- Associated Press - Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wrong message?

“People were shocked, surprised and some even outraged that Jackie Evancho didn’t win [NBC’s] ‘America’s Got Talent.’ Jackie was blessed with some call ‘a voice of an angel.’ But this 10-year-old girl - whose voice seemed heaven sent - did not get elevated to high-rolling heaven. She did not win bragging rights and $1 million.

“Instead the ‘sure he’s talented but whatever’ Michael Grimm won. But should he really have won? Here are 4 reasons why Jackie should have:

“1. Her rendition of ‘Ava Maria’ was perfection. She hit the high notes, she hit the low notes, she tackled the song with gusto, guts and pure perfection.

“2. Michael Grimm was the winner, but shouldn’t he have just spent his competing time on American Idol? Isn’t that where the over-18 singers belong? Isn’t America’s Got Talent for those who wouldn’t be able to compete there? …

“3. Last season, the winner was Kevin Skinner. This year’s winner Michael Grimm. Both Southern singers (Kevin is from Kentucky, Michael is from Mississippi). Both totally channeling male Americana, rock ‘n’ roll, r&b and country. Don’t you think that the voters and judges should have gone out on a limb and awarded it to someone [outside] the box? Like perhaps an extremely talented 10-year-old opera singer?

“4. Wouldn’t it have been a great message to kids, our children … if Jackie won? It’s always inspiring when young kids defy the odds and win. It would have been such a fabulous message to young voices everywhere.”

- Sunny Chanel, writing on “4 Reasons Why Jackie Evancho Should Have Won America’s Got Talent,” on Babble.com Sept. 15

Changing language

The Oxford University Press announced Thursday a list of new words and phrases that have been added to the New Oxford American Dictionary.

Here’s a sampling of the new words and their origins:

- bromance - a close but nonsexual relationship between two men. Origin early 21st century: blend of brother and romance.

- carbon credit - a permit that allows a country or organization to produce a certain amount of carbon emissions and that can be traded if the full allowance is not used.

- green-collar - denoting or relating to employment concerned with products and services designed to improve the quality of the environment: green-collar jobs. Origin on the pattern of white-collar and blue-collar.

- hashtag - (on social networking websites such as Twitter) a hash or pound sign (#) used to identify a particular keyword or phrase in a posting.

- social media - websites and applications used for social networking.

- tramp stamp - a tattoo on a woman’s lower back.

- truthiness - the quality of seeming or being felt to be true, even if not necessarily true. Origin early 19th century (in the sense ‘truthfulness’). Coined in the modern sense by U.S. humorist Stephen Colbert.

- vuvuzela - a long horn blown by fans at soccer matches. Origin perhaps from Zulu.

- Oxford University Press staff, writing on “My BFF just told me ‘TTYL’ is in the dictionary. LMAO,” in the university press’ blog Sept. 16

Rhee’s future

“What would public schools in Washington, D.C., be like without Michelle Rhee? It’s the big question of the day, after incumbent Adrian Fenty lost the Democratic nomination for mayor to City Council Chairman Vincent Gray on Tuesday. It was Fenty who appointed the hard-charging, reform-minded Rhee. Before the election, Rhee hinted that she might leave her job if Gray won and became mayor. …

“While Gray hasn’t said what he will do with Rhee, he has clashed with her in city council meetings, and he ran with the backing of the Washington Teachers’ Union …, which Rhee has been at odds with since she took office in June 2007. [Tuesday] night, Gray promised his supporters a more collaborative schools’ leader - ‘a strong, empowered chancellor who works with parents and teachers.’

“If Rhee does leave, the change in D.C. schools could be profound - and disappointing. Rhee’s successes as chancellor are well-known: She’s closed down underperforming schools, revitalized special education, revamped teacher evaluations, pushed for performance pay, fired educators who aren’t up to snuff, supported the expansion of charter schools, garnered large sums of private donor money, and seen students’ test scores rise.”

- Seyward Darby, “What Will Happen to D.C. Schools If Michelle Rhee Leaves?” on the New Republic’s website Sept. 15

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