Friday, June 24, 2005


British potato farmers have taken issue with the expression "couch potato", rallying in London to call for it to be struck from the dictionary on the grounds that it harms the vegetable's image. The British Potato Council wants the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) to replace the expression with the term "couch slouch". They plan protests outside parliament and the offices of Oxford University Press.

Kathryn Race, head of marketing at the council, which represents some 4000 growers and processors, said the group had complained in writing to the OED but had yet to receive a response. "We are trying to get rid of the image that potatoes are bad for you," she said. "The potato has had its knocks in the past. Of course it is not the Oxford English Dictionary's fault but we want to use another term than couch potato because potatoes are inherently healthy."

The OED says "couch potato" originated as American slang, meaning "a person who spends leisure time passively or idly sitting around, especially watching television or videotapes".

The Potato Council says its campaign has the backing of dieticians who say the vegetable is low in fat and high in vitamin C. Supporting the campaign, celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson said the vegetable was one of Britain's favourite foods. "Not only are they healthy, they are versatile, convenient and taste great too. Life without potato is like a sandwich without a filling," he said.

OED chief editor John Simpson said the dictionary first included the term couch potato in 1993 and said "dictionaries just reflect the words that society uses".



Obama is of course the great black hope of the Dems (Even though he is NOT of slave descent). Here he echoes Cosby in saying that black fathers need to adopt a more fatherly role in their children's lives

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama on Sunday exhorted fathers in the black community to earn the love and respect of their children by acting like "full-grown" men and living their values. In a half-hour sermon delivered as the Father's Day message at Christ Universal Temple, 11901 S. Ashland Ave., Obama, an Illinois Democrat, said fathers should have high expectations for themselves if they wish their sons and daughters to be successful. "If we are going to pass on high expectations to our children, we've got to have high expectations for ourselves," Obama said to applause from a capacity crowd of about 4,000 people. "Don't settle for just what you've got," Obama said. "You can shoot high."

Obama said black fathers should set an example of excellence for their children, take responsibility for their own actions, foster education and live their values, and promote kindness and hope in their children. "There are a lot of folks, a lot of brothers, walking around, and they look like men," Obama said, drawing laughter from the congregation. "And they're tall, and they've got whiskers--they might even have sired a child. But it's not clear to me that they're full-grown men."

Citing St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians, Obama said too many fathers "engage in childish things, who are more concerned about what they want than what's good for other people." Obama--who later said his daughters, ages 6 and 3, had given him breakfast in bed Sunday morning "with a little help from my wife"--said fathers should be "taking responsibility for our actions." "We have not chosen the circumstances in which we were born, but we can determine the circumstances in which we live," he said.

Obama drew the most thunderous applause of his speech when he said 8th-grade graduations are sometimes overvalued. "They've got to get out of high school, then they've got to go to college, then they've got to get a graduate degree," said Obama, whose sermon was followed by a tribute to fathers by the church's children's choir.

Fathers have to be involved with their children's lives to pass on their values, Obama said. If "every weekend ... when you get home you go down to the basement and you're watching television, then you've got issues of how important, really, is your family," he said.

More here

Background on Cosby: "Mr. Cosby is black, so charging him with the vice of racism would not work too well. It could carry no punch with which to silence what he suggested, namely, that black parents can and ought to straighten up their parental acts. Had his words been spoken by some prominent white commentator, that ploy would still have been appealing to the modern liberal establishment. Call the messenger a racist and thus squash the truth about what parents can and should do for their kids. But what to do now, when a prominent black figure delivers this piece of sensible insight? How can it be squelched, neutralized so we can keep going to government to answers? Come to the rescue The New York Times .... The problem with Bill Cosby isn't that he is white -- no, it's that he belongs to the upper black classes. The class card, thus, takes the place of the race card."

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