Thursday, August 31, 2006


Smitty gets the point for informing us that Glenn Ford is dead. Though he was watching JJ when he caught the news, so perhaps it's a half-point to each.

Best bit to know about Ford, courtesy of the BBC:
An action man both on and off screen, he later took up hang-gliding at the age of 64 and got married for the fourth time at 76.
There is hope for all of us yet.


Four of them on this Thursday, as we retool and prepare for the end of summer:

•Nine years ago, Diana Spencer died in a car crash.

•The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette lets us known that pervs exist in every facet of society. Including the worlds of law enforcement and college administration.

•In New Smyrna Beach, Fla., some dude gets his jollies by tickling women. On their feet. While they're sleeping. By the way, he's also naked. WFTV has the freaky details.

•The U.S. Army meets its retention goal for the year, according to The Associated Press. How? Showing the money, baby; according to The AP, the Army paid "an average bonus of $14,000, to eligible soldiers, for a total of $610 million in extra payments."

How's you?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Ike Skelton will, of course, win another term to Congress in Missouri's 4th District. He's being challenged by Jim Noland -- again -- and this fourth match-up will end the same way the first three did, with Skelton crushing Noland.

But that doesn't give either gentlemen a pass for some genuinely boneheaded remarks made to Dave Catanese, KYTV's political reporter. KY3's Political Notebook includes examples of why Skelton and Noland need a good spanking.

First, from Skelton, this exchange with Catanese on Iran:
When I asked Skelton if he would in any way support surgical airstrikes in parts of Iran believed to have nuclear weapons or facilities, he signaled he didn't want to talk about that.

"We don't talk about that. We hope that doesn't come to pass," Skelton replied.

When I pressed Skelton on why this topic wasn't relevant for discussion, he stopped me. "Did you hear what I said?," Skelton asked.

"We don't want to even think about that because Iran could very well be a tinderbox. I hope we can handle this Iranian problem diplomatically. It's going to be difficult but we don't need another war."
La la la, click my heels and let's not talk about it. Shameful.

Noland fares no better. Asked about the war in Iraq, Noland talked about the terrorists who "knock[ed] those towers down." Catanese called him on the misdirection; Noland said it didn't matter because "terrorists are terrorists."

And then he really started eating his own foot:
We had a different policy in World War Two than we have today. People are much freer about speaking out. We say we can't do anything about illegal aliens. Let me tell you for sure, these people were not even illegal and they weren't aliens but President Roosevelt went around and he picked up every transit, every person that was un-American in any way and put them in camps. And they stayed there until the war was over.
Is Noland saying it was good to round up Americans and put them in camps, just because they happened to be Japanese? Hope not.


Names: Tom and Jim Evans. The latter is a Chicago police detective. Tom works the North Side as a cop. They're retiring and wanted to start a business. They're opening a Dunkin' Donuts in Libertyville, Ill. The Daily-Tribune reports:
Yes, the cops and doughnut jokes get stale. Although they've heard it a million times, the Evans brothers shrug off the inevitable observations. In this case, it could be a competitive advantage.

"We're not shying away from it," Tom said. "It doesn't bother us - we're a bunch of jokers anyway. It actually works in our favor."

For the record, police officers aren't at those places for the food, he said.

"It's not so much the doughnuts. You're on midnights, it's been a long day, you want to sit down someplace and have a hot cup of coffee."
Not so much the doughnuts?

Monday, August 28, 2006


A private jet collided with a glider on Monday. Guess who won? KOLO-TV has the story:
Authorities say the jet was traveling at 300 knots when it collided with the glider over Douglas County about 3 p.m. Monday.

They say the pilot and his crew had to make an emergency landing without landing gear at the Carson Airport. They had just received clearance from the tower to descend to 12,000 feet.

The plan has received major damage to the nose of the aircraft, and it is not known if it is the result of impact to the glider or the ground upon landing.

Sheriff's Deputies say he sustained non-life threatening injuries ... miraculously, the co-pilot and three passengers on board were not hurt.

News Channel 8 has learned the aircraft is a Hawker 800-XP, which is a fixed-wing, multi-engine turbo jet.

The plane belongs to Mecox Ventures Incorporated out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Officials say the pilot left Los Angeles sometime Monday afternoon, and was on its way to Reno.

The condition of the glider and its occupant(s) is not known, and search crews continue to search for the missing craft in the Pine Nut Mountains. Crews from Carson City, Douglas, Lyon and Washoe Counties have joined efforts in the search.
Getting hit by a jet at 300 knots while gliding more than two miles in the air? Not the way to go.


The movies "Romancing the Bone" and "Gum Me Bare" have nothing on the porn knockoff of Barney.

The Village News in Fallbrook, Calif., ran this interesting letter to the editor earlier this month:
I took my family out to Daniel’s for groceries. I have a 6-year-old daughter who learned how to read from the Barney and Friends book series. As we stepped out of the family van, she was very excited to see a Barney movie being advertised on the Daniel’s Market lit sign. She said, “Look, Daddy, a Barney movie!” I couldn’t see it, so she guided my eyes to the vulgar obscenity arranged there on the sign. "Look! Up there! Barney’s p***s!" I was shocked when I saw the words arranged on the sign. I quickly averted her eyes and escorted her into the store.

Since then, she has not stopped mentioning Barney’s p***s. This has shaken the bedrock of our family. I made an emergency call to our church’s pastor about this bombshell in my daughter’s life and he is unsure how it will affect her future.

This sort of sick joke is typical of unlawful teenagers across the country, but I just didn’t think the little town of Fallbrook was home to such hoodlums. I am frightened for my daughter’s future; she won’t stop bringing up this horrible movie title! I would like Daniel’s Market to apologize for traumatizing my daughter, and I would like the pranksters to know just how vile their criminal act was.
Brookfield, Mo., used to have a Sinclair gasoline station, with a large Dino painted on the side of the building. Every so often someone would add a package to Dino. We should have made a video.


As if you couldn't see this one coming from a distance. CNN reports that John Mark Karr won't be charged in the 1996 slaying of Jon Benet Ramsey.

Reason? No DNA match. The warrant for Karr's arrest has been withdrawn; he's likely to go free. Karr still faces sentencing on misdemeanor child-porn charges in California. The phrase "circle jerk" comes to mind, and not in a good way.


We've heard of parties like this one. From The Local, in Sweden, a report of a meat party gone awry:
Inga-Mai Björkman, her partner, and his brother were having a relaxing BBQ dinner in their summer house near Mora when the guest from hell arrived.

The neighbour drank and drank until he was asked to leave the party.

They thought the 46-year-old guest had given up and gone home.

"I asked him nicely to go home," said one of the guests. "Instead he sat on his four-wheeled motor bike and drove over the lawn furniture and a house camper. My partner and the house owner were forced to run for their lives around the garden."

This time they really thought the man had given up.

"It was just luck that I saw him on his tractor and was able to yell for everybody to run out (of the cabin)," said a guest, according to Aftonbladet.

"They were just able to make it out; otherwise several of them would have been crushed. The wooden beams flew through the room."

After the man hit the cabin with his tractor once, he backed up and gassed it for another go.:
The main course was reindeer steaks.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Sorry for the paucity of posts. Lots going on that's keeping us from the keyboard. Good stuff, really. We'll get back into the swing now that Springfield Public Schools is back in session.


•Wes Wester, a recent addition to the morning show on KWTO-AM, died Sunday evening, apparently of natural causes. He was 48.

•Katherine Harris, the GOP congresswoman who wants to be a U.S. Senator, told a Baptist newspaper that U.S. politics would be much better if only Christians were in office:
"If you are not electing Christians, tried and true, under public scrutiny and pressure, if you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin."
Given the large population of Jewish voters in Florida, this was not a wise move.

•We're looking forward to the publication of a new magazine in Springfield. STIM is set to go to press sometime in September; we'll let you know the precise date when copies hit the street. Yes, we have a piece scheduled for the first issue, but that's not why we're blurbing the mag. The more publications in Springfield, the better.

Friday, August 25, 2006


The New York Post has the details in this slay story:
Cops are looking for two mystery men who visited a prominent gay public-relations executive days before he was found dead Monday, strangled in his own bed.

Martin Barreto, 49, a former aide to then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani, was discovered naked with KY Jelly and a condom next to his body, authorities said. ...

Officials are looking into whether his crushed larynx was the result of rough sex gone horribly wrong.
Or just, you know, from a typical strangling.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


The trumpeter died Wednesday in Ventura, Calif., from kidney and liver failure "brought on by an abdominal infection," according to Reuters:
Ferguson started his career at 13 when he performed as a featured soloist with the Canadian Broadcasting Co. Orchestra.

He played with several of the great big-band leaders of the 1940s and '50s, including Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Barnett, Jimmy Dorsey and Stan Kenton, with whom he was a featured performer.

He became known with the Kenton band for being able to hit "ridiculous high notes with ease," according to jazz critic Scott Yarnow.

The Penguin Guide to Jazz says of Ferguson: "There are few sights more impressive in animal physiology than the muscles in Maynard Ferguson's upper thorax straining for a top C."
Makes us want to put on the theme from "Rocky."


In Pennsylvania, that could be considered harassment. The Associated Press reports:
Jeannette police charged a 14-year-old boy for "meowing" whenever he sees his neighbor, 78-year-old Alexandria Carasia.

The boy's family and Carasia do not get along. The boy's mother said the family got rid of their cat after Carasia complained to police that it used her flower garden as a litter box.

The boy testified Tuesday that he only meowed at the woman twice. Carasia testified, "Every time he sees me, he meows."

The boy's defense attorney, David Martin Jr., argued that the charge (misdemeanor harassment) should be dismissed.

"This should never have been filed," Martin said. "This is not something that police should be wasting their time with or wasting the court's time."

Jeannette District Judge Joseph DeMarchis decided to wait 90 days before ruling. DeMarchis said his decision will be based on how the boy and his neighbor get along in the meantime.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


A brief on a terrible way to die, courtesy of the Springfield Police Department:
At approximately 0300 this morning, the Springfield Police Department responded to a reported motor vehicle crash involving a person falling off of a trash truck. The crash occurred in the 1600 block of north Schoolcraft (US 65), just north of Division. A trash truck belonging to American Allied Waste was northbound, entering Schoolcraft from the Division street on-ramp. The driver was startled by a person banging on the truck’s roof and windshield and he suddenly braked. A woman on top of the truck was thrown forward and run over by the truck. She was determined to be deceased at the scene.

The preliminary investigation indicates that the woman may have been in a dumpster that the trash truck picked up and emptied into the truck’s waste container body.
Moral of the story: Don't sleep in dumpsters.


MIT gets the point for this especially important obit. From the wires:
Philanthropist Robert K. Hoffman, one of three founders of the irreverent National Lampoon magazine, has died. He was 59.

Hoffman, a noted Dallas philanthropist, died Sunday at an area hospital. He had been suffering from leukemia since December, according to his family.

He was a co-founder and managing editor of the humorous National Lampoon, spawned from the Harvard Lampoon, created while he was a student at the university.

Hoffman graduated cum laude in 1970 and received an MBA from Harvard Business School.
The magazine spun off successful films, the best known being “Animal House.”

“National Lampoon never would have happened, and none of the things that came out of it would have happened, without Robert,” Henry Beard, one of the other co-founders of the magazine, said in Tuesday’s editions of The Dallas Morning News. “He had an exceptional pair of talents — he was extremely smart, and utterly fearless.”

The third founder, Doug Kenney, died in the early 1980s.
If you don't read this obit, we'll kill this dog.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Frank Murkowski had been in the U.S. Senate for more than two decades before becoming governor of Alaska. And then everything went wrong. Tuesday was primary day in Alaska. Reuters reports:
Murkowski conceded the race to former Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin about two hours after the polls closed and pledged to support her.

Palin, running a campaign that portrayed her as a reformer bucking the state's Republican establishment, will now face former Democratic Gov. Tony Knowles in November's general election.

With over two-thirds of the precincts reporting, Palin had 51.1 percent of the total. John Binkley, a Fairbanks businessman and former state senator, was in second place with 29.5 percent, and Murkowski trailed with about 19 percent.

Murkowski, who is the first Alaska governor to lose in the primary election since Democrat Bill Sheffield was defeated in 1986, angered Alaskans by appointing his daughter to fill out his U.S. Senate term, buying a state jet for his personal use and other actions that were considered ham-fisted.
Quite the beating, but it gives the GOP a slight chance to retain the governor's office in November. With Murkowski, that chance didn't exist.

Monday, August 21, 2006


One too many charges in the complaint filed against Jose Padilla and his co-defendants, a federal judge ruled Monday. Padilla, an American citizen, is accused of being an al-Qaida operative. The Associated Press reports:
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke leaves intact two other terror-related counts against Padilla and the others alleging a conspiracy to provide material support to Islamic extremist causes worldwide.

The count that was dropped charged a conspiracy to "murder, kidnap and maim persons in a foreign country."

Cooke ruled that charge was unnecessary because the alleged illegal acts were already covered by the other terror-related counts in the indictment. Prosecuting all three charges, she said, would violate the Constitution's ban against double jeopardy, or prosecution of the same charges twice.
Once upon a time, the Bush Administration tried to claim Padilla was going to detonate a "dirty bomb" in the U.S. and held him for several years without charges. But when the administration was forced to file charges in criminal court, Padilla wasn't nicked for any "dirty bomb."


Underdog isn't around because he popped a pill before becoming a crime fighter. Now, other cartoon characters are getting nailed for their old, bad habits. Reuters reports:
Turner Broadcasting is scouring more than 1,500 classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons, including old favourites Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones and Scooby-Doo, to edit out scenes that glamorise smoking.

The review was triggered by a complaint to media regulator Ofcom by one viewer who took offence to two episodes of Tom and Jerry shown on the Boomerang channel, part of Turner Broadcasting which itself belongs to Time Warner Inc. ...

The regulator's latest news bulletin stated that a viewer, who was not identified, had complained about two smoking scenes on Tom and Jerry, saying they "were not appropriate in a cartoon aimed at children."

In the first, "Texas Tom", the hapless cat Tom tries to impress a feline female by rolling a cigarette, lighting it and smoking it with one hand. In the second, "Tennis Chumps", Tom's opponent in a match smokes a large cigar.

"The licensee has ... proposed editing any scenes or references in the series where smoking appeared to be condoned, acceptable, glamorised or where it might encourage imitation," Ofcom said, adding that "Texas Tom" was one such example.
Don't tell anyone, but we're pretty sure Bugs Bunny is a cross-dresser.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


A guy from Queens -- he's 28 -- is on the street in the West Village on Friday night. He sees a group of women, stops one and tells her she's pretty.

The 19-year-old blows him off. The man, Dwayne Buckle, reportedly uses a "homophobic slur" and tells the women he's going to have sex with all of them. In not so many words. He also spits on the woman he's trying to woo.

The result: Buckle is in critical condition after being stabbed in the stomach. WNBC reports:
Joining in the attack were the woman's six friends ranging in age from 18 to 31, according to police. The Daily News said they beat him with belts, and punched and kicked him.

Police arrested the women a block away on charges of attempted murder and gang assault. ...

"He spat on us and threw a cigarette," another of the woman told the Daily News. "This is a hate crime," she said hours after the incident, as police led the seven suspects out of the 6th Precinct stationhouse.

According to a published report in Saturday's editions of the New York Post, relatives and friends of the women -- who are all from Newark -- said they are lesbians and denied the women attacked Buckle. The Daily News referred to the women as “a gang of petite but ornery lesbians."
Petite but ornery and handy with a steak knife.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


But what does a bomber look like?

The Daily Mail reports on how easily paranoia strikes deep:
The extraordinary scenes happened after some of the 150 passengers on a Malaga-Manchester flight overheard two men of Asian appearance apparently talking Arabic.

Passengers told cabin crew they feared for their safety and demanded police action. Some stormed off the Monarch Airlines Airbus A320 minutes before it was due to leave the Costa del Sol at 3am. Others waiting for Flight ZB 613 in the departure lounge refused to board it.

The incident fuels the row over airport security following the arrest of more than 20 people allegedly planning the suicide-bombing of transatlantic jets from the UK to America. It comes amid growing demands for passenger-profiling and selective security checks.

It also raised fears that more travellers will take the law into their own hands - effectively conducting their own 'passenger profiles'. ...

The trouble in Malaga flared last Wednesday as two British citizens in their 20s waited in the departure lounge to board the pre-dawn flight and were heard talking what passengers took to be Arabic. Worries spread after a female passenger said she had heard something that alarmed her.

Passengers noticed that, despite the heat, the pair were wearing leather jackets and thick jumpers and were regularly checking their watches.

Initially, six passengers refused to board the flight. On board the aircraft, word reached one family. To the astonishment of cabin crew, they stood up and walked off, followed quickly by others.

The Monarch pilot - a highly experienced captain - accompanied by armed Civil Guard police and airport security staff, approached the two men and took their passports.

Half an hour later, police returned and escorted the two Asian passengers off the jet.

Soon afterwards, the aircraft was cleared while police did a thorough security sweep. Nothing was found and the plane took off - three hours late and without the two men on board.

Monarch arranged for them to spend the rest of the night in an airport hotel and flew them back to Manchester later on Wednesday.

College lecturer Jo Schofield, her husband Heath and daughters Emily, 15, and Isabel, 12, were caught up in the passenger mutiny.

Mrs Schofield, 38, said: "The plane was not yet full and it became apparent that people were refusing to board. In the gate waiting area, people had been talking about these two, who looked really suspicious with their heavy clothing, scruffy, rough, appearance and long hair.

"Some of the older children, who had seen the terror alert on television, were starting to mutter things like, 'Those two look like they're bombers.'
Unlike Don Stewart-Whyte and Brian Young, two of the 24 men arrested for the alleged UK terror plot. Looks indeed deceive.

Friday, August 18, 2006


We open doors for women because Mom taught us it was the right thing to do. We also think it's OK to offer up your seat to a woman. On that second count, we're apparently way off base.

The new issue of GQ doles out advice on "modern manners." A paragraph from that report:
"Women are equals now. They can fend for themselves. To offer a perfectly healthy woman a seat simply because she is a woman, however well-intentioned, is creepy. At best, she'll think you're from another country; at worst she'll feel old, or overweight enough to be perceived as pregnant."
Opening doors for women, however, is still considered copacetic. As GQ notes, men should do it "to be nice, you mannerless ape." And to prove that chivalry isn't dead.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Tramm Hudson is running to replace Katherine Harris in the 13th Congressional District in Florida. He may have doomed his candidacy when he decided to riff during a Christian Coalition forum. A video camera recorded his words. The Sarasota Herald Tribune reports:
In the 27-second clip, which first appeared on the conservative Web site and quickly spread to other blogs, Hudson spoke about a training exercise during which the infantry company he commanded was to cross a river.

"A large number were black," Hudson said. "I grew up in Alabama. I understand, uh, I know from experience, that blacks are not the greatest swimmers or may not even know how to swim."

Hudson made the comments during a speech at candiates’ forum hosted by the Christian Coalition, according to a Hudson campaign manager. He could not recall the date of the appearance.

Hudson apologized for the comments in a statement:

"I said something stupid," he said. "I apologize for it and would apologize in person to anyone hurt by my comments. To those who are understandably offended, you have my deepest apologies, and I want you to know that it was out of character for me and those who know me know that to be a fact. This was a thoughtless remark that does not reflect my lifetime commitment to treating everyone fairly and without bias. I apologize to everyone who is offended by this comment."
When speaking during a political forum, it is probably not wise to talk about how blacks can't swim.


Evelyn J. McNabb, 68, died Thursday after being hit by a vehicle on the parking lot of Cox South in Springfield. Cops say McNabb was a volunteer, arriving at the hospital to do her work, when she was hit shortly after 9 a.m.

According to a police news release:
A private delivery truck was arriving at the hospital and was backing up. [McNabb] was walking across the lot near the loading dock. As the truck was backing, it struck her and knocked her down.
McNabb was rushed inside to the emergency room, where she died.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Yes, this is a real item, courtesy of the blog at ABC News:
U.S. authorities are advising women not to wear gel bras on airplanes as information developed in the foiled London plot points to an expanding role for women in smuggling explosives on to an aircraft.

Authorities at Scotland Yard are questioning a husband and wife, suspects in the London terror plot, about allegations that they were planning to use their baby's bottle to hide a liquid bomb.

Police in the U.K. have recovered baby bottles containing peroxide, including some with false bottoms, from a recycling center close to the homes of some of the arrested suspects.
They should also watch out for men packing zucchini.


People who know her say Ruth Catherine Driscoll-Dunn is a nice enough person. She's 24 and a student at the University of Georgia in Athens.

But cops say Driscoll-Dunn is not someone you mess with. Especially if you're between her and the counter at McDonald's. The Athens Banner-Herald explains:
Police said Driscoll-Dunn argued Saturday morning with two women over who was first in line when a new cashier opened up, and that Driscoll-Dunn waited for the women in her Jeep Cherokee in the parking lot and veered into them as she drove past.

The women, a 51-year-old Athens resident and her daughter, were knocked down, but not injured, according to police.

An investigator questioned Driscoll-Dunn at police headquarters on Monday, police said, and an Athens-Clarke County Magistrate Court judge signed arrest warrants Tuesday morning.

"She was cooperative, but I really don't want to get into what she said," said Athens-Clarke police Lt. Mike McKeel. ...

A man at Driscoll-Dunn's apartment Tuesday, who said his name is Coby Brazzelle, said his friend knew she might be arrested because of the publicity the case received.

Brazzelle said the UGA student told him she didn't start the argument at McDonald's, and that one of the other women grabbed onto her Jeep as it drove away.

"Somehow the woman's cell phone broke, I think when it hit the side mirror, and they want to charge her with aggravated assault to make her pay for the phone," Brazzelle said.
But police say they have witnesses who swear Driscoll-Dunn threatened to kill the two women after they allegedly cut in line.

Brazzelle, the friend, says Driscoll-Dunn stopped at McD's for one of those delicious breakfasts before she bought school books on Saturday morning.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


You know, the face in plenty of movies you've seen over the years. The Associated Press reports:
Kirby died Monday in Los Angeles from complications related to leukemia, according to a statement from his wife, Lynn Sellers. He had recently been diagnosed with the disease.

"We are incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support we have received from Bruno's fans and colleagues who have admired and respected his work over the past 30 years," his wife said. "Bruno's spirit will continue to live on not only in his rich body of film and television work but also through the lives of individuals he has touched throughout his life."

Kirby was perhaps best known for his roles opposite Billy Crystal in 1989's "When Harry Met Sally" and 1991's "City Slickers."

Other film credits included "Good Morning, Vietnam," "The Godfather: Part II" and "Donnie Brasco." More recently, he played Phil Rubenstein on the HBO series "Entourage."
Oh yeah. That guy.


Back from summer vacation, the television interview show returns this week on Mediacom. We're taping Tuesday evening; scheduled guests include Joe Pyles, who ran in the Republican primary for the House seat in the 139th District, and Dave Catanese, political reporter for KY3.

Monday, August 14, 2006


The Snarling Marmot tipped us to this one early. From CNN:
An Army base in Missouri used the "don't ask, don't tell" policy to kick out more soldiers than any other military installation last year, followed by an Army base on the Kentucky-Tennessee border and a naval base in Virginia.

Sixty people were dismissed last year from Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, according to Defense Department documents shared with The Associated Press by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. That was up from 40 discharges under the policy from the training facility in 2004.

The advocacy group, which advises military personnel on the gay policy, obtained the information through a Freedom of Information Act request. Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke confirmed that the Defense Department provided the information to the advocacy group.

The second-highest number of discharges was at Fort Campbell, a sprawling Army base on the Kentucky-Tennessee line. But the 49 people dismissed there, up from 19 in 2004, also represented the single-biggest increase in discharges anywhere.
They should change the policy to "don't care."


Happening midday Monday. An AT&T fiber line was cut, according to Springfield city officials, so "all Rogersville 911 emergency land-line calling capabilities are temporarily unavailable."

Emergency calls should be made to 753-4265; the call will go to the Rogersville Fire Station. Cell phones still can access 911 in Rogersville.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


The cuts that he and Republican lawmakers made in Missouri in 2005? The ones that brought hardship and misery to tens of thousands of Missourians? Apparently, those were fine with the governor. But when President Bush proposes cuts in Medicaid payments to hospital and nursing homes ... well, that's a no-go with Blunt.

Bush wants to push through the rule changes by the end of the year. Sunday's New York Times reports:
The White House says the changes are needed to ensure the "fiscal integrity" of Medicaid and to curb "excessive payments" to health care providers.

But the plan faces growing opposition. The National Governors Association said it "would impose a huge financial burden on states," already struggling with explosive growth in health costs. ...

In Missouri, Gov. Matt Blunt, a Republican, said the change "could mean a loss of more than $84.9 million" for his state. That, he said, would "jeopardize the continuity of care for Medicaid recipients" and set back efforts to improve care in nursing homes.
Blunt and his bloc of Republican lawmakers would like voters to forget the 2005 Medicaid cuts; this move against Bush is a convenient way for Missouri's GOP to look like they're on the side of people on Medicaid. Will it work?


Wired magazine has the speculation, based on an internal hospital report. The baby's mother may have been taking an experimental drug for cancer patients. The drug's name? Cyclopamine:
The report states the child's parents turned to an unnamed fertility clinic after failing to have a child after six years of marriage. The treatment the mother received is unknown, but it appeared to work as she soon became pregnant. Then, late in her third trimester, she had her first ultrasound and it showed the child had serious problems. Too late to abort, she was rushed to the hospital for an induced labor.

The child was diagnosed with a rare chromosomal disorder, known as cyclopia. She was born with a single eye in the center of her forehead, no nose and her brain fused into a single hemisphere. With such severe deformities, it was a miracle that the girl survived even a few minutes after delivery. Yet now, 11 days later, she has lived significantly longer than other cyclopean cases. ...

Cyclopia affects about one child in a million. It can occur when a mother suffers from extremely low cholesterol or diabetes, or a foreign agent is introduced during pregnancy.

The active ingredient in Cyclopamine was discovered in 1957 when a batch of sheep in Idaho who had been grazing on wild corn lily gave birth to multiple one-eyed kids. Medical experts at the U.S. Department of Agriculture discovered that toxins in the corn lily are powerful teratogens that alter fetal development. The scientists named the toxin Cyclopamine after the one-eyed sheep.
Photos of the baby may be found by clicking here.


Michael Ray Hunter and James Alan Richardson: This is why they call it dope. From The Associated Press:
Sometimes when nature calls, there's no time to delay, but a Kentucky man sure picked the wrong spot for a pit stop.

Michael Ray Hunter, 37, found out Wednesday night that the parking lot of the West Virginia State Police headquarters in South Charleston isn't the right spot.

Trooper J.S. Crane just happened to be walking nearby as Hunter was relieving himself.

As Crane approached, he smelled alcohol. That discovery led Crane to the truck where Hunter's friend, James Alan Richardson, 40, was checking phone messages.

During a search of the pickup, Crane and another trooper found a marijuana pipe and pills for which Richardson had no prescription.

Both men were arrested for public intoxication. Hunter also is charged with indecent exposure and Richardson is charged with possessing controlled substances.
Both also face lifetimes of ridicule.


The kid is 13. The driver is 23. Her name is Mary Palma. Cops say it happened in Kansas City. KMBC-TV reports:
Palma, 23, was charged with the statutory rape of a family friend's son.

Police said the alleged rapes occurred at the boy's home where Palma was staying and on Palma's school bus.

Palma was arrested after the boy's mother reported the relationship.
You can find Palma's mugshot here.

Friday, August 11, 2006


Friday was his 81st birthday. He marked it by dying. From The Associated Press:
The afternoon talk show, which aired from 1961 to 1982, featured Douglas' ballad and big-band singing style, other musicians, comedians, political personalities and sports figures. His interviews included seven men who were then, had been or would become president.
We grew up watching Douglas after school. Odd little factoid: Roger Ailes was Douglas' producer. He's gone on to bigger things.


But not in the way Missouri Republicans did in 2005, when they slashed coverage for tens of thousands of Missourians and got hit between the eyes with widespread criticism for being cruel.

Tony Messenger, editorial-page editor of the News-Leader, gets it. In a Friday editorial he writes:
A legislative committee was in Springfield on Wednesday looking for fraud in Medicaid.

Perhaps there is some to be found, but we suggest lawmakers are once again focusing on the wrong priorities when they talk about Medicaid. What they ought to be doing is figuring how they're going to remake the system. When the legislature slashed Medicaid two years ago to balance the state budget, they passed a bill that wipes out the current state system of state-funded indigent care by 2008. The plan, Gov. Matt Blunt and Republican legislators said, was to remake the system from scratch.

So what are they doing? They're still talking about fraud and abuse, which was their rallying cry when they made the cuts in the first place. In the meantime, real people are suffering. Children have lost their insurance. Disabled adults have quit their jobs to keep their Medicaid. We're about two years away from the system going away and we're nowhere closer to figuring out the plan to develop a sustainable Medicaid program.

The good news is that Blunt seems to understand the key issue. In an interview with the News-Leader editorial board recently, he decried the liberal myth that too many people in our system today don't have access to health care.

"Everybody has access," Blunt says. "It's the emergency room. We need to change that."

The irony, of course, is that was the Democratic criticism two years ago when he slashed the Medicaid rolls and forced too many folks to use the emergency room as their sole source of health care. That Blunt today understands that reality of our system speaks well for the potential reform of the Medicaid system, if only the governor and lawmakers can get past political hurdles and focus on the real issues.
The laughable part, of course, is that Blunt and his fellow Republicans now sound shocked -- shocked! -- by the very cuts in Medicaid that they rammed through the legislature. Today they claim they're the only ones who can fix the problem. If a burglar broke into your home and stole your things, would you let him come back in to fix the locks he busted?


A large temblor, with buildings swaying in Mexico City. Check here for details as they come in.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Friday's local news will include talk about gangs and violence. How do we know? Springfield police and the Greene County prosecutor have a 10 a.m. news conference -- in an alleyway, of all places -- to "make an announcement regarding the Grand Jury’s first indictment. Chief [Lynn] Rowe will address the rise of criminal activity, acts of violence in the Springfield Community, and discuss the newly formed Gang Task Force."

The news conference will be held in the alley behind 409 N. Boonville Ave. Ambience, you know.


Joe Darby, a military policeman, was given a CD with photos of humiliated Iraqi prisoners in 2004. Disturbed by what he saw, he turned in the images to the Army's Criminal Investigation Division. That act led to disclosure of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

This week, The Associated Press interviewed Darby about the event. Topping the disclosures: Darby says he was afraid fellow soldiers would kill him once they learned he was the tipster.

From the story:
"I had the choice between what I knew was morally right and my loyalty to other soldiers. I couldn't have it both ways," the 27-year-old military policeman said in the just-released September issue of Gentleman's Quarterly.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Darby said that if presented with the same circumstances at Abu Ghraib today, he would do the same thing. "It was a hard decision to make when I made it, but it had to be done," he said. ...

His worst moment, he said, came on May 7, 2004, during lunch with 10 fellow MPs in a mess hall filled with 400 troops.

"It was like something out of a movie," he recalled. [Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld appeared on television, dropped Darby's name, "and the guys at the table just stopped eating and looked at me. I got up and got the hell out of there."

Only later did he learn he had been named in a New Yorker magazine article a few days earlier, he told AP in the telephone interview.

In response to queries from AP, Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said he recalled no effort to protect Darby's identity. It was known "very early and quickly became common knowledge," and people were "talking about his courage in coming forward," he said.

Darby is scheduled to leave the Army and the Reserves, after eight years of duty, on Aug. 31. He no longer lives in his hometown of Cumberland, Md., where "a lot of people up there view me as a traitor. Even some of my family members think I'm a traitor."

He said he has returned home only twice, for a wedding and his mother's funeral.

"I'm not welcome there. People there don't look at the fact that I knew right from wrong," he said. "They look at the fact that I put an Iraqi before an American."
Some flag-waving conservatives -- you know, the ones who always claim they stand up for our soldiers -- are making clear how they feel about Darby. Check this thread from Free Republic to see how some alleged patriots are showing their true colors. Best jaw-dropping quote of the thread:
Traitor? Not really. Slimey weasel SOB might work better. Hey, what did they do with guys like this in Nam?
Nice talk.


Thursday's newscasts are full of terror talk. Scotland Yard busted up an alleged plot to blow up planes flying into the United States from the United Kingdom. The Department of Homeland Security has officially gone nutballs, banning "any liquids" from all planes operating in the U.S.

Here's the statement from Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff:
The Department of Homeland Security is taking immediate steps to increase security measures in the aviation sector in coordination with heightened security precautions in the United Kingdom. Over the last few hours, British authorities have arrested a significant number of extremists engaged in a substantial plot to destroy multiple passenger aircraft flying from the United Kingdom to the United States.

Currently, there is no indication, however, of plotting within the United States. We believe that these arrests have significantly disrupted the threat, but we cannot be sure that the threat has been entirely eliminated or the plot completely thwarted.

For that reason, the United States government has raised the nation's threat level to Severe, or Red, for commercial flights originating in the United Kingdom bound for the United States. This adjustment reflects the Critical, or highest, alert level that has been implemented in the United Kingdom.

To defend further against any remaining threat from this plot, we will also raise the threat level to High, or Orange, for all commercial aviation operating in or destined for the United States. Consistent with these higher threat levels, the Transportation Security Administration is coordinating with federal partners, airport authorities and commercial airlines on expanding the intensity of existing security requirements.

Due to the nature of the threat revealed by this investigation, we are prohibiting any liquids, including beverages, hair gels, and lotions from being carried on the airplane. This determination will be constantly evaluated and updated when circumstances warrant. These changes will take effect at 4 a.m. local time across the country. Travelers should also anticipate additional security measures within the airport and at screening checkpoints.

These measures will continue to assure that our aviation system remains safe and secure. Travelers should go about their plans confidently, while maintaining vigilance in their surroundings and exercising patience with screening and security officials.

The United States and the United Kingdom are fully united and resolute in this effort and in our ongoing efforts to secure our respective homelands.
DANGER! DANGER! Not in the U.S., but to be safe, NO LIQUIDS ON THE PLANE! Go about your business, nothing here to see, but BE VIGILANT!

The conditioning has worked. Ivan Pavlov would be proud.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


John McCusker, a photographer for the Times-Picayune newspaper in New Orleans, apparently snapped on Tuesday. He reportedly begged police to shoot him dead. They arrested him instead.

Reason for McCusker's break: He learned there wasn't enough insurance money to rebuild his storm-damaged home.

Editor & Publisher reports:
He had been one of the paper's key photographers in the immediate aftermath of Katrina. "Katrina didn't flood New Orleans - government failure did," he told visiting students from Brown University recently. ...

Police said they noticed McCusker driving erratically in the city on Tuesday evening, then hit several parked cars when they pulled him over. McCusker rolled the window down and said several times, "Just kill me, get it over with, kill me."

When that didn't happen, he put the car in reverse and pinned one of the officers between the rear bumper of his car and the officer's cruiser, police said, and he suffered minor injuries. McCusker drove away, to fabled St. Charles Avenue, "going out of his way to knock down any signs advertising construction," police told the newspaper.

When he finally stopped, police had to taser him -- as he again begged them to kill him.

The police official said, according to newspapers, that this was only one of many examples of the mental damage that Katrina has caused, "and he sees it all the time now."
"People are hoping John gets well," said a managing editor at the paper.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


About 83 percent of Greene County voters decided not to go to the polls on Tuesday.

Those who did turn out did nothing unexpected -- unless you were among the anti-parks forces who really thought talk radio naysaying would do the trick. Greene County's parks tax passed, 58-42 (we thought it would be closer, 53-47).

Comparing other pre-election predictions in contested races to the real thing:

•We thought Rep. Jim Viebrock would be in trouble in the 134th. He won with 43 percent of the vote in a three-way race. Trouble. Just not enough to stop him.

•Rep. Charlie Denison beats David Dunn, but the challenger did make the incumbent sweat, 55-45.

•Rep. B.J. Marsh glided to victory in District 136 over Bob Vanaman.

•Dan Scott walked all over Ronald Day to get the GOP nomination in the 137th District. Charlie Norr defeated Rob Brantley and Richard Naperalski in the Democratic primary. No surprises. The district should be a solid for Dems come November, if Norr runs a sharp campaign.

•Steve Helms beats Michael Goodart. That means Helms faces defeat in November when he takes on Rep. Sara Lampe, who ran unopposed in the primary in the 138th.

•We thought Karen Roark might slide past Shane Schoeller in the 139th. Wasn't to be. Schoeller wins, 48-37, with Joe Pyles earning 15 percent of the vote. Several readers thought Pyles should have been the guy who won this race, given his moderate views. We concur. Schoeller will face Jamie Schoolcraft, who defeated Arthur Hodge, Sr., in the Democratic primary.

Rep. Roy Blunt won his primary race with close to 80 percent of the vote (that's with more than two-thirds of precincts reporting across the 7th Congressional District). Midge Potts, God bless her, garnered around 7 percent of the vote -- still good enough to bear Bernard Kennetz, Jr. It looks like Jack Truman will be the sacrificial lamb for Democrats in November; he defeated Ron Lapham and Charles Christrup.

Best local bit o' color: Christopher Davis and Jesse Tate tie -- 43-43 -- for Republican Committeeman of the 20th Ward. What is the procedure for breaking a tie?

Statewide, a couple of noteworthy items:

•Ken Hulshof is the current congressman in the 9th District, and word is he'd like to go bigger -- much bigger -- in Republican circles. Maybe governor, maybe U.S. senator, maybe even the White House. He was unopposed in the primary and got 27,558 votes. But his Democratic opponent, Duane Burghard, got 27,534 votes in his primary. This race will be a smoker.

•Missouri voters gave a big OK to a continuing tax that generates about $82 million annually "for soil and water conservation efforts and operation of the state park system." Will that progressive tax stance translate to a "yes" vote in November on a minimum-wage measure? Somehow, we doubt it.

•Mark Wright, the Springfield state representative who decided to run for auditor (after flirting with the idea of a primary challenge against Norma Champion for state senate) was buried Tuesday. He had about 14 percent of the vote in a five-way primary race. That was good enough for 4th place, ahead of oddity Al Hanson but behind everyone else. It also came after Wright was declared persona non grata in GOP circles for sharply criticizing Gov. Matt Blunt.

He thought it would prove he was an independent voice. Mark Wright was wrong.


Twenty percent. Or think of your hand, minus four digits. Sure, if you kept the middle finger you could still flip off the world (or order one beer), but your saxophone playing would greatly suffer.

That's the state of voting today in southwest Missouri. Greene County Clerk Richard Struckhoff predicts a 20-percent turnout among registered voters in Tuesday's primary election.

One person in five will decide the fate of a sales tax extension for parks in Greene County. One person in five will have a voice in selecting state representatives for everyone. On Wednesday, many non-voters will cluck and pule over the results.

Shameful doesn't even begin to describe the situation.

What will it take to get more people to vote? Serious question in search of serious answers.

Monday, August 07, 2006


The latest Arbitron ratings for the Springfield, Mo., radio market were released Monday. Springfield is market #145; ratings are taken every spring and fall. The Monday numbers are from Spring 2006, and show:

•KTTS-FM is once again No. 1 overall (all listeners, 12+), with a 13.6 slice of the market.
•KGBX is No. 2 (again), with a 7.4 rating.
•KOMG, the Midwest Family station that used to be pop before it went '80s country, increased to a 7.1 from a 5.1 last fall.

Other winners:

•Midwest's KQRA (Q 102.1) jumped from a 2.7 to a 6 share.
•KKLH, another Midwest property at 104.7 FM, had toileted to a 1.7 last fall. The station's Spring 2006 number? An impressive 6.0 -- more than double the previous audience.
•KZRQ (106.7) regained a Fall '05 fall; the Journal-owned active rocker had a 3.4 rating in Spring '05 but then lost more than half its audience. Now they're back. The station posted 3.6 in the new book.


•KSPW, the CHR station at 96.5 FM, continues to decline -- down more than two points to a 7.2.
•KWTO-FM, a sports-talk station, went from a 3.9 to a 2.4 rating.
•KADI, a religious pop station, saw its audience nearly vanish. The station boasted a 2.7 rating in Fall 2005; that declined to a 0.7 rating for Spring 2006.


About 100 workers at a cheese factory in Saint Cloud, Wis., are rich. Or richer than they were before, at least.

The Associated Press reports that the workers won a $208 million Powerball jackpot:
A large contingent of employees from Sargento Cheese say they have the winning ticket locked in a safe.

Eric Heimermann is one member of the celebrating group. He told the Fond du Lac Reporter that the mostly second shift workers had chipped in $1 apiece to a pool to purchase lottery tickets.

Heimermann, 24, of St. Cloud, spoke with the newspaper in a telephone interview from Fat Boys Tavern in St. Cloud. The newspaper said many of the winners went to the tavern Sunday night to celebrate.

"I think everybody pretty much decided we're going to pay our bills and we're going to take it from there," he told the newspaper. "We're all going to work tomorrow. We still have a job to do."
The lump-sum payout is $95.8 million -- nearly a mill, before taxes, for each worker.


Tuesday is election day in Missouri. If you're registered, go vote. If you're not, get registered so you can vote in November.

The Tuesday trend to watch: Democrats crossing over to vote in GOP primaries. That could spell trouble for people like Charlie Denison in the 135th; Dems would rather face a newbie than an incumbent in November.

Here's our take on some of the contested primary races:

State Auditor
Rep. Mark Wright of Springfield, Rep. Jack Jackson of Wildwood, Platte County Auditor Sandra Thomas, Sen. John Loudon of Chesterfield and Al Hanson, gadfly: All want to be the Republican nominee.

Jackson's campaign is mostly funded by a half-million bucks he dumped into it. He's spent the most on TV ads, and hey, he calls himself "Col. Jack Jackson." The likely winner. As for local boy Mark Wright: Beyond toast and now firmly in powdered toast land.

The Democratic primary has Buchanan County Auditor Susan Montee (St. Joseph) facing accountant Darrell Wattenbarger of Columbia. Montee will win. Libertarian Charles Baum is unopposed.

State Representative, District 134
The only race is on the Republican side, with three men -- Bob Bilyeu, Jim Viebrock and Jim Collins -- running to face Democrat Christopher Brown and Libertarian Keith L. Rodgers in November. The KY3 Political Notebook has been on this race like nobody's business. The consensus: Viebrock is in trouble.

State Representative, District 135
Republican challenger David Dunn has been hammering incumbent Rep. Charles Denison. It probably won't be enough, but Denison may sweat before Tuesday night is over. The winner takes on Democrat Nancy Hagan in November. Note to Dunn: You ran a good race, but your signs are terrible.

State Representative, District 136
Republican incumbent Rep. B. J. Marsh hasn't done much campaigning, despite a challenge from Bob Vanaman. Marsh will win, setting up an interesting general race with Democrat James Owen.

State Representative, District 137
We wish we lived in this district. Dan Scott will defeat Ronald D. Day in the Republican primary. Across the aisle, Charlie Norr is supposed to win his primary over Robert Brantley and Richard Napieralski. Norr has the fiscal backing of several Dem groups. But nobody outhustles Brantley; he's got extensive roots in the district. An interesting primary night awaits.

State Representative, District 138
Steve Helms vs. Michael Goodart for the pleasure of losing to Rep. Sara Lampe in the general election. Helms will probably win the primary.

State Representative, District 139
Republicans Shane Schoeller, Joe Pyles and Karen Roark in the primary. She's Mom to Brad Roark, the bachelor incumbent who decided he would instead run for presiding commissioner of Greene County. Best oddball quote from this campaign is on the KY3 blog site, where longtime GOP boss Thelma Neff says this about Roark: "A lot of people call and ask me why is Brad's wife running for his seat. I say, it's not his wife. He doesn't have one of those."

We want Pyles and his handmade signs to win, but realism insists that Roark will probably squeak past Schoeller. Jamie Schoolcraft will beat Arthur Hodge Sr. in the Democratic primary. Libertarian Thomas Martz is unopposed.

Good luck.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


The former Florida secretary of state, now a congresswoman, is so far behind in her race for U.S. Senate that it's almost impossible for her to win.

The Palm Beach Post publishes a detailed account of Harris' doomed campaign. A couple of eye-popping disclosures:
She chastised speechwriters, press secretaries, fund-raisers, even travel aides who drove her from one event to another.

For those travel aides, a top priority was to get her Starbucks coffee, no matter where she was campaigning, "and God help him if it wasn't hot," an aide said

Several aides said Harris was so obsessed with Starbucks coffee she insisted that Starbucks locations be mapped out when she was traveling from one campaign stop to another. ...

Standing outside a Starbucks in Sarasota, Harris was berating a campaign aide as customers at outdoor tables sat watching.

Two days earlier, she had left some books in the aide's car as he drove her to campaign events in Florida. That night, when she returned to Washington, she called the aide and told him to send the books to her right away. He sent them the next morning by FedEx, but Harris returned to Sarasota that day before the books arrived.

"She kept saying 'I need those books. Why didn't you get them to me?' She wouldn't let it die," said the aide, one of more than a dozen key staffers who have quit Harris' campaign for the U.S. Senate this year. ...

In interviews with The Palm Beach Post during the past three weeks, six of those former aides, three of whom did not want to be identified, have described Harris as a temperamental boss who routinely yelled at staffers, belittled their intelligence, criticized their efforts, micromanaged every aspect of her campaign, and was ungrateful to those working for her.

"We used to call her 'The Hurricane' because she would spin completely out of control over the smallest things," said Jim Dornan, Harris' first campaign manager, who quit last fall.
Blown away.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


The actor-turned-governor needs Democrats to win a full term as leader of California. Big-name entertainment types are obliging, according to the Los Angeles Times:
Some of Hollywood's most reliable and generous donors to the Democratic Party — Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and media mogul Haim Saban — are endorsing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's bid for reelection.

Their support is partly a matter of friendship over partisanship. But it could deal a blow to the governor's main opponent, state Treasurer Phil Angelides, by signaling to other Democrats that it's acceptable to embrace a Republican.

The two men also like Schwarzenegger's plans to tackle global warming and fund schools. But further, Spahn said, "they are receptive to the governor's taking a less partisan approach to the job and a more inclusive approach to government."

Perhaps the deepest pockets among those embracing Schwarzenegger belong to the Egyptian-born Saban, who produced the "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" and eventually created a media empire.

Saban, who is trying to acquire the Spanish-language network Univision with other investors, is a former trustee of the Democratic National Committee and one of its biggest donors. He spent $200,000 fighting the 2003 recall election that brought Schwarzenegger to power.
ET and the Power Rangers back Schwarzenegger. Hard to beat.


Aug. 5, 1962: Marilyn Monroe is found dead in her bed. She was 36 years old.

She would be 80 now. Impossible to think of her as old. She will always be this woman, the redhead before the ruin.

Friday, August 04, 2006


Dave Catanese at KY3's Political Notebook delivers juicy scoop, culled from a Missouri Republican Party newsletter, dated Friday. The newsletter urges the faithful to shun Mark Wright, a candidate for auditor. Catanese elaborates:
The newsletter, put out late Friday afternoon by G.O.P. chair Jared Craighead, is a clear indication of the party leadership's anger with Wright over his recent comments about Governor Blunt. The move is also stunning, because party figures rarely get involved in inner-party primary races so publicly. ...

"This is a political fragging," says one Greene County Republican who considers Wright a friend. It's also a huge sign of the divisions in the Republican party right now."

"Why would the Republican party feel the need to do this unless they felt Wright was a threat? He is either gaining some traction and striking a chord among party people or he is out there alone in the political wilderness," says the Republican.
Beyond the Siberian fringes, we suspect. Mark Wright has become Luca Brasi to the Missouri GOP.


He played in the 1960s band Love. Died in Memphis "following a battle with acute myeloid leukaemia," according to the BBC. Granny Geek gets the point.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Tom DeLay's name must stay on the November ballot, even though he's not actively running for reelection to Congress, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. The Austin American-Statesman -- such a great name for a paper -- reports:
The appeals court upheld a ruling by U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks that the Republicans couldn't replace Delay.

DeLay, who retired from Congress and moved to Virginia, can stay on the ballot and return to Texas and campaign to regain his old seat -— or withdraw and leave U.S. House District 22 without a Republican candidate. It was not immediately clear if his lawyers would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
DeLay won a March primary before resigning from Congress on June 9. He is awaiting trial in Texas state court on money laundering and conspiracy charges alleging that illegal corporate cash helped pay for legislative campaigns in 2002.

After he moved to Virginia, state Republicans said he was ineligible to run in Texas and sought to replace him on the ballot.

Texas Republican Party Chairwoman Tina Benkiser said she declared DeLay ineligible to be the GOP nominee because of his Virginia driver's license, state tax withholding documents and voter registration. Texas Democrats sued to keep DeLay on the ballot so they can continue to use him as a poster boy for bad behavior.

Sparks, however, cited evidence that DeLay has maintained his homestead exemption in Sugar Land, that his wife continues to live there and that he was found in Texas -— not Virginia —- when Democrats subpoenaed him to court.

Former Democratic Congressman Nick Lampson is running for the seat.
Such a peculiar hell for DeLay. If he decides to campaign, he might win, but he'll bring down his party in the process.


Perhaps the Doberman smelled a hound dog. The Associated Press has the story:
A guard dog has ripped apart a collection of rare teddy bears, including one once owned by Elvis Presley, during a rampage at a children's museum.

"He just went berserk," said Daniel Medley, general manager of the Wookey Hole Caves near Wells, England, where hundreds of bears were chewed up Tuesday night by the 6-year-old Doberman pinscher named Barney.

Barney ripped the head off a brown stuffed bear once owned by the young Presley during the attack, leaving fluffy stuffing and bits of bears' limbs and heads on the museum floor. The bear, named Mabel, was made in 1909 by the German manufacturer Steiff.

The collection, valued at more than $900,000, included a red bear made by Farnell in 1910 and a Bobby Bruin made by Merrythought in 1936.

The bear with Elvis connections was owned by English aristocrat Benjamin Slade, who bought it at an Elvis memorabilia auction in Memphis, Tenn., and had loaned it to the museum.

"I've spoken to the bear's owner and he is not very pleased at all," Medley said.

A security guard at the museum, Greg West, said he spent several minutes chasing Barney before wrestling the dog to the ground.
The bear once owned by Presley is valued at $75,000. It would have been in a glass case, but it had been "left on the work surface while it was being prepared to go on display." Oops. A pic of the bad dog -- bad dog! -- can be found here.


Media Bistro has the scoop:
Longtime CNN anchor Daryn Kagan is departing the network this fall. In an internal announcement this morning, Kagan said she has been "grateful for the experience." She will stay in her regular anchor slot until September 1, an insider says.

Kagan is launching an "online venture" at on November 13. The site says: "One woman. One radical idea: The world is a good place. Stop in for daily inspiration to improve your world. Launching in 15 weeks! November 13, 2006."

Kagan has been at CNN for 12 years. "The conventional wisdom here is that Heidi Collins will replace her," the insider suggests.
Collins for Kagan. Good call.


He's probably right. The Associated Press reports:
Gov. Mike Huckabee, who successfully pushed for a statewide workplace smoking ban earlier this year, predicted Wednesday that cigarettes eventually won't be sold because of their health risks.

"I think the day will come when we probably won't" sell cigarettes, Huckabee said on his monthly call-in radio show. "If cigarettes were introduced to the marketplace today, they wouldn't be sold. They'd never make it because what we didn't know when they were first created, sold and marketed is just how deadly harmful they were."

Huckabee was responding to a caller's question of why cigarettes are allowed to be sold if they are so harmful. The governor fielded complaints from at least two callers about the state smoking ban, which went into effect July 21.
Stock up now.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Ozarkers are sweating like Mel Gibson at a bar mitzvah. That could change soon.

The National Weather Service says rain will hit southwest Missouri on Thursday. High temp: 91 degrees. The rain chance is 40 percent, so odds are we'll be hosed. By the weekend it's back to 90-plus weather.

As Fat Jack might say, it's hotter than a billy goat’s butt in a pepper patch.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Another loud (our fault) and boisterous (John Stone's fault) night with the Springfield Bloggers. Andy Cline at Rhetorica has the podcast.

An item discussed during the meeting involved the possibility of the bloggers, as a group, sponsoring community forums this fall. We'd like to explore issues -- how to get more younger voters to the polls, for starters -- and we'd like to do more than sit around and drink fine beer from Patton Alley Pub.

More as it happens. Thanks to all who made it out.


The motley group of mostly washed humans better known as Springfield's bloggers meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Patton Alley Pub in downtown Springfield. Rhetorica will podcast, for those of you scoring at home.

It's the first attempt at twice-monthly meetings, so all bets are off.


Twenty-five years ago today we were sitting in a student lounge in Columbia, Mo., watching the future. Back then we couldn't imagine being a quarter-century older; those who had reached that milestone were impossibly old and hopelessly out of touch. Now that we are the decrepit, we have not changed our minds. Damn the black night with its foul temptations and the memories that will not fade.

Do you remember the JAMC?
And reading aloud from magazines?
I don't know about you,
But I'd swear on my name,
They could smell it on me.