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Editorial: First take

Lieutenant governor visits

Indiana Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman will make several appearances in northeast Indiana today. This morning, she joins representatives from Helena Chemical to celebrate the opening of its new Huntington facility. This afternoon, she is in Berne and will tour the town’s clock tower. Then she travels to Portland, where she will meet with local officials to discuss economic development.

Blame the band?

One of today’s water cooler stories will undoubtedly be efforts to blame the music group Sugarland for not delaying its Indiana State Fair outdoor concert before the stage collapsed, killing seven people and seriously injuring others:

How much responsibility the band bears is of considerable interest to attorneys who have filed suit for the victims. With the state fair’s liability limited, the band potentially has the deepest pockets.

But suggesting the band had the ultimate authority to determine whether the weather was too bad to perform sure sounds like a stretch.

After all, no one blamed The Who when 11 fans were trampled to death at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Coliseum in 1979 during a rush to get seats before the group performed.

GSA debacle

Numerous officials of the General Services Administration look bad as a result of the free-spending, $823,000 Las Vegas party. If anyone appears to be the good guy – or, in this case, woman – it’s Susan Brita, now a deputy GSA commissioner.

It was Brita who led the GSA inspector general to look into the party. It was Brita who said money for a clown suit, bicycles, tuxedos and a mind-reader didn’t exactly seem necessary for “substantive conference.” And in hearings Monday, Brita questioned why Jeffrey Neely, who organized the conference, received only a disciplinary letter that was “not even a slap on the wrist.”