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Subject: Aligning table content in xhtml output

If I have this in my source:
   <entry colname="col1">Text</entry>
   <entry colname="col2">
I'll get this in my html output:
If I output xhtml, in Firefox, the text in the two cells will not be horizontally aligned. Apparently this is a quirks mode thing (if I delete the xhtml doctype from the output, the cells do align because I'm back in quirks mode). For other reasons, I want to stay out of quirks mode.
What's the right thing to do here? I preprocess the docs before passing them to the docbook xsls, but writing code that will figure out whether I need to add a <para> around the text sounds complicated (you could have <entry>Text<itemizedlist>...and various other combinations. I could hack the docbook xsls and always put a <p> inside <td>s, but that creates ugly xhtml that's hard to style with css.    
It seems like others should be having this problem too :-)

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