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Opening Arguments

Judge Dork busts loose

One of the best lines you're likely to read about Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, from one of the people who grew up with him in northwest Indiana: "He wasn't a dork or anything." It's from a Chicago Tribune story that tries to fathom the adult Roberts by cutting and pasting snippets of remembrance from people who knew the juvenile Roberts.

It's an advertising revolution

You can't make this stuff up.

Beam them up, by threes

It is said that the deaths of famous people come in threes. And it happens just often enough to make it a good ghoulish game. Bob Hope dies, or the pope, or a former movie star you thought was dead already, and the death watch starts: Who will be next? It especially adds to the believability of the Myth of Threes when there are themed deaths -- three musicians, three politicians, three people who made sex tapes with Paris Hilton.

This week, we've had three TV-related deaths:

Posted in: Television

Time and again

Tonight's lead editorial is about the, to some, disappointing reality that nobody's time zone is likely to change in Indiana; we're just going to move to daylight-savings time based on whatever zone we're already in. I sincerely hope it's the last piece I have to write for a while on this issue, which has been dragging on since before I started in the newspaper business.

Posted in: Hoosier lore

Read what I'm writing?

If 10 things are right for the Bible (that's right, they're commandments, not recommendations), the Bill of Rights (even though No. 9 and No. 10 no longer apply) and David Letterman, why fight it? Here's a good list. Don't agree? Whatever.

Forever yours, at least till midnight

One of the truisms of cooking is that there is no such thing as too much garlic. One of the truisms of life is that there is no such thing as too much chocolate. One of my favorite candy bars (at least in the top five) was Forever Yours, a bar of dark-chocolate perfection that was, unfortunately, taken off the market (isn't that always the way?). I despaired for years until a suitable substitute was introduced -- Milky Way Midnight. I found, in whining about such inequities, surprisingly little sympathy, even among chocolate lovers.

That's no lady, that's my commander-in-chief

As a former member of the U.S. Army, my answer to this question posed in a USA Today headline is, "Oh, please, no, no, no, a thousand times no." There is a woman I'd like to see in that position -- she's the right person in the right place at the right time, I think -- but it sure ain't Hillary.

Almost live judicial blogging

President Bush has just named John Roberts to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court. The consensus seems to be that 1) he is a Rehnquist (i.e.

The benefit of the doubt

We had one of those awful encounters this morning that began with a man threatening suicide and ended with police shooting and killing him. In the coming days, there is sure to be much discussion about what the police did and what they could/should have done. That is proper. Police are supposed to protect us, and they have enormous power over us, so their actions warrant as much scrutiny as we can muster. But we ought not be in too big a hurry to second-guess them.

Posted in: Our town

And Tom Cruise was not involved

Forget H.G. Wells and all the hype about the special-effects extravaganza that is the latest retelling of "War of the Worlds." If Mary Shelley was the mother of science fiction (and she surely was), Jules Verne was the father.

Posted in: Books, Film

My land is my land, your land is your land

I don't want to miss too many opportunities to document the advances and retreats of liberty here, so I've asked Mike Sylvester, chairman of the Libertarian Party of Allen County, to be my occasional libertarian correspondent. Here is his first report:

Maybe we should send him to Gitmo

In one of O'Henry's wonderful short stories, "The Cop and the Anthem," a bum homeless man is trying to get himself thrown in jail for the three months of winter, because who wants to spend winter on the streets? He keeps failing and trying ever more elaborate law-breaking schemes until, finally, he is overcome with a sense of his own worthlessness while standing in front of a church and vows to make something of his life.

A report from the field, sort of

A tip for all you citizen journalists out on the Internet. It's easy to add reporting to your blog if the news drops on your doorstep. This mishap happened right outside the Fort Wayne Newspapers building early this afternoon, and I snapped it on the way to lunch about 12:30.

Posted in: Our town

New meaning for the term 'cowardly thief'

A special seat in the lowest circle of hell should be reserved for whoever commited this theft. The stories about Mr. Davis' missing medal, by the way, misleadingingly report that he is "one of only two Hoosiers" to have received the Medal of Honor. As this site shows, 75 Hoosiers have earned that distinction.

Posted in: Hoosier lore

Blowing constitutional smoke

Why is that people who usually get all teary-eyed about the Constitution as a living, breathing document suddenly discover the beauty of original intent when if comes to the Second Amendment? They can always find emanations from penumbras that let the Constitution allow or forbid whatever it is that they want allowed or forbidden, but let them stumble across "a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state . .

FOX in the whine house

Journal Gazette Editorial Page Editor Tracy Warner had a post on his blog about the president's visit to Indianapolis. He got into some vigorous Republican bashing; fine, we'll let that pass. But he also threw in an aside about "that bastion of unbiased coverage, FOX news." OK, I'll concede FOX and throw in Rush Limbaugh and most of talk radio as a bonus.

The ultimate word on penultimate

I was heading into full language-watchdog-geek mode when I started reading all these reviews of the new Harry Potter book by critics who obviously liked it and kept referring to it as the penultimate book in the series. Alas, I thought, professional writers are loose among us who stiil think that "penultimate" means "ultimate," only more so.

We're in a war; pick a side

One of my fellow Knight Ridder editorialists, Mark Yost of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, is under fire from some of our colleagues for expressing an opinion that, to me, seems demonstrably true: that American press coverage of the war in Iraq is unfair and one-sided, focusing almost entirely on the negative and ignoring the positive things going on there. Why is this such a controversial observation?

Posted in: Current Affairs

Warning! Reading this may cause eye fatigue

Oh, man! The nanny-state busybodies just never stop. Now they want cigarette-style warning labels on soft drinks to let us know that overindulgence might lead to things like diabetes and decaying teeth. Well, duh. There are already so many labels warning about the dangers of so many things that few people pay any attention whatsoever to them.

Posted in: Current Affairs

First the rain, then mow again

There was still a moderate drizzle when I snapped this shot on Broadway near Taylor a little after 2 p.m. yesterday. Rainy One of the pleasures of living in an, um, complex-weather region is the first cool summer rain after a long hot and dry spell, even if the temperature does shoot back up half an hour after it stops.