Looking for a Game-Changer

Breaking down a cliché-of-the-year candidate\rThis past Saturday, while wolfing down a preposterously large stack of Swedish pancakes, I commented to a fellow chowhound that this enormous pile of food could be a real game-changer. If I cleaned my plate the way our forefathers intended, I solemnly announced,..\n

Breaking down a cliché-of-the-year candidate

This past Saturday, while wolfing down a preposterously large stack of Swedish pancakes, I commented to a fellow chowhound that this enormous pile of food could be a real game-changer. If I cleaned my plate the way our forefathers intended, I solemnly announced, I'd likely be in for a food baby, a food coma, or a coma coma.I immediately hated myself for using this ubiquitous word, which is stalking Americans at our diners, in our newspapers, and from our TV screens. Game-changer isn't quite as brain-melting as think outside the box, it is what it is, and the Wall Street/Main Street pairing, but it's surely passed the highway exits for Overused-ville and Lame-o City, on a determined journey to Please-please-make-it-stop-istan.Just after the final debate between Barack Obama and John McCain, this catchphrase-of-the-day was on the menu all over the news cycle:"…so far, no one is arguing that the event was the sure-fire ‘game-changer' so many pundits said Mr. McCain needed." (Nancy Kruh, The Dallas Morning News)"…the Republican nominee did not deliver a ‘game changer' needed to turn momentum back towards his direction."(Mark Preston,"The word ahead of time had been that McCain needed a ‘game changer,' and presumably Joe the Plumber was going to be it."(Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker)The word's omnipresence made it low-hanging fruit for the always-topical Stephen Colbert: "Yes, last night was a game-changer. In fact, it was such a game-changer, I'm not sure this is even a game anymore. These guys might really be running for office."Scary thought. But what hole did this game-changing twaddle crawl out of?Ben Zimmer, linguist and executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus--who provided his research on game-changer to another language columnist you may know-traces it back to a 1930 article in the Atlanta Constitution. The piece, about a card game that's slipped below even meerkat lacrosse and the NHL in popularity, offers a literal usage of the word: "Seldom are the game-changers idle. In their efforts to 'improve' bridge they tinker with every part of it, the best and the worst."At times meaning a person, strategy, or event, game-changer went on to make its mark in more popular sports. By the ‘90s, it had entered business lingo, as well. Since business and politics go together like mistresses and mattresses, it's another non-stunner that politics soon contracted this word virus. George Bush let it pass through his smirky lips in 2004, giving it a push along its path to prominence (and overuse).The word now turns up everywhere: from an iPhone ad to discussions about cystic fibrosis drugs, Iranian arms acquisitions, and in a message board post devoted to my favorite TV show, The Shield. (Thankfully for my sanity, this spoiler-reading fan didn't spill any specifics: "Oh week's ep is definitely a game-changer.")Complaints of horse-race political journalism are almost as tired as the pony show itself, but as a symptom of the media's equine-related lust, game-changer is as subtle as a boulder dropped on the road runner. Words like game-changer and Hail Mary subvert actual ideas and issues and plans: Apparently, what each candidate really needs to do is catch the political football betwixt head and helmet, like David Tyree, when he hauled in the game-changer of last year's Super Bowl. Then we could all do a touchdown dance.But who has the magic decoder ring that can tell a game-changer from a game-leave-the-samer? Was the selection of Sarah Palin a game-changer? (That's what they say.) What about the financial meltdown? (Appears so.) How about Colin Powell endorsing Obama? (Um, who knows?) All three would seem to be potential touchdowns for Team Obama, but touchdowns have turned to dust before. … Guess we'll have to wait till it's game over to know for sure.Besides another pancake-fest, there's only one game-changer that has me drooling: the election itself.At least we'll be done with the campaign game for a while and the Bush game forever-though his Connect Four approach to the global chess game will long remain a … well, you know.

This article was produced in partnership with the United Nations to launch the biggest-ever global conversation on the role of cooperation in building the future we want.

When half of the world's population doesn't share the same opportunity or rights as the other half, the whole world suffers. Like a bird whose wings require equal strength to fly, humanity will never soar to its full potential until we achieve gender equality.

That's why the United Nations made one of its Sustainable Development Goals to "Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls." That goal includes providing women and girls equal access to education and health care, as well as addressing gender-based discrimination and violence against women and girls.

While there is still much work to be done, history shows us that we are capable of making big leaps forward on this issue. Check out some of the milestones humanity has already reached on the path to true equality.

Historic Leaps Toward Gender Equality

1848 The Seneca Falls Convention in New York, organized by Elizabeth Lady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, is the first U.S. women's convention to discuss the oppression of women in sociopolitical, economic, and religious life.

1893 New Zealand becomes the first self-governing nation to grant national voting rights to women.

1903 Marie Curie becomes the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. She is also the only woman to win multiple Nobel Prizes, for Physics in 1903 and Chemistry in 1911.

1920 The 19th Amendment is passed in the U.S. giving women the right to vote in all 50 U.S. states.

1973 The U.S. Open becomes the first major sports tournament of its kind to offer equal pay to women, after tennis star Billie Jean King threatened to boycott.

1975 The first World Conference on Women is held in Mexico, where a 10-year World Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women is formed. The first International Women's Day is commemorated by the UN in the same year.

1979 The UN General Assembly adopts the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), also known as the "Women's Bill of Rights." It is the most comprehensive international document protecting the rights of women, and the second most ratified UN human rights treaty after the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

1980 Vigdis Finnbogadottir of Iceland becomes the first woman to be elected head of state in a national election.

1993 The UN General Assembly adopts the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, the first international instrument to explicitly define forms of violence against women and lay out a framework for global action.

2010 The UN General Assembly creates the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) to speed progress on meeting the needs of women and girls around the world.

2018 The UN and European Union join forces on the Spotlight Initiative, a global, multi-year initiative focused on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls.

As the UN celebrates its 75th anniversary, it is redoubling its commitment to reach all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including gender equality. But it will take action and effort from everyone to ensure that women and girls are free from discrimination and violence. Learn more about what is being done to address gender equality and see how you can get involved here.

And join the global conversation about the role of international cooperation in building the future by taking the UN75 survey here.

Let's make sure we all have a say in the future we want to see.

via WFMZ / YouTube

John Perez was acquitted on Friday, February 21, for charges stemming from an altercation with Allentown, Pennsylvania police that was caught on video.

Footage from September 2018 shows an officer pushing Perez to the ground. After Perez got to his feet, multiple officers kicked and punched him in an attempt to get him back on the ground.

Perez claims he was responding to insults hurled at him by the officers. The police say that Perez was picking a fight. The altercation left Perez with a broken nose, scrapes, swelling, and bruises from his hips to his shoulder.

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