Jimmy McCain, 18, will in September report to a Marine Corps boot camp near Camp Pendleton in San Diego, Time reports. Young McCain enlisted. His great-grandfather and grandfather served as Navy admirals, Annapolis graduates.

His dad, a former Navy fighter pilot who endured five and a half years in a North Vietnam POW camp, is a senator and a likely and substantial candidate to succeed fellow Republican, President Bush.

John McCain?s credibility to lead the nation in war is enhanced by what he has done on behalf of the rest of us. Sen. McCain, like others whose children enter harm?s way voluntarily, earn even more of our respect and gratitude, of course. And Sen. McCain has supported sending more troops to Iraq. His youngest son could be one of those to go, perhaps in 2007.

Our all-volunteer military force puts virtually all of our other would-be successors to the presidency in a position of only deciding to go to war only with other people?s children. While that doesn?t, of course, disqualify them, it?s a different equation for Sen. McCain.

Godspeed, Private McCain.

Issues before age

Being an experienced campaigner, former governor, Baltimore mayor and incumbent Maryland Comptroller William Donald Schaefer uses "Talking Points" when speaking in public.

One of the 84-year-old?s talking points in this campaign against his more junior (in age) opponents is tied to a memorable line from Ronald Reagan when he was running against the younger Walter Mondale in 1984. Here?s what President Reagan said:

"I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent?s youth and inexperience."

What?s in the works for our readers

The Examiner came to be with our focus on the expressed interests of readers like you.

Emphasizing local news, reporting with shorter stories, omitting the practice of "continued on," printing our news and advertising in the easy-to-handle at breakfast or when stalled in traffic tabloid form are all what research showed us you want. Since our first edition on April 5, you?ve been kind enough to let me and our reporters and editors know what else you might want.

» More sports. Done. We?ve added two to three pages of local sports coverage daily. Highlights of upcoming coverage include a pullout section previewing the Ravens season in early September; extensive high school coverage, including game stories, athletes of the week and rankings for the 120-plus high schools in the Baltimore area, and extensive coverage ofall local college and university sports.

» New construction news. "What?s going up there?" Ever pose that question to a spouse or friend as you drove by a construction site? We?re starting a feature in business to help answer the question ? all around the Baltimore market.

» News and information for the kids in your house and those of you who are responsible for them. Done. We?ve enlisted the authorship help of Port Discovery, The National Aquarium, Maryland Science Center, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore Museum of Industry and The Maryland Zoo. And we?re still recruiting more of those places interested in you, your kids and your patronage.

The pages for kids will run in our local news section. Though the day is not yet determined, keep reading (I never say, "stay tuned.")

» Good news. Those who govern us and those charities and nonprofits to whom we all contribute do have successes ? lots of them. And we should report on them. And we will.

The feature will be called "What?s Working." Please feel free to make nominations. We can?t report on them all but we will report on the best ones.

Tracking your deliveries

Starting soon, we?ll track our carriers using satellite technology. It will show ? in real time ? when they visited your house to deliver the newspaper.

The­ technology in which we?re investing here and at our sister newspapers in Washington and San Francisco is new to our industry.

It represents our commitment to deliver the newspaper to our targeted readership in a businesslike, drumbeat manner. We have far more readers who want the newspaper than don?t, so employing this technology will ensure that we deliver to whom we intend, on time.

Michael Phelps is president and publisher of The Baltimore Examiner.