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Tony & Tacky
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March 25, 2005



PAUL GIGOT: Time for something a bit lighter: Winners and losers, picks and pans . . . we call it Tony & Tacky, our choices for the best and the worst of the week.

First, from a Massachusetts courtroom, what they're calling a case of "snowball rage" what happened outside the schoolhouse when one woman got tired of being a target. Melanie, Tony or Tacky?

MELANIE KIRKPATRICK: Well it's been a really long winter here in the northeast. And I think what this lady really needs is a week in Florida. About what happened was one afternoon last week she drove to school to pick up her daughter and her car was pelted with snowballs. Now, you know, this is March and it's probably been going on since November when the snow first fell. And she got angry so she jumped out of her car with a tire iron and then she went back and got some pepper spray and she went after the kids. Our colleague Dorothy Rabinowitz thinks we should give her a Tony but I disagree. I think this woman deserves a Tacky. Snowballs and kids are a natural phenomenon and, let's face it, grownups are natural targets.


MELANIE KIRKPATRICK: It's a fact of life. Another fact of life is that spring follows winter and if there's a moral to the story it's that spring can't come soon enough.

PAUL GIGOT: Alright, thanks Melanie. Next that Johnnie Cochran is trying to prove he is what is always wanted us to believe he is: one of the greatest lawyers ever. Rob, how so?

ROB POLLOCK: Well this could actually be a Tony for brilliant lawyering but I will give Johnnie a Tacky for blatant disregard of the First Amendment. This case involves a disgruntled former client of the famous lawyer who started picketing him some time in the mid 90s saying all kinds of unkind things about him and Johnnie went to court and sued for defamation and in 2000 he won. And not only did he win what you would normally, which would be damages, he won an injunction effectively barring the defendant -- the delightfully named Ulysses Tory -- from ever saying anything again about Johnnie Cochran in public. Now not surprisingly this case has found its way up to the Supreme Court and the judges there are skeptical. Even the cases like the Pentagon Papers involving national security -- so-called prior restraints on free speech -- have never been upheld. So a big, big Tacky to Johnnie Cochran on this one.

PAUL GIGOT: As somebody said, for free speech to function there must be no injunction.


PAUL GIGOT: Thanks Rob. And finally for the first time a NASA telescope has directly measured light from two planets the size of Jupiter, which are closely orbiting stars hundreds of light years from the earth. For Dan this has special significance at this particular time. Dan?

DAN HENNINGER: Well I think this is about as Tony as it ever gets. From time to time these stories about light or signals coming from huge distances arrive and I love them because they're incomprehensible to a layman. Though in fact the astronomers involved with one said it was an awesome experience. And I think it's entirely appropriate that we have an awesome experience here in Holy Week and close to Passover because what this sort of thing does is make us feel a little bit of humility. And at a time when we're fighting over Terri Schiavo and there are wars going on around the world and our politics has become so intense and full of hubris really, it's no bad thing if an event occurs that brings us all a little bit more back down to earth.

PAUL GIGOT: Humility, good message. Thanks Dan. That's it for this edition of the Journal Editorial Report. Thank you from all of us. We'll be back next week and we hope you'll join us then.