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Posts Tagged ‘Media’

A Season of Conciliation

If you look at the headlines out of Washington, DC right now, it isn’t hard to see why Sen. Harry Reid is saying that Washington is broken. After all, Congress is even fighting over how to fight (that’s what the question of filibuster reform is about) and for the first time in two terms, Americans are saying they do not believe President Barack Obama is honest. I disagree with a lot of this administration’s policies, particularly around Obamacare, but the person? That’s a little harsh. No wonder so many reasonable people are either getting out of Congress or opting not to run. 

In story after story, we can see how this moment is being shaped, not by what Americans want or need from their government but from the iron triangle of Congress, Special Interests and the Media. 

Except in one story. Whose significance should not be undervalued. President George H.W. Bush and President Barack Obama held a press conference at the White House to present an award to an Iowa couple who created a non-profit that feeds hungry children in 15 countries. President Obama paid tribute to the elder Bush for “how bright a light you shine” and marveled at the fact that the elder Bush parachuted out of a plane at 85.   There is no mistaking that these two Presidents are rising above the partisanship that is turning so many voters off to politics altogether. And that is leadership. 

The senior Bush said it clearly when he went on ABC’s “This Week” recently, “I think it’s very important to fix a broken system and to treat people with respect and to have confidence in our ability to assimilate people.” 

The middle, that reasonable ground in the center, where we parse through legislation and compromise, is missing in action. And when 90% of Americans say they want a federal ban on assault weapons only to watch it get shot down by the NRA, no wonder they’re losing faith in their government. What about the rollout right now on Obamacare and how hard it is to find objective information? This article is one writer’s attempt to explain the program but even this article, while well-intentioned, claims Medicaid will be “free.”  And just a couple of paragraphs later says it’s going to cost the government a lot of money. We are our government. And that disconnect is not only expensive in a financial sense; it’s bankrupting us spiritually. That’s why we need both sides to start working together with an eye to what the American people want from them. Because the cost of all this partisan gridlock and spin is about more than dollars and cents. 



The Mom Vivant/ Debbie Baldwin of Ladue News

Every year, a small college in northern Michigan compiles a list of words and phrases to eliminate from everyday vocabulary due to misuse, overuse and/or annoyance. In years past, words as amundane as “amazing” or as trendy as “LOL” made the list. Personally, I am of the opinion that any spoken text abbreviation should be banned. Do people realize that actually saying, ‘by the way’ is shorter syllabically than ‘BTW’?

At the top of the list this year – not surprisingly – is ‘fiscal cliff.’ I’m not too worried about phasing that one out. I mean, once we go over it, we’ll need a new expression, anyway. ‘Fiscal chasm’? ‘Fiscal gorge’? I don’t see this expression going away anytime soon. I can’t imagine a politician frank enough to say, “We’re going to ignore this problem for a few weeks and hope it disappears.” 

Next is ‘double down’, which has lost all meaning. In black jack, doubling down is doubling a bet on a potentially winning hand in hopes of doubling the payout. In politics and media, the expression seems to mean repeat: double down on a bailout. At a bar, it means get another round: double down on the margaritas. The list also includes the phrase ‘job creators.’ Since they don’t seem to exist, that expression could just fade away on its own. 

I thought ‘passion’ was a strange choice for the list, but after thinking about it, it occurs to me that passion has replaced every other requirement for being good at something. He has a passion for race car driving, she has a passion for designing clothes. Good for you. I have a passion for going into outer space, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be captaining the shuttle anytime soon.

If there are no teens in your life, you’ve probably never heard the expression, ‘YOLO.’ It’s a text abbreviation and acronym for, ‘you only live once.’ Teenagers use it in a manipulative attempt to get their way or justify some act of stupidity. It’s about as valuable to the English language as ‘what-not.’ The phrase ‘spoiler alert’ is next. In the context of movie reviews, ‘spoiler alert’ is a necessary evil. It notifies the reader that the writer is going to give something away about the plot. However, walking into a room and shouting, Spoiler Alert! The Yankees just traded A-Rod, tends to render the expression moot. Really, “breaking news” seems more suitable. 

“Bucket list’ – it was a great movie, but enough is enough. People are bucket-listing everything. I have a bucket list of work accomplishments, as well as flavors to try at Baskin-Robbins. It was a good phrase and we killed it. ‘Trending’ is apparently trending. Anyone who questions whether this term has become hideously overused need only watch fifteen minutes of E! 

Next on the list was ‘superfood.’ Yeah, good luck trying to pry that one out of the hands of the kale industry. Another food-related term: boneless wings. Trust me, that phrase is going nowhere. If they called them what they really were, nobody would order them. They final word on the list is guru, which replaced tsar (and soon enough, some other over-inflated and self-important title will replace guru) Maybe at some point, actual job titles will make a comeback. 

Well, that was the list for 2012. A new crop of words will emerge late this year, probably related to the economy or politics or movies, it just depends on what’s trending. 

Jon Huntsman’s departure from the 2012 elections … or not?

NPR’s Jon Elving has raised the question of whether the recent news about Jon Huntsman’s departure from the race for the Republican nomination is really the last we’ll see of him. He wonders whether Huntsman could emerge as the nominee for the Americans have spent the last year asking themselves, “who is Jon Huntsman?” Now the question is, “what is Americanselect?” And could Jon Huntsman be on the ballot this November if he is nominated at Americanselect’s convention? That convention is an online effort to get an alternate candidate elected whose nomination will come from real people and not through either of the major parties, Republican or Democrat. Check out the following link: to learn more.

Americanselect is a secure process that will allow voters to use the internet to nominate candidates. It was started by one wealthy investor and has been supported by others whose names have so far not been disclosed. With 40% of voters identifying as Independents this year, this is already shaping up to be an interesting year. But this concept of a digital revolution that circumvents the media and traditional nominating process, could make it a radical one.

NPR on Huntsman’s departure from the race for the Republican nod

40% of voters identify as Independents