Thursday, May 26, 2005

Testosterone Grammar

Op-Ed Columnist
What Women Want

Mr. Tierney: Your report of the experiments that show women not interested in insane competition as men are represents a salute to the sanity and balance of women. I suspect a woman's replacement of George Bush would have saved us a bloody war with no basis but the acting out of neocon-testosterone-poison competition in the safety of the Oval Office. Most of these Oval Office warriors chose to skip their service obligations in their own war, so they are fans of ersatz competition that does not involve their life and limb.

Your getting this pundit job instead of a qualified woman's getting it represents some kind of distortion in the choice of a man instead of woman in the men's psyches who hired you. Maybe we could have the two women who conducted the gender-competition study take on the task of determining what kind of male nutcake factors resulted in your hiring instead of a more qualified woman.

Meanwhile, since the damage is done and you're the new columnist, try to learn grammar and punctuation. I am a shareholder and don't like to see the errors below in the paper.

lee drury de cesare


The men's eagerness partly stemmed from overconfidence, because on average men rated their ability more highly than the women rated theirs.

"Partly" is a misplaced modifier. It should go before "from." The comma cuts off a restrictive trailing adverbial clause. Any woman you flagged down in the street could tell you that men routinely overestimate their ability--especially their sexual ability, the mother of all competitive abilities in men's lexicon

Friday, May 20, 2005

Possessif avant le Gerondif

GRAMMARGRINCH Posted by HelloPossessif avant le Gérondif

Both Trigaux and Gailey of the SPTimes omit the possessive before the gerund below. One gets a quarrel from vainglorious language scholars who quote exceptions sanctioned by Curme and other grammar gods. But the rule prevails. Most current grammar books cite it. The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage logs it on page 253.

Mr. Trigaux saw the Enron movie; Mr. Gailey lollygags in France, where he will, were he to consult his French grammar book, discover he flouts possessif-avant-le-gérondif rule.

Mr. Gailey ranks more blameworthy. He makes more money than Mr. Trigaux. My rule says to blame the better-paid guy for grammar mess-ups more sternly because he probably enjoya social promotion not based on merit. One won’t find my blame rule cited in any grammar book, but that absence does not make the rule any less cogent.

Both writers suffer wordiness exacerbated by passive-verb addiction. Grammar checkers will give a percentage of passive verbs but don’t tell how to correct them. A writer can identify passive verbs him- or herself: They are always verb phases, always have the past participle as main verb, and always feature a form of “to be” as a helping verb. To get rid passive verbs, one takes the subject from the “by phrase,” expressed or understood: The cat was chased (by the dog). The dog chased the cat.

Besides causing wordiness, passive verbs blunt the force of a sentence. Flabby style results.

Newspapers' exotic use of single quotation marks puzzles. Besides, a movie (below) gets italics. There is no excuse for newspapers not to use italics except reluctance to change. One understands that italics were tough to do on those what-cha-ma-callit type-setting machines. But that excuse disappears with the computer keyboard.

'Enron' is a tale that resonates


That's the same state brought to its knees by waves of power blackouts that critics claim were caused by Enron (and some other energy companies) manipulating the supply and price of electricity in the western United States to maximize company profits. 41 words

Enron’s…companies’ manipulating

Edit: Waves of power blackouts brought this state to its knees. Critics claim Enron and other energy companies manipulated supply and price of electricity to maximize profits. 26 words: 10 and 16

Putting in a good word for the French Series


Will it lead to my name being added to the no-fly list or a flag on my passport? 18 words

name’s being

Edit: Will the mistake put me on the no-fly list or flag my passport? 13 words

Mr. Gailey makes the same possessive-before-gerund error in an article cited in Buzzflash as being by a “lobotomized” journalist who cannibalizes his own:

By Monday, the big news was the editor of Newsweek retracting and apologizing for the story.

Newsweek’s retracting

Here's an Example of How the Mainsteam Media Has Been Lobotomized. Columnist for Florida Paper Admits that Busheviks Used Torture and Humiliation of Muslim Faith Beliefs. He Admits That Prisoners Say the Koran Was Abused. He Admits that a Pentagon Source Told Newsweek the Same. He Admits the Photographic documentation of Abuse. Then He Castigates Not the Bush Administration, But Newsweek. Say What? What are the Chances that Soldiers, Under the Administration-Admitted "Humiliate Them In Anyway" and Torture Interrogation Methods Did Not Abuse the Koran? About 0-1%, And That Would be Giving the Bush Administration the Benefit of the Doubt.

Keith Olbermann Nails the Newsweek Scapegoating on An Administration that Has Conducted a "Crusade" Against Islam in the Guise of a Hundred Different Lies. The Administration Saw the Newsweek Article and Didn't Deny the Koran Assertion. The Mainstream Press Eats Its Own on Cue from the White House.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Hamlet: "Words, words, words."

This poor guy suffers galloping verbosity: he never uses one word when he can cram in two—or three. How much more do editorial auteurs make than regular reporters for writing such blowsy stuff? Do editorial deep thinkers get paid by the pound?

lee drury de cesare

A monstrous injustice

A Times EditorialPublished April 26, 2005

It ought to be impossible to imagine an American government that deliberately leaves innocent people in prison. But in Florida, present reality is precisely that savage scenario.

In 157 cases across the nation, it has been established to a moral certainty that innocent prisoners can be exonerated by the recent science of DNA testing. Wilton Dedge, the Floridian who lost 22 years of his life for a rape he did not commit, is one of them. Without doubt, there are more prisoners whose innocence cries to Florida's collective conscience.

Yet with less than two weeks left in this year's session, the Florida Legislature is not only apparently unwilling to compensate Dedge, but it is also failing to extend an Oct. 1 deadline to file testing petitions on behalf of at least 700 other people still in prison. Their cases have languished because only a handful of volunteers, unpaid by the state, are available to help them or to lobby for extension of the deadline. On that date, clerks of court and other keepers of DNA evidence in closed cases will be technically at liberty to destroy it.

This unconscionable situation owes to no external force. The state attorneys do not oppose an extension. Neither does the governor. Attorney General Charlie Crist said in an interview last week that the prisoners' advocates are entitled to "the appropriate amount of time to do the job and do it right."

The reason appears primarily a matter of indifference on the part of committees that should have undertaken to extend the deadline, complicated by turf-guarding, finger-pointing and ego among some members who could not be bothered to listen. "It just fell through the woodwork," claims House Criminal Justice Committee Chairman Dick Kravitz, R-Jacksonville. None of that resembles a pardonable excuse.

"Because one of the main sources of our national unity is our belief in equal justice ... we need to make doubly sure no person is held to account for a crime he or she did not commit - so we are dramatically expanding the use of DNA evidence to prevent wrongful conviction."

The president also asked Congress for money to finance DNA testing grants for state prisoners under a law he signed last year. To qualify, Florida needs the legislation that the House and Senate will not hear.

Many technicalities stand in the way of pending attempts to pass the extension as amendments to other legislation. There is almost nothing the Legislature cannot do, however, when its leaders set their minds to it. It is now the inescapable moral duty of House Speaker Allan Bense and Senate President Tom Lee to get the extension enacted.

It bears remembering that everything that Florida legislators do, or do not do, is in the name and by the authority of the people. In our names and by our authority, they are on the verge of perpetrating a monstrous injustice.

Words: 483


“Thank God, it can’t happen here!” people say to imprisoning the innocent. But Florida’s legislature winks at this sadistic practice.

DNA forensics could free 137 innocent prisoners nationally. One is Floridian Wilton Dedge, who lost 22 years of his life for rape he didn’t commit. Such innocent prisoners cry out to Florida’s conscience.

Yet with two weeks left, Florida’s legislature won’t compensate Dedge or extend October deadline for 700 prisoners to file testing petitions. Too few volunteers can help petitioners or lobby for deadline extension. So on April 1, clerks of court or evidence keepers can destroy DNA for closed cases.

Neither state attorneys nor governor opposes extension. Attorney General Crist said last week, “Prisoners' advocates are entitled to "the appropriate amount of time to do the job and do it right."

Apathetic committees ignore the deadline. They’re busy guarding turf, fingerpointing, and airing their egos.

"It just fell through the woodwork" came callous excuse from House Criminal Justice Committee Chairman Dick Kravitz, R-Jacksonville.

Such indifference appalls.

Florida legislators act deaf to President Bush’s State-of-the-Union address:

"Because one of the main sources of our national unity is our belief in equal justice ... we need to make doubly sure no person is held to account for a crime he or she did not commit - so we are dramatically expanding the use of DNA evidence to prevent wrongful conviction."

To qualify for last year's allocation for DNA testing, Florida must pass neglected legislation.

With will, the legislature under House Speaker Allan Bense and Senate President Tom Lee can enact extension.

The Legislature acts in the people’s name. Its failure to pass the extension perpetuates injustice in the people’s name.

Words: 279
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