Post-Tribune Latest news from Post-Tribune Online en-us (Editor) Post-Tribune 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![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 … ]]> Sun, 30 Mar 2014 02:05:33 -0500 <![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 <![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 <![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 <![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 <![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 <![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 <![CDATA[ Fortunes: Way the cookie crumbles ]]> Lead story image

The fortune cookies that accompany my weekly lunch with a friend usually assure me that things will soon change for the better, I can look forward to a comfortable old age, or an unexpected payment will come my way. Perhaps one should never admit to reading those little slips, or eating the cookies for that matter, but occasionally they serve as worthwhile reminders of just how quirky a world we inhabit. “A tub and a rub will change our day,” promised this week’s fortune. Never mind that I don’t own a whirlpool or have a masseuse on speed dial. The … ]]> Wed, 01 Jan 2014 06:07:03 -0500 <![CDATA[ Niedner: 50 years later, what’s to be learned from JFK assassination? ]]> Lead story image

By this time, those of us with more than a few miles on our personal odometers can recall exactly where we were and what we were doing on several historic occasions of the kind that sear an indelible print upon one’s memory. For many among us, images of the events surrounding President John Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963 proved the first of those that would stay fresh for a lifetime. I have no more need or desire to see the Zapruder film again than I do the horrifying footage of the Challenger space shuttle exploding or those graceful airliners slamming … ]]> Tue, 17 Dec 2013 06:06:55 -0500 <![CDATA[ Future generations certain to judge us ]]> Lead story image

Just as we have written the history of the Gilded Age and Great Depression, and lately presumed to have understood the Cold War, our great-grandchildren will one day look back on us and tell the story of our times. How will they name our era, this early stretch of the 21st century? If we’re lucky and our offspring prove charitable, they might dub us the Cloud People, considering our wireless ways of doing most everything. They may also mark our age as that in which the world’s many and disparate economies fully merged and left us in a World with … ]]> Wed, 06 Nov 2013 06:05:26 -0500 <![CDATA[ No good options in Syria ]]> Lead story image

As every police officer knows, few situations prove more dangerous to would-be peacemakers than a scene of domestic violence. Many times, those who mean only to serve and protect become the entire household’s enemy, and whatever additional mayhem ensues inevitably becomes their responsibility. Still, they must respond. Doing nothing is not an option. The same story line plays out all too often these days in the ever more enmeshed neighborhood of nations. At the moment, Syria has become the troubled family unit that demands our attention. By all accounts, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, like his father before him, controls his … ]]> Tue, 08 Oct 2013 06:06:35 -0500 <![CDATA[ You shouldn’t be surprised that Big Brother’s watching ]]> Lead story image

This week’s Supreme Court rulings momentarily absorbed much of the nation’s righteous anger quotient, but so long as Edward Snowden remains a fugitive, the furor over his revelations concerning National Security Agency surveillance programs won’t subside appreciably. Some deem Snowden as a whistleblowing hero, others a garden-variety traitor. To my mind, this story’s biggest surprise is that the information Snowden leaked surprised anyone. The government has systematically spied on citizens since the days of J. Edgar Hoover. After September 11, 2001, Congress fashioned the Patriot Act that in effect said, “Watch over us, Big Brother. We can’t afford to have … ]]> Sat, 29 Jun 2013 23:44:24 -0500 <![CDATA[ Niedner: Trouble even in Paradise ]]> Lead story image

I live and work in a town named for Paradise. The word comes from the ancient Persian religion known as Zoroastrianism. It means “enclosed garden” and identified the place where certifiably good people dwell for eternity as a reward for their upright lives. I don’t know that I have earned a spot in Paradise, but I do know for certain we celebrated one of the truly good guys in our town a couple of weeks ago. Trouble was, we had to do it in the course of burying him. Worse still, he was only 49, and we believed he had … ]]> Tue, 03 Dec 2013 06:07:40 -0500 <![CDATA[ Niedner: Dramas of daily life ultimately define us ]]> Lead story image

At last, a truce has halted the latest mud wrestling episode in Washington, which means that national parks and cemeteries will reopen and furloughed federal employees will get paychecks again. Until it starts all over in a couple months, we can enjoy a break from the ceaseless media coverage of those angry orators, all of them millionaires, dueling over policies that affect them not a whit, but have a serious impact on the lives of the poor and on those who live hand to mouth even in the best of times. That means we can now return our attention to … ]]> Wed, 20 Nov 2013 06:08:57 -0500 <![CDATA[ We build and destroy, but some things last nonetheless ]]> Lead story image

Strolling ancient streets amid the ruins of Corinth and Athens, or standing in the remains of Ephesus’ grand theater, leaves one contemplating the fact that Plato, Aristotle and biblical figures like Paul once passed this way and looked on the same hills in the distance or even the very stones of nearby buildings. While visiting those places and savoring such thoughts last week, I also recalled an old Peanuts cartoon strip in which Lucy and Linus have built a sand castle on the beach and Lucy muses, “A thousand years from now people will look at what we have built … ]]> Tue, 16 Jul 2013 06:07:37 -0500 <![CDATA[ Humanity’s story lines don’t change much ]]> Lead story image

Strange as the news sometimes seems, the dramas unfolding around us often replicate story lines old as the hills and just as familiar. Everyone who once read Sophocles’ “Antigone” in a western civilization course could have predicted that the people of Massachusetts wouldn’t allow the burial of Tamerlan Tsarnaev within their borders. Something deep in the human psyche makes us want to cast traitors so far out of the human family that they can’t even sleep in the same dust where we will one day rest. Those who remember Antigone might also have wagered that someone, probably a woman, would … ]]> Thu, 20 Jun 2013 06:29:09 -0500 <![CDATA[ Power of words among most enduring lessons ]]> Lead story image

My day job as an educator routinely involves critiquing and correcting others’ use of words. Students may imagine otherwise, but few teachers consider this the most satisfying part of their work. Over the years I have often repeated a former colleague’s line, “I teach for free. They pay me to grade papers.” On weekends, especially in summer, when pastors in the region take vacation time, I dust off my clergy credentials and fill an empty pulpit here or there. In that venue, the shoe is on the other foot. Folks in the pews listen to my rhetorical offerings and respond … ]]> Wed, 25 Sep 2013 06:06:45 -0500 <![CDATA[ Celebrity offenders always  willing to play us for fools ]]> Lead story image

Once upon a time, in the good old days, we put the sinners, villains and malefactors among us in stocks. There they stayed while their neighbors heaped shame on them with taunts and ridicule, and perhaps some well-aimed spit. Since no one kept statistics on recidivism back then, we don’t know if such treatment prevented more widespread malfeasance, although the shadow of the gallows that stood near the stocks likely turned a few consciences toward the straight and narrow. Today, if you’re caught often enough burning the wrong kind of leaves and inhaling the smoke, or police find cocaine under … ]]> Wed, 11 Sep 2013 06:08:48 -0500