OK, I know that's really two words. The folks at the New Oxford American Dictionary (think of them as the OED's much hipper cousins) have declared "carbon neutral" their word of the year. The definition, please:
Being carbon neutral involves calculating your total climate-damaging carbon emissions, reducing them where possible, and then balancing your remaining emissions, often by purchasing a carbon offset: paying to plant new trees or investing in "green" technologies such as solar and wind power.
While this term has been on the lips of the likes of Al Gore for a while, it hardly has the currency of last year's winner, "podcasting." Which makes this a significant choice. As NOAD editor Erin McKean explains:
"All the Oxford lexicographers look forward to choosing the Word of the Year. We know that people love fun, flashy words like truthiness or the latest Bushism, but we are always looking for a word that is both reflective of the events and concerns of the past year and also forward-looking: a word that we think will only become more used and more useful as time goes on."
"Carbon neutral" beat out another socially responsible contender, "CSA" (community sponsored agriculture), as well as "Islamofascism." And my favorite, "elbow bump".
Conservative wunderkind Grover Norquist continues to insist that the GOP can reclaim its former glory if it can get past its silly associations with endless war, incomptence, and hypocrisy. Last week, he said this meant doing away with pesky little matters like Bush and Iraq. Now, reports the Finanical Times, he's got some more wisdom for glum Republicans:
"Bob Sherwood's seat [in Pennsylvania] would have been overwhelmingly ours, if his mistress hadn't whined about being throttled," said Mr Norquist. Any lessons from the campaign? "Yes. The lesson should be, don't throttle mistresses."
Sherwood, of course, was the (married) Pennsylvania congressman who allegedly choked his girlfriend. Aside from that, he was the perfect candidate.
Despite short-term setbacks, Norquist said, the conservative movement is "perfectly healthy. No one is losing because they favor tax cuts, are pro-life, pro-gun or pro-growth.
"In two years, there is no George W. Bush and almost no Iraq war as presently constructed," Norquist said.
"And Democrats will be standing there, naked to the winds, having been forced by Nancy Pelosi to vote for tax increases, gun control and impeaching the president," he added, referring to the future speaker of the House.
Visions of disrobed Democrats aside, note how Norquist's smugness actually reveals his eagerness to get beyond Iraq and George W. Bush (echoing the neocons' new favorite theme). Yet somehow I suspect Republicans are going to have to confront those two issues in 2008 before they can get back to the business of being "real" conservatives. If only the Bush legacy could be drowned in the bath tub before then!
Newsweek goes for a twofer with this week's cover story, "The Politics of Jesus," featuring an image of a cross wrapped in the American flag. As we noted in our religion issue last year, the newsweekly has a long record of sticking J.C. on its cover to attract readers (according to one trade mag, Christ can boost magazine sales 45%). And when Newsweek finds religion, Time can't be far behind. Sure enough, its cover story this week is "God vs. Science," illustrated with a crucifix attached to a double-helix rosary. Predictions for next week's covers: Time"How Would Jesus Win in Iraq?"; Newsweek"Are You There, God? It's Me, Karl."