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The QT: A surplus of Big Brothers, trials of the century, and more
A veteran journalist, tongue firmly in cheek, riffs on the headlines of the day
 
Big Brother is always watching.
Big Brother is always watching. Thinkstock/Fuse

News Headline: "Is Trayvon Martin case the 'trial of the century'?"
News Headline: "Why the Bulger trial is the trial of the century"
News Headline: "Bradley Manning and the real trial of the century"
Name another week with three trials of the century.

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News Headline: "White House: Syria crossed 'red line' by using chemical weapons"
The White House is right.
Civilization means nothing if we fail to use acceptable methods whenever killing tens of thousands of people.

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QT Trickle-On Economics Update:
Budget cutbacks for housing the poor continued as real estate analysts reported a shortage of mansions for the wealthy to buy.

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News Headline: "Boehner calls Snowden a traitor; Rand Paul 'reserving judgment'"
Whenever you hear the phrase "reserving judgment" from a politician, replace it with "still checking internal polling data."
It gives a better sense of the story.

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Tom Hedeen, a Chicago reader, regarding QT's asking readers to please stop playing word games with reports on medical marijuana for pets, writes
"No problem here. My dog is on the waggin."
Stop it.
News Headline: "Pa. man finds reptile near sewer, offers gator aid."
Stop it now.

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News Headline: "NSA surveillance program is one of many Big Brothers watching"
Do you sometimes wish you could leave all the surveillance and electronics behind and find some cabin in the middle of nowhere?
But be sure to smile for the satellites.

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QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Headline: "Bighorns: Pneumonia outbreaks have decimated some herds"
Rob Bligh, an Omaha, Neb., reader writes:
"My guess is that wildlife biologists would settle for a version of the disease that would kill only one lamb in 10."
You are right.
To "decimate," or kill every 10th person, was a punishment in the Roman army for legions that misbehaved.
But "decimate" now seems to mean destroying most of something.
So "decimate" has been decimated.
And as long as we are at it: The "lion's share" isn't most of something, but all of it.

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Write to QT at zaysmith.qt@gmail.com

QT appears Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

 
Zay N. Smith is a Chicago writer. Before starting the QT column he worked at the Chicago Sun-Times as a reporter, foreign correspondent and writer of major features.

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