Sun-Times today

* Neil Steinberg on not being able to tell the late Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw apart, they being “both trim, blandly handsome guys who read the news.”  Or is it Tom Jennings and Peter Brokaw?  In any case, they are or were barely distinguishable, colorless individuals.  On the other hand, what do we want in a reader?

* Mark Brown on not liking Ike cap because it’s a waste of taxpayers’ money, along with dozens, maybe hundreds of highway-paving extravaganzas elsewhere.  It’s an Oak Park project, he lives there, so he feels obliged.  Column is worth reading in part because he quotes a man from Taxpayers for Common Sense, which has hit this highway bill hard.  If it’s a harbinger of more commentary on excessive government spending, it’s interesting.

* U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer quoted on learning, “sort of,” from laws of other countries when interpreting our constitution, as he did in a 2002 Death Row case.  It’s in a speech he gave to lawyers in Chicago.  But if Your Honor pleases, learning is one thing, citing as evidence is another.  This is a rhetorical stunt in which one casually plays down the reality of the situation.  Not entirely honest, Your Honor.

* Story about dangerous Tennessee convict escaped with his murderous wife in which a sheriff’s spokesman said the escapee “has no care or concern on what he does to anyone.”  (Italics added.)  No.  It’s care or concern “for.”  The harassed spokesman is hardly to be blamed.  Ever since Joe Garagiola, baseball announcers have been speaking of one’s record “on the season,” which is Exhibit A, this being summertime, for my case for the Demise of the Preposition.  Yes.  The language will fall to pieces less through misuse of big words than of little ones. 

Tenses too, of course.  The historical present has taken over the presentation of earthy comment and narration by John Madden and others and is finding its way into less frenetic disquisition by non-sports figures.  More to come, I hope, concerning both of these disaster areas — prepositions and tense.

* Jeb Bush of Florida quoted saying NCAA “insults” Florida State U. and the Seminole Indians of Florida by penalizing use of Seminole as name for FSU teams.  NCAA is telling both communities, “You’re not smart enough to understand this.”  The Florida Seminoles have signed off on using their name.  They are OK with it, or as we used to say, it’s OK with them. 

See also, while we are at it, Chi Trib’s Mike Downey on the Notre Dame leprechaun — “No blarney: Leprechaun must go” — as grossly insulting to all red-blooded Micks.  

As a proud Irish-American, I demand that you make the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame get rid of that stupefying, stereotypical mascot of theirs. And that little jig of his. And I mean pronto, if you'll excuse my use of Indian lingo.

Ladies and gentlemen of the NCAA, I implore you. Do that thing you do. Do what you did Friday, when your executive committee announced that it no longer would tolerate any "hostile and abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascots, nicknames or imagery."

A leprechaun is all that.

He is mischievous by nature. He is up to no good. He clearly is abusive. Have you ever seen him treat Notre Dame's enemies with any kindness?

Etc.  Yes.  Tell it to my O’Hara in-law and the many others who once were ND leprechauns, while you’re at it.  I for one will not be doing so.

* Last but not least, read (right away) Leslie Baldacci’s remarkable broadside against ladies of the office parading downtown as if they were ladies of the street:

Since I started working downtown in July, I keep wondering, "Where is the hooker convention?"

Who can help but notice all the women walking the streets of our city in broad daylight dressed like, well, streetwalkers? Where are they all going? Where's the party?

Thus it begins.

Ladies [she concludes], if sexual power is what you are trying to muster, you have it all backward. If you squander your power on the street, handing it over to total strangers like it is worth nothing and means nothing to you, it will mean nothing. Lingerie is something you reveal when the time is right to bring a man to his knees. What will you have left in your arsenal when you need the heavy artillery in the boudoir? Nothing at all.

Bravissimo, Baldacci!

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