Friday, June 30, 2006


Happy Friday! Reuters has this oddball report:
Fateh Mohammad, a prison inmate in Pakistan, says he woke up last weekend with a glass lightbulb in his anus.

Wednesday night, doctors brought Mohammad's misery to an end after a one-and-a-half hour operation to remove the object.

"Thanks Allah, now I feel comfort. Today, I had my breakfast. I was just drinking water, nothing else," Mohammad, a grey-beared man in his mid-40s, told Reuters from a hospital bed in the southern central city of Multan.

"We had to take it out intact," said Dr. Farrukh Aftab at Nishtar Hospital. "Had it been broken inside, it would be a very very complicated situation."

Mohammad, who is serving a four-year sentence for making liquor, prohibited for Muslims, said he was shocked when he was first told the cause of his discomfort. He swears he didn't know the bulb was there.

"When I woke up I felt a pain in my lower abdomen, but later in hospital, they told me this," Mohammad said.

"I don't know who did this to me. Police or other prisoners."

The doctor treating Mohammad said he'd never encountered anything like it before, and doubted the felon's story that someone had drugged him and inserted the bulb while he was comatose.
Not the weirdest thing ever discovered up there.


We knew our friend MIT was talented, but we had no idea that he knew nanotube technology. The Boston Globe says:
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are working on a new device that uses carbon nanotubes to store and release electrical energy in a system that could carry as much power as today's lead or lithium batteries.

But unlike the rechargeable batteries used on today's cellphones and laptop computers, these devices could be recharged hundreds of thousands of times before wearing out.

And instead of taking hours to recharge, they could be powered up in about the same time it takes to fill up a gas tank. ...

The device being developed at MIT's Laboratory for Electromagnetic and Electronic Systems isn't a battery, but a capacitor -- a device that's already used in nearly every electronic product on the planet. When plugged into an electrical circuit, a capacitor briefly stores incoming electricity, they releases it at a predictable rate. Capacitors can't store very much power, compared to traditional batteries. But while it takes hours to recharge a battery, capacitors charge almost instantly. And while most batteries can only be recharged a few hundred or thousand times before wearing out, capacitors can be recharged hundreds of thousands of times.
Pretty cool, if it ever comes to pass.


A new probe, announced Friday by the military. From The Associated Press:
Five U.S. Army soldiers are being investigated for allegedly raping a young woman, then killing her and three members of her family in Iraq, the U.S. military said Friday.

The soldiers also allegedly burned the body of the woman they are accused of raping.

Maj. Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of coalition troops in Baghdad, had ordered a criminal investigation into the alleged killing of a family of four in Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad, the U.S. command said. It did not elaborate.

"The entire investigation will encompass everything that could have happened that evening. We're not releasing any specifics of an ongoing investigation," said military spokesman Maj. Todd Breasseale.

"There is no indication what led soldiers to this home. The investigation just cracked open. We're just beginning to dig into the details."
Hope it's not true. Worry that it is.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


The vote was 5-3. Chief Justice John Roberts recused himself. The Associated Press breaking lede:
The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that President Bush did not have authority to set up the war crimes tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and found the "military commissions" illegal under both military justice law and the Geneva convention.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Reporter Sara Sheffield and photographer Cliff Erwin were detained and issued citations for "failing to obey the reasonable direction" of a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper. The crew was in Clinton, reporting live from the scene of a Monday night building collapse, when they were ordered to move.

The Associated Press story says Sheffield was about to do a live shot on the noon news when she and Erwin were told to move. They got to a public area and, as AP reports:
Erwin was arrested while Sheffield continued with an on-air report before also being arrested.

"They were asked to leave repeatedly and apparently didn’t heed those requests and were subsequently arrested and transported to the Henry County Jail," said Sgt. John Hotz, public information officer for the patrol’s Troop A.

KYTV news director Jeff Benscoter said he hoped no formal charges would be pursued against the crew, which had been at the same location since 3:30 a.m.

Jean Maneke, a Kansas City attorney who specializes in media law, said journalists may have a difficult time fighting such citations.

"The law recognizes police power," she said. "In times of emergency, they are allowed to exercise police power. ... They have the ability to tell people `You must leave now.’ If they don’t, (the police) have the ability to arrest them."
Maneke's quotes don't make it sound good for Sheffield and Erwin. Every media person we know is buzzing about this one because they all have similar war stories. An interesting thread about the arrests is ongoing at Missouri Radio.


Steve Koehler of the News-Leader has the scoop in a Wednesday afternoon online posting:
A county Republican Party newsletter announcing a political fund-raiser hosted by Missouri State University and Springfield R-12 school district is wrong, say those involved in the event.

The actual invitation to the July 6 reception for Charlie Denison, running for re-election as a state representative from the 135th district, lists Gov. Matt Blunt and three state senators as hosts.

MSU, Springfield R-12, Ozarks Technical Community College and the Springfield Cardinals are listed as special guests for the event. Denison said they will not pay the $50 per ticket price to attend.

"Just like the News-Leader, we make mistakes, too," Denison said.

The incumbent representative said there was a misunderstanding when he told a volunteer about the event, and the two public institutions were incorrectly listed as hosts.

"There was not reason to list them as hosts. They’re not involved," he said.

Public entities are prohibited under Missouri Ethics Code from being involved in partisan political campaigns, state officials said.
Did anyone actually read the GOP newsletter before it went out with its claim of schools sponsoring fundraisers for Republicans?


"Loose lips kill American people," Dennis Hastert said on Wednesday. The Speaker said the House of Representatives will thrash about a resolution that condemns the media for publishing information about secret spy programs.

Reuters reports:
The move heaps more criticism on The New York Times and other newspapers that reported last week on a secret program by the U.S. Treasury Department that tracks private bank records.

"What we're talking about is people who are leaking classified information. It's not news. It's classified information our government is using to fight terrorists," Hastert said. "Loose lips kill American people."
Hastert might want to consider a concurrent resolution condemning Sen. Orrin Hatch. The Utah Republican prodigiously leaked classified information on Sept. 11, 2001. The wayback machine takes us to the Chicago Tribune's Sept. 14, 2001, edition:
Hatch, ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters hours after terrorists crashed hijacked jetliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that U.S. intelligence had intercepted a telephone call from a suspect reporting to his handler that the targets in New York City and near Washington had been hit.

"They have an intercept of some information that includes people associated with [Osama] bin Laden who acknowledged a couple of targets were hit," Hatch told The Associated Press. He made similar comments to ABC News and said the information had come from officials at the CIA and FBI ...

Hatch's disclosure, with the possibility it would tip off terrorists that their communications had been compromised, left senior officials of the administration dumbfounded and angry.

"Well, that helps a lot!" exclaimed one official, who added an expletive for emphasis, after learning of Hatch's comments.
Given the GOP's obsession with blaming the media, we won't be surprised if Hastert decides the Chicago Tribune should be punished for Hatch's leak.


An interesting ruling. The Associated Press reports:
The Supreme Court on Wednesday threw out part of a Texas congressional map engineered by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, saying some of the new boundaries failed to protect minority voting rights.

The fractured decision was a small victory for Democratic and minority groups who accused Republicans of an unconstitutional power grab in drawing boundaries that booted four Democratic incumbents out of office.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority, said Hispanics do not have a chance to elect a candidate of their choosing under the plan.

Republicans picked up six Texas congressional seats two years ago, and the court’s ruling does not seriously threaten those gains. Lawmakers, however, will have to adjust boundary lines to address the court’s concerns.

At issue was the shifting of 100,000 Hispanics out of a district represented by a Republican incumbent and into a new, oddly shaped district. Justices had been told that was an unconstitutional racial gerrymander under the Voting Rights Act, which protects minority voting rights.

Republicans had said the new map better reflected the voting patterns of the state and denied that minority voting rights were violated.

The map in question was steered through the Legislature by DeLay, who left Congress June 9 amid legal and ethical troubles, some stemming from the redistricting fight.

The new map gave Texas its first congressional delegation with a Republican majority since Reconstruction. The delegation has 21 Republicans and 11 Democrats. Under the previous boundaries, Democrats dominated 17-15.
Not a big win for Dems. Justice said Texas was within its rights when it redrew district boundaries twice after the 2000 census.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Or 112 in dog years, if you use the old 7-years-to-1 coversion (the newfangled Online Conversion calculator says it's closer to being a 77-year-old human).

Anyway, that dog from "Frasier" has left the building. The Associated Press reports:
The 16-year-old Jack Russell terrier, whose real name was Moose, passed away of old age Thursday at the Los Angeles home of trainer Mathilde Halberg, Halberg told People magazine.

The canine character Eddie drove Kelsey Grammer’s lead character crazy for 10 years on the show.

It wasn’t all acting on Moose’s part, though. He was naturally "extremely mischievous," Halberg said.

His contribution to the show’s and Grammer’s success was publicly noted by the actor when he accepted a 1994 Emmy for best actor in a comedy.

"Most important, Moose, this is for you," Grammer added good naturedly.

Moose, who also played the older dog Skip in the 2000 film "My Dog Skip," was retired in recent years.
Smitty, MIT, Mayor Dan: This does not count as a point in our continuing game of death.


Rush Limbaugh, the radio talker, was detained on Monday. The Associated Press has this:
Customs officials found a prescription bottle labeled as Viagra in his luggage that didn't have Limbaugh's name on it, but that of two doctors, said Paul Miller, spokesman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

A doctor had prescribed the drug, but it was "labeled as being issued to the physician rather than Mr. Limbaugh for privacy purposes," Roy Black, Limbaugh's attorney, said in a statement.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection examined the 55-year-old radio commentator's luggage after his private plane landed at the airport from the Dominican Republic, said Miller.

The matter was referred to the sheriff's office, whose investigators interviewed Limbaugh. According to Miller, Limbaugh said that the Viagra was for his use, and that he obtained it from his doctors.
Don't get the visual in your head of Rush Limbaugh having sex. You'll go insane.

Monday, June 26, 2006


KYTV just finished airing its Monday night report on the push to reform Missouri's fee offices. The piece by David Catanese featured comments from Doug Harpool, candidate for state senate, and Mark Wright, candidate for state auditor.

Both men said they want to reform the fee offices; Harpool announced his plan last month, and Wright was scheduled to piggyback on a plan by House Republicans during a Monday news conference. But Wright had to bail when Gov. Matt Blunt asked to "negotiate" with Republicans.

(Such a delicate word, that. Reality has much more grit. Several sources tell CHATTER that Blunt hit the roof when he heard about the mutiny; imagine, Republicans condemning political perks handed out by a Republican governor.)

Wright admitted that preliminary talks with Blunt had gone badly. But instead of standing up to the governor and speaking truth to that power, Wright backed down and played like a faithful member of his party.

Oddly missing from the entire story was Norma Champion, the 73-year-old state senator from Springfield. Champion told Catanese that she hadn't a clue that Republicans like Wright were calling for reform of the fee offices: "You're catching me on something I've not been a part of." She also admitted that she doesn't have a plan.

No plan. No clue. And no comment. Norma Champion is the silent senator.


President Bush and his supporters are yelping at the New York Times and its disregard for keeping the administration's secrets. Last week the Times reported that the administration is examining international banking records. This week, some conservatives are calling the Times a nest of traitors.

They're not doing it in a vacuum. Bush on Monday called the disclosure of the program "disgraceful" and said it did "great harm to the United States of America."

There is, of course, no way of knowing if Bush is telling the truth here. His administration demands secrecy while insisting everything is done within the law.

The loudest voices on the far right will only get louder over the next several days, as they try to bully their talking points to a mostly bored public. They want the Times, and other media outlets, prosecuted for treason. They don't believe in a free press. Just a compliant one.


Dot-com. We're still dinking around -- we do dink quite well -- on the new site, but it's starting to take form, like the first bits of mold on your too-old cheese.

The new CHATTER won't take the place of this site, at least not immediately. But it's a decent place to post audio and video downloads, and by week's end we hope to have the first CHATTER podcast available for you aural pleasure.

Stop by the new digs, bring a covered dish, leave a comment or two. Thanks for surfing.


A new St. Louis Post-Dispatch poll focuses on the U.S. Senate race between Jim Talent and Claire McCaskill. But the poll also reveals several interesting factoids about southwest Missouri.

The Research 2000 Missouri Poll interviewed 150 southwest Missourians for its statewide sample of 800. Among the questions, and the Ozarks responses:

•Local lawmaker Mark Wright is in next-to-last place in his bid for auditor, with backing from just 8 percent of southwest Missourians polled.

•McCaskill has support from 36 percent of southwest Missourians. Talent draws support from 53 percent of those polled.

•The Ozarks remains nominally opposed to a stem-cell research initiative -- 44 percent support it, while 51 percent oppose it.

•When it comes to the minimum wage, Ozarkers want more. The poll shows 52 percent of southwest Missourians support a higher minimum wage. Only 29 percent of those polled were opposed to a wage hike.

All the results can be found here. Happy number crunching.


Pima County, Ariz., sheriff's deputies find an empty military casket and start nosing around. The Associated Press reports:
Detectives believe the casket may have recently contained the remains of a member of the military, Deputy Dawn Barkman said.

"Obviously it had the smell and there was other evidence that it had been inhabited recently," Barkman said.

Forensic investigators took DNA samples and are beginning efforts to try to learn where the casket came from.

Two residents playing paintball found the casket Saturday near Interstate 10, on the south side of Tucson, Barkman said. The casket was metallic silver with an Army insignia on it. Deputies didn't find any signs of the body and put out a nationwide alert in hopes of learning more, she said.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Some House Republicans planned to hit Kansas City, St. Louis and Springfield on Monday to talk-up a plan that would tackle the thorny issue of fee offices, the place where you get your license. Gov. Matt Blunt privatized several formerly state-run offices and awarded management contracts to his favorite contributors and fundraisers.

The FBI is reportedly investigating. Waves of stink worry House Republicans who -- unlike Blunt -- are up for reelection in November.

The Monday news conference in Springfield was supposed to be at the Library Station on North Kansas Expressway. The House members were supposed to issue a plan calling for reform of the fee offices.

But KYTV reports that Blunt scrubbed the flyaround and "requested opening negotiations with the members about their plan." Politspeak for "keep your mouth shut and don't make waves."

The station reports on its political blog that Springfield's senator had no idea what was going on:
[W]hen asked for her opinion on reforming the way fee offices are run, Sen. Norma Champion said she couldn't comment on something she didn't know about.

"I didn't know there was a flyaround," Champion said. "You're catching me on something I've not been a part of."
Reporter Dave Catanese had already interviewed Champion's opponent, Doug Harpool, on his plan to reform the fee offices. Catanese asked Champion about the fee offices. Her reply:
"I don't have a plan," Champion added. "That's fine if he has a plan but I don't have a plan to do that."

When I requested an on-camera interview for a story I plan to air Monday night on KY3 News at 10, Champion replied, "No thank-you. I'm not going to let him (Harpool) define the agenda."
Without a plan, she has no choice. She is no choice.


Slowly, sometimes surely, we're getting the CHATTER site built. Our first rudimentary attempt can be found here, at -- and while you're there, might we suggest a download of Joe Hadsall's novella? "Open Your Eyes" is in the download section. That would be DLs on the new site.

Anyway, back to typing.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Dave Catanese at KYTV has posted an interesting piece on the use of web sites by political candidates. Seems the GOP is behind the curve when it comes to using the internet to communicate with voters. Catanese writes:
Of the 16 Republicans running for the State House or State Senate in Springfield, just 4 have campaign websites I can find ...

Of the 11 Democrats running for the State House or State Senate in Springfield, 9 have campaign websites I can find.
Check his link. He's inviting you to surf the candidates' sites. Tell him what you think.


This is my Taser, this is my gun. A deputy in Bremerton, Wash., should be made to recite the line after he mistakenly using his handgun instead of his stun gun to get a man out of a tree. The Associated Press reports:
The deputy, a five-year veteran of the force whose name was not released, was placed on leave while Thursday's shooting is investigated.

Deputies carry both a Taser and a gun on their utility belts. The Taser, or stun gun, is similar in shape to the compact .40-caliber gun the deputy carried, sheriff's spokesman Scott Wilson said.

The victim was listed in satisfactory condition.

The man had been climbed a fig tree and stayed there for hours, talking to himself. Deputies were unsure whether he was intoxicated or psychotic, and they wanted to get him down before he hurt himself or others, Wilson said.

Deputies and rescue workers tried to coax him down for almost two hours, during which he became increasingly hostile, said David Blakeslee, an employee at an auto repair shop nearby.

Blakeslee said the man climbed down on his own after getting shot.

"He said, 'Ow, that hurt. I'm coming down, I'm coming down,'" Blakeslee said.
Ow is right.


Smitty called from the road on Friday to claim the point. This one might be worth two, for a variety of reasons.

Aaron Spelling was responsible for more crap, junk and hooey than any other television producer in history. His bio on IMDB shows the carnage:
The Mod Squad, The Rookies, S.W.A.T., Starsky & Hutch, Family, Charlie's Angels, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Vega$, Hart to Hart, Casino, Dynasty, T.J. Hooker, Hotel, The Colbys, Crossings, Melrose Place, Burke's Law, Beverly Hills 90210, 7th Heaven, Charmed.
And those were his hits. We conveniently overlook "B.A.D. Cats" and "Strike Force." He wasn't Quinn Martin, that's for sure.

He also produced Tori Spelling, whose reign of fame may finally wane.

Friday, June 23, 2006


Funny-money business is alleged at Springfield's Municipal Court. According to a city news release:
The investigation is being conducted by the City Manager’s Office, the Finance Department and the Human Resources Department. The Police Department also has opened an investigation into the matter.

Two Municipal Court employees have been placed on administrative leave with pay, pending the outcome of the investigation. The employees are not being named because the situation is considered a personnel matter at this point.

The amount of funding involved in the discrepancy has not yet been determined. The preliminary investigation indicates it involves a substantial amount of money paid to Municipal Court that may have been misappropriated.
Naturally, they're keeping mum. This sounds juicy.


Long-time readers of this typing may remember back to the iBlog days, before that software "solution" came crashing down around our ankles, leaving CHATTER in so many little pieces.

We switched to Blogger, a happy little place with few software glitches and an easy interface. But it's a little static, you know? Not enough options for us, especially given this mad itch we have to podcast and vidcast.

So we're doing a little experimenting -- not enough to make us blind -- and by weekend's end, we hope to have a whiz-bang dot-com CHATTER site up and running. We'll keep this Blogger site going through the transition.

The future address is -- the best we could do because of these lazy bums. Keep close; we'll keep you posted on the move.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Roy Temple at Fired Up Missouri uncovered what he's calling a "stupid GOP political trick" involving the 30th District senate race between Doug Harpool and Norma Champion.

As Temple discovered:
The website is registered to David Barklage, who last time I checked, was not working for Harpool. This practice was edgy and clever ten years ago. It's way beyond played at this point. Barklage should turn the domain name over to Harpool and his campaign.

And before this starts some stupid flame war, if there are Democrats doing this to GOP candidates, which I don't know that to be the case, they should likewise turn over the site to the respective GOP candidate.
David Barklage is the former chief of staff to Lt. Gov Peter Kinder. He's also a committeeman for the Missouri Republican State Committee.


Some conservatives -- not the smart ones, mind you -- are chuffing with absurd delight because two Republican lawmakers claim weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq.

Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., and Michigan Rep. Pete Hoekstra, Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence,
made the claim and repudiated their own party.

Said Santorum:
"Since 2003, coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent. Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq's pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist."
Umm -- degraded? And let's see ... 500 shells?

Fox News put it this way:
Offering the official administration response to FOX News, a senior Defense Department official pointed out that the chemical weapons were not in useable conditions.

"This does not reflect a capacity that was built up after 1991," the official said, adding the munitions "are not the WMDs this country and the rest of the world believed Iraq had, and not the WMDs for which this country went to war."
There is also this. President Bush told the country that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction -- and it wasn't 500 shells with degraded nerver gas. It was:
500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent. In such quantities, these chemical agents could also kill untold thousands [and] ... upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents.
Those inconvenient facts won't matter to those who listen to talk radio hosts with fake names. They don't understand English. They only know duckspeak.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


The congressman from southwest Missouri has already pretended to be a physician, diagnosing Terri Schiavo via videotape and making this statement:
It's clear from watching the tapes of Terri Schiavo that she -- she interacts with people. She's aware of her surroundings. She attempts to communicate.
Alas, Blunt was wrong; an autopsy showed Schiavo was in a persistent vegetative state, with massive brain damage, unable to communicate or interact or be aware of her surroundings. And, oh yeah, she was blind.

Now the majority whip of the House of Representatives has switched careers and decided to be an Ebert, albeit one with the legislative clout to scare some Hollywood types.

The Hill reports that Blunt is lending his support to "Facing the Giants," a film about a Christian high school's football team. The movie is scheduled for release in September.

The Motion Picture Association of America gave the movie a PG rating. The filmmakers, hoping for a squeaky-clean G rating, now allege the film was "rated PG for explicit Christian content."

Enter Roy Blunt. According to The Hill:
In a letter sent to MPAA Chairman and CEO Dan Glickman last week, Blunt expressed his concern that the ratings system might be seriously flawed if the small-budget feature is deemed too religious by the MPAA’s Classification and Rating Administration.

Blunt placed the questions surrounding "Facing the Giants" in the context of wider concerns among politicians and the public that the MPAA has become more permissive of graphic content in motion pictures.

"This incident raises the disquieting possibility that MPAA considers exposure to Christian themes more dangerous for children than exposure to gratuitous sex and mindless violence," Blunt wrote. "I am sure many of my colleagues share my concern."

In a handwritten note, Blunt added, "Dan — As you know — I like the movies — this issue is a real concern." Blunt’s office and Provident both said the filmmakers did not contact the lawmaker until after he sought answers from the MPAA.
The MPAA has been hit with more than 15,000 e-mails, demanding the movie get a G rating. Impressive spontaneous reaction over a movie that won't be released for at least another couple months.

MPAA officials deny the allegation that "Facing the Giants" got a PG rating because it's blatantly Christian in theme. The Los Angeles Times reports:
Joan Graves, chairwoman of the MPAA's rating board, said Tuesday that the decision had nothing to do with Christianity but was based on football violence as well as the inclusion of mature topics such as depression and infertility.

In a rare interview granted in an attempt to defuse what she calls a controversy born of miscommunication, Graves said that although infertility and depression are involved in the coach's "crisis of faith," the religious story line itself did not raise a red flag.

"If we see somebody on the screen practicing their faith and indicating they have a faith, that's not something we PG," Graves said, adding that the board's goal is simply to alert parents to content in movies that they should research.

"We think our rating is correct," she said of "Facing the Giants." "I think it gives parents an alert that there may be something in the film they'd want to know about."
Graves is trying to reason with social conservatives who've been whipped into a false fury by fact-deprived talk-radio hosts. She's doomed.

As for Roy Blunt: His involvement in this incident raises the disquieting possibility that he considers a movie rating more important than high energy prices, escalating health-care costs or -- speaking of mindless violence -- a war in Iraq. But we're glad to know that he likes the movies.


In the black-and-white days, when broadcasters actually had power and personality, a jock named Larry Lujack ruled on WLS-AM in Chicago.

Today, Lujack is close to the sunset. Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Feder writes about the death of "real oldies" in Chicagoland:
Of all the stations on Chicago radio's "watch list" (if there were such a list, that is), the one in most critical condition has to be Clear Channel Radio's "Real Oldies" WRLL-AM (1690).

Nothing is official, but insiders say it could be only a matter of weeks before Clear Channel bosses pull the plug on the format and a talent lineup that includes such personalities as Larry Lujack, Tommy Edwards, Scotty Brink, Tom Murphy and Ron Smith.

Plagued from its inception in 2003 with a substandard signal that barely covers the metropolitan area, "Real Oldies" has languished at the bottom of the ratings all along. Arbitrends released Tuesday show the station tied for 36th place with a 0.5 percent share and with a cumulative weekly audience of 116,200.

Any hopes of growth were dashed when ABC turned its WZZN-FM (94.7) from active rock to "True Oldies" last fall. Despite its lackluster lineup and promotion, WZZN wins by default with its superior signal.
Lujack goes the way of Charlie Tuna and the Real Don Steele. Who needs personality on radio?


We always heard him referred to as "Captain Wil." He was a hero to his family, his community, his country.

One of his sons, Tim, wrote this on Wednesday:
We never would have known it if it weren't for one of my Dad's old friends who told us kids that, when strapped into the cockpit, Wil Griese was a tiger. Captain Wil is wearing a new set of wings this day, after passing away in his sleep early this morning. He always said that he never felt closer to God than when he was flying.

At one point in time, Dad was the most decorated war veteran living in the St. Louis area. He won the Navy Cross for sinking the Japanese battleship Hyuga in the Sea of Japan. He was awarded multiple Air Medals and commendations too numorous to list.

But, certainly, his greatest accomplishment was his marriage of over 63 years to Rosemary Murphy, his six children and their spouses, 12-grandchildren and 4-great-grandchildren.

He lived a good life. God rest his soul and let perpetual light shine upon him.
A good man left us today. Please keep him and his family in your thoughts.


A certain radio talker in Springfield recently teed off on a postal clerk. The back story, courtesy of Curbstone Critic, is here.

The radio personality has been set straight, and ate a heaping helping of crow on Wednesday. Curbstone Critic caught the mea culpa and preserved it for your listening pleasure. Click here to hear.


Three bullets for your day:

•One of Saddam Hussein's lawyers has been killed, according to Iraqiya state television.

•Only 92 today, thank God. Could be worse.

•Springfield's bloggers met Tuesday and eventually agreed that monthly meetings are not enough. Fat Jack has the comprehensive write-up of the little gathering. Dave Catanese from KYTV showed for beers; ditto Mike Brothers from the News-Leader. Downside: No Snarling Marmot.

And what's this we hear about a morning-show talker serving up some humble pie? We'll expect some audio soon from Curbstone Critic.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


The story in Salon, an online magazine, says the operation in Bridgeton resides within a secure room inside AT&T's network operations center. Speculation: It's an NSA sniffing post used for domestic surveillance.

From the story:
In interviews with Salon, the former AT&T workers said that only government officials or AT&T employees with top-secret security clearance are admitted to the room, located inside AT&T's facility in Bridgeton. The room's tight security includes a biometric "mantrap" or highly sophisticated double door, secured with retinal and fingerprint scanners. The former workers say company supervisors told them that employees working inside the room were "monitoring network traffic" and that the room was being used by "a government agency."

The details provided by the two former workers about the Bridgeton room bear the distinctive earmarks of an operation run by the National Security Agency, according to two intelligence experts with extensive knowledge of the NSA and its operations. In addition to the room's high-tech security, those intelligence experts told Salon, the exhaustive vetting process AT&T workers were put through before being granted top-secret security clearance points to the NSA, an agency known as much for its intense secrecy as its technological sophistication.
The story is filled with no-comment comments, and relies almost exclusively on two unnamed former AT&T workers. Just because they're anonymous doesn't make them unreliable. But more reporting needs to be done to determine if this is a federal probe by another acronym agency, or the real NSA deal.


Kim Jong Il's cult of personality celebrated his 42nd anniversary with the party (that would be the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea) with a shout-out to the "epochal changes" and "new era of great creation and change" that Kim has wrought.

According to the Korean Central News Agency:
Kim Jong Il has given clear-cut answers to all the theoretical and practical issues arising in strengthening the WPK to be Kim Il Sung's Party for ever. The issues ranges from the work to hold President Kim Il Sung in high esteem to the fundamental principles and methods of Party building and activities, the unity and cohesion of the Party, Juche-oriented Party work system and methods and the guidance to the Party life of the members. And he has wisely led the efforts for realizing them.

He put forward the program on Party building for imbuing the Juche idea into the whole party and society and took revolutionary measures for strengthening the Party organizationally and ideologically.

He has authored many famous works to brightly light the orientation and ways for the Party building and work. Among them are "On Further Improving Party Ideological Work," "On the Fundamentals of Revolutionary Party Building" and "Giving Priority to Ideological Work is Essential for Accomplishing Socialism."

The years are shining with his great efforts to defend the revolutionary tradition as the life-line of the Korean revolution.

Under his guidance, statues of the President have been erected in different parts of the country.

While making a long inspection tour of army units, he visited the revolutionary battle sites of Mt. Paektu and other places to intensify the education in the revolutionary traditions.

Kim Jong Il ushered in the heyday in the economic, cultural and other fields.

He defined the principle of speed campaign, which was created in the 1960s when he led the work of the literary and art fields, as the main form of the socialist construction and initiated many mass movements such as 70-day campaign, a 100-day campaign, Three-revolution Red Flag Movement and the Campaign to Follow the Example of the Unassuming Heroes. As a result, world-startling miracles and innovations have been worked out in all the fields of the economic construction.

A large Oxygen Separator and a 10,000-ton press were manufactured and many monumental edifices including the world leading West Sea Barrage, the Tower of Juche Idea and the Arch of Triumph were built in a campaign to create the speed of the 80's following the spirit displayed in the 1970s.

A lot of creations have been constructed in the 1990s and in the new century even under the unspeakable difficulties and trials. Among them are power stations, modernized and special factories, stock-farms, Kwangmyongsong Saltern, Youth Hero Motorway and the Kaechon-Lake Thaesong and Paekma-Cholsan Waterways.

The arable land has been realigned to suit the socialist countryside of Korea and innovations taken place in the farming.

Proud successes have been registered in the construction of socialist culture, too.

The mass gymnastic and artistic display "Arirang," which was the acme of the "Renaissance in the 20th century", the launch of the artificial satellite "Kwangmyongsong-1" which powerfully demonstrated the might of the socialist Korea, the construction of recreation grounds including Mt. Chilbo and Ryongmun Cavern and the brisk mass artistic activities substantiate the wise guidance of Kim Jong Il.

In particular, the last ten-odd years takes a special position in the history of his 40-odd year leadership over the Party.

In those days, he creditably defended the destiny of socialist Korea with his unique Songun politics and invariably upheld the revolutionary red flag as the President did in his lifetime.

Indeed, over the last four decades, he has performed undying revolutionary exploits for the eternal prosperity of the Kim Il Sung's nation.
Odd years, to say the least.


CHATTER's chief typist is a Catholic convert, since lapsed but still in possession of Mass memorization. You know -- "peace be with you / and also with you" stuff. Mea culpa to the offended ones.

But now the bishops have gone and mucked it all up. Meeting last week in Los Angeles, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops approved a new English translation of the Mass.

Check out the changes:
- Whenever the priest says "The Lord be with you," the people will respond "And with your spirit." The current response is "And also with you."

- In the first form of the penitential rite, the people will confess that "I have sinned greatly... through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault." In the current version, that part of the prayer is much shorter: "I have sinned through my own fault."

- The “Nicene Creed” will begin "I believe" instead of "We believe" – a translation of the Latin text instead of the original Greek text.

During the offertory prayers, the priest will pray that "the sacrifice which is mine and yours will be acceptable" instead of the current prayer that "our sacrifice will be acceptable."

Before the preface, when the priest says "Let us give thanks to the Lord our God," instead of saying "It is right to give him thanks and praise," the people will respond "It is right and just."

- The “Sanctus” will start "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of hosts." The current version says "Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might."
Crib sheets for Mass? Entirely possible.


Our friend and idol, George Spankmeister, used to play a game called "Zeppelin or Shakespeare." He'd read a flowery quote and ask whether it flowed from the pen of Plant & Page, or from dead Will. Tougher than you might think.

In that same proud tradition, here's the Hitler or Coulter quiz. Do the quotes come from Adolf or Ann?

Monday, June 19, 2006


KY-3 reporter David Catanese interviewed Norma Champion about a proposed special session for the Missouri General Assembly. The session would reinstate Medicaid for many disabled citizens.

The 73-year-old Champion stumbled and fumbled and proved once again that she's unable to handle the job.

Catanese writes at the KY-3 political blog:
"I want to give it a little thought," Champion told me today. "The leadership is looking into it, so we need to wait and see how practical it would be to do."

Last week Democrats promised to begin circling a petition among lawmakers to call a special session without the Governor's approval. They would need to get signatures from 75 percent of members of both the House and the Senate to do it.

"I don't know if you can do it by petition alone," Champion said, expressing concerns about the procedure. "If we do it every time a bill doesn't pass, we may set a precedent we may not want."

But when pressed on whether she would sign the petition, Champion said, "I'm not ready to say I'll sign it. I'm not ready to say I won't sign it either."

Champion says the MAWD program is very important but isn't sure a special session is worth it. She says there may be some advantage in waiting until 2007 to craft an all-encompassing Medicaid reform package that deals with fraud as well.

Champion said she wants to let the G.O.P leadership do their job and "check into it." "If leadership supports it, I'd be inclined to support it."
Does this person EVER think for herself? Talk about a slave of her party.


There are still some "ifs" left, but from all indications, Vaughn Prost's plan to renovate the downtown Heer's building is history.

Prost already missed one deadline in April. Prost told city leaders on Monday that he "has not met today’s deadline to close on financing for the Heer’s Tower redevelopment project, but that he continues to work toward securing his loan."

Upshot: The city now gets to talk to other developers who might want to take hold of the Heer's project. From a city news release:
Two letters, submitted by Mr. Prost and his funding group, Dougherty Funding LLC, indicate he has restructured his initial construction funding loan to address banking community concerns and expects to have sufficient bank-loan commitments within 30 days. He said design and construction work is proceeding on tenant infill, site preparation and brownfield remediation.

The June 17, 2006 deadline (extended to today because June 17 fell on a Saturday) gives the City the right to terminate Mr. Prost’s development agreement if financing is not secured. The City is declining to terminate his rights until further reviewing the information he submitted today. The City is working with Great Southern Bank, which financed the purchase of the building, to determine the next steps. The deal with Great Southern Bank also includes consideration of the design-build contract with Mr. Prost for the Heer’s parking deck.

The final date at which the contract would automatically terminate without a signed financing commitment is Aug. 17, 2006.
There are other developers who want a piece of the project, according to city leaders. But they'd better hurry. Prost's work has exposed the iconic downtown building to the elements. Too much of a wait, and Heer's could go the way of the Colonial Hotel, now better known as a parking lot.


The spokesman for the Springfield Police Department is outta here. Brown sent an e-mail to the media on Monday:
Well, the day has come that I knew would eventually arrive and it's one that I'm not looking forward to as I've become very comfortable in doing what I do. However, because of my recent promotion, I cannot stay as the PIO any longer - I have to move on. This week will be my last week as the Spokesman for the PD, next week I will be taking off because I leave for some Army training until December.

I want all of you to know that my 4 years as the PIO for this Department has been one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever had. I have learned many things about myself and have grown a lot because of my contact with all of you. My perception of the media will forever be changed due to what I have learned from you, and the way in which I watched you cover the stories over the years. I started out as a partial cynic and because of you, I've changed my mind as to what and how the media does it's job. I know here locally we've been blessed to have a good working relationship with all of you, and it's one that I've tried to maintain and to improve upon over the years. I know that there've been some bumps along the way, and even though I may not have agreed with some of the stories done, I hope that it can at least been said that you were treated courteously and professionally. I am grateful for the friends that I have made along the way, of which I hope will remain lifelong friends.

I wish I could name names, and personally thank all those individuals who've made this job a pleasure to have, but the list would be too long and the guilt of omission would certainly befall me as I would leave someone's name out. Suffice it to say that I have grown to trust many of you - something that is sometimes difficult in the relationship between the police and the media. The trust that was given was never betrayed and a cooperative effort was many times extended to me and the department in the effort to aid us where it was needed.

I will be forever grateful for the opportunity I was given to be the PIO, but mostly I am grateful for the time I have spent day in and day out with all of you - in the rain, in the heat, in the cold - no matter what, it was always fun.

Thank you, and I hope I have the opportunity to work with you again in the future.
We were never able to break him of the habit of using two spaces after a period, or of adding an unnecessary apostrophe to "its." But Brown's a pretty cool guy. We wish him well.


Monday's editorial in the News-Leader supports the recently signed Voter ID bill. Whatever. We don't agree, but neither do we have a huge problem with a bill that requires people to show identification before they vote. Especially if the bill provides free ID cards for people who don't have them.

But the bill, signed last week by Gov. Matt Blunt, also eliminates straight-ticket voting. Why? Because more Democrats vote straight ticket than Republicans, and the GOP-controlled legislature didn't want to give their political opponents any break.

The News-Leader's position is summed up in one lame sentence:
[The bill] also gets rid of straight-ticket voting, which we believe is a good idea.
Why is it a good idea? The newspaper's editorialist never explains. Might be tricky, trying to defend the indefensible. Why would the paper be against a voter having the right to choose a straight ticket?


The rapper wants the computer company to produce affordable computers for poor people. All Hip Hop has the improbable story:
According to a recent article in Forbes, 50 Cent, born Curtis Jackson and his high powered manager Chris Lighty of Violator management, are negotiating the branding deal with the computer /software giant.

"I'm creating a foundation that will be around for a long time, because fame can come and go or get lost in the lifestyle and the splurging," Fifty Cent explained to Forbes. "I never got into it for the music. I got into it for the business."

"He [Steve Jobs] is setting a new standard in the music business," Lighty added. "Let's just say we get each other." ...

50 Cent, who is plans on releasing his untitled third album by Christmas, ranked among the Top 10 earning celebrity entertainers in Forbes' recently released Forbes Celebrity Power 100 List.

The rapper earned almost $41 million dollars, mostly from record sales and branding deals that include a clothing line, a line of sneakers, a video game and his G-Unit line of clothing, which was launched in partnership with Marc Ecko in July 2003.
If true, good for 50 Cent.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


The young congressman had plenty to say about a troublesome war, and the secrecy of an administration that refused to discuss specifics about that war.
"[T]he people of the United States must know not only how their country became involved [in Vietnam] but where we are heading."
-- Congressional Record, 89th Cong. Pg. 21081, Aug, 19, 1965

"It's a difficult thing today to be informed about our government even without all the secrecy. With the secrecy, it's impossible. The American people will do what's right when they have the information they need."
-- Chicago Tribune, April 13, 1966

"Government has an obligation to present information to the public promptly and accurately so that the public’s evaluation of Government activities is not distorted. Political pundits speak of the 'credibility gap' in the present administration. Indeed, this appellation is so widespread that it has become a household word."
-- Congressional Record, 90th Cong. pg A792, Feb. 21, 1967
What happened to Don Rumsfeld?

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Something is about to happen. It is 11:40 p.m. Central time, about 20 minutes before 2 p.m. Sunday in North Korea. That country has ordered its citizens to raise the flag and listen to a state broadcast.

North Korea has been making noise about the launch of a long-range ballistic missile. Here's the Associated Press story. Good luck to all.


Karl Zinsmeister, the new domestic policy adviser to President Bush, is nothing if not provocative. But he's also shy about admitting to past remarks. After being appointed, Zinsmeister changed quotes from a Syracuse New Times profile; instead of saying people in Washington were "morally repugnant, cheating, shifty human beings," Zinsmeister altered the quote to read:
"I learned in Washington that there is an 'overclass' in this country stocked with cheating, shifty human beings that's just as morally repugnant as our 'underclass.'"
Damned repugnant underclass.

But that's nothing compared to Zinsmeister's feelings about sex. In a sitdown with PBS' "Think Tank" program, Zinsmeister said:
[S]ex is the opposite of casual. It’s something -- it’s intense; it’s fire. It drives people to insanity. People do unbelievable things for it. It is the last part of life that I would categorize as kind of, you know, take it or leave it. And my point is that when you are playing with fire you have to be careful. That this is an area where people become inflamed even when they don’t think they’re going to become inflamed.

People fall in love with prostitutes. People kill prostitutes. All kinds of things happen in the heat of sexual passion, so my point is because it’s fire it needs to be governed and treated with respect and treated carefully.
Insane in the membrane.

Friday, June 16, 2006


Women who've gone through natural childbirth might appreciate this one. Or not. From Norway's Aftenposten:
The Sponås family in Strande, Molde had a hen that managed to lay an egg weighing 122 grams (4.3 oz), compared to the norm of 50-60 grams, newspaper Romsdal Budstikke reports. It was the last thing the bird did.

"I couldn't believe my own eyes when she laid an egg that was more than twice the size of a normal hen's egg. It looked completely unreal, with a 122-gram egg," Solveig Sponås told the newspaper.

The hen, a Loman Brown, came from Erlend Aarskog's poultry farm, and he has never heard of an egg like it.

"It is at least extremely rare. With eggs like this you would only get eight eggs to the kilo, and normally you get 16," Aarskog said.

Sponås wondered if diet, as well as talent, was behind the record production, saying her hens are fed much fruit and vegetables in addition to their feed.

The story ended sadly. As the newspaper put it, it is no joke laying an egg twice normal size, and the hen suffered injuries so serious that it had to be put down.
Killer omelette.


Leading conservative blogger replies: Ann Coulter is despicable.

Read all about it at Editor & Publisher. A few grafs:
In an email interview with John Hawkins at the Right Wing News web site, Coulter was asked, among other things, to offer short comments on several individuals. After harmlessly dismissing former Ambassador Joseph Wilson as the "World's most intensely private exhibitionist," she said of Rep. John Murtha, the hawkish ex-Marine and now antiwar congressman: "The reason soldiers invented 'fragging.'"

Fragging, which became a well-known expression -- and occurence -- during the Vietnam war, means soldiers attempting to kill their own officers for one reason or another.

This was so over the top that conservative Mike Krempasky at posted, "I've said before that's its kind of ironic that just about every phrase Stewie from Family Guy uses to describe Lois could easily be applied to Ann Coulter. Well -- once again, Ann proves us right." He went on to call her "fragging" remark absolutely "disgusting ... there's no excuse -- NONE -- for the allusion to soldiers who kill other soldiers. It's despicable -- and frankly, so is Coulter."
The pale is somewhere back there in the distance, passed long ago.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


A quick lesson in the power of one person:

The Supreme Court on Thursday decided that police can bust into your home without knocking, so long as they have a search warrant.

The vote was 5-4. The case had been argued when Sandra Day O'Connor was still on the bench, and she appeared sympathetic to the defendant's position. Once O'Connor retired, President Bush appointed Samuel Alito to take her place.

Alito was the fifth vote in Thursday's ruling.

The Associated Press reports:
Dissenting justices predicted that police will now feel free to ignore previous court rulings that officers with search warrants must knock and announce themselves or run afoul of the Constitution's Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches.

Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, said Detroit police acknowledge violating that rule when they called out their presence at a man's door, failed to knock, then went inside three seconds to five seconds later. The court has endorsed longer waits, of 15 seconds to 20 seconds.

"Whether that preliminary misstep had occurred or not, the police would have executed the warrant they had obtained, and would have discovered the gun and drugs inside the house," Scalia wrote.

Suppressing evidence is too high of a penalty, Scalia said, for errors by police in failing to properly announce themselves.

The outcome might have been different if O'Connor were still on the bench. She seemed ready, when the case was first argued in January, to rule in favor of Booker Hudson, whose house was searched in 1998.

O'Connor had worried aloud that officers around the country might start bursting into homes to execute search warrants. She asked: "Is there no policy of protecting the home owner a little bit and the sanctity of the home from this immediate entry?" ...

In a dissent, four justices complained that the decision erases more than 90 years of Supreme Court precedent.

"It weakens, perhaps destroys, much of the practical value of the Constitution's knock-and-announce protection," Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for himself and the three other liberal members.

Breyer said that police can now enter homes without knocking and waiting a short time if they know that there is no punishment for it.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, a moderate, joined the conservatives in most of the ruling. He wrote his own opinion, however, to say "it bears repeating that it is a serious matter if law enforcement officers violate the sanctity of the home by ignoring the requisites of lawful entry."
Your right to be secure in your home? Forget about it.


And here we thought Karen Loomis of Shell Knob was an original hater. Turns out she's simply a plagiarist.

As noted a couple days ago in CHATTER, Loomis wrote an especially nasty letter to the editor of the News-Leader.

Wednesday, N-L editorial boss Tony Messenger admitted that Loomis' letter was bogus:
[W]e did screw up on the Loomis letter. We were duped. Most of her letter is stolen from a chain letter making its way around the Internet. My apologies.
Such a bummer. Now we're forced by fallback to read the opinions of tired Mary Traeger of Forsyth. When is Benjamin Dover of Springfield going to start writing letters?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


The blog, Act Your Old Age, has been updated with a narrative from 1995 on the Acid Tunnel.

Underground Ozarks has a great set of snaps from their visit to the storied Springfield hideout. Enjoy.


President Bush on Wednesday held a morning news conference. During the meeting with reporters, Bush called on Los Angeles Times reporter Peter Wallsten to ask a question.

Wallsten was wearing shades at the outdoor event. The exchange went as follows:
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Peter. Are you going to ask that question with shades on?

Q: I can take them off.

THE PRESIDENT: I'm interested in the shade look, seriously.

Q: All right, I'll keep it, then.

THE PRESIDENT: For the viewers, there's no sun. (Laughter.)

Q: I guess it depends on your perspective. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Touche. (Laughter.)
Peter Wallsten is legally blind, according to several reports. The reporter says he has a genetic condition called Stargardt's Disease.

Next up: A politician insists a man in a wheelchair stand up. Oh, wait. That's already happened in Missouri.


Randy @ The Turner Report first reported this glistening news brief. It's too good not to pile on. From a P&G news release:
Old Spice today announced its Fifth Annual Top-100 Sweatiest Cities List -- a ranking of the nation's heaviest sweaters during the summer months.
Springfield, Mo., is listed as the 43rd sweatiest city in America.

The relatively dry kids in Kansas City only made it to No. 52. St. Louis is No. 33.

The Top 10 sweatiest cities in America, according to the Old Spice list:
1. Phoenix, AZ
2. Las Vegas, NV
3. Tucson, AZ
4. Dallas, TX
5. Corpus Christi, TX
6. San Antonio, TX
7. Austin, TX
8. Shreveport, LA
9. Houston, TX
10. Waco, TX
Six of the 10 cities are in Texas, thank God. As for Phoenix and Vegas and Tucson -- it's dry heat, right? What's the problem?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Even the crunch from an especially good Rage Against the Machine song can relieve inner tension -- though it's candidly better to listen to, say, some "Day Dreaming" from Aretha when a psychotic break draws near.

Damn the psychosis! Full volume ahead! Even -- or especially -- if you're old and convinced that life is over because you have used up your pitiful portion of talent, you should listen to (besides Aretha):

Mighty "O"

Chamillionaire & Krayzie Bone

I Write Sins Not Tragedies
Panic! At The Disco

Under Pressure
Queen & David Bowie

How To Save A Life
The Fray

Easy Livin'
Uriah Heep

Sucked Out

La Pump


Bulls on Parade
Rage Against the Machine
Rally 'round the family. Pocket full of shells.


Karl Rove will not be charged by a federal grand jury in the Valerie Plame leak scandal.

President Bush has flown to Iraq to capitalize on the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Otherwise, it's a slow Tuesday.


Karen Loomis lives in the small southwest Missouri city -- and by God, if you don't like her version of America, then you should get the hell out.

Loomis uncorks a letter to the editor in Tuesday's News-Leader that's full of heel clicking masquerading as patriotism. Check this out:
As Americans, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle. We speak English, not Spanish, Portuguese, Russian or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become a part of our society, learn the language.

"In God We Trust" is our national motto. This is not some Christian, right-wing, political slogan. We adopted this motto because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.

If Stars and Stripes offend you, or you don't like Uncle Sam, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don't care how you did things where you came from. This is our country, our land and our lifestyle. Our First Amendment gives every citizen the right to express his opinion and we will allow you every opportunity to do so! If you don't like it, I highly encourage you to take advantage of one other great American freedom. The right to leave!
To recap:
•English only.
•Christian God only.
•Our flag rocks.
•Our culture rules.
•If you don't like it, you can lick it.
Christmas is months away, but Karen Loomis is already shaking her jingo bells.

Monday, June 12, 2006


The wind is sweepin' down the plain from our neighboring state, but instead of carrying the scent of wavin' wheat, the gusts are pungent with sweat from people who sell video games for a living. Oklahoma's governor, Brad Henry, has signed into law a piece of legislation that includes video games as pornography "harmful to minors."

Gamasutra has this:
The bill was authored by Republican State Representative Fred Morgan, and takes a similar stance to Utah Republican David Hogue’s HB257 "games as porn" bill, which was struck down in March, but would have made it a felony to knowingly exhibit or sell violent video games to minors.

The new Oklahoma law is due to come into effect from November 1, but is in the meantime likely to be contested by industry body the ESA, under First Amendment concerns. Despite being one of the more draconian anti-games bills put before a State senate HB30004 has faced limited opposition, with apparently little concern being given to the consistent problems other similar bills have faced from legal challenges.

The new law will make it a felony for anyone in Oklahoma to sell, rent or display games which contain inappropriate violence, with stores required to keep such games hidden in a similar manner to pornographic magazines and videos. The bill ignores the ESRB age rating for games, and instead makes its own definition of inappropriate violence.

This definition considers inappropriate any game which "lacks serious literary, scientific, medical, artistic or political value" and which features glamorized or gratuitous violence; uses that violence to shock or stimulate; features violence that is not contextually relevant to the material; has violence so pervasive that it serves as the thread holding the plot of the material together; trivializes the serious nature of realistic violence; does not demonstrate the consequences or effects of realistic violence; uses brutal weapons designed to inflict the maximum amount of pain and damage; endorses or glorifies torture or excessive weaponry, or depicts lead characters who resort to violence freely.
We know a piece of excrement when we see it. This bill's a floater.


This one's for you, John Stone.

Naked people rode bikes on June 10 for the World Naked Bike Ride, a political event. Protestors shucked their duds, climbed aboard bikes and showed off their shortcomings.

The view from San Francisco looked like this. Not safe for work, to say the least, and in some cases, not safe if you're eating a meal. Given the chilly climate, shrinkage was a problem.

We don't believe in Peter Pan, Frankenstein or Superman.


Missouri Auditor Claire McCaskill on Monday issued a report on fee-agent offices -- the place where you go to get your vehicle license. Gov. Matt Blunt took away 11 such offices in Missouri from the Department of Revenue and awarded them to friends and campaign contributors.

Blunt swears there's nothing illegal going on, but there's an ongoing FBI investigation.

McCaskill's audit found no smoking gun, only the stench of smoke. Equipment was auctioned off at ridiculously low prices; the Springfield office's equipment was sold for $3,100 (The Blunt-run Department of Revenue calls the equipment "essentially worthless" and claims it made a profit).

About 250 pieces of state-owned equipment are missing. Bad business practices abound; several offices were opened by private contractors who didn't have signed contracts with the state.

The Springfield offices -- the sole office on Park Central Square has been split into three locations -- are big money makers. McCaskill's report says the Springfield offices brought in fees of $975,000 in fiscal year 2004. Being tight with Matt and Roy Blunt has its privileges.

Read the summary here, or read the complete audit (.pdf) by clicking here.


The former host of a show on MSNBC is elevated to the general manager's post at the cable network. Media Bistro reports:
"With his nine years of experience at MSNBC, Dan will bring an insider's perspective to the job. Dan is passionate about MSNBC and has the experience and strategic vision to lead it into its second decade," Steve Capus says.

In the press release, Abrams is quoted: "Nothing is more important to me than the future success of MSNBC. I'm looking forward to leading MSNBC into this next phase, building on our recent success. I can't wait to get started."

He won't have to wait long: the appointment is effective immediately. Abrams will no longer anchor "The Abrams Report," but he will "remain NBC News Chief Legal Correspondent, providing legal analysis and commentary for 'Today' and other NBC News and MSNBC programs."
Abrams and his toupee (a friend used to work with him at Court TV and swears it's a rug) have a huge challenge. How best to lift the cable network out of third place in its war with Fox and CNN?


Clear Channel, the media behemoth, is reportedly nosing around the idea of selling one-second commercials. The corporation calls them "blinks." We can think of other names to call them.

Ad Age reports:
Blinks could be used in a number of ways. Clear Channel's Creative Services Group crafted a demonstration spot using the McDonald's jingle, minus the "I'm lovin' it" language, and placed it between one hip-hop song and another. The group also created a Blink for BMW's Mini Cooper with a horn honking and man's voice saying "Mini," and placed it before miniaturized news reports. (Neither marketer has a deal with Clear Channel for Blinks.) Other audio mnemonics that could use Blinks are the Intel chime and the NBC bells.

Jim Gaither, director-broadcast at Richards Group, has been in conversation with Clear Channel about three-second spots. "It's not building a brand; it's refreshing a brand," he said, adding: "You can't use a one-second campaign for something that generally has not been advertised before."

You also need frequency, because if you just hear a sound and nothing else, the message is going to have to be driven into the consumer, Mr. Gaither said. It's also best suited to a marketer's core customer, because those are the people for whom the Blink will have the most impact, he said. Mr. Gaither said he doesn't think he has a marketer at the moment that perfectly fits the bill.

But would marketers want to be so brief? Andrew Goldstein, instructor of a broadcast-media-writing course at the Miami Ad School and a copywriter at Zimmerman Advertising, isn't convinced national advertisers would want a sound effect thrown into the programming. "You're not going to know it's connected to the brand, and it's going to lose its value," he said.
Expected ad rate for Blinks? A "200% to 300% increase on what one-thirtieth of a 30-second spot" costs.


Ben Roethlisberger was injured Monday morning. CBS Sports reports:
The Pittsburgh Steelers confirmed to WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh that Roethlisberger was involved in the accident, which happened around 11:30 a.m. ET.

KDKA-TV and WTAE-TV were reporting that Roethlisberger was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident and flew over the handlebars, hit his head on the windshield of another car before falling to the ground. One witness said he was groggy, said his name was Ben and was bleeding from the head.

Roethlisberger was taken to Mercy Hospital, according to the reports, and there was no word on the extent of his injuries. Pittsburgh police have closed the streets surrounding the scene of the accident.
Hospital workers sometimes call helmetless motorcyclists by a different name -- organ donors.


The blog, Act Your Old Age, has been updated.


In the 1990s, Bill Clinton pushed for, and got, new programs to fight crime. The result? Dramatic drops in violent crime.

That was then. Now, according to the Associated Press:
Murders, robberies and aggravated assaults in the United States increased last year, spurring an overall rise in violent crime for the first time since 2001, according to FBI data.

Murders rose 4.8 percent, meaning there were more than 16,900 victims in 2005. That would be the most since 1998 and the largest percentage increase in 15 years.

Criminal justice experts said the statistics reflect the nation's complacency in fighting crime, a product of dramatic declines in the 1990s and the abandonment of effective programs that emphasized prevention, putting more police officers on the street and controlling the spread of guns.

"We see that budgets for policing are being slashed and the federal government has gotten out of that business," said James Alan Fox, a criminal justice professor at Northeastern University in Boston. "Funding for prevention at the federal level and many localities are down and the (National Rifle Association) has renewed strength."
There were two homicides in Springfield over the weekend.

Friday, June 09, 2006


John Stone -- he of the Curbstone Critic -- passed along some audio from a certain radio yakker. Seems the radio host thinks CHATTER and its readers -- that would be you -- are "the biggest bunch of idiots you're ever gonna find."

The transcript:
There are so many internet forums frequented by absolute brain-dead idiots who will make all sorts of anonymous posts. It devolves into really guttural sniping and name-calling. There's no worthwhile debate or discussion ...

There's a few around town that are just brain-dead drivel. I mean, Ron whatever his name is, biggest bunch of idiots you're ever gonna find. And Missouri Radio has one, buncha brain-dead morons.
We're a little confused. We know that the quidnunc reads CHATTER. We know he reads the Missouri Radio forums. So is he calling himself an idiot and a brain-dead moron? Sounds like a steaming pile of Schattenkirk to us.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


The GOP's favorite line does not contain the complete truth. Yes, there has been no tax increase. No, that doesn't mean you're not getting dimed to death elsewhere. The Associated Press reports on an especially odious practice:
Wedding parties and other groups hoping to commemorate their special event with a photograph at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument or other popular landmarks on National Park Service land now have to pay for a permit.

Under a new policy that began May 15, the Park Service is requiring a payment of $50 to $250 from groups that hire commercial photographers to snap pictures at some of the 390 monuments, parks and historic sites it oversees. The cost depends on the size of the group.

The fees are being charged at some of the busiest Park Service sites in the Washington, D.C., area and at the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Other heavily used sites include the Statue of Liberty, Alaska's Denali National Park and Preserve, Big Bend National Park in Texas, and Yellowstone National Park.
The Washington Monument only looks like a phallus, but now you can really get screwed there.


The U.S. is pretty sure -- this time -- that Zarqawi is dead. The Jordanian-born Zarqawi was northeast of Baghdad when an airstrike sent him to his fates.

Who gets the point in our continuing game of guess the death? Doc Larry, awake in the 5 a.m. hour, catches the squeal.

The Associated Press says Zarqawi's relatives think he's become a martyr. The Bush Administration figures the death is good for an uptick in the polls. They're right.

On a not-entirely-unrelated note, in a couple weeks, "Syriana" is released on DVD. We'll be watching for the Mussawi character, an old spook named Jimmy, now working for the competition:
Bob, what do you know about the torture methods used by the Chinese on the Falun Gong? Huh? Method number one. What's your guess? Water dungeon. Did you guess water dungeon? Impractical here. Number two method? Number two: twisting arm and putting face in feces. Not interested in two? Number three. Number three is called 'pulling nails from fingers.' What do you think Bob? Number three sound good to you?
Number three sounds just fine.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Elaine Baker, 38, lives in Spencer, Iowa. Her devotion to keeping it all in the family is ... well, you decide. She reportedly asked her son to sell some pot to bail her out of jail. On drug charges. From KICD-AM, this story:
Elaine Baker was already charged with possession of methamphetamine, possesion of drug paraphernalia and child endangerment. Now, she faces a count of possession with intent to deliver marijuana.

Officers say Baker called her son from the Clay County jail and asked him to get the pot out of the refrigerator, sell it and then post bond. Apparently, she didn't realize the telephone call was being monitored by the cops.

Authorities got a search warrant and found a small amount of marijuana in her home Monday afternoon. Baker's son, 18-year old Austin Tasich, was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance.
The kid's out of jail. Mom is still behind bars.


The U.S. Senate on Wednesday rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, according to The Associated Press:
Supporters failed to get the 60 votes required for the measure to survive a test vote. Had it survived, a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress would have been required to send an amendment to the states. It then would have had to be ratified by at least 38 state legislatures.

But they took solace in the fact that the idea received several new votes from Republican freshmen elected after the amendment received its last vote in 2004.
The House plans to vote on the issue next month. John Boehner, the majority leader that Roy Blunt wanted to be, told AP:
"This is an issue that is of significant importance to many Americans. We have significant numbers of our members who want a vote on this, so we are going to have a vote."
Those who vote against messing with the Constitution will be labeled as deviants. They will be targeted in the November elections as "against family values," or "on the side of activist judges." They will be the only brave ones in this battle.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Voter turnout was low -- 18.4 percent -- and by a comfortable margin, the City Utilities proposal to build a coal-fired energy plant passes, 59.38 percent to 40.62 percent.

There were 97,563 registered voters eligible to cast ballots in this election. Fewer than 18,000 chose to do so, and 10,658 decided the future of their city's energy policy. We happened to be in favor of the plan, but the indifference to the issue is disturbing.

CU boss John Twitty holds a news conference at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Southwest Power Station. His tone, we're sure, will be grateful. And humble.


A feat of foolishness, reported by the East Valley Tribune:
Some records are meant to be broken, but Scottsdale police aren’t happy with one that has been shattered by someone they described as "a very dangerous driver."

The new speed record clocked last month by photo enforcement cameras along Loop 101 in Scottsdale — at 147 mph — is 16 mph more than the one set by an unknown motorcyclist on Feb. 14.

Lawrence Pargo, 26, of Goodyear was arrested by Scottsdale police at his home May 26 on suspicion of four counts of excessive speeding, reckless driving and endangerment, Scottsdale police Lt. Frank O’Halloran said.

Pargo was clocked and photographed in a silver Hyundai Sonata traveling at speeds ranging from 102 mph to 147 mph on four occasions between 5:47 and 6:20 a.m. May 21.

"He endangered the lives of others as well as himself," O’Halloran said. "The car was beyond its capabilities, and he was beyond his capabilities of controlling it. The tires aren’t rated for 147 mph. They’re stock tires on a rental car. The car probably was shaking."

The Hyundai that Pargo was driving was either leased or rented. It is owned by P.V. Holding in Virginia Beach, Va., O’Halloran said.

Pargo couldn’t be reached for comment.
Stock tires on a rental car. There's a song title for you.


Richard, brother of the chief typist here, gets the point for catching the squeal. The Fifth Beatle is dead. According to Fox, Preston died of "malignant hypertension":
As a result of a medical insult, he'd been in a deep coma since last November 21, but was still struggling to recover. He died at Shea Scottsdale Hospital in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he'd lived for the last couple of years.

Billy was called the Fifth Beatle because he played keyboards on "Let It Be," "The White Album" and "Abbey Road." He also played on the Rolling Stones' hit song "Miss You," and often played with Eric Clapton. He also did the organ work on Sly & the Family Stone's greatest hits.

Preston's own hits include "Nothing From Nothing," "Will It Go Round in Circles" and "You Are So Beautiful," which Joe Cocker turned into an international hit.


Ozarks Angel has posted the hilarious back story of Norma Champion, the 73-year-old politician who used to cavort with puppets.

"Aunt Norma's Dark Past" can be found by clicking here. Don't forget to read the comments. And don't forget to donate to Doug Harpool's campaign.


A dozen B-2 bombers took flight this morning in Missouri, and people who saw them went a little ape.

June 6: D-Day for war buffs. Ed Sullivan shuffled off the TV set in 1971. Proposition 13 passed in California, in 1978. And the YMCA was founded in London in 1844.

All these bits o' history, young man, but the focus is on 6-6-6 and an alleged devil. And a remake of "The Omen," which will have a hard time beating the original. Just saying.

City Utilities gets an answer from Springfield voters; the coal-plant election is on 6-6-6. Morning rain will dampen turnout, but there's supposed to be afternoon sun, followed by evening gloom when the initiative fails and CU officials admit a voter mandate.

We'll leave you with this bit o' nonsense from Sydney, Australia, where government officials want to keep cemeteries 660 feet away from bars. According to The Associated Press:
Paul Pisasale, the mayor of Queensland state town of Ipswich, is part of a movement being led by the Urban Local Government Association to prevent brothels from being built near cemeteries. Prostitution is legal in Australia in limited circumstances.

"There's a lot of families and services that are going on and the last thing you want is someone conducting a spiritual service and a cemetery reflection time for family and a brothel going on next door," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio on Tuesday.

"It's totally inappropriate. There's a place for brothels and a place for cemeteries and we don't believe the two mix."
The phrase "stopping off for a cold one" comes to mind. The devil made us think that way.

Monday, June 05, 2006


Missouri's governor on Monday announced, via his media consultant, the purchase of radio spots across the state. The ads, 60 seconds in length, are meant to "highlight the Governor's record of strong accomplishment for education, job growth, fiscal responsibility, and no job-killing new taxes," says John Thompson.

The slicks ads -- Thompson is famous in political circles for his work on Republican campaigns -- talk up the governor's creds. A news release attacked the media for Blunt's low approval ratings:
"Governor Blunt has a great story to tell, and he is not going to let a media filter and a biased press corps keep Missourians from hearing about the positive things that are happening in this state. From education, to jobs, to the effective operation of state government, our Governor is taking his track record straight to Missourians because at the end of the day, that's all that matters to him."
At the end of the day, we wish people would quit using that hack phrase. Especially in tandem with the same tired attacks on the media. We don't know one reporter who made cuts to the Medicaid program.


Rep. Roy Blunt knows how to travel, especially when it's on someone else's dime. The Center for Public Integrity on Monday issued a report on "Power Trips" taken by members of Congress.

In the period from January 2000 through June 2005, Blunt took more than $350,000 in travel from special interest groups. The Top 11 House travelers, according to the report:
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas)
Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)
Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio)
Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas)
Rep. J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.)
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.)
Rep. Michael Oxley (R-Ohio)
Rep. W.J. Tauzin (R-La.)*
Rep. William Thomas (R-Calif.)
Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.)
Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska)
Read more about the report on congressional travel by clicking here.


Granny Geek was the first person we know who spied Sunday's News-Leader and realized that four white men were asked to deliver the final opinions on this week's coal-plant election. Holy lack of melanin, Batman!

This is right up there with the Springfield Business Journal list of 40 bright lights, all under the age of 40, all white.

Or Go Magazine's list of 20 Young Turks under the age of 30. White? You betcha.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


The conservative typist, infamous for her embrace of censured bully Joe McCarthy, is back with a new screed, Godless. Appropriately, it will be published on June 6, 2006.

The collection of pages claims evolution is a "liberal creation myth." According to a book blurb:
[Coulter] exposes the essential truth about Darwinian evolution that liberals refuse to confront: it is bogus science. Writing with a keen appreciation for genuine science, Coulter reveals that the so-called "gaps" in the theory of evolution are all there is -- Darwinism is nothing but a gap. ...

Liberals' absolute devotion to Darwinism, Coulter shows, has nothing to do with evolution's scientific validity and everything to do with its refusal to admit the possibility of God as a guiding force. They will brook no challenges to the official religion.
To our smart conservative friends who choose science over the supernatural -- we're sorry that Ann Coulter's common sense has left the precinct.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


Downtowners, be warned. The city on Friday announced the "closure of Boonville Avenue, from south of Tampa to Phelps streets," starting at 7 a.m. Monday, June 5.

[F]or use of right-of-way for construction activities at the Jordan Valley Innovation Center, weather permitting.
The stretch of Boonville will be closed through July 14.


The Los Angeles Times reports on a trend that has sparked a crisis:
This fall 4,852 freshmen are expected to enroll at UCLA, but only 96, or 2%, are African American -- the lowest figure in decades and a growing concern at the Westwood campus.

For several years, students, professors and administrators at UCLA have watched with discouragement as the numbers of black students declined. But the new figures, released this week, have shocked many on campus and prompted school leaders to declare the situation a crisis.

UCLA -- which boasts such storied black alumni as Jackie Robinson, Tom Bradley and Ralph Bunche, and is in a county that is 9.8% African American -- now has a lower percentage of black freshmen than either crosstown rival USC or UC Berkeley, the school often considered its top competitor within the UC system.

The 96 figure -- down by 20 students from last year -- is the lowest for incoming African American freshmen since at least 1973.
Why is it happening? The LAT piece offers several suggestions:
In California, the problem is rooted partly in the restrictions placed on the state's public colleges and institutions by Proposition 209, the 1996 voter initiative that banned consideration of race and gender in admissions and hiring.

Other factors include the socioeconomic inequities that undermine elementary and high school education in California and elsewhere, with minority students disproportionately affected because they often attend schools with fewer resources, including less-qualified teachers and fewer counselors.

Many students and professors also say the declining presence of blacks on campus discourages some prospective students from attending, thus exacerbating the problem.
Buried in a sidebar box are some other numbers that are worth considering. In 1985 -- the year of peak enrollment for blacks (9.6 percent) at UCLA -- whites made up 49.7% of freshmen, while Asians and Filipinos represented 22.2% of the class. In 2005, blacks were down to 2.9 percent. Whites made up only one-third of the freshman class. Asian and Filipino representation was up to 41 percent.