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Q&A: A bawdy term for bravery

Bawdy term for bravery

Sarah Palin recently used the word "cojones" to describe the actions of a female governor. How did this word become a term of praise instead of slang for a certain part of the male anatomy?

Cojones (pronounced kuh-ho-nays) is a Spanish slang word referring to a man's testicles. It has also come to mean bravery, and that's the meaning Palin implied in her recent comparison of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to President Barack Obama on the issue of illegal immigration.

According to, the use of cojones as a word of endearment for someone with courage can be traced to the writer Ernest Hemingway's 1932 book on bullfighting, Death in the Afternoon, in which he wrote: "It takes more cojones to be a sportsman where death is a closer party to the game."

Tally on high court confirmation

The Senate voted 63-37 on Aug. 5 to confirm Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. In the previous three confirmations, how many senators in each party voted to confirm, and what was the political makeup of the Senate at each confirmation?

Voting yes for Kagan were 56 Democrats, five Republicans and two independents. Voting no were 36 Republicans and one Democrat.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed by a vote of 68-31 with one abstention on Aug. 9, 2009. Fifty-seven Democrats, nine Republicans (out of 40) and both independents voted for her confirmation. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., missed the vote because of illness.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. was confirmed by a vote of 58-42 on Jan. 31, 2006. Fifty-four Republicans (out of 55) and four Democrats (out of 44) voted yes. One independent voted against Alito.

John G. Roberts Jr. was confirmed as chief justice by a vote of 78-22 on Sept. 29, 2005. All 55 Republicans, 22 Democrats (out of 44) and one independent voted yes.

Suggest ways to cut spending

How can I submit proposals for reducing government spending to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, co-chaired by former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson?

The commission says it welcomes input as it seeks creative solutions to the nation's fiscal challenges. Submit suggestions and comments to The commission notes that due to the volume of comments, it is not able to respond to each submission.

President Barack Obama established the bipartisan commission in February. The final report is due Dec. 1, and will contain recommendations that have been approved by at least 14 of the 18 members. The panel includes Bowles, Simpson, six Republican and six Democratic members of Congress, and four other members who are outside government.

Q&A: A bawdy term for bravery 08/15/10 [Last modified: Sunday, August 15, 2010 11:37pm]
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