Copy editing Chi Trib (somebody has to do it):
Consider this of 11/12/04, "Experts see states as force in fighting global warming," in which Stevenson Swanson and his editors can’t decide if he’s talking about warming or states or Bush, who won’t sign the Kyoto treaty.
NEW YORK -- [Delete: With the re-election of President Bush, state governments and big business will likely be the biggest forces pushing policies and developing innovative technologies aimed at reducing U.S. emissions of the gases scientists say are causing global warming.]
[Delete: That forecast by leaders in the environmental and business communities is based on the Bush administration's opposition to the Kyoto Protocol, the international agreement that seeks to cut the amount of so-called greenhouse gases that enter the atmosphere, where they trap heat.]
The nation’s environmental and business leadership is unanimous in its opinion that what Bush won’t do about global warming, someone else will have to do, namely the states and big business. [If not unanimous, then what? Don’t just say leaders. How many, please, if that’s not too much to ask.]
The Kyoto treaty, which Bush rejected, requires industrialized countries to cut their emissions of carbon dioxide and other climate-changing substances on average by 5.2 percent below their 1990 levels.
[Delete: When the president] Bush [we know he’s the president] rejected the treaty in 2001 [Delete: he said the agreement was], calling it fatally flawed because it excluded developing nations [Delete: such as], including China and India. Forcing U.S. businesses to reduce their emissions while letting companies in those countries off the hook would drive up the cost of American products and cost jobs, Bush said.
[Delete: An August report by an administration official indicated that the buildup of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere was the most likely explanation for global warming, a shift from the administration's previous position of emphasizing the scientific uncertainties of climate change.]
In support of Bush, the administration emphasized the scientific uncertainties of climate change but in August reported [Delete: report by an administration official indicated] that global warming [Delete: the buildup of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere was] is the most likely explanation [Delete: for,] thus producing significant doublespeak. [just kidding about the doublespeak reference, which is what Swanson means or what he says means if he doesn’t know it but may constitute editorializing]
But Bush still believes that rejecting [Delete: the] Kyoto [Delete: accord] was [Delete: the] right [Delete: move], Environmental Protection Agency Administrator [top dog? source of just mentioned August report, unaccountably unsourced by Swanson?] Mike Leavitt [yes, top dog: I looked him up; he’s Michael O. Leavitt, former governor of Utah, though apparently just good old Mike to Swanson] told [Delete: The] Associated Press since the election. [Delete: in a postelection interview with]
In any case [got to have transition here, can’t just string things together, even if the items are pearls], the administration favors voluntary over mandatory measures [Delete: programs] to reduce the emissions from automobiles, power plants and factories that Kyoto supporters blame for warming. Moreover, the administration has [Delete:] also allocated several billion dollars to support [Delete: the] development of new technologies such as hydrogen cells that [Delete: would] power cars without producing carbon dioxide. But such technologies are thought to be many years away from widespread use.
. . . etc. etc., all to make Swanson’s meaning clear, so as to keep readers’ attention.
More more more, from (now) several blocks away, in the Apparel Center . . . Sun-Times religion writer Cathleen Falsani, who often takes a celebrity approach to her beat – her Hugh Hefner interview comes to mind. – had an 11/12/04 interview with a considerably more attractive subject, a woman who saved Jews from Nazis in the 40s. She opened with fairly feckless questioning: "What is morality? Who is moral? And whose morals are we talking about anyway" but then declined to enter this "Great Moral Debate of ‘04," writing, "I will demure."
No. She will be demure about it – reserved, modest, shy? Hardly. No "be" is missing, but an "e" has sneaked in to do damage to her message. She will "demur" – show reluctance. And even then she’s doing more than show reluctance; she is declining or even refusing.
How does one know this? One looks it up in the Compact OED, here and here. The origin "perhaps" of each is the Old French "demourer" – ‘remain, stay’, influenced by ‘mur’ – ‘grave.’ The noun "grave," so that one is quiet as ...? Or the adjective, so that one is very ("tres") serious. I do not know. I am a copy editor, not a lexicologist.