Thursday, November 2, 2017

Rob Burgess - Kokomo Tribune - City Editor - Article List

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I have uploaded the complete archives of everything I ever wrote for the Kokomo Tribune to my Google Drive account. You can view and download it here.

2012-04-23 – “Teen death sparks outpouring of grief” [Pages: A1, jump to A5] (with photo by Rob Burgess)

2012-05-18 – “USPS to begin closing plants” [Pages: A1, jump to A6]

2012-05-20 – “Minor wreck causes major roll” (with photo by Rob Burgess) [Page: A2]

2012-05-31 – “WMS student nearly makes National Spelling Bee semifinals” [Pages: A1 (mug), A3 (story)]

2012-06-08 – “House fire leaves two injured” (with photo by Tim Bath) [Pages: A1, jump to A8]

2013-02-03 – “Readers remember ’78 blizzard” (with three submitted photos) [Page: A3]

2013-11-23 – “How the Kokomo Tribune reported the assassination” [Page: A7, promo on A1]

2014-01-23 – “Stuck in the middle; Long-term Howard County LGBT couples discuss their experiences” [Page: A1, jump to A3]

2014-03-26 – “Limestone Comedy Festival returns” [Page: A11, promo on A1]

Partially re-published: 2014-04-27 – “Week in Review” [Page: D1]


Question Time

2013-09-01 – “Question Time - Hands-free driving coming soon” [Page: A4]

2013-09-16 – “Question Time - What to do about Syria” [Page: A3]

2014-03-10 – “Question Time - Daylight Saving Time begins again” [Page: A2]

2014-04-07 – “Question Time - Most memorable spring break” [Page: A2]

2014-05-12 – “Question Time - Best thrift shop finds” [Page: A3]

2014-06-16 – “Question Time - New languages” [Page: A3]

2014-07-07 - "Question Time - Time for a new national anthem?" [Page: A3]

2015-06-14 – “Question Time - Discrimination against prospective adoptive parents?” [Page:C4]

2015-07-04 – “Question Time - Favorite Independence Day memories” [Page: A3]

A hologram of rapper Tupac Amaru Shakur performed two songs, “Hail Mary” and “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted,” with Snoop Dogg during Dr. Dre’s set on April 15 at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif. In case you forgot, Shakur was shot four times on Sept. 7, 1996, in Las Vegas, dying six days later.

The wife of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney told ABC’s Diane Sawyer on April 16 that their dog “loved” riding on the roof of their vehicle.

When you’re a child, every birthday is a special occasion. Nearly every age brings new rights and privileges. After you turn 21, though, the chances for significant birthday milestones certainly goes downhill.

On May 1, Facebook announced it had finally come for your organs.
Well, not exactly, but it does want to know if you’d be willing to donate them post mortem.

On May 4, I felt like one of my childhood friends died. When I heard that Adam Nathaniel “MCA” Yauch,  bassist and MC of the legendary New York City-based band the Beastie Boys, had passed away after a  three-year battle against cancer of the salivary gland at the age of 47, a piece of my innocence left with him.

In high school, I ate fast food pretty much every day. These days, my wife, Ash, and I eat organic, natural foods.

In a May 31 email to the Huffington Post, David Daigle, spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, officially denied the existence of zombies.

I really wanted to wait longer than this to write this column. When my piece “Hologram Tupac Cometh,” dropped on April 25, I thought I could stand to wait at least 90 days to file a follow-up. But just like Al Pacino (who I’m sure will be a hologram himself in due time) said in “The Godfather Part III,” “just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

2012-06-27 – “House of Burgess: The limits of freedom” [Page: A7]
I’m a big, fat hypocrite. I was reminded of this fact after hearing about a series of varied social controls put into place by local municipalities over the course of the last few weeks.

I was standing on the sidewalk by my apartment when I knew July 4 was just around the corner. I ascertained this because out of the corner of my eye I saw the brown sedan slow to a crawl beside me. I felt the handful of bang snaps thrown from it hit my pant legs as the car sped away.

Something controversial happened recently in the world of comedy that’s worth examining. For my purposes, the content of the discussion is less interesting than the way it was propagated.

2012-07-25 – “House of Burgess: Open letter to a murderer” [Page: A7]
When you were apprehended July 20 outside the Aurora, Colo.. movie theater after shooting 71 people 10 minutes into the first showing of “The Dark Knight Returns,” you told authorities that you were “The Joker.”

2012-08-01 – “House of Burgess: Let’s get unconventional” [Page: A7]
I have an election year request, nay, plea for the two major political parties this time around. For the sake everything that’s sacred about this country, I beg you: skip the conventions.

On July 31, Snoop Dogg called a press conference to announce he had officially changed his name to Snoop Lion, eschewing rap for reggae.

A sadly necessary piece of legislation was signed Aug. 6, when President Barack Obama made the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 the law. Among other provisions, it added new restrictions for protesting military funerals

Here lately, if rain were caused by violations of journalistic ethics, the sky would be crying.

2012-08-29 – “House of Burgess: The machine rages against itself” [Page: A7]
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis., 1st District), presumptive 2012 Republican vice-presidential candidate, is apparently “a bit of a metalhead, with a taste for [bands like] Led Zeppelin [and] Metallica,” according to The Nation’s John Nichols. A New York Times piece listed Rage Against the Machine “among [Ryan’s] favorite bands.”

I was determined to ignore both the Republican and Democratic national conventions this election cycle. By and large, they are nothing more than loud, high-powered infomercials. But Aug. 30, actor, director and former mayor of Carmel-By-The-Sea, Calif., Clint Eastwood, forced my hand. 

2012-09-12 – “House of Burgess: Guide to social media 2012” [Page: A7]
Social media basically rules communication for most Americans in 2012. It is the only thing that is real to some people. Being ignorant any longer is not advisable.

Jamie Kuntz, 18, freshman linebacker at the North Dakota State College of Sciences, was dismissed from his team earlier this month after stealing a kiss on the sidelines from his 65-year-old boyfriend. Coach Chuck Parsons said the fact that Kuntz lied about the embrace, initially saying it was his grandfather, was the cause for the termination.

Cecilia Giménez has had quite a year.

Tonight, virtually the only substantive portion of our never-ending presidential election cycle kicks off at Magness Arena at the University of Denver in Colorado. The event, hosted by the Commission on Presidential Debates, will be the first of three televised match-ups between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. What won’t be featured are the candidates of any other party.

2012-10-10 – “House of Burgess: Insignificant office, significant debate” [Page: A9]
After watching last week’s presidential debate, even the most hardcore political junkies can be excused for thinking: “Is this what it has come to?”

Turns out, sometimes things live up to their hype. On Aug. 4, I began hearing reports that comedian Tig Notaro had laid down an amazing set the night before at the Los Angeles nightclub Largo at the Coronet.

Thirteen days from today, voters across the country will head to the polls to select our next president — kind of.

There are just six days left until Election Day. Most voters will either vote for Mitt Romney or Barack Obama for president. The problem with these choices is that there is no indication which version of these candidates you’re being asked to vote for.

I remember Nov. 4, 2008, quite clearly.

Eight days ago, Americans went to the polls and re-elected President Barack Obama. But for those who didn’t help Obama win a second term, this news caused some fairly bizarre reactions. In fact, some conservatives were ready to take immediate, drastic action.

Tomorrow is one my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving. The day after tomorrow used to be one of my favorite holidays, Black Friday.

Every mayor, governor, senator and representative in the country, regardless of political affiliation, should be forced eat a food stamp diet for a week, or longer.

By last Wednesday afternoon, the majority of the adults with whom I interacted had procured at least one Powerball lottery ticket. The $587.5 million jackpot was the highest ever for the Powerball, and I certainly had my $2 ticket.

Sleigh bells are ringing. Snow is glistening. Can you feel it? The War on Christmas is here.

Friday saw a pair of horrific attacks perpetrated by young men on elementary school students living in villages, but with two distinctly different outcomes.

The run up to the holidays is always a mad dash, and this year was certainly no exception. However, the news generally slows to a trickle during this special time between Christmas and New Year’s Day, hence the preponderance of rehashed “best of” lists like this one.

We are now officially two days into 2013, and the world has not, as of this writing, ended.

Effective Dec. 21, 2012, workers in the state of Iowa can be legally fired by their employer for being too attractive.

In the days and weeks after the Dec. 14 tragedy in Newtown, Conn., where 28 human beings were slaughtered by firearms, we as a nation held a serious, adult debate about the future of guns in America. Of course, I’m kidding. Actually, the country lost its collective mind.

Lore has it that the Monday of the last full week in January is Blue Monday: the most depressing day of the year.

My list of personal heroes now has a new entry: singer/songwriter Jonathan Coulton. I have always enjoyed his skewed take on geeky folk rock, but his latest move just put him over the top.

On Jan. 24, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced the Pentagon was lifting its ban on women in combat roles. While momentous, this about-face in policy will not take place immediately. 

2013-02-13 – “House of Burgess - The artwork of George W. Bush” [Page: A4]
Last Wednesday, when I started pondering what I’d write about in this week’s column, I never would have dreamed I would be seriously pondering the artistic output of President George W. Bush. That all changed Thursday when The Smoking Gun reported a hacker called “Guccifer” had infiltrated several email accounts connected to the Bush family.

Last August, I wrote a column called “Journalism’s new crime lab” in which I outlined the misdeeds of several less-than-truthful writers including Mike Daisey and Jonah Lehrer. In that piece I wondered why modern journalists would risk plagiarizing when things like Google exist. For Daisey and Lehrer, the answer seems to be: Because even when caught red-handed, the embarrassment itself can become fodder for future projects.

On Dec. 6, 1865, the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted, officially outlawing slavery. It was the first of three so-called Reconstruction Amendments following the Civil War. Of the then 36 states, 27 ratified the amendment in 1865.

I can tell you this with a straight face and as an objective journalist: if you were to list the hands-down funniest comedians working today, the four announced headliners of the inaugural Limestone Comedy Festival would absolutely be in the conversation.

On March 3, George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC’s “This Week,” conducted one of the most staggering interviews I’ve ever seen.

Like several of my readers, I had additional questions after I filed last week’s column, “Mr. Rodman goes to Pyongyang.”

In my Feb. 15 column, “The artwork of George W. Bush,” I wrote about the artistic endeavors of our 43rd president. Several of his paintings were revealed to The Smoking Gun by the hacker “Gussifer.” My capsule review of the paintings: striking.

My Face­book news feed turned bright red last week. That’s because the Human Rights Campaign’s crimson “equal sign” spread like a grass fire as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two landmark same-sex marriage cases March 26 and 27.

I knew this was coming, but it doesn’t make it any easier. On Thursday, one of my favorite writers, Roger Ebert, died at age 70.

Earlier this month, a stupid and dangerous piece of legislation was introduced to and subsequently expelled from the North Carolina General Assembly.

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?” Those are the words Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev did not hear Friday night when he was taken into custody.

Recently, two politicians I never thought would be heard from again have resurfaced. Both have taken advantage of the inability of incumbents to seek re-election in their respective districts. And they both provide interesting case studies in life after political death.

I joined Facebook Sept. 22, 2004. That was just seven months after Mark Zuckerberg and his cohorts created the site. Needless to say, it looked and felt much different back then.

When I was a child, I often wondered what technological advancements would shape our collective futures

Having lost the most recent election to Barack Obama, certain foes of the president looking for another chance at regime change have decided 2016 is too far away.

In February, I read a short news story that barely caught my attention. A relatively minor figure in the history of East Coast rap, Timothy “Tim Dog” Blair, had reportedly died at the age of 46 of a seizure connected to his diabetes.

When we eschew our own values in pursuit of scoundrels, we degrade ourselves. This fact was brought into stunning relief due to the response to a developing scandal in Canada’s largest city. It all began last month when a report was released regarding the head of Toronto’s government.

BLOOMINGTON — As I sat in the Buskirk-Chumley Theater on Thursday waiting for the opening show of the inaugural Limestone Comedy Festival, I reflected on my various connections to Bloomington.

In the ever-darkening days at the end of each year — when Christmas songs begin to fill the air — a simple thought never fails to amuse me. It’s the idea of the musicians behind those noises, and the conditions under which the songs were produced. Christmas music isn’t generally recorded at Christmas.

On Jan. 10, 1999, television changed forever. I was a sophomore in high school. It was a Sunday night. I probably should have been asleep. Instead, I was in my room watching HBO.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued four of the most consequential rulings in years as a final capper to its current term.

I can tell you the exact date I knew I was being spied upon. It was six weeks after 9/11: Oct. 26, 2001. That was the day President George W. Bush signed the Patriot Act.

On July 8, anti-death penalty nonprofit group Reprieve released a shocking video on The Guardian’s website.
2013-07-24 – “House of Burgess - 'We made several mistakes'” [Page: A4]
As it says on page A2 of every issue of the paper you hold in your hands, “The Kokomo Tribune strives for 100 percent accuracy, but when we make a mistake, our policy is to correct it promptly.” We in the journalism game are only human.

2013-07-31 – “House of Burgess - Nobody wants to see that” [Page: A4]
I never thought basic political reportage could be deemed not safe for work.

2013-08-08 – “House of Burgess - A People's History of Mitch Daniels” [Page: A4] +
On July 17, The Associated Press revealed via a Freedom of Information Act request a series of emails in which then-governor and current Purdue University President Mitch Daniels explicitly targeted Howard Zinn’s classic book “A People’s History of the United States” for deletion. 
On July 26, Ariel Castro pleaded guilty to 937 of the 977 charges against him in connection with the kidnappings of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight in Cleveland.

2013-08-21 – “House of Burgess - 'Seaver Fever' strikes Kokomo” [Page: A5]
As it turned out, I only had the opportunity to ask Kirk Cameron one question Saturday, but I think I made it count. 

2013-08-28 – “House of Burgess - A good woman without a gun” [Page: A5]
Whatever Antoinette Tuff is being paid by DeKalb County School District, it’s nowhere near enough. On Aug. 20, the Lithonia, Ga. bookkeeper single-handedly prevented what easily could have ended as a ghastly school shooting.

President Barack Obama’s decision to ask for congressional approval to strike Syria last week raised a fair amount of throat-clearing from those who pointed to his 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. 

2013-09-11 – “House of Burgess - Matthew Cordle 'killed a man'” [Page: A4]
A wildly popular video confession, released last week on YouTube by nonprofit Because I Said I Would, had garnered more than 1.6 million views by Tuesday morning.

I felt a surge of righteous indignation July 17 when I first read the February 2010 emails sent by then-Gov. Mitch Daniels regarding Howard Zinn’s classic book “A People’s History of the United States.”

2013-09-25 – “House of Burgess - Obama turns hawks to doves” {Page: A4]
Over time, I have come to realize I am mostly a pacifist. It takes a lot to convince me any given war is worth fighting. As our country seems to constantly be pounding away somewhere, holding this worldview can get lonesome. So, imagine my surprise recently when a flood of conservative Republicans suddenly joined me.

Last year, the National Low Income Housing Association produced a fascinating and disturbing map. Perhaps you’ve seen it. The representation showed the number of hours per week it would take a minimum-wage worker to afford a two-bedroom apartment in each state.

At 5 a.m. Alaska Daylight Time Friday, the National Weather Service in Alaska released a forecast with a hidden message. On the surface it appeared to be your standard, technical weather chatter. But, if readers followed the first letter of each line of text down the left-hand side, they would discover hidden in mundane meteorological talk a cryptic plea: “P_L_E_A_S_E_P_A_Y_U_S”.

Columbus Day was Monday. Did you celebrate? I sure didn’t. You can’t believe how much I didn’t celebrate the life and work of one Cristoforo Colombo. 

2013-10-23 – “House of Burgess – A Republican civil war’s a-comin’” [Page: A4]
It might seem counter-intuitive, but if traditional conservatives want to reclaim the Republican Party, they had better start thinking progressively. Radical action is required.

One day a few years ago, I was in the newsroom at the Ukiah Daily Journal in Ukiah, Calif., when I found out Daylight Saving Time would soon be upon us. I loudly complained about this fact.

Let this week’s column serve as an update round-up of five villains I didn’t feel like writing another column about individually.

Besides being insensitive, it’s incorrect: It was Flavor Aid, not Kool-Aid. Someone as greedy and sadistic as Jones would never serve his flock anything name brand.

The Umbrella Man. The Badge Man. The Black Dog Man. The Babushka Lady. The Three Tramps. The Magic Bullet. The Wink. The investigation into the Nov. 22, 1963, assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in Dallas — which turns 50 on Friday — carries with it its own specialized nomenclature, as research possibilities remain ever-increasing.

Thirty-five years ago today, fellow supervisor, Dan White, shot and killed Mayor George Moscone and then Supervisor Harvey Milk in San Francisco City Hall. 

2013-12-05 – “House of Burgess - (Bloody) Black (and Blue) Friday” [Page: A4]
Any further lingering doubts about whether the free market has a conscience should have been answered by the state of Black Friday in 2013. Gigantic companies have invented an increasingly punishing capitalistic gauntlet pitting family traditions against pure greed.

In a Dec. 1 “60 Minutes” piece on CBS — charitably labeled an “infomercial” by Slate’s Konstantin Kakeas Dec. 2 — CEO Jeff Bezos gave Charlie Rose an exclusive look at what’s next for the company, which had $61 billion in revenue in 2012.
With the Big Day only a week away and this coming Saturday the first day of winter, the time felt right for a follow-up to my June 19 column, “War on Christmas ... summer edition.”

Since I did the same thing last December, I feel justified in calling this, my final column of 2013, the second annual Best of the Year awards.

When I write my columns, I try my best to be as timely as possible. This is the first opportunity I’ve had to write about the recent “Duck Dynasty” controversy, and the whole thing is already over.

2014-01-08 – “House of Burgess – I like your style, Pope” [Page: A4]
It was New Year’s Eve in the Carmelite community in Lucena, Spain, when the phone rang.

2014-03-05 – “House of Burgess - Like déjà vu all over again” [Page: A5]

2015-03-25 – “House of Burgess - Lewinsky pays 'Price of Shame'” [Page: A4]

2015-04-22 – “House of Burgess - Another day at Ebert's festival” [Page: A4]

2015-04-29 – “House of Burgess - An open letter to Mitch Daniels” [Page: A4]

2015-12-16 – “House of Burgess - GOP preparing for convention rumble” [Page: A4]



* = Part of winning entry: First Place - Best General Commentary - Division 5 - 2013 Hoosier State Press Association Foundation Better Newspaper Contest
+ = Part of winning entry: Second Place - Best General Commentary - Division 5 - 2014 Hoosier State Press Association Foundation Better Newspaper Contest
# = Part of winning entry: Winner - Staff - First Place - Best Multimedia Package - Division 2 - 2014 Indiana Associated Press Media Editors' Awards AND: Part of winning entry: Winner - Staff - First Place - Best Special Section - Division 5 - 2015 Hoosier State Press Association Foundation Better Newspaper Contest
% = Part of winning entry: Winner - Staff - Second Place - Best Ongoing News Coverage - Division 5 - 2016 Hoosier State Press Association Foundation Better Newspaper Contest
^ = Part of winning entry: Winner - Staff - Third Place - Best Spot News Coverage - Division 2 - 2017 Indiana Associated Press Media Editors Journalism Contest AND: Winner - Staff - Second Place - Best News Coverage Under Deadline Pressure - 2017 Hoosier State Press Association Foundation Better Newspaper Contest
(You can read more about all of the awards I have been honored to receive for my writing here.)

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