Sunday, April 30, 2006


The comedian and host of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" delivered a tribute to President Bush at the White House Correspondent Dinner on Saturday night.

Colbert's routine took the skin and most of the flesh off the president. A sample line:
"When the president decides something on Monday, he still believes it on Wednesday - no matter what happened Tuesday."
How did Bush react to the truth? Not well at all, according to Editor & Publisher:
As Colbert walked from the podium, when it was over, the president and First Lady gave him quick nods, unsmiling. The president shook his hand and tapped his elbow, and left immediately.

Those seated near Bush told E&P's Joe Strupp, who was elsewhere in the room, that Bush had quickly turned from an amused guest to an obviously offended target as Colbert’s comments brought up his low approval ratings and problems in Iraq.

Several veterans of past dinners, who requested anonymity, said the presentation was more directed at attacking the president than in the past. Several said previous hosts, like Jay Leno, equally slammed both the White House and the press corps.

"This was anti-Bush," said one attendee. "Usually they go back and forth between us and him." Another noted that Bush quickly turned unhappy, and left the dais shortly after while most seated near him, including Colbert and Snow, glad-handed the crowd. "You could see he stopped smiling about halfway through Colbert," he reported.

After the gathering, Snow, while nursing a Heineken outside the Chicago Tribune reception, declined to comment on Colbert. "I’m not doing entertainment reviews," he said. "I thought the president was great, though."

Strupp, in the crowd during the Colbert routine, had observed that quite a few sitting near him looked a little uncomfortable at times, perhaps feeling the material was a little too biting -- or too much speaking "truthiness" to power.
Some will try to argue that Colbert was rude. This conveniently ignores the arrogance of the lying, spying administration.

God forbid that anyone in the U.S. should speak too much truth to the president, eh?

Friday, April 28, 2006


From the Associated Press, with a tip of the pinhead to JJ:
Former National League rookie of the year Steve Howe has been killed in a one-vehicle accident in Coachella, California.
Howe was 48. He was the 1980 NL Rookie of the Year, playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers. But he was suspended seven times for drug problems.


The trio of Fat Jack, Bryan and Larry have created a new blog -- Inconceivable! -- dealing with great movie quotes that never make any bigshot's best-of list.

Here's our submission, from Terry Gilliam's "Brazil." The words come from Harry Tuttle, rogue heating engineer, played by Robert DeNiro:
"I came into this game for adventure -- go anywhere, travel light, get in, get out, wherever there's trouble, a man alone. Now they've got the whole country sectioned off and you can't move without a form. I'm the last of a breed."
Damned paperwork. Killer of hopes, wishes, dreams.


The best weird story of April comes from the Los Angeles Times. Two grafs give you the gist:
Joey Fatale, the 4-foot, 4-inch New Yorker who heads the all-dwarf KISS tribute band MiniKiss, is denying published reports that he tried to sneak past security last month at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas to confront a rival band leader, 4-foot "Little" Tim Loomis of Tiny Kiss, for allegedly ripping off his idea for such a group.

Loomis, a former drummer for MiniKiss, was performing with Tiny Kiss, which includes three little people and a 350-pound woman, on St. Patrick's Day at Beacher's Madhouse, a Las Vegas variety show, when the incident occurred.
Someone must bring MiniKiss -- or Tiny Kiss -- to Springfield.


Jo Mannies of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has this in her Political Fix blog:
The Missouri House already is making some tweaks in the bill, just approved by the Senate, that mandates that voters have a government-issued photo ID.

According to Democrats, the latest House version also includes a provision that eliminates straight-ticket voting — a sore spot for Republicans, since most straight-ticket voters are Democrats.

“This proves that the voter ID bill has never been about reforming elections,'’ said Jack Cardetti, spokesman for the Missouri Democratic Party. “It’s been about winning elections for the Republican Party.'’

The added provision also violates a deal cut in the state Senate, where Republican leaders promised Democrats that they wouldn’t go after straight-ticket voting. That promise was apparently one of the reasons why Democrats dropped plans to filibuster the bill, and instead allowed for votes, in which the Senate easily approved the measure.

(The votes were 23-10 and 23-9, with only one Democrat voting in favor. See posts below for details.)

Neal English, chief of state for Senate President Pro Tem Michael Gibbons, confirmed that his boss and Majority Leader Charlie Shields, R-St. Joseph, had “given their word'’ not to target straight-ticket voting in the voter ID bill.

When asked about the House action, English replied only, “Over in the Senate, we keep our word.'"

Any House change in the ID bill will require Senate approval as well.
The Missouri GOP call this "legislation." We call it cheating.


Art Morris, the broadcaster, chimes in on a Missouri Radio thread and inadvertently brings to light the best nickname so far for that right-wing local blatherer on KSGF, the talk station.

The thread's about the old 1060AM frequency and what to do with it. Art's suggestion:
I'd turn it over to RON DAVIS, for the best local news, talk, and controversy station the Ozarks would EVER hear!!!
A wiser head, Desdinova, replies:
It would be easier on the ears than that Canadian guy, Vincent David John Jacob Jingle Shotenkirk Shimmy Shimmy Ko-ko Bop Rama Lama Ding Dong Ooo-EE-OOO-AH-Ah Ting Tang Walla Walla Bing Bang Jerico.
And all this time we thought his real last name was Jerkoff.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Pamela Rogers of Tennessee was arrested earlier this month for allegedly getting back in contact with the 13-year-old student she'd seduced.

Well, cops say she's gone and done it again, sending naked pics and vid of herself to the kid. The cops are holding her without bail. The Dickson Herald reports:
Her arrest this week stems from further allegations that she has had extensive contact with the boy and his family, including calls, e-mails and text messages along with the nude photos and sex videos, court documents allege. Some of the naked photos and videos she sent after her most recent court appearance on April 12, a warrant says.

"These were videos of (the) defendant involved in sexual activity and she was nude in the pictures," the warrant says. "Defendant requested from victim that he send pictures and videos and phone records indicated she received same on her phone."

Rogers text-messaged the boy using a cell phone belonging to the Fentress County Board of Education, court documents allege. Rogers' father is a longtime basketball coach at Clarkrange High School in that county.

The first text message was sent on March 19, asking "do you still love me." Other messages include:

• March 19: "Always still? R u still waitn? Or do u want me 2 try to move on wit my life? I miss u so much. I wish I could tlk 2 u."

• March 19: "Hey did u kno that ur numb is the year I graduated hi sch and yr I was born?" Authorities have previously alleged that Rogers made MySpace posts addressed to the teen via his basketball jersey number.

• "Good Morning and I love u always. Thank u 4 makin me the happiest person n the world! I wil have this fone 2nite an 2moro I have 2 go 2 c a counselor a sex one." Court documents did not specify a date on which this message was sent.

• "Hey Baby. Save this numb under a dudes name." No date was listed for this message.

• April 3: "I thought u said u got over that s girl this past summer? What am I 2 believe? What u said or what I feel? So I am suppost 2 wait while u r doing that. No lies."

Along with the text messages, Rogers has contacted the boy by phone and had oral conversations with him as recently as last Wednesday, the affidavit said. She also added the boy to her MSN Messenger "buddy list" and created a Web account for which she provided the boy with the password, court records allege.
Nutty. But still hot. Very hot.


Four men are already charged with assault in the beating of Joshua Mincks. More could be busted, the Greene County prosecutor says, but there are problems with the investigation.

Thursday's News-Leader reports:
At least three witnesses told police they saw Mincks' attackers jump up and down on a car while he was pinned under it. But Moore said detectives now doubt the accounts.

"The police are frustrated. I'm frustrated," Moore said. "I've made it clear I would like to know the person or persons who inflicted the serious injury on this young man and hold them accountable, but it's a mess."
In the immediate aftermath of the beating, there was much speculation that race had something to do with it. Mincks is white; the four men charged with assault are black.

Deep in the News-Leader story -- five grafs from the bottom -- the victim's grandmother, Sue Mincks, makes some startling disclosures:
She said she learned from police that an argument over a woman may have preceded the attack, a detail not confirmed by police or prosecutors.

Police are still investigating the assault and haven't ruled out the possibility that it may have been racially motivated. Mincks is white; his attackers were black.

Her grandson, Sue Mincks said, is not a racist — but she did confirm that one of his many tattoos is a swastika: "That has nothing to do with what happened here," she said. "And does that entail you get a beating?"
No, but it's certainly asking for one.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Nora Walcott, executive director of the Greene County Democrats, resigned this week; she'll reportedly stay in her post until the end of May. Reason for her leaving? More time to spend with her family, of course. It's more likely that Walcott will do some political work for Rep. Sara Lampe (she did that duty and helped get Lampe elected in 2004).

A good time for the executive director of local Dems to quit? No way.


Attention, locals: The Ozark Empire Fairgrounds is now the Missouri Entertainment & Event Center.

Pat Lloyd, the general manager of the fair, told reporters on Wednesday that "we were looking for a name that better spoke to the variety of events we produce."

Mmm-hmm. Just change the name and people will flock to extreme north Springfield for the gun shows. Betcha.

The Ozark Empire Fair will keep its name. But plenty of changes are already being made on that front, too. Sarah Overstreet of the News-Leader uncorks a helluva column about two prominent local fixtures being uprooted from their posts at the fair.

Change can be good. This sort of change is not.


With Tony Snow now safely seated as spokesman for the Bush Administration, expect to see:
•Less-contentious press gaggles for the rest of the week.
•More scrutiny of Snow's past as a columnist, especially given his history of likening Bush to "a soul tortured with Tourette's."
•More grumbling from pundits who think Snow is nothing but a taller Scott McClellan.
•Less reliance on narrow White House talking points.
Our prediction: Snow lasts eight months before he resigns to spend more time with his family. By then the Democrats will have regained control of either the House or the Senate, and a spokesman will not cure the Bush Administration.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Nothing saves "love" more than keeping a family member's mummified remains. From the wires, this mighty queer story from Concord, N.H.:
The mummified body of a baby kept by a Concord, N.H., family has drawn attention from investigators.

The current keeper of the baby, Charles Peavey, said the tiny mummy has been passed down in his family for many years. Concord police recently got word of the remains and they took them in for testing. A forensic anthropologist will examine the tiny corpse.

Peavey said the mummy belonged to his great-great uncle, who was born in Ashland in 1850. The family estimated that the mummy is 90 years old.

It was discovered among the uncle's possessions in 1947 in Manchester, N.H.

Police said the testing on the corpse could take a month or more.
Yes, there's a photo.


During a promo for his Tuesday night show, the CNN personality described Abu Musab al-Zarqawi with these phrases:
"The face of evil."
"The man who has the blood of Americans on his hands."
To his credit, Cooper did not drop to his knees in front of turgid Pentagon officials. At least not where we could see.


Sometimes it's better not to know.

Growing up in Los Angeles, we thought chorizo was so spicy, so fine. Once we learned that salivary glands were involved, we rethought our position.

Flush with a crush on the actress Elizabeth McGovern, we went to the theater to see "Ragtime" in 1981. The minute she dropped her top, the crush was over.

Tuesday evening, Mark Felt was interviewed on Larry King Live. The former G-Man was Deep Throat, the source who helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein during Watergate.

Now in his 90s, Felt is greatly diminished. He doesn't remember any details about his dealings with Woodward. He's on television solely to push his book, a tell-all tome largely written by a family friend, an attorney. Clearly Felt's contribution to the book is who he was, not what he knows.

The Felt segments with King were taped. Even edited, they revealed nothing about the man's enormous role in history. They only showed a confused old man, someone who used to be Deep Throat. Better to remember Hal Holbrook in the parking garage.


Larry Litle @ Simple Thoughts of a Complex Mind posted something Monday about extremism -- basically, about how extremists on both ends of the political spectrum usually screw up everything for everyone else.

Agreed on that point; nothing grinds us more than ultra-libs pushing political correctness, or ultra-conservatives talking about the need for Jesus in politics.

Larry, who considers himself a conservative, writes:
I consider myself pro-life but I don't want to send woman back to the dark ages, I don't want to ban all abortions, I don't want to blow up abortion clinics, and I don't even want to picket along the highway. I consider myself a conservative but I do not want to remove everyone off of Medicaid rolls, I don't want to take money from education, and I don't want to cram my values down your throat. I consider myself a supporter of Intelligent Design but I am not "anti-science", I don't want the teaching of evolution removed from schools, and I don't want my faith taught in schools for science. I do not support "gay rights" but I am not afraid of homosexuals or lesbians, I don't want anyone to attack them, I don't want them to loose their job or homes, or anything because they are gay. If I fit the mold the extreme teaches, I would be all of those things that I am not and those things that I hate.
We're enjoying the back-and-forth with Larry on this one, especially given his insistence that he's in favor of "basic human rights for everyone." It's a provocative piece and worth your time. Read it here.


Phil Walden. You probably don't recall his name, but you should recall what he did for popular music.

In 1960 he created a talent agency and signed Otis Redding, a guy from his hometown of Macon, Ga. He then went on to do much bigger things. From Variety:
Walden would also represent Sam and Dave, Joe Tex, Johnny Jenkins and Percy Sledge during the '60s. In 1967, Walden asked Atlantic Records vice president Jerry Wexler to build a studio in his hometown. Wexler instead suggested Atlantic finance a record label based in Macon.

Christened Capricorn, the label quickly signed Jenkins and a then-little-known session guitarist working at Muscle Shoals Studios in Alabama, Duane Allman. Within two years, Allman had created the Allman Brothers Band, which released two studio albums with little fanfare. Their third disc, "Live at Fillmore East," was an instant classic, putting Capricorn on the map. The label had its first hit single with Jonathan Edwards' "Sunshine."

By the mid-'70s, with the Allmans leading the Southern rock charge, Capricorn had 27 acts signed to the label including Elvin Bishop, the Marshall Tucker Band, Cowboy and Wet Willie.
To quote Wet Willie: You gotta keep on smilin', just keep on smilin'.


Look, you may think this is copacetic. We find it deeply disturbing when anyone uses the supernatural to wage war.

According to Editor & Publisher, President Bush used "unusually stark terms" to discuss his religion:
"I base a lot of my foreign policy decisions on some things that I think are true," he said. "One, I believe there's an Almighty. And, secondly, I believe one of the great gifts of the Almighty is the desire in everybody's soul, regardless of what you look like or where you live, to be free.

"I believe liberty is universal. I believe people want to be free. And I know that democracies do not war with each other."
Bush's God is talking to him again. Keep your head down.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Well, this is certainly sucky news. The Springfieldian has apparently been hijacked and taken over by something called E-commerce Summary.

What's it all mean, Stimpy? Unknown. If you've a clue, let us know. We're still trying to iron out bugs that have prevented us from posting for the past day. Sorry for the chatter interruptus.


Submitted as-is, from Reuters:
A 53-year-old German woman who was driving her dead mother across country to save on mortuary transportation costs was fined by police for disturbing a dead person's peace.

"You're not allowed to transport dead people in your private car," said Ralf Schomisch, police spokesman in Koblenz, where the car was found after a tip-off from a mortuary.

"The corpse was on the back seat without a seat belt, which in this case didn't really matter. But it was covered up with clothing. It is a misdemeanour."
Happy Monday.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


A few thoughts on the story from Riverton, Kan., where five teens are in jail, suspected of planning a shoot-em-up at their high school:

They're all boys, of course. All between 16 and 18 years of age. All arrested Thursday, the anniversary of the Columbine school shootings.

According to the Associated Press:
[S]chool officials learned that a threatening message had been posted on, authorities said.

A Cherokee County Sheriff's deputy drives through the parking lot at Riverton High School, in Riverton, Kan. Friday, April 21, 2006. Boys, ranging in age from 16 to 18, were arrested Thursday ... just hours before they planned to shoot fellow students and school employees, authorities said ...

Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Norman said the teens planned to disable the school's security camera system before staging their attack Thursday. Sheriff's deputies found guns, ammunition, knives and coded messages in the bedroom of one suspect and documents about firearms and references to Armageddon in two suspects' school lockers.
Authorities are talking big about filing charges next week, when they can "get it together." But a lot of this story sounds like overreaction.

Let's see, a teenager in Kansas has guns and ammo -- and knives -- in his room? Yeah, so what's the point? He lives in a town of 600 people in southeast Kansas. People in small towns in the Midwest have guns and knives.

Two other teens had "references to Armageddon" in their lockers. Um-hmm. Could be a Bible. Could be typical angst-ridden teen bullshit.

All of the hype could be true, too. But in the zeal to stop future Columbines from happening, it's too easy to overreact to punks talking smack.


One of our other blogs, Act Your Old Age, has a new posting of stories accumulated in December 1990, when Iben Browning predicted a major earthquake along the New Madrid fault.

The only ground shaking happened when hundreds of reporters gathered in New Madrid, Mo., to witness the cataclysm. Our assignment: Travel the fault line and file dispatches from five states in as many days.

We hit, in order: Black Oak, Ark., Braggadocio, Mo., Fort Pillow, Tenn., Oscar, Ky. and Future City, Ill. The Kentucky dispatch was especially memorable because it included a stop in Monkey's Eyebrow.

Read all about it here. Fun times.


A close-up image of a "fully clothed genital region" -- is it porn?

The Bush Administration seems to think so. The U.S. attorney general wants warning labels on Internet pages containing "sexually explicit material." Those who don't follow the labeling requirement could go to prison for up to five years, under the plan.

As reports, therein lies the rub:
A mandatory rating system will "prevent people from inadvertently stumbling across pornographic images on the Internet," Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said at an event in Alexandria, Va.

The Bush administration's proposal would require commercial Web sites to place "marks and notices" to be devised by the Federal Trade Commission on each sexually explicit page. The definition of sexually explicit broadly covers depictions of everything from sexual intercourse and masturbation to "sadistic abuse" and close-ups of fully clothed genital regions.

"I hope that Congress will take up this legislation promptly," said Gonzales, who gave a speech about child exploitation and the Internet to the federally funded National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The proposed law is called the Child Pornography and Obscenity Prevention Amendments of 2006.

A second new crime would threaten with imprisonment Web site operators who mislead visitors about sex with deceptive "words or digital images" in their source code -- for instance, a site that might pop up in searches for Barbie dolls or Teletubbies but actually features sexually explicit photographs. A third new crime appears to require that commercial Web sites not post sexually explicit material on their home page if it can be seen "absent any further actions by the viewer."
The Clinton Administration tried to impose similar regulations in the 1990s; the proposal fell apart when no one could adequately explain how news sites with sexually explicit content -- stories about rape cases, for example -- would be rated.

Why the renewed push to censor sex on the Internet? To protect the children, of course.


We've had marvelous tuna, delightful roughy, but we've never really gotten off on a fish.

This could change, however. Practical Fishkeeping tells us why:
Two men have suffered terrifying visual and auditory hallucinations after eating a popular local seafish in Mediterranean restaurants.

According to a clinical study on the patients, which is due to be published in the journal Clinical Toxicology, the men started seeing and hearing things after contracting a rare form of hallucinogenic poisoning from the Salema fish they were dining on.

The species is a popular food fish and is not normally hallucinogenic.

Ichthyoallyeinotoxism, or hallucinogenic fish poisoning, is caused by eating the heads or body parts of certain species of herbivorous fish and has previously only been recorded from the Indo Pacific.

The effects of eating ichthyoallyeinotoxic fishes, such as certain mullet, goatfish, tangs, damsels and rabbitfish, are believed to be similar to LSD, and may include vivid and terrifying auditory and visual hallucinations. This has given rise to the collective common name for ichthyoallyeinotoxic fishes of "dream fish".

Pommier and de Haro of the Toxicovigilance Centre Antipoison at Marseille's Hospital Salvator, who undertook the study, said that the men had both eaten a fish called Sarpa salpa, and subsequently suffered from CNS disturbances including terrifying hallucinations and nightmares.

One of the men, a 40-year old, was admitted to hospital suffering from a digestive problem and frightening visual and auditory hallucinations, which took 36 hours to disappear. The second man, a 90-year old, suffered from auditory hallucinations a couple of hours after eating the same species of fish, followed by a series of nightmares over the next two nights.

The poisoning can start to cause vivid hallucinations within minutes of eating a poisonous fish and may last for days, often with no other effects. There is no antidote.
No antidote? Most excellent.

Friday, April 21, 2006


The feds proclaim that pot is worthless as medicine. Let The New York Times show you the flaw from the Food & Drug Administration:
The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that "no sound scientific studies" supported the medical use of marijuana, contradicting a 1999 review by a panel of highly regarded scientists. The announcement inserts the health agency into yet another fierce political fight. Susan Bro, an agency spokeswoman, said Thursday's statement resulted from a past combined review by federal drug enforcement, regulatory and research agencies that concluded "smoked marijuana has no currently accepted or proven medical use in the United States and is not an approved medical treatment."
That's right -- the FDA ignored science and instead relied on information from drug warriors to say that drugs are no good. The 1999 review by the Institute of Medicine -- part of the National Academy of Sciences -- found marijuana was "moderately well suited for particular conditions, such as chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and AIDS wasting."


The governor has a new stepbrother. From Rep. Roy Blunt's office, this news release:
House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) today announced that he and his wife Abigail have adopted a son. Alexander Charles Blunt, 18 months, was born near Moscow, Russia, in 2004.

"Abby and I are so glad to add this little guy to our family," Blunt said.

"So far, Charlie has spent every day of his young life in an orphanage or hospital.

"We are so fortunate and so pleased to be able to share our lives and opportunities with him."

The Blunts had worked with a Texas-based agency for a year prior to the adoption. Blunt has three adult children and four grandchildren.
Welcome to A Blunt.


Here's your Friday "hey Martha" story, courtesy of the Oregonian:
One day last year, a 33-year-old Oregon man picked up a nail gun and put it to his head.

Just what drove him isn't clear. Personal problems, mental illness and methamphetamine all probably played a role.

He fired. And fired again. And again. Twelve times.

Six nails clustered between his right eye and ear. The heads caught on the skull; the points pushed into the brain. He shot two nails below his right ear, four more through the left side of his face. At some point, he reloaded: Eight of the finishing nails measure 1.5 inches, four have 2-inch shanks.

A day later, he went to a small Oregon hospital. He said he had a headache.

Doctors saw nothing strange, at first. None of the nails stuck through the skin, and hair covered most of the pinpoint wounds. Then they took X-rays.

Astounded, the doctors gave him a tetanus shot and put him on a helicopter to OHSU Hospital. There, surgeons peeled back his face and removed the nails with pliers and a high-speed drill. Doctors gave the man antibiotics and psychiatric treatment. Twenty-five days later, he walked out of Oregon Health & Science University a little weak but, physically, healthy.

Doctors say his case is extraordinary: He is the only person known to have survived after having so many foreign objects embedded in his head.
Unless you count Pinhead.


Saddled with a $7.3 million deficit, Drury University in Springfield is, not surprisingly, begging for bucks. The school sent out its pitch for The Drury Fund, and just listen to the cool clubs you can join:
•For $2,000 (or more) you get into the Harwood Club.
•Too rich for your blood? A grand gets you named to the Forty Acres Club.
•Five hundred clams gets you named to the Scarlet and Gray Club.
•Join the Drury Club for just $250.
If the club route isn't to your liking, lay down a dollar and you're named a "donor."

The blurbage accompanying the mailing makes Drury sound as vital as your first-born child. Marty, Class of '57, wrote:
Just as I support my own family, I feel the importance of supporting the Drury family which provided an excellent education and lifelong friends.
Being pop-culture punks, we can't see "The Drury Fund" without thinking "The Human Fund." If Drury would stage a Festivus celebration, we'd bring the pole.


Who's next to fall in the White House shake-up of 2006? The New York Times says it's Harriet Miers:
Joshua B. Bolten, the new White House chief of staff, has raised the possibility of moving Harriet E. Miers from her job as President Bush's counsel as part of a continuing shake-up of the West Wing, an influential Republican with close ties to Mr. Bolten said Thursday ...

Mr. Bolten's thinking about Ms. Miers, however tentative, provided an insight into the scale of his ambitions for overhauling the White House staff and, should he proceed, could amount to a test of how far he would be able to go in bringing about change.

Ms. Miers, who was once Mr. Bush's personal lawyer, followed him from Texas to the White House. He nominated her to the Supreme Court last year, and brought her back into his inner circle when she withdrew after a brutal period of scrutiny and criticism.

Mr. Bolten is said by a number of Republicans in Washington to feel that Ms. Miers is indecisive, a weak manager and slow in moving vital paperwork through the system. She came to the White House in January 2001 as the staff secretary and then held one of Mr. Bolten's former jobs, deputy chief of staff for policy, before Mr. Bush appointed her as White House counsel in November 2004.
She doesn't have enough shine to win the approval of a White House staff chief -- but the president thought she was Supreme Court material?

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Her name is Michelle and she already keeps a blog, Victim of Reality. But it's her new blog, Unwise and Untimely, that currently catches our eye. Let her explain its reason for being:
Why am I doing it?

I'm not sure what to call it. An effort for change maybe, a resource, a call to arms (if I'm going to be dramatic about it, anyways). In a nutshell, I'm trying to help out the people like me. I honestly believe that there's a huge untapped resource around here - I know plenty of (ok, a few at least) people my age who would like to work for change, but don't know how or where to start, or how to educate themselves about it. There's simply not much help for this area. So, here I am, trying to start something to help out people like me in telling them what's up and what they can do ...

[T]he main purpose of this is to draw attention to local issues and efforts for change, especially to teens. We could be such a great force if we wanted to be, but it seems not enough teens know what's going on and realize how it could affect them.
Check out Unwise and Untimely; we've added it to the CHATTERWORTHY sidebar.


The principal, Carolyn Harrelson, was in charge of the Springfield elementary school when molestation allegations were made against a teacher.

Harrelson was "relieved of her duties indefinitely," effective today, according to a Springfield Public Schools official.

KYTV reports that Harrelson's removal was "the result of findings by the Missouri Department of Social Services."


To those who know and appreciate the holiday: Kick back, relax, enjoy.

To those who don't: Yeah, it's Hitler's birthday, too. Bummer.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Let's see ... Princeton seniors seek speaker for Class Day. Said seniors tap the son of the Senate Majority Leader and the niece of President Bush to lead the search.

Said leaders choose ... Bill Clinton.

The Daily Princetonian delivers the delicious comeuppance:
When presented with the chance to have [Bill] Clinton speak, the three Class Day chairs — seniors Harrison Frist, Lauren Bush and Shaun Callaghan — decided to capitalize on the opportunity.

Because Frist, the son of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist '74 (R-Tenn.) and Bush, the niece of President Bush, were chosen to lead the search, it was widely expected that a highly-visible individual would speak at the event.
Previous Class Day speakers have been celebrities -- Chevy Chase in 2005, Jon Stewart in 2004, Jerry Seinfeld in 2003. OK, maybe calling Chase a celebrity is overdoing it.


The letter from Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, a Republican from southern Missouri, to Bill Jones of Centerville was sent out in February. It's apparently a routine missive, but it ends with this line:
I think you're an asshole.
The Associated Press reports:
Emerson says she can't explain how the offensive language made it into the last line of the letter, which otherwise reads like a typical response to a citizen's question about last year's testimony of oil executives before the Senate Commerce Committee.

"There is no excuse for this inappropriate letter having been sent, and every apology has been made to the individual who received it," Emerson said in a written statement to The Associated Press.

"We cannot determine whether the addition to the letter was made by someone within the office or by someone with access to the office, but it is on my letterhead and the responsibility for it lies with me. A valuable lesson has been learned and new procedures will be adopted as a result."
Yeah, sure, someone having fun in Emerson's office, adding an insult to a constituent letter. The queer part, however, comes in the last line of the AP story:
Emerson personally signed the letter, dated Feb. 15. She also included a handwritten personal message at the bottom: "PS - please forgive the delay in responding."
Well, it's harder to forgive someone who calls you an asshole.


They would be anything but red, white and blue.

Wednesday evening, former Sen. John Edwards speaks on the campus of Missouri State University. Edwards' speech is part of a public affairs conference; U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) is scheduled to speak on Thursday.

How do the leaders of the Missouri GOP handle such a bipartisan conference?

By spewing political rhetoric.

Paul Sloca of the Missouri GOP sent an e-mail to reporters on Wednesday afternoon, calling the Edwards visit a reflection of the "liberal agenda" from Claire McCaskill, the Missouri auditor and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.

Sloca wrote that Edwards was in Missouri:
... toting the kind of liberal baggage embraced by Claire McCaskill including support for abortion, gay marriage and higher taxes.
They just can't help themselves, can they? Desperate as they watch their party sink across the country, Republican leaders now resort to the last rotten eggs at the bottom of their ammo kits. Their president has a 36-percent approval rating in Missouri -- and Sloca claims the Democrats are "out of touch ... with our values."

Paul Sloca, meanwhile, is just out of touch. His party will be out of luck, come November.


Several days ago our damned blog spewed about the Unsexiest Men In The World (we had to do all sorts of things to stay off the list).

Not to be outdone, This Damn Blog --yes, that's the name of the joint -- has come up with a list of Unsexiest Women In The World. Yes, Star Jones made the list, and Ann Coulter is on top.

But Martha Stewart? Blogga, please.


Not to be confused with pr0n, or giant prawn. The Los Angeles Times says Vivid Entertainment Group -- the high-gloss smut peddler -- will start selling movie downloads that you can burn to DVD and watch on the big screen. From the story:
Letting people burn downloaded movies is considered key to the growth of online distribution. Despite the proliferation of fast Internet connections, most people still want to watch movies on television but lack an easy way to get them off the computer. Plus, hard drives can store only so many space-hogging movies ...

"The simple fact is porn is an early adopter of new media," said Paul Saffo, director of the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto. "If you're trying to get something established … you're going to privately and secretly hope and pray that the porn industry likes your medium."
Vivid sales start May 8 through CinemaNow. The latter company already has an adult service and has toyed with ideas like pay-per-minute rentals. CinemaNow also offers rentals of mainstream Hollywood movies, but those downloads can't be played back on television sets. According to the Times:
The ability to deliver content over the Internet that can play in any DVD player is "the holy grail," said Richard Doherty of market research firm Envisioneering Group.

"Everybody wants to find something that sticks," he said. "We've got a billion devices ready to play these. Making it compatible with that, and the convenience of electronic delivery, is a proven, desired business model which should stick and grow."
The business model should also thrust and grind, tease and plunge, quickening its pace until the marketplace quivers from the pounding. The business model should then smoke a cigarette and go home.


That would be Norma Champion, the former television personality who now fancies herself a state senator from Springfield.

We've found a site devoted to the foibles of Champion, 73. All About Norma can be found by clicking here.


So it is written, so it is done.

The betting money for the now-vacant job goes on Tony Snow, former Bush I flack and current Fox News yammerer.


We missed Tuesday night's bloggers meeting, and thank God. John Stone @ Curbstone Critic apparently alerted the group to Tom Cruise and his placenta-loving ways -- this during the dining portion of the bloggers confab:
Cruise told GQ magazine: "I'm gonna eat the placenta. I thought that would be good. Very nutritious. I'm gonna eat the cord and the placenta right there."
Sounds like complete and utter crap -- or perhaps it's just Cruise having a flashback to the late 1970s, when John Belushi was still alive and the kids at "Saturday Night Live" thought they could slip this skit past the censors:
Laraine: By the way, are you planning to eat the placenta?

Gilda: You're kidding! You mean the afterbirth?

Laraine: That's right. Many mammals eat their own placenta. It's nutritious, it's 100 percent natural, and now that you're going to have a family, you've got to watch your food budget more than ever. And there's no cheaper meat than placenta.

Gilda: But is there enough placenta to make a complete meal for my husband and myself?

Laraine: Not if your husband has a hearty appetite like mine. And that's why you need Placenta Helper.

Gilda: Placenta Helper?

Laraine: That's right. Placenta Helper lets you stretch your placenta into a tasty casserole. [Holds up a box of Placenta Helper.] Like Placenta Romanoff--a zesty blend of cheeses makes for the zingy sauce that Russian czars commanded at palace feasts. Or Placenta Oriental. An exotic mixture of oriental vegetables and exotic herbs and spices creates an exotic meal. Look, you can have placenta only once every nine months. Why not make a rare occasion, a rare occasion?

[CUT TO: Gilda's kitchen. John Belushi, as her husband, has just finished his placenta casserole.]

John: Ummm. That was great. Let's have Placenta Helper every night.

Gilda: Oh, honey!
Better bet for this day: A little light reading, courtesy of Vanity Fair. Carl Bernstein uncorks a winner with his call for Senate hearings on the illegalities within the Bush Administration.

And don't forget Dominick Dunne, the delicious name dropper.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


One of the great reporters, Anderson died last December at age 83. His personal papers are scheduled to go public soon -- but the Federal Bureau of Investigation wants to nose around first. The Associated Press reports:
Anderson's family says FBI agents contacted his widow to say they wanted to search his papers. Kevin Anderson, the writer's son, says the agents said they were looking for evidence in a case.

A special agent says the FBI wants to remove classified material from the papers before the archive is made available to the public. He says, "The documents remain the property of the US government" and it's against the law for anyone to keep them.

Mark Feldstein, a journalism professor at George Washington University and Anderson biographer, says he also had an FBI visit last month. He calls the FBI move "so heavy-handed to be almost ludicrous."
Even dead, Jack Anderson still kicks the FBI's ass.


Here's your jumbo shrimp, kids -- a black tiger shrimp over 15 inches in length. Dominican Today -- no relation to USA TODAY -- has some details and a pic.

What you need to know:

•Edilberto Flechas bought the shrimp for $800.
•He's from Cartagena, Colombia.
Joan Wilder was not involved in any way

How did the shrimp wind up in Colombian waters? No one knows.

Monday, April 17, 2006


A follow-up to last week's assault of a man outside Cowboys 2000, a northeast nightclub in Springfield. Springfield police and detectives from the Bolivar Police Department arrested Henry Patton, 19, at Southwest Baptist University.

The probable-cause arrest was for first-degree assault. Springfield police Lt. Rick Headlee notes that "formal charges have not been filed at this time."

Police still aren't saying if the assault was racially motivated; the victim, 22-year-old Joshua M. Minks, is white, and all four suspects are black. Witnesses told police that up to 10 men beat Minks.


Developer Vaughn Prost was supposed to secure financing for the Heer's Tower project by Monday, April 17. He did not.

The City of Springfield now has the ball in its court. According to a city news release:
After today, the City is entitled to accept inquiries from developers interested in the Heer’s Tower.

Mr. Prost has indicated to the City that he continues to move forward on securing financing for the multi-million dollar project. Mr. Prost retains the option to develop the project if he completes the financing before the City considers proposals from other developers. Under the contract extension, the City has the right to terminate Mr. Prost’s development rights if no financing is secured by June 17, 2006.

"Mr. Prost already has made a significant investment in site work for the project and we will keep working with him if he continues to move ahead with his financing," City Manager Tom Finnie said.

The Heer’s Tower is proposed as a mix of residential condominiums, restaurants, retail and office space, with office tenants to include the State of Missouri, the City of Springfield, and the Missouri Department of Transportation.

"We made major changes to focus on residential condominiums to address a market need in Springfield," Mr. Prost said. "The new design work and process involved in that change has slowed my ability to close on financing but I remain confident that this is a strong and viable project for downtown Springfield."

Meanwhile, the construction schedule for the College Station development adjacent to the Heer’s Tower is being revised because of the City’s bid process for the College Station Car Park.

The initial bids came in over cost expectations for a number of reasons, including the major rebuilding efforts in the Gulf Coast region and strong demand for construction work created by growth in the southwest Missouri region.

The College Station Car Park design is undergoing a value engineering process and new bids are expected to be solicited next month. Construction schedules will be based on acceptance of the new bids.
None of this sounds like good news for downtown. But at least the big banner of the side of Heer's -- the one that offered "urban living at it's (sic) best" -- is down and mercifully banished from sight.


And she's heading for an upright peninsula. The tropical cyclone with the evocative name is hanging out around Australia. Check the progress here.


Springfield's Bloggers Gone Bad (much like Girls Gone Wild, only without wet T-shirts) do the hook-up at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 18, at Patton Alley Pub. If you haven't been, come out and meet the freaks. Most of them don't bite.

Take this, all of you, and mark it on your calendar.


This is the way money should be -- colorful and plastered with images of naked women. The wires report on a spicy counterfeit job:
Fake porn euro notes being sold as a gimmick in Germany are being successfully passed off as real cash.

The notes, in 300, 600 and 1,000 euro denominations have a ring of 12 hearts instead of the usual EU stars and feature hunky men and big-breasted nude women.

Instead of the word 'Euro' being printed in the corner these notes have 'Eros' - the Greek god of love.
Click the link to eyeball the fake notes.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


The dateline is Cumming, Ga. The story is from the Associated Press:
A man was indicted in Forsyth County on charges of having sex with a woman after she died, authorities said. Parker Clayton Ward of Forsyth County could face one to 10 years in prison after being charged with necrophilia.

Forsyth County sheriff's deputies said the woman's boyfriend became concerned when he couldn't contact her. The boyfriend then called Ward and asked him to check on her, authorities said.

Ward, 54, notified authorities that the woman had died. But investigators became suspicious from the body's position and found the victim's clothes disturbed by someone.

Deputies also found empty bottles of pills next to the victim.

When confronted by authorities, Ward admitted he had attempted sex, but denied knowing the woman was dead.
Mmm-hmm ...


Robert Barkdoll is his name. He lives in Lebanon. According to his letter in Sunday's News-Leader, he's the state chairman of the Missouri League of the South. According to his words, he's not very smart:
I read with puzzlement your front page article about Springfield's most infamous event. It is suggested that the hanging of the three black rape suspects was the key event that caused a great drop of the black population in Springfield. The graph you provided shows that the black population was already on a drastic decline.

I also wonder if the News-Leader will give as much coverage and show as much sympathy to the modern day near death beating of a young white male by a group of gleeful blacks at a local business.
He's puzzled. Is anyone surprised? Happy Easter.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


A 30-year-old man was killed Saturday morning in what Springfield police are calling the first homicide of 2006.

Clifton Clemons was found "down and unresponsive" at 503 N. Belview Ave., said police Lt. Rick Headlee. "Springfield police detectives are currently interviewing witnesses and other persons having information about this incident."

Clemons was pronounced dead at Cox South; preliminary cause of death is head trauma, Headlee said.

Updated 12:30 p.m. Saturday: One man has been arrested in Clemons' death. Headlee says:
Harry Newsom, m/b, dob 07-12-62, also known as Harry Hunt, has been arrested in connection with the homicide at 503 N. Belview. He was booked into the Greene County Jail for Second Degree Murder on Probable Cause -- formal charges are pending.
A quick turnaround for detectives.

Friday, April 14, 2006


A Thursday assault at Cowboys 2000 has netted Springfield police three arrests, for now.

Here's the news release from Lt. Rick Headlee:
Springfield Police Detectives and Bolivar Detectives arrested three persons in connection with the recent assault at Cowboy's 2000 in Springfield. The following people were arrested at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar and booked into the Greene County Jail for First Degree Assault on Probable Cause:

Rony Saintil, age 23, m/b, from Delray Beach, FL
Korey Molson, age 25, m/b, from Germantown, TN
Charles Rainey, age 21, m/b, from Los Angeles, CA

Any charging decisions will be at the discretion of the Greene County Prosecutor's Office.

The investigation into this incident continues. Due to the number of participants / witnesses, it is anticipated that considerable time may be required to complete the investigation.
Missouri law allows police to hold suspects for up to a day without filing a charge.


The immigration debate is cluttered by a Republican effort to blame Democrats for something the GOP did. The Los Angeles Times reports:
Republicans disclosed a Spanish-language radio advertising campaign designed to shoulder Democrats with the responsibility for legislation passed by the GOP-controlled House that would make illegal immigrants subject to felony charges.

The ads are scheduled to air in New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada — states with large Latino populations.

The Senate has not voted on the issue of penalties. In the House, Republicans drafted legislation to make illegal immigrants subject to felony charges. Democrats say they were denied a chance to eliminate criminal penalties from the bill.

At another point, Republicans tried to substitute misdemeanor charges for felonies in the bill. Democrats opposed that effort, with at least some of them saying they wanted no criminal penalties at all.
Republicans then passed the overall bill — including felony charges — on a largely party-line vote.
The radio ads say Democrats wanted to slap a felony charge on illegal immigrants. Leave it to the GOP to blame others for their own droppings.


AK brought up this story in the comments of another posting. Dutifully, we tracked down the tale because hey, it's what we do, and we like warm sandwiches. Not bad enough to kill someone, mind you, but happiness is a warm sandwich. And a gun.

The Associated Press reports:
A man threw a microwave at his girlfriend, then fatally beat her after she refused to heat up sandwiches, police in Uniontown, Pa., said.

Walter S. Fordyce, 58, of Uniontown, remained jailed without bond Thursday on a charge of criminal homicide. It wasn’t clear if he had an attorney.

Fordyce told police he began arguing with his live-in girlfriend, Mary McCann, 58, early Thursday.

After throwing her to the floor, Fordyce threw a microwave oven onto McCann’s chest after she refused to heat up sandwiches for him, he told police. Fordyce also said he stomped on McCann’s chest repeatedly then banged her head on the floor until she lost consciousness — but that he also said he didn’t mean to kill her, police said.

“It was an accident. I didn’t do it on purpose,” police quoted Fordyce as saying.
The Uniontown Herald Standard fills the hole in the AP account; the argument was over two roast beef hoagies.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Springfield police answer: We don't know. Yet.

A Thursday morning assault at Cowboys 2000 -- a nightclub on Kearney Street, near U.S. 65 -- sent one man to the hospital, and left police scrambling to find the men who handed out the smackdown. (Note: Graf amended to correct time of assault.)

Police spokesman Matt Brown sent this e-mail to media on Thursday:
Reference the assault at Cowboys 2000 last night, detectives are continuing the investigation today. Currently, no arrests have been made but we are following up on several leads provided to us during the course of the investigation. According to witnesses, a group of black males (possibly 8-10) attacked a white male on the parking lot. Officers were told by the witnesses that a vehicle intentionally ran over the victim and then drove away.

I have been asked several times if we believe this to be a racially motivated crime. At this point, we have not ruled out that possibility, but have not been able to confirm the reason for the assault, and will not know until we have 1 or more of the suspects in custody.

The victim is in a local area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Because of HIPPA regulations, I do not have a current status update on him.
Besides the obvious question -- several black men at Cowboys 2000? -- there is no info on whether any racial epithets were flung before, during or after the attack. Armed with that, police would seem to have a hate crime.


Steve Koehler of the News-Leader is Thursday's Mr. Bad-Ass.

Koehler's story in the News-Leader reveals what happens when adults think they're in charge of college journalists.

Koehler discovered that a story in the student newspaper at Ozarks Technical Community College had been spiked by the president of the school's board of trustees.

The story in The Eagle was supposed to be about six candidates coming in to interview for the president's post at OTC. Eagle reporters sent a questionnaire to the six candidates and almost immediately ran into hassles with the OTC board.

Board President Jackie McKinsey wrote to the candidates, telling them to ignore the questionnaire because the questions were "clearly inappropriate at this time."

Three of six replied anyway.

This week, McKinsey ordered the story killed, then lamely told Koehler that there was "nothing bad in the questions." The problem, McKinsey claimed, was that the student journalists "were out doing their own thing." And besides, McKinsey added, journalists should not be asking questions of the candidates; the trustees should.

From Koehler's story:
McKinsey said she didn't think the message had a chilling effect on the student reporters or was an attempt at censorship.

She said she was advised by the board's search committee consultant, Don Hunter of Hockaday, Hunter & Associates of North Carolina, that the candidates not answer the questionnaire.

"A candidate asked (Hunter) if the questions were board-sanctioned questions. (Hunter) said they were not appropriate for them to answer a month before they came here," McKinsey said.

McKinsey said she asked Hunter whether there was an "issue of the freedom of the press, and he said, 'No.'"
McKinsey -- a normally gracious human -- didn't even display enough sense to admit that she was wrong to spike the story. She told Koehler that The Eagle bears some responsibility: "Part was my fault, part was theirs."

Sorry, Jackie. This one's all your fault.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


MIT would like to take the point -- he's quick on the draw when it comes to the dead -- but in this case, the point goes to younger brother Richard, who caught the news blurb about an hour before MIT.

From the wires, the death of June Pointer, youngest of the Pointer Sisters:
Pointer, 52, died Tuesday at Santa Monica University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center, the family said in a statement. She had been hospitalized since late February. The type of cancer wasn't disclosed.

She died "in the arms of her sisters, Ruth and Anita and her brothers, Aaron and Fritz, by her side," the statement said. "Although her sister, Bonnie, was unable to be present, she was with her in spirit."

The four sisters grew up singing in the choir of an Oakland church where their parents were ministers. Bonnie and June formed a singing duo and began performing in clubs around the San Francisco Bay area. Anita and Ruth later joined the group, which sang backup for artists such as Taj Mahal, Boz Scaggs and Elvin Bishop.
"I'm So Excited" and "Slow Hand" were two big hits for the Pointer Sisters. Oh, and let's not forget "Jump (For My Love)."

Sorry, MIT.


Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri was a member of Saddam Hussein's inner circle. On this, everyone is in agreement. But only on this.

Is al-Douri alive? Dead? Captured? On the lam?

The answer: Yes.

In December 2003 we were pretty certain that al-Douri was dead:
US forces may have killed or captured Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the most wanted man in Iraq after Saddam Hussein and believed to be a mastermind of the guerilla resistance, Iraq Governing Council sources said.
In November 2005 we were damned sure that al-Douri was dead:
Former officials of the Baath Party confirmed Saturday on their Web site the death of Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the last of Saddam Hussein's inner circle still at large in Iraq and a man long sought by the American military command as the effective leader of the Baathist insurgent underground here.
Tuesday, we knew for a fact that al-Douri was captured:
Director of the bureau of the vice president of the ousted regime, Izzat Al-Douri, has been detained, the interior ministry announced on Tuesday.
Wednesday, al-Douri was reportedly not captured. The King of Clubs remains on the lam.


Cops in New Jersey say they caught Joseph "Donald" Scordato masturbating in his car. Setting aside the ick factor -- Scordato is 81 -- we're fascinated by the man's defense.

Scordato says he can't be guilty of public masturbation because he doesn't have a penis.

The Herald News explains:
Brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair, Scordato fell asleep while he waited for his case to be called. He said he wasn't able to hire a lawyer because he was in the hospital.

State Superior Court Judge William Meehan instructed him to get a lawyer before his next hearing on April 24 ...

Authorities say Scordato parked his car across the street from a movie theater on Cottage Place on Sept. 16, unzipped his pants and began masturbating in the middle of the afternoon.

A beautician working in a nearby salon saw him as she walked past the car and called police, Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Dave Calviello said.

Scordato had pulled away when police arrived but was stopped shortly afterward, Calviello said.

When confronted by detectives, Scordato denied that he was masturbating in plain view, according to a Sept. 16 police report.

"I have dry skin, and I have to itch it a lot," he was quoted as saying in the report.
Cops say Scordato apparently has a penis, 'cause in 1997 -- when he was a relatively spry 72 -- Scordato was convicted of fourth-degree lewdness for pulling the same stunt in public.


Pamela Rogers Turner, the looker from Tennessee got six months in prison and several years of probation for having sex with a 13-year-old student. Now she's back in the clink for allegedly breaking probation by having Internet contact with the kid. The Associated Press reports:
Rogers was arrested in Cookeville on Tuesday as she was reporting to her probation appointment and booked at Warren County Jail in McMinnville, The Southern Standard in McMinnville reported.

Authorities said she committed seven possible probation violations for establishing a Web site with several pictures of herself. The photos were biographical, not pornographic, but several show her wearing a bikini.

A blog on the site also included what authorities said was communication between Rogers and the victim's 17-year-old sister, including a link to the sister's Web site.

She is also accused of issuing a cryptic message to the victim by addressing his basketball jersey number, saying he was her hero and that she would not fall in love again for three years.

"In this case we will likely ask that she go to the Department of Corrections to flatten out her sentence," District Attorney General Dale Potter said. "This came in such a short amount of time after she was released on probation and in our opinion these were intentional violations of the terms of her release."
Rogers was freed from prison in late February.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Credit goes to MIT for the rhyme and the news. The Associated Press reports on the death of rapper Proof:
The death of Proof -- whose real name is Deshaun Holton -- was confirmed by Dennis Dennehy, the publicist for D12's label, Interscope Records.

"Memorial service arrangements are still being made, and his friends and family would appreciate privacy during this difficult time," Dennehy said in a statement.

Family members gathered at a home on Detroit's northwest side. The residential street in front of the two-story home was lined with vehicles.

Proof was the best man at Eminem's wedding in January and often appeared alongside the superstar rapper at concerts and public appearances. He also appeared in the film "8 Mile."

D12, which includes Eminem, has been around since the mid-1990s, when members of the rap group met at Detroit's Hip-Hop Shop, a clothing store by day and a hip-hop club by night.

Detroit police wouldn't confirm that Proof was killed, but said two people were shot in the head -- one fatally -- early Tuesday at a nightclub on Eight Mile.

An argument at the CCC nightclub escalated into gunshots, Detroit police spokesman James Tate said.

Wende Berry, a spokeswoman for St. John Health System, said Holton was dead on arrival at St. John Conner Creek, an outpatient treatment facility. Berry confirmed that he had a gunshot wound.

Another member of Eminem's inner circle -- rapper Obie Trice -- was shot while driving on a Detroit-area highway in December.
Rolling Stone reports the rapper was 30. The music magazine also notes:
Proof released his solo debut, Searching for Jerry Garcia, last summer on his independent label Iron Fist Records.
The search is over.

Monday, April 10, 2006


This week's "Street Talk" is done; the podcast is up and ready for download.

The show's about race. We're 100 years distant from the lynchings on Park Central Square in Springfield. Many things have changed. Springfield has become more diverse; its Asian and Hispanic populations are close to the state average. But the black population is one-fifth the statewide average.

Give the show a listen, or catch it at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday on Mediacom Channel 14.


The Show-Me State's tax burden is far below the national average. In fact, Missouri ranks 46th on the list of states, with an average annual per-capita tax of $1,645.49. The national average is $2,192.27.

The Census Bureau figures also rank states by total taxes. Here, Missouri is 22nd in the nation, with $9.5 billion in state taxes.

Find the stats here.


If you're 5-10 and weigh more than 209 pounds, the answer is "yes." And maybe that's the problem with a new study that indicates obese people (obesians?) are in denial. The Associated Press reports:
"If somebody doesn't perceive themselves to be obese, they are most likely not going to pay attention to any public health information about the consequences of obesity," said Kim Truesdale, a nutrition researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Among those consequences are heightened risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis.

The study of 104 adults, ages 45 to 64, showed that only 15 percent of people who fit the body type for obese correctly classified themselves that way.

In contrast, 71 percent of normal-weight people and 73 percent of people classified as overweight were accurate in their self-assessments.

"I think part of the disconnect is just the overall image people have when you say 'obesity,"' said Truesdale, who presented her findings recently at conference in San Francisco. "They see someone who's 400 pounds, maybe morbidly obese. They don't think about the person who's 5-10 and you weigh 208, 209 pounds and you are technically obese. You can probably think of a lot of men who are 5-10 and over 200 pounds."
Yes, we can, but we don't think of them as obese. Husky, perhaps, like the jeans we wore in middle school, but certainly not obese -- unless there are man breasts involved.


Sen. Joe Lieberman likes to style himself a maverick, a la John McCain, as opposed to a kook who has wandered off the reservation, a la Zell Miller. But Lieberman is clearly closer to Uncle Zell's cabin o' thought, especially after his answer to a weekend questioner in Windsor, Conn.

Liberal Dems in Connecticut think Lieberman's too Bush-like to deserve another six-year term in office. Lieberman has now decided to fight back -- by insinuating that he'd leave the party if there's a primary challenge.

Let's go to the poor-quality audio file for proof:
QUESTION: ... Zell Miller once stated that he would always be a member of the Democratic party. Can you make similar promises?

LIEBERMAN: Will I always be a member of the Democratic party? I hope there's not a primary. I'm confident if there is one, I'll win it, but I'm not gonna rule out any other option for now because I feel so strongly that I can do better for the State of Connecticut for the next six years in the United States Senate that I want to give all the voters a chance to make that decision on Election Day in November. I want to do it as a Democrat. If I didn't want to do it as a Democrat, I would choose to run in some other party, trust me. But I want to do it as a Democrat because I believe in the Democratic party, so really the choice is up to my fellow Democrats ...
Run, Joe, run!


Monday and the sun shines, and Paris Hilton looks delightful walking past a puddle of vomit. You know, we've sauntered around many pools of spew, but never with such grace.

Thank God, however, that we didn't make the list of 100 unsexiest men in the world (though candidly, we could have been Top 10 on that sucker without even trying). Gilbert Gottfried wins honors as top dog, with Roger Ebert and Dr. Phil not far behind.

Cripes. Time to get productive.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Seymour M. Hersh has written a piece for The New Yorker that is the weekend must-read. Pardon our language, but prepare to have the shit scared out of you.

The Bush Administration is seriously contemplating the use of nuclear weapons to bomb Iran, according to Hersh's sources.

An excerpt from the story:
The attention given to the nuclear option has created serious misgivings inside the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he added, and some officers have talked about resigning. Late this winter, the Joint Chiefs of Staff sought to remove the nuclear option from the evolving war plans for Iran—without success, the former intelligence official said. "The White House said, 'Why are you challenging this? The option came from you.'"

The Pentagon adviser on the war on terror confirmed that some in the Administration were looking seriously at this option, which he linked to a resurgence of interest in tactical nuclear weapons among Pentagon civilians and in policy circles. He called it "a juggernaut that has to be stopped." He also confirmed that some senior officers and officials were considering resigning over the issue. "There are very strong sentiments within the military against brandishing nuclear weapons against other countries," the adviser told me. "This goes to high levels." The matter may soon reach a decisive point, he said, because the Joint Chiefs had agreed to give President Bush a formal recommendation stating that they are strongly opposed to considering the nuclear option for Iran. "The internal debate on this has hardened in recent weeks," the adviser said. "And, if senior Pentagon officers express their opposition to the use of offensive nuclear weapons, then it will never happen."

The adviser added, however, that the idea of using tactical nuclear weapons in such situations has gained support from the Defense Science Board, an advisory panel whose members are selected by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. "They're telling the Pentagon that we can build the B61 with more blast and less radiation," he said.
Hersh's story is long and deep; click here to read it. Try not to weep.


The older brother, Robert, came to town with the family on Saturday. His wife, Annette, and daughter Amie -- we always want to amend her name with "what you wanna do" -- made for a warm day, despite a brisk wind.

But the day took a sobering pause when we found word that a creationist museum has purchased the remains of a one-eyed kitten.

Apparently a one-eyed, noseless kitten corpse proves that positive mutations can't happen and evolution is a fraud. Oh, yeah, the dead kitty also proves God is perfect. Who knew?


On April 8, 1994, Kurt Cobain's body was found in a room above his garage. Twelve years.
My heart is broke
But I have some glue
Help me inhale
And mend it with you
Doesn't matter if Courtney had him killed or he blew out his own brains. Dead's dead.

Friday, April 07, 2006


India readies for more demonstrations. The BBC has the story:
The authorities in Nepal have imposed an all-day curfew in the capital, Kathmandu, as activists prepare for a rally on the third day of a strike.

The curfew will be in force for 11 hours from 1000 (0415GMT) and violators risk being shot at, officials said.

Some mobile phone networks have also been cut, as protesters prepare for more demonstrations against King Gyanendra's rule.

He has been widely criticised for seizing absolute power 14 months ago.

On Friday, at least 150 anti-government protesters were arrested in Kathmandu.

Police fired tear gas and used batons to disperse demonstrators, who hurled stones and set fire to a post office.

The crowds shouted that the king was a thief and should leave the country, the BBC's Charles Haviland in Kathmandu reports.

Clashes also were reported in several other towns of the kingdom.
The curfew and cell-phone blackout started around 11:15 p.m. Friday, CDT. Virtual censorship in a time of strife.


Friday's White House press gaggle -- yes, that's what they call it -- found reporters eating Scott McClellan's buttocks over the disclosure that President Bush gave the OK for Scooter Libby to leak classified information to the media.

(For the record, it seems a no-brainer that of course the president can declassify and make public anything he wants to. The problem in this case is the delivery method -- stealth instead of public accountability. Bush didn't want anyone to know he was the leaker of a smear against Joe Wilson. The swaggering "leader" is actually a coward.)

But we digress. Friday's gaggle included this very odd query about the indicted Libby:
QUESTION: Scott, on March the 30th, I believe, last Thursday, Mr. Libby was spotted at the White House Mess. It just seems unusual that he would be coming back to the White House in this situation. Any ideas why he --

Scott McClellan: I don't know anything about that. I don't think so.

QUESTION: You don't think what?

Scott McClellan: I don't think he was here.

QUESTION: What would you do if I --

Scott McClellan: You spotted him?

QUESTION: I have a pretty good source I trust that did.

Scott McClellan: I'll check into it, John, but I don't think that's --

QUESTION: Alan Greenspan was here Thursday, March the 30th.

Scott McClellan: I don't think so, but I'll check. I'll check. I wasn't camped out at the Mess.
McClellan gets points for artful dodging. He doesn't know, he doesn't think so, he wasn't at the Mess. What a mess, and getting deeper with each passing disclosure.


Near Godley, Ill., according to the Associated Press:
Steam containing radioactive tritium escaped from a valve at an Exelon Corp. plant even as company officials met with local residents to discuss efforts to clean up earlier leaks.

About 500 gallons of water pooled on the grounds of the Braidwood Generating Station as the steam condensed Thursday, and some of it flowed into a ditch that lies between the plant and the village of Godley, company spokesman Craig Nesbit told the Chicago Tribune for a story on its Web site.
Keep out of the ditch.


Let's see. Why so fab?

•Mark Warner, the former governor of Virginia and current wannabe national Democrat, visits Springfield to speak at Jackson Days. As a presidential contender, Warner is less-than-sizzling, but Dems are already riding high. The weekend schedule of events can be found here.

•Thursday night bad weather fizzled. Friday forecast calls for temps in the 70s and no rain.

•The Springfield Cardinals are back in action, opening the season with a loss at Hammons Field but bringing Bob Gibson to throw out the first pitch.

•Speaking of the Cards, it's Red Out Friday on Park Central Square. Win free stuff, meet some players, all that. If you wear red you get 10-percent off food at the Springfield Brewing Company or Trolley's. Insiders know that means you'll get incredibly mediocre food for less.

•Final technical glitches being solved in "Street Talk." Speaking of the show, a reminder to click here and take our survey on race relations. Voting closes this weekend.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Southwest Missouri expects another punch in the gut Thursday night. The National Weather Service says:
The current convection watch has the Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks smack in the middle of the madness. Prepare to huddle.

Updated 9 p.m. Most of the bad storms have moved north of Springfield. Still some chance of severe weather Thursday night, but for now, better than expected.

Updated 8:06 p.m. Tornado warning for western edge of Missouri, heading this way. From the National Weather Service:

Fast-moving storms should hit Springfield within the next couple hours.


Alberto Gonzales, the attorney general, told Congress on Thursday that he was "not going to rule it out" when asked about wiretapping of phone calls in the United States. The Washington Post reports:
In response to a question from Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) during an appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, Gonzales suggested that the administration could decide it was legal to listen in on a domestic call without supervision if it were related to al-Qaeda.

"I'm not going to rule it out," Gonzales said.

In the past, Gonzales and other officials refused to say whether they had the legal authority to conduct warrantless eavesdropping on domestic calls, and have stressed that the NSA eavesdropping program is focused only on international communications. Gonzales previously testified in the Senate that Bush had considered including purely domestic communications in the NSA spying program, but he said the idea was rejected in part because of fears of a public outcry. He also testified at the time that the Justice Department had not fully analyzed the legal issues of such a move.

In yesterday's testimony, Gonzales reiterated earlier hints that there may be another facet to the NSA program that has not been revealed publicly, or even another program that has prompted dissension within the government.
A classic WIDBI moment -- WIBDI being our acronym for What If Bill Did It? If Clinton ordered up a round of wiretaps on phones in the United States and cited a "terrorist threat," Republicans in Congress would call him a tyrant. When George W. Bush does it, we're supposed to salute the flag. Pardon us, but screw that noise.


Katrina and Rita will never come again, at least as hurricanes. Those names, along with Dennis, Stan and Wilma, have been officially retired by the National Hurricane Center.

This year's list of names for hurricanes has some possibilities:
Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sandy, Tony, Valerie, William.
Alberto? Hello, Mr. Attorney General. Isaac? Hello, children. Tony? Hello, Mr. Soprano.

Our quibble is with the lack of two-name hurricanes. Given the grand Ozarks tradition, we'd like to at least see William replaced by "Bill Bob," or Patty amended to "Patty Ann."


Jesus H. Christ, as some would exclaim. The New York Times tells the story:
An early Christian manuscript, including the only known text of what is known as the Gospel of Judas, has surfaced after 1,700 years. The text gives new insights into the relationship of Jesus and the disciple who betrayed him, scholars reported today. In this version, Jesus asked Judas, as a close friend, to sell him out to the authorities, telling Judas he will "exceed" the other disciples by doing so.

Though some theologians have hypothesized this, scholars who have studied the new-found text said, this is the first time an ancient document defends the idea.

The discovery in the desert of Egypt of the leather-bound papyrus manuscript, and now its translation, was announced by the National Geographic Society at a news conference in Washington. The 26-page Judas text is said to be a copy in Coptic, made around A. D. 300, of the original Gospel of Judas, written in Greek the century before.

Terry Garcia, an executive vice president of the geographic society, said the manuscript, or codex, is considered by scholars and scientists to be the most significant ancient, nonbiblical text to be found in the past 60 years.
So does this mean Judas isn't in Hell?


They're called VNRs -- video-news releases. They're created by PR firms seeking free publicity for their clients. They look like news reports. They're not.

The Center for Media and Democracy on Thursday identified 77 television stations across the United States that aired so-called VNRs without letting viewers know they were watching spin, not news.

To their credit, TV stations in Springfield did not air any VNRs, according to the report. But KFJX -- a Fox affiliate serving Pittsburg, Kan., and Joplin, Mo. -- aired one of the fake-news bits. So did WDAF in Kansas City and KTVI in St. Louis. All three stations are aligned with Fox.

From the report's executive summary:
TV stations not only aired entire VNRs without disclosure, but had local anchors and reporters read directly from the script prepared by the broadcast PR firm. KTVI-2 in St. Louis had their anchor introduce, and their reporter re-voice, a VNR produced for Masterfoods and 1-800 Flowers, following the script nearly verbatim ...

In almost all cases, stations failed to balance the clients' messages with independently-gathered footage or basic journalistic research. More than one-third of the time, stations aired the pre-packaged VNR in its entirety.
The 77 television stations reach more than half of the country's TV audience.


The inmate is a man. The guards are women. The story is from the Wisconsin State Journal:
Christine Roberge, 39, of Edgerton, and Heather Bartosch, 28, of Fitchburg, are accused of having sexual encounters with the same man at Oakhill Correctional Facility. Roberge is also accused of having inappropriate relationships with two other inmates.

The women are charged with second- degree sexual assault under a 2003 law that makes it a felony for guards to have sexual contact with inmates and sets the maximum penalty at 40 years in prison. The law's language says no such sex can be consensual since a guard has significantly more power.

Roberge couldn't be reached for comment, but Bartosch's lawyer said his client was in a romantic relationship that didn't constitute sexual assault.

"You can imagine what the victim impact statement would look like: 'Please sir, make them do it again,'" attorney Brian Brophy said.

Both women resigned from the prison in February, shortly after they were put on leave. Roberge had worked in corrections for nine years, 6 of them at Oakhill. Bartosch worked at Oakhill for seven years. ...

According to the complaint against Bartosch:

The inmate told investigators he first kissed Bartosch in November 2004 in a prison office. After that, he repeatedly asked her for sex and she refused. But in December 2004, Bartosch and the inmate engaged in a sexual act in a housing unit basement.

Although Bartosch initially denied the allegations, she eventually admitted kissing, touching and having sex with the inmate.

"I crossed the line, I knew it. It scared me," she told investigators. "I let myself get comfortable with someone I shouldn't have."

She also admitted sending the inmate two pairs of jeans, a sweat shirt, tennis shoes, boots and money orders using his aunt's name.

The aunt said she met with Bartosch in Racine early last summer. Bartosch, who was married then, told the inmate that she loved him and wanted a future with him.

According to the complaint against Roberge:

Last June and July, she engaged five times in sex acts with the same inmate who was involved with Bartosch, either in the basement of housing units, in a kitchen or a laundry room. Another inmate said he occasionally served as lookout.

Shortly after their first encounter, the inmate asked Roberge to bring him tobacco.
So sweet, that request for tobacco.


Art Buchwald is dying. The writer and humorist is 80 and has rejected dialysis for kidney failure.

But he's living as large as can be, chatting with friends and colleagues, talking about his storied life. "It's a great way to say goodbye," Buchwald says.

As for what -- if anything -- is on the other side, Buchwald opines:
"I don't know what's coming next and neither does anyone else. It's something that we do have to face but the thing is that a lot of people don't want to face it. And there's denial. If somebody says it, like me, everybody feels a little better that they can discuss it."
No one knows. You wouldn't think the statement would cause bowels to be in uproar. You would be wrong.

The Freepers -- a band of merry conservatives -- know in no uncertain terms that Art Buchwald is hellbound. Read of their compassion here. And check out these choice quotes:
I guess burning in hell is not something Buchwald is concerned about. Oh well, what can you do?

It's not "your god" but the one and only God, and eternity makes 80 years seem like a split second. They're right. Buchwald is wrong. If he doesn't know Jesus he's not ready to face the Judge of all men, no matter what they thought their religion was. God doesn't adjust reality to fit peoples' varied religious beliefs.

Why would God want to include in Heaven those who ignored, rejected, denied His Son and chose to follow the fallen angel - the Devil?
Art Buchwald is Jewish. He also served in the Marine Corps in World War II. For these things he is going to Hell? Like hell.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Definitely a talker -- the story, not the skull. Or in this case, 121 skulls, most missing their tops. The Telegraph reports:
The skulls were found by a farmer in a forested ravine in a part of the poor north-western province of Gansu, which is inhabited by ethnic Tibetans.

Police have confirmed that the skulls are human and are of "recent origin", as suggested by the fact that some had skin and hair still attached.

But officials have refused to give further details, which has given rise to theories of their origin that range from medical experiments on brains to an attempt to cash in on a fashion for skullcap-shaped ashtrays.

A further twist came with a find in a landfill site in the same province of two arms belonging to a child believed to be aged between five and eight. The arms appeared to have been cooked with chilli and ginger.

According to local newspapers, the skulls were found on a river bank last week in plastic bags along with fur and bones. At first it was suggested they could have belonged to monkeys.

Police and forensic scientists have now ruled out any medical reason for cutting off the tops of the skulls, although they said this had clearly happened after death. ...

The Beijing News ... said imitation skullcaps were being sold as ashtrays in a well-known market in the capital, where a seller claimed that, lined with silver, "the real thing" commanded high prices from private buyers.
Gingered arms? Skullcap ashtrays? Next thing you know they'll say China has tall, red-haired mummies.