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Archive for May 16th, 2016

New EV Location

Finally! It’s about time. There is a new Early Voting location in Commentary’s zip code. It is at the SPJST Lodge #88, 1435 Beall St., 77008. That is four or five blocks west of N. Durham at 15th. I did a quick check and it is 1.8 miles from me versus Moody Park at 1.9 miles. Regardless, a lot of voters in my ‘hood will use this location for sure. I hope this is a permanent deal.   FYI: They hold bingo there on Thursday evenings.

I read that New York Times article on Donald Trump this past Saturday. Here is the tweet on it:

NYT Politics ‏@nytpolitics 12m12 minutes ago

Donald Trump has repeatedly unnerved women in private over 40 years. Here are their stories. http://nyti.ms/27mWaDO

It is very troubling read if you ask me. Of course, Trump is denying. That is what he does, and does well.

Yesterday’s column by Lisa Falkenberg was about the renaming of UH’s Hofheinz Pavilion. Here is part of a line that struck me:

“(UH)officials wouldn’t talk to me for this column.”

Really? UH doesn’t want to talk to a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist? Oh, brother!

Here is her column: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/falkenberg/article/UH-shouldn-t-forget-Hofheinz-s-legacy-and-largesse-7469138.php?cmpid=btfpm.

Carlos Beltran hit his 400th career dinger yesterday. How many dingers did he have as a ‘Stro back in 2004?

I pulled this from Journal-isms.com. It is about the way Chron sports columnist Brian Smith accurately quoted ‘Stro center fielder Carlos Gomez a week and a half ago and the reaction. Gomez did not like the way he sounded I guess. Here is the quote:

“For the last year and this year, I not really do much for this team. The fans be angry. They be disappointed.”

Here is the headline and the story:

Some Fellow Journalists Sided With Angered Player

Houston Chronicle Editor Nancy Barnes told Journal-isms on Friday, “We sincerely apologize for any offense that was taken” when a Chronicle sports columnist quoted a Latino ballplayer speaking in broken English, angering the ballplayer and prompting other journalists to come to the player’s defense.

Barnes cited what she called “less than adequate” Associated Press guidelines on quoting news sources for whom English is not their first language.

In a May 4 column headlined, “Carlos Gomez knows he’s a disappointment to Astros fans,” [available via search engine], Brian T. Smith wrote of Gomez, ” ‘For the last year and this year, I not really do much for this team. The fans be angry. They be disappointed,’ said Gomez as he roamed center field against the team with which he spent 2008-09. . . .”

On alldigitocracy.com, Britni de la Cretaz, who is white, wrote May 6, “Quoting Gomez in this way is incredibly offensive. It makes him sound unintelligent when, in reality, he’s experiencing a language barrier. In fact, Gomez even took to Twitter to tell Smith exactly that, suggesting, ‘next time you want an interview have Google translate on hand.’

“But this is what happens when you have a white journalist who is not attuned to the cultural issues affecting the person he is reporting on. And when you have a largely all-white staff, like the Houston Chronicle does, there’s possibly no one to catch the mistake (or, like in the case of SB Nation’s incredibly misguided piece on convicted rapist cop Daniel Holtzclaw, white editors who refused to listen to the Black woman who told them not to run the story). . . .”

Barnes told Journal-isms by email, “With regards to quoting Carlos Gomez: We sincerely apologize for any offense that was taken. Our writers are encouraged to adhere to AP style rules, which are quoted below. I reviewed the rules myself after this arose and found the guidelines on quotes to be less than adequate for a community like ours, full of immigrants from all over the world, and for whom English is often a second language. I’ve asked some top editors to review this policy, research best practices, and recommend guidance for all of our writers in the future. We always want to be respectful of those we are interviewing.”

The AP guidelines say, in part, “The same care that is used to ensure that quotes are accurate should also be used to ensure that quotes are not taken out of context.

“We do not alter quotations, even to correct grammatical errors or word usage. If a quotation is flawed because of grammar or lack of clarity, the writer must be able to paraphrase in a way that is completely true to the original quote. If a quote’s meaning is too murky to be paraphrased accurately, it should not be used. . . .”

An Associated Press spokeswoman provided guidelines that also say, “Do not use substandard spellings such as gonna or wanna in attempts to convey regional dialects or informal pronunciations, except to help a desired touch or to convey an emphasis by the speaker.”

Other news organizations likewise prohibit altering quotations but specifically address the issue of quotations that seem to ridicule.

Philip B. Corbett, associate editor for standards at the New York Times, told Journal-isms Friday by email, “The short answer is, we don’t ‘clean up’ quotes, a potentially risky and subjective practice that could leave readers uncertain as to what exactly was said. When someone’s grammar is nonstandard — for whatever reason — we often paraphrase, or use partial quotations. That way we can avoid seeming to ridicule or treat someone unfairly, while still preserving the integrity of any direct quotations.”

The Washington Post style book says, “Quotations of people whose speech is marked by dialect, incorrect grammar or profanity often present difficult choices.

“Giving the exact words of people who are poorly educated or who are not native speakers of English may be needlessly embarrassing to them. . . . When quoting people for whom English is not their first language, special care should be taken. If such quotations make the speaker look stupid or foolish, we should consider paraphrasing them (outside of quotation marks of course). When appropriate, a story should note that a source was struggling with English. . . .”

Gomez, a native of the Dominican Republic, spoke in Spanish with ESPN Radio’s “Max y Marly” on Thursday, in an interview that became part of a podcast (audio).

Gomez told ESPN’s Max Bretos and Marly Rivera that he was demeaned by the quote used in the article.

That person knew exactly what he was writing, and he did it intentionally to ridicule me,” Gomez said. “… I do not wish for him to lose his job because he may be a father and have a family, but he should have given a better thought process before writing such comments. Because [he] not only [hurt] a Dominican, but every Latino who makes an effort [to learn] the language.”

Rivera told listeners that others in the Houston press corps volunteered to Gomez that they disapproved of the way Smith quoted him.

“Where is the editor . . .at the Houston Chronicle?” Rivera asked.

ESPN reported on its One Nacion blog, “The podcast producers tried to contact and get comment from the writer involved, Brian T. Smith, but he didn’t respond to requests to appear on the show.” Gomez said on the podcast that he would rather not use a translator.

“As a baseball player, I like to express myself the way I want to, not that I say something and an interpreter makes it prettier,” he said. “I would like it if a reporter sits and listens to me and then writes things — but in a professional way, not in a way to make fun of me like he did.”

The incident came a month after Jose de Jesus Ortiz, who is bilingual and covered major league baseball for most of the last two decades, left the Chronicle to become a sports columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

In the 2015 edition of the annual newsroom diversity survey of the American Society of News Editors, the Chronicle reported 25.4 percent journalists of color [PDF], of whom 14 percent were Hispanic, 7.3 percent black and 4.1 percent Asian American.

A lack of bilingual reporters can be costly. In 2004, a language misunderstanding led to a libel suit against the Miami Herald that was settled out of court.

Jockey Jose Santos rode Funny Cide to victories in the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. He filed suit, accusing the Herald of printing an article that falsely accused Santos of carrying an unauthorized and illegal object in his hand during his Kentucky Derby ride.

The newspaper reported that Santos said he carried an object in his hand during the race and that he described it as a “cue” ring to alert an outrider to his presence. Derby racing stewards later concluded Santos was holding only his whip.

The jockey, who speaks English with a heavy accent, later said there was a misunderstanding: He was talking about his “Q-Ray” bracelet for arthritis.

“If we have a situation again where a Spanish-speaking jockey [talks to] a non-Spanish-speaking reporter, we’ll have a Spanish speaker conduct the interview,” the Herald’s then-executive editor, Tom Fiedler, said in hindsight, according to Miami New Times.

Commentary respects MLB’s Alyson Footer who is based in H-Town. She is a pro who knows the MLB biz. Here are a few of her responses:

Alyson Footer ‏@alysonfooter 24m24 minutes ago

Hiding behind murky AP style guidelines is a laughable and pathetic excuse. Give. Me. A. Break. 

Alyson Footer ‏@alysonfooter 23m23 minutes ago

News flash: English speaking reporters clean up grammar mistakes for players who speak English as 2nd language. Happens 100x a day thru MLB.

Alyson Footer ‏@alysonfooter 29m29 minutes ago

Pitcher: “I not throw my curveball for strikes.” Me: “Hm. What does he mean by that? Lemme check AP style guide.” NO THIS NEVER HAPPENS 

Alyson Footer ‏@alysonfooter 45s45 seconds ago

An appropriate way to apologize after trying to make a player look illiterate: “We are sorry. There are no excuses. Terrible judgement.”

When I read the Brian Smith article back on Cinco de Mayo, I didn’t think much of it in terms of it making Gomez look bad. In the past, I have kind of been taken aback when I hear a Latino player being interviewed on radio or on TV and thinking he sure doesn’t sound that way in the newspaper if you know what I mean.

Gomez is batting a paltry .182. As a season ticket holder, I ‘d rather him focus on increasing his offensive production rather than improving his English speaking skills. He is definitely not contributing.

Speaking of, the ‘Stros – Red Sox game on Saturday was on national TV sort of. It was on the Fox Sports One network. Commentary respects baseball writer Ken Rosenthal who works for Fox Sports. During the game Rosenthal talked about the slump Gomez is in and said part of Gomez’s problem was his unwillingness to make adjustments – ouch. He also said the ‘Stros’ trade for Gomez last year was starting to look like a bad deal for the ‘Stros – ouch again.

Carlos Beltran had 23 dingers the three months plus change he played with the ‘Stros back in 2004 of course. He also had four dingers against The ATL in the 2004 NLDS and another four against San Luis in the 2004 NLCS.

It was brutal to get the double treatment from Big Papi on Saturday. I have to say it was a bonehead move to pitch to him in the 11th inning with first base open. Come on! Michael Feliz versus Big Papi?

And then yesterday to see the ball drop between George Springer and Gomez allowing the Red Sox to tie the game and then to go on to win it.   Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy!

See these tweets:

Brian McTaggart ‏@brianmctaggart 8m8 minutes ago Westminster, CO

Carlos Gomez: “It’s my fault. We lost the game because of me today. There’s nothing I can say. And every day, we lost because of me.”

Jake Kaplan ‏@jakemkaplan 33m33 minutes ago

More from Gomez: “I don’t have any excuses. I call it, I’m supposed to catch it. I called it and I didn’t catch it.”

Brian McTaggart ‏@brianmctaggart 52m52 minutes ago

candid Gomez says “I’ve been playing brutal.”

Over a year ago, the house next door to me was demolished and a bigger one was built and is on the market. The parking lot on the other side of my house that belonged to the former Fiesta was dug up and a huge house is being built. A house across the street was just demolished a few days ago so another huge house can be built. It seems like it has been 18 months or so of living in a construction zone and it doesn’t appear to be letting up.

If you are a fan of the ‘Stros, go check out Brian Smith’s piece on Jose Altuve yesterday. Here is a bit:

It’s time to stop taking Jose Altuve for granted.

He’s clearly the best Astro standing. He’s one of the greatest overall hitters in the modern game. And if you ask yourself who is the most underrated athlete in Major League Baseball – or all professional sports, for that matter- No. 27 deserves the vote as much as anyone.

The Astros have let us down in 2016. Altuve? Are you kidding me? He’s playing the same game on another field.

Now go get yesterday’s sports section and check it out. It is definitely must read.

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