Occupy Austin issues — My Examiner articles get top news ranking by Google

Here in Central Texas, a lot’s been happening, especially over the past several days, with the Occupy Austin movement — and I’ve been involved tangentially, as a journalist. Several weeks ago I was accepted as a reporter/columnist for Examiner.com, covering the Austin Civil Liberties beat. I’ve published several articles, but my coverage of the eviction of Occupy Austin from the front plaza of Austin City Hall managed to get top ranking on the first SERP page of Google News “Occupy Austin” search results over the past couple of days.

Here are the articles on the Occupy Austin affair published so far:

Austin: City officials and cops evict “permanent” Occupy Austin protest

This article describes the background to the police crackdown and the eviction itself.

Occupy Austin update: Protesters regroup after eviction, vow to continue

This article focuses on events the next evening, including an Occupy Austin general assembly and a march to a homeless facility.

Occupy Austin’s surprise eviction under stealth of night fits a pattern

Further details about how the nighttime sneak attack on the Occupy Austin encampment was planned well in advance, and fits a pattern of similar assaults in other cities.

Both articles provide analysis of the national Occupy movement, and how the Austin group fits in this context.

An earlier article (my first for Examiner) provides an overall background to the issue of civil liberties in Austin, with some discussion of Occupy Austin within that larger context:

Austin’s “weirdness” threatened in attacks on civil liberties

I’ll post more about my other Examiner articles later…


English grammar problems — My first EzineArticles commentary scrutinizes an epidemic

Well, it’s been over two months since I started this blog and posted anything to it, and I think it’s high time that I begin to post to it regularly and keep it updated. So here goes.

A lot has happened in the meantime. One of the first writing-related events was the acceptance of my article on grammar problems by the EzineArticles online Web magazine. It was published 17 November 2011:

English Abuse Epidemic! 4 Common Strains of the Disease

And yes, I truly do perceive the breakdown of English grammar (especially here in the USA) as a serious epidemic.

It’s become pervasive — even presumably “educated” people (politicians, journalists, etc.) are talking like illiterate doofuses with utterances such as “He had went downtown…” and “It was time for she and I to go….” Yuk!

Other consequences include the deterioration of communication among us English-speaking humans and especially the degradation of pleasurable, elegant literary craftwork. A lot of routine written material (like news, business, and legal writing) has become so garbled, often filled with malapropisms, that you end up scratching your head, trying to figure out what the writer is trying to say. And way too much supposedly artistic creative writing tends to be filled with annoying fundamental errors that can distract and embarrass. (In otherwise truly brilliant writing, such grammatical blips are small but unfortunate blemishes.)

Why is this? I suspect a major part of the problem was a decision, perhaps 3 decades or so ago, by the English teaching establishment to basically stop concentrating on teaching correct grammar to students (starting at elementary level) and sort of “go with the flow” … in other words, just pretty much accept the way people talk as the way to define proper English. Not A Good Idea.

I may elaborate more on this later, and possibly publish an article on this issue. But I hesitate to write too much in one place in this blog about it, because of the Google-Panda menace (I’ve written articles about this, and will post links later). What this basically means is that if you write extensively about something, then try to use those same thoughts (and words, to some extent) in a publishable article, your article may be rejected by the publisher because it will be robot-checked as a “duplicate” with whatever you wrote originally. Maybe you can see why I refer to this as a “menace”. Anyway, more to come on this…