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Opening Arguments

One for two

Analogy alert! In fact, we have a twofer in The Journal Gazette's story about efforts to lure new employers for the workers left behind by Navistar's departure. The first is in the headline, "Navistar workers to serve as bait." While accurate and colorful, it's a little -- what? -- tactless? The second is in the opening paragraph:

Mayor Tom Henry stands less than 6 feet tall, but that's not stopping him from running a full-court press to retain 1,400 jobs as Navistar International Corp. prepares to exit the city.

If newsrooms and sports departments talked to each other more, "full-court press" wouldn't be misused in almost every news story that employs it. It's a defensive maneuver, OK? It's not an offensive play. This story is a rare one in that the term might or might not be seen as correct, depending on how you interpret the context. Trying to salvage something as a major employer leaves could be seen as either a defensive or an offensive move, couldn't it?

This is a good point at which to note the passing of Edwin Newman, the TV newsman who loved the language and hated its misuse. I suspect he would have applauded the daring of the headline but pooh-poohed the triteness of the sports analogy. Newman was one of those grammar sticklers who didn't come across as a stern fussbudget, mostly because he had a sense of humor and never missed a chance at word play:

As he famously said of a man drying his shoes with the newspaper, "These are The Times that dry men's soles."


William Larsen
Thu, 09/16/2010 - 3:20pm

I would love to have one too many engineering positions open that cannot be filled in NE Indiana. This would put nearly every engineer looking for work in a position. However, that is not the case. As the article quickly pointed out, Navistar employees for the most part are over qualified. This means they get added to the pull of already overqualified workers looking for work in Fort Wayne.

The proposal to use Taxes to fund retraining means those who have jobs are funding the retraining of over qualified workers to find jobs they are now even less qualified to fill.

Retraining is the solution, finding employers who want to come here is. The solution is not to coax them here with tax abatements that end in the future, but low taxes that make it profitable to do business here long term.

This goes along with recent articles on

Lewis Allen
Fri, 09/17/2010 - 2:43am

Ugh. The only thing more tiresome than sports analogies are nautical ones.