The last few weeks have been great for newspapers — from the news standpoint, anyway.
From Hillary Clinton’s concussion to the tax deal in Washington to the Chiefs’ lightning-bolt hire of a new coach, it’s been a windfall for us news hounds.
Today, if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to comment on a few of the stories that have caught my attention.
1) Like most Chiefs’ fans, I’m glad that Andy Reid will be coaching the team for the next few years, at least. He seems like a very down-to-earth, honest guy, and he’s got a lot of wins on his resume. But, holy smoke, did you get a load of the guy’s wardrobe? He needs a new tailor…real bad. Just because a guy is fat doesn’t mean he has to look like he’s a fabric salesman’s dream come true…
2) Once again, the Jesuits have demonstrated that they are the best at educating our youngsters and doing everything possible to mold their students into responsible citizens.
Rockhurst High School’s new drug-testing program, to begin next summer, is bound to intercept and redirect many students who are using recreational drugs, like marijuana. Wisely and correctly, Rockhurst officials are pitching the initiative as a “health and wellness” program. The first time a student gets caught, he will be brought in for counseling; the second time, he could be disciplined and will be put on notice; and the third time…well, he’s out.
Not only does the program look excellent, but the way Rockhurst officials, including Principal Greg Harkness and President Terrence Baum, rolled it out was a thing of beauty. After two years of study and groundwork, Rockhurst officials informed faculty, students, parents and the news media in a matter of a few hours one morning last week. Then, Harkness answered questions from the media all afternoon, and several students were made available to discuss the program on the record and in front of cameras.
Congratulations to Rockhurst on skillfully planning and publicizing this unprecedented program — unprecedented in Kansas City, anyway.
3) On the national front, President Obama has chosen an outstanding person, in my opinion, to head the Defense Department. You’ve got to love it, don’t you, when a guy like Chuck Hagel, who has been in the battlefield, says he views war as the very last resort? The last thing you want in that job is some trigger-happy muscle flexer who wants to crack skulls all over the world.
I predict that the Senate will approve him. Yes, he made a big mistake in 1998 when he described a U.S. ambassador nominee as “openly, aggressively gay.” I’m sure, however, that his views on that subject have changed significantly — just like those of a lot of formerly homophobic folks. As liberal as I am, I have to admit that coming around to a “live-and-let-live” philosophy regarding homosexuality was difficult for me.
4) In an open letter in today’s New York Times to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, columnist Joe Nocera praised Bloomberg for wielding the shrillest and most effective voice on gun control. Nocera called on Bloomberg to go to bat for gun control with his energy and his money (net worth $20 billion, says Nocera) after his third and last mayoral term ends in December.
“There is, quite simply, no one else in America who has a better chance of moving the country toward a saner gun policy than you,” Nocera wrote, addressing the mayor. “It is an effort worthy of your talents, and your money.”
5) Let’s end on a head-scratching note…In a story out yesterday, some scientists have concluded that the cause of fingers wrinkling after being in water for some time is a function of evolution. Laboratory tests have confirmed a theory that wrinkly fingers let us get a better grip on wet or submerged objects, acting like a treads on a car tire.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go bathe my hands and make a run to the Plaza to get as many coins as I can from the Mermaid Fountain.