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'Let Me Get This Straight' by Barry Knister

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My aim is to take a second look at letters to the editor, guest commentaries and other writing in the public forum where problems have occurred in word choice and grammar. The intent is to inform and, with luck, amuse, but not to question writers’ opinions except where meaning is uncertain. Ultimately, the goal is to provide examples that might lead writers to more clearly and effectively “get straight” what they mean to say. Biography: A Naples homeowner since 2001, Barry Knister retired from full-time college teaching in 2008. He now divides his time between Florida and Michigan, and continues to teach summer courses at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, MI. Published by Gold Mountain Press in 2008, his second novel, "Just Bill,'' is available at Amazon and at He can be reached at

  • A good day for transparency Posted 8/22/2012 at 8:10 a.m. 0 comments

    Whether you think it’s wise or workable to require politicians to make public every burp and cough is not the story’s point. The governor drew attention to the issue with a new plan, and gave it an impressive name.

  • Time to saddle up Posted 8/14/2012 at 4:14 p.m. 0 comments

    Like every president before him, each time Obama rides into town, he dismounts and passes out taxpayer-funded gifts, then gets back on his horse and hightails it to the next watering hole.

  • I am so sorry--not Posted 7/25/2012 at 9:59 a.m. 0 comments

    But wait. As the article then explains, “according to U.S. officials ‘sorry’ is not the same as an apology, although the Pakistani government is treating it as such….”

  • Nixon dirty tricks redux Posted 7/16/2012 at 10:04 a.m. 0 comments

    What's at issue is not gotcha! journalism, or rules for radicals, and it goes well beyond exposing the moral blinders that one political opportunist has freely chosen to wear.

  • Battleground states continued: where's the fraud? Posted 7/10/2012 at 9:23 p.m. 0 comments

    "National UFO Reporting Center records show there were 47,000 reports of UFO sightings between 2000 and 2010. During the same period, just 13 people were convicted of impersonating someone else in order to vote in their name.”

  • Prisons:who should have the keys? Posted 6/27/2012 at 8:30 a.m. 0 comments

    The writer is a professor at Hillsdale College, a private Michigan school often praised by Rush Limbaugh.

  • Ayn Rand versus the pleasure principle: Darwin #4 Posted 6/19/2012 at 3:54 p.m. 0 comments

    Why so many reactions? The answer is simple: both those for and against Rand's thinking feel strongly about the subject.

  • The weak must go to the wall: Social Darwinism #3 Posted 6/12/2012 at 9:15 p.m. 0 comments

    Unenlightened Americans consider Social Security, health care, a minimum wage and even child-labor laws as protecting inalienable rights.

  • Darwin times 2 Posted 5/30/2012 at 10:51 a.m. 0 comments

    Perhaps the writer would be willing to include "water," since that will be needed for Norquist's bathtub.

  • Darwin evolving: part one Posted 5/16/2012 at 7:19 a.m. 0 comments

    What is Social Darwinism, and why is it a matter of current interest?