Leonard Pitts won a Pulitzer Prize for many good reasons. A recent column on the perils of newspapers offering anonymity to their readers is an excellent example of why Pitts is so good.

A newspaper offering anonymity (the Albuquerque Journal calls it “Speak Up) is the print equivalent of talk radio. It rarely adds anything of value to either medium. It often adds ignorance and anger, if not downright hateful words. It’s a bad idea.

From the family values political party comes a bondage/stripper/lesbian story. (No … really … bondage/stripper/lesbian … all on the expense account.

Politico reports: 

The Daily Caller is standing by a story that was denounced by the Republican National Committee on Monday highlighting the committee’s decision to expense nearly $2,000 spent at a “bondage-themed” night club.  At the same time, Daily Caller Founder Tucker Carlson is saying the site “did not claim that Michael Steele personally visited” the club, just hours after including it in a list of “Steele’s travels.”

Everyone knows the answer, right. Everyone knows it’s … except maybe it’s not.

In today’s New York Times sports section, there appears a story that proves (again) that if you really want to you can buck any number of odds. The story concerns one Sister Rose Ann Fleming, the academic adviser for Xavier University.

The Xavier basketball team enters the NCAA tournament with a 24-8 record. Sister Rose Ann’s record is better. Since taking on the job in 1985, she is a perfect 77-0.

“Since she became the academic adviser for Xavier athletics in 1985, every men’s basketball player who has played as a senior has left with a diploma,” the Times reports.

This year, 19 percent of the teams in the tournament have graduation rates below 40 percent. (In December, the University of New Mexico reported its graduation rate for athletes at 55 percent overall; basketball is 43 percent. The school reports the graduation rate for all students is 43 percent.)

Sister Rose Ann has been known to schedule academic meetings in the middle of practice. She thinks if a kid can focus enough to play basketball well, he can focus enough to study. It’s just another kind of learning.

As I said, if you really want to …

Tinker to Evers to Twain to Crane. I like the sound of it. It’s got a nice rhythm.

Now that spring training is under way and we have left behind that time of year that the Washington Post’s Jonathan Yardley calls the “void,” I am happy to report that if you’re looking for even more reasons to argue that baseball is the best game, today’s New York Times give us two.

It seems that Mark Twain had an eye for the game and Stephen Crane, in the best American tradition, would rather spend his time with baseball instead of doing homework.

Is this a great country or what?

In a column I wrote for the Albuquerque Journal, I once mentioned in passing that Liz and I were standing at the checkout counter in a Walmart. This produced an e-mail from a livid, furious reader who pretty much accused me of just about every vile thing a human being could be accused of. (Sorry about that preposition at the end. Are we still getting our shorts in a twist about that?)

Anyway, that experience made me a little gun shy about mentioning anything that might have a positive word to say about Walmart. Then along came the Walmart-Whole Foods Smackdown in The Atlantic.

And I just couldn’t pass it up.

The Tribune Co. CEO in Chicago has put out a list of banned words that he doesn’t want to hear on WGN. Ever. Really.

Oh, wait, I’m not supposed to say that.

We write interesting laws in New Mexico. Let’s call them pretzel laws, laws bent into odd shapes.

Beginning July 1, you can carry a concealed weapon into a restaurant that serves beer and wine, but you still can’t bring your favorite Glock with you to a joint that has a full liquor license.

Everybody got that?

In a restaurant with beer and wine, you can bring your gun but you can’t drink. In a saloon or restaurant with a wide selection of your favorite orange vodkas, you aren’t allowed to carry your gun.

(Question for gun enthusiasts in restaurants: Does it make a difference if you’re having the fish or the beef? Is a gun like wine? Would it be declasse to have a Ruger in your pants while ordering the chicken pot pie? Is this an Emily Post question or does Guns & Ammo cover it?)

As usual in these situations, someone insists on being adult about the whole thing. Let’s get that out of the way right now.

Carol Wight, chief executive officer of the New Mexico Restaurant Association, offers down home common sense in the March 11 Albuquerque Journal ($sub. req.): “We still don’t believe it’s a good policy to have guns and liquor in the same vicinity.”

Poor Carol Wight, attempting to be a grown-up when we’re talking about booze and guns. Bless her.

Of course she’s right. Guns mixed with booze is a bad idea and I don’t care of you’re for or against concealed carry. (I’m agnostic on it myself. I don’t know of any epidemic of shootings in states that allow concealed carry, which suggests that the great majority of gun owners are responsible people. So if your combination plate just has to come with a firearm, well …  try not to gum up the trigger guard with your sopaipilla honey, OK?)

Now, back to the rabbit hole.

If someone has a Glock on his belt when he goes into a restaurant, how is the server going to know? If our concealed Glockster orders a beer, will he be frisked? Patted down? Will metal detectors come with the appetizers?

Then there’s the matter of beer and wine vs a full liquor license.

Does anyone really believe you can’t get as loaded on six beers as you can on bourbon?

Last week, James Ruiz hit a car in Santa Fe and killed two lovely teenage sisters. In the Journal story ($sub. req), there is this: “Ruiz allegedly told police that he had been drinking beers for several hours prior to the accident. His sample showed a 0.22 percent blood alcohol concentration, well above the state’s presumed level of intoxication for a driver, which is 0.08 percent, Department of Health spokeswoman Deborah Busemeyer said Tuesday.”

Drinking beers. Oh, he was in a restaurant, too.

New Mexico creates odd laws.

Remember that in New Mexico we sell liquor at the same places we sell gas. I have long wondered how serious we can be about preventing DWI when we allow alcohol to be sold in the same place we sell gasoline.

Somebody needs to explain this to me. Maybe we could get together over burgers and a Beretta.

I don’t know why I looked at the “Comments” after I read Joel Achenbach’s Washington Post story on the disastrous consequences of an earthquake striking one of the world’s great urban areas. It was just a feeling I had. I’ve read enough “Comments” in other places to know that people can take great offense when you least expect it.

There was a time in my newspaper career when I joked that all you had to write was “Good morning” and somebody would get mad. Toward the end of that 32-year career, I stopped joking about it.

So I wondered if someone would take great offense at an earthquake science story.

Well, you silly goose, of course someone took offense.

He called himself “biffgrifftheoneandonly” and he wrote: “No … really? Duh. This is news? Must be a slow day at WAPO … why do I even bother to read this tripe anymore.”

Tripe? I thought. Earthquake tripe?

Then, as luck would have it, a few days later I happened upon the New English Review. Theodore Dalrymple had written an essay: “Thank You For Not Expressing Yourself,” an examination of the “Comments” phenomenon.

He wrote: “No subject is too recondite to provoke the insensate rage of those who disagree with the view the author has taken of it. Indeed, it sometimes seems as if fury leading to ill-mannered personal abuse and foul language is the predominant mode of disagreement in our society, at least among those who append their comments to an article that appears on the Internet.”

When my computer guru set up this blog, he said: “Let’s not do Comments.”

I said, “OK.”

Oh, not long after Achenbach’s “tripe” appeared, that 8.8 earthquake hit Chile.

No comment.

Saw this on Andrew Sullivan’s blog. It’s worth your time, even if you haven’t worked up enough gumption to read “Infinite Jest.”

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