Monday, July 31, 2006


Breaking at The Association Press and CNN. The skinny:
Cuban President Fidel Castro is transferring power provisionally to brother Raul while he undergoes an operation, Cuban TV announces.
The official story has Castro all tired out after a lot of travel in the past 10 days. It all sounds very sketchy.

More from CNN's reporter in Havana: Castro expects several weeks of recuperation. Raul Castro will control the party and the military with his "temporary" presidency. After 47 years in power, will Fidel Castro go out with a whimper?


The superintendent of the Springfield Public Schools -- and the president of the school board -- both contributed money to the campaign of Rep. Charlie Denison. The contributions were made one day after a fundraiser that Denison wrongly claimed the school district was co-hosting for him.

The Republican lawmaker's contributions are found in his latest campaign finance disclosure form. It shows Denison raised $11,400 in the last couple weeks, bringing his total to $35,761. He's spent $23,200. He reports cash on hand of $15,537.

Funny thing about these contributions:

•Dr. and Mrs. Michael D. Hoeman contributed $325 on July 7.
•On the same day, Norman and Nadine Ridder contributed $200.

Hoeman is president of the school board. Ridder is the superintendent.

Denison has an opponent in the August primary. David Dunn's eight-days-prior report hasn't yet been filed but is due by Monday night. His previously filed reports do not list contributions from Hoeman or Ridder.

Neither Hoeman nor Ridder contributed money to Nancy Hagan, the lone Democrat in the race for representative of the 135th District, according to campaign finance reports.


Charlie Denison, the formable state representative, must not want another term in office. A Monday story in the News-Leader about the primary race between Denison and GOP challenger David Dunn includes a couple of priceless Denisonisms.

According to writer Cory de Vera:
Denison admits attending opening day at the new Busch Stadium in April to watch the Springfield Cardinals play, but said the votes he missed were on the consent agenda ...

Dunn pledges also to have monthly meetings with constituents. Denison said he also tried that, but so few showed up he committed himself to making himself accessible in other ways, such as attending meetings of civic organizations like the Rotary Club ...
(Note de Vera's use of the loaded word "admits." Wouldn't "acknowledges" work just as well?)

But Denison doesn't need loaded words to look foolish. Asked about taking money from lobbyists, Denison said:
"Do I take some lobbyist money? You betcha. Because there is a world of information that comes from lobbyists. When we term-limited, we cut ourselves off from information about what happened 10 years ago. You get that from lobbyists, and if you are going to get it straight you don't talk to just one, you talk to both sides."
Sorry, Charlie. Neither tastes good, nor in good taste.

Sunday, July 30, 2006


A new Springfield blogger -- Betty B. -- proposes a plan to hit "hate media" when it hurts. Talk radio's daily spew of venom draws plenty of sponsors. So does the swill passing for programming on Fox's "news" channel. Betty B. proposes:
If we are to live in a society that has freedom of speech, I realize that we must tolerate a multitude of viewpoints. However, we do not have to reward the sponsors of hate radio and hate TV with our business. Let's start a boycott of those who advertise on hate media. If half of us fall on the other side of the equation, that would make a serious dent in their revenue. They will pay attention and withdraw their ads if enough people protest through letters, emails and stop buying their products and services. I find it excruciating to listen for more than a minute, so at this moment I don't have any suggestions of advertisers to boycott. Please help me compile a list, and I'll publish it here.
Here being the blog of Betty B. You'll find that link in the CHATTERWORTHY blogroll, at right, or by clicking here.


It leads to no good end. The Northwest Arkansas Times explains:
Fayetteville police arrested a Wendy’s employee early Friday morning after he allegedly threatened a teenage co-worker with a knife and tried to rape him.

José Jimenez, 24, of 2127 Sunny Lane faces felony charges of terroristic threatening, aggravated assault, second degree battery and attempted rape.

Fayetteville police responded to Wendy’s on North College Avenue at about 4 a.m. in reference to an armed person report.

After interviewing a witness at the scene, police learned that Jimenez had been drinking with a Wendy’s co-worker inside the business, after work. The two reportedly began to argue and went outside the restaurant.

"When they came back in, [Jimenez] grabbed a knife and held it to the victim’s neck,"
said Lt. Mike Reynolds, of the Fayetteville Police Department. "He started yelling and cursing in both Spanish and English."

According to Reynolds, another employee went into the manager’s office to call 911.

"When she thought he was gone, she came back out, but [Jimenez ] was still there," Reynolds said. "She tried to wrestle the knife away from him, but he swung at her and almost cut her hand."

Reynolds said the employee went back into the manager’s office. When she looked back, she reportedly saw Jimenez force the victim to his knees while holding him by the hair.

"The witness said Jimenez held the knife up to the victim and demanded oral sex,"
he said.
Paging Bill Dana.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Hey, we're not saying it. He is:
"After drinking alcohol on Thursday night, I did a number of things that were very wrong and for which I am ashamed. I drove a car when I should not have, and was stopped by the L.A. County sheriffs. The arresting officer was just doing his job and I feel fortunate that I was apprehended before I caused injury to any other person.

"I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested, and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable. I am deeply ashamed of everything I said and I apologize to anyone who I have offended.

"Also, I take this opportunity to apologize to the deputies involved for my belligerent behavior. They have always been there for me in my community and indeed probably saved me from myself. I disgraced myself and my family with my behavior and for that I am truly sorry.

"I have battled the disease of alcoholism for all of my adult life and profoundly regret my horrific relapse. I apologize for any behavior unbecoming of me in my inebriated state and have already taken necessary steps to ensure my return to health."
And he really didn't mean what he said about the Jews. Uh-huh.

Friday, July 28, 2006


John Stone at the Curbstone Critic caught the squeal and sent it our way. From CNN:
Gibson, 50, was pulled over early Friday while driving on the Pacific Coast Highway, said sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore. Officers on patrol reported Gibson was driving at an "excessively fast speed," he said.

He was charged with a misdemeanor and posted $5,000 bond, Whitmore said.
One minute, water. Next minute, wine.


But of course it isn't a standalone proposal. The Associated Press reports on an especially breathtaking bit of shamelessness:
Congress would pass an increase in the minimum wage before leaving Washington for vacation, but only as part of a package rolling back taxes on the heirs of multimillionaires, a Senate leadership aide said Friday.

The GOP package would also contain a popular package of expiring tax breaks, including a research and development credit for businesses, and deductions for college tuition and state sales taxes.

The wage would increase from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour, phased in over the next two years, the aide said.

The maneuver is aimed at defusing the wage hike as a campaign issue for Democrats while using its popularity to spur enactment of the Republican Party's long-sought goal of permanently cutting taxes on millionaires' estates.
If they're against an increase in the minimum wage, then fine. Let voters decide in November if that's the agenda they want for America. But for House leaders to cave on the minimum-wage increase -- simply to defuse a campaign issue (and give a perk to their rich friends) -- shows their lack of principle.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Steve Koehler at the News-Leader has the follow-up to the speculation:
Ken McClure has been named the new associate vice president for administrative services at Missouri State University.

He will begin his new duties Aug. 28. He replaces Fred Marty, who retired in March and will be paid $95,000 a year.

McClure resigned today as chief of staff for Gov. Matt Blunt, a position he has held since Blunt took office in January 2005.

McClure also headed Blunt’s transition team from November 2004 through January 2005.

He was not available for comment.

"There was a terrific match between Ken McClure’s skills and experience and the requirements of this position," Missouri State President Mike Nietzel said in a university release.

"And besides, Ken is coming home – he maintained his residence in Springfield even while he commuted and worked in Jefferson City."
Some might think it's a brilliant move by Nietzel, bringing in someone thisclose to the governor. We think the last thing Missouri State University needs is a polarizing, politicizing veep.


This is, to say the least, not good news for the City of Springfield. An administrative investigation into missing monies in the municipal-court system shows at least $1 million -- and maybe $1.2 million -- missing over the past six years. According to a city news release:
One Municipal Court employee was terminated during the administrative investigation and a second employee resigned. The Investigative Committee, comprised of four department heads, and led by City Manager Bob Cumley and Assistant City Manager Evelyn Honea, determined that no other disciplinary actions would be taken against any other City employees.

Specific recommendations for the Municipal Judge and Finance Director address future actions. In particular, the Finance Department is already in the process of auditing every area where cash is collected and handled within the City. All Department Heads also are reviewing controls and processes in place in their departments, although many departments do not handle any significant amounts of cash in their day-to-day operations.

The report states that possible restitution options are being pursued, including partial recovery through the City’s insurance policy on bonded employees. The criminal investigation is ongoing and no timetable is set for its completion.
The city's insurance policies only allow for up to $200,000 recovery, less a $2,500 deductible.


UPI has the story from Blanco, Texas:
Christ of the Hills Monastery, an Eastern Orthodox foundation in Blanco, Texas, was founded in 1981 by Samuel Greene Jr., who took the name of Father Benedict. In his previous life, Greene had been a real estate developer in San Antonio who called himself "Sam the Land Man" in commercials.

Investigators say that the monastery was not only a haven for sexual abusers but a fraud which used a supposed weeping icon of the Virgin Mary to extort contributions, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

"We're taking the icon into custody as we speak, as a criminal instrument, as part of the fraud that we're investigating for grand jury presentation," Blanco County District Attorney Sam Oatman told the newspaper.
Christ of the Hills? Christ on a crutch.


The beer in the green glass bottle has been gobbled up by Anheuser-Busch. Wednesday was the last day Rolling Rock was brewed and bottled at the Latrobe Brewing Company in Pennsylvania.

WPXI reports:
The official last day for workers will be Monday. A deal was put in place to allow Rolling Rock workers to keep their jobs.

The union approved an agreement with City Brewing on Sunday. The Wisconsin-based company will buy the Latrobe Brewery from In-Bev USA. The Rolling Rock beer brand was sold to Anheuser-Busch.

Production of the beer will move to Newark, N.J.
From the glass lined tanks of Old Latrobe, we tender this premium beer for your enjoyment as a tribute to your good taste. It comes from the mountain springs to you. Well, it used to.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Check out Mr. Obvious making an appearance as a police lieutenant. The Associated Press reports:
A Middletown, N.Y., councilwoman found a severed horse’s head in her swimming pool Tuesday, state police said.

"We’re looking at a threat as a possible angle," Lt. Pierce Gallagher said. "Certainly, we can’t rule that out."

There have been some prior instances of harassment directed toward Wawayanda Councilwoman Gail Soro, Gallagher said.

One of the most famous scenes in "The Godfather" showed a movie mogul waking up with a horse head in his bed after he refused to bow to the will of the title character, played by Marlon Brando.

Wawayanda is located 106 miles southwest of Albany.
The Times Herald-Record notes this isn't the first time Soro has been targeted with weirdness. The windshield wipers on her vehicle were bent back during a council meeting. Another time, someone glued a sex toy to her windshield.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Teen People, the magazine, is dead. Despite a healthy subscriber base, the magazine was killed Tuesday by Time Inc., a subsidiary of Time Warner. lives on, for now. Forbes has the rest of the obit:
"We're looking at…what makes sense for the Time Inc. portfolio," spokeswoman Ali Zelenko said. "We decided it made sense for this brand to live on on the Web."

The move echoes similar moves elsewhere among teen-oriented titles. Hachette Filipacchi Media shuttered ELLEgirl magazine with its June/July issue, although it is continuing to operate the Web site

In October 2004, Conde Nast Publications purchased the assets of teen-oriented YM and closed the magazine, although it kept alive

Subscribers of YM magazine were switched to Conde Nast's Teen Vogue. As a result, Teen Vogue saw its total paid circulation surge 142% in 2005 to 1.41 million, according to the Magazine Publishers of America. Total paid circulation for Teen People, which began publishing in January 1998, slipped 0.7% last year to 1.53 million.

Ending publication of Teen People will affect about 50 employees, some of whom have already found jobs elsewhere at Time Inc., Zelenko said.

The closing of Teen People follows Time Inc.'s elimination of 105 management jobs in December, and its announcement in January that it planned to cut about 100 more jobs.
Guess that offer to try Teen People isn't so risk-free after all.


The award for unintentionally funniest story of the week goes to this Associated Press report on the firing of the host of a PBS show for preschoolers. Reason for the dismissal? Her colorful work on a past video project. Read on:
The host, Melanie Martinez, had alerted network officials about one of the videos late last week and she was immediately taken off the air.

"PBS Kids Sprout has determined that the dialogue in this video is inappropriate for her role as a preschool program host and may undermine her character's credibility with our audience," said Sandy Wax, network president.

Airing for three hours each evening, "The Good Night Show" airs soothing stories and cartoons designed to get an audience of 2-to-5-year-olds ready for bed. Each night, Martinez guides a puppet character into dreamland. Martinez is a stage actress and mother of a toddler.

In the two "Technical Virgin" videos _ made before she landed the children's show job _ she spoofs PSAs about how young women can keep their virginity.

PBS Kids Sprout airs children's programming 24 hours a day and is seen in about 20 million of the nation's 110 million television homes. "The Good Night Show" has been temporarily replaced by cartoons while a search is conducted for a new host.
Yeah, that kind of talk could make some kids sprout. Good night!


Tip of the CHATTER pinhead to Brad Belote at KYTV's political blog for posting a link to a marvy voters guide from the League of Women Voters. The 38-page .pdf covers Greene and Christian counties.

Download the guide by clicking here. It's worth your reading time.

To the candidates who failed to respond to the LVW questionnaire -- what, you're too good to tell voters what you think? It's disappointing to note that only the Libertarian candidate for the House seat in the 134th District responded to the League. Disappointing, too, that Springfield incumbent reps Charlie Denison, B.J. Marsh, Sara Lampe and Bob Dixon failed to respond.


That's the excuse from a Chicago-area mayor, arrested Monday and charged with distributing child pornography via the Internet.

Green Oaks Mayor Tom Adams was jailed in lieu of $100,000 bond. He's 68. According to the Chicago Tribune:
Adams, a former chairman of the Lake County Republican Party and a longtime GOP power broker, is accused of using three screen names on America Online to send child porn from a computer in his home office, said Assistant State's Atty. Patricia Fix. The first incident occurred March 21, 2005, she said. On July 12, 2005, an undercover police officer in Florida received five e-mails from Adams that contained multiple images of child porn, according to Fix.

On May 25, Adams sent child porn images to three people, and he sent one image on June 2, Fix said. The FBI contacted the state's attorney in May, she said.

When authorities went to Adams' house Monday morning, they found child porn on his computer, Fix said. Adams told investigators that he sent the images and that he is addicted to child porn, Fix said.

If convicted, Adams could get 15 years in prison consecutively for each person who received child porn from him, Fix said.

"These are very unfortunate and serious charges," said Adams' attorney, Tom Briscoe of Waukegan. "We'll have an answer for them at the appropriate time."

None of Green Oaks' trustees were available for comment. The small community is located between Libertyville and Lake Bluff.
Green Oaks likes to boast that it is "rich in tradition that affords the pleasantries of quiet country living, excellent schools, access to major highways and tollways [and] single family home on large lots."


A movie version of Atlas Shrugged is on its way. A trilogy, actually. Whee, we type, and not with any great enthusiasm.

The Baldwin Entertainment Group, led by Howard Baldwin, and John Aglialoro of The Atlas Society are leading the effort. The Objectivist Center has this:
Baldwin and Aglialoro confirmed earlier reports that BEG will collaborate with Lionsgate, the studio that produced last year’s Oscar winner, "Crash"; the final contract was signed just days earlier. Lionsgate will provide funding for production and handle distribution. They also confirmed that the goal is for a three-part adaptation, like "Lord of the Rings." Only that length, Baldwin said, would give sufficient scope to tell Ayn Rand's long, complex story. The current project is for Part I, which will cover roughly the first third of the novel, with an expected budget of $40 million or more. "We want to make sure it is done well so that the second and third movies can be made." Among the other studios that expressed interest in the project, he added, Lionsgate stood out because of its enthusiasm for completing the trilogy.

With Lionsgate on board, the project is on "a very aggressive path toward production," with filming to begin as early as April 2007. While there is still a chance of completing the film in time for a release later that year, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the novel, a 2008 release is more likely.
There's still time before this monstrosity is released. Time enough to rebuild Project X.


You know, the one between reality and madness. Tuesday's News-Leader makes the case for insanity.

Mary Traeger, the typist from Forsyth, Mo., spouts the latest anti-science screed from social conservatives, trying to get your bowels in an uproar over embryonic stem-cell research. It's the same tired Traeger rant, full of hypocrisy and laughable ignorance.

Or, as Traeger herself typed:
This kind of hyperbole and inaccuracy causes confusion in people's minds as to what is true.
Precisely. Time for the News-Leader to stop relying on Mary Traeger to stir up the masses. She's officially past her sell-by date.

Monday, July 24, 2006


She's 28 and from Lynn, Mass. She apparently thought her husband was messing with another woman. The Daily Item tells us what happened next:
According to police reports unveiled in the courtroom, an enraged Perez believed the unrelated female victim was having an affair with her husband, and held her against her will and smeared her with hot jalapeno-like peppers in juice. At one point during the alleged assault, Perez allegedly instructed one of her daughters to bring an additional cup of the hot peppers in juice, based on court documents.

Perez, a Guatemalan immigrant who works at a local laundry, was charged with kidnap, rape, assault, and two counts of assault and battery, with hot peppers.
Perez has three kids, ages 12, 7 and 4. She's being held in lieu of $20,000 bond and is due back in court on Aug. 17.


Jess J. Folk, 49, died Sunday night in a crash in the 2700 block of South Luster Avenue. Springfield police Lt. Scott Leven said:
Folk was traveling northbound on Luster Ave. in a White 1998 GMC Safari Van when the vehicle accelerated and veered to the left striking a large tree in the yard of 2763 S. Luster Ave. According to family members, Folk had a history of seizures and he may have suffered a seizure causing him to lose control of the vehicle.
Folk was dead at the scene.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Our friend The Snarling Marmot has started a keen project focused on local bloggers; she sends questionnaires, gets 'em back and publishes the answers. It's a relaxed way to learn more about the geeks you read.

Marmot's Q&A with CHATTER includes our belief that blogging is the next phase of modern journalism. Really. Hit the Marmot joint to read the piece, and pardon our error in saying it's been nearly 60 years since Edward R. Murrow, Eric Severeid and William L. Shirer invented modern electronic journalism. It's closer to 70 years.

One more thing: Our apologies for the light weekend posting, and for any e-mailers whose words seemed to fall into a black hole. They didn't. Just a lot going on upstairs. Back with much more on Monday.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


His name was James E. West, and for much of his adult life he was considered a player in Washington state politics -- that is, until a sex scandal forced his recall as mayor of Spokane last December.

West was caught online trying to seduce a teenage boy who wanted to work in the mayor's office. He tried to minimize the scandal but failed. All the while he was sick with cancer.

He died Saturday in Seattle. He was 55. The Post-Intelligencer reports:
The former Republican state senate majority leader died of complications from recent cancer surgery at the University of Washington Medical Center. The longtime legislator was diagnosed with colon cancer in early 2003 that later spread to his liver.

A statement released by the hospital Saturday morning said his family and pastor were at his side. "As a family we wish to thank the caregivers at University of Washington Medical Center, and the many friends of Jim for their support and prayers," the family said in their statement.

West became the first Spokane city official to be recalled from office on Dec. 6, 2005, ending a 27-year career in city and state politics.
West was known as an anti-gay politician.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Cal Thomas, the conservative writer, has this to say about the new Oliver Stone movie:
I have a long list of favorite patriotic movies, including "Victory at Sea," "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "Sands of Iwo Jima," but Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center" is right up there with the best of them. It is one of the greatest pro-American, pro-family, pro-faith, pro-male, flag-waving, God Bless America films you will ever see.
Stone's movie opens Aug. 9. Adds Thomas: "It deserves an Oscar in so many categories. It also deserves the thanks of a grateful nation." You deserve a drink for having your mind boggled.


The heat wave is over. Just ask the National Weather Service. Friday's high temp should not make it to 100 -- only 92, with a heat index of only 100.

Friday night it will rain. Saturday will be 84 degrees. Finally.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Brandon Hedrick chose his method of death, as allowed by law in Virginia. He was electrocuted Thursday night for raping and murdering Lisa Alexander Crider in Lynchburg, Va.

Two jolts from the executioner and the 27-year-old man was dead, the first killer to be put to death by electrocution since 2004.

A Washington Post account notes:
He requested a last meal of pizza with cheese, bacon and hamburger, French fries with ketchup, apple pie, bacon, and chocolate cake.
He used his last words to talk about Jesus and said, "I'm ready to go and be free."


The current state representative for the 135th District needed a copy editor before printing and mailing a full-color glossy postcard to his peeps.

The card from Denison arrived on Thursday with this keeper of a snafu:
Charlie's energy and skills afford the voter of the 135th a formable representative. He goes the extra mile for his consituents.
Yes, he did. "Formable" and "consituents." A regular laff riot, that Charlie.


"The Sixth Sense" actor Haley Joel Osment is in the hospital after a Thursday morning crash in Los Angeles. The Associated Press reports:
Osment was driving a 1995 Saturn about 1 a.m. when the car collided with a brick pillar and flipped, said Los Angeles County sheriff's Lt. Greg Sisneros.

The 18-year-old actor was awake and talking following the crash, Sisneros said. He had been alone in the car and was taken to Huntington Hospital in nearby Pasadena.

Sisneros had no information on his condition, and an emergency-room receptionist said no one under that name was at the hospital.
Nice driving, Cole Sear.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


The actor, a brother of better-known Alec Baldwin, suffered back and neck injuries. He faces possible driving under the influence charges following the Wednesday crash in Los Angeles. Reuters reports:
Baldwin, 45, smashed his silver Ford Thunderbird into two parked cars after an officer saw him driving at more than 80 mph and weaving through traffic on bustling Bundy Drive on the city's west side, Los Angeles police spokesman Jason Lee said.

"The officer tried to catch up to the Thunderbird, lost sight of it momentarily and came up to a traffic collision where the T-bird had crashed into two parked vehicles," Lee said. "The Thunderbird pushed one of the vehicles about 20 feet , and that was a Hummer," Lee said.

Baldwin was taken to UCLA Medical Center after complaining of back and neck injuries, Lee said, and would be detained on suspicion of reckless driving and driving with a suspended license.

Lee said Baldwin could also face charges of driving under the influence if he were found to be intoxicated. There were no other injuries reported and Baldwin's female passenger, who was not identified by police, was not charged.

Baldwin, who has appeared in a number of television series including "Homicide: Life on the Street," is a member of an acting clan that also includes brothers Alec, Stephen and William Baldwin.
Nearsighted God mistakes Daniel for Alec?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


At 10 p.m. Tuesday, the temperature at the airport was 90 degrees. The heat index was 99.

No relief in sight. Another peak energy use day at City Utilities, according to spokesman Ern DeCamp:
CU electric customers used 789 megawatts during the hour ending at 5 p.m., exceeding the mark set just 24 hours earlier.

There have not been any special operational events during the current hot spell.

CU urges customers with central air conditioning to keep the thermostat at 78 degrees or at their own comfort level. While there is adequate power, the electric system is heavily loaded.
Last year, CU customers used 760 megawatts on July 22. A record then, easily broken in this heatwave. Be safe.


Local bloggers meet Tuesday night at Patton Alley Pub. Tony Messenger, editorial-page editor of the News-Leader, shows up with mugs. Big-ass mugs, matter of fact. Delightful.

From this day to the ending of the world, we in it shall be remembered -- we few, we happy few, we band of bloggers.

Armed with mugs, so beware.


The company known for its iPod and digital music (and TV) downloads may announce next month a way to download rented movies. Or so says Think Secret, a Mac rumor site:
Apple is said to have ironed out agreements with Walt Disney, Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, and Warner Bros., and is currently in talks with other major movie studios as well. It's unknown to what extent content will be available come the August 7 announcement, or whether Apple will announce all of its studio deals at that time.

Because the movies will be rented to consumers and not sold, people familiar with the situation report downloads will be coded with a date stamp that will restrict playback. It is not known exactly how the coding system will work, but industry experts tell Think Secret that the software would likely either limit the number of playbacks or provide unlimited viewing for a period of time, after which the movie will be "turned off" and no longer available.
Watching movies on an iPod screen? Seems a little ... little to us.

Monday, July 17, 2006


KYTV's political blog has been flagged by the Freepers, that fun-lovin' group of conservatives. A message posted on the Missouri section of Free Republic has this comment from BoBToMatoE:
Hey guys.

Normally I dont rattle the sabers or make a special call for action. KY3, though, has created a political blog recently.

So what?

KY3 is usually balanced in its coverage. However, since hiring a new political reporter things took a sharp left turn. They are openly schilling for Democrats which could make a difference in the election.

I would ask for people to check the blog out and if you feel like it, drop an apporpriate note in the right threads.

You will need to log in using a blogger account in order to respond. The address is
Hmm ... could BoBToMatoE also be bobicus tomatocus, an especially persistent reader who enjoys posting right-wing comments?


Brother Richard and JJ bring out your dead news and get the point. The Associated Press reports:
Mickey Spillane, the macho mystery writer who wowed millions of readers with the shoot-‘em-up sex and violence of gumshoe Mike Hammer, died Monday. He was 88.

Spillane’s death was confirmed by Brad Stephens of Goldfinch Funeral Home in his hometown of Murrells Inlet, S.C. Details about his death were not immediately available.

After starting out in comic books Spillane wrote his first Mike Hammer novel, "I, the Jury," in 1946. Twelve more followed, with sales topping 100 million. Notable titles included "The Killing Man," "The Girl Hunters" and "One Lonely Night."
"I have no fans," Spillane once said. "You know what I got? Customers."


Haven't we already lived these events?

A big earthquake sends a tsunami crashing into a resort. This one's on Java island in Indonesia:
People fled to a local hill to escape the wave on Pangandaran beach in west Java, a woman who identified herself only as Teti told el-Shinta radio station.

"All the houses are destroyed along the beach," she said, adding that she saw at least three corpses laying amid the debris. "Small hotels are completely destroyed and at least one restaurant was washed away."

The tsunami followed a 7.2-magnitude quake that struck deep beneath the Indian Ocean 240 kilometers (150 miles) southwest of Java's western coast at 3:24 p.m. (0824 GMT), causing tall buildings to sway as far off as the capital Jakarta.

It was followed by a 6.1-magnitude aftershock two hours later.
In Afghanistan, democracy has taken root and created familiar mutant fruit. According to the Telegraph in Belfast:
The Afghan government has alarmed human rights groups by approving a plan to reintroduce a Department for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the body which the Taliban used to enforce its extreme religious doctrine.

The proposal, which came from the country’s Ulema council of clerics, has been passed by the cabinet of President Hamid Karzai and will now go before the Afghan parliament.
Well, that military adventure was certainly worth it, no?

President Bush had no comment on Afghanistan. He did, however, have something to say about Israel's battles with Hamas and Hezbollah:
Bush expressed his frustration with the United Nations and his disgust with the militant Islamic group and its backers in Syria as he talked to British Prime Minister Tony Blair during the closing lunch at the Group of Eight summit.

"See the irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this s--- and it's over," Bush told Blair as he chewed on a buttered roll.
What they need to do. The identity of "they" remained unclear on Monday. At least that's what they said.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


We got the "always wear clean underwear" mantra from Mom. Police in Suffolk, England, have taken it another step with a new public service campaign aimed at making sure pub-crawling women "wear nice pants" so they won't show their privates if they're falling-down drunk.

Reuters explains:
A Suffolk police safety campaign magazine shows pictures of young women slumped on the ground next to messages urging them: "If you've got it, don't flaunt it".

"If you fall over or pass out, remember your skirt or dress may ride up," the magazine says. "You could show off more than you intended -- for all our sakes, please make sure you're wearing nice pants and that you've recently had a wax."

Readers are also told to stick with friends, book a taxi home and watch the amount they drink.

Police said the Safe! magazine's gossipy, tongue-in-cheek style was designed to alert young women to the dangers they could face if they get drunk during a night out.
The cops in Suffolk must not read Hair To Stay magazine. Hey, do your own Googling to find the NSFW site.


Political watchers are spending the weekend poring over campaign finance reports filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission, trying to suss out trends that may mean something this fall.

The report that will get the least amount of media attention is also the report that delivers the most juice. The 7th District Congressional Republican Committee is quietly raising a mammoth amount of money -- precisely $100,000 in the last quarter, giving the committee total receipts of $544,521 this election cycle.

The committee has $374,270 cash on hand.

The report is worth your time because it shows how much special interests want to play a role in deciding who represents us. Examples:

•BellSouth Corporation in Shawnee Mission, Kan., contributed $25,000.

•AT&T in Washington, D.C., kicked in another $25k.

•Peabody Investments in St. Louis and Union Pacific Corp. in D.C. are also listed as $25,000 contributors.

Remember this committee as political races go full-bore in October. Republican candidates will be flush with money. Now you know where it'll come from.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Springfield City Manager Bob Cumley wants the News-Leader to publish a lengthy criticism of the paper's Monday editorial, entitled "City's secrecy patterns troubling."

Cumley's response to the editorial was sent to city employees on Friday. The city manager said he sent it out "so everyone knows that I disagree with the assertions contained in the editorial."

Here 'tis, in its entirety:
The City of Springfield prides itself on providing open and honest communication with citizens. We routinely fulfill thousands of requests for information annually from both media and citizens. In 2005, 89 of those requests were filed under the Missouri Sunshine Law. Just three of those requests were denied as closed records.

Monday’s editorial ("City Secrecy Patterns Troubling") takes issue with three isolated and unrelated circumstances in which the News-Leader did not immediately receive information it requested. To then extrapolate that as a "pattern of secrecy" is a patently unfair characterization of the way we operate.

Our citizens deserve to know the facts of each situation.

One situation involved a request for police reports in connection with the death of a 13-year-old boy. Juvenile records are closed under state law, not city ordinance. This matter involves an ongoing investigation regarding the circumstances of the death. The News-Leader was provided some "incident report" information about the immediate facts and circumstances of the incident, but was not provided other details related to the investigation, consistent with the juvenile and Sunshine Law statutes. The News-Leader then filed a Sunshine Law request with an unverified "authorization" to release records. The City Attorney’s office recommended that the News-Leader file a "friendly" lawsuit and ask a judge to determine whether the record can be released. It has done so, and the City will promptly respond to the judge’s decision. We don’t believe it serves the taxpayers’ interests to invite lawsuits by knowingly releasing a juvenile record we believe to be closed.

The second situation involved release of a Health Department report regarding an alleged attack on a dog by a dog owned by a member of City Council. In this case, when the request was made the next day, the animal control officer had not yet filed the report. The officers had responded to about 60 calls on that particular day and had to transcribe hand-written notes into incident reports. These very busy officers are routinely allowed several days to complete reports. A supervisor transcribed this report in order to comply with this request for information. In addition, the older records related to this animal were reviewed for release, which is standard practice for records subject to court proceedings. The Sunshine Law grants three days to respond to requests and the City provided the records within that period.

The third situation is the most upsetting to us for a number of reasons. The News-Leader is requesting the name of the employee who was terminated in connection with the investigation into missing funds in the Municipal Court. This employee was terminated under an administrative action. The City Merit Rules include a number of reasons for which employees may be terminated through a progressive disciplinary process. Many of those causes involve no violations of the law. In this situation, the termination was not part of the separate criminal investigation and was not based on a violation of law.

City employees are well aware upon hiring that working for government involves sacrificing their privacy – anyone can learn our salaries, for instance. However, we strongly believe that even public employees are entitled to due process, including this person. We also believe that discipline should be applied in a fair and consistent manner. We do not routinely release records of administrative disciplinary procedures, even terminations. We believe we struck a reasonable balance in this case by releasing the fact that an employee was terminated and is no longer on the City payroll, while still respecting the rights of this individual, who, so far, remains innocent until proven otherwise. (As far as the editorial’s assertion that not naming the terminated employee puts all of the court employees under suspicion, if they are still working there, then they haven’t been the one terminated.)

As City employees, we are sickened by the fact that funds are missing and this investigation is even necessary, but the Sunshine Law makes a clear exception for protecting individual personnel records and the City makes no apologies for its refusal to divulge the name of the employee. If and when the criminal investigation warrants any charges in this case, the name of the individual will become public.

As City Manager, I have apologized to City Council and certainly apologize to the public. This is a violation of the public trust and we have pledged to prosecute any charges aggressively and seek all available restitution. The last thing we want is to hamper this investigation by releasing information sure to be challenged by attorneys.

In a democracy governed by laws, there are bound to be multiple interpretations of complex statutes like the Sunshine Law. On occasion, reasonable people may agree to disagree. These events represent a coincidence of timing, not a breakdown of the public trust. To use these three situations to discredit City employees and our overwhelmingly positive track record of openness and responsiveness is simply irresponsible and unjustified.
Cumley told city employees that his response will either run on Sunday or Wednesday, "when more space is available" in the newspaper.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Gary Gilmore has been dead for 29 years, but he's still got the money mojo going. The murderer whose 1977 execution restarted the use of the death penalty in the United States is back in the news, this time because of the gun he used to kill two people. The Associated Press says a bail bondsman, Dennis Stilson, is selling the gun on a "murder collectibles auction site." Minimum bid is $1 million.

You can looksee the gun here, at GilmoreGun. We'll choose to remember Gilmore with the very special Christmas song from a 1976 episode of "Saturday Night Live."

In the meadow, we can build a snowman
One with Gary Gilmore packed inside
We'll say "Are you dead yet?" He'll say "No, man"
But we'll wait out the frostbite till he dies ...


How many Coors do you have to drink to get drunk?

The Denver Post has this belated write-up:
A Colorado State Patrol trooper pulled Coors over after he saw him run a stop sign around the corner from his home in Golden about 11:25 p.m. on May 28.

Coors stopped in his driveway and consented to take a Breathalyzer test. He registered a .088, which is slightly above the .08 legal blood-alcohol limit in Colorado.

He was driving a 2004 green Jaguar, court records show.

Coors spokeswoman Kabira Hatland said the 59-year-old was coming home from a friend's wedding in Denver.

"I made a mistake by driving myself home after a friend's wedding celebration," Coors said in a written statement, shortly after news of his arrest was first reported on "I should have planned ahead for a ride. For years I've advocated the responsible use of our Company's products. That's still my message, and our Company's message, and it's the right message. I am sorry that I didn't follow it myself."

Coors was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and registering a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit. He was also cited for running the stop sign.
Coors, a former candidate for U.S. Senate, is due in court next week.


Just in from CNN. No more hanging from the church steeple in "The Longest Day." JJ gets the point with a 2:20 p.m. grab.

Added at 4:35 p.m. In the Truth Stranger Than Fiction Department: Buttons was the question to an answer on "Jeopardy" on Thursday. The answer -- "His film credits include 'Hatari' and 'The Poseidon Adventure'" -- was in the ironic category, Better Red.


Angela Magdaleno had triplets via in vitro fertilization. That was three years ago.

This month she gave birth to quadruplets. No in vitro, no fertility drugs. All natural.

Naturally, she is a bit shocked and stunned. The Associated Press reports:
The latest additions -- two girls and two boys -- were doing well Wednesday, while their mother, resting at home, said: "I'm happy because they're healthy and so am I."

Still, Magdaleno, 40, worried she might be overwhelmed with the work and sometimes struggles with mixed emotions about the future.

"I don't know if I'm sad or happy," she said. "I'm happy but, I don't know. I don't know how to explain it."
Her husband, Afredo Anzaldo, perhaps put it best. When Magdaleno found out she was pregnant was quadruplets, Anzaldo said, "she wanted to run."

Angela Magdaleno now has nine children in all.


The chief of staff for Gov. Matt Blunt is a finalist for a vice president's job at Missouri State University. Fired Up Missouri had a brief post on Wednesday; Steve Koehler of the News-Leader has this fleshed-out account:
Ken McClure, chief of staff to Gov. Matt Blunt and former City Utilities executive, is a finalist for an administrative position at Missouri State University.

President Mike Nietzel confirmed that McClure is one of four remaining candidates for associate vice president for administration. Nietzel said a decision on who gets the job will be made within 10 days.

The university is searching for a replacement for Fred Marty, who retired from the post in March.

McClure was not available for comment or to ask if he applied for the job, why he applied or if he was asked to apply.

Jessica Robinson, speaking for McClure, said McClure "was not looking to leave (Blunt’s administration). It is not about leaving. there’s no guarantee he’ll get the job."

The Missouri Blue Book lists Marty’s salary at $98,838. McClure’s salary is listed at $112,356.

McClure joined the Blunt staff in 2004 after leading the governor’s transition staff.

He is former chairman of the Missouri Public Service Commission, a past deputy director in the Department of Economic Development and former staff member for the Senate Appropriations Committee.


Dunno how long the link will last, but here's the story, in its entirety:
This is thebody text in paragraph one here.

This is the body textin paragraph two here.

This is the body text in paragraph three here.
Best of Gannett, or potential Pulitzer? You decide.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Gov. Matt Blunt on Wednesday signed House Bill 1900, an especially odious piece of legislation that eliminates all limits on campaign contributions.

Blunt's office issued a news release touting the signing, despite the fact that limits on campaign contributions were approved by Missouri voters in 1994 by an overwhelming margin.

Blunt's office called it a "strong ethics reform bill." How rich:
"This legislation came to my desk with strong bipartisan support from both chambers because state lawmakers, like me and many Missourians knew that the old system simply was not working," Blunt said. "The changes I am enacting today will shed light on the true sources of campaign contributions and the actions of lobbyists who work to shape public policy. This is a strong step in the right direction that empowers the people with greater information about the men and women who seek to serve them in public office."

House Bill 1900 includes a provision added by Sen. Tim Green (D-St. Louis) that eliminates campaign contribution limits. This measure will provide the openness many Missourians have called for to determine the source of campaign contributions and eliminates financial contributions from political parties and local committees. The United States Supreme Court declared campaign finance limits to be unconstitutional.
Randy Turner @ The Turner Report has a good write-up on the bill's specifics.


Northwest Springfield is home to the hottest Missouri House race in Greene County, as three Democrats and two Republicans battle for an open seat in the 137th District.

With the primary less than a month away, rhetoric is rising. One of the Republican candidates, Dan Scott, allegedly told a voter that he was supporting a Democrat for circuit clerk.

Scott denies it. His accuser, Derek White, is running for circuit clerk. Greene County Democrats, the website, has the scoop, in this letter from White:
I was speaking with my Grandmother the other day and she told me a man came by that was running for the 137th legislative district and asked if he could put a sign in her yard.

She agreed on the terms that if this person voted for me ... in November, that he could place the sign. Oh, by the way I am the Democratic candidate. Before she was finished telling me about her conversation with the Politician at the door I found out that the man who promised my Grandmother that he and his wife would give me their support and 2 solid votes was Republican Dan Scott who is vying for the 137th Legislative District in Northwest Springfield.

Yes, even Republican Dan Scott has endorsed my candidacy over Republican incumbent Greene County Circuit Court Clerk Michael Carr.
Well, no, he isn't. Scott posts his reply:
I don't want to cause you any embarassment but I should let you know that I am supporting Michael Carr for County Clerk (sic). Michael and his wife have been acquaintances of mine for many years and I support him in the job he is doing.

I do not know for sure how the impression may have been given to your Grandmother that I was endorsing you. I only recall mentioning that my bright blue sign would look good beside your red one. I have many households throughout the district that are displaying both Democratic and my campaign signs. This seems to be because people appreciate someone like me that was raised in the district wanting to represent it. I have appreciated the fact that I am recieving (sic) a great deal of cross-over support because of my roots in the district.
Derek White's grandmother is a liar? Mike Carr is the county clerk? Dan Scott has bright blue signs? Who knew?


The corporate parent of the News-Leader issued its second-quarter earnings report on Wednesday and blamed "softness" in the British ad market for some of the 8.3 percent decline in earnings. The Associated Press has it this way:
Gannett, which publishes 90 daily newspapers including USA Today, the largest-selling daily, earned $310.5 million in the 13 weeks ending June 25, down from $338.6 million in the comparable period a year ago.

The company earned $1.31 per share, in line with the estimates of analysts polled by Thomson Financial and below the $1.37 reported a year ago.

Revenue climbed 6.1 percent to $2.03 billion from $1.91 billion a year ago, as the company consolidated results from newspaper operations in Detroit. Assuming Gannett owned the same properties in both periods, revenue would have increased 0.5 percent.

Last year the company bought the Detroit Free Press from Knight Ridder Inc. and combined it into a partnership with The Detroit News, which MediaNews Group Inc. bought from Gannett.

At USA Today, advertising revenue rose 0.7 percent in the quarter while paid advertising pages declined 7 percent to 1,107 from 1,191.

Reported newspaper advertising revenue rose 6.4 percent in the quarter, or 0.3 percent had the company owned the same properties in both periods. Same-property advertising revenue in the United States rose 2.2 percent.

Newspaper operating expenses rose 9.8 percent in the quarter on the inclusion of Detroit, or 1.3 percent on a same-property basis. Newsprint expenses, including the addition of Detroit, rose 12.2 percent, reflecting higher newsprint prices and usage. On a same-property basis, newsprint expenses rose 5.2 percent.

In a statement, Gannett CEO Craig Dubow said positive domestic results were "partially offset by continued soft ad demand" in the British market, which is showing signs of stabilizing.
For those who don't know the correct way to pronounce "Gannett," remember -- the emphasis is always on the "net."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


It's supposed to be bad. Extremely bad. Terrifically bad. The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest demands it.

The annual contest for the worst opening sentence in an imaginary novel goes to Jim Guigli of Carmichael, Calif., who uncorks this puppy:
Detective Bart Lasiter was in his office studying the light from his one small window falling on his super burrito when the door swung open to reveal a woman whose body said you've had your last burrito for a while, whose face said angels did exist, and whose eyes said she could make you dig your own grave and lick the shovel clean.
So bad it makes us shiver. On a dark and stormy night, of course.


The boy was 7 months old. Cops responded to a residence at 1720 E. Kearney St. and found the baby wasn't breathing. "The child was transported to St. John’s Hospital where he died earlier today," police spokeswoman Angela Burgess said on Tuesday.

"The police investigation is currently listed as a death investigation pending results from the medical examiner’s investigation," Burgess added in a news release.


The crazy diamond is dead. The BBC has this skinny:
Syd Barrett, one of the original members of legendary rock group Pink Floyd, has died at the age of 60, the band's spokesman has confirmed.

He was born Roger Keith Barrett in Cambridge in 1946 and met future bandmates Roger Waters and David Gilmour at school there.

The guitarist was invited to join Pink Floyd by Waters in 1965 and the group went on to sell millions of albums.

He suffered from diabetes and had not been recording music in recent years.
Granny Geek gets the point.

Monday, July 10, 2006


Mark Wright, a Springfield lawmaker now running for Missouri auditor, was one of the House Republicans talking up a reform plan for the state's fee offices.

Wright apparently misspoke when he described a Springfield fee office agent making more than $1 million a year. That flub drew the immediate wrath of Department of Revenue boss Trish Vincent. The DoR website now features a blast against the Republican reformers and says their plan is "incomplete and uninformed." The harshness goes on:
In one of the most grievous misstatements made today about contract offices, it was asserted by Rep. Mark Wright (R, Springfield) that one contract agent made more than $1 million a year. This is clearly not accurate. The old state run Springfield office did collect close to $1 million in fees, but this is a gross number and would not account for the costs to operate an office. Under this administration’s improvements, the office has actually been divided into three separate branches, providing service across the metro area. Office hours and the state’s assistance hotline hours have also been expanded to make conducting business with the department easier for customers than ever before.
We've talked with someone with intimate knowledge of the way fee offices run; this person said overhead might eat up 50 percent of total revenues. So no, it's not a million bucks in profit -- only a half-mill. Who could survive on that paltry amount?


The on-again, off-again news conference from a handful of Republicans in the Missouri House finally happened on Monday, without the blessing of Gov. Matt Blunt, who was either too busy to meet with the lawmakers, or was given the high hand by them. Pick your spin.

The plan from Rep. Ryan Silvey calls for the Department of Revenue to "rescind all current fee agent contracts" by September 2007 and seek fresh bids. Notes from the Silvey camp, peddled to the media on Monday, outlined the process (typos and all) of who gets to bid, and in what order:
(A) First to non profit organizations and entities that have 501(c) status with the Internal Revenue Service. Types of entities would include, but not be limited to, chamber's of commerce, veterans' organizations, and local school foundations;

(B) Second to local political subdivisions. These would include, but not be limited to, county or city collectors, clerk's, or fire districts.

(C) No individual or for profit entity would be eligible for selection.
Our favorite gimmick from the plan is Point 8:
No customer shall have to wait any longer than thirty minutes for service or their fee is waved.
And your next pizza is free!

The Blunt Administration refuses to acknowledge any sort of problem with the fee offices, despite reports of an active FBI investigation. On Monday a man from the governor's revenue department was blunt: "We would disagree with the representatives' assessment that the system is broken."


The ghouligan point goes to JJ, who cites The Associated Press:
Movie star June Allyson, who played sunny, "perfect wife" roles opposite James Stewart and others, has died at her California home. She was 88.

Her daughter says Allyson died of pulmonary respiratory failure and acute bronchitis in Ojai. Her husband of nearly 30 years, David Ashrow, was with her.

Allyson said she was an unlikely movie star, with her lisp and raspy voice. But while World War Two G-I's pinned up sexy photos of other stars, June Allyson was the girl they wanted to marry.

Her films included "The Glenn Miller Story" and "Strategic Air Command."
The girl they wanted to marry. A nice way to be remembered.


Evidence that southwest Missouri's blogging community is evolving (or devolving): 417 Pundit, a new local blog that promises "commentary without pity ... We expose stupidity."

The pundit's first target is Larry Litle, keeper of Simple Thoughts of a Complex Mind. Litle's sins include typos and unkempt writing. It's all pretty petty; at one point the alleged cognoscenti tees off on Litle for using "204" instead of "2004" in a sentence about the last presidential election. The pundit types:
We feel George W. Bush has been in office for an eternity, but clearly he could not have been president since 204. The U.S. didn't become the U.S. until the late 1700s. But perhaps that's too complex for Litle's simple mind.
We read Litle's blog and we rarely agree with anything he writes. Big deal. He's taking the trouble to write when he believes.

Some bloggers worry the pundit will screw up a good thing with this sort of "nonsensical hissy-fitting" (a fine phrase coined by another local writer). Not a chance.


Readers of the Sunday News-Leader noticed the extremely lengthy paid obituary in the local paper -- for Kenneth Lee Lay, aka That Guy Who Ruined Enron. A sample from the rewrite of history:
Ken's door was always open, whether it was to help with college funds for a child, to help a former Enron employee pay their mortgage; to help young entrepreneurs make their dreams a reality, or to give a second chance when he believed in a person. Ken could not say no to anyone needing help.
Who paid for the obit? And how much? The News-Leader's non-contract ad rate for the Sunday paper is more than $120 a column inch.

The obit encouraged readers to donate money to the church or synagogue of their choice.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


U.S. District Judge Richard P. Matsch made the call in a case wafting out of Utah. At least three businesses were editing DVDs and VHS tapes to remove what they didn't like -- specifically, bad language, violence and sex. They rented or sold those scrubbed flicks to people who don't want to be offended.

The businesses didn't seek permission from producers, directors or studios. The Associated Press reports:
Editing movies to delete objectionable language, sex and violence is an "illegitimate business" that hurts Hollywood studios and directors who own the movie rights, said Matsch in a decision released Thursday in Denver.

"Their (studios and directors) objective ... is to stop the infringement because of its irreparable injury to the creative artistic expression in the copyrighted movies," the judge wrote. "There is a public interest in providing such protection."

Matsch ordered the companies named in the suit, including CleanFlicks, Play It Clean Video and CleanFilms, to stop "producing, manufacturing, creating" and renting edited movies. The businesses also must turn over their inventory to the movie studios within five days of the ruling.

"We're disappointed," CleanFlicks chief executive Ray Lines said. "This is a typical case of David vs. Goliath, but in this case, Hollywood rewrote the ending. We're going to continue to fight."
And lose, as it should be. Unless they go to the trouble of getting permission from the copyright holders.

Friday, July 07, 2006


All because he allegedly wanted to sue the Campbell Soup Company. Now he faces tampering and fraud charges. The Associated Press reports:
The children, a 3-year-old boy and his 18-month-old sister, were taken to hospital emergency rooms three times in January.

According to investigators, their father fed them tainted soup each time. On the third occasion, authorities said, he used the prescription drugs Prozac and Amitriptyline — both used to treat depression — making his young daughter so ill she was flow by helicopter to an Atlanta hospital.

William Allen Cunningham, 40, was charged with tampering with consumer products with reckless disregard for the risk that another person would be placed in danger of death or serious bodily injury. He also was charged with mail fraud, wire fraud and communicating false statements that a consumer product had been tampered with.

U.S. Attorney David Nahmias said Cunningham wanted to get money from the manufacturer by claiming its soup caused his children’s illnesses. Cunningham contacted Camden, N.J.-based Campbell by mail and phone to complain, but there was no evidence the soup was tainted when it was purchased, Nahmias said.
He's probably out of the running for Dad of the Year honors.


Last month some Missouri House Republicans scheduled -- and then promptly scuttled -- a series of news conferences to tout their plan to reform Missouri's fee offices, the place where people go to get their vehicle licenses renewed.

The flyaround was killed on orders of Gov. Matt Blunt, who was angered by the idea of Republicans not in lockstep with his schemes (two of Springfield's fee offices are run by the family of a fundraiser for Rep. Roy Blunt, the governor's father).

House Republicans said at the time that they were going to have "negotiations" with the governor. Come Monday, we'll find out how much hide was taken off the backsides of those House members. Fired Up Missouri reports the news conferences are back on track for Monday, July 10.


The Associated Press posts this:
Dan Shelley has been named executive editor of digital media for WCBS-TV and the station's Web site,

Station president and general manager Peter Dunn made the announcement in New York on Thursday.

Shelley, a former chairman of the Radio-Television News Directors Association, starts Monday at WCBS-TV, which is part of the CBS Television Stations Group.

"Dan brings more than 25 years of news experience, most recently leading Milwaukee's top-rated radio station in its efforts at new media integration and content integration among radio, television and online," Dunn said.

Shelley moves to WCBS from WTMJ-AM, where he served as news director and assistant program director. He was responsible for the content of all news programming, including the top-rated show, Wisconsin's Morning News. He joined the station in 1995.

This April, Shelley finished a one-year term as chairman of RTNDA, where he focused the organization on digital media.

Shelley currently serves as chairman of the Radio and Television News Director's Foundation, the education arm of RTNDA.

He also served two terms as president of both the Wisconsin Associated Press Broadcasters Executive Committee and the Missouri Associated Press Broadcasters Association.

Shelley worked 12 years as news director for KTTS-AM/FM in Springfield, Mo.

Shelley earned a degree in electronic media communications from Southwest Missouri State University, now called Missouri State University. He also taught courses in broadcast writing and performance.
Shelley was one of the best radio newsmen in the 'burg, during an era when four local stations competed vigorously for news. Congrats.


A doctor in New Hampshire has a right to be a jerk. A judge made the ruling this week and ordered a state medical board to stop disciplinary proceedings against the doc.

Dr. Terry Bennett reportedly told a patient that she was so fat, only black guys would want to date her. He told another patient that because she'd had brain surgery, maybe -- just maybe -- she ought to shoot herself.

The Associated Press reports:
Judge Edward Fitzgerald made clear in a ruling released Thursday that he did not condone remarks attributed to Dr. Terry Bennett and found them unnecessary, but ruled Bennett had a right to speak bluntly.

"It is nonetheless important ... to ensure that physicians and patients are free to discuss matters relating to health without fear of government reprisal, even if such discussions may sometimes be harsh, rude or offensive to the listener," he concluded in the ruling Wednesday.

The complaints against Bennett included charges that he told a white patient that she was so obese she might only be attractive to black men.

"Let's face it, if your husband were to die tomorrow, who would want you?" the board has said Bennett told the overweight patient in June 2004. "Well, men might want you, but not the types you want to want you. Might even be a black guy," it quoted him as saying, based on the woman's complaint.

Bennett, 68, has denied making the comment, but has said he's seen polls supporting that position.

"If you look at the polling, nobody likes fat women," he said last year. "Is it right? No. Is it sensible? No. Is it true? Yeah ... Black guys are the only group that don't mind that. Is that racist to say that?"

A 2001 complaint accused Bennett of telling a woman recovering from brain surgery to buy a pistol and shoot herself to end her suffering. The doctor was also accused of speaking harshly to a woman about how her son might have contracted hepatitis, according to the ruling.

Bennett claimed victory.

"The question now is: Will the board waste more of your and my tax dollars and appeal this, or accept done as done?" he said in a telephone interview.
The doc says he's going to sue everyone involved.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


One of the best e-mails we've received comes from a skeptic who urges, "Don't believe the hype."

Hype, as in crowd estimates for the James River Assembly of God "I Love America" show, held on July 4.

Our reader writes:
So, the James River guy says 115,000 people attended the event - that's basically more than two-thirds the population of Springfield and some 45,000 more than attended Firefall.

The event is on two acres. There are 43,560 square feet in an acre, or 87,120 total.

Now, my math ain't the best for sure, but ragged computation leads to about 3/4 of one square foot per person, right? Hardly enough room for some of the large Americans who attend that sort of thing to sit their butts on the ground.

Why doesn't anyone in the media apply any critical thinking to these numbers or ask for some substantiation??
Because that would require critical thinking on the part of reporters. Math, too. Way too difficult.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Another Taepodong-2 missile, or maybe a couple, according to various news reports. Reuters cites an NBC story claiming North Korea is putting final touches on another missile but doesn't yet have it on the launch pad. Fox reports another Taepodong-2 is ready to go, and up to four missiles may be fired soon.

In other phallic news, Joey Chestnut failed in his bid to beat trencherman Takeru Kobayashi in the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest on Coney Island. America's great Hot Dog Hope swallowed 52 in 12 minutes. Kobayashi managed 53 and three-quarters.


Several e-mails chided us for not posting Ken Lay's death sooner. Sorry, but we were on Stockton Lake, sailing and burning. Point goes to Doc Larry for getting the first word to us.

Lay, 64, just up and died, according to CNN:
"Apparently, his heart simply gave out," said Lay's pastor, Dr. Steve Wende of Houston's First United Methodist Church.

An autopsy indicated Lay died of coronary artery disease, Mesa County, Colorado coroner Robert Kurtzman said. There was "no evidence of foul play," he added.
Jeff Skillings still faces up to 40 years in prison for driving Enron into the ground.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


You should listen to:
Who Knew

I Want You Back
Jackson 5


Tears Don't Fall
Bullet For My Valentine

Last Nite
The Strokes

Boy Kill Boy

Saved By Zero
The Fixx

Let's Get Lifted
John Legend

Bat Out Of Hell
Meat Loaf

I'm Coming Out
Diana Ross
Three Days Grace, too. But first, sink into Pink. Delightful ear candy.


Not as ear-pleasing as dozens, scores, hundreds of mortars fired by local pyros during Fourth of July celebrations across the Ozarks. Definitely not pleasing to the ear of diplomats trying to keep North Korea on a short lease and a long fuse.

The New York Times writes the history this way:
North Korea test-fired at least six missiles over the Sea of Japan on Wednesday morning, including an intercontinental missile that apparently failed or was aborted 42 seconds after it was launched, White House and Pentagon officials said.

The small barrage of launchings, which took place over more than four hours, came in defiance of warnings from President Bush and the governments of Japan, South Korea and China. Of the launchings, which the United States and Japan condemned, intelligence officials focused most of their attention on the intercontinental missile, called the Taepodong 2, which American spy satellites have been watching on a remote launching pad for more than a month.

It is designed to be capable of reaching Alaska, and perhaps the West Coast of the United States, but American officials who tracked its launching said it fell into the Sea of Japan before its first stage burned out.

"The Taepodong obviously was a failure — that tells you something about capabilities," Stephen Hadley, President Bush's national security adviser, told reporters in a phone call on Tuesday evening in Washington. But other officials warned that even a failed launching was of some use to the North Koreans, because it will help them diagnose what went wrong with the liquid-fueled rocket.
The first launch came minutes after space shuttle Discovery blasted into the sky. Definitely an in-your-face move.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


Every year more than 65,000 of your closest friends, neighbors and countryfolk gather near the airport in Springfield, Mo., for Firefall, a big fireworks show. Every year one of the local television stations airs the "Concert in the Sky" and discovers that fireworks don't make for good television.

But Firefall '06 did. Not because of the fireworks, but because people do the damndest things.

Precious moments during the broadcast on KOLR, the local CBS affiliate:

•A little girl, hands covering her ears, looking very uncomfortable at the explosions.

•Another little kid, this one tugging at the Mom, asking to go home. Or to the bathroom; our lip-reading skills aren't what they used to be.

•Lots of blah-blah-blah from Ron Spigelman, musical director of the Springfield Symphony. We're Firefall purists; we expect the conductor to conduct, not make chit-chat.

•An especially bad performance by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

•Lots of expressionless faces. You know, when people are paying attention to something -- in this case, fireworks -- they usually don't make for good TV.

KOLR's anchor, David Oliver, made for the worst TV of all. He and co-anchor Joy Robertson were wearing shorts for the broadcast. She can pull it off. He cannot. Oliver's sin was in keeping a notebook in his lap for most of the broadcast, so it looked like he was naked below the waist.

But man, that Tom Trtan can sing. Somebody ought to hire him to front the Dirt Band.

Saturday, July 01, 2006


"Net neutrality" continues to befuddle most consumers of information. But at least most of them understand the internet.

Not so Ted Stevens, the senior senator from Alaska, who voted against an amendment "inserting some very basic net neutrality provisions into a moving telecommunications bill," according to Wired. Stevens explained his vote, and what he understands about the internet:
There's one company now you can sign up and you can get a movie delivered to your house daily by delivery service. Okay. And currently it comes to your house, it gets put in the mail box when you get home and you change your order but you pay for that, right.

But this service isn't going to go through the internet and what you do is you just go to a place on the internet and you order your movie and guess what you can order ten of them delivered to you and the delivery charge is free.

Ten of them streaming across that internet and what happens to your own personal internet?

I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why?

Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internet commercially.

So you want to talk about the consumer? Let's talk about you and me. We use this internet to communicate and we aren't using it for commercial purposes.
The audio is here. Damned tangled internet.


The Japanese prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, was honored at a White House dinner this week. The guest list, printed by the Washington Post, included these unusual suspects:
J.D. Crouch II, deputy national security adviser, and Kristin Crouch

Shoji Tabuchi, country music entertainer, and Christina Tabuchi
Crouch is a former Missouri State University professor, now deputy national security adviser. Kristin is his wife.

Tabuchi -- he of the famous bowl haircut and glittering Branson bathrooms -- was there with his daughter, Christina. No word whether Shoji played any Elvis for Koizumi.