language at the Health Care Summit

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Mar 2 19:06:46 UTC 2010

33 hits (46 raw) in /current/ Google News (between now and Feb 4).
Some good ones:
> With more than a third of American children and teens overweight — about 25 million in all — and adults by the millions in various stages of obesity, if she succeeds, she'll have a greater impact on the health of America than any health-care plan now *circling the drain* in Congress.
> We reported last week that Toyota was once again *circling the drain*, this time over braking issues with its Prius hybrids.
> "Moderate" Florida governor Charlie Crist's Senate campaign is circling the drain.
> "Honest services is on its last legs," said Brian Wice, a Houston appellate lawyer. "It is circling the drain as a theory of prosecution until they manage to remedy the multiple defects they find with it."

Even adjectival use:
> You have to give it up for Jeff Bridges, who delivers a fearless performance as *circling-the-drain country singer* Bad Blake in Crazy Heart. The actor sacrifices all vanity in his portrayal, raising the bar of disgust with each passing scene.

And, of course, a snowclone "The sound of X Ying":
> That sound you've been hearing -- that soft "swooshing" in the distance -- isn't anything important. It's just the sound of Palm circling the drain.

In fact, in the last three weeks, there have been multiple references
to Toyota and Palm "circling the drain" (from unrelated sources), the
health-care reform and the health-care system itself circling the
drain, and even two reviews of the same Jeff Bridges character as
"circl[ing]-the-drain country singer" (the latter perhaps


On Tue, Mar 2, 2010 at 1:28 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at> wrote:
> At 12:48 PM -0500 3/2/10, Alison Murie wrote:
>>It may not have  been at the health care circus, but in some context
>>concerning the dolorous state of affairs for the many who have been
>>hard hit by current conditions, I heard a woman winding up an account
>>of losses (of job, health, money, house,&c.) with the words "we're
>>circling the drain."  This is a new one to me.  Do others know it?
> Yup, that's been around for awhile; very evocative.  Now "draining
> the circle" would be a new one on me.
> LH

The American Dialect Society -

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