This and That

Once again, The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternative meanings for common words. The winners are:

  1. Coffee (N.), the person upon whom one coughs.
  2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.
  3. Abdicate (V.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
  4. Esplanade (V.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
  5. Willy-nilly (Adj.), impotent.
  6. Negligent (Adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.
  7. Lymph (V.), to walk with a lisp.
  8. Gargoyle (N.), olive-flavored mouthwash.
  9. Flatulence (N.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
  10. Balderdash (N.), a rapidly receding hairline.
  11. Testicle (N.), a humorous question on an exam.
  12. Rectitude (N.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
  13. Pokemon (N), a Rastafarian proctologist.
  14. Oyster (N.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
  15. Frisbeetarianism (N.), (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your Soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
  16. Circumvent (N.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

[Thanks to Ron Liebman]

A federal appeals court in Boston will not rehear the appeal of Equal Rights Amendment supporters arguing the proposed addition to the U.S. Constitution has been ratified, leaving in place a lower court decision to dismiss their lawsuit for lack of standing and setting it up for a possible Supreme Court review.

The plaintiffs, led by advocacy group Equal Means Equal, are seeking a court order to force U.S. Archivist David Ferriero to publish the would-be 28th Amendment to the Constitution, sent to the states by Congress in 1972.

Ferriero has refused to publish it, relying on a Justice Department legal memo saying the 1979 deadline that Congress had set for states to ratify the ERA is valid and legally binding. The final three states to ratify it—Illinois, Nevada, and Virginia—took ratification votes four decades after the deadline, with Virginia legislators granting their approval in January 2020.

The Boston plaintiffs had asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit to rehear their appeal with its full slate of judges, after a three-judge panel of the court ruled against them last June. The appellate court denied that en banc rehearing request in a single paragraph ruling Tuesday. [Source – Jason Berman]

SUVs’ share of the global auto market reached a new high accounting for
45.9% of the total auto sales in 2021. [Mike Allen – Axios PM 12/22/21]

In a recent survey of Americans commissioned by Axios and the Illinois Institute of Technology…

  • 81% think that the government should be doing more to protect privacy
  • 78% think they are being targeted by online advertisers
  • 80% of liberals and 83% of conservatives think Big Tech companies are too big
  • 71% think there should be public oversight in use of algorithms
  • 69% would limit the use of AI for hiring decisions
  • 60% distrust AI for processing loan applications and setting mortgage rates
  • 56% think we are dependent on smartphones.
  • 31% say they feel anxious without their smartphones.
  • 46% say their friends feel anxious without their smartphones
  • 50% think they’re targeted for online ads based on their offline conversations
  • 53% of respondents said the government should be responsible for ensuring competition and more choices in online services.

[Axios Login, YouGov 7/29-8/5/21]

The top 0.01% of individuals in the world now hold about 11% of the world’s wealth. This compares to just over 10% in 2020. [Mike Allen 12/7/21]

Female physicians earn an average of $2 million – or nearly 25% – less than their male counterparts, over their careers. The gender pay gap was largest among surgical specialists ($2.5 million) and nonsurgical specialists ($1.6 million) whereas the difference between men and women in primary care was roughly $900,000. [Political Pulse 12/7/21]

The body mass of animals shrank by 98% during the period from 1.5 million years ago to 11,700 years or 10,500 years ago. [Haaretz 12/20/21]

(Haaretz is an Israeli newspaper founded in 1918, making it the longest running newspaper currently in print in Israel, published in Hebrew and English)

22% of health and fitness clubs (about 9,100 locations) have closed during the pandemic. [Mike/Axios AM 1/2/22]