Post-Tribune http://posttrib.suntimes.com Latest news from Post-Tribune Online en-us webmaster@suntimes.com (Editor) http://posttrib.suntimes.com/csp/cms/sites/STM/assets/img/logos/posttrib.gif Post-Tribune http://posttrib.suntimes.com 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Niedner: No need for job-related anger to lead to violence ]]> Lead story image

Most personal meltdowns that snowball into newsworthy stories have origins more complex than the public usually learns. On the surface, however, it appears that the fellow who recently sabotaged the Aurora, Illinois, air radar center and temporarily snarled the nation’s air traffic did so to make a statement about his colleagues’ ineptness. Countless others have asked, “How can I fly like an eagle when I’m surrounded by turkeys?” Very few inflict such widespread, indiscriminate punishment as a way to express their disdain. Taxpayers will soon enough pay the millions of dollars necessary to fix things at the Aurora center and … ]]> Sun, 12 Oct 2014 02:11:54 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/30360369-474/niedner-no-need-for-job-related-anger-to-lead-to-violence.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/30360369-474/niedner-no-need-for-job-related-anger-to-lead-to-violence.html <![CDATA[ Niedner: America’s ambivalence toward war ]]> Lead story image

President Obama declared “war on war” at a recent United Nations gathering. The timing seemed apt, what with armed conflict raging in Syria, Iraq and the Ukraine, and smoke still lingering from recent fighting in Gaza, Mali, Nigeria, the Central African Republic and South Sudan. The potential for such struggles to escalate gives the world sufficient reason to be fed up with war. Ironically, Obama’s declaration came in the same week he authorized bombing raids on Islamic State militants in the Middle East. He told his UN audience that the language of force is the only one that “the network … ]]> Sun, 05 Oct 2014 02:12:57 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/30240640-460/niedner-americas-ambivalence-toward-war.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/30240640-460/niedner-americas-ambivalence-toward-war.html <![CDATA[ Niedner: History shows our enemies often become friends ]]> Lead story image

When we finished our arithmetic in the two-room elementary school I attended, we had discretionary time while children in other grades had their lessons. I used it to pore over World War II issues of National Geographic magazine. Wartime photos and descriptions from Europe and the Pacific captivated me, although they didn’t make me dream of becoming a soldier. Too many revealed the human cost of war, and I felt no urge to risk paying it. A visit to the U.S. Marine Corps Museum in Virginia this past week left me feeling like I’d stepped inside those old magazines. Here … ]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 06:21:13 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/29832618-460/niedner-history-shows-our-enemies-often-become-friends.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/29832618-460/niedner-history-shows-our-enemies-often-become-friends.html <![CDATA[ Niedner: Back to school is a time for reflection ]]> Lead story image

Despite all the wrangling over funding, curricula and privatization of our schools, these late-summer weeks remain a hopeful sacred season as we witness the return of youngsters and teachers to their classrooms. Photos of first-time students appeared this week on my Facebook page. Parents of preschoolers and first graders posted pictures of backpack-toting children — so lately in diapers, it seems —who will now be out of their sight for much of the day. Moms and dads who helped move those all-too-recent first graders into college dorms have posted photos, too. Anyone who has ever taken such a picture knows … ]]> Wed, 08 Oct 2014 06:14:22 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/29668545-460/niedner-back-to-school-is-a-time-for-reflection.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/29668545-460/niedner-back-to-school-is-a-time-for-reflection.html <![CDATA[ Niedner: Three notable deaths follow familiar patterns ]]>

Nearly 7,000 Americans die each day. Most of their names show up somewhere on an obituary page. A few, mostly accident and homicide victims, make the local news. A tiny few overwhelm the news and leave millions stunned and bewildered. Three highly publicized deaths this month have reminded us of the sadly familiar nature of most mortality-related news. When a veteran NASCAR driver struck and killed an angry, young, fist-waving fellow driver we learned again that testosterone remains one of the planet’s deadliest substances. When a St. Louis-area police officer pumped six rounds from his service revolver into an unarmed … ]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 12:53:10 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/29378496-460/niedner-three-notable-deaths-follow-familiar-patterns.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/29378496-460/niedner-three-notable-deaths-follow-familiar-patterns.html <![CDATA[ Niedner: Same-sex marriage issue must end ]]> Lead story image

Welcome to Indiana, where some days you’re married, and other days you’re not. It all depends on which religious or political group (if that distinction still means anything) has most recently persuaded a judge to issue a ruling that upholds, overturns or stays another judge’s decision concerning marriage rights and whether everyone, or only the heterosexual majority, should enjoy them. A wave of recent rulings around the nation suggests that the tide of public opinion and our communal sense of morality have changed significantly in recent decades on the subject of same-sex marriage. Our forebears once deemed human trafficking and … ]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 06:38:27 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/28463981-460/niedner-same-sex-marriage-issue-must-end.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/28463981-460/niedner-same-sex-marriage-issue-must-end.html <![CDATA[ Niedner: The power of stories on human behavior ]]> Lead story image

Few things rival the power that stories wield among human beings. Stories create the world in which we live. While we all reside on the same planet, the sense of meaning and purpose that gives life coherence and makes the world around us trustworthy differs markedly from person to person. All depends on whatever stories have shaped us, from the meta-narratives shared among groups to the personal stories we construct and tell ourselves in secret. Little wonder that we spend so many waking hours tweaking our personal narratives. Laboratories for examining the dynamics of story power spring up most anywhere … ]]> Wed, 09 Jul 2014 06:14:34 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/27895757-460/niedner-the-power-of-stories-on-human-behavior.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/27895757-460/niedner-the-power-of-stories-on-human-behavior.html <![CDATA[ Niedner: Insurer can’t sue God, seeks scapegoat ]]> Lead story image

For obvious reasons, few folks watch the weather more closely than farmers. The rest of us get annoyed when a storm forces flight cancellations or an all-day soaker that we would scarcely notice on a Tuesday ruins our weekend festivities. For farmers, however, dry spells, an unseasonal freeze or even a 5-minute hail storm can mean the difference between having a good crop and tightening the proverbial belt while waiting to try again next year. These days, more than ever perhaps, everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. Urban and rural residents alike ponder the intense … ]]> Thu, 26 Jun 2014 06:26:33 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/27619540-452/niedner-insurer-cant-sue-god-seeks-scapegoat.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/27619540-452/niedner-insurer-cant-sue-god-seeks-scapegoat.html <![CDATA[ Niedner: A mom’s heart not her own ]]> Lead story image

This weekend, we wish happiness on all our mothers, those who birthed us into the world as well as the ones who made us dads or grandparents. The accompanying blizzard of advertising for Mother’s Day tells us how to guarantee Mom’s happiness. At the very least, we must send cards, flowers and chocolate. But a new flat-screen television, an iSomething or a Caribbean cruise would make her happy beyond measure. The truth that every mother knows about happiness, however, finds expression in the wise old maxim that a mother is only as happy as her most miserable child. Once you … ]]> Thu, 12 Jun 2014 06:38:21 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/27326239-537/niedner-a-moms-heart-not-her-own.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/27326239-537/niedner-a-moms-heart-not-her-own.html <![CDATA[ Niedner: Missing plane only unusual in high-tech age ]]> Lead story image

Fifty days have passed since Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, with 239 people on board, veered off course and disappeared while en route to Beijing. Nations around the world have spent more than $1 million a day in a relentless search for some sign of the missing aircraft. For now, it seems the hunt will continue indefinitely. We’re no longer accustomed to losing vessels filled with human beings, but in earlier times such tragedies were commonplace. Earth’s ocean floors are a vast graveyard for countless ships that perished through the millennia in which people sailed the seas without radios and SOS … ]]> Wed, 28 May 2014 06:25:52 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/27035677-460/niedner-missing-plane-only-unusual-in-high-tech-age.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/27035677-460/niedner-missing-plane-only-unusual-in-high-tech-age.html <![CDATA[ Fred Niedner: High court’s metaphorical rulings a stretch ]]>

Metaphors have always served as the stock-in-trade of poets and theologians. Before I could read or ponder the power of words, my parents told me God is love and taught me to sing, “I am Jesus’ little lamb.” I didn’t know then how powerfully such things shaped my world, or that a child’s song had cast the spell of poets upon me. Nowadays, I happily visit scenes such as those poet laureate Billy Collins creates, where, for example, he asks his students “to take a poem and hold it up to the light like a color slide or press an … ]]> Wed, 14 May 2014 06:32:25 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/26772056-460/fred-niedner-high-courts-metaphorical-rulings-a-stretch.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/26772056-460/fred-niedner-high-courts-metaphorical-rulings-a-stretch.html <![CDATA[ Niedner: Film fans certain to flood theaters to see ‘Noah’ ]]> Lead story image

At long last, we see signs that winter’s grip may soon release us. Major league baseball opened its season last weekend, albeit on another continent, as the Diamondbacks and Dodgers played games that counted in Sydney, Australia. Back home, March Madness has cast its annual springtime spell. For the second of three weekends, in board rooms, classrooms and dining rooms everywhere, hoops junkies steal frequent, furtive looks at screens of all sizes, not so much to watch basketball as to check on brackets, busted or otherwise. Theoretically, we’ll soon see greening grass, brave crocuses, and buds on trees, but before … ]]> Thu, 01 May 2014 06:56:30 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/26498641-452/niedner-film-fans-certain-to-flood-theaters-to-see-noah.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/26498641-452/niedner-film-fans-certain-to-flood-theaters-to-see-noah.html <![CDATA[ Niedner: Want to invoke God in gay marriage debate? Try ‘love your neighbor’ ]]> Lead story image

History suggests we step into dangerous territory when we let ourselves believe some people are so different from us that they don’t have the same dreams, loves and loyalties we do. “The Vietnamese aren’t like us,” I often heard as a young man. “They don’t mourn their dead. They don’t care if they live or die.” As if there were ever mothers anywhere who could bury their babies and not suffer a ceaseless, aching emptiness. Believing such nonsense helps, however, when you feel the need to kill a bunch of people. It would be awful to blow up human beings … ]]> Sun, 23 Mar 2014 06:13:09 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/25739095-452/niedner-want-to-invoke-god-in-gay-marriage-debate-try-love-your-neighbor.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/25739095-452/niedner-want-to-invoke-god-in-gay-marriage-debate-try-love-your-neighbor.html <![CDATA[ All you need is love ... even 50 years later ]]> Lead story image

Sunday evening will mark 50 years since Ed Sullivan introduced the Beatles to an American audience. Those of us in college then watched little television, but on that evening nearly everyone crowded around the few black-and-white sets scattered around campus. Our professors in their nearby homes had little interest in the Beatles, or any of “our” music for that matter. They mostly dreamed in Latin, we guessed, and couldn’t possibly parse lyrics like, “She loves you, yeah yeah yeah.” We, however, stood in rapt attention as John, Paul, George and Ringo sang “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Our female … ]]> Sun, 09 Mar 2014 06:11:38 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/25427835-452/all-you-need-is-love-even-50-years-later.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/25427835-452/all-you-need-is-love-even-50-years-later.html <![CDATA[ Niedner: Society needs a pill for uncontrolled anger ]]> Lead story image

Our society needs blood pressure meds. We’re near to exploding. Consider this week’s news as the cuff on our collective arm. The nation has witnessed six school shootings this January, compared with 14 in all of 2013. Most recently, a Purdue student shot and killed a fellow engineering student at midday in a classroom building. So far, we’ve heard nothing about a motive, but chances are we’ll eventually learn of a festering resentment that finally overrode the gunman’s attempts at self-control. We’ve also had shootings on Northwest Indiana expressways this week. In both instances, drivers who considered themselves “dissed” by … ]]> Wed, 26 Feb 2014 06:09:18 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/25139693-452/niedner-society-needs-a-pill-for-uncontrolled-anger.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/25139693-452/niedner-society-needs-a-pill-for-uncontrolled-anger.html <![CDATA[ Niedner: More to education than creating workers ]]> Lead story image

We found ways to joke about the deep-freeze that descended on so much of the nation this week. One friend suggested the term “polar vortex” sounded like a winter sportswear line or a villain in a Star Wars film. Windy City residents took to calling their town Chiberia. And then there were all those Minnesotans who endured their minus-50 degree wind chills partly by laughing at the short hitters down here in the lower Midwest who whined about the cold as though it were some kind of personal affront. Mostly, however, the polar vortex was dangerous, not funny. It gave … ]]> Wed, 12 Feb 2014 06:08:58 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/24860905-452/niedner-more-to-education-than-creating-workers.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/24860905-452/niedner-more-to-education-than-creating-workers.html <![CDATA[ Niedner: Take celebrity opinions with a grain of salt ]]> Lead story image

Having never developed a taste for reality television, I had no clue why the earth tottered on its foundations last week when the A&E network dismissed Phil Robertson for publicly comparing the attractiveness of various bodily orifices and describing how happy black folks seemed back in the days of segregation. For all I knew, Duck Dynasty was a new fast food chain. Alas, a brief, educational foray into the exotic world of cable television has only heightened the mystery inherent in this curious saga. It turns out that Duck Dynasty is little more than the life and times of Boston … ]]> Fri, 27 Dec 2013 23:00:00 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/24614357-452/niedner-take-celebrity-opinions-with-a-grain-of-salt.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/24614357-452/niedner-take-celebrity-opinions-with-a-grain-of-salt.html <![CDATA[ Mandela, Pope Francis give us hope ]]> Lead story image

They almost seem like characters drawn from story books, these two old souls who have captured much of our imagination in recent days. One of them, Nelson Mandela, surprised us by dying. Having survived war, decades in prison, and arguably the most difficult political challenges ever to face the head of a modern, democratic state, he seemed immortal. In the end, neither his enemies nor the world’s caprice could wear him down, but the calendar finally did. He simply ran out of days. Until that moment, what didn’t kill Mandela made him wiser, forged and refined in him the character … ]]> Wed, 15 Jan 2014 06:09:43 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/24337680-452/mandela-pope-francis-give-us-hope.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/niedner/24337680-452/mandela-pope-francis-give-us-hope.html