Tuesday, January 31, 2006


9:05 p.m.
It hits us at the top of the hour -- this isn't a great speech. The president is now onto a laundry list of things -- Ryan White AIDS Act renewal? -- and is fast approaching his close. What's the deal with his jaw clenching?

He evokes Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King. History, he says, is written in courage, "and we will finish well." At 9:02 p.m. he does finish. Well?

Flash impression: Too long, a little rambling in places. Much stronger in his defense of foreign policies; seems more than a little vague on domestic affairs. His defense of domestic spying program could come back to bite, and hard.

A final image: Sen. Dick Durban and the president share a thumbs-up handshake like two homeboys. Only with better clothes.

8:59 p.m.
Education talk is all about big goals. Strides in math and science. Proposes to train 70,000 math and science teachers. Again, nice talk and nice goals, but is the will there to make it happen?

There's the word "compassion" again. Says America has become more hopeful in the past few years. Cites dropping crime, lower welfare rolls, drug use down, fewer abortions, drop in teen mom rates for a dozen years. He says it's "evidence of quiet transformation" (no doubt thanks to his presidency), but he's trying to have it both ways. Remember the GOP claiming Clinton sullied the country, made it dirtier? Then how come all these good things happened throughout his watch -- and since?

Cites "activist courts" now. Equal justice under the law. Gets applause by saying "hey" to Roberts and Alito. Says "judges must be servants of the law and not legislate from the bench." But what about when they legislate his way?

Gets more applause by citing Sandra Day O'Connor. Asks for prohibition on human cloning in all its forms, creating and implanting embryos for experiments. Everyone applauds and stands; it's easy political cover.

Uh-oh -- here comes ethics! Claims "both parties" have their problems, and that's true, but it dodges the fact that Jack Abramoff only gave money to Republicans, and only GOP politicians were up to their elbows in Jack A's crooked games. Bush spends less time than an applause line to cover ethics.

8:49 p.m.
He wants the line-item veto. Hmm.

He says Baby Boomers are starting to turn 60, "including two of my Dad's favorite people -- me and President Clinton." Cutaway to Hillary, who smiles. Kinda.

Chides the Dems for not acting to save Social Security. They stand and applaud. Bush calls for one of them there commissions to thoroughly investigate Social Security, etc. The Dems have won; Social Security is saved for at least the next three years.

Calls for stronger immigration enforcement and border protection, and a "rational, humane guest worker program." Do the Republicans stand and applaud? Nope.

Now everyone is standing up to applaud the need for health care. Confront the rising cost of care, help people get insurance they need. Nothing specific here. Strengthen health savings accounts; a strictly partisan call. Portability of insurance. Now comes lawsuits: Pass medical liability reform this year, he tells Congress.

Energy time: America is addicted to oil, often imported from unstable regions. Oh, really? Calls for more investment in zero-emission coal-fired plants and "clean, safe nuclear technology." That last one is going to be big, just watch.

Ethanol for autos; he wants it to become competitive within six years. Everyone seems to want it.

Calls for huge reduction -- three-quarters -- by 2025 of Middle East oil purchases by the U.S. Who doesn't like that? But really, who's gonna be there through 2025 to keep pushing the goal?

8:40 p.m.
Now it's the economy. Says we should not fear our economic future, "because we intend to shape it." He pauses a beat -- it must be an applause line -- but when no one applauds, he plunges on.

Insists the economy is strong. Wants his tax breaks to be made permanent. Weird grunting noises are added to the GOP applause; are they trying to be the Tool Time guy? Democrats warm their hands by sitting on them.

8:35 p.m.
Still on foreign affairs. Speaks of a desire to "spread hope in hopeless lands." Talks of "compassion" and evokes AIDS in Africa; impoverished and corrupt countries; uneducated girls in hellholes. "The United States is a partner for a better life," he says. Urges Congress to show that compassion -- then immediately segues back into the need to protect us from more terror. An odd transition, that.

It's somewhat scary to see Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales and the rest of the cabinet rising as one, almost applauding in unison. A few Democrats applaud his call for a renewal of the Patriot Act. Just a few. Here comes the domestic spying reference.

"Based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute," he says he has the right to spy on American soil. Previous presidents had the same power, he says. "We will not sit back and wait to be hit again," he says in his best "kick your ass" voice. Camera cut to Sen. Hillary Clinton, smiling but shaking her head.

Bush does not call it "international surveillance" but doesn't spent a lot of time on the issue. Probably best when some Republicans in Congress wonder if he's breaking the law.

He calls for "steady, bipartisan support" in Congress to "lead this world to freedom." Democrats applaud -- camera shot of Hillary, and is she chewing gum? By God, we think she is! -- but must wonder if bipartisanship means being steamrolled.

8:22 p.m.
Nothing like watching Sen. Joe Lieberman, alone in a sea of unsmiling Democrats, applauding Bush's words on Iraq. "We are winning," the president says, but the Democrats are decidedly unimpressed.

No troop drops unless made by "military leaders" on the ground, not by "politicians in Washington, D.C." One might assume that would include the pols in the White House.

"Responsible criticism," yes. "Defeatism," no. In other words, as long as you're with him, you're OK. But don't dare mention anything about defeat.

8:18 p.m.
Syria, Burma, Zimbabwe, North Korea, Iran -- he names countries without democracies that he hasn't forgotten. A not-so-subtle list of future military engagements?

He mentions "radical Islam" and utters the name Osama bin Laden. Now they use "weapons of mass murder," not "mass destruction." WMMs, anyone?

No retreat, no surrender.

8:15 p.m.
Take your first shot -- he just mentioned Sept. 11.

8:14 p.m.
"Our differences cannot be allowed to harden into anger ... and I will do my part." What about the GOP partisans on the Hill?

8:12 p.m.
He starts with a tribute to Coretta Scott King. Smart move.

8:10 p.m.
Somewhere in all that mess, Rep. Roy Blunt is probably trying to pigeonhole a few stray congressmen to see if he can win their votes for House majority leader. The president has just been introduced, and now comes the multi-minute ovation.

There's Big Roy Blunt, right behind Sen. Bill Frist. If Bush stops there will be busted noses everywhere.

Clarence Thomas just gave Bush one of those "you bad-ass" looks. Woo-woo!

8:05 p.m.
So there's Sam Alito, freshly minted Supreme Court justice, gladhanding the secretary of state. There's Don Rumsfeld, guffawing about something. There's Laura Bush, looking pained (but good) in the balcony.

The pomp and pageantry is cool. It's still the president, regardless of whether he has your support.

7:35 p.m.
All this pre-speech nattering is maddening. Wolf Blitzer has video of the prez and the missus leaving the White House and taking the limo to the House chamber. At leave MSNBC has Craig Crawford from the Congressional Quarterly, who speaks sense. He notes that Bush will talk about the "War on Terror" instead of the Iraq War. Always better for Bush to distance himself from a hot war that isn't popular.

Speaking of that war, something came up on "Street Talk" that deserves some space here. The wounding of ABC anchor Bob Woodruff and his cameraman is certainly dark news. But is it worth this much time and space on media outlets? More than 7,600 men and women in the armed forces have been seriously wounded in Iraq. Each has a moving, compelling story about their survival. Yet we don't see many of those stories.

Is Woodruff more important than those soldiers? Of course not. But the extensive coverage of his injuries makes it seem so. Not cool.

7:25 p.m.
President Bush delivers his State of the Union address at 8 p.m. Central. On CNN, Paula Zahn and Wolf Blitzer are insufferably talkative. Over at Fox it's an airing of some report from Anita Vogel about a postal event in California; Bill O'Reilly is his typical gaseous self. And on MSNBC we find commercials, commercials, more commercials. Gotta get that rev in before the speech.

OK, Keith O. is back, bitching about O'Reilly. Such odd counterprogramming, bad-mouthing the guy airing opposite your show. Now KO is doing his O'Reilly imitation. Good TV, we keep insisting. Good TV.


Big shakings at the News-Leader, as one of its top editors leaves the paper for warmer climes. Who? We're gonna leave you on a ledge.


The first edition of "Street Talk" has been taped and is being edited by Doc Larry and his Merry Band. No one died during the taping, though KSGF's Vincent David Jericho was pretty torqued by the time it was all over. The show airs at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday on Mediacom Channel 14 in Springfield, and on Mediacom outlets across 21 communities in southwest Missouri. Check local listings and all that.

This evening we're fashioning pages with iWeb, part of Apple's new iLife software suite. Then there's:

•The State of the Union speech. Regardless of who the president is, everyone should watch when the president apprises us of the state of the union. Partisans who refuse to watch George Bush are just as bad as those who refused to watch Bill Clinton.

•Catching up on e-mails.

•Perhaps some sleep. But only perhaps.

We'll live blog the SOTU, so stay close.


•The Academy Award nominations are out; "Walk The Line" gets snubbed for best picture but William Hurt gets a nod for his supporting role in "A History of Violence." And Dolly Parton gets nominated for best original song. Some things are right with the world.

•Coretta Scott King is dead at age 78. We remember this photo from the funeral of her husband but were too young to appreciate the quiet dignity within her grief. Now the new religion of King will begin, unburdened by the whims of the living.

•"Street Talk" tapes today and airs on Wednesday (6:30 p.m.), Thursday (11:30 p.m.) and Sunday (half past noon). Mediacom Channel 14, for those of you linked by the cable. For those who dish it, partner up with a cabled friend. A new web site (http://streettalk.tv) is being developed and should be powered up in the next day or so.

•Sam Alito will be confirmed by the U.S. Senate today, clearing the way for much mayhem -- the wailing and gnashing of teeth, the rending of clothes, the smearing of ashes. But only among unrealistic Democrats.

Monday, January 30, 2006


Two men were shot Sunday night in Springfield. Monday afternoon, police acknowledged a huge link to the Jan. 15 shooting spree at Motel 7.

Early reports indicate that the two men were followed back to a house in the 1600 block of East McDaniel Street.

In a news release, police spokesman Matt Brown said:
After further investigation this morning, the SPD would like to make it clear to the public that the shooting last night on McDaniel is not believed to be random. The two victims involved in the shooting, Andre Greer and Taraine Miller were also listed as victims in the Motel 7 shooting. Detectives are still following up in the investigation to determine why the two were again shot at last night.
Citing Missouri's Sunshine Law, police released the identities of the Motel 7 shooting victims last Wednesday. CHATTER published the list of identities; it included Taraine Miller with an address of 1632 E. McDaniel. The posting sparked a debate about the release of such information. Sunday night's shooting should advance that discussion.

Asked if the public release of victim identities led to Sunday's violence, Brown replied:
At this point, we're unsure if this is a retaliation shooting, so I can't say with any confidence that it occurred because of the media release. Like you, others in the media are wondering if the releases that they put out endangered the lives of the victims, and I'm not able to tell them they didn't.
A candid answer to a disquieting question.


To our readers on the other side of Atlantic: Perhaps one of you would be so kind as to flip over to Channel 4 on Monday night to watch "Perfect Penis." We've just found a promo for the show that aroused our interest:
Knob, dick, tool, John Thomas, spam javelin, schlong, the sergeant with the one blue stripe who loves to stand to attention: You’d be surprised how little you know about the skin chimney. Although many men may brag, people rarely talk about the little chap. In this unique trilogy of frank documentaries we examine the myths, the realities and the stories behind the last taboo.
You mean Donald Pump? The Trembling Torpedo? Jack Kerouwacker? The Sixth Beatle?


Heather Williams may be a nice person, but she's a terrible pharmacist.

She used to work part-time for Target in St. Charles. But she's anti-abortion, so she refused to dispense or offer referrals for Plan B, a morning-after contraceptive.

No surprise that Williams lost her job; that's what happens when you refuse to follow your employer's orders. But Williams and her anti-abortion peers think they're above the rules. This week they plan to flood Jefferson City with hype aimed at passing a bill that would give pharmacists "protection" from mean bosses who want them to fill prescriptions.

The anti-abortionists are gloating. Williams told the Post-Dispatch that she "just can't be a link in the chain" of abortion, because "for me, life begins with two cells."

She's complaining to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Missouri. She says Target isn't to blame; it's that evil Planned Parenthood, Williams claims, because PP pushed pharmacies to fill prescriptions for emergency contraceptives.

In other words, Target fired Williams because she admits to not doing her job. Wanna hear a funny? Williams told the Post-Dispatch:
“I’m not in judgment of anyone. I want my right not to fill something, much as they have their right to get Plan B filled.”
Want your right not to fill something? Buy your own pharmacy, stock it with the drugs you want, reject the customers you don't want. Or try this Plan B: Quit being a pharmacist.


You know that file that's marked "Pope is Catholic"? Put this news blurb right next to it. The Associated Press notes:
A CareerBuildeer.com survey found 53 percent of workers asked feel like they work with a bunch of monkeys. Twenty percent think their boss is a monkey.

Of those who think they work in a zoo, 47 percent plan to change jobs in the next two years.

Among the things that make people go ape are the co-worker who constantly e-mails the person who is sitting right next to her, they guy who walks up and randomly scratches other peoples' backs and the slacker caught sleeping on the job more than once who would insist she was praying.
The back scratcher might be looking for mites.


Sorry for the paucity of posts the past couple days. Got this little TV show brewing.

(By the way, to answer the question: Future guests and media panelists will be named this week.)

But none of that matters at this moment. Instead we need to answer a question raised by Leslie Clary of Springfield, who writes a letter to the editor of the News-Leader about "Brokeback Mountain" and its alleged "gay agenda."

Writes Clary:
It's a movie, meant for entertainment purposes. It tells the story of two people in love. What difference does it make whether they're two men, two women, or a man and a woman?
What difference? Well, we might see the movie if it's two chicks.

Saturday, January 28, 2006


Just a quick thought about Apple's new "lifestyle software" suite. Sweet. More soon on iWeb and how it might play into the stuff going on. More, too, on "Street Talk" and the coming debut. Hope you're well.

Friday, January 27, 2006


If her last name was Padilla the U.S. would probably "disappear" her. But instead the conservative typist is allowed to advocate the assassination of a Supreme Court justice 'cause she was just joking, ha ha.

Speaking Thursday at an Arkansas college, Coulter told the audience that John Paul Stevens, a liberal justice, should be killed.

Said Coulter: "We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee. That's just a joke, for you in the media."

Heh. Hi-fugging-larious.

Hey, isn't Coulter a lawyer? What does her local bar association think of a member urging someone to off a Supreme?

The Associated Press reports Coulter drew boos when she told the Philander Smith College audience that the problem of crack cocaine "has pretty much gone away." We wonder if that's because Coulter has no problem obtaining all the crack she can smoke. It's the only way to explain her increasingly bizarre babblings.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


We've mentioned this before, albeit briefly, but wanted to update you on what should be an interesting time.

Barring nuclear war or other unexpected delays, "Street Talk," a half-hour local conversation, will debut Wednesday, Feb. 1 on Mediacom's Connections Channel (Ch. 14 in Springfield). Check local listings for details, or tune in at 6:30 p.m. The show will rebroadcast on Thursday and Sunday.

Doc Larry is the show's creator and executive producer. We'll share three grafs from the Doc about the show's premise and promise:
STREET TALK will be the region's only locally produced program focused on conversation. Real conversation, not the shouting heads on most cable news shows. We remember a time when talk shows actually featured real conversation. When interesting guests engaged in a stimulating exchange of ideas with the show's host. That's what STREET TALK will be.

STREET TALK is deliberately not your standard television public affairs program, with flacks and hacks shouting opinions at each other on whatever subject comes up. Nor will we try to ape the corporate news services by paying phony lip service to the false idols of balance and objectivity as if there were only two points of view and we are above both of them.

Instead, STREET TALK seeks to promote mutual understanding of many viewpoints. We start with the understanding that there are many points of view. We have guests acknowledge where they are coming from, and talk about what they know through research or personal experience. The discussion will be civil, but lively and smart.
The show's first guests will include Vincent Jericho, morning-drive host on KSGF, and Joe Hadsall, editor of the Nixa News-Enterprise. CHATTER's chief typist will serve as host. This should be a cool show.

SHE'S 29, HE'S 17

He's a student. She is -- was -- a substitute teacher in Tooele County, Utah.

Her name is Cameo Patch and she is now charged with a felony. The Tooele Transcript reports:
According to a police informant that instigated the investigation, Patch “performed oral sex” on the student and did not have sexual intercourse. The informant also alleged that Patch had paid special attention to the student in class prior to the incident.

Revealing the police informant’s identity would identify the alleged victim. The Tooele Transcript-Bulletin has a policy to not identify victims of sex crimes.
Two things very wrong with the Tooele Transcript piece: no pic of the perp and an assumption that the 17-year-old student is a "victim" of a "sex crime."

KUTV has a mugshot of the unfortunately named Patch. The Salt Lake Tribune has a write-up here. Should Patch be allowed to teach? No. Should she be sent to prison for blowing a 17-year-old who apparently submitted gladly to the oral ministrations? You've got to be kidding.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


At Ye Olde News-Leader, reporter Matt Wagner saves the day and ends an especially twisted way of getting out the news.

At 1:43 p.m. Wednesday, Springfield Police Department spokesman Matt Brown released "all victim information per Missouri Sunshine law relating to the shooting incident on Jan. 15th." That would be the Hotel 7 spree that left nine people wounded.

Brown's news release then listed the names; here's the compilation:
(417) 236-2049

634 S NEW AV
(417) 868-8613

(417) 880-1138

1500 W GRAND #A3
(417) 619-8094

(417) 865-3114

(417) 849-2306

2153 W WALL ST #B
(417) 863-2433

(314) 922-1201

12151 N INTERSTATE HWY 35 #825
Not quite an hour later -- at 2:34 p.m. -- Matt Brown issued another release, letting media types know that "Tutwiler is from Austin TX, not Spfld." Thank God; we were starting to wonder when I-35 made a swoop through here.

At 5:23 p.m., we again heard from Brown: "It was brought to my attention that I missed a victim not listed in my list, but reported on the probable cause statement." That person was:
(417) 864-9858
Ten minutes later, Matt Wagner of the News-Leader helped his fellow Matt with this e-mail:
I'm guessing everybody already knows this, but the phone number for Springfield shooting victim Jestina Hogan in the e-mail sent out earlier today by the PD is wrong. A girl named Jennifer is actually at that number, and she asked me to send something out to the various media outlets so reporters will stop calling her. Again, 619-8094 is not a good phone number for victim Jestina Hogan. Thanks.
Like sausage, news may be tasty, but all that grinding can made you nauseous.


We have a pope, or something like that. After days of no new info from the Springfield Police Department, a Wednesday morning release tells us:
Curtis Sharp, the suspect wanted in connection with the shooting on Jan. 15th at the Motel 7 in Springfield, was arrested at 12:30 am this morning through a cooperative effort by the Hurst Texas PD (in the Dallas Fort Worth area) and the US Marshals.

Sharp was arrested on the warrants issued out of Greene County and will be extradited back to Springfield to face charges.
What, no charge of being a piss-poor shooter? Now comes the tricky part -- trying to sort the legend of the shooting from reality.


Joshua Philips Martin is an ass. The Virginia man -- he's 25 -- liked to pull pranks, according to those who know him, and boy, he pulled a doozy last June.

Martin was on the fourth day of his job as a rescue-squad worker. He decided to zap a co-worker with the defibrillator paddles.

Courtney Hilton Rhoton, 23, was that colleague.

Martin this week pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter. He faces up to a decade in prison when he's sentenced in March.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch writes it up thisaway:
According to (prosecutor Mike) Bush, if the case had gone to trial, a witness would have testified that Martin, an EMT, was in the back of a Highlands Ambulance Service ambulance on June 1 when he first picked up the paddles of the manual defibrillator.

Defibrillators are used to restore heartbeats, but they can also stop a heart. Martin, though an EMT, was not yet qualified to use the defibrillator and had been told it is not something to play with, Bush said.

Rhoton was in the front passenger seat of the ambulance, and driver Michael Coleman was heading south on U.S. 19 in Lebanon when Coleman heard Rhoton tell Martin not to touch her "with that," Bush said. Coleman looked back to see Martin putting the paddles away.

But shortly afterward, Bush said, Coleman heard the "sound of a shock" and heard Rhoton yell: "Oh my God, Mike, he shocked me!" Seconds later she stiffened and then went limp. Coleman frantically tried to hold her slumping body up while driving and calling the private ambulance company's office.

Rhoton, who had been an EMT for one year, never regained consciousness. She left behind two children, Christopher and Tamra, now 6 and 4.
We're supposed to feel bad because Martin's family was crying in the courthouse corridors. His aunt said he was a "good kid." And a stupid, stupid man.


Johnnie Cochran gets ultimate props from the Los Angeles Unified School District, and his old middle-school gets a new name. The Associated Press reports:
The Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to rename the 1,900-student Mt. Vernon Middle School after the attorney best known for representing O.J. Simpson.

"This extraordinary, superb lawyer with movie-star celebrity status was an outstanding student at Mt. Vernon Middle School and Los Angeles High School," said Scott Schmerelson, principal.

Besides Simpson, Cochran's celebrity client list included football great Jim Brown, who he defended on rape and assault charges, actor Todd Bridges, who faced attempted murder charges, rapper Tupac Shakur on a weapons charge, rapper Snoop Dogg on a murder charge and rapper Sean "P. Diddy" Combs on gun and bribery charges stemming from a nightclub shooting.
In L.A., everybody's gotta have movie-star celebrity. Or really good fake breasts.

Monday, January 23, 2006


She was, as far as we know, one of the most important women in ancient Egypt. Now a Johns Hopkins University archaeological team has discovered a "mostly intact" statue of Queen Ti, wife of Pharaoh Amenhotep III.

The statue was found in Luxor, in what was the Karnak Temple. The Associated Press reports:
Ti was the first queen of Egypt to have her name appear on official acts alongside that of her husband. She was known for her influence in state affairs in the reigns of both her husband (1417-1379 B.C.) and of her son, Akhenaton, (1379-1362 B.C.) during a time of prosperity and power in the 18th dynasty. Her son is remembered for being the first pharaoh to advocate monotheism.

Ti, of Nubian heritage, is believed to be the grandmother of Tutankhamun, perhaps the most famous ruler of ancient Egypt.

Amenhotep III, who ruled for 38 years, made a basic change in the history of ancient Egypt when he named his wife, Ti, as queen against the tradition that his sister should be queen.
No photo we can yet find of the statue; previous Ti imagery is largely confined to drawings made at her tomb site.

Sacred Texts cites Ti as coming from humble roots. Yet she rose to become a co-ruler with Amenhetep. The back story is fascinating and worth the read. A sample:
To please her Amenhetep caused a great lake to be made on her estate called Tcharukha in Western Thebes. This lake was about 1 1/8 mile (3,700 cubits) long and more than 5/8th of a mile (700 cubits) wide, and its modern representative is probably Birkat Habu. On the sixteenth day of the third month of the season Akhet (October), in the 11th year of his reign, His Majesty sailed over the lake in the barge called ATHEN-TEHEN i.e. "Aten sparkles." And in following years this day was celebrated as a festival.
Can't wait to see this statue.


Robert Cole, 36, escaped from prison in Sydney, Australia. How he did it is the best part of the story.

Cole lost 31 pounds, slenderizing his bad self to 123 pounds, so he could squeeze through a 6-inch-wide hole in the wall of his hospital-wing cell. No surprise that Cole was on the hospital side for what the Associated Press delicately calls "a psychiatric illness."

Three days after slithering to freedom, Cole was nabbed. From the AP:
He was recaptured in a Sydney shopping mall Saturday disguised with a beard drawn on his face with a pen, The Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported.
They're holding Cole in a maximum-security cell pending a Jan. 30 court hearing. A safe bet they're probably also keeping him away from the ink pens.


Pornography has been around for, what, forever? Ever since Daguerre whipped out his daguerreotype, at least, people have been capturing images of naked people engaged in carnal behavior. See?

But some tight rectums continue to rail against porn, claiming the world is in a basket being carried straight to Hell. And who do they blame?

Apple Computer, of course.

Agape Press carries a piece about porn on the 'Pods, the Next Big Danger To Our Children. Get these grafs:
Patrick Trueman, a former prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice, believes that "Apple has the responsibility to avoid providing porn content." He stresses that "the public [should] turn against them if they do not." Knowing that children are especially vulnerable to the portable forms of transmission iPods can provide, Trueman states that the government should require companies to provide some sort of digital transfer management so parents can control content.

When asked this week if they planned on providing such safeguards, an Apple spokesperson responded with no comment.

Dr. Judith Reisman, a consultant who worked with the Commission on Pornography in the mid-1980s, is equally as concerned as Trueman with this development. Reisman believes "iPods will bring pornography into the classrooms, sanctuaries, courtrooms, hospitals, libraries, everywhere. It is well past time for [government regulation] to catch up with runaway technology."

Other pro-family advocates are expressing similar concerns. Among them is Tim Wildmon, president of the Tupelo, Mississippi-based American Family Association, who says Apple needs to "demonstrate corporate responsibility" to the families of America.

"They need to offer safeguard alternatives for iPod users," Wildmon says. "By offering no comment, they show no sympathy to the concerns of many American families."

Syndicated radio talk-show host Paul McGuire concurs. "Parents need to understand that the porno industry has now declared all-out war on your family and your kids," he says. McGuire is particularly annoyed that the adult industry is targeting a technology that is popular with children. "Parents need to be warned," he adds.
None of these free-market conservatives would consider suing the maker of DVD players -- they can display porn, you know. The scariest voice in the story belongs to Bob Knight, director of something called the Culture and Family Institute. Check out his neo-Nazi tendencies:
"Parents need to know that they are potentially putting an X-rated porn shop right into their kid's hands when they buy these [portable video players] for them ... parents need to put pressure on companies to offer tamper-proof blocking -- and Congress needs to step in as well if the makers don't respond."
Knight probably wouldn't mind a few beheadings, either, but uttering the word "head" might needlessly arouse him.


We never cease to be amazed at some of those who emerge from their burrows under rocks and insist on showing their ignorance to fellow humans.

Monday's case in point: Jason Johnson of Springfield, who pens a letter to the editor of the local paper about the evildoers who criticize George W. Bush.

Mr. Johnson is especially peeved at a guy named Ralph Hasler, who dared call Bush the worst president of all time. Johnson replies:
How quickly does he forget the horrors Saddam created? The terrorist training camps in his country and his support for al-Qaida through the oil-for-food program is proof-positive he meant to do us harm. I guess paying Hamas to bomb Israeli children on their way to school is not reason enough for Mr. Hasler to declare war. Who should protect these innocent children? If Bush lied, then Clinton lied when he declared Saddam a serious threat.
So much crap in one paragraph!

He's got the discredited Saddam-and-Qaeda line. Then Johnson assumes we all live in Israel and must wage war to avenge dead Israeli children. Then Johnson pulls out the GOP's favorite voodoo doll -- Bill Clinton -- and tries to create moral equivalency, while conveniently forgetting that Clinton didn't send troops into Baghdad.

The entire putrid letter can be found here. This is what happens when blatant partisans take a country to war. They like to wallow in blood.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Continuing the music ramble, here's an interesting compilation -- the top 40 right-wing songs from the Top 40 charts. Penned by Bruce Bartlett, it's certainly a weird read. Among his picks:
•"Revolution" by the Beatles
•"Papa Don't Preach" from Madonna
•"Philadelphia Freedom" by Elton John
The biggest small gay man in modern history makes the conservative Top 40. Go figure.


We ended 2005 in an odd funk that lingers still. All about the tunes and the fact that too many of our mid-40s peers continue to think Pearl Jam is cool (note to peers: "Jeremy" is almost 15 years old and Ed Vedder is old before his time).

So we fire up the Shuffle and load up some tunes:
I'm So Sick


Hate Me
Blue October

Table For One
Liz Phair

Soul Meets Body
Death Cab For Cutie

Take Me Back
Story Of The Year

Paperthin Hymn

Tear You Apart
She Wants Revenge

Cash Machine

Twisted Transistor

Always Love
Nada Surf

Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt
We Are Scientists
And then we realize that it doesn't matter. Anberlin might have a bad-ass sound and We Are Scientists is almost as good as Motion City Soundtrack. Every teen we know is suddenly into Boston and "More Than A Feeling," the precursor to Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." The words of our 8th-grade science teacher, Mr. Takano, chime in our mind: For some there is no hope.


Bill Blum doesn't mind that Osama bin Laden plugged his book.

Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower warns of America's worsening image around the world and declares the need for a new foreign policy in the Middle East.

Osama bin Laden mentioned Rogue State in this fashion:
If you (Americans) are sincere in your desire for peace and security, we have answered you. And if Bush decides to carry on with his lies and oppression, then it would be useful for you to read the book "Rogue State," which states in its introduction: "If I were president, I would stop the attacks on the United States: First I would give an apology to all the widows and orphans and those who were tortured. Then I would announce that American interference in the nations of the world has ended once and for all."
We wrote Blum and asked his thoughts about bin Laden's plug. His reply:
I'm not bothered by bin Laden's mention of my book. I have nothing in common with the man otherwise -- I'm repulsed by religious fundamentalism, for one thing -- but if he shares my strong dislike of certain aspects of US foreign policy, that doesn't bother me. I want to see the US stop its interventions as much as he does.
We wondered if that's even possible; politicians from both major parties routinely kowtow to Israel. Sez Blum:
I agree that it doesn't look good, but history can take unexpected turns arising from mass movements. My writing, and many other activities by other Americans, are aimed at raising people's consciousness; and it's working, person by person; hopefully we'll reach a critical mass.
You can find Blum's book at Amazon by clicking here. And of course we asked him whether it was freaky when bin Laden mentioned Rogue State. Replied Blum: "Yes, freaky and funny."

Friday, January 20, 2006


Last weekend's shoot-'em-up resulted in nine wounded humans and one elusive suspect. Curtis B. Sharp may not be the greatest of shots, but he sure knows how to keep clear of the Po-Po.

For the past three days, the spokesman for the Springfield Police Department -- Officer Matt Brown -- has issued updates on the search for Sharp. CHATTER presents them to you in their entirety:
Jan. 18:
Detectives and Officers continue to look for Sharp, however no new leads or information have come in that provide us a clear direction to his whereabouts. If any new information comes in anytime today, I'll let you know.

Jan. 19:
Detectives continue to look for Sharp - currently there are no new leads and no information as to his whereabouts. No information came in last night or this morning that would assist the SPD with our investigation.

Jan. 20:
The SPD has received no information as to Sharp's whereabouts, detectives continue the investigation.
Danger, Will Robinson! An alarming word-count drop on Friday's update, from the mid-30s to a terse 14 words. Is Matt Brown suffering from writer's block?


Shocking news, we know.

TMZ.com obtained copies of a deposition Hilton gave in a defamation lawsuit against her. Zeta Graff claims Hilton planted a false story about her in the New York Post. Hilton admits the story is a lie -- Graff never attacked her on a London dance floor -- but the hotel heiress claims she didn't plant the story in the tabloid.

You will love the deposition. From the story, some choice cuts:
In her deposition, Hilton is asked about a companion that night whose first name was Terry. When asked if she knew his last name, Hilton replied: "It is like a weird Greek name. Like Douglas."

Hilton was also asked if she was aware that the article had been republished in various newspapers. Graff's lawyer, Paul Berra, asked, "Were there U.K. publications?" Hilton responded: "No... there is stuff in London." Hilton's lawyer, Larry Stein, jumped in: "London is a U.K. publication." Her retort: "Right. U.K. Whatever."

Hilton swore she never saw a republication of the article: "I was in Europe the whole summer, and all there is is like French -- I didn't see anything because I wasn't in America."

Hilton testified on the night in question she did have a minor run-in with Graff, the former girlfriend of Hilton's then-boyfriend Paris Latsis. Hilton stated, "I just said to her... she is old and should stay at home with her child instead of being at nightclubs with young people. And just that -- I just - what else did I say? Just that she is not cute at all."
Skin-deep beauty. To-the-bone stupid.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


And murmuring, as is Osama bin Laden's style, of future attacks already being planned against the United States, and offering a truce of sorts, though it's really no such thing because the U.S. has no intention of dropping support for Israel, even when that country practices thuggery against its Muslim neighbors.

It's propaganda, not much different from a Dick Cheney speech in that regard, except bin Laden invokes God a lot more and doesn't snarl as much.

The text of bin Laden's message is something you should read. Here's an especially intriguing comment:
We are people who do not stand for injustice and we will seek revenge all our lives. The nights and days will not pass without us taking vengeance like on Sept. 11, God permitting. Your minds will be troubled and your lives embittered. As for us, we have nothing to lose. A swimmer in the ocean does not fear the rain.
He also touts "Rogue State," a book by William Blum, who would probably rather have a nod from Oprah.


Given its ties to Springfield, you knew this was bound to happen. The fetus of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie has started blogging. Kids these days.

Baby Pitt has its own blog at an easy-to-recall address. Click it, bookmark it, stick around. The kid may not come from rocket-scientist genes, but at least he/she/it will be incredibly beautiful, albeit slightly angular and, perhaps, pouty.

To get to there, click here.


At the Tokyo Zoo, a 3.5-inch hamster is buds with a 3-foot-long rat snake. For now.

Gohan the hamster and Aochan the snake are, as the Associated Press reports, strange bedfellows:
Zookeepers at Tokyo's Mutsugoro Okoku zoo presented the hamster -- whose name means "meal" in Japanese -- to Aochan as a tasty morsel in October, after the snake refused to eat frozen mice.

But instead of indulging, Aochan decided to make friends with the furry rodent, according to keeper Kazuya Yamamoto. The pair have shared a cage since.

"I've never seen anything like it. Gohan sometimes even climbs onto Aochan to take a nap on his back," Yamamoto said.

Aochan, a 2-year-old male Japanese rat snake, eventually developed an appetite for frozen rodents but has so far shown no signs of gobbling up Gohan -- despite her name.

"We named her Gohan as a joke," Yamamoto chuckled. "But I don't think there's any danger. Aochan seems to enjoy Gohan's company very much."
Gohan's got some gonads.


We've got this little game going with Smitty. When someone of note dies, we try to spring the news on each other.

It all began in October 1989. Smitty called and said, "What about the earthquake?"

To his great amusement we replied: Huh?

"Turn on the TV," Smitty said. "There's been an earthquake at the World Series!"


Since then we have traded hundred of phone calls, the latest being our call to him when Shelley Winters kicked. Smitty was playing golf with Mayor Dan at the time; Hizzoner then learned the background on the competition.

Just now, Mayor Dan called us.

"Wilson Pickett," he exclaimed. It seems three can play the game.

From The Associated Press:
Wilson Pickett, the soul pioneer best known for the fiery hits “Mustang Sally” and “In The Midnight Hour,” died of a heart attack Thursday, according to his management company. He was 64.

Chris Tuthill of the management company Talent Source said Pickett had been suffering from health problems for the past year.

A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Pickett — known as the “Wicked Pickett” — became a star with his soulful hits in the 1960s.
Of course we called Smitty. Yes, Mayor Dan gets the credit and the point.


Forget about the National Security Agency spy scandal; what's a little eavesdropping between friends? A sharp-reader kind sent us this link with the too-true line: You can't make it up!

A couple grafs from NSA's page for kids:
What’s cryptology? Cryptology is making and breaking codes. It’s so cool. We make codes so we can send secret messages to our friends. And we try to figure out what other people are writing about by breaking their codes. It’s a lot of fun.

On this site, you can learn all about codes and ciphers, play lots of games and activities, and get to know each of us - Crypto Cat™, Decipher Dog™, Rosetta Stone, Slate, Joules, T.Top, and, of course, our leader CSS Sam.

You can also learn about the National Security Agency/Central Security Service - they’re America’s real codemakers and codebreakers. Our Nation’s leaders and warfighters count on the technology and information they get from NSA/CSS to get their jobs done. Without NSA/CSS, they wouldn’t be able to talk to one another without the bad guys listening and they wouldn’t be able to figure out what the bad guys were planning.
And we wouldn't be able to spy on Americans or trample the Constitution! Ain't cryptology cool?


The blind and the ignorant will respond to this story by saying, No big deal if you've got nothing to hide.

Thursday's Washington Post brings us another example of unintended consequences. The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, gave birth to Homeland Security, which gave money to small towns to install surveillance cameras. Just what we needed:
Small-town surveillance would seem to offer only a whole lot more nothing. Still, some smaller police departments have been drawn in: An informal search turned up 17 with 100 or fewer officers that either had a surveillance system or plans to put one up. All but two of these departments had either created or expanded their system since 2001.

They come as big as the department in Salisbury, Md., with 88 officers, which plans to put up seven cameras this year. The smallest included the Hoopa Valley Tribal Police in Northern California, where the nine-member force often has no officer on duty from 4 to 8 a.m.

In several cases, funding to buy cameras appears to have come from the federal government, either for community policing or homeland security.

On Maryland's Eastern Shore, for example, Ridgely Police Chief Merl Evans got a homeland security grant, funneled through the state, to pay for five cameras apiece in Ridgely, population 1,300, and Preston, population 573. The cameras went up on water towers, at water-treatment plants and in the two small downtowns.

"It was difficult to be able to find something to use the money for," said Evans, who is also temporary chief in Preston. He said because the grants needed to be used on "target hardening" -- protecting infrastructure -- "the cameras fit in real nice."

Spokesmen for the departments of Justice and Homeland Security said they were unable to compile information about how many small-town camera programs the agencies had funded, or how much had been spent.
For those who live in the towns and cities under surveillance, you must "live in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized." Only 22 years behind schedule.


Anthony Altman of West Plains likes his Ozarks nice and white. And he's not ashamed to let people know of his racism.

In a Thursday letter to the editor of the News-Leader, Altman thinks he's making sense:
The recent hotel shooting the day before Martin Luther King Day is the precise reason that so many of us do not desire to have more minorities in the Ozarks.

Five years ago I left my home in South Florida and decided to stay in the Ozarks. Many others who have moved here like myself have done so to escape the high levels of crime that accompany when you have high numbers of minorities.

Those who feel the Ozarks needs to be more culturally integrated with minorities never want to discuss the down side of their argument. And I believe it would do them some good to stay with their families in an area with large numbers of minorities. There are plenty of cities just outside of the Ozarks to give them a taste of the fruits of their labor.
Good to know that Frazier Glenn Miller has a soulmate in the Ozarks. Wonder if Anthony Altman is a snitch, too?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Prosecutors say Barbara Asher -- also known as Mistress Lauren M -- did just that. The professed dominatrix says the unfortunate man was never a client, and that police bullied her into confessing.

Set aside the contradiction of a dominatrix being bullied; perhaps she's simply not very good at her job. Asher seems to have a case.

The skinny: Prosecutors say Michael Lord hired Asher. He then proceeded to die on the rack of a heart attack. In her dungeon. In a condominium in Quincy, Mass.

It gets more ridiculous.

Prosecutor Robert Nelson says Asher called her boyfriend, who helped her remove Lord from the rack and into a bathtub. From there, the 280-pound Lord was hacksawed and bagged into eight parcels, which were then dumped behind a restaurant in Augusta, Maine. Or so claim the authorities, who gleaned this info from Asher's confession to police.

But they don't have a tape of the confession, and Asher's attorney, Stephanie Page, says her client was grilled for two hours before spilling her story.

You know what else police don't have? Any forensic evidence linking Asher to Lord. The bathtub yielded no trace of Lord. Neither did Asher's vehicle, allegedly used to dump the body parts. The tub also didn't have any telltale signs of bleach or strong cleansers.

The Associated Press has the complete write-up here. From that story, a few grafs:
(Asher's lawyer) said investigators failed to follow through on possible leads in the case, including that Lord had a 20-year affair with a married woman.

"That woman's husband had threatened to kill Michael Lord," Page said.

In addition to the criminal charges, Asher faces a $1 million wrongful death suit filed by Lord's family.

Lord's son, Nathan, was the first prosecution witness. He said he only learned of his father's penchant for sado-masochism weeks after his disappearance, when he and his brother visited Lord's trailer in North Hampton with police to search for clues. They found leather bondage devices and contact numbers and e-mails for escorts and dominatrixes.
They never found Michael Lord's body. Perhaps he's still alive and is just tied up.


Shellfishly, we love this story. From the New York Post:
A distraught Long Island widow who claims her husband died after dodging a flying shrimp at a Japanese restaurant said he became a shell of himself after surgery. "He was lethargic," Jacqueline Colaitis said of her beloved Jerry, known as "Jerry Cola" to his fur-trade associates. "It looked like he was daydreaming."

Her attorney, Andre Ferenzo, even asked her on the witness stand if the couple continued to have sex.

"It was less frequent," Colaitis said softly.

Colaitis charges that a Benihana chef tossed a sizzling shrimp bit at her husband over his protests in June 2001, forcing him to wrench away and injure his neck.

The affluent furrier, 46, underwent surgery but died five months later from an infection.

Defense attorney Charles Connick counters that Colaitis died from natural causes and that tip-seeking Benihana chefs were not likely to insist on pelting customers who asked to be left alone.
Good thing no one died from the flaming volcano of onions, or the dancing salt-and-pepper shakers.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


The wild things known collectively as the Springfield Bloggers met Tuesday evening at Patton Alley Pub. In honor of Michael Brothers, we'll use bullets to list some of those in attendance:
•That there Snarling Marmot.
•Mr. Curbstone Critic.
Granny Geek and the lucky man called Gentle Ben.
•Andy Cline, the Missouri State prof who runs Rhetorica.net.
•Duane Keys, whose mugshot at Minutia does him no justice.
•The guy from Vapor.
Andy @ Rhetorica has the podcast up for those who need a perverse dose. You know who you are.


Those of you In The Loop know of our weakness for music lists. Compile the best rock bands of all time and we're there. Show us the most-popular songs for funerals and we swoon.

Contact Music has another list -- this one touting the greatest guitar solos of all time, man, all freaking time. We are so there, and of course we will bitch.

The Top 10 looks like this:
1. Stairway to Heaven - Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin)
2. Eruption - Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen)
3. Freebird - Allen Collins and Gary Rossington (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
4. Comfortably Numb - David Gilmour (Pink Floyd)
5. All Along the Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix
6. November Rain - Slash (Guns N' Roses)
7. One - Kirk Hammett (Metallica)
8. Hotel California - Don Felder and Joe Walsh (The Eagles)
9. Crazy Train - Randy Rhoads (Ozzy Osbourne)
10. Crossroads - Eric Clapton (Cream)
Our first gut was to wonder about Duane Allman and Eric Clapton on "Layla." Another survey (this one of the Top 100 solos) has it at No. 14.

"Stairway to Heaven" is probably overrated by this point (for sheer deftness and speed, it's Van Halen's "Eruption" all the way), but he who speaketh against the Zeppelin is foolish with his soul; it's in Leviticus. Or maybe Houses of the Holy.

We're also sure it was simply a big-ass mistake that resulted in Tom Morello being left off the list. Pick your for-instances: "Know Your Enemy" from his work with Rage Against The Machine. "Doesn't Remind Me" from his current gig with Audioslave. Morello's the best guitarist working in rock today. Not bad for a guy in his 40s.


His name is Curtis B. Sharp and he's 25 years old. From the St. Louis area, Sharp last lived at 938 N. Florence Ave. in Springfield.

Springfield police say Sharp fired into a crowd of partygoers at the Hotel 7 on Sunday. Many of the wounded aren't cooperating with cops; this has caused some people to wonder who was at the party and why it was targeted.

FYI, police are releasing only scant info on the victims. SPD spokesman Matt Brown said the department has "decided to withhold all victim information pursuant to State Sunshine Law 610.100 because detectives feel the suspect poses a credible threat to the victims if victim information is released prior to his arrest."

Here's what they will release: The victims included two black women, ages 21-24; four black men, ages 22-24; and two white women, both age 23. To the person who wondered if the party included "a glorious mosaic of the races," the answer appears to be a partial "yes."


Thus sayeth the Rev. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. KWTX reports:
On his Web site and other articles and interviews, Mohler argues that "marriage, sex and children are part of one package" and that "to deny any part of this wholeness is to reject God's intention in creation and his mandate revealed in the Bible."

In a CNN interview, the Baptist leader added, “We grow up by having children. Without that responsibility, we have a generation of perpetual adolescents just growing old."
Thank God those "perpetual adolescents" don't have any children.


The few, the precious few, the band o' brothers (and sisters) meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Patton Alley Pub in downtown Springfield. Or so says Andy at Rhetorica.net, and if anyone should know, he should.

Monday, January 16, 2006


The BTK case couldn't get weirder, but it did. The Kansas City Star had this marvelous report on an attempt to "exorcise demons" from Dennis Rader. From the story:
Dennis Rader’s pastor sought permission to perform a jailhouse exorcism on the BTK killer but authorities wouldn’t allow it, the Rev. Michael Clark told an Overland Park audience Sunday. Clark believes demonic forces drove Rader to murder 10 victims in the Wichita area, he said at Holy Cross Lutheran Church. In response to an audience member’s question, the Lutheran pastor said he spoke at length with the Sedgwick County sheriff about performing the exorcism. The sheriff politely refused to allow it, Clark said. “Dennis was influenced, I believe, by some kind of demonic force and that played a role in the choices and decisions he made,” Clark said earlier in his speech, adding that Rader still had a choice in how to react to the demons.
Influenced by demons? When dealing with Dennis Rader, almost anything seems possible.


Sunday's blurb about a shooting at the Hotel 7 has a folo, courtesy of reporting from Michelle Sherwood and Laurie Patton at KYTV. They note the lack of cooperation from people who were at a party when a shooter walked in and opened fire, wounding nine.

More than 100 people were at the party, but not many want to help cops. From the story:
“Nobody can point a finger at a certain individual and say this is definitely the person,” said Officer Matt Brown, a spokesman for the Springfield Police Department, on Sunday.

Investigators have not established a motive and said Monday that the people at the party have not been much help other than in a general description. Some people at the party even have been hostile to detectives.

"It's a little difficult right now because some of the individuals we've tried to contact don't want to to speak with police for whatever reason, so that's an obstacle we're running in to. It tends to slow down an investigation but our detectives are trying to do everything they can to get past that obstacle," Brown said on Monday.
We still don't know much about the party, which drew guests "from Tennessee, Atlanta and outlying areas in Missouri," according to the News-Leader. A birthday celebration, someone told the newspaper, and up to 35 rooms had been booked in anticipation of the event.

The police-issued description of the shooter is a marvel of vagueness: a black man with gold teeth, cornrows and a goatee. Cops aren't saying what sort of weapon was used; we'd bet on a .22 or a 9mm, with a nod to the latter. Given the lack of deadly mayhem, we wouldn't be surprised if the shooter was aiming sideways to look like a bad-ass.

Really, we still don't know enough about what's being called the biggest single shooting in recent local history (we say "recent" because six cops shot dead in 1932 remains a bigger deal, for many reasons). Clearly the shooter didn't just happen to stumble into the party. When we know more about the party and its participants, we'll know why nine people were shot.

Our earlier blurb started a small conversation that's worth your input. Some anonymous commenter accused local media of ignoring the Real Story:
[W]as this a gathering of white folks or black folks ... or was it perhaps a glorious mosaic of the races ...????? Who the hell was at this shindig?
A question worth asking, sure. But is race the story? Not unless this was a gathering of white supremacists and a black man came it to pop caps in a few racist asses.

We're also amused by this comment from a well-intentioned heart:
Nine human beings suffer gunshot wounds, and to you this makes a "perfect story for the hard-news addict with a soul."

How could ANYONE with a soul consider such violence to be a "perfect" story?
To get in on that conversation, click here. Or leave a comment at the beep.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Rule of thumb: It's probably not a good idea to stay at a motel using a knock-off name of a low-rent chain. You might get shot or something.

Springfield police say they "have no clear indication" of why gunfire erupted at 3:02 a.m. Sunday at the Motel 7, 3050 N. Kentwood Ave.

From an SPD news release:
When officers arrived, they found multiple victims both inside and outside Motel 7 who had been wounded by gunfire. Officers immediately started to provide care for the gunshot victims and to look for the suspect.

At this time, the SPD believes a total of 9 victims have been shot, all with non-life threatening injuries. All have been transported to local area hospitals where they are currently being treated.

The SPD is looking for a person of interest, described as a B/M light skin color, 6’2” 165 pounds, goatee, gold teeth, cornrow hair and was wearing blue jeans, black coat with a fur-lined hood.
Nine shot, all will live. This is pretty much a perfect story for the hard-news addict with a soul.

Friday, January 13, 2006


Oklahoma Christian University on Friday started to shy away from its announced policy of firing faculty and staff members who get divorced.

The Associated Press says school president Mike O'Neal is surprised at the outcry against his no-divorce plan. From the story:
"This university has always and will always strongly affirm the sanctity and the permanence of marriage," he said. "However, it will also be loving and compassionate to those whose marriages have not been so blessed."

The policy that was to be implemented next month gave Dr. O'Neal authority to terminate any worker who separates or divorces for reasons that don't meet "limited scriptural grounds."

The policy also would have applied to prospective workers, who might have been denied employment if they had been divorced.
Now O'Neal acknowledges that his policy "wasn't sensitive enough." Guess he realized that a woman in an abusive marriage shouldn't be fired for divorcing the creep.


He may lead the vote count at this point, but Rep. Roy Blunt's quest to become majority leader of the House hit another bump on Friday, when Rep. John Shadegg of Arizona said he wanted the job, too.

Shadegg told Human Events that fellow GOPers insisted he run:
"For the past several days, I have spoken with members all across our Conference," Shadegg said. "Based on those conversations, I believe that a majority of Republicans in the House understand the need for real, thorough reform. We must renew our commitment to the principles that won us a majority in the first place: fiscal discipline, smaller government, lower taxes, a strong national defense, returning power to the states, and greater personal freedom."
Whoever gets to 116 votes wins the race. Blunt currently has 71 supporters; his chief opponent, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, counts 37 votes on his side.

Shadegg is trying to use his close ties with the Republican Study Committee to blunt Blunt and Boehner; the RSC has more than 100 members and could use its bloc to anoint a new majority leader.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


We enjoy Michael Brothers' column in the News-Leader; he's one of the few original voices at the paper. Even this Thursday's column is worth the read, despite Brothers' slam against Harry Belafonte, the singer who recently called President Bush "the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world."

Brothers writes :
Wow. Say what you want about Bush, but the man was elected by voters and he'll be out of office in just over three years. We'll have a chance to change in 2008.

Celebrities and entertainers have as much a right to engage in political discourse as anyone, but maybe people would take more of them seriously if some of what they said wasn't so out there.
We concur with Brothers' sentiment. That's why we're so surprised that he chose to single out Belafonte while giving a pass to "celebrities" who administer lavish butt-licks to the administration. Take Bruce Willis as an example. He told MSNBC's Rita Cosby that he'd hung out with members of the military:
[T]hese are the guys who allowed the election to take place, the election that happened just, you know, a couple months ago, to take place, which is, you know, just a monumental thing. And it's not being reported on.
All those stories about the elections in Iraq? Forget you ever saw news stories about them. They're not being reported on. Hey, at least Harry Belafonte can, you know, string together a sentence.


Angelina Jolie is pregnant, Brad Pitt's brother is talking to the local paper, so all seems right with the world. We're happy for the mom-to-be and have no desire to see her all bloated and stretched-out, but that's just us.

We are a little surprised, however, at the lack of any announcement that, you know, Pitt and Jolie are a couple. Maybe they'll get around to that press release before she pops out the puppy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


The former majority leader of the House says Rep. Roy Blunt may be "decent," but he's always been someone else's pawn. Yowza. National Review has the story; here are a couple grafs:
Armey says he sees a two-man race for majority leader — between Roy Blunt and John Boehner — and that either man will face a compelling need to reestablish the GOP as the party of spending restraint and fiscal responsibility. Asked whether Blunt or Boehner are too close to the previous, compromised leadership to restore the integrity of the party, Armey tells NRO, “Obviously John Boehner doesn’t have that problem. But Blunt is a decent guy, and he should get benefit the doubt. He’s never been free to be his own man in Congress, and if he’s elected then he’d be free to assert himself, and I don’t think we should reject out of hand the possibility that he could be exactly what we’re looking for. The question is does he rise to the occasion when he’s really free to do it on his own terms.”
With his choice of words, Armey clearly questions Blunt's ability to lead. Not a good sign for Roy Dean Blunt.


Another morning, more reaction in the morning paper from Ozarkers who claim outrage at "The Book of Daniel," a show on NBC.

It has been a controversy of exceptional clairvoyance. Many anti-Daniel letters were published by the News-Leader before the show ever aired. We're willing to bet that most of the hate-the-show mail now being published comes from people who haven't seen the show (or, even better, from people who secretly watched and relished the show, but now feel bad because they think they've offended God with their offending eyes).

We just with the paper would get better letters to the editor. Today's offering reeks of thoughtless knuckle draggers. Richard McCoy of Waynesville asks:
While I understand that some shows do appeal to certain demographics, I wonder who this show is supposed to appeal to here in the Ozarks?
Umm, perhaps certain demographics is the answer Mr. McCoy seeks. He's also upset that the show "crossed a line." Probably one he drew.

Fellow outraged citizen Doug DeGase seems to think KYTV, the local NBC affiliate, should lead "our Christian community" by keeping "Daniel" off local airwaves. DeGase also insists on typing an unintentionally hilarious sentence:
The hidden messages in this program are quite obvious.
And the obvious messages are quite hidden, no doubt. Mr. DeGase also relies in vain on Those Evil Muslims to make his case; he claims NBC would never air a show that "featured Islam or any other religion in such a blasphemous manner."

On the other end of the spectrum, Diane Jeffery of Willow Springs actually admitted that she liked the show, and that "[p]eople should realize that these things are what's going on in the real world."

Say wot? Jesus really tells people where they misplaced their prescription painkillers? Can he also do something about the lottery? Monday night's winning Pick 3 was 0-0-0 -- the Sign of the Horshack, according to JJ, and now we are scared.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted Tuesday that he doesn't have a motorcycle license. This is a pesky fact, given his weekend wreck while operating a motorcycle.

The Associated Press says:
Los Angles Police Lt. Paul Vernon said Schwarzenegger does not have the proper endorsement on his California driver's license to operate a motorcycle.

Vernon said police did not ticket the governor for a violation because they arrived after the accident, which caused Schwarzenegger to suffer a cut on his upper lip that required 15 stitches.

Instead, officers referred their findings to the Los Angeles city attorney's office, which will determine whether the governor should be cited for an infraction. Driving a motorcycle without the proper license can result in fines ranging from $100 to $250 or more. ...

Earlier Tuesday, Schwarzenegger acknowledged that he never bothered to obtain a motorcycle license because he "never thought about it."

"I just never really applied for it," he told reporters during a state budget briefing. "It was just one of those things that I never really did."

Schwarzenegger, a Harley Davidson owner who rides regularly along the California coast, said he had a motorcycle license when he lived in Europe, but never thought about getting another one after he arrived in the United States in 1968.
In other gubernatorial news, Missouri's Matt Blunt is still in the Naval Reserves, drilling when he wants -- especially if it means he can skip a Martin Luther King event in St. Louis.


Clara Morrison died late last month in Coronada, Calif. Australia's Undercover tells:
Mrs Morrison was an active part of suing Doors members Ray Manzerek and Robbie Krieger when they toured as The Doors in recent years. The results went in the Morrison's favor and the former Doors members were forced to tour under the name The Doors of the 21st Century.
If Jim Morrison hadn't died in 1971, he would be 63 this year, probably fat and bloated, likely selling "Light My Fire" to some erectile-dysfunction drugmaker. Neil Young was right and Kurt Cobain knew it: a burnout always beats the fade away.


That snow warning for the Ozarks?


As Monday turned to Tuesday there was thunder in the air. The rain sounded like sleet. At dawn, schoolchildren ran to windows to check out the heavy snow that everyone forecast.

Pfft. Wrong again. If any snow falls it'll be a dusting, according to forecasters at the National Weather Service. Then again, why should we believe them this time?

Monday, January 09, 2006


Yes, kids, it's time to fire up the browser and skid over to Fairvue Central, where the 2006 Weblog Awards (the infamous Bloggies) are up for grabs.

You can click here, get to there and vote for this here blog. We're gunning for Best Craft Weblog, but we'll accept nominations in any category.

You have to nominate at least three weblogs to enter a valid ballot (picky, picky). We nominated Brother Richard's Slice of Home, new Springfield resident Snarling Marmot, and the iconic blog Curbstone Critic.

Hey, it's big-time excitement, so vote now. The Weblog of the Year wins $20.06. Bitching.


The actual anniversary of his birth is Wednesday, Jan. 11. He will be 100 years old.

Yes, he's still quite alive, living in Switzerland, though his psychedelic trips are behind him. No need for them anymore, says the father of LSD.

From the New York Times, a few grafs on why Hofmann is so cool:
Rounding a century, Mr. Hofmann is physically reduced but mentally clear. He is prone to digressions, ambling with pleasure through memories of his boyhood, but his bright eyes flash with the recollection of a mystical experience he had on a forest path more than 90 years ago in the hills above Baden, Switzerland. The experience left him longing for a similar glimpse of what he calls "a miraculous, powerful, unfathomable reality."

"I was completely astonished by the beauty of nature," he said, laying a slightly gnarled finger alongside his nose, his longish white hair swept back from his temples and the crown of his head. He said any natural scientist who was not a mystic was not a real natural scientist. "Outside is pure energy and colorless substance," he said. "All of the rest happens through the mechanism of our senses. Our eyes see just a small fraction of the light in the world. It is a trick to make a colored world, which does not exist outside of human beings."
The Times quotes Hofmann about his most-famous creation:
"LSD spoke to me. He came to me and said, 'You must find me.' He told me, 'Don't give me to the pharmacologist, he won't find anything.'"
Hoffman also talks about dropping acid with Ernst Junger, the novelist -- a trip complete with roses, classical music and burning incense. It was 1951.

Albert Hofmann says he may use LSD one more time -- "maybe when I die," he told the Times; when he does "back to where I came from, to where I was before I was born, that's all."


Southwest Missouri now finds itself under a snow advisory. Sunday night's forecast called for a smattering of snow, if that. But the Monday afternoon National Weather Service info is much more ominous:
Tonight: Rain and snow likely after midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 32. North northeast wind between 7 and 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Tuesday: Occasional snow, mainly before noon. The snow could be heavy at times. High around 38. North northeast wind around 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Or it could be more. Just north in Polk County, the forecast calls for up to fives inches of snow. And Brandon Beck of KYTV notes:
As is always the case, a slight shift in the track of the storm, or a slightly colder air mass aloft could mean the difference between 2” of snow and 6” or more. This afternoon there is a hint of a more southward track, which would put Springfield in the heavier snow.
The latest local warnings, watches, etc., from the weather service can be found here.


The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear arguments on whether the state's sex-offender registration law is unconstitutional.

Several convicted offenders claim in the suit that the registration act "violates substantive due process rights and equal protection rights because it infringes on fundamental liberty rights, imposes a lifetime stigma, has no express purpose and, even if it serves a compelling interest, is not narrowly tailored or rationally related to that interest."

Of local interest is one of the plaintiffs, identified in the suit as John Doe I. From the plaintiffs' brief:
By his plea of guilt to sexual assault in Lawrence County, Missouri, in 1998, John Doe I was convicted of having inappropriately touched, at age 17, his 15-year-old girlfriend. He initially pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea and received a suspended execution of sentence. His probation expired in 1992.
Keep the dates clear. Doe pleaded guilty in 1988 and was released from probation in 1992.

The Missouri General Assembly passed the sex-registration act in 1994 -- six years after Doe was caught petting his girlfriend, and two years after he completed his probation. Is it fair that Doe will be forced to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life? He is in his mid-30s now; another half-century of forced registration could be required under the law.

Such a retrospective law (or is it an ex post facto law?) lumps the pedophile with the teen fondler. On first reading the law seems terribly broad -- the usual flaw when politicians rush to prove that they're tough on crime. Rational debate is rare when children are invoked as a reason to make bad laws.

But common sense tells us that you are much more likely to be the victim of a burglary than a sexual assault. Common sense insists that most sex-crime victims know their assailants, but most burglars are strangers. So why no list of burglars in your neighborhood?

Read the case summary and the filings from both sides by clicking here. The case is styled Jane Doe I, et al. v. Thomas Phillips et al.


Many of today's conservatives think it's jolly good fun to make fun of liberals. Whatever; that's a game both sides play, and usually no one is harmed by flying words.

But the weekend beating death of a New York Times reporter in Washington, D.C., has unleashed the mean core of many conservatives. Stripped of the pretense that they're just joking, these conservatives have finally revealed their despicable souls.

David Rosenbaum was 63 and had worked for the Times for more than 30 years. He was beaten from behind on Friday night and robbed of his wallet. He died Sunday night.

Members of Free Republic, a leading conservative forum, were giddy over Rosenbaum's death. Yeah, really. Here's the thread, and here are some fascinating comments to digest:
Feh. He probably paid a co worker to do it not expecting to die so he could have a story in order to play the victim.

The New York Times spends all its time making the rest of us more vulnerable to enemies and criminals, it's only fitting when that karma comes back to bite them. There's little difference between a NY Times employee and a terrorist these days.

The New York Times has been instrumental in defining decency down for two generations...recently it has again embraced treason (history buffs remember those glowing reports on the USSR). Any other common citizen beaten to death by a street thug would be a tragedy...it is only human to think there is an element of blowback when the victim is a liberal reporter for the left's primary organ.

The mugging death of that Slimes presstitute is proof positive that there is a G*D, and than he has a sense of ironic humor.
Anyone care to defend such moral equivalency?

Sunday, January 08, 2006


There was a time, not long ago, when Rep. Roy Blunt looked invincible. The southwest Missouri Republican, in Congress since 1997, was a member of the leadership and had been hand-picked by Tom DeLay to be the vote counter in the House of Representatives.

"I want to be Speaker," Blunt told a number of friends, both here and in Washington, and it seemed a real possibility.

But last week Blunt watched as his political future was seized from his hands. DeLay's close friend, Jack Abramoff, pleaded guilty to corruption and agreed to squeal. DeLay was forced to abandon all hope of regaining his majority leader's office. Dozens of House Republicans, worried about their own races in November, found their own voices and issued calls for new leadership elections.

In a political world without backstabbing -- in other words, a perfect, impossible place -- Roy Blunt would step up and assume DeLay's office without dissent. He's been a good soldier and prolific donor to fellow Republicans in the House; this year alone, Blunt's PAC has donated nearly $300,000 to GOP members of Congress, on pace to match his 2004 donation mark of $682,039.

But Blunt, who turns 56 on Tuesday, is anything but a slam-dunk for majority leader. Perfumed with the taint of DeLay and Abramoff, Blunt is being challenged from both wings of his own party. He's also been reduced to saying that reform will be at the top of his agenda, if he's elected majority leader. From CNN:
Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, who was chairman of the House Republican Conference from 1994 to 1998, and House Majority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri, who has been the interim leader, each said they will seek to replace DeLay.

"We need a conference with the courage and confidence to tackle our nation's problems. This is a critical time for the Republican conference," Boehner said Sunday, according to a news release.

Blunt was also reaching out to fellow House Republicans in hopes of winning their support.

"Unfortunately, the recent scandals have caused some to question whether we have lost our vision and whether the faith they have placed in us is justified," Blunt wrote in a letter to the conference.

"While I have no doubt that it is, it will be difficult to move forward with our platform until we regain the trust and confidence of our constituents by enacting new lobbying reforms and enhanced penalties for those who break the public trust."
Must be tough to come across as a reformer when you helped create the system you now claim needs reforming.

Further complicating Blunt's path to the leader's office: Conservatives in power don't seem especially high on him. Lingering suspicions about his loyalty, perhaps. Given the speed with which Blunt severed ties to DeLay last September, there may be merit to those suspicions.

There is also The Divorce. Locals like to brush it aside as old news, but the D.C. chatterers bring it up while dissing Blunt. From the Corner at National Review, Rich Lowry writes:
Just talked to a top Republican strategist in Washington. This is what he says, “I hear next week there is going to be a call for an election [to select DeLay's replacement as majority leader]. I don't know all the details, but a number of members have called the speaker to say we've got to have it. You need 50 signatures on a letter to trigger an election. The feeling has been that there aren't 50 members with the courage to sign such a letter. That changed considerably since the Abramoff plea. Everybody believes there should be an election. DeLay has been focused on getting cleared in Texas. Members aren't worried about Texas, they're worried about Washington and Abramoff and the '06 elections.”

A leadership election could be held in late January, but it will probably be early February.

The two likely candidates at the moment are acting Majority Leader Roy Blunt and Rep. John Boehner. This strategist says he likes them both, but made this tart observation: “It's Boehner, who is Mr. K St., versus Blunt, who left his wife of 30 years to marry a Queen of K St., a tobacco lobbyist -- both trying to be leader of a party facing a K. St. scandal.”
Well, when you put it that way, no wonder Roy Blunt faces a significant challenge.

Early February for leadership elections gives Blunt some time to mend some strained ties and try to intimidate Boehner out of running. Failing that, the scenarios play out this way:

•Blunt defeats Boehner, becomes majority leader, punishes his GOP enemies, and prepares to become Speaker of the House when Rep. Dennis Hastert jumps (or is pushed from the balcony).

•Blunt loses the election for leader and is banished to the back benches, where he contemplates giving up his House seat and making some serious jack as a rainmaker.

If the leadership elections were held today, we wouldn't give Blunt much of a chance; he's too closely associated with Tom DeLay (and, by extension, Jack Abramoff) to put on a fresh face. But a month of news cycles can make even elephants forget some things.


Mouse vs. homeowner in Fort Sumner, N.M.

Mouse wins.

The Associated Press reports:
Luciano Mares, 81, of Fort Sumner said he caught the mouse inside his house and wanted to get rid of it. "I had some leaves burning outside, so I threw it in the fire, and the mouse was on fire and ran back at the house," Mares said from a motel room Saturday.

Village Fire Chief Juan Chavez said the burning mouse ran to just beneath a window, and the flames spread up from there and throughout the house. No was hurt inside, but the home and everything in it was destroyed. Unseasonably dry and windy conditions have charred more than 53,000 acres and destroyed 10 homes in southeastern New Mexico in recent weeks.
Luciano Mares, your karma is calling.

Saturday, January 07, 2006


If you don't believe the government has a right to spy on you without a warrant, congratulations -- you're in the majority. A new Associated Press/Ipsos poll sez:
Over the past three weeks, President Bush and top aides have defended the electronic monitoring program they secretly launched shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, as a vital tool to protect the nation from al-Qaida and its affiliates.

Yet 56 percent of respondents in an AP-Ipsos poll said the government should be required to first get a court warrant to eavesdrop on the overseas calls and e-mails of U.S. citizens when those communications are believed to be tied to terrorism.

Agreeing with the White House, some 42 percent of those surveyed do not believe the court approval is necessary.

According to the poll, age matters in how people view the monitoring. Nearly two-thirds of those between age 18 to 29 believe warrants should be required, while people 65 and older are evenly divided.
The 42 percent of people in the U.S. are technically citizens, but they're more properly identified as fascists.
Do we hear a grunt coming from Roy Blunt? The acting majority leader of the House is a Tom DeLay protege, and Saturday's news that DeLay won'ttry to regain his majority leader post would seem like good news for Blunt. But it isn't.

A group of maverick House Republicans wants to put a lot of daylight between DeLay and their camp, lest voters burn them at the polls in November. This week they announced a push for leadership elections. Blunt is not in their camp. The New York Times sees trouble in Blunt's immediate future:
Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, a well-liked lawmaker who served in the leadership in the past, could pose a threat to Mr. Blunt. On Saturday, Mr. Boehner quickly issued words of praise for Mr. DeLay in an effort that could help him attract supporters of the Texan. Allies to Mr. Boehner inside and outside of Congress have for weeks been quietly preparing for the possibility of a leadership race.

Others could also throw in their names, including Representatives Mike Pence of Indiana, Mike Rogers of Michigan and Jerry Lewis of California. The leadership battle could also have a domino effect and extend to other party positions.

"It is going to be a race," predicted one senior House leadership aide who did not want to be identified discussing internal party politics.
If GOP House members get in a throw-'em-all-out mood, the leadership-election push could become a putsch. If that happens, Blunt could wind up a backbencher.

But don't start writing Roy's political obit. There's another equally plausible scenario. The rebel House members, half-sated by DeLay's withdrawal, turn their ire on Speaker Dennis Hastert. He takes himself out of the leadership races; the rebels put their man in the leader's office, and a low-key Blunt slips into the speaker's chair. It's the job he wants in D.C., and he's a polished pol who knows how to get his way.

What did Blunt have to say about DeLay? Here's his Saturday statement, in its entirety:
"My good friend Tom DeLay has made a very difficult decision. In keeping with his long commitment to our majority and the ideas we represent, he has chosen to step aside from his leadership position. It is my firm belief that he will beat these baseless charges and will continue to be a
strong, effective and committed leader in our efforts to protect our country, limit the scope of government, and win the battle of ideas.

"My thoughts are with Tom and Christine and their excellent staff. I know Tom's legacy as one of the most effective Republican leaders in history is assured."
Sixty-two years ago, give or take a day, Nikola Tesla died in a New York hotel. He was 86 and deep in debt. All of us owe a debt to the guy who invented radio.