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ASSOCIATE JUSTICE

Clarence Thomas is a man of few words (for years, no words) on the bench of the U.S. Supreme Court, but on Tuesday he visited Duquesne University to speak to law students and he was Justice Talkative. Concerning his silence, Justice Thomas said that he'd prefer if the justices allowed the arguments to be made with fewer interruptions. "I just think there are too many questions," he said. "I think that we have capable advocates and we should let the capable advocates talk." Fair enough, but, of all people, Justice Thomas with his rigid understanding of the Constitution might learn something if he asked more questions later. But like him or not, it was a coup for Duquesne to have him visit to show that the man is more engaging than his public image might suggest.

TALKING of being honored by a presence, we note Pittsburgh's achievement in hosting the Frozen Four, the final stage of the NCAA hockey championships, for the first time in the 65-year history of the event. The games have been played in the Consol Energy Center, usually the scene of Penguins games. The new venue was a big selling point in the choice of Pittsburgh, which came about with the support of the Penguins, the city and Robert Morris University, which submitted a bid in 2010. As well as the crowds at the Consol, millions of other college hockey fans had the chance to watch the games on TV. On Thursday, Yale played Massachusetts Lowell and Quinnipiac played St. Cloud State. Last night's final between Yale and Quinnipiac for the NCAA championship can be seen as final validation of Pittsburgh as a first-class hockey town.

PITTSBURGH is great but it's no L.A. -- but at least it will be easier to get to L.A. in the future. On Wednesday, American Airlines announced that it is going to fly a daily nonstop run between Pittsburgh and Los Angeles starting Aug. 27. (United is the only other airline to offer a nonstop Los Angeles flight, but it operates just four days a week.) The news was greeted with special enthusiasm by the director of the Pittsburgh Film Office, Dawn Keezer. She said it would boost the region's ability to keep attracting big-budget movies like "The Dark Knight Rises." For Hollywood on the Mon, the dream continues.

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