Sunday, April 11, 2004

Hot Corner: Nipping at the heels of the newsmakers

Can't erase this mistake

Antonin Scalia, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and famed duck-hunting partner of the vice president, doesn't want anybody to know what he said about the United States Constitution to the kids at Presbyterian Christian High School in Hattiesburg, Miss., last Wednesday.

Acting on what she described as standing orders from the justice, Deputy United States Marshal Melanie Rube erased recordings of the speech that had been made by two journalists in the audience.

"The justice informed us he did not want any recordings of his speech and remarks and when we discovered that one, or possibly two, reporters were in fact recording, she took action," said Nehemiah Flowers, the U.S. marshal for the Southern District of Mississippi, in explaining Rube's infringement on the Constitution's amendments about freedom of the press and unlawful search and seizure.

Reporters were invited to the event and Scalia's desire for no recordings was never explained at the high school before the speech. We wonder just what the justice told these kids about their rights under the Constitution.

Blowing smoke

Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher offered an insightful look into the commonwealth's tobacco tax policy Tuesday in a talk with the Enquirer's Editorial Board.

In explaining how he came to ask for a 40-cent-per-pack hike in the state's cigarette tax, (later reduced to 29 cents per pack), Fletcher said that was two-cents per pack less in Tennessee, and 15-cents per pack less than the tax on Ohio smokes. What Fletcher called Kentucky's cigarette "exporting industry" depends on never charging more for a pack of Marlboros in Kentucky than it cost to buy them in a neighboring state.

Trail Mix

George W. Bush, known for such terse phrasing as "dead or alive," "axis of evil," "bring 'em on," is starting to ramble on a bit out on the stump, according to the Associated Press.

His standard campaign speech used to be clocked at 24 minutes, but these days it often runs to well over 30 minutes. A Tuesday talk on job readiness proposals given in El Dorado, Ark., went a full hour. On Monday, in Charlotte, N.C., he talked for 51 minutes on job training.

The president is making longer speeches so he can talk the audiences through the "really important things going on in our country and our world," said White House communications director Dan Bartlett. The longer speeches don't impress Democratic challenger John Kerry, who said Friday that Bush has ignored the issues of jobs and the economy.

"He thinks more about photo opportunities than he does about job opportunities," Kerry said.

Holy days can bring us together
Paper receipts make for risky voting
Great care was taken in choosing school building overseer
Clooney: Judge Dad, not me, in run for Congress
Letters to the editor

Rice leaves central points unresolved after testimony
Hot Corner: Nipping at the heels of the newsmakers
More letters: 9-11 and the war on terrorism