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a silent salute: The audience "claps" at Joke Night during Deaf Awareness week. Click Arts&Life for a link to story. / Photo by Leah Lopshire

Today's word on journalism

December 15, 2008

As part of my own personal "war on Christmas" (which a Utah state senator has offered legislation to outlaw), the WORD celebrates the season by going on hiatus until January. May all out days be merry and bright, and here’s to a safe, healthy and saner New Year. HoHoHo!

Empty Minds: "Of all the people expressing their mental vacuity, none has a better excuse for an empty head than the newspaperman: If he pauses to restock his brain, he invites onrushing deadlines to trample him flat. Broadcasting the contents of empty minds is what most of us do most of the time, and nobody more relentlessly than I."

--Russell Baker, Pulitzer-winning columnist

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Feedback and suggestions --printable and otherwise --always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

At Whit's End: Waiting for the truth to emerge in Hudson family killings

By Whitney Schulte

November 3, 2008 | Now that Jennifer Hudson's family members have been laid to rest, it's time to focus on finding the person who brutally killed Darnell Hudson Donerson, Jason Hudson and Julian King. The victims were Jennifer's mother, brother and nephew, respectively.

There was a public service Sunday (not attended by Jennifer Hudson), but the final Monday morning service was just for family members. At the Monday morning service, Jennifer Hudson walked up to each of the three coffins, kissing her mother goodbye and touching her brother and nephew, Julian. American Idol Season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino sang Your Grace and Mercy while holding Hudson's hand and singing directly to her. The funeral procession was then led to the cemetery by a horse-drawn carriage.

Obviously, Jennifer Hudson is having a very hard time right now. Besides mourning the deaths of her family members, she also has to do so amid much public speculation about who murdered them.

Police now have the murder weapon, a handgun discovered near the bodies of Darnell Hudson and Jason Hudson. The gun was traced back to a Michigan resident, who had previously reported in stolen.

As for a potential suspect, Julian King's father, William Balfour, is in police custody as a person of interest. Balfour has refused a polygraph test and has not been cooperating with police involved in the investigation.

Balfour has previously been convicted of stealing a motor vehicle, and is currently on parole after serving a six-year prison term for attempted murder.

On his MySpace, Balfour is sure to let everyone know he has connections to Jennifer Hudson. He says, "I might as well let you all know that Jennifer Hudson is my wife's sister. I'm proud of her and wish her nothing but the best in what she do. But don't hit me up asking about her, other than that it's on!"

The present relationship between Jennifer Hudson's sister, Julia Hudson, and her estranged husband doesn't seem to be made very clear by the press. One article does say that Hudson and Balfour may have been fighting the morning of the killings, but that's all we hear about it. A neighbor who lived on the same block as the Hudson family said that he believes he saw Balfour drive up in a white SUV and enter the house carrying what looked like a bottle of liquor.

Balfour's alibi for the morning of the murders has been contradicted by his girlfriend, and reports say he's also been caught in other undisclosed lies.

Our thoughts are with the Hudson family as this story unfolds.

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