Daily newspapers live in fear of offending. The apprehension results in dull coverage of race and religion, in particular. Kansas City Star reporter Judy L. Thomas refuses to wear the handcuffs of timidity, though. Her on-the-record interviews with frustrated former members of the First Family Church drove evangelist Jerry Johnston to hide behind a Dallas public-relations firm. A profile of slain abortion provider George Tiller (co-written with David Klepper) described a person, not a martyr or a villain. Over the summer, Thomas wrote about racism and the tea-party movement with a sharpness lacking in most "he said, she said" newspaper stories. The increasingly predictable Star needs more of this kind of bare-knuckle reporting.