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Noted and passed

Posted: January 13, 2012 4:39 p.m.
Updated: January 16, 2012 5:00 a.m.

• Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich vowed that he would conduct a positive campaign for the presidency, and he did just that -- until his numbers started dropping. Gingrich, who polled well both in Iowa and New Hampshire at one time, unleashed a series of vitriolic ads against Mitt Romney as Gingrich’s star began to fade. Other GOP candidates on the right have done the same as Romney has gained strength. These days, a positive message seems to last only as long as a candidate is doing well.

• The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard arguments on the so-called “decency in TV” issue -- whether or not over-the-air television stations should be held to a standard when it comes to foul language, nudity and other such issues. Proponents say there’s still a place for government regulation of such standards, while critics claim most people don’t even know the difference between over-the-air and cable stations. Call us old-fashioned if you will, but we’d hate to see the demise of such standards on network broadcasts, with F-bombs sputtering out of TV speakers in range of children.

• Haley Barbour, who left office as Mississippi governor last week, shocked many by pardoning more than 200 criminals at the end of his term, including four men convicted of murder; all four had served as “trusties” at the governor’s mansion. Barbour’s always been a staunch conservative, and it was not only the families of the victims who expressed outrage. It was out of character, for sure.

• Most college football fans would like to see a new playoff system to determine a national champion, and at long last it appears there might be some possibility of that occurring. Commissioners from the major conferences met last week in New Orleans to discuss a number of options, one of them being a 16-team tournament playoff. Few people are enamored of the current BCS system; a change would be welcome.

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