Topic:Politics

Today is the federal observation of George Washington's birthday, also called Presidents' Day. Five years ago, an unfortunate typo was discovered in a quotation from Washington chiseled on the front of the New York State Supreme Courthouse. That typo still lingers today. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Politics, Usage, Writing
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It's that time of year when everyone is making their case for the Word of the Year. For Dennis Baron, English professor at the University of Illinois and author of the blog The Web of Language, the word of 2013 is none other than marriage. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Language, Politics, Words
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With the government shutdown over and the default crisis averted, what many commentators called a "game of chicken" has finally ended on Capitol Hill. In my latest column for the Wall Street Journal, I take a look at how political stare-downs earned this appellation, and how chickens became animalistic symbols of cowardice in the first place. Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

Know Your Shutdown Buzzwords

"Furlough." "Brinkmanship." "Shutdown." "Slimdown." The political stalemate on Capitol Hill about the federal budget and the Affordable Care Act has generated its own lexicon. Katy Steinmetz has compiled a helpful guide to shutdown buzzwords for TIME's Swampland blog — check it out here.
TOPICS: Politics, Usage, Words
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Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke foiled the predictions of many analysts that September would usher in tapering, or the gradual slowdown of the bond-buying policy that the Fed instituted to keep long-term interest rates low. Those analysts even had renamed the month Septaper, but now they're looking ahead to a possible Octaper. After that, it gets a bit harder to come up with clever month-blends. Continue reading...
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In 1913, the National Press Club hosted a spelling bee that pitted members of Congress against members of the press. This week, the club celebrated the centennial of that event by bringing lawmakers and journalists together once again for a spelling battle, and Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia emerged as the victor. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Fun, Media, Politics, Spelling
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The situation in Syria has revived a number of well-worn foreign-policy phrases, from "boots on the ground" to "slam-dunks" and "smoking guns." As the American response to the conflict has involved far more in the way of words than deeds, it's worth taking a closer look at the words used by officials and commentators, no matter how hackneyed. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Politics, Usage, Words
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