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July 2 2008 4:55 PM

Insults, Hopes, and the Future

Searching for the good in humanity.

(Continued from Page 2)

Love the little buggers [semi-colons]. Don't use them a lot. Matter of respect, you know. Now, on the subject of which/that, isn't there a nice philanthropist out there who will donate a copy of Strunk & White['s Elements of Style] to all writers everywhere?

Which (that?) brought a sigh to this particular writer, whose former editor at Slate used to complain about her which/that usage, and wasn't convinced by the wild claim that British rules are different. Still, there were never any complaints about the semi-colons, and we even managed to get one into a "Best of Fray" headline once... "Tolerance, yes; respect, no."  The subject matter that time was actually eating dogs, but the phrase does  describe perfectly the attitude of the punctuation mavens to those who misuse or ignore the semi-colon. MR3:30 p.m. GMT

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Monday, June 23,  2008

You try to write about the candidates and their policies, and what do you get from the readers? Those readers who are always asking for more straight talk and less gossip? Well, you get the candidates' wives.

John Dickerson's "Politics" article on "The Flip-Flop Brothers" dealt with Barack Obama's campaign finance decision and John McCain's views on oil-drilling. Really, one can only admire NightSwimmer's ability to bring in other matters.

So [Obama] changed his mind. It was a smart move. I hope it won't make John McCain cry—like his first wife did when he dumped her for a young heiress. That's an important vow. Agreeing to negotiate campaign financing is not on that level.

Scoot'r-d, too, moved smoothly from Obama—politics as usual—to "Michelle Obama is being remade into a perky combination of Donna Reed and Lucille Ball to soften her intemperate gaffes." Nope, said middleview, it's Cindy McCain who is Donna Reed. And back cameScoot'r-d: At least McCain wasn't having an "Angela Davis to Mary Tyler Moore makeover."

The political issues got a good (and long) hammering out in a thread called "McCain the Victim":

He is too level-headed to be a committed Democrat, and he is too intelligent to be a fanatical Republican. The man is exactly what the United States needs: a rational, experienced, patriotic centrist who has America's best interests at heart. … Is John McCain the best all around candidate? Yes. Does John McCain have the best chance of winning? No. Democrats are ready to back Obama 100%, many Republicans will not back McCain. The unfortunate thing is that for the same reasons he is the best choice he is also the worst candidate.

That was msuumo, attracting a lot of interest—more than 40 entries in the thread.