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California's congressionally favorite word

December 23, 2011 |  1:43 pm

Barbara Boxer
Blah blah blah deficit blah blah blah tax …

Exactly how you expect members of Congress to sound, right?

You would be surprised how wrong that can be.

The Sunlight Foundation tracks word use on Capitol Hill, like how often legislators use the word "war" compared to "peace" (almost twice as much). The tally includes state-by-state breakdowns. And what does California's congressional delegation talk about?

The most common word you hear from California's elected officials is …

What's running through your mind right now? Whatever it is, it's probably wrong. Because the word you hear most often from Californians on Capitol Hill is …

"Fresno."

No kidding. See for yourself.

It's a nifty website that lets you search by states and their legislators too. You can play along at home!

Some of Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer's favorite words are "after school" and "Anbar" and "Inhofe" -- the latter her Republican foe from Oklahoma on climate change matters. Sen. Dianne Feinstein's faves are "ethanol," "intelligence" and "FISA," which, like Boxer's, reflect her committee assignments. Boxer chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Feinstein is on the Select Committee on Intelligence.

After "Fresno," here are the California delegation's recent top 20 word choices:

Nuclear … roll call … patent … Republican … Medicare ... Republicans … intelligence … Israel … paragraph [!] … consumers … weapons … deal … saying … Democrats … debt … campaign … motion … Santa … Clinton.

Santa! Clinton! Gotta love the Big White Dome discourses.

Maybe this Fresno-first finding makes up for the satirical 1980s miniseries "Fresno," a send-up of the overwrought "Dallas" and "Falcon Crest" genre. This six-hour miniseries, starring Carol Burnett, opened with a Spanish conquistador taking a taste of a grape, making a face and spitting it out, declaring, "It tastes like fresno." Brief though it was, the miniseries about warring raisin barons generated hurt feelings, although, as my former colleague Steve Harvey pointed out at the time, the miniseries steered clear of jokes about the code for Fresno's airport, the Fresno Air Terminal -- FAT.

ALSO:

The lessons Congress didn't learn in 2011

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Six moments in the year's animal welfare hall of shame

--Patt Morrison

Photo: Sen. Barbara Boxer is seen with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa near the Sixth Street bridge at an Oct. 27 news conference. Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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