14 September 2009

Vocabulary In the News : 13 September 2009 – The Washington Times

A more readable version of this front page, click on the image! For the homepage of The Washington Times, go to : http://www.washingtontimes.com/

- Tens of thousands of protesters have descended on Washington D.C. for a ‘tea party.’ A tea party is the name given to the nationwide protests against increased taxes, socialized medicine, government spending, increased gun control laws, and any other program that has expanded the power and control of government in the lives of the ordinary citizen. These protests are named after the Boston Tea Party that took place in 1773 against a then increasingly powerful British government. At that time, in protest against a tea tax, colonists disguised as American Indians, threw crates of tea into Boston Harbor. A rally is simply when a large group of people get together to either support or protest someone or something. Here, protestors are rallying to assail big government and what they see as an attack against the US Constitution. To assail can mean to either physically attack or severely criticize. In this case, they are criticizing the expansion of the government’s powers. This rally is the result of a grassroots movement. In other words, this movement began with the ordinary citizen and not any political leader.

- President Obama is taking a new approach and argument in order to persuade the American people in favor of his healthcare overhaul. This is word is both a noun and a verb. If you overhaul something, you completely change it in order to make it run more efficiently. According to the article, the president is now using Treasury data to gird the American people for the perils if the system isn’t overhauled. To gird simply means to prepare for something difficult though this is word rarely used in everyday speech.

- The Obama administration has asked Iran to clarify a vague proposal they made for talks. In doing so, the administration is calling Iran’s bluff. If you call someone’s bluff, you ask them to do what they are threatening to do because you believe that they don’t intend to do it. This is a term that comes from card playing when one player bluffs the others trying to make them think he has a better hand of cards. You don’t believe him so you call his bluff by forcing him to show his cards.

- ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) defines itself as a community-based organization working for families of low to moderate income. They are deeply involved in voter registration and have been severely criticized for registering illegal immigrants and other non citizens. They have also come under fire for registering the same person several times and for registering pets to vote! They were deeply involved in last year’s elections. This time they have come under fire when a video from a hidden camera during an undercover sting (une opération secrète d’infiltration) was released showing ACORN workers advising a man and women, posing as a prostitute and pimp, on how to avoid paying taxes through falsifying tax forms and on how to seek illegal benefits for underage girls. ACORN fired back by accusing conservatives of smearing (diffamer) them in order to attack President Obama’s agenda. To fire back means to respond to an answer or a remark quickly and angrily. Obama was involved with the organization and also hired them during his presidential campaign. The headline states that Acorn is firing back in wake of this sting. This simply means that they are reacting after an event and in result of that even. It’s the image of a boat moving through the water, the waves left behind the boat are called the wake. So when we say in wake of something, we are talking about the after effects of an event.

Front page of The Washington Times taken from: http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/

NOTE: I was unable to access the articles on the newspaper’s webpage and was getting a ‘site error’ message. It may be that you have to subscribe in order to read them.

Here is a video from MSNBC concerning the Tea Party in Washington.

To read more :

Up to two million march to US Capitol to protest against Obama's spending in 'tea-party' demonstration http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1213056/Up-million-march-US-Capitol-protest-Obamas-spending-tea-party-demonstration.html#ixzz0QzVYkSRr

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