Friday, August 18, 2006

The Jounalistic SP Times Priesthood Sinks Davis, Exalts Smith, Cuffs Around the English Language

St. Petersburg Times Gentlemen Editorial-board

(I bet you all are) Pooh-bahs and suchlike Zeus personae of your paper's y-chromosome-weighted Olympian caste system:

Your Sunday endorsement essay (included below) on Smith and Davis is not bad. It represents little rhetorical felicity: no vivid diction, no sophisticated structure, no startling insights. It's meat-and-potatoes style provides homely fare. But I have seen The NY Times editorial grandees do worse.

That paper’s cozened denizens doubtless get lamb chops and baby asparagus for lunch in chambers provided by the dumbest publisher in the newspaper world. Y’all, I bet, get Chinese in the cafeteria with plastic forks.

Considerate writing demands that you acquaint yourselves with hyphens. They help readers understand a sentence when you use them before a noun preceded by words used as a single adjective.

You did not disgrace yourselves with passive verbs, but you’re not on the wagon with them yet. They make what you say sound duplicitous and weak—both of which readers suspect anyway. And passive verbs are always wordier than active verbs. Rid your writing of pussy-footing passive verbs, and you will ascend to Grub Street paradise and hang out with Mencken.

You can get away with an idiomatic “it” or two, but you must be solicitous enough of your readers to provide the word you mean instead of resorting to broad-pronoun reference. Readers shouldn’t have to do your work for you and ponder what fugitive antecedent the writer means.

Diction forensics--“charismatic”; “courageous”; “solid” -- betray your real reason for favoring Smith: This is a guy’s guy, a farm-boy macho specimen whom you would invite into Mystic Krewe’s sweat lodge in the middle of the clearing, not to smoke rabbit tobacco, which every Georgia farm girl such as I knows intimately, but to smoke roll-your-own Prince Albert’s because that is what Smith first contaminated his lungs with behind the barn.

Had any--or at least more--women huddled on the endorsement vote, Davis might have prevailed. We women know that Smith is the type who slaughters and eats a horse at one sitting, then grooms his teeth with the toothpick he hacks from the beast’s hoof. He’s Rocky.

But Davis is poetic Jimmy Stewart, a romantically thin ecotomorph for whom we women prepare a hearty meal and coax the lad to eat some, even a little, to keep up the dear fellow’s strength. He’s Ashley Wilkes in Gone with the Wind, whom Scarlett loved and lost to a goody two shoes Melanie. In real life, the choreograph is the opposite.

Besides, to top his list of pluses, Davis has a wife named Peggy. No more redolently attractive wife’s name exists. Were I advising Davis, I would suggest that all his billboards say simply,“My wife’s name is Peggy.” Everybody loves and trusts a Peggy—especially we women.

No woman named Peggy ever blabs your secrets or tattles that she spotted you at the beauty parlor looking like hell coming out from under the drier. We trust Peggys. And most voters are women. And, hurrah, we outlive the stronger sex. Na, na, na.

I bestow a B- on this essay and advise you to see me in my office after class.

lee drury de cesare, sporadic reader, constant critic

St. Petersburg Times: Smith for the Democrats

Sunday, August 13

(St. Petersburg Times Editorial Board) Both Rod Smith and Jim Davis have solid records of service. But Smith has the leadership style needed to bring both parties together.

Democrats have an opportunity this year to restore some measure of political balance to Tallahassee, and they need to be smart about how they approach it. Their challenge in the Sept. 5 primary is to select the candidate best positioned to reclaim the Governor's Mansion and deal with a Republican-controlled Legislature Don’t capitalize “legislature.” while advancing a political philosophy that could be embraced by moderate Floridians Avoid passive verbs. They make your writing sound weak.”…that moderate Floridians can embrace…”regardless of party affiliation. It No antecedent: Try “the choice.” is a close call, but in our judgment state Sen. Rod Smith of Alachua is the candidate who can best make the case for change in November and then steer this state back toward the middle.

Both Smith and U.S. Rep. Jim Davis of Tampa have solid records of public service. They each can articulately Dump redundant adverb: Strunk & White. list the shortcomings of the Jeb Bush era: Too Use lower case “c”: you don’t have a complete sentence after the colon. many tax breaks, an education system that relies too heavily on standardized testing, an obsession with privatizing government services and a failure to effectively: Dump in memory of Strunk & White deal with the property insurance Hyphenate. crisis.

At the same time, it is hard to find significant policy differences between the two Democrats. Davis and Smith Davis’s and Smith’s: You need separate possession before “support.”support [for]preserving abortion rights, reviewing sales tax hyphenated “sales-tax” exemptions and creating an independent commission to redraw legislative and congressional districts. Both have plans to raise teacher salaries and transform the FCAT into a diagnostic tool to help students rather than punish schools. Both oppose altering the class size hyphenate amendment, changing the state Constitution to allow tuition vouchers and altering the Save Our Homes hyphenate amendment in ways that could exacerbate inequities or decimate local government budgets.

While both candidates have proposals for dealing with the property insurance hyphenate crisis, Smith's is more comprehensive and ambitious. While Davis' Davis’s : If you can pronounce the extra syllable, add apostrophe “s.”overall environmental record is a bit cleaner than Smith's, the state senator pledges to fulfill the state's commitment to clean up the Everglades and to enforce growth management hyphenate laws. We will hold him to his word - and expect him not to be co-opted by support from Big Sugar Passive verb is weak: “and expect him not to let Big Sugar co-opt him.” in the same way Bill McBride, the Democratic nominee four years ago, was controlled by the teachers unions. “…the teachers’ unions controlled Bill McBride.”

The choice between Smith and Davis boils down to electability and the ability to govern. In style, temperament and experience, Smith is best suited: Comparative “better suited”: you have only two. to make the case that the Democrats' values match mainstream Florida and to bring real change in Tallahassee. The son of a farming family of modest means who graduated from the University of Florida law school, he was a labor lawyer in private practice until he defeated an incumbent Gainesville-area Republican state attorney in 1992. His successful prosecution of Danny Rolling for the Gainesville student murders should insulate him from the soft-on-crime attacks usually launched by Republicans. But Smith also can cite among his accomplishments as a prosecutor creating innovative special units to go after environmental crimes and crimes against women.

In 2000, Smith won a north Florida state Senate seat formerly held by a Republican. He has carved out his own middle ground, often supporting the rights of gun owners and agricultural interests while also pushing legislation to help single parents collect child support, close ineffective boot camps for juveniles, provide more money to help abused children and expand the availability of health care and prescription drugs.

Most importantly, Smith has repeatedly demonstrated he is a charismatic leader who can bring together Democrats and Republicans to take courageous stands under enormous pressure. He helped lead a coalition of senators who refused to let Bush and the Legislature no capital defy the courts and interfere with Terri Schiavo's constitutional right to have her end of life hyphenate wishes carried out. This past legislative session, Smith held another bipartisan group together that prevented the Republican leadership from trying to restore tuition vouchers that the Florida Supreme Court had found unconstitutional. He did the same thing to make sure voters weren't confronted with a convoluted proposal to gut the class size hyphenate amendment. In an era when extreme partisans define…both political parties… both major political parties are often defined by their most extreme partisans, Florida needs a governor who can reach across party lines and lead by consensus.

Davis has a solid record as an ethical, thoughtful state legislator and congressman who understands the challenges facing Florida. Smith combines the same grasp of those challenges with a more dynamic leadership style and a clearer, fresher record of building mainstream coalitions that can successfully redundant modifier. Listen to Strunk & White.carry the day on tough issues. “That” is vague reference: “That record.” is what it will take for a Democrat to win in November and successfully redundant modifier govern in Tallahassee.

The Times Why does The Times not observe the protocol of treating a newspaper as a book and italicize? Is the problem newspaper rebellious idiom, or is the problem ignorance? recommends Rod Smith for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Another reason that the SPTimes editors favor Le Smith is the specimen below shows that birds of a feather flock together.

And as a Senator I led the charge to advance biomass-based ethanol fuel production, and worked to secure funding for the University of Florida's Center for Renewable Chemicals and Fuels.

No comma between a compound verb

Go to Study Hall, Candidate Smith; and don't leave until you have comma rules down cold and can teach them to the Poynter expert in writing, Dr. Roy Peter Clark. Start with the basics. He'll be a hard case. He heads a faculty of nearly all men.

Your RodSquad Page

Women For Smith


Join the Rod Squad

Get Smart

Get Active

Get Talking

free webpage hit counter