Month: March 2009

The Slippery Slope of Trying to Sound Different

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In trying to sound and look different than George Bush and his administration, Barack Obama and his admininstration are going through several verbal gyrations designed to make their policies appear different than Dubya’s, while of course maintaining the policies intact. This is called appeasing the far left (and the middle and regular left).

Case in point: The Obamian Justice Department sent its minions off to the D.C. District Court recently to argue the administration’s power to incarcerate and detain indefinitely what Bush used to call "enemy combatants"–except they were forbidden to use the words "enemy combatants" so as to appear to be diverging from and rejecting the previous administration’s policies. In fact, of course, they argued they had the same power to detain indefinitely without criminal charges.

So what did they use instead of "enemy combatants"? Try "individuals captured in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations," also "members of enemy forces," and finally, those who "substantially supported" al Qaeda or the Taliban. Oops, forgot one: "persons who [sic…should be whom] the president determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, and persons who harbored those responsible for the September 11 attacks."

Anyway, these whatevers are still holed up in Quantanamo, which Obama says he will close…as soon as he finds another Quantanamo with a different name. (Why not just rename the place?)

Categories: Grammar Sucks

what if english used no capitals, i ask?

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Then, I guess we’d all write like Jessica Lee, who’s a recruiter and has a blog of her own called Jessica Lee Writes (but she forgot to add "Without Using Capitals").

I guess writing in all lower case is considered cutesy or moderne or something, but to me, it’s just sloppy and bad and inconsiderate of the reader.

And to think, Jessica is also what she calls an "editor" at Fistful of Talent, where it’s not clear who writes what, but at least capitalization in the proper places is used.

Categories: Grammar Sucks

The ‘Weiji’ Myth Debunked, No Opportunity in Crisis

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I worked for almost 15 years for a Japanese company, and we learned that the Chinese characters for crisis–weiji–meant "danger and opportunity." It’s since become urban legend to look for opportunity in every danger.

Now, all this has been debunked by Victor H. Mair, a professor of Chinese language and literature at the University of Pennsylvania.

You can read his rather full explanation of why weiji means only crisis (no opportunity, but plenty of danger) on his blog.

He sounds authoritative to me, but I’m no China hand.

Categories: Grammar Sucks

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Obama Can’t Leave Home Without It (A Teleprompter)

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While the mainstream press refuses to find a single fault with our new president, even proclaiming his speeches to be masterpieces (whereas all I hear is a lot of lawyer doublespeak and fast talk), it turns out that he’s a teleprompter type of guy, with a tendency to blow it when he’s not behind one of those magic screens with words on them.

Here’s an example from the campaign trail when Obama was forced to leave his American Express card (teleprompter) at home and he tried to blame his stumbling and bumbling on lack of sleep:

 For further commentary and details, read "Obama’s Dirty Little Secret."

Categories: Grammar Sucks Needs to Hire Copyeditors and Proofreaders

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As much as I enjoy watching CNBC cable, especially Jim Cramer and Larry Kudlow (to say nothing of Melissa Lee!), whenever I go to the CNBC Web site, I’m appalled by the twisted grammar and misspellings. I even posted a comment once about, "What’d you do, fire all the copyeditors and proofreaders–or never hire any?"

The latest example: CNBC Anchor and Reporter David Faber, in writing about Dow Chemical’s proposed acquistion of Rohm & Hass, wrote that Dow was urged to sell common stock "to give it the financial where withdrawal to complete" the deal.

Somehow, I think he mean wherewithal.

I’m be more than happy to relocate to New York and do some copyediting for you people. Just send me an e-mail proposal.

Categories: Grammar Sucks

Wall Street Journal Adds Sports Section

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Hard to call it a section, but the venerable Wall Street Journal has added sports to its mix, with the debut of one page of sports coverage on page D8 of the March 4 issue. (To the credit of WSJ, however, the Web sports section is quite complete.)

The one page was mostly about (boring) college hoops, but one "Heard on the Field" brief item told how Michael Vick’s country club retreat near Atlanta was being auctioned off to help pay creditors of the former Falcons quarterback. He paid $3.8 million for the eight-bedroom, 1.5-acre estate, and the opening bid is set for $3.2 million. I wonder if anyone will go that high in this day and age.

Categories: Grammar Sucks