News you can’t use

WILTON — Local police and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department have cleared a scene on Pond Road in Wilton following a report of an unspecified incident there that drew a heavy police response this morning.

(Kennebec Journal, Augusta, Maine)

Come on. Find out what happened before you report it.

(Turns out it was a suicide.)



Editor! Stat!

CHAMPAIGN — It was Jarling Custard’s last stand.

(News-Gazette, Champaign, Ill.)







Kanstarter has changed it’s name to WeKan! Support.

Having learned from their crowd-sourcing pilot projects, The Kansas Sampler Foundation and We Kan! Network felt the name better suits the projects on the Kanstarter platform.

(Hutchinson (Kan. News)



Zombie paradise



(Memphis Commercial Appeal)

We’ll go with “heirs.” Scripps died in 1926.


Don’t be fooled






(Los Angeles Times)

Actually, “Wall Street” is “keeping a close eye” on stock prices.


A little off the top

Those are favorable odds.

Former Hewlett-Packard Co. CEO Carly Fiorina told Fox News Sunday that there is a “higher than 90 percent chance” that she will run for president in 2016.



It never ends

Come on, New York Times. You know better than that.



Stylebook latest



The suicide entry will be added as follows: “Generally, AP does not cover suicides or suicide attempts, unless the person involved is a well-known figure or the circumstances are particularly unusual or publicly disruptive. Suicide stories, when written, should not go into detail on methods used.

Avoid using committed suicide except in direct quotations from authorities. Alternate phrases include killed himself, took her own life or died by suicide. The verb commit with suicide can imply a criminal act. Laws against suicide have been repealed in the United States and many other places.
Do not refer to an unsuccessful suicide attempt. Refer instead to an attempted suicide.

Medically assisted suicide is permitted in some states and countries. Advocacy groups call it death with dignity, but AP doesn’t use that phrase on its own. When referring to legislation whose name includes death with dignity or similar terms, just say the law allows the terminally ill to end their own lives unless the name itself of the legislation is at issue.”



And then I stopped reading

What does an airplane do before it plummets to the ground? It takes off. What about (as the industry never tires of reminding us) the more than 99.9% of all planes, which have landed safely? They took off, too, apparently during the Harding administration.

SEYNE-LES-ALPES, France (AP) — The first half of Germanwings Flight 9525 was chilling in its normalcy. It took off from Barcelona en route to Duesseldorf, climbing up over the Mediterranean and turning over France.





Spelling tips

1. If you don’t know how to spell a word, look it up.

2. If you think you know how to spell a word, look it up.

3. If you know how to spell a word, look it up when you have the time.


Graphics gone wild

Now we understand!

photo (1)



Well, duh!

Pakistani jet fighters killed 30 militants allied to the Taliban in a missile attack in the mountainous northwestern Khyber region on Wednesday, including the group’s spokesman, intelligence officials said.

The air force has been pounding positions in the Tirah Valley for days and the military says it has killed scores. At least seven soldiers have also been killed.

The 30 killed in Wednesday’s attack in the Sipah district were from the Lashkar-e-Islam, which announced an alliance with the Taliban earlier this month, the intelligence officials said.

The casualties included group spokesman Salahuddin Ayubi, the officials said.

The group was not immediately available for comment.



No names

Senior Abe Hofmann, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, first heard about dabs as a freshman and said that it produces a different, intense kind of high.

(Fauquier Now)

No. Write that the senior spoke on the condition of anonymity, if you must, but don’t make up names.


Preventive editing

AP uses “preventive.” The Washington Post considers either “preventive” or “preventative” acceptable. The New York Times (and/or Jolie herself) used “preventive” in Jolie’s op-ed. Bryan A. Garner says, “The strictly correct form is preventive (as both noun and adjective), though the corrupt form with the extra internal syllable is unfortunately common.” He puts “preventative” at Stage 4 of his language-change index,  which is: “The form becomes virtually universal but is opposed on cogent grounds by a few linguistic stalwarts (die-hard snoots).”

We are not “snoots,” but we prefer “preventive.” Given a choice, use it.




Why ‘so-called’?

Blurb? Introduction? Preamble? Foreword? Preface? Marketing matter on the end papers?

A main architect of the hydrogen bomb, Richard L. Garwin, whom Dr. Ford interviewed for the book, describes the memoir in its so-called front matter as “accurate as well as entertaining.”

(New York Times)


Headline of the week



(The Silver Ink)


This and that

The Times adds every kind of diversity you can think of, then subtracts one.

The New York Times is adding 20 new online opinion writers, it announced on Wednesday.

The writers are all on short-term contracts to write once a month or so, and include authors, journalists, academics and at least one mountain climber. Their principal areas of focus will be subjects such as technology and culture.

“We were looking for a broad range of viewpoints and subjects and backgrounds and geographical locations and every kind of form of diversity that you can think of,” editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal told Capital New York.

(Politico, March 18)

The New York Times has terminated its contract with one of its new online opinion writers after a Gawker article highlighted the writer’s previous association with racist publications, according to that writer’s Twitter account.

Razib Khan, a science blogger and a doctoral candidate in genomics and genetics at the University of California, Davis, was one of 20 writers who signed contracts with the Times to write for the paper’s online opinion section.

The Times announced its new stable of contributors on Wednesday. Hours later, Gawker’s J.K. Trotter reported that Khan had a “history with racist, far-right online publications.” Khan wrote 68 posts for Taki’s Magazine, a publication founded by a “flamboyantly racist Greek journalist,” Trotter wrote. Khan also wrote a letter to VDARE, “a white nationalist website named after the first white child born in America, in which he discussed [an essay] concerning the threat of the United States becoming “more genetically and culturally Mexican.”

(Politico, March 19)


Today’s abrupt transition

Tram Thuy Nguyen came to New York about eight months ago to be with her fiancé, her former boss said, and her favorite topic in recent months had been her coming marriage.

“She was extremely excited,” said the former boss, Chris Morley, who had worked with Ms. Nguyen at Bien Realty near the apartment that she shared with her fiancé on West Fourth Street in Greenwich Village.

Ms. Nguyen, 37, known to friends as Tina, who recently went to work for the real-estate agency Keller Williams NYC, was killed on Tuesday evening after she was struck by plywood fencing blown from a construction site as she walked along a street not far from her home, the police said on Wednesday.

(New York Times)

So … the wedding’s off?


It’s a joke, but still

Presented without comment, except for the category.

If the race for the GOP presidential nomination was as popular as the NCAA basketball tournament, Gov. Scott Walker would be the No. 1 seed, according to a bracket put together by the Washington Post. 

Walker is leading in a number of polls, the post from the Post’s blog The Fix said, so he deserves the top slot.

Not surprisingly, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received the No. 1 seed for the Democratic presidential nomination.

(Wisconsin State Journal)



Dry Wit

Given the historic low temperatures and snowfalls that pummeled the eastern U.S. this winter, it might be easy to overlook how devastating California’s winter was as well.

As our “wet” season draws to a close, it is clear that the paltry rain and snowfall have done almost nothing to alleviate epic drought conditions. January was the driest in California since record-keeping began in 1895. Groundwater and snowpack levels are at all-time lows. We’re not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we’re losing the creek too.


Right now the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing. California has no contingency plan for a persistent drought like this one (let alone a 20-plus-year mega-drought), except, apparently, staying in emergency mode and praying for rain.

In short, we have no paddle to navigate this crisis.


This process works just fine when water is in abundance. In times of crisis, however, we must demand that planning for California’s water security be an honest, transparent and forward-looking process. Most important, we must make sure that there is in fact a plan.

Call me old-fashioned, but I’d like to live in a state that has a paddle so that it might also still have a creek.