Wednesday, October 24, 2007

While Editors Slept

Sun Pundit this morning addresses a phosphate-mining agreement that’s pretty controversial in these parts. His editorial on the topic points out half a dozen or so restrictions in the pact and concludes: “We do suggest that it is time that we ask of ourselves the same standard as we ask of others in protecting our environment.

Here are the standards Sun Pundit describes: 1. Ban lawn fertilizer. 2. Treat all lawn and road water runoff in retention ponds. 3. Treat retention-pond water until it's cleaner than the creeks it flows into. 4. Prohibit septic tanks. 5. Run sewer to new houses, “regardless of cost” and “no matter how remote.” 6. Prohibit future construction and roads in the 100-year flood plain. 7. Agree to binding arbitration with no appeal to settle disputes.

Pundit acknowledges that “not in a million years” would Charlotte or DeSoto counties agree to any of this. Nevertheless, and I repeat it for emphasis, he concludes: “We do suggest that it is time that we ask of ourselves the same standard as we ask of others in protecting our environment.”

As a tree-hugging eco-maniac, I applaud DeSoto Sun, Charlotte Sun, all their sister publications, and most of all, the editorial board for articulating this forward-looking position. I happily anticipate future columns and editorials that encourage this position, marshal citizen support, and prod local governments to implement plans and policies to further this vision.

Okay, okay, I get it. The writer is struggling to say there’s lots of safeguards in the mining agreement, safeguards that don’t apply to anyone else except the mining company, so let's quit bitchin'. But that’s not what he writes. Pundit needs an editor – or at least a composition coach.

And, while editors slept, page designers fed these bon mots to the presses:

Columnist: “Give me the choice of being thrown to hungry lions, getting pulled apart by wild horses, being sawed in two, or lethal injection, and I’ll take the latter every time. And they won’t even have to worry about dirty needles.”

Headline: “Fired teacher wants job back”
In the story: “Kimble, who served as liaison for the school district, said Cline blew the incident out of proportion...”

From the police blotter: “Reports say a man carrying a king’s ransom in methamphetamines got busted Thursday during a routine traffic stop. [He possessed] a bag holding 25.3 grams” of the drug. (An editor would have asked the writer if, at $100 a gram, the drug’s value of $2,530 constitutes a “king’s ransom.” A sentence coach would ask if the elegant English reference to “a king’s ransom” marries well with the American slang “got busted.”

Photo caption: “This native Florida cactus is tended to by local resident [...], who captured it when it briefly opened this gorgeous bloom.” Did he use a net? Did it resist?

Sorry; this is getting too easy.

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