus
  11. Toxic assets
  12. Too big to fail
  13. Bromance
  14. Chillaxin'
  15. Obama, as a prefix
(“Chillaxin'? I never heard of number 14. I'm guessing it means “relaxing.”)

I was disappointed that the phrase that most makes me want to tear off my ears is missing. I checked previous lists and it has never appeared. It was first used in abundance when we invaded Afghanistan in 2001, “surged” with the Iraq invasion of 2003 and, blessedly, faded from use about two years ago.

Now, unfortunately, it's back thanks to the underpants bomber and efforts to soften up the country for some sort of military engagement in Yemen. When I hear “boots on the ground” it makes my teeth hurt and I want to punch the perpetrator.

What's your “favorite” overused word or phrase?

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Madonna Dries Christensen: The Prince Dined at The Palace


My dreaded word is "like."

"I, like, hate taking the, like, bus to school, cause, like, the driver, like, smells like fish, and I, like, hate fish."

Let us banish that word, forever.

By the way, some people already have natural bombs in their bvd's.

What to do?

Bring your beano to the airport?

"You know?" I agree with doctafill about "Like" - These two phrases/words have been overused for at least two decades and should disappear from the planet.

A speech pattern that drives me nuts is the rising inflection of each sentence, making me think that the speaker has a question (or is questioning what they, themselves, are saying?)

Another grammatical grievance that I hold is when a person uses "myself" without having previously used "I" or "me" in the sentence. "Myself" is reflexive, folks, I want to tell them!

"It is what it is."

Gosh, it's banned and I don't even know what it is. What's Bromance?

I read and I read some more...where was it? Surely she will include it, won't she? Ah! There it was; 'boots on the ground'. Whoever came up with that one should be hung by their participles.

Health care; I wish I could be as forgiving as you are on this and maybe I will be someday. But we, as a nation, have been sold. And pretty cheaply at that. The rest of the world gets it but somehow we, the nation that went to the moon, can't take care of its own citizens. Yes, that is what nations are supposed to do.

The one I don't recognize is "bromance." And when they ban "boots on the ground," I suggest they also toss out its companion, "commanders in the field."

"Have a nice day."

Thanks for posting the Obama video. I'm still writing my 2009 retrospectives and naturally the big question is: what's with this President guy? Because the video was here, I actually watched it -- and it made me realize that in my disappointment, I'm tuning the guy out. Not good. His vision may not be mine, but it matters...

As for words, let's dump "counter-insurgency," a meaningless professionalization of the ugly business of an empire's trying to stamp out locally-based militias. Now where have we heard of those before?

I believe a bromance is jokingly referred to two hetero males that have a close friendship.

I'll include my most hated word even though it seems to have come and gone (Thank God) in a short time: Juicy!

And Ronni, I'm sure you've read it but wanted to make sure...The Washington Post's Ombudsman's article yesterday about the Post article on social security and the inclusion of "facts" from the Fiscal Times. Looks like those emails worked!

'Shovel ready' works for the you-know-what we keep hearing from the people who represent us in Washington.

'Tweet' is a case of no apparent interest. If I ever even think of using it, somebody shoot me.

'Facebook' as a verb annoys me. I hate Facebook and fail to see it's value. I tried shutting it down but allegedly someone tried opened it. I strongly suspect it was Facebook.

No more "sweet" please. Six of us went to dinner and had our orders taken by an otherwise pleasant young man whose response to each item was "sweet."
"Pork chops? Sweet," "coffee, sweet!" At least 2 dozen times. Could we have the bill? "Sweet." Whaaat?

I've had enough, "At the end of the day..
." to last through until the next
millennium. When will the so-called
pundits stop parroting this much over
used cliche?



whatever happened to "whatever?" you mean it's gone? good.

Loved reading all these...thanks to every one of you.

Is it too fussy to wish for, "let me look that up" rather than "i'll Google it"? I would like to hold on to some part of my life not owned by a corporation.

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